There is an air of incivility in American society today: A simple elevator ride can turn in a lecture on social justice, an editor of Think Progress is calling for people to “confront Republicans where they eat, where they sleep and where they work” and simply wearing a hat in a restaurant can touch off a violent attack.
Which got me thinking: What would I do if I were in a restaurant and a politically-based fight broke out as I was eating? Would I get involved if, say, a political argument broke out and it degenerated into fisticuffs? Would my reaction be different if I was by myself, or if it happened when I was with my family? What would I do if the fistfight turned even more violent and lethal force was clearly about to be used? Would I use lethal force in that situation? How far would I be willing to go to defend not only my life but my ideals as well?
It’s important to think of what might happen and what your actions might be before such things happen, because a plan isn’t going to suddenly materialize when you need one. Will you get involved in a shouting match if “your side” seems to be losing? Will you stop someone from being assaulted just because the message on their clothing has driven someone to violence? Will you step into a fight that was caused by a political disagreement? Where do you draw the line between minding your own business and standing up for what’s right?
I think about these things because it gives me a starting point to form a plan that I can put into action if such a thing happens in front of me. Rather than be frozen with inaction, I’ll have a starting point that I can use to evaluate what is happening and what I can do about it. I can do this because I’ve imagined what political violence in a restaurant or other place might be like, it won’t be an unthinkable event for me.
It saddens me that I have to think about such things. It would sadden me even more to be caught in the middle of a life-threatening situation without a plan or the means to defend my life and the lives of those dear to me, so I train and I prepare for a day I sincerely hope never happens.