CCW Lifestyle Series # 11 – Failing the Victim Selection Process

As legally armed citizens we train to always avoid getting into self-defense situations, remember you win every fight you avoid. Criminals tend to go through a process when selecting victims. The subject today is what we can do to ensure we fail the victim selection process.

A good overall strategy is to follow John Farnham’s rules of stupid: Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people (or where stupid people congregate) at stupid times to do stupid things. Sometimes we make conscious decisions that are valid but cause us to break those rules and we have to deal with the consequences, as in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse.

Unfortunately criminals aren’t limited by Farnham’s rules. Criminals can be present anywhere at any time, so we need to go a little further.

Criminals are essentially predators and like all predators, they are constantly searching for prey. There are two general categories of predator; resource predators and process predators. Resource predators have decided a potential victim has something they want (a resource) and they plan to take it. Process predators may want the resource, but they also enjoy the process of committing the crime and are therefore potentially more dangerous. Here we’ll focus on the resource predator.

The first step in failing the victim selection process is being aware of your surroundings. Predators hunt in what John Correia of Active Self Protection calls transitional spaces. Transitional spaces are areas where people commonly come and go. Gas stations, convenience stores, parking lots (especially entering/exiting your parked car) are all examples of transitional spaces.

Criminal predators first need to determine if a potential victim likely has something they want. Is the potential victim leaving an ATM? Is the intended victim walking while using an expensive cell phone? The next question for the predator is can I get what I want safely? Does the potential victim look willing and capable of fighting back? Do they look like they might be armed? Are they paying attention or are they distracted? The resource predator isn’t looking to fight or risk injury, they’re looking to steal what they want as quickly and easily as possible. Don’t look like prey.

Back to being aware. Know when you are entering a transitional space. Be aware of who is in that space, of who is entering that space. To the greatest extent possible, avoid displaying possessions that might be attractive to a criminal. Notice people and watch for unusual behavior. Look for people loitering with no obvious purpose. Is anyone paying particular attention to you, most people wouldn’t even notice you are there.

Understand criminal positioning. The criminal has to get close to the victim (probably within arm’s length) to commit the crime. Notice unusual behavior. Is someone watching you? Do they change direction when you change direction? Do two people walking together towards you suddenly split up? These are unusual behaviors and you should take notice. In the words of John Correia “paying attention buys you time, time buys you options”.

As a legally armed citizen, you should always have your tools on you and the skills to use those tools to defend yourself and your loved ones should the need arise. The goal however is to avoid the need in the first place, to fail the victim selection process. To that end always be aware of your surroundings and of transitional spaces. Walk with purpose, head up, and undistracted. Notice people and look for unusual or out of place behavior. Understand criminal positioning and remember paying attention buys you time and time buys you options. Fail the victim selection process.

Two great books for legally armed citizens are Concealed Carry Class by Tom Givens and Straight Talk on Armed Defense by Massad Ayoob. We’ve interviewed both authors on Gun Owners Radio and each book is filled with great information for concealed carriers.

The right to self-defense is a basic human right. Gun ownership is an integral part of that right. If you want to keep your rights defend them by joining San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO) in San Diego, Orange County Gun Owners (OCGO) in Orange County, San Bernardino County Gun Owners (SBCGO) in San Bernardino County or Riverside County Gun Owners (RCGO) in Riverside. Support the cause by listening to Gun Owners Radio live on Sunday afternoon or on the internet at your leisure. Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.

©2020 Joseph T Drammissi

This article and more of Joe’s work covering the Second Amendment as well as other topics can be found on Substack at


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