I get questions about being confronted on the street all the time. The above are common responses to my advice to making a good faith effort to withdraw from a potentially violent situation. Well, here's pretty much what I have to say about that
Think of the
street you live on. Imagine you have a neighbor across the street who
you and he loathe each other. Your property is your property. His
property is his property. The street itself is neither of yours.
While both of you have the right to control what happens on your own
properties, that doesn't extend to you controlling what happens on his
property(or vice versa). It's a common over-exaggeration that you both
divide the sides of the street between yourselves. Although you don't
really own it, your side, his side -- stay off his, he stays off yours.
As long as you both follow these guidelines you and he can get through
the day without problems. Yeah you may glare at each other, from either
side, but so what? You both can go about your business following
If EITHER of you breaks these accords that's where problems start. If
either you OR he start strutting down the other's side of the street or
parking in front of the other's property, it's pissing on another's
extended territory -- even though the territory is being over extended
in the exact property rights sense.
Knowing that, you have to consider that laws stop at a certain point
and human nature takes over. Starting with that humans are VERY
territorial. We isolate ourselves into areas with our like kind and do
not like them coming into our turf. You roaming around in what some
people consider 'their turf' is like you walking on the neighbor's side
of the street. Yet at the same time, there are 'rules' about passing
through other people's territories. Rules that you must either follow
OR conspicuously display that you are NOT a problem. (I have business
here or I'm here to help.)
I'll tell your right here and now, telling someone you 'have a
right' is the fastest way to be shitting your teeth the next morning.
(That's what happens when your teeth are knocked out and you swallow
some.) Flat out, KNOW the way most people use "I have a right" is code
for "Fuck you." With the same snottiness that's encapsulated in this
Don't be that guy.
Knowing that, a fast encapsulation of these rules for passing through
other people's turf starts with STAY on the main thoroughfares. Don't
be walking through side streets where there are residences.
Operate in these areas at the same time as families. When the families
disappear off the streets, so do you. There is a serious 'shift change'
that if you look for, you can see when the predators and trash take
over. While the 'what are you doing in our turf?' is always there to
some degree, after shift change is when it gets real intense. Right or
wrong, you can bleed over it with the night shift.
There are some businesses/places you can go into, some you need to stay
out of. This is for two reasons. One because the local criminal
syndicate not only controls certain businesses, but the businesses
themselves are deeply involved in criminal activities. (We're not just
talking a front for, but say an automotive place that's a chop shop).
Two, the locals get VERY territorial about their recreation and hang
out spots (bars, clubs, parks, etc.) If the place is a local biker bar,
your odds of being told to get out go WAY up.
So limit yourself to going into only certain types of businesses. If
you go into one and are told to leave, leave. You can get a drink
elsewhere. Swallow your ego and leave.
I tell you this because:
A- Overwhelmingly violence comes with instructions to avoid it. Often
it's sheer ego -- and nothing else -- that not only makes us not take
the advice, but do the direct opposite. (For example when someone tells
you to shut up or he's going to kick your ass, he is NOT asking you to
make a comment about his balls bouncing off his mother's chin.)
B- The standard question when I say "If you're told to leave, leave" is
"What if he follows?" Here's a hint, 99% of the time the instructions
are legit. The reason someone gets followed is because their ego. Well,
it's their little duck feelings that make them comment about mom's
home blowjobs as they're walking out the door. This guy gave you a
chance to leave peacefully and you just HAD to insult him. No wonder he
and his friends followed you and kicked your ass.
C- Especially if it's inside a place or in certain areas on the corner,
odds are good you've stepped into something a LOT bigger than just you
and one other dude.
C brings up an important consideration. What's the guy's status? Is he a
bum living on the corner or lone tweaker who's just being weird? Or is
he part of a crew? The latter could cost your life for starting shit
with them -- or at very best, get you as the invited guest of a group
This is why the only answer to what do I do when confronted with someone who tells me to leave is "It depends."
You can say "I have business here" and -if that's true - end the
problem right there. You could be getting into something way over your
head. You could respond in such a way that the guy will flat out attack
you. Or you could swallow your pride and get the hell out of a
potentially dangerous situation. Or you could get in a fight with the
guy and -- unless you're even better at explaining why you weren't a
participant in the creation and escalation of the situation -- get your
ass arrested and thrown in jail for fighting some random asshole.