Tim Larkin, founder of Target Focus Training (TFT), which is part of my training regimen, has a new book that has sparked a great deal of controversy. So much so that his publisher originally refused to use the title Tim had chosen, which is “When Violence is the Answer.” Mr. Larkin prevailed.
And I can see why. In today’s enlightened society we are taught from a young age that violence is always bad, and violence is never the answer. We are taught to use our words, not our fists – that diplomacy will win the day.
Of course this way of thinking only breeds victims. And when I say breeds, I mean literally – we are breeding victims. Everyone wants to be protected, but very few anymore are willing to even contemplate getting their hands dirty, being the protector.
What people don’t understand is that it is okay and even necessary to, at times, be violent. The problem lies in the perspective of violence. Most don’t even have to witness violence to recoil. Americans have been conditioned to cringe at the mere mention of the word. It’s a control, or Pavlovian response, much like the ‘N’ word. The word itself is evil, therefore anyone who advocates for violence, regardless of context, must by extension be evil.
In the U.S. Special Forces there is an acronym – SSV. The term may be applicable in conjunction with any Team insertion or potential CQB (Close Quarter Battle). CQB is basically a hand-to-hand and/or small arms encounter with an enemy at close range.
We’ve all see in movies where the operators position themselves around a room or structure, “stack-up,” and rapidly and simultaneously enter the room to engage an enemy. That’s CQB.
The acronym SSV stands for Stealth – Surprise – Violence of Action. The terms are basically self-explanatory. When heading into any potential CQB scenario, to be successful – as in completing the objective and getting out alive, an operator(s) must approach as quietly as possible to maintain advantage – Stealth. Once in place the operator(s) must as quickly as possible storm the objective – Surprise. Upon encountering the objective(s), the operator(s) must overwhelm the “bad guys” – Violence of Action.
I hope all reasonable Americans would agree that SSV, including the “V” part, is a necessary part of prevailing in any CQB situation.
The problem is that it doesn’t translate into the civilian world. Check that. Allow me to rephrase. We are not permitted to allow “Violence of Action” into the “real” world. It is only reserved for the military and the movies.
To restate, in the civilian world, “violence” is always bad. It certainly can never be condoned, or even tolerated, for violence is reserved only for bad guys, lunatics and movie anti-heroes.
This is exactly why Mr. Larkin wrote this book and has taught his “necessary violence” self-defense techniques for all these years (I hate that term – self-defense).
The whole point of his book and frankly this article is simply to show that “controlled” violence is not only not bad but absolutely necessary. Does it matter whether your attacker is a radical jihadi on the battlefield or a mugger or rapist in an alley? Not really. In both scenarios, Violence of Action will have to be employed in order to walk away victorious, or walk away at all.
This in no way means one has to lose their civility, or moral compass. It just means that there is a light switch available in your head, for want of a better term, that can be switched on when faced with a potentially desperate situation.
Some would argue that no – once you become comfortable with violence (although no reasonable person ever really does), no matter how necessary, that the light switch will always be on. Well, that’s crap. If this were true, every current and former member of our various special forces would be in a perpetual state of asocial, criminal behavior.
I am not a fan of violence. I would much prefer to talk my way out of a situation, or simply flee. But sometimes this is just not possible. When there is no civilized way out, we had better be prepared to flip that switch and bring overwhelming Violence of Action to our would-be attacker.
Unless you are willing to become the aggressor and accept that violence is sometimes necessary in polite society, you will always be a victim.