People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
–Attributed to George Orwell
Every time you engage in violence, no matter how small or trivial it may appear to be at the time, it has the potential of escalating into something extraordinarily serious. What is really worth fighting for when you might find yourself spending the rest of your life behind bars, confined to a wheelchair, or trying to dig yourself out of bankruptcy from beneath the crushing weight of a civil lawsuit? It is important to ask yourself, “Is this really worth fighting over?” While in some instances the response could legitimately be “Yes,” more often than not it ought to be “No.”
–The Little Black Book of Violence (H/T Thag)
Our feminized society is horrified by the tendency of men to protect themselves and others using violence. This comes from the understandable feminine fear of violence combined with a lack of understanding of the realities of violence. Blogger Delusion Damage addresses the differences in how the sexes understand violence in his post Are You Asking to Get Killed? (link has graphic description of violence):
Those who are furthest removed from violence in their daily lives are the most vulnerable to it when they suddenly run into it on a dark street precisely because they don’t understand it and therefore act stupidly and end up “asking for it” and getting killed. Most churchgoing taxpayers just have no idea how violent people think. Women, especially. If there are any women you give a shit about, you will make sure they know about this stuff. They probably have no clue about any of this, and it may one day save their lives.
Men are usually slightly better prepared. It’s rather difficult for us to get through the mandatory twelve years of school without participating in at least a few scuffles, or at least learning how to avoid them in a male-group dominance hierarchy largely based on the ever-present implicit threat of violence. We at least learn the fundamentals. A woman can go through her entire life without ever as much as punching anyone or getting punched, or even imagining that there exists a threat of running into violence if she behaves badly.
Until that one fateful night when she’s walking to her apartment building through a deserted parking lot and runs into one of the many people who walk the same streets the rest of us walk, but who live a life of violence all day every day.
Women of either sex tend to want to legislate away the possibility of any violence, whether aggressive or defensive. This pathological fear of all violence (both good and bad) is typically aimed at the potential tools of violence, and the extent of the folly in this regard can be truly breathtaking.
However, this irrational fear of even defensive violence collides with the equally loud demands that men protect women from violence. The same forces which work so hard to make all good men entirely harmless also demand that good men defend women whenever the need arises. This gets extremely tricky, because men are also prevented by law and strong social taboo from using violence against women, even to defend themselves or others. Yet while the taboo against using violence against women is arguably stronger than it has ever been in human history, the historical social restraints against women using or provoking aggressive violence are at their weakest point in human history.
These contradictory rules often put men in truly no win situations, as we saw with the recent highly publicized case of two young black women savagely beating a white transvestite in a McDonalds in Maryland. The manager of the McDonalds in question has been widely criticized for failing to protect the transvestite from the two women, even though he repeatedly put himself at risk attempting to break up the attack (Warning: graphic violence):
When I first watched the gut wrenching video the bulk of the comments were condemning the manager for not taking aggressive enough action against the women doing the beating. After it came out that the victim was a transvestite and not a woman, some of this criticism has died down. The entire case is like a PC logic puzzle. Should a black man use violence against black women who are beating a white woman? Many saw that scenario and answered yes. But when the question was Should a black man use violence against black women who are beating a white man dressed as a woman who used the woman’s bathroom? What if one of the black women is only 14? Can he use violence against her, or just the one who is 18? The answer for many was less clear. I won’t try to solve the entire hierarchy of protected classes riddle this case represents, but hopefully it is painfully clear that the manager in question was expected to make a very complex value and legal judgment in the face of immediate violence and will be given no leeway by those who calmly judge what they think they know about the case at a later date.
When searching on this topic I found one blogger who came down hard with the standard Chivalrous party line (emphasis mine):
To begin with, the manager should have ordered his male employees to stop the girls from beating the victim, and eject the perpetrators. Then, if they persistently returned he should have locked the doors and waited for the police and ambulance if one was needed. The manage also should have stopped the employee from videoing the incident, an act that has since resulted in the employees dismissal. I feel for the owner of this business, because he could very well lose his franchise license with McDonald’s over this whole incident.
My last word on this will be that all the employees who stood back to watch are just as culpable as the girls who did the beating. From the manager on down to the lowly dishwasher who stood around and enjoyed the beating of a man dressed as a woman.
