by Dave Young

The controversial ruling in the Zimmerman case has sparked protests in the streets, spontaneous assaults and random acts of violence — all in the name of injustice. These unlawful actions injure innocent people, damage property and create fear in our communities nation-wide, while the issues that started all of this are going unresolved.

Some argue that this case was brought on by racial motivations, others blame profiling, while still others believe Zimmerman acted in self-defense. We will never know with certainty the true reasoning behind the attack or shooting, and as the trial has shown even being present to witness the event doesn’t ensure clearly identifiable answers.

The taking of any human life is a horrible thing whether it is for your own defense, the defense of others, or even in combat. Sometimes, the need to save a life requires the taking of another life. It makes me sad to hear that many following the trial believe the facts were tainted. In any instance there are always facts that cannot be refuted – allow me to explain:

When we add human emotions to the review of a self-defense incident, it has a way of changing everything. Feelings like heart-wrenching anger, the hatred of others or the feelings of wanting retaliation or revenge complicate the review process. All of these feelings are human and they are natural.

I grew up in and around violence, seeing a neighborhood boy shot because he was with the wrong crowd. I have witnessed mean and hurtful things being said to my own children so I understand the human feeling of heart-wrenching anger. As a former police and corrections officer I have seen the vengeance and wrath of retaliation.

And as a veteran of the United States Marine Corps I have seen death first hand and buried close friends, so I understand what it is like to feel vengeful. Human feelings are not against the law but, when you act on them, your actions can be.

Now I work with the Vistelar Group as a defensive safety expert to train people in ways they can avoid, prevent and/or resolve conflicts before they end in tragedy. With this in mind, it is on behalf of myself and the entire Vistelar Group that I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to all those affected by this sad event.

I want to leave you with the “Five Maxims of Human Interaction” we use in our Verbal Defense and Influence training.

  1. Treat people with dignity and show them respect – This is the starting point to prevent conflict.
  1. Ask others rather than tell them what to do – Telling can provoke conflict, asking does not.
  2. Tell them why they are being asked to do something – Provide reasoning with your words for guidance and understanding.
  3. Provide options rather than threats – Giving people choices is a powerful way to prevent conflict
  4. Always give a second chance – When we as humans stop forgiving we encourage fighting.

Dave is recognized as one of the nation’s leading personal safety and tactical-defense instructors. He is a former corrections officer, police officer and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps with over 20 years of combined training and experience. Dave combines a unique blend of physical expertise, teaching know-how and a hands-on approach. In recent years Dave has taken his background and expertise and applied it to developing programs for the general public — including parents, students, educators, martial artists and executives. These programs focus on personal safety awareness and how to respond when things go bad. Dave helped form the Vistelar Group in 2009 and Your Family Defense in 2010.