#book

The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker
"Predatory animals devour prey in order to convert flesh into fuel. Most human predators, however, seek power, not food. To destroy or damage something is to take its power. To push a pie into the face of the world's richest man is to take his power, if only for a moment."
Chapter 1 opens with a play-by-play of Kelly's interaction with a stranger. She's heading home with her hands full, when a bag gives way, and a young man appears, offering his help. He talks too much, insists on following her up, and into her home. He rapes and almost kills her.
After the rape, he gets dressed and closes the window. He promises he's not going to hurt her, saying he's going to get water from the kitchen and leave. He stops in the hall, to increase the volume of music playing. She hears him opening drawers in the kitchen.
She instinctively *knows* he's going to kill her. But how did she know?
- He says he wants water, but he's going through drawers (looking for a knife)
- He has a gun, but a knife is quieter
- Who cares about noise? He does - that's why he closed the window
At the time, she didn't know how she knew what she knew. Fear dictated that she got up, wrapping herself in a sheet, followed behind him quietly, out of her apartment and into her neighbours'.
Some statistics:
- In the last 2 years, more Americans died from gunshot wounds than were killed during the entire Vietnam war
- Number of young men shot dead in a year in Japan = one weekend in NYC
- Armed robbery in US 100x higher than Japan
- 20000 new guns every day
"In (sad) fact, if a full jumbo jet crashed into a mountain killing everyone on board, and if that happened every month, month in and month out, the number of people killed still wouldn't equal the number of women murdered by their husbands and boyfriends each year."
Every week, 70 children (most under 5 years old) are killed by their parents. Another 75,000 are physically abused.

Women visit ERs for injuries caused by a partner more often than for injuries from car accidents, robberies and rapes COMBINED.

Love is dangerous, ya'll.
"If you add up how long their victims would otherwise have lived, our country's murderers rob us of almost a million years of human life every year."

The stories in #WhyIDidntReport make me wonder how many more years have been lost to stress, pain and trauma.
De Becker discusses the myth that human behaviour isn't predictable – with traffic. Drivers are constantly making high-stakes predictions on the road, unconsciously reading other drivers and spotting aberrant driving behaviour.
He points out our tendency to label violence as 'random' and 'senseless', perpetrated by 'monsters'. We're experts at denial, wanting to believe that people are 'complex', human violence is somehow 'beyond our understanding', and there's nothing we can do about it.
this thread just popped up on my feed:

watching it happen is horrifying. realise that it happens more times than you can imagine. realise that it often ends differently.
He's asked about the case that taught him the most. He describes the scene - a young woman pointing a gun at her husband, their two children in the house. She's quiet. She pulls the hammer back. She's yelling, then she's moving back. He walks to the bedroom, and the gun goes off.
I've read the book before so I already knew this – but it's so well-written it sends shivers down my spine again.

"My plan had been to take the child out of the house, but I abandoned that and told her to stay in bed. At 2yo, she probably didn't understand... but I was 10."
Chapter 2.

A man walks into a convenience store, felt fear, turned around and walked right out. Moments later, a police officer walks in and is shot dead by an armed robber.

Why did he leave? What did he see?
- The clerk glanced at him very quickly (shorter than clerks usually do, he was looking intently at another customer, seemed worried)
- The customer was wearing a big, heavy jacket (it's hot out, he's hiding a shotgun)
- Only one other car in the lot, two men, engine running
What did the police officer see?

- Two cars instead of one (less suspicious)
- Probably saw relief on the clerk's face, not fear
- As an 'expert', he might've ignored signals in favor of prior knowledge (armed robberies are more likely to happen at night)
"Intuition is the journey from A to Z without stopping at any other letter along the way."

"The root of the word intuition, tuere, means 'to guard, to protect.'"
"We all know how to respect intuition, though often not our own."

People say "my dog doesn't like X person", when reality is that they don't like X, the dog picks up on that.

"No animal in the wild suddenly overcome with fear would [think], 'It's probably nothing.'"
More questions:

- Why do we know more about why a man buys a particular brand of shaving lotion than about why he buys a gun?
- Why do we care more about a famous person attacked by a stalker than the fact that a woman is killed by a stalking spouse once every two hours?
Another anecdote about ignoring intuition

A young child is being prepped for a minor surgery. He's usually talkative but this doctor is abrupt, unpleasant. His mother's intuition screams at her to cancel the operation. She doesn't. He dies.

articles.latimes.com/1995-08-24/new…
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