As a former cop, I cannot recall the number of times I saw convicted criminals while out on the town. People I’d dealt with personally. I’d see them in the local grocery store or gas station. Note: they didn’t wear neon signs that say “Danger: Violent Felon.” Armed citizens need to be aware that dangerous criminals are out there, somewhere, and they don’t announce their presence like they do on TV and movies. There’s one type of bad guy in particular that can attack you without warning and for no reason apparent reason: the social bully. A field guide in a moment. First, a bit of sociology . . .

When I went to elementary school, fist fights were numerous while shootings were unheard of. Kids who got into fist fights generally worked out their frustrations and moved on. Both actors would end up bruised and sore but ninety-nine times out of one-hundred that was the end of it. They both realized that fist fights hurt and learned their lesson.

What we have today is a highly litigious society with a “zero-tolerance” nonsense that punishes the victim equally with the aggressor. Fist fights are treated like felonies. The genuinely good and righteous kids understand that fighting back will end with their expulsion with no appeal. The good kids are afraid to fight back against the bad kids. The bullies are now emboldened and victims even more timid.

This situation doesn’t end in junior high or high school. The social bully, being even more emboldened, proceeds through life pushing people around caring nothing for others. And why should they care? The good citizens, those with families and careers, have been taught by example that they are ones with everything to lose. Hell, so-called safety experts offer advice to just “give them what they want” and “don’t fight back.”

I saw a ridiculous poster printed by the local police department the other day hanging in a sandwich shop. The poster listed “Crime Prevention Tips.” One of the tips was “if caught in a robbery just give them what they want, don’t take the chance of getting hurt.” What an awesome way to enable criminals!

Why fear the Social Bully?

The social bully might not be known to you, but he’s the guy who thinks you cut him off in traffic or took his parking spot. He’s the one who attacks you for seemingly no reason because in his mind you affronted him.

The first justifiable shooting by a Texas resident holding a concealed carry license took place after two pick-up trucks bumped side-view mirrors in heavy traffic. Driver #1 jumped out of his truck and ran over to the other. He reached into the open driver’s window and began pummeling the driver #2’s face with his fists. Belted in behind the wheel and unable to move his vehicle driver #2 produced a pistol and shot #1.

The post-mortem investigation found that the deceased had numerous, previous assault charges, was quick tempered and violent. He was a life-long social bully.

Social bullies aren’t just men. Two weeks ago an acquaintance of mine pulled into a quick-stop parking lot. When the man emerged a couple minutes later a woman tried to run him down with her car. She was angry because he “took her spot.”

Parting Thoughts

The social bully is dangerous because he or she looks just like your neighbor across the street. They don’t wear ski-masks and hide near the ATM. The social bully is in the restaurant, the movie theater, and the grocery store. Because the social bully doesn’t fit the pre-existing villain stereo-type he/she often is able to attack before the good citizen realizes what is happening.

Possessing no fear of the civilized man, the social bully moves through life largely unchecked. The enlightened members of our society will offer myriad excuses for the bullies’ behavior and innumerable billboard attorneys will get them off if ever pressed into a courtroom situation.

Being emboldened by an enabling society and fearful victims, the social bully attack can be more than a simple sock on the nose. Having lived their lives unrestrained the bully’s assault can become a vicious, crippling beating, stabbing and even a shooting. Take a long hard look in the mirror. How many vicious punches to the face could you withstand before losing the ability to defend yourself?

Your choice as the good citizen is either to increase your vigilance and rethink your image of what a bad guy really looks like or simply shrug your shoulders and wait to be a victim. The choice is yours.

Paul G. Markel became a US Marine in 1987. Mr. Markel has been a professional bodyguard, police officer and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Markel recently launched “Emergency Tactical Skills” program. For more info go to:


  1. I know people like this and the guy always gets off the hook or has very short and sweet punishments. These guys sometimes ( usually) sell or take drugs and beat their family putting them in the hospital. Sometimes ( eventually) they attack non-family members. These guys usually have a rap sheet and sometimes with light felony charges, but they always seem to be able to get the guns. I know one that had a real Uzi. Some of these guys like to shack up with women and mooch off them. ( make that usually )
    These type of people is probably one of the main reasons why I have guns and why I think Gun Contol is a total farce.

  2. I guess dealing with bullies depends on where you live. If you live in one of the no good “COMMIE” states, then you should be a good lil bitch and always give in to the bully.

