As I have been preparing verbal de-escalation principles for my curriculum, I was surprisingly faced with an opportunity to put my study into practice. What timing!!!!
For those of you who know me, I am not the type that takes ‘crap’ off people. That is putting it mildly!
I grew up being bullied and reached a point in my life where I vowed that I would no longer be pushed around. As you may imagine, there is probably some emotional baggage that makes me want to strike back. Add to all of that being a Southerner with Scottish heritage, of all things, who was raised to believe in fighting for honor and you have a dangerous mix — not to mention many years of Martial Arts and firearms training!
Here we were leaving a restaurant. I was with my wife and our youngest daughter (5 years old) walking to our car after dinner. Some guy yells the most ridiculous comment out the window of his vehicle at us and I assume it was directed at my wife — who knows! He was yelling ‘Britney Spears is bald.’ Who knows what that meant! I could only guess it was meant as some kind of insult though I have no idea how.
As I began to visualize all of the things that I could do to him, I remembered the research I had Teen doing on verbal de-escalation techniques and realized it was time to practice. What an opportunity! While ripping his head off seemed like a fun thing to do to defend my wife’s honor, I realized this guy must be extremely drunk and what fun would that be?!?!? Not to mention, I would probably spend hours at a Police Station either behind bars or explaining myself.
It also dawned on me that I was heavily armed and so was my wife! I was carrying a .40 handgun with 15 rounds of hollow points, self-defense keychain, tactical folding knife, and let’s not forget all those years of training empty-hand and CQB techniques! Don’t ask what the five year old was carrying! This is Tennessee afterall!
This guy was no threat at all! So, what is the point of responding? There wasn’t any!
When someone is this intoxicated and hurling ‘insults’ the only de-escalation needed is avoidance. Simply smiling and continuing to walk on, was a proverbial way of deflecting his verbal attacks. It effectively disarmed him!
No doubt he drove away thinking he had won. And indeed he did. He got to go away unharmed as he surely could have been driven away in an ambulance or hearse. It was his lucky day and mine too. I got to practice a little self-control!