If you are still struggling with what the manager or other male employees should have done, imagine yourself witnessing that scene as a civilian legally licensed to carry a concealed handgun. You have sufficient violence at your immediate disposal to stop the attack; would you do so? Would it be legally wise to do so? For me and many others the answer is no. From Ten things you should know about CCW holders:
We don’t think we are cops, spies, or superheroes. We aren’t hoping that somebody tries to rob the convenience store while we are there so we can shoot a criminal. We don’t take it upon ourselves to get involved in situations that are better handled by a 911 call or by simply standing by and being a good witness. We don’t believe our guns give us any authority over our fellow citizens. We also aren’t here to be your unpaid volunteer bodyguard. We’ll be glad to tell you where we trained and point you to some good gun shops if you feel you want to take this kind of responsibility for your personal safety. Except for extraordinary circumstances your business is your business, don’t expect us to help you out of situations you could have avoided.
I’ve framed this deliberately as the choice of using (or at least displaying) deadly force or not, because there is a common misconception that one can use just a little violence in these kinds of situations. In reality this is seldom true. Threats of violence only work if you are ready to back them up with real violence. The manager in the video understood that any use of violence to deter the two women doing the beating would almost certainly have provoked a direct attack against him; if that happened he would have been forced to either take a beating like the transvestite, or risk legal and career jeopardy by striking the woman and girl in self defense.
Men’s challenge in performing their traditional role as protectors in our feminized society is made even more difficult by the fact that many women now feel justified in provoking and/or antagonizing would be attackers while still demanding the protection of men. We saw this to a lesser degree with the case of the slutwalks. Many women passionately argued that men should have no say in the kinds of risky decisions women make; yet men are still expected to come to their aid if the risks materialize. Again from Delusion Damage:
Most men learn in the schoolyard that there’s a point beyond which it’s not wise to annoy people, but women can sometimes get through their 12 years without acquiring that wisdom. To an outside observer, it can seem like some women just have no self-preservation instinct at all. We’ve all seen a woman just go off like a fire hydrant, running her mouth and spewing out insult after insult at someone who’s visibly getting madder and madder for every second, closer and closer to losing self-control, and yet the stream of bitching just doesn’t stop until eventually the recipient goes over the edge and unleashes a violent outburst. There’s no need to talk about whether short-tempered people “have the right to” get violent when angry – it’s just not going to stop happening no matter who says what. If you want to avoid it, you are going to refrain from pushing them over the edge. That’s it, there is no alternative solution.
The only rational response to this particular form of women’s empowerment is for men to stop feeling a general sense of responsibility to protect women, especially those they don’t have authority over. This is difficult for men to do however, because of their sense of justice as well as the tendency to see this as a reciprocal act which they would want other men to do for the women they care about. Tspoon made this case quite well in his comment on my post On gun control and wimpy betas:
Also on another point, that of the expected underwriting of female safety, with that of the males own safety a la :
“If someone hurt me or my mom, he would kill them (not joking in any way — he honestly would find them and remove them from the planet)”
This is a subject that can be approached from more than one angle. Violence gets women wet. Let’s not beat around the bush on that. I’ve been in the company of females who enjoy provoking confrontation in public places, but who then expected that I should bear the fruits of their completely unwarranted aggression toward others. For her entertainment.
Let’s be clear, likely that is not what the writer was referring to. And as a father I know all too well how it is to be protective of daughters.
So yes I’m prepared to underwrite their safety with mine, but like any entity which undertakes to underwrite the risks of another, I have expectations for the behaviour of those I must protect.
Which is where it breaks down somewhat. Outside of my two daughters, it’s been over 20 years since I met or knew a female of whom I knew, without reservation – That I would in fact guarantee her safety as far as I could. Outside of a minor miracle, I have no anticipation of meeting another…
I’ll close with an example I read about on a gun forum several years ago. One of the regulars on the forum (a very level headed young man) wrote about a conflict he found himself in while walking back from an open air performance with his family and two other couples. He was legally carrying a concealed handgun, and found himself in a very difficult situation caused by the wife of one of the other men in the group. While they walked back to their cars on a dark street, a group of thugs were walking behind them loudly talking and cursing amongst themselves. The woman turned to the thugs and told them to stop cursing and learn some manners, since there were women and children (the gun owner’s son) present. Many of the men on the forum took a predictable “you go girl” approach, commending the woman for “standing up” to the thugs (which she clearly saw herself as doing). I and many others saw this differently; she was creating a situation where the group was at greater risk of violence, and where this man’s son was much more likely to at the very least have the memory of the day when his father was forced to shoot those men. Fortunately the situation only escalated to verbal threats by the thugs, and all of them were able to get to their cars without incident.
I don’t have a clean cut answer on what men should do given the conflicting expectations being made on them; each of us must weigh the realities and come to our own decision. I think Tspoon’s take is the wisest choice, but men need to understand they will still likely face a great deal of criticism if they don’t take on the role of personal bodyguard for today’s empowered women.