    • The problem is with gun control it’s pretty clear who the commie states are, but when it comes to bullying (at least catching them at an early age), everyone’s a commie state. In Texas when it comes to bullying, your only recourse is basically to fight back and get expelled.

      People always bitch about how the liberal universities are what pacify and pussify the next generation (I’ve ranted against that stereotype numerous times before and will spare the commentators another round). Truth is, it’s happening way before they get to that point—in the grade schools. In a lot of ways, the kids in grade school that get bullied are living out the choice of liberty at the cost of freedom. Figure that one out.

  3. I am a Foundry Engineer and I have worked with people like this all of my life in metal casting. Honestly, most of these people are not quite so dangerous (at least by themselves). Notice the word “most”.
    I would say about 10% of these type people are very dangerous and you do have to watch yourself around them. It is up to you to figure out which are the 10%.
    The ones that are very, very dangerous are the Instigators and Aggitators. These whip up the other more “Passive” Felons and like minded individuals into very violent and semi-organized crimes. Usually, the Instigators and Aggitators are physical cowards, but they are very loud and coordinate the attacks amongst the usually more Passive Goblins.

  4. I won’t argue with most of the points made by the author with one exception; near the beginning, the author makes the contention that back when he was a kid, there were more fistfights and school shootings were unheard of. The reason that they were unheard of was not because there weren’t any, but rather because we did not live in the world of the 24 hour news cycle and news networks had more discretion. Check out the wikipedia entry on school shootings and you will see what I mean. As an example, the 1970’s is considered the second worst decade for school gun violence and we certainly did not any of that zero tolerance nonesense back then.

    None of that really changes the bottom line point of this post though, which is that you are either going to be a victim of bullies or you are going to choose not to be andwith this, I agree whole-heartedly.

  5. There is a comment after the second story Nate linked to the effect of; if both of the men involved would have been carrying, the bully would not have punched out the victim.
    What do you guys think of that?
    One premise in the article above is that when young boys are allowed to settle things with fisticuffs, there is less gun violence among youth. OK, having grown up like that and then many adults carrying; would there be less non-lethal violence?
    Is the bully less likely to punch if there is a good chance his victim is armed?

  6. As part of the government’s Citizen Pacification Program, schoolkids have been taught to submit to authority no matter what. Some of the all-powerful authorities turn out to be self-appointed, such as the schoolyard bully. Incidents that used to result in a simple dustup and no hard feelings afterwards instead fester until someone gets shot.

    If our rulers had not inculcated society with the notion that submission is somehow morally required and that justifiable self-defense is a violation of social mores, schools would be safer, cities would be safer, the whole country would be safer — as they were in years gone by when I was a callow yoot.

    This has no effect on me. I’m a little long in the tooth for fistfighting and would prefer to keep a low profile until and unless I have to shoot someone. It’s the younger people who are well and truly f^cked. They will never understand what a great country this used to be.

    • Ralph, I agree with everything you wrote except the last sentence.
      You and I are old farts who do have an understanding and love of liberty. We may not be able to lead the fight to restore the United States to the greatness that it was. But we do owe to the grand kids or their kids the moral and intellectual ammo they need to restore liberty.
      You and I can speak up about the importance of the exeptionalism of the United States, individual rights, and the danger of government intrusion in peoples’ lives.
      Liberty must be secured by each generation or we end up on the path we are on. I’m not yet ready to concede the fight for the next generation or the ones past that. What price can we put on liberty?

    • Ralph, I can assure you, that what we are losing is not wasted on all the youth. As a young(ish) man myself. I promise you that I refuse to be led to the slaughter like a freighted sheep. And there are more like me than what it may seem. Have faith brother, we will take back this country and restore her to her former glory.

      • Catahoula Cave Man and virtualjohn, I have to recognize that some things that have been lost can never be found again. Moms can no longer stay home to raise their kids. Blue-collar guys can no longer earn enough to feed their families, rent or own a decent home and buy a new car every once in a while. Leaving doors unlocked used to be the norm. Home invasions? Never heard of them. Burglaries? Yes, but once we caught the local second-story man, we took care of business ourselves. Fistfights? All the time, and they were no big deal. The guy you fought yesterday was the guy you palled around with tomorrow. Guns meant a .22 and maybe a deer rifle in the closet. New York City high schools sponsored rifle clubs. Before I had a car, I hitchhiked everywhere in complete safety.

        All gone.

