The Cornered Cat
“Why are you breaking my kayak?”

Every once in awhile, I run across a video that beautifully illustrates an important self-defense concept. This one has the virtue of being kind of hilarious, too.

For the best laughs, be sure to watch the entire thing.

Lately, I’ve been playing with the difference between social violence and non-social (or asocial) violence. The difference between these two types of violence is one thing this video illustrates in an annoyingly hilarious way.

Social tactics … ftw?

Note how the woman tried to solve her problem with the bear by using tactics that would appeal to the bear’s sense of social fairness and good manners.

  • Placation: “Thank you for not eating my kayak.”
  • Threats: “I’m going to pepper spray you in the face. That’s what I’m going to do to you.”
  • Complaints: “You’re breaking it! You’re breaking my kayak!”
  • Questions: “Why are you doing that? Why are you breaking my kayak? What am I gonna do?”
  • Ineffectual Demands: “Bear! Stop that! Stop that, bear!”
  • Pleading: “Pleeeeeease! Please stop! Aaaah, why are you doing that? Please stop! Bear, please stop, bear!”
  • Recrimination: “It’s the end of September. Why are you here? You’re supposed to be asleep!”
  • More Pleading: “Bear, stop that. Please stop that, bear. Please stop that. Please stop that, bear. Please stop. Bear, please stop…”
  • Appeal to Justice: “Please stop breaking my things. Please stop breaking my things, bear.”
  • Appeal to Logic: “It’s not even food! It doesn’t even taste good! It’s just plastic!”
  • More Threats: “I’m gonna bear spray you. Please stop!”

Her attacker wasn’t in a socially-compatible place, and thus all her appeals to his sense of justice, fairness, and logic fell flat. Social strategies were not going to solve this problem.

Here’s the lesson.

Some criminals attack their victims for social reasons: ego, status, fear. Or to educate and correct perceived ‘misbehavior’ from others.

Other criminals attack for non-social reasons: because they enjoy the process of harming and humiliating their victims, or because they view their victims as little more than a walking ATM where they can grab some quick cash.

Like bears, criminals who attack for non-social reasons are generally immune to social pressure. The problem can be solved, but it won’t be solved by whiny appeals to justice, logic, and the attacker’s sense of fair play.

One Response to “Why are you breaking my kayak?”

  1. larryarnold says:

    I blame Walt Disney’s heirs for this “big cuddly bear” story. 😉

    But social v nonsocial makes a big difference in verbal tactics:

    “What are you going to do, shoot us?” [bang]

Post a Comment