If you have trouble with the thought of killing, even if it’s just a chicken for your supper, then you probably shouldn’t read this one. Then again maybe you need to read it most of all.
I did a thought experiment the other day. The effect and contrast was fairly stark, so I wanted to share it.
So I’m (mentally) walking down a road late at night (stupid time) in a crappy area (stupid place). And there are 4 or 5 youngish guys hanging around laughing and talking shit up ahead. Their profile is bad news (ethnicity + neighbourhood + clothing choice + a bottle being passed around + age + time of day on a week night, tells me these are not boy scouts studying engineering while working 2 jobs to pay for their studies). But my mind is occupied by worries and anxiety of my own, so I don’t pay attention to profiling them like I should. Basically my goal isn’t “get home”, my goal (whether I admit it or not) is to keep worrying about what’s worrying me.
I’ve brought along my knife, “just in case”. But it’s cold so my jacket is zipped up tight and I can’t get to it very fast. Plus I don’t practice very much, so I’m not all that fast anyway.
As I get close one of them decides to approach me to talk (by stepping in front of me). And as I ask him what he wants I only vaguely notice that the others are moving to stand around me in a circle (otherwise known as “surrounding a target to maximise damage and minimise his ability to respond and escape”).
It starts with a swear word and a rhetorical question. Then it’s a push. Then another shove. Then a punch. I pitifully try punch back, but I catch a bottle up the back of the head for my troubles. Then a few hits later I’m on the floor and they’re all trying to kick me in the head.
At this point I called quits on this half of the experiment. I was a good victim: Mentally occupied while walking through a Fringe Area. Violating the 4 x Stupids Rule. When I finally figured out what was going on I tried to find a response by playing their game (escalating my response until I found one that worked, instead of doing it the smart way). Trying to “fight” back instead of using violence as a tool to achieve my goal of “get out and get home, employ whatever is necessary to do so”.
So what would this look like if I did things differently?
What if, instead, I set out to lure a small group of thugs into a trap so I could kill them all? Maybe all I had was a knife. What would that look like?
So I deliberately violate as many of the 4 x Stupids rule as possible. I choose a stupid place at a stupid time of day and I do a stupid thing by walking alone through that area, trying to make sure I look like a good victim and don’t look around (while looking around as much as possible so I can spot some people to kill; listening harder than normal to make up for looking around less – footsteps, voices, stuff getting bumped and knocked over). I’m carrying my knife where I can draw it quickly (or maybe it’s in my hand, hidden even now). I’ve brought along the biggest knife I can hide/draw quickly, and made sure it’s sharp.
I slow down when I find a group of people that fit the bill and walk towards them (young thugs who will approach me – part of luring an animal into a trap is to make it want to come to you).
I’m dressed to look gormless. No self-esteem, no confidence, no deliberate style. Nothing in my clothes says “I care about myself”. It all says “I just let stuff happen to me, just check out these clothes if you need proof.”
They shout something at me (I’m not listening to what they actually say, I only care that they’re engaging me. Maybe it was a question, a request, a challenge, an insult – the words don’t matter, just the context of it being a hook – something that will give them an excuse to get more involved and come closer). They start coming closer. I let them get almost where I want them and then I start my deception. I choose arm waving movements over movements where I tap them on the arms and chests (because with this group I think touching them repeatedly, to get them used to my touching them, will backfire). So I start talking while using my arms very expressively. I also include shifting my weight randomly towards and away from them. This desensitizes them to me being in motion. Getting them used to me stepping towards them while moving my arms. This will buy me about a second or 2 before they figure out what’s going on.
So right now I’ve got a group of thugs (my soon-to-be victims) that I’ve successfully lured close to me. They’re mentally expecting to attack me (probably through an escalation: questions to accusations to shoving to punching to beating). So in their mind they are preparing to start low, and then build up the level of force they use. And they’re firmly in the “aggressor” seat. This is the opposite of what’s about to happen so they will take longer to respond to me.
As soon as they’ve spread out enough to give me final confirmation that these are, in fact, thugs then I go (plus if they’re bunched up I’ll have to climb over and around bodies to get to the next body to kill). I use a last arm movement to cover me pulling the knife. I step close enough to the first one to control his body and I take his neck. After that I’m moving as fast as possible to get at least 1 very damaging stab on each person before I go around with insurance shots.
Can 1 lonesome guy with a knife take out 4 or 5 thugs before they know what’s hit them? Well, I don’t know about the “don’t know what’s hit them” part, but I’d venture to guess that yes, one man can efficiently kill a larger group.
Getting to the point
The point of this is that there were 2 very different mind-sets. There were 2 different goals, and directly or indirectly, these different goals caused 2 very different situations.
So what I want anybody reading this to do, is to sit down and picture what those different mind-sets feel like. Feel each mindset in your body. The sensations, your posture, the way your mind prepares itself when adopting each.
As Ivan Throne says: A predator targets, pursues, overcomes.
Is this what it means to “flip the switch”? I don’t know, but I do know that keeping the “killer” mindset on tap and being able to call up that mental program might have saved the life of the guy in the first situation. And then switching it off as soon as the “get home” goal becomes attainable again.
There are no answers here because I haven’t told you what the question is. Just sit down somewhere comfy and get the feel for these 2 mind-sets.