Security Guard Faces Gang Leader Holding a Knife

Security guard VS knife wielding gang

Because of my military background and security skills I would get assigned to some really dangerous crime hot spots. I had another good security guard partner who would mostly work with me on these type of jobs. We were known as the troubleshooters because as soon as a client had security troubles we would go and clean it up.

Western suburbs of Sydney

People make comments about the worst suburbs in each city I have been in and I have learnt that they don’t know what they are talking about. These people only go by the newspapers or other peoples vague assumptions. I have worked in all the so-called bad areas of cities and it becomes clear when you think about the following facts.

Most people never go out in these suburbs after dark anyway or even go at all
The people making the comments are heavily fed so called news which is just hyped up story covers. The real dangerous incidents never make the papers in case you don’t ever leave your house again.

If you have never seen a fight before or a drug deal then it will seem worse than it is and you will tell all your friends the exciting events. This story gets repeated and becomes more dangerous each time.

Gangs

Some people are quick to call a group of strange looking youths a gang, but this is not correct. During the 1980’s gangs of youths were common around public malls and train stations as a place to hang out and see the world going around. Some looked scary and would intimidate people by swearing and verbal threats.

Showdown in the alley

This particular shopping centre had a problem with a gang of about 20 Asian males about 16-22 years of age. My partner and I had been working here for a couple of days and had been effective enough that the gang decided to threaten us so we would leave them alone.

During one of our nightly external patrols we were going around the back of the centre. This was a narrow area of about 10 metres wide with a chain link fence barrier on one side and the brick wall on the other. We had walked into the strip when the gang had arrived from the other side.

They formed up into a tight group of about 15 members whispering threats and harm to us if we didn’t leave them alone. The leader of the group stepped forward and showed that he had one of those butterfly knives in his hand.

Children should not play with knives

The knife was a chromed wavy blade butterfly style knife. He started spinning the blade and the handles in his hands. This type of knife has folding handles and spins quickly with a trained knife fighter. Unfortunately for him I have been trained by knife fighting experts and I could see he wasn’t one. I think he expected me to run in fear or something.

I stepped forward and prompted him to take me on and I would fight unarmed. The rest of his gang looked about concerned about my lack of fear and started to step back a bit. I knew then that I had the gang if I defeated the leader.

I stepped about two metres away from the leader and he started spinning the silvered knife faster. Too fast for his training I expect because it flew out of his hands on landed on the ground in between us. There was a considerable silence as the gang moved further back.

I offered him the opportunity to pick up as I wanted a fair fight.

He looked to his gang and saw no love their or support for him. They started walking away as they apologised to us. The gang leader was still standing and not moving to pick the knife up. I picked the knife up and moved next to him for a quiet chat.

The next day the gang no longer bothered the shopping centre and the client was amazed at how quick we got rid of them.

Just rewards

For our efforts we were assigned to another client site and we went to work again.

On some days I still remember the look on his face when the knife spun out of his hands and landed near me. I think it is appropriate that someone that appreciates knives should have it and it always reminds me of how weak gangs really are when you target their leader with confidence.

The knife still spins beautifully.

The reality

These people are in gangs because they are not strong enough by themselves and need to feel secure by numbers and threatening displays. If you are ever confronted with gangs or groups of potential trouble that you can’t avoid, remember this.

The gang wont stay together without a group bond. The strength they have is their confidence that you wont attack them back and others in their group will protect them if you do.

However, no one likes to get hurt generally, especially the followers. Once you have identified who the leader is you are half way to beating them. He needs his followers to support him or he wouldn’t be leading a gang. If you have to fight let him know that it is him that you will target with all your punches and strikes-no one else. Make it clear that you understand that you may get hurt but you will put him in hospital as well. Make it personal and the followers will often not get involved. You can call it a challenge to the leaders right to be the leader.

I hope that you never need to defend yourself from a gang, but the reality is that I have seen people randomly attacked by cowardly groups and repeat offenders, and you need to know that they have been beaten before if you don’t panic.

© Copyright 2008 by Paul Baker

I Want to Belong – Improve Confidence by Being Part of the Gang

Being part of a crowd or group can give us a sense of belonging, a feeling of identity. It can reinforce our sense of who we are. People often gain confidence from being part of a gang, it can provide reassurance that our beliefs and values, even ourselves are acceptable.

As a young person being in a gang is a way of defining their identity. Young children often enjoy becoming a member of a Brownies, Cubs or Scout pack. There is a shared bond and an automatic sense of friendship and belonging. It teaches about becoming friends and the shared responsibility, respect and loyalty that we have towards each other in these groups.

