Understanding the risk of violent aggression

I couldn’t believe it was happening. It didn’t seem real.

–a common statement by victims of criminal violence

The first presentation I attended at Paul-E-Palooza 2  was The 5 Ws of Risk (of Violent Aggression) given by William Aprill of Aprill Risk Consulting. William is a criminal psychologist who gives the most in-depth look into the criminal mind of anyone in the training industry. Frankly, at times, it’s rather creepy hearing how crazy criminals can be.

His presentation used the classic 5 Ws; Who, What, When, Where, and Why to structure a discussion of how risk can develop and aggregate for the Private Citizen. Using that structure allows us to look at the ways we can put ourselves at risk and, conversely, how we can reduce our risk.

Beginning with Who, he explained the value of “pre-need planning.” Then he explained his concept of a ‘risk envelope.’ This concept describes how varying circumstances we put ourselves in can increase or decrease our risk of being victimized. The levels of aggression displayed by potential Violent Criminal Actors are the flip side of ‘Who.’

What explained the difference between being a target and a victim. The concept of ‘advantaging for dominance’ was also included among various factors.

The key point of When was “not at a time of our choosing.” This unpleasant fact resounds throughout the training community. Sage support for this comes from several sources.

  • “When it’s least expected, you’re selected.” –John Farnam
  • “You don’t choose when you’ll need your gun; someone else does. And they will typically only inform you at the last moment.” –Tom Givens
  • “Initiative Deficit – A criminal will stack the odds in his favor and usually only initiates action when there is a high probability of success.” –SouthNarc

The Where component emphasized that “there are no ‘good’ neighborhoods” where crime does not happen. Criminals prefer to choose the location of ‘highest yield.’ He also discussed the limitations of thinking that by avoiding certain situations or locations we can eliminate our risk.

William’s explanation of Why is where he gets into the inner workings of the criminal mind. He detailed the difference between ‘Instrumental Violence’ and ‘Expressive Violence.’

There were numerous concepts and explanations that he used to expand the 5 Ws explanation.

  • Primacy of pre-need decision-making.
  • Preparation failures
  • Response failures, e.g., “I couldn’t believe it was happening. It didn’t seem real.”
  • And my favorite about relying on ‘gut instinct’ “Remember, your gut has shit for brains.”

William and I will be teaching a Decision Shooting Course on September 27, in the New Orleans area. This course will introduce participants to some of the unaddressed realities of violent criminal aggression and effective defensive responses. He will be covering the 5 Ws and their implications for the Armed Citizen. My portion will be about consciously thinking while being armed, which is the exact opposite of ‘muscle memory.’ It consists of: 1) assessing one’s own skills in relation to the situation, 2) weighing the legal justification for using deadly force, and 3) consciously making appropriate decisions in the presence or absence of justification.

For more information and to register, visit the event website.

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2 responses

  1. […] Professor" Claude Werner was in the class. His blog post is an excellent write-up. Understanding the risk of violent aggression | tacticalprofessor Here is another link from the Personal Defense Network with a preview video about this lecture. Why […]

  2. […] (h/t Claude Werner) […]

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