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The Surprising Relationship Between Non Lethal Self Defense Products, The Bystander Effect And The Kitty Genovese Case

By Dan Reyes

Crime is really out there. Do you think that you’re going to be secure so long as you never walk along lonely places, specially during unsafe hours? If there are other people in the streets around you, you won’t necessitate self defense products after all…True? False.

As the number of people around you increases, the less probable it is that any one of them will offer you any kind of help during any emergency, as outlined by undeniable research results in social psychology. Incredulous? Read on.

An infamous instance of civic indifference can be found in the well-known case of Catherine Susan Genovese, otherwise known as Kitty Genovese. In accordance to social psychology registers, Genovese was deprived of her life in the full view of 38 neighbors (some people argue that the real number was 12, but that doesn’t alter the sad reality that there were at least some witnesses around).

Neither one of them helped her out (at least in any important fashion), notwithstanding the fact that the murder lasted for at least 30 minutes. Kitty Genovese was even sexually assaulted prior to dying. She was only 28 years old.

Hers is not just a story about what happened to another person. What happened to this lady can also happen to you or to a loved one as well, as long as you don’t generate some real and substantial course of action (like owning non lethal self defense products) to safeguard yourself and your family against any probable tragedy.

The experts clarify that the Kitty Genovese case can be completely grasped by bringing up a phenomenon known as the “bystander effect”. According to social researchers Bibb Latané and John Darley, the larger the number of bystanders, the the weaker the chances that any one of them will help the victim out.

What are the psychological forces behind such a peculiar phenomenon? In a group situation, people have a tendency to believe that it is not solely their responsibility to help the victim out. In other words: “Let somebody else assist him/her, I don’t want to get involved”. And hence, a second phenomenon occurs: “diffusion of responsibility”. So what happens? Nobody helps, and a tragedy takes place.

Think about that the next time your mind tells you that you and those you love will be safe and sound as long as there are other people with you. There is not always safety in numbers, no matter the time of the day. Persons usually tend to avoid getting involved except if there is no other alternative but to help (for instance, if there is no one else around) or in “shared fate” moments, where their own wellbeing is at stake too (and be skeptical about getting help in such situations as well).

So what can you do to evade becoming a victim when the Good Samaritan won’t help you (or your family)? To always expect the worst is, ironically, an optimistic suggestion after all: by recognizing the potential danger and getting armed, your odds of becoming a victim will be reduced significantly.

Within that context, the most excellent course of action is to bring with you dependable non lethal self defense products at all times (think about a non lethal weapon such as a TASER device, a long-range pepper spray, or even certain stun gun models such as stun batons, which allow you to keep some safe distance between you and your attacker). That must be your first option, given the fact that you might not always be given the so much needed help in time…even if surrounded by spectators. Remember that even the police might not always be there to help you out. Try to rely on yourself as much as possible, and advice your family members to follow your good example.

Even if you are knowledgeable about unarmed fighting techniques, owning non lethal self defense products is still an exceptionally wise choice. Trying to avoid close combat in the first place is a very advantageous goal, specially if you bear in mind that your opponent might be carrying with him a knife or some other hidden weapon (bear in mind that you might get hurt while performing yourself with a martial arts technique in such cases).

If unfortunately you get attacked without non lethal self defense products to fight back, and if escaping is not achievable, your second best option would be to counter both the bystander effect and the diffusion of responsibility by pointing directly to an specific person while giving that someone a precise task, such as “you in the white hat, dial 911!”. That will help you decrease the probability that the responsibility will be diffused into the crowd of bystanders.

But, again, seek not to depend on others, and make sure that your loved ones do the same. Be as self-sufficient as possible. Never leave your non lethal self defense products in your house. Do not give permission to some irresponsible assailants to bring tragedy into your life while others just watch.

In conclusion: avoid unrealistic expectations. It’s always wiser to depend on yourself. Do not wait for the bystander effect to become real before your very eyes. Carry dependable self defense products with you at all times, even if you are skilled at martial arts. That way, you will effectively lessen the probability of cases like Kitty Genovese’s from happening to you…ever.

The time to be prepared to stand up for yourself and your family members is not tomorrow. The time is today. Be deadly serious about it.

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