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Saturday, August 21, 2010

10 Ways to Avoid Trouble

Our fair city has, unfortunately, a fair number of shootings. Some are domestic violence, some are gang-related, and some are officer involved shootings. Many of these events, however, have some common denominators that, should people have chosen to avoid trouble, could have been prevented. Here's some tips for avoiding trouble (and the violence that often accompanies trouble):
  1. Stay far away from gangs, gang members, and gang involvement of any kind. These people seem to have an invisible "shoot me" target on their backs.
  2. Stay away from the drug scene. Yes you can cruise the "drug areas" of town and probably score drugs with little incident but being in these areas ups your chances of being caught up in violence tremendously.
  3. Nip domestic violence in the bud. Letting a domestic violence situation escalate ('awww he seems like such a nice guy most of the time and he apologized for hitting me') is nearly a guarantee that there will be further violence. Dating someone who has their own personal violent stalker ex will cause the same type of problems for you.
  4. Leave the bars before closing time. As it gets later and people get drunker and more belligerent, there is an increased chance for violence.
  5. If you are stopped by the police, comply. Immediately. You can always file a claim against the department later. Escalating violence with police officers is a no-win situation.
  6. Look at yourself in a mirror and see if you could be an attractor of violence. Everything from wearing the wrong colors in known gang areas to the looks you give other people can lead to violence. Confidence but not arrogance is a good rule of thumb.
  7. Stay away from trouble makers. You know who they are. The people who have a rap sheet as long as your arm, the people who always complain about being targeted by the cops, the people who actually like getting in fights...the list of trouble-making characteristics is long; if you note these attributes in the people you hang around with, decide to stay away from them.
  8. Mediate and mitigate problems as soon as they occur. Whether it is an issue with a co-worker or an issue with a neighbor or friend, fixing the problem instead of escalating it because 'you know you are right' is a better option. Would you rather be right or be effective? Life is too short to be weighed down by drama.
  9. Do the right thing. Most people have a pretty good moral compass, they just need to listen to it. Being involved in any kind of shady dealings whether it seems insignificant or not (ie: embezzling just a little bit of money from work, shoplifting a couple of small, inexpensive items, fencing items you think are probably stolen) can be a gateway to larger and more violent stuff.
  10. Remain in control of yourself at all times. Being drunk, being on drugs, being so blinded by anger or revenge that you can't see straight are all situations when you are out of control. Being out of control usually doesn't have a good outcome.
Avoiding trouble is relatively easy if you take a minute to look at where trouble is and decide not to be anywhere near it.