Do you like to travel internationally as a tourist? I do, but I know that practicing Active Self Protection is an important part of my trip preparations. (my wife and I are actually going to Thailand next year!) Tourists need to think about where they’re going and what threats they may face as they prepare for their trip.
Original video of the tourists being attacked: https://get-asp.com/u2io
News story of the suspects being arrested for attacking the tourists: https://get-asp.com/r0kk
What does this video teach us about our self-defense as tourists?
- If you can win “the fight before the fight,” you win. You win that fight by minimizing your potential for being attacked in the first place! That means making smart decisions and living a life of awareness and readiness so that you don’t take unnecessary risks. Tourists must take precautions to know the local customs and to keep from getting so drunk that they offend the locals where they are. Simple as that. I am not blaming the tourists for starting this fracas, but they certainly could have avoided it if they were thinking.
- I think that the Rules of Stupid come into play here. The Rules of Stupid state that you should never (1) go to Stupid places, (2) with Stupid people, (3) at Stupid times, and (4) do Stupid things. You can usually get away with breaking one Rule of Stupid, but two or more really increase the odds of bad things happening. Getting drunk in a foreign country violates at least 2 rules of Stupid, because #4 is a given here (being drunk in public) and when you do that in a place you’re unfamiliar with, you combine it with #1. These tourists violated at least 2. Be smart as tourists and don’t violate the Rules.
- A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. This is triply important for tourists! You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders.
- The first pillar of lawful, moral self-defense is “innocence.” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ) Innocence requires that we not be the instigator of the fight and that we not be the aggressor or the perpetrator. In some states when we attempt to leave or run we can re-establish innocence in self-defense, but states differ on that. Regardless, getting into a fight is a poor basis for a self-defense claim later, so always live in such a way that innocence isn’t a problem for you. The news story says that the locals claim that one of the tourists started the physical altercation by slapping one of the locals. At the very least, the tourists pushed the locals some…that puts innocence in doubt as far as the physical altercation. That doesn’t justify what the locals did to the tourists, but it certainly does speak to their innocence as victims.
- These tourists really needed some emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Here emotional fitness would have helped them understand that they were not in a situation where they could win a fight, and to swallow their ego, apologize, and carry on.
- As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t. Thai culture is all about taking care of one another, and their police are known for fairly rapid response, but still these tourists were all taking naps before anyone could come to save them. You’re the agent of your own rescue.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.