Sheriff Jim Wilson: Human Predators
By Sheriff Jim Wilson, Shooting Illustrated
Most of us like the “Dumb Crook of the Month” stories, and I am no exception. However, as some really smart military man once said–I’m sure it wasn’t General Custer–it is nearly always a mistake to underestimate the enemy. And, trust me, violent criminals are definitely the enemy. In fact, what they are is human predators.
The toughest thing for most honest citizens to understand is the thinking of the career criminal. I suggest we think about the various animal films that we’ve all seen on TV. Specifically, give some thought to those films of lions taking a particular antelope out of a large herd. They make their selection by looking for an old or weak animal that can’t keep up with the rest or with a critter that just isn’t paying attention. These four-legged predators rarely make mistakes and seem to eat pretty well.
The human predator is really no different. He or she is looking for people that appear weaker than he or she is. The human predator is also willing to consider a potential victim that simply is not paying attention. It really doesn’t matter what you think of yourself, or your ability, it all hinges upon how the crook perceives you. And, just like the lion, once the human predator has made their selection, they move with great speed and viciousness.
Most of us have spent a lifetime thinking of our home as a safe haven, a sanctuary. It is the one place in this world that we can relax and just be ourselves. Just like the unsuspecting antelope at the water hole, we can let our guard down at home. But, all you have to do is ask a home-invasion survivor just how safe that home really is.
Understanding the mind of a criminal, we begin to realize that his perception of reality is what is important to consider. You have a nice home and two fairly new cars because you and your spouse both work to try to make ends meet each month. You have a mortgage, car payments and bills to pay. You have to be careful about your discretionary spending. But, to the crook you are rich, and that can make you a target.
Fortunately, some crooks use poor judgment in selecting their prey. When this happens, you may have a little more warning about the attack, or find a loophole in his attack that gives you a bit of an advantage. But that is too much like betting on luck. It is far better to place your bets on your highly trained skills to get you through such a crisis.
So a smart exercise is to start looking at yourself and your habits from the eyes of a criminal. Try to imagine how such a person would perceive you and your family. By so doing, you gain important information about what to look for and how to respond to it.
What you want to emulate is that big porcupine the young lion decided to jump on in one of those nature films. That lion learned really quick that he had bitten off way more than he could chew. It’s nearly always a mistake to go through life like that young, dumb antelope, oblivious to everything.
Instead, be a sheep dog. Or, better yet, be a honey badger. Help the crook to quickly understand that he or she has made a huge mistake, and is about to pay for it. Society will be better for your efforts.