Quote of the day—Gavin de Becker

No woman should obtain a restraining order unless she believes it will help her circumstance no mater what police may say. The fact that so many of these murderers also commit suicide tells us something. It tells us that refusing to accept rejection is more important to them than life itself. By the time they reach this point are they really going to be deterred by a court order? A glib response is that the temporary restraining order can’t make things worse.

But here’s the rub. The restraining order does hurt by convincing the woman that she is safe. The bottom line is that there is really only one good reason to get a restraining order in the case of wife abuse. And that is that the woman believes the man will honor it and leave her alone.

If a victim or a professional in the system gets a restraining order to stop someone from committing murder they have probably applied the wrong strategy.

Gavin de Becker
The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence
[This is an excellent book. It was recommended to me by Rolf (and here). Ignore the few times Becker drops some anti-gun nonsense into it. With his personal history I almost give him a pass. Everyone I have convinced to read (or listen to) this book have told me it was awesome.

The last sentence it the money quote. If someone is not deterred by the penalties associated with murder you can be absolutely certain they will not be deterred by the penalties associated with the violation of a restraining order. The only method of prevention is to make it physically impossible to commit the murder. This gives us only three options to save the life of the innocent victim:

  1. The perpetrator is incarcerated or executed prior to assault.
  2. The intended victim cannot be found by the perpetrator.
  3. Physical force is used to defend the innocent victim before the assault has caused permanent injury or death.

We do not have a Department of PreCrime so the first option is off the table.

The second option is extremely difficult, expensive, and requires a very challenging change in lifestyle if you have a smart and determined pursuer. The physical and emotional costs associated with this option may be out of the reach of many people.

The third option requires people with guns. If they cannot afford hiring others to protect them then they will have to protect themselves. There is no substitute for a gun. Embedding multiple jacketed hollow-points in an attacker is not a guarantee that a victim will escape injury, or even survive, but it does dramatically improve the odds.

No anti-gun person can sincerely claim they are concerned about the safety of women who are being pursued by people intent upon violence unless they value the safety of the attacker more than that of the intended victim. These people either have an extraordinarily warped and dysfunctional sense of morality and/or they are incapable of rational thought.—Joe]


15 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Gavin de Becker

  1. How do you stop someone on a suicide mission?

    One reason we have legally justified homicide.

    • “How do you stop someone on a suicide mission?”
      Convince them they will fail so there is no point in trying.

  2. The restraining order is still useful in court after you have successfully defended yourself, should you find yourself defending your actions there. They are pretty much useless before the fact though. If you are at a point where you decide to get a restraining order you should have realized long before that you need to defend yourself and taken appropriate actin.

    • In a civilized state, it should not be necessary to have a restraining order to justify self defense.

      • Of course not, and even in our messed up system it usually is not required, but it does help. In the case of a domestic abuse, where the aggressor used to live with the person (and a casual observer may think he has a right to be in the house) it makes it far simpler to claim the aggressor is an actual intruder when you have a legally binding document that says he should not be there. All it does is document past problems so that if an unfortunate self defense case does come up it is easier to sort out. think of it like snail-mailing an important document to your lawyer to prove a date of creation.

  3. You are missing the number one reason why restraining orders are used: To give women leverage in court or to get back at men with whom they are angry.
    25% of all divorces include accusations of domestic violence.
    50% of all domestic violence restraining orders are issued without allegations of violence.
    70% of domestic violence restraining orders are trivial or false.
    85% of restraining orders are against men


    • You do realize that a significant number of restraining orders are issued due to stalking, yes?

      • Even the Florida Supreme Court recognizes the problem:
        Unfortunately, the current version of section 784.046 does not seem to permit the trial court to simply dismiss a sworn petition that does not allege facts that fall within the statutory language. Instead, section 784.046(5) requires that “[u]pon the filing of the petition, the court shall set a hearing to be held at the earliest possible time.” (Emphasis added.) The result is the use of scant judicial resources to conduct unnecessary hearings based on pleadings that could never support the issuance of an injunction. These same hearings often serve only to inflame the parties’ emotions and foster further uncivil behavior. I would encourage the legislature to consider amending the domestic violence and repeat violence statutes to allow judges to dismiss petitions that, on their face, do not contain allegations sufficient to meet the statutory requirements without prejudice to the petitioner refiling a legally sufficient petition if he or she can do so.

