Volume 1504 Number 3
Book: Some Cowards are Dangerous
“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamott (a Progressive novelist)
“Attention seeking, grandiosity, entitlement, and rejection are often linked . . . Imagine Al Sharpton or Rush Limbaugh unable to garner attention by the methods they do today . . . (or) Think of a person you know whose self-evaluation is lofty or grandiose . . . “1
The author, de Becker, expounds upon how we can pay attention to what we know – even if we deny it – about a person or situation and thereby avoid physical attacks and violence. However, even if we don’t expect violence as such, we can use the same criteria to predict non-physical attacks.
In short, tight chapters de Becker explains how some people with weak egos desperately seek attention. Locally we have people whose ego is so weak that they arrange accolades by advertising their virtues and wisdom in print media. One whose newspaper ad appeared during a recent election always seems to be trolling for attention, positive or negative. He was elated when opponents criticized his uncouth, snarky and untrue comments – “Made my (visitor counter) spin like a fan.” That is, reaction to his vile commentary pleased him because it provided lots of attention to satisfy his fragile ego.
In a related note, one accepted method for dealing with (internet) trolls, according to Kawasaki2 is – similarly — to ignore them. Blocking and removing their comments works well, too. Attention fuels their screed, so it is better to starve them than to create witty repost.
The book’s author focuses on avoiding violence directed at us; he suggests we ask ourselves “are the (insecure weaklings) likely to resort to violence to counter their angst?” If the commenter’s body habitus is either emaciated and frail, or obese and flabby, they are probably not prone to action. So their attacks are more likely to be threats such as “You’re a dead man” or disdainful gestures like refusing to speak to people they don’t like and turning away when greeted. Lack of manners and threats aren’t usually precursors to violence, but it’s worthwhile to report threats so they are on record.
Predators, on the other hand, are sometimes subtle, but often they force a confrontation and then release their hostility through violence. One behavior to watch out for is temper tantrums; e.g., slamming doors or screaming insults during public meetings. These may eventually extend to vandalism and possibly to physical confrontation, although that’s not common.
This book is a well-reasoned treatise on using our observational skills to keep us safer, including the subconscious cues that surface in our consciousness as intuition.
“Why is it that when we talk to God, we’re said to be praying, but when He talks to us, we’re called schizophrenic?” Lily Tomlin
1 Gift of Fear, The; de Becker, Gavin; Kindle Edition 2009 (printed 1997)