Friday, January 01, 2010

The Little Black Book of Violence

I spent part of New Year's Eve reading a book Glenn ordered (after seeing it on Jules Crittenden's blog) entitled The Little Black Book of Violence: What Every Young Man Needs to Know About Fighting. With a title like that, how could I stay away?

The first thing that struck me about the book is that it states it is focused on young men as men commit about 80% of violent crime and are the recipients of violent crime at twice the rate of women. Funny then, that the authors give an example a few pages later of a male friend of theirs whose sister snuck up behind him while he was doing the dishes and tried to kill him with a steak knife. "One moment he was leaning over the dishwasher and the next there was a wedge of razor-sharp steel whistling toward his lower back. Why? She simply wanted to know what it would be like to murder someone..." Uh, okay.

Do authors ever read what they are writing when they are trying to make points? If you are going to talk about how men are the ones who are violent and this is why they need your book, stick with the program. But okay, enough with my pet peeves. This is a book for guys, hence the title, and it is actually pretty good.

It begins with a section entitled, "Before Violence Occurs" that shares a good first rule of self defense: "Don't get hit." The authors talk about how to avoid situations or locations where violence is more likely to occur. These places include traveling through the wrong neighborhoods, hanging out with the wrong people, or frequenting the wrong night spots, and/or acting inappropriately in these places. The authors--two experienced martial artists--point out that there is almost always a build-up to violence, one that many people are not aware of. They teach you to have situational awareness without being paranoid or mentally exhausting yourself. They discuss simple tips like when it's time to leave a party before violence escalates. It's good advice, especially for young men who often have to learn how to deal with aggression, even if they don't want to.

The next section gives advice on what to do during a violent encounter. This chapter is full of information on how to deal with drunks. Their advice? "Never argue with a drunk....They can be unpredictable, violent, and very difficult to corral....Hitting a drunk really doesn't work all that well most of the time....A better strategy is to either dodge his blows in order to let him overbalance himself and facilitate your escape or spin him to cause disorientation and make him fall. Once he's down,you can control him or move to safety."

In the same section, they state, "Never hit a girl...Unless she's armed." They smartly state that, "In today's world, distinctions of gender are made by friends, family, police, and courts. The role of combatant is, oftentimes, secondary." They give advice on how to deal with women, though I would have liked to see more. They do say that if "she is armed with some sort of weapon, all bets are off."

Finally, the last section is on the "Aftermath of Violence" where there is good info on how to perform first aid, handle blows to your self-esteem, deal with psychological trauma, and deal with the police without getting yourself hurt or shot. They even give advice on how to avoid a domestic violence charge and suggest that you conduct a background check on your prospective partner to protect yourself before she moves in. They at least suggest you listen to any warning bells you have and take them seriously. It seems to me that if you feel the need to hire a private investigator as they suggest or conduct a background check on your partner, you already have the answer you need about the relationship.

Anyway, the book is a good one to give to a young man (or read yourself) to fine tune his knowledge of what to do before, during and after a violent encounter. I will definitely keep it on my bookshelf.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Get well Rush

I was dismayed to hear that Rush Limbaugh was taken to the hospital with chest pains. However, with all of the medical advances with heart problems (if that is the diagnosis), I hope that he will be out and back with his show soon. I have been listening to his guests hosts (I love Mark Steyn) and while they are good, there is no substitute for Rush.

Update: Rush had an angiogram yesterday and nothing was found to be wrong with his heart. Hopefully, he'll be back at work soon.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do blogs drive public perception of a business?

You bet they do. A reader emailed me a post on social media and reputation management that featured my post entitled, "All Men are Pigs" that discussed my negative experience at a health food store. The former post makes clear how important it is for businesses to monitor their online reputation:

An online dialogue about your goods, services or business practices can be the sharpest of double-edged swords: everyone’s either a critic or an advocate. But mostly a critic. When’s the last time you blogged about how glad you are that your morning soda wasn’t stale, or that your roof didn’t cave in today? After all, we’re more likely to tickle a keyboard in frustration than praise. It’s human nature. And due to the social networking explosion, there’s a lot of human nature out there for your current and prospective clients to see. If William Congreve thought scorned women were bad news, he would have been even more disturbed by what a disgruntled customer can do to a business’ reputation over the Internet.

Which begs, nay screams, the question: are you managing your online reputation?

I must say that I have been very impressed with some of the social media people who have stopped by here and other blogs to comment and offer help or apologies. For example, I just wrote about my experience with Comcast and heard from their Customer Service Center in the comments. I emailed Melissa Mendoza to tell her my complaints and she said she would have someone call me from the local Comcast office to see what can be done. My phone rang and a professional Comcast customer service person listened to my complaints but said that I would have to pay the extra charges, downgrade my service, or bundle all my services together to get a reduction in price. Nice gesture, but nothing was accomplished.

Perhaps bloggers should offer more praise when things go right with businesses. For example, my local Walgreens was awesome today in helping me to get the drug Tikosyn that I take for my heart rhythm problems, even though there is a shortage currently. They called me promptly when there was a problem and helped to resolve it.

Do you think that it is important that businesses monitor their online reputation and respond to bloggers and readers who criticize them?

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Washington Post: As college costs rise, loans become harder to get (via Newsalert).
John Hawkins shares his picks for 25 Best Videos Of 2009.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"The men eager to self-detonate on infidel airliners are not goatherds from the caves of Waziristan but educated middle-class Muslims"

Great point by Mark Steyn:

So once again we see the foolishness of complaceniks who drone the fatuous cliches about how "in this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs". The men eager to self-detonate on infidel airliners are not goatherds from the caves of Waziristan but educated middle-class Muslims who have had the most exposure to the western world and could be pulling down six-figure salaries almost anywhere on the planet. And don't look to "assimilation" to work its magic, either. We're witnessing a process of generational de-assimilation: In this family, yet again, the dad is an entirely assimilated member of the transnational elite. His son wants a global caliphate run on Wahhabist lines.

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