Article Index

Raising the risk may work against predators at the survival and security levels, he continues, although, “I don’t like people to know I am packing a gun, because guns are so valuable, it can be something to take away.” Miller’s recommendations are subtler and focus on suggesting that attacking you may result in identification and arrest. He demonstrates feigning a cell phone conversation giving a description of the person and surrounding circumstances, or asking, “Is that the third unmarked patrol car in the last block? Is something going on?”

Process predators–rapists, serial killers and con men–operate at the self-actualized level of Maslow’s hierarchy, Miller teaches. These are sadists who like violence because it makes them feel good and alive. They are fully self-actualized, he postulates. “They don’t feel bad about it at all.” Negotiations do not work, nor do efforts to “make him a better person”, Miller exclaims. “Their self identity is as a rapist, as a killer. They are doing what they love.” Because they need to be in control and avoid pain or fear, Miller suggests tactics that raise the perceived risk and show that they may not succeed. “You can see people who are very good at acting crazy who will get very sane when there is a gun in their ear. These guys are very functional,” he relates.

Social Conflict

Next, Miller outlines the predictable, scripted patterns of violence used to establish social position. Human behavior has not advanced far beyond pack dominance like that seen within chimpanzee communities, he posits, so dubs displays made to establish rank as “monkey dances.” These highly predictable patterns establish boundaries, are played out for group bonding, to punish group betrayal, to enforce rules, and cement group hierarchy, he defines.

Having established the “why” of violent crime, Miller moves into recognizing situations in which violence is predictable.

He creates a grid, asking students to think like a predator to identify “who, what, where and when” violence occurs. This is a revealing exercise and teaches much. A written summary cannot do justice, so we won’t even attempt it in this limited space. I urge you to get the video and complete the learning exercise.

Strategies Discussed

How can you avoid looking like an easy victim? Do not appear to have what they need, raise doubts that they can quietly execute the crime, and increase likelihood they will be caught or harmed, Miller suggests. Avoid giving offense through undue confidence, whether in foreign locales or by blustering your way in where you have no right to be, like college kids going to a biker bar. Learn how to never appear on the predator’s radar screen because once you are working to overcome an underway attack, the percentage of success is awfully low.

We know all the big gains in personal safety are in awareness and avoidance, Miller acknowledges. When avoidance fails, what can be done? The intended victim needs to respond by moving quickly. Know where the exits are so you know where people should be coming from and where you can escape. Use peripheral vision to check for approaches. You may see feet too close before you detect the arms or body; use reflective surfaces like window glass to spot someone coming into a dangerously close range, Miller teaches, adding, “There is no reason to ever be surprised approaching a car. You can just see too much.” If you let a predator get close enough to touch, there are not any magic techniques to get away. “Don’t stop to try to figure out if it is OK. This is not OK. You need to be moving that second,” he stresses. Recognize an unwelcome touch and do not delay reaction. Almost everyone indexes before they grab, so immediately moving may allow escape before the predator latches on, he illustrates.

Run to safety, not away from danger, Miller continues.