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 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
Rip—please put the Photo of Shooting Victum in the beginning of
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
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
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.
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.