        • I am still not ready to throw in the towel. Maybe it’s from too many John Wayne films, Ralph, but I don’t back off of principles. I know the future will not re-create a past that is gone. That does not mean that there can not be a future better than the present. The past is filled by our kind memory. I refuse to let the future be created by my unkind fear.

  7. I wish I were wrong about this but in my many years the group amongst which I have seen the most bullies is the police. And, it also scares me that maybe it is the ability to carry a gun that emboldens them even more—and what might that portend for the mindset of some of those that carry concealed?

  8. It’s the same inverted morality that’s swept Great Britain. Blame the victim for catching the bullies’ eye. And if you don’t just shut up and take the beating, they’ll make you wish you did, like they’re doing to Mr. Zimmerman in Florida. It’s long past due to deal it back to the bullies’ enablers.

  9. Yeah I am fat and old.. I am not going to go down to the local road house to have it out with the local bully. Just not my style. I do however have very well defined lines of action. Usually this is done around the laws in which I live. If you cross that line and I need to take action I will, but it will be the last thing they do ever.
    If I am ever put into a position to defend myself, or my family or friends with force it is a 100% total response. Not a measured one. I guess it is sort of like using a nuclear warhead to kill a fly, kind of thing, but the point at which this response is taken depends on the laws.
    As far a social bullies, I usually ignore them. They don’t deserve my time, and most will move on if ignored. Expending energy no their ignorance is a waste of my precious time. Confronting them only seems to elicit more of a response so ignoring them seems to be the best option. With the rare 10% a confrontation might be needed. Those are the ones I worry about.

  10. “The poster listed “Crime Prevention Tips.” One of the tips was “if caught in a robbery just give them what they want, don’t take the chance of getting hurt.””

    I bet criminals smile every time they see that kind of crap. My money isn’t worth my life, but my dignity certainly is. Stick-up men are some of the most dangerous criminals, because they’ve already made the choice to kill whether or not they have actually done it. Your life is worth less to them than your money, and they will kill you without hesitation if they think it will help keep them out of jail.

    • Those posters don’t offer advice for when your money isn’t enough. Women especially face this dilemma.

  11. I believe bullies is the wrong word. Rather, its a personal calculus which logically reasons that you can get farther ahead in life breaking the rules than you do following them.Think about criminals in urban liberal zones like Chicago. You can pay taxes, cough up thousands of dollars in city fees, condo fees, local taxes, state taxes, and have to listen to some moron 8 hours a day. Step out of line, and the book will be promptly thrown at you.

    Or you can sell dope tax free, get paid right away without banks or a payroll department, and if you get caught the liberal judicial system will look for reasons to NOT jail you. Have a career in armed robbery? Go right ahead and plunder at will. Its illegal for citizens to be armed in the city, and the cops won’t even touch you depending on which alderman your gang boss has on speed dial( this ain’t the CPDs fault, BTW.) .Get sloppy and end up with a CPD bullet in you ? SUE THE CITY. Youll probably win. Substitute city with homeowner if you get nailed by a shotgun toting citizen at 2am.

    There are times I read about liberal policies and I almost think the entire point is to encourage criminal activity.

  12. Wow! This description of social bullies near perfectly applies to most modern day Law Enforcement Officer. I guess some bullies do wear “a neon sign” in the form of a badge and uniform.

  13. Sounds like you are describing the average policeman. Who took the job so as to be able to be a bully, but sanctioned and protected by the badge.

    The wimp is not in fear of the bully, but the cops.
    Go ahead, stand up for yourself. Then get arrested.

  14. I used to have tons of trouble with bullies-in school and out of school, until I quit wearing the “kick me” sign. I stand ready to defend myself with my fists and nobody messes with me. I hate a bully and when I catch one abusing someone smaller, the bully gets abused. I don’t mean that I walk around with an attitude, but I learned long ago that bullies are cowards and if you have confidence in your ability to take care of yourself, it shows and no one messes with you.

  15. I had the same problem fOr 7.5 years I tried following the “helpfull advice” everybody gave me: ignore and surrender when that fails. Unsurprisingly none of that helped and one day when one of these hounds attacked me I managed to wrest free and open my SAK(5 cm blade) and told him to back off or I would kill him. What happened then was that I went to principals office and was lectured about how wrong my decision was, They even wanted me to apologize to him but I didnt, I was even expelled for a day, for once in my life defending myself from a bully who bullied me for 7.5 years, the good thing is he or his friends dont f##k with me anymore.

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