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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dangerous Cowards, and the "Reality" of Multiple Assailants

I posted a link about Bishnu Shrestha yesterday, but in case you missed it, here's another one.

If you're too lazy to go read them (shame on you), here's the short version. Bishnu is a retired Ghurka soldier, which (for those not in the know) is like being an ex-Navy seal, except more badass, and not as commonly used by martial arts charlatans. Bishnu is making the news after he fought off a group of 40 (not a typo) train robbers who attempted to rape an 18 year old girl in front of her parents.

I sent the story around to a few friends, and naturally, the conversation turned to "Okay, seriously, how the fuck does something like this even happen?" Or, as one friend put it " I wonder if it says more about how good Ghorkas are, or how bad Indian train robbers are."

Obviously, I wasn't there, and I have no footage of the event, so I can only speculate. Nevertheless, I'm going to speculate, because I think there's some valuable ideas embedded in here.

1) What Will You Fight For?

“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister.” (Logic Cool News)

There's a concept we use in the PDR program called the Be Your Own Bodyguard principle. It says, in essence, that people are, for some reason, more willing to defend others than to defend themselves. It's important to find that motivation, and Bishnu clearly did find it. It's particularly interesting to me that he didn't fight back when his possessions were taken...he'd made a choice about what was, and was not, worth fighting for.

1a) In the "bad Indian train robbers" column, put not taking away the khurki from the guy you're robbing. Not smart.

2) The element of surprise.

Let's face it...the robbers were not expecting resistance, especially after they had already successfully robbed everyone. The fact that Bishnu started fighting back when he did gave him a huge tactical advantage. If he had resisted the moment the robbers boarded the train, they probably would have been more prepared to resist him.

3) Have a Plan

Again, I don't know what was going on inside Bishnu's head, but I would guess that he had a pretty clear plan in place before he acted. It might not have taken him long to make it, but he had it, and that plan empowered him to act quickly and decisively. By contrast, the robbers were playing catch up from the moment Bishnu started attacking.

4) Terrain.

A train is not exactly a large place. Having 40 guys on your side means very little if you can't bring your numbers to bear. I imagine that the confined space of the train worked in Bishnu's favor, rather than against him. Or, in the words of U.S. commander Chesty Puller "Great. Now we can shoot at those bastards from every direction"

5) Dangerous Cowards

Let's face it. The kind of psychology that is drawn to rob a train with 39 buddies in tow is not the kind of guy who is interested in a fair fight. The robbers wanted a quick and easy road to some money (and other things apparently)...they had no interest in engaging in actual combat.

While it's easy to get caught up in the idea that Bishnu defeated 40 men, the reality is that he killed three and wounded eight. The rest, seeing that the train was no longer easy pickings, ran.

Does this mean the robbers weren't dangerous? Of course not...they were armed, and willing to use force. But ultimately, they were cowards at heart, and that, as much as anything else, was the cause of their defeat.

The greatest lesson here, however, is this. If you asked most people (myself included) if they thought that one guy could successfully repel forty robbers from a train, they'd tell you that you were crazy. Yet this guy did it. People make the impossible happen all the time.

Don't give up.


Shirokumasan said...

Thank you for the post. Love it.

Shirokumasan said...

Thank you for the post, Jake. Very introspective.

Jake said...

Thanks for the feedback! If you like it, please share it.