I am writing this letter in relation to the unfortunate and potentially fatal incident that happened this week. A Chilliwack resident trying to do good was pepper sprayed and stabbed after approaching a group of young adults in downtown Chilliwack. This letter is not to point fingers or lay blame but to provide information that will hopefully help people think before they act and help protect themselves.
Last night I took the opportunity to present this incident to the students in my self-defence class. Learning to protect yourself is not solely about punching, kicking or throwing people. It is also about using your brain to analyze potentially dangerous situations before they occur.
I applaud those individuals who try and do the right thing, but prior to intervening they must also understand the potential dangers of getting involved. Hopefully the following will help or encourage people to think before acting.
When deciding to intervene or not there are several factors to take into account. The first area of consideration is the situational factors that exist.
In this case it was 10:30 at night in an area which arguably is known for being a rough part of town. It is dark out and possibly no one else around. There were four individuals (3 males and 1 female) described as being in their early 20s and dressed in such a manner that would raise questions.
Secondly is your perception of the event. Do you have experience dealing with such a situation? What is your physical description compared to the individuals you are about to confront? Do you have any special training? Have you planned what to do if the individuals react contrary to your thoughts?
In this case the victim is described as 43 years old; he is confronting three young males and a female. One of the suspects is described as being 5”11”, so not a small person. The victim is by himself with a small dog. He is obviously a nice guy since he actually picked up the garbage for these individuals.
You should also take into consideration the group’s actions. In this case they were littering. When asked to pick up the garbage what was the group’s response? Where there threats made? Did they circle? People in a group react differently then when they are alone, groups feed off each other creating a pack mentality.
I agree that sometimes we should say something to address the situation but I also think that before saying anything we should analyze the personal risk involved. In this case if nothing was said I would suggest that this individual would not have been pepper-sprayed or stabbed. This case is about littering.
I feel bad that he was injured and thankful he is alive but there is a lesson to be learned. There is a time to say something and a time to say nothing. The victim appears to be a nice trusting person which is in direct contrast to the four people he was dealing with. These four simply don’t care about others and were probably out looking for trouble. There are far too many examples of “nice guys” being hurt or killed because of good intentions. Before getting involved think the situation through and analyze the risk to your personal safety first. There is an expression “What hill are you willing to die on?”
Self-protection is being able to analyze a situation and if required using your physical skills to defend yourself.
Owner / Chief Instructor
Hiscoe Jiu-Jitsu Ltd.