        Further, nowhere in section 784.046 is there any provision for an award of sanctions against a petitioner who uses the statutory provisions concerning injunctions as a sword rather than a shield.

        How about the President of the Massachusetts Bar Association?
        Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders are granted to virtually all who apply…In many cases, allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage.

        In Missouri, a survey of judges and attorneys yielded many complaints of disregard for due process and noted that allegations of domestic violence were widely used as a “litigation strategy.”

        In Illinois, an article in the state legal journal described legal allegations of abuse as “part of the gamesmanship of divorce.”

        In California, the State Bar admits it is concerned that protective orders are “almost routinely issued by the court in family law proceedings even when there is relatively meager evidence and usually without notice to the restrained person … it is troubling that they appear to be sought more and more frequently for retaliation and litigation purposes.”

        In other cases, divorce attorneys have been known to offer to drop the allegation of abuse in exchange for financial concessions.

        There was the New Mexico woman who got a domestic violence order against David Letterman, because she thought he was sending her coded messages during his monologue.

        Source: http://www.saveservices.org/downloads/VAWA-Restraining-Orders

  4. I’ve used quotes from De Becker’s book for years in my NRA Personal Protection in the Home classes. It’s also on my suggested reading list for would be armed defenders of home and family.

  5. Playing devil’s advocate for a bit; the radical leftist’s come-back to all of that is to say that if guns weren’t so widely available then those bent on a murder suicide would have a much harder time of it, that “getting guns out of society” then should be an obvious goal. That of course ignores the obvious fact that people can always get guns illegally, or make them themselves, and that guns are far from being the only way to kill people.

    Divemedic has an excellent point, but I fail to see what it has to do with those cases where someone is actually dangerous.

    I would add that the process of obtaining and serving a restraining order is probably exacerbating an already emotional and contentious situation.

    And none of this entire discussion even touches upon the cause and effect, or the “machinery” of how “love” between men and women so often turns to hate or why a broken relationship should ever result in such emotional distress that someone would be driven to violence. Those who claim to oppose violence would do well to focus on the actual causes rather than attempt to deprive an entire society of certain rights.

    SO; just how DOES what we call “love” turn to hate? Anyone? There is a process there, do don’t get into telling stories like “My ex did such and such” or “This dumb son of a bitch is just a dumb son of a bitch”, etc. No; it’s not about any of that. There is a process, or progression, just like certain diseases follow certain progressions, and they are just about as predictable as the rising and setting of the sun. Anyone?

    The ideology, or rather mind-set, of the left is in large part responsible for the kinds of social/mental/emotional problems that result in violence. That mind-set is constantly promoting angst, division, judgment, blame, grievance, hopelessness, entitlement, living for pleasure, and the approval of others as a means of personal advancement.

    Several points there, but the theme is that once we’ve been talking about violence and guns and restraining orders, we’ve skipped over the real meat of the of conversation as though it didn’t matter.

    • Umm, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. Just as some people can weep when they are happy, great love can change to great hate almost instantaneously.

  6. As a side issue, Joe’s comment about “dramatically increasing the odds” has an interesting treatment by Leftists. When it is something they like and support, they are all for incremental improvements and “dramatically increasing the odds” of the outcome they desire. When it is something they don’t like, like personal and individual self-defense with a pistol, they insist on a certainty of outcome not possible in the real world.

    • If it just saves one woman…and yes, I actually believe that, whereas the left just trots that out as a bumper sticker. Kinda like Black Lives Matter. Bob Owens had a good writeup on that one. He made the points I’m guessing most of us have thought since that line started up, but he puts it much better, and in more detail than I.

  7. Did you read the appendix on Gun Safety? I read it three times to ensure I was not misunderstanding him. I loved the rest of the book, however, his complete departure from reality in that section made me doubt the veracity of the rest of the book.

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