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‘The Only Defense Against Evil, Violent People is Good People Who Are More Skilled at Violence.’

A new book takes a look at how the police determine the appropriate use of force.

by
Helen Smith

Bio

May 25, 2012 - 7:01 am

This, the first “Hard Truth” in Rory Miller’s excellent new book Force Decisions: A Citizen’s Guide – Understanding How Police Determine Appropriate Use of Force. Miller, a veteran corrections officer who taught and designed courses on the use of police force, writes this particular book for the average person to understand how and why the police use force the way they do. The book does more than that, though, as it helps the reader understand violence, how and why people become violent, and what it is like to be an officer having to make split decisions about those who wish to do others harm.

Miller discusses how officers determine how much force is needed and looks at such things as age, skill, mental state and gender of the perpetrator. He makes the point that men and women fight differently but both are dangerous. Though he says men are generally stronger and have more power when trying to hurt an officer, women “have fewer socially conditioned predispositions on how they are ‘suposed’ to fight. Women just try to injure you. Scratching at eyes and biting and using weapons are more likely (in my experience) with women than with men.”

Miller also points out that the most important factor in any fight is will. I try to explain this to people when I discuss domestic violence between men and women, as most people think that because women are typically weaker than men, they don’t start fights, but this is untrue. It is the will to fight, as Miller says, that is more important than size or strength, as fighting is more mental than physical.

Anyway, Force Decisions is a great book if you want to get inside the head of an officer and see what the world looks like through his or her eyes.

More from Dr. Helen: 

The Demise of Guys? Or Shaming the Guy Brain?

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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