Unmitigated ferocity, here I come
What is the right thing to do in the face of anti-social behaviour? It's a question being asked after the deaths of a number of people who decided to step in to stop what they saw as troublemakers. Here broadcaster Jeremy Vine explains why for him, sitting back is no longer an option.
An honest, self-searching piece from Vine recounting a nasty incident on a train when he did nothing to intervene while another man got the shit punched out of him.

The main problem ordinary, non-violent people have when faced with someone threatening violence is that they are generally incapable of switching quickly into an extremely aggressive state. If the threat to you or another is serious enough you have to be prepared to take instant, drastic, violent action in order to disable the assailant. Even when taught where and how to strike most people are reluctant to do physical harm to others, even in situations where they themselves are in severe danger.


Punching someone in the face is likely to damage your hand more than it damages them. A punch in the gob is rarely disabling but a broken hand definitely is. Use the heel of your hand, unless you know how to punch. No matter how well built and muscular your assailant is there are certain parts of the body which no amount of training will strengthen. Knees, feet, the font of the neck, the eyes, the region directly under the nose above the top lip, the jugular, the groin (ever seen a heavyweight boxer floored by a low punch?) and the kidneys. Truth is that most fights end up on the ground as glorified wrestling matches. Stay on your feet, even if it is just so you can run away!

What about weapons for self defence?

In reality, even if your intention is to defend yourself you are likely to be accused of possessing an 'offensive' weapon if you walk around with a baton or a pepper spray (illegal in the UK). Ways around this? Well, I collect 1p and 2p pieces and give them to the beggers in the main street. I keep them in a knotted sock. Now, should I get attacked before I get a chance to donate my stash of copper that attacker will get a sharp thump from a very effective cosh. Here's another ploy. You need a new curtain pole, right? You've got a piece of paper in your pocket with the measurements on it, right? And a small sample of the wooden pole, say six or seven inches long, right? Believe it or not, you now have something much more effective than a baton and barely visible to an assailant. Just an inch sticking out from each end while you grasp it in the centre is all you need to deliver a stunning blow to the head, hands or chest. You can use a piece of broomhandle.

In most cases all you need is to stop your assailant for long enough for you to escape. Shout, swear, show aggression. Don't get into a fight. He may have friends nearby. Just get the hell out of there!