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Lessons From The Street:
What Are You Going To Do, Shoot Me? BANG

By Christopher Caile

Around 3:00 AM on January 27, 2005 on a street in New York City, Nicole duFresne, a 24 year old up and coming actor/playwright was shot dead at close range with a bullet to the chest.
 
The shooting was not only tragic, but the tragedy was compounded by the fact that the shooting could have been avoided. The incident serves as a warning to all of us about how to act when confronted by an individual or gang who might do us harm.
 
The gang members were apprehended. In testimony at their trials in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, gang members laid out the events leading to the killing.
 
The killer was a 19-year old, the informal leader of a group of seven who had been partying. They had first smoking pot in an East Side apartment of two of the members. Then after midnight, they went out looking for trouble.
 
Rip—please put the Photo of Shooting Victum in the beginning of the paragraph.
Caption: The shooting victim Nicole duFresne

The shooting victim Nicole duFresne

The gang’s first mugging, however, did not lead to injury. It was an attempted robbery of a coat, but it failed because the owner fought back. A second incident was a confrontation with a male/female couple that was abandoned because the male reached into his coat as if reaching for a gun.
 
The gang then took a subway ride to a different part of the city. It was there that they spotted the actress’s group and approached them. DuFresne was accompanied by her fiancé and two friends.

The leader of the gang and eventual killer initiated action by hitting the actress’s fiance in the eye with his gun and then ripped away a pocket book, throwing it to his female companions to rifle through.
 
According to testimony of the defendants, it was the response of the actress that got her killed. After checking her fiancés eye, the actress turned and moved in and confronted the gunman. Looking him in the eye she yelled, “What are you going to do, you going to shoot us?”
The gunman then pushed her back, but the actress moved in again with the same taunt: “What are you going to do, are you going to shoot us?” The gunman, now angry, according to a defendant, just raised his gun and fired at point blank range. BANG. Others in the actress’s party were not harmed.

The difference between this incident and the prior muggings that night was attitude. One of the first incidents was even violent, but it did not elicit use of a gun. Thus it wasn't the physical aspect of the confrontation that seemed to fuel the tragedy, but the attitude, disdain, and challenging response.
 
This incident reminded me of a law enforcement study that examined why some arrests turn violent. The study led to a book called “Verbal Judo,” now used across the country in law enforcement to teach personnel how most effectively to use words, non-verbal actions and attitude to gain compliance and control situations with citizens or criminals.

The study found that violence against officers most often was not the result of what was done, or from the act of being arrested (that was expected and was part of the accepted game), but of how things were said or presented. The chance for violence escalated when police officers showed disrespect, or verbally belittled or insulted those who they were attempting to control or arrest. 
 
So the lessons here are to keep your control and keep emotions under check if confronted on the street. Don’t challenge would-be attackers, talk down to them, insult them or in any way be confrontational. You don't want to generate anger or emotional reactions or add fire to an already charged atmosphere. This does not mean you can't take physical action (self-defense) if necessary. But if you do, don't tip off your attacker or arouse his emotions first.


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About the Author:

Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over 43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman, newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.


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