As they start to grow up, many young people feel unsure of themselves. They lack confidence in their opinions and tastes and becoming part of a gang provides a safe way to express those views. Young people often lack the life experience and maturity to have tried out their attitudes and opinions in the wider world. There is almost too much to know, too much to have an informed opinion about. And so a gang can become a safe extension of the family in which to experience aspects of life in an intensive but protected way.

For young people, problems can arise if the gang becomes all consuming. Some young people adopt every aspect of the gang mentality without having the sophistication to be able to identity which parts suit them and which do not. That can be disconcerting for family and other people they come into contact with, but for a time it is often part of stretching their personality and intellectual muscles as they begin to grow up.

Some gangs are almost sect like in their approach and can require adherence to a strict code of beliefs and behaviour. Often gang members will dress in similar clothes, have their hair styled the same way, share tastes in music and socialising. Interesting, when they have often been so desperate to get out of one uniform, only to put on another. This is often when being part of a gang can appear to be rebellious or shocking. Dress, tattoos, music, body piercings, bad language, maybe drug use, can all be a part of the gang identity and bring an excitement at appearing rather dangerous.

Security can be another factor of belonging to a gang. There is a shared camaraderie that protects and supports each other. It can provide almost a substitute family environment, as often a young person may feel misunderstood or unappreciated in their own home. The gang can take over and provide the nurturing and security needed for a time.

Often parents and family are horrified at the way the gang looks. They may seem odd, unorthodox, menacing, but that is often the attraction to a young person. It is part of flexing their muscles, prior to branching out on their own as an independent young adult. Often the young people who behave in this way are intelligent, questioning and highly motivated and turn into bright successful young adults.

Older people tend to call their gangs groups or clubs. These are often rather more formal in their set up and are often selective in their admittance policy. Members will share the same interests or outlook and gain comfort from that shared bond. A group will reflect their values and provide a sense of security and acceptance. It reinforces their sense of who they are and their place in society.

Groups for older people often bring together people who have a common need or interest. They provide an outlet based on sport, a desire to do business together, marital status or personal development requirements and the benefits that come from belonging. These groups may have a membership requirement and a code of behaviour attached so that members can feel comfortable about the standards of behaviour expected from each other. That reassurance of respectability is an important factor in many cases.

Who Is in Your Gang?

The 1st of August was national Swiss day and to celebrate the occasion, the Swiss embassy and some of the Swiss clubs (yes, there is a yodel club, a fondue club, a Swiss folklore dance club in case you’d like to join one) organised a big get together for all the Swiss living in Sydney.

So I dragged my husband along to check it out, it was easy to convince him, I just needed to promise Swiss chocolate.

Anyway, we got there and it was really interesting to see this Swiss community getting together, proudly carrying their flags, wearing their traditional red yodel shirts, speaking the same language and sharing the same traditions. There was a sense of belonging, one of the core needs people have, the need to belong.

Now, the interesting fact is that you can leverage this need to belong in your business by building a community and invite people to belong.
Think about Apple, Apple is the perfect example for creating a community around their products. They have so many advocates promoting Apple better than anyone, it’s one of the best marketing tools and it’s free. I’ve come across a lot of Apple fans, they are so dedicated that they will try to convert anyone they cross paths with (and yes, they did succeed with me too).

Creating a community around your product or services is very powerful and the benefits can be huge:

Connecting: Having a community around your products and services helps you connect existing clients with prospects. Your ‘gang members’ support each other (Apple fans are helping each other with technical issues in online forums) and share their stories (hopefully about how awesome your product or service is).
This is crucial because it gives your product or service exposure without you doing a thing. People are talking about it and spreading the word for you.

Credibility: Your prospects hear from other clients rather than from a dodgy sales person. It’s a form of social proof to see other people using your services and talking positively about them. Your happy clients do the selling for you.

Getting to Know Your Clients: Creating a gang will help you getting to know your clients better. What do they want? How can you improve your current product or service? Your community will tell you. Having a community allows you to get feedback from people that are actually buying your products and services rather than spending money on focus groups that couldn’t care less.

Launching new services: Your loyal gang will be there for you when you are introducing a new product or service and you might even want to give them an early release or special offer as a reward for their loyalty.

The best and easiest way to build your community is having an outstanding product or service. Your clients will naturally want to be part of your gang. If your product is crap, it will be hard to build a community of supporters. So focussing on giving lots of value and engaging your clients is the best place to start.

To your powerful gang,

Franziska

PS: Thanks for all the great comments about our last article ‘Liberal vs Labor’, we always love receiving feedback.

‘We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.’
Cicero

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