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  • Writer's pictureWSDC

Broken Social Contract Changes our Self-Defense Strategy

Elevated train in urban environment
Do attackers now believe it won't matter if they get caught?

The social contract is a theory that states that the government has an obligation to protect its citizens. The social contract is broken when crime rates rise and the government fails to protect its citizens.

I would also contend that the social contract is something that all of us share in our community. We treat each other in a way that we would want to be treated. We imply trust in each other for the basic elements which allow a community to function and be prosperous.

We trust each other to:

  • stop at red lights

  • not to cross the painted yellow line into us when we are driving

  • not steal from us

  • not murder us when we are shopping

  • not burn our houses down while we sleep

These are very basic and very real expectations we have to live in a prosperous community:

  • To be prosperous we have to have high trust so we can cooperate with each other.

  • To be prosperous we need to have low crime rates to keep that trust.

Change in Our Personal Protection Strategy?

This actually brings us to the bottom line change regarding our self-defense: we might have reached a point where we can no longer count on the attacker’s fear of getting caught as a deterrent and, therefore, using this fear as part of our personal protection strategy.

We normally teach that our attackers would be hesitant to attack us because of two fears:

  • their fear of getting hurt

  • their fear of getting caught

It's obvious by actions and trends now the criminals are less afraid of being caught. The drastic changes in the way many cities are failing to prosecute violent criminals, effectively decriminalizes crime. In other words, there are crimes which people can commit now which can be done with impunity because there are no consequences to your actions.

And, there is a shocking trend that others in our city are not inclined to help us when we are in trouble.

New article about woman raped on Philadelphia train while onlookers did nothing.
A woman was raped by a stranger on a train and onlookers did nothing.

These trends -- combined with the vilification of law-enforcement and defunding agencies across the nation -- is a dangerous combination.

Dangerous for us for us because now we have to rely solely on ourselves to save ourselves.

This is a terrible, terrible place for us to be in. I'd like to think that other members of the community would be Good Samaritans. That still happens in places, but we also face the reality that our neighbors are not prepared nor willing to get involved to help us.

This is where you get the situation where a woman is raped on a train in the city and numerous people fail to even get up out of their seats to intervene. This is a horrible situation. High functioning societies do not allow or tolerate this. History shows this trend will get worse before it gets better.

Harden your heart. And stick with us as we pivot to more physical strategies to better protect ourselves during this period of social and cultural fracturing.

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