The Threat of Violence: That Isn’t Really a Threat …, Part II – Marc MacYoung

Read part one

I guarantee you when you watch the video in chunks you’re going to see what we will be talking about now; especially because the people who are screaming loudest about the ‘victims of violence’ are often—if not overwhelmingly—the ones who are being the most violent and aggressive. They are using the threat of violence right up until the moment they lose the fight. Yes, you read that right. It’s a fight.  Not the one sided assault they planned on.

Then in a predictable strategy, they flip into victim mode. Not a loser, but a victim. But to sell this victim idea requires a little three-card monte with definitions and excuses. Specifically distracting you from their actions and focusing your attention on what someone else did.

For example, in the original story there was no mention of the alleged groping. That only appeared when it was pointed out that she hit someone before being pepper sprayed. Some sources overlook it while decrying the violence of the rally attendees. Still others mention the grope, but don’t  even show video of her claiming it happened. Why? In that video, there’s a significant lag between her accusation and the strike. Now mind you, this is just the accusation. There no released recording of the touch, in what context it happened or—if it happened— the time in-between touch and the accusation. (What don’t they want you to see?)

Basically, the story changes and is edited to maintain her victim status no matter what—in fact, it double downed on victimhood by playing the ‘sexual assault’ card. If you’re pulling a three-card monte and someone does bring up the hit, you can claim it was ‘self-defense’ over being groped. They’re not the violent ones. Just ask them. They’ll look you in the eye and tell you that.

This brings us to: What is violent behavior? Don’t answer that that yet. I’m about to melt your mind.

In my book In The Name of Self-Defense, I talk about the road of violence.  If you’re on this road, you’re being violent. The question is: How far down the road are you? I use this analogy to show the lower the number on the mile markers equal what you’re doing is subtle verbal and emotional violence. It gets louder and more aggressive as you go farther down the road (higher mile markers). You can be incredibly verbally and emotionally violent without ever throwing a punch. Then it gets to physical (even higher numbers). What a lot of people don’t realize is exactly how much more road there is past simple hits. It gets really ugly past that. (Remember, I’m the guy who asks, “How many parts was the body found in?”) This model doesn’t allow for three card monte with definitions. As much as people want it, there is no ‘past this point it’s violence and bad, but before then it’s not—so it’s okay.’ Or as I say, “It’s not on the road to violence. There is no ‘Violence City Limits’ or ‘Now entering Violence.’ If you’re on that road, it’s violence, plane and simple.”

I came up with this road idea because of deniers first declaring “violence is bad” and then excusing their own behavior. They deny they’re being violent through redefining violence to mean: Any level of force beyond which I am comfortable using to get what I want. Or it’s violence when the same level is used back against them (a.k.a., It all started when he hit me back). Hence my comment about ‘Violence City Limits’ They’ll speed up and down the lower mile markers, but as long as they don’t cross some subjective line they’re certain they are not being violent—no matter what they are doing, up to and including punching you.

When it’s laid out like this, you don’t have to be the sharpest crayon in the box to spot the BS of this position. When someone is pulling it on you, however, it can be a lot harder to spot. Well okay it’s more of a shock that someone can spit in your face then claim that wasn’t violence, but your reaction was. What’s amazing is how many people sincerely believe this. They don’t feel they are lying because this is their subjective truth. Their conviction is part of the con. But to truly get how this three card monte works, you need to know something.

Humans, as a species are amazingly nonviolent.

Forget all the hyperbole. We’re really not that violent. A comparison: After a lifetime of violence (including it being my profession), I can tell you that my cat has killed more, been in more life-and-death situations, and fights than me—or anyone reading this article.

See we humans are far, far better communicators. That’s why we can usually avoid using physical violence.

Having said that, we use the threat of violence all the time! Wait, what? To a species so strongly married to communication, the threat of violence is a lot more effective persuader than carrying through. Whether you call it threat displays or display aggression, we routinely communicate the threat of physical attack to people through body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, word choice, and behavior. Usually we only do this when we’re emotional, but always as a strategy to get what we want. When we’re yelling, making faces and swinging our arms, that’s not an attack. It’s saying, “I’m not attacking, but I might.” It’s the threat that violence is close. That is communication! Inherent in this threat is ‘unless you do what I want.’ Whether that’s stop what you’re doing, start doing what I want, go away, get back into your place or shut up; those depend on the goals of the individual doing the threatening, intimidation, or coercion.

This threat is usually a bluff to get the other person to fold. Violence is dangerous, and we could get hurt if things go physical. As such, we really don’t want to risk it. But in order for it to be an effective bluff, the person has to believe the danger is real and immediate. This bluff gets us the benefits of physical violence without having to actually do it. With the threat of violence being so significant, the road of violence takes on a whole new meaning. We’re ‘playing chicken’ down that stretch of road.

You would think this would be the sole domain of ignorant knuckle-draggers. It isn’t. Some of the worst offenders are people who claim to be intelligent, civilized, and nonviolent—but most of all passionate about a noble cause. That’s the loophole Gloria Steinem identified when she said, “From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence—and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified.”

