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‘Who is the Bad Guy?’

Last week we talked about victims and how they’re selected. This week I’d like to jump right into a discussion about the other side of a violent encounter – the criminal – and some of their common traits and behaviors. Let’s begin, shall we?

For starters, roughly 50% of violent attacks are committed by pairs or groups of bad guys. It’s generally easier for bad guys to do bad guy stuff to you if they have assistance. Therefore, if you’re prepared for violence and you’re able to stop an initial threat or attack, it’s extremely important to know that there might be another attacker present that you didn’t spot. Just because you successfully defend yourself against one person, don’t immediately assume an attack is over. You need to be looking around – you need to find other bad guys, good guys, and places to go – because standing in one spot with all your attention devoted to one person could get you killed.

Most bad guys committing violent acts against others will likely have an extensive criminal history. It’s unlikely that a bad guy begins their crime career with robbery, rape, or murder. Usually, criminals start young, committing various other crimes, and ultimately work their way to violence against other people. Bad guys spend a lot of time getting good at being bad. They hone their skills and escalate their behaviors over time. Criminals are constantly getting better at their “craft.” How much effort do you put into getting better at being a defender of yourself and others? Chances are you’re probably getting outworked and it’s up to you rectify the balance and tip the scales in your favor.

Bad guys who commit sexual offenses (especially against women or children) will likely be registered sex offenders. If they’re not registered sex offenders, they’re unregistered sex offenders which are just as bad and just as dangerous. One could argue that they’re even more dangerous than their registered predecessors because they’ve been clever enough not to get caught. Don’t think that just because someone is a violent criminal that they’re inherently stupid. A lot of violent criminals are highly intelligent and underestimating them can have tragic consequences.

A lot of violent criminals are drug and / or alcohol abusers. Everyone understands that hard drugs are bad, and that people under the influence of mind-altering substances can be dangerous. However, I’d like you to also consider the drug addict who isn’t high in the moment but is jonesing for his next fix. There’s not much that a meth-head won’t do for an 8-ball. A drug addict who isn’t high is always looking to get high, and they’re likely to maim or kill someone over a small amount of cash that they’re just going to put up their nose, or into a vein. They might not want to hurt you, but their need for a fix can be far more powerful than any shred of humanity they have left, making them particularly dangerous.

Most bad guys will have some sort of communicable disease. Evil doers tend to live high risk lifestyles, which opens them up to various illnesses and diseases which they can pass to you through bloodborne pathogens. If you missed it, I encourage you to go back and read Slicing the Pie installment #9 titled “There Will be Blood.” It covers this specific topic in more detail and outlines important steps to take following a self-defense scenario – to screen for various things that Ajax won’t take off.

Attackers might have a legitimate mental disorder. If you’re a follower of Slicing the Pie, or a student of Nine and One Tactical, then you know that avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation are always preferred methods of conflict resolution, as opposed to using force. That said, folks who suffer from mental disorders such as bi-polar or schizophrenia, (yes, I had to use spell-check for that one) are far less likely to be phased by any attempt at deterrence or de-escalation for the simple fact that their capacity for reasoning is, at best, diminished. Some mental disorders can be managed with medication, but it’s very common for sufferers of mental illness to be non-compliant with their prescription regiment.

If you’re unfortunate enough to encounter a legitimate psychopath – a condition for which there is no known treatment – other than the once popular, Nobel Prize-winning Frontal Lobotomy – you should know that they don’t have the capacity to feel empathy, whatsoever. Not every psychopath is violent, but the ones that are can only be stopped one way – with extreme ruthlessness. Estimations of psychopathy cases in the United States range from approximately 1% to 4.5% – basically 1 – 5 out of every 100 people is a legitimate psychopath. Now, look up your community’s population and do the math. Frightening, isn’t it?

Almost all violent attackers will be armed. They’re more likely to have weapons than accomplices, but you should be prepared to encounter both. Just like having help, having weapons makes it easier for them to do bad guy stuff to you. Hopefully, this bit of information prompts you to arm yourself and, more importantly, get trained. Ending up at knifepoint or gunpoint is a terrible situation. Ending up there without a weapon of your own is likely a death sentence. Furthermore, you should know that nobody wins a knife fight – knife fights just determine who dies last. Firearms are the most effective and efficient tools at our disposal for personal defense and is why I love to see them in the hands of good, trained people. Good guys with guns make everyone safer.

If you have a topic you’d like to see addressed in Slicing the Pie, please email me. I’d love to hear from you, and if I can, I’d love to tackle your question. You can keep your questions anonymous or, if you like, I’d be glad to mention you in an article. Until next time…

Avoid what you can. Defeat what you can’t.

Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at

Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney or a medical provider, and no information provided in “Slicing the Pie,” or any other publication authored by Ryan Barnette should be construed, in any way, as official legal, or medical advice.