Analysis of a Mugging

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A few months back, I wrote about the importance of recognizing threats so that they could be avoided. The absolute best way to survive an encounter with a criminal is to never be accepted into his victim selection process. If the victim selection process can not be avoided, then disrupting the criminal's expectations is essential to forcing him to abort the attack.

At this point, the victim has been selected by a criminal who is at "work". The criminal has probably made contact, speaking to the potential victim, asking her for something, invading her privacy. This is an attempt to probe and assess her willingness to be victimized. The victim walks past, leaving her back to the criminal. She is doing exactly what the criminal is hoping, indeed, expecting she will do. She is open to attack.


The first criminal makes the initial contact, but he is not working alone. A second criminal has positioned himself to cut off escape routes. As the first criminal takes down the victim, using the curb to destroy her balance, a taxi driver/witness observes the attack.


Help arrives, but who is the red haired youth assisting? The victim kicks frantically as another bystander is alarmed and is trying to decide whether to help, run, or stay put.

Tactics Revealed

The red haired youth's motives are revealed as the two criminals, acting in concert, hold down the victim and take her belongings. She is helpless. By this time, if she had a gun on her hip, it would be in the possession of the criminals.


The criminals run away in different directions, enhancing their chances of escape. The victim struggles to her knees, no doubt poorer and feeling violated. The bystander still has not chosen his course of action, and by doing nothing, has acted.

What is immediately apparent in this series of photos is the lack of awareness. The victim was blissfully unaware of her impending plight. Her attack was not the result of not having a means of self defense. Her attack was the result of understanding the first line of self defense is removing oneself from the victim selection process by any means available.

A criminal is, by his nature, a predator. A predator must know his prey to be successful. Once prey is identified, an attack from a hungry predator is almost assured. A potential victim can avoid attack in two ways.

A person can avoid being seen by the predator. Be somewhere else. Life is full of choices. One may chose to walk where predators lurk, whether in the streets of a metropolis or in the grasses of Africa, but if a person walks though the grasses of Tsavo, they should be prepared for lions. When such a jaunt is unavoidable, awareness must be increased.

One may also be seen as a superior predator. The criminal fears the armed citizen more than the police. The criminal knows exactly what to expect from law enforcement. They discuss it, study it. The prepare for it, and have likely learned from experience.

The armed citizen is the wild card that the criminal never knows how to predict, or when it might appear. The armed citizen may run. The armed citizen may resist. The armed citizen may shoot, and may kill. While not a predator, the armed citizen is viewed by the criminal jackal as being the lioness he does not want to tangle with.

Most criminals will quickly avoid an attack on a random person they believe to be armed. The benefits are simply not worth the risks. In free states, the armed citizen is the one variable the criminal can not predict, but must be prepared for. The actions of the armed citizen are even more unpredictable. The response of the criminal to the armed citizen is often abortion of the attack and escape.

Because the armed citizen is frequently as unrecognizable as the criminal, the criminal must rely on the recognition of behavior to avoid the threat of being shot. The most common behavior difference between the armed and unarmed citizen is awareness. Thus, the increased awareness of a person also deters the thinking criminal. The gun is loaded for the criminals who do not think. There are enough of those to justify carrying a gun.