Questions? (253) 347-2847

The Falacy of “Sudden” Attacks


Today I was perusing my email when I came across this on  For those that don’t know, Police One is a website dedicated to Law Enforcement professionals and covers a wide array of topics.  They do a pretty good job of keeping up with current trends in training, equipment and legal issues.  It is a good website full of videos caught mostly on dash cam video or body cams worn by cops.  There usually is a training article attached to each one and sometimes just a quick synopsis of what happened.

As a citizen, watching these videos can be beneficial. First, as a learning objective.  These videos are real life and give you a pretty good understanding of what kind of criminal is out there.  Second, yes, they are police videos but they are also a good indication of what real bad guys do and how they act.  Another way to get an idea of how bad guys really act in the real world vs a training dojo is to simply watch Youtube videos.

Today I came across this article headline.  It peaked my interest because the videos I saw that were attached were videos that I had seen before.

The title insinuates that there was nothing (“Or very little”) that led up to these attacks on cops (Videos are attached).  It insinuates that out of the blue, with no warning, officers are getting attacked and how we as cops should “respond” to these “sudden” attacks.  The truth is…NONE of these attacks were “sudden” attacks.  In each case there are SEVERAL pre attack indicators, red flags, “tells” or whatever you want to call it.

I hear this all the time with citizens that I talk to in person, that I talk to during training or that I see on TV.  “I was at the (Insert Local Bar) dancing and having a good time listening to the Wu-Tang Clan and drinking some Vodka when all of a sudden, and out of nowhere, I followed everyone outside and suddenly people started shooting.”  Negative.  The shooting started inside of the tavern when several guys started going toe to toe over a girl on the dance floor.  These people were just too ignorant (I mean that respectfully), to see/recognize/accept that violence was about to occur.

The truth is, violence is VERY easy to predict.  And if it’s easy to predict, most of the time, it is easy to control and or mitigate.  The goal is to be good at recognizing it, believing it and then doing something about it before it happens.

Look at the video where the female officer has the male handcuffed in front and seated in the back of the patrol car.  He didn’t “suddenly” attack her.  There are several indicators that he is buying time, looking for witnesses, looking for other cops, looking for an escape route and testing her.  When one person attacks another, there is often what is called an “Interview Process” (Gavin DeBecker: The Gift of Fear).  People who are about to attack another person will often, in a sense, “interview” the person they are about to attack to see if the ‘victim’ is truly that, a victim.  Someone who can be victimized, walked over and attacked.  In this video, the officer was attacked and knocked out because by body language, lack of presence and a few other things she basically allowed the bad guy to believe that he had the opportunity and could successfully attack her and get away with it.  And…based on everything he saw before he attacked…he was right.

I say all that to say this.  Do not think that people “Suddenly” attack you and there’s nothing you can do about it.  This is absolutely false.  If you see it, recognize it and address it, in a VAST majority of instances you can stop it or mitigate it.  But, if you aren’t paying attention to the signals people are giving out then yes, in your mind, you are “suddenly” attacked and now WAY behind the power curve.  It will take longer for your brain to realize what is going on, accept that you are in a fight and then try to respond in kind.

This does not change whether you are wearing a uniform or simply walking through your local grocery store parking lot and confronted by the local street thug who thinks that your phone, purse, wallet, car keys, etc are his and not yours.  In nearly EVERY attack, there are pre-attack indicators. Things that bad guys do, say or how they act that will tell you what their intentions are.

Granted.  There are people out there who 1) are VERY good at violence and not giving off too many pre-attack indicators.  Most of these are career criminals who have studied violence honed their skills over numerous attacks and assaults, the others are…snipers.  2) There are people out there who no matter what will try to fight and attack you even if you pick up on pre-attack indicators, call it out, address it and try to mitigate it.  Some people fight because they feel cornered and have no other option, they feel no matter what they can take you or they just like violence.

You can’t stop all attacks or fights but you CAN stop a vast majority of them if you are paying attention to your intuition, training and the signals given off by bad guy.

I will write more about some of these topics later, but for now, don’t be that guy (or gal).  Don’t be that guy who could easily have avoided a violent situation had you simply paid attention to the signals the bad guy was giving you that he was about to attack you.  Don’t be that guy on the news who says, “I have no idea what happened…out of nowhere I was assaulted…”

Always be ahead of the curve.  Always be diligent when it comes to your safety, the safety of your family and the safety of those around you who through no fault of their own don’t recognize or refuse to recognize the dangers that surround them.


“Trending Topics: When a cop faces a sudden attack”

Written by Tyler Christian