Category Archives: Posts from 2015

Freeze, Disengage, or Penetrate


Paul Waldman of the Washington Post snidely whipped Ben Carson over the latter’s statements regarding what Mr. Carson said he would do in the event he found himself in the situation that those UCC students found themselves in on the 1st of October, 2015.

From the Washington Post

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson attracted criticism Tuesday for appearing to suggest in an interview that the victims of last week’s tragic school shooting in Oregon should have acted more forcefully to prevent the attack.

“I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning. “I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'”

Ben Carson is absolutely, totally, completely right.

When any living creature, from a mouse to a bear, is involved in a situation where violence is imminent, there are three different reactions that creature can take.

1) Freeze

This is the most common response that people exhibit when confronted with violence. Freeze, comply with directives and wait. This response hopes that the trouble is passing, that the predator will overlook this particular individual, help will arrive before it’s too late and that everything will work out OK.

2) Disengage

Moving away from the dangerous situation is the second most common response to violence. Disengaging is running away. While running away can save your life, it also causes problems. Turning your back and running means you can no longer see and respond to what the attacker is doing. An attacker, high on adrenaline, will see a fleeing back as an inviting, irresistible target. There is a reason why, historically, the highest casualties in battle happened when one side fled from the other.

3) Penetrate

In case it wasn’t immediately obvious, penetrating is attacking. In the event that someone in a classroom, office, or other enclosed public place is either actively brandishing a weapon, threatening people with it, or is about to pull out a weapon – attacking the attacker is your best possible chance for survival.

Penetrating is the option that Ben Carson says he would choose, the option that Paul Waldman claims is an absurd, insulting fantasy:

Was it unspeakably insulting to the victims of the Oregon shooting and their families to suggest that they were killed or injured because they didn’t have the physical courage and quick thinking that a hero like Carson would have displayed had he been in their shoes? Of course. And is it an absurd fantasy that in the instant he was confronted by a gunman, Carson would in the space of seconds organize a bunch of terrified strangers to mount an assault on someone ready to kill them? You bet it is.

First, the only unspeakable insult here is the blatant pandering, posturing and advocacy of passive cowardice by Paul Waldman. Physical courage and quick thinking saves lives, every day. Without physical courage and quick thinking, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Chris Norman would likely be dead today. Physical courage and quick thinking led to a single traffic cop armed with a pistol taking down two Muslim terrorist thugs with rifles in Garland, Texas.

Passivity leads to situations like this, where an asshole like Luke Gatti is free to attack and assault another person until someone steps in and stops it:

Second, Carson or anyone else in that situation who reacted to attack the attacker wouldn’t have to “organize a bunch of terrified strangers.” People are desperate to be led. It is very hard for people to initiate action in a group where they don’t possess recognized and permitted authority, likely due to the constant barrage of anti-male, anti-masculine propaganda that kids have been dealing with for the last 20 years or so. But once someone moves to attack, most of the rest will follow.

Granted, in some situations, especially with available cover or concealment, freezing may very well be the best response. Hunker down and wait for someone on your side with a weapon to help out. However, in a situation where someone is actively brandishing a weapon, ordering people around, freezing is a suicidal action. Gun range targets are stationary.

While I can understand Paul Waldman’s viewpoint, what I find most alarming is that there seems to be a significant percentage of American people chiming in that agree with Mr. Waldman’s point of view that passivity in the face of danger is a good idea. This is the attitude that led to the real Holocaust of World War 2.

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump defended Ben Carson, illustrating the honesty and candor that appeals to Trump’s followers:

Donald Trump Defends Carson