Some will become aggressive at the wrong word. With this cherished cause as their justification, these bullies are wound up and just waiting for a green light to go off on someone. They’ll threaten you with physical violence as they verbally, emotionally, and socially attack you for your ‘wrong think.’ But as long as they don’t physically strike you, they’ll claim they weren’t being violent—no matter how much they acted as though they were about to become physically violent. Violence is bad, and they can’t be violent because they’re good people. (Besides even if they cross that line, they’re doing it in the name of a good cause.)

This hostile and threatening behavior is what you’re going to be seeing in the five-second chunks. (Remember them?) These chunks reveal a heavy reliance on the threat of violence. They’ll also destroy the credibility of the denial and victimization. Threatening violence … it’s a simple concept, but damn is it an important one.

But let me add another caveat here. While the threat of violence is usually more effective than actual violence in the civilized world, denying you’re doing it is a big part of the strategy. This denial is a very big part of what makes this crazy-making behavior (gaslighting if you know the term). Sometimes they actually believe they’re not being violent. Most of the time, they’re so emotional they don’t care. Sometimes there is deliberate malice hiding behind the righteous cause. They know exactly what they are doing, and they’re getting off on it.

People who routinely use this strategy—simply stated—are bullying. They’re using the threat of violence to get their way. As such, they have to engage in aggressive and hostile behavior to be credible. For the strategy to work, they have to look like they really do mean to attack (usually by acting out of control). You have to believe you are about to be attacked. At the same time, they’re walking a very fine line. A line consisting of four issues:

One, they have to very selective who they use it on. Basically, these bullies know not to pull these aggressive acts on people who won’t wait for it to reach self-defense before acting. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) members will paint bomb rich women wearing fur coats, but they have a consistent track record of not trying the same on bikers in leather jackets. They know they are playing outside to rules of society

Two, it’s a fine balancing act between looking like you’re going to attack and going too far. When the threat doesn’t work, often the response is to turn up the volume. Often this increased intimidation works; people back down and let them have their way.

At the same time, they often goof, crank it up too much and WHAM! The increased hostility either
a) convinces the target there’s an immediate danger (and he reacts out of perceived self-defense) or
b) the aggressor crosses the line.

Thing about the last is they really have pushed it too far. While a biker will punch you quick, you have to work to get slugged by a Lutheran minister. People have their limits.

Three is … well … weird. That’s how often these bullies actually attack. The reason it’s weird is it’s more of a bluff. It is not a committed or continuing attack It’s not intending to injure. It’s an escalation of threat. Their strike is more of a “See? See how far I am willing to go? I’ll attack again if you don’t _____ (fill in the blank)!”

Look at the protestor in the videos. After yelling and aggressing didn’t work, she hit. But she didn’t continue or blitz the person she attacked. This gave the sprayer time to raise, aim and fire.

Four, they get out of there before the cops are called or the folks turn against them. Generally speaking, the real virtue points of this behavior occur when the person skeddadles back to the social group that supports this behavior. There over flasks of organic microbrew beer or vegan wine, they regale other social justice warriors with the tale of their bravery, fearsome foes overcome, and great injustices battled. While that sounds silly, remember many of them do consider themselves ‘warriors.’ Just like gang members boasting about drive-by shootings, there’s a lot of status gained and bragging rights over these acts. Although in some circles getting arrested for the cause is a coup for one’s status as it shows your dedication.

This brings us to an interesting crossroads. While you will never hear a peep about this behavior when the threatening works—oh is there a wailing and gnashing of teeth when there is a violent response. Now they are martyrs for the cause. Except unlike real martyrs, they don’t die. They switch into victim mode. It is essential when their hostility backfires that the bully quickly changes the narrative into how he or she is the victim of unjust violence … ad nauseam. If it’s not them banging the drum, it’s someone else wailing about the violence their enemies are capable. (An innocent fifteen-year-old girl was groped and pepper sprayed by  those evil . . .) This lends righteousness and outrage to their cause. It’s also very important you be prepared for this flip.

Despite doing everything in their power to convince you they were about to attack you—if you respond physically, you are the bad guy for believing their actions. Another version is they that weren’t threatening you, they were just expressing their opinions. You are not only condemned for not knowing they weren’t going to attack, but now you interfered with their freedom of speech. But most of all, neither you—nor anyone else—is supposed to notice they were attempting to intimidate you through the threat of physical violence and that especially means the cop arresting you.

Recognize the game they are playing. If you don’t react, they get to abuse you. If they can bait you into reacting they win. That is why you have to be able to counter the accusations that you attacked them. You have to be able to articulate why their behavior led you to reasonably believe they were attacking. I hope that in teaching you how I do violence reconstruction, I’ve armed you against this strategy.

This is why it is critical to call them on their use of violence and their constant threat of violence. If that person’s behavior is critically reviewed (like say in five-second chunks), it quickly becomes obvious there is a disconnect between the victim narrative and what actually happened.

Although I’ve ruined the incident used in this article, they’re easy to find. Now that you have this process, go out and watch some other videos. You’ll see how often bullying and threatening violence are used by those outraged about violence. When you can do that, you’ll start seeing that gorilla walking across the screen and just smile instead of punching it.


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