My bud showed up at the mission with two black eyes and a broken leg.
Said he’d been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I said, “Dude, you went there.”
In a dangerous world, you can improve your personal safety if you ask yourself five questions before you set out on any trip: who, what, when, where, why.
It’s not about fear, but about wisdom, about taking care of yourself.
Where and when: The same place that may be unsafe at one time of day, may be safe at a different time of day. At any given time, one place — a bank branch, or grocery store — may be safer than another place of the same kind. Choose when and where you go, accordingly.
I’ve spent a lot of time on The Block (Baltimore’s red light district) and never felt unsafe. But don’t go there on Valentine’s Day night: starting about 22:00, the knives and guns come out in disputes over who gets to smile at a hooker.
A bottom line: go unarmed. If you can’t go unarmed, don’t go at all.
What will you do there?
Who, if anyone, are you going with? Who is likely to be there; who are you likely to meet there? You don’t need hooligans for companions, nor do they need you. When and where they may gather, there is no cosmic need for you to be with or among them, nor do they need you. They’ll be just fine by themselves.
You’ll be just fine by yourself.
Why are you going there? If your reason is wrong, no time or place can be right.
The foremost wrong “why” to my awareness right now: some guys feel they must go here or there and do this or that to prove their manhood. Man, if you think you need to prove it, then your concept of manhood is probably wrong. The measure of a man is, is he honest. A man of his word has nothing to prove to anybody.
Previously published as a blog post.