What is violence and how does it work?

There aren’t many people in the United States who could answer the question, What is violence? Not from a criminal violence/self-defense perspective. That is because they don’t viscerally grasp how violence works. This is true among even the better trained elements of our armed, responsible citizenry. It’s also true, albeit to a lesser extent, within the ranks of those who practice the noble profession of arms. 

That is not a criticism. It is an acknowledgment of a potentially uncomfortable, perfectly understandable, fact, and one we would all do well to recognize. 

What is violence?

We can debate semantics and interpretations, but violence in our context is much more than a clinical, definition of the word. And it’s not something that can be explained in one short news post on a website — which is, of course, why I’m recommending this book. 

Nice people fall to the manipulator.
The manipulator crumbles under the assertive.
The assertive shrinks before the aggressive.
The aggressive have no plan for the assaultive.
The assaultive are unprepared for the homicidal. (Marc MacYoung)

Mental preparation and training will help to mitigate this self-defense shortcoming, albeit only if we  recognize that it is a shortcoming. You can begin all of that with some reading and research. 

The Author’s Voice

Apropos to that, the book Violence of Mind (by Mag Life contributor Varg Freeborn is now available on Audible.

How far are you willing to go — and how do you know that the other guy will not be willing to go farther? 

Varg Freeborn

Varg Freeborn: Violence of Mind
Varg Freeborn’s Violence of Mind is one of the first books, if not the first book, a new gun owner should read. In fact, anyone serious about protecting themselves or their family should read it, gun-owner or not.

That’s nice, many of you are thinking. So what? Why should I care?

Here’s why. 

Because Varg’s book is an excellent option to assist in that recognition-and-training effort. In fact, I would argue that,

  1.  It is one of the first two books a new gun-owner should consume (the other being Werner’s Serious Mistakes Gun Owners Make), and
  2. It should be, along with de Beckers Gift of Fear and Choose Adventure (or at least several chapters thereof) by Greg Ellifritz, one of the books that everyone should read.

Whether they go heeled or not. 

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If you pepper spray someone (assaultive), how do you know they will not turn around and shoot you (homicidal)?

You  don’t. And if you are willing to offend you better be willing to assault. If you are willing to assault, you better be willing to kill. 

If you are willing to kill, you better be 100% justified.

What are you willing to kill for again?  

Wait, you won’t kill over a spot in line, but you will assault over it? Then the other guy decides that he is willing to kill to stop your assault, and now YOU must kill or be killed. This is how violence works. 

Author’s Incarceration

The author of Violence of Mind explains his precepts from a very unique position. He grew up in a criminal environment, ultimately going to prison after being forced to stab a man repeatedly in a fight. Freeborn spent five years in a penitentiary before he was released and his rights restored. By existential necessity he spent the next five years studying predatory behavior — from within one of the most predacious human environments on the planet. 

This isn’t a CQB tutorial written by a former SOF operator. Nor is it a treatise on shooting skills by a retired police officer. There are many outstanding examples of such books out there, but Violence of Mind is a substantially different sort of work. That I’m aware of, there simply isn’t anything else like it in publication and for that reason should be a part of any serious attempt to study self-defense.

“The most efficient violence I have ever witnessed was the highly developed predatory system of violence inside of prisons. A majority of the most effective and efficient killers are inside of those walls.

[T]he truly violent predator has mastered doing it  with very little equipment and very simple methods. Those tools and methods are based on adhering to fundamental principles. The only two places that real violence can repeatedly be found is in war, and in the criminal culture (especially prisons).

Both are an unbroken lineage, and both are very different. What works in war does not so much apply to what works in  prison, or in a parking lot by yourself on a dark night.”

Listen up

The Violence of Mind audiobook is just shy of nine hours long. It’s narrated by the author and is Whispersync for voice ready. Although there is some repetition and occasional tautology (which the author is cleaning up in the next edition), there is more than enough information to offset that distraction. 

Remember the rule: stop looking for things and start looking at things. 

Violence of Mind is absolutely worth the read. Or of course the listen

OODA Loop Observation

Here’s something else to be aware of. Freeborn is in the final stages of finishing his second book. This one will focus on the second in OODA: the OODA Orient (i.e. the one for Orientation). If you’re a student of John Boyd’s seminal work, you’ll want to take a look at it once it’s available. 

Chet Richards, one of John Boyd's "acolytes", on Varg Freeborn's book.
Chet Richards, one of John Boyd’s “acolytes”, commenting on Varg Freeborn’s forthcoming book.

Orientation is the basis for mindset. Your response to violence will be based upon your orientation to the violent situation. Your conditioning and confidence level, your attachments in life,  your cultural beliefs (particularly about violence), and ultimately your real experience level, all make up your orientation.

Through these experiences and beliefs, you will make a series of decisions which will determine how  you will assess and respond to a violent encounter.  

Follow the Varg Freeborn author page for updates. 

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David Reeder's Wu Tang name is Lucky Prophet. He is a retired AF veteran, former Peace Officer, and current Tier 2.5 writer-operator. Over the course of his career, he has worked a variety of military and lE billets, served as an Observer-Controller at the National Homeland Security Training Center, a MOUT instructor, and an MTT tracking instructor - all of which sounds much cooler than it really was. Although he only updates his website once in a very great while, he can absolutely be relied upon to post to social media (@reederwrites) at least once a month. -Ish.

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