Maintaining a level head is undoubtedly one of the most crucial skills you can develop. It can make a huge difference, sometimes even saving your life in situations where you might not even know the danger. After all, you never know if you’re dealing with someone:
- Who has a gun
- Doesn’t care about going to jail
- “Mobbed up” or in a street gang.
- Protected from the law, by the law
It’s not difficult to imagine encountering someone in the first three scenarios, especially with how easy it is to acquire firearms in the United States (where I reside) and the prevalence of individuals with questionable mental states or ties to any type of organized crime.
Organized crime might be illegal, but its influence is so vast that many members enjoy de facto immunity. Even in cases dealing with low-level street gangs, the threat of intimidation can be surprisingly potent, causing witnesses to forget crucial details of an incident.
That’s why I always suggest being polite to everyone you encounter. You never know who doesn’t care about ending up behind bars.
Even if the person is blatantly in the wrong and is trying to provoke you, it’s vital to remain calm and composed. Not everyone values the same things you do, such as life, liberty, and freedom.
No matter the circumstance, treating people with respect and kindness is always a good idea. Even if they’re a true asshole, the best-case scenario is that you gain instant gratification if you respond with similar hostility and malice. Believe it or not, the worst-case scenario is NOT that they’ll retaliate.
The worst-case scenario is that they’ll retaliate with the full knowledge they’ll never have to answer for their crime. That’s where the fourth scenario comes in.
No matter how badass you think you are, there is not only someone worse, but there are people who are bad and will never have to face the consequences for their evil.
How is this possible?
Someone is in your country on a diplomatic visa
A diplomatic visa is given to people visiting from another country to engage in official government business. Because of laws outlined by the Congress of Vienna that have been ratified by almost every nation in the world, diplomats are safe to travel in the host country without ever facing prosecution if they break local laws.
This means that they can’t be arrested (or, at the very least, it is prohibitively difficult to arrest them). This usually hasn’t been a problem, but if it is, it’s the decision of the visiting official’s country to allow the host nation to prosecute.
But for all intents and purposes, they are protected as long as they are in on a diplomatic visa.
It could get even worse if they seek refuge in their native country’s embassy because attacking an embassy is considered an act of war.
Recall the story of Yvonne Fletcher being killed by a shot fired from the Libyan Embassy in Great Britain. British authorities couldn’t do anything, and the Libyan authorities wouldn’t either (Read the story here).
This is how an embassy and a military base in another country work. It is *effectively* foreign soil and, as such, presents a host of difficulties when it comes to navigating crimes committed by their citizens while on the host country’s soil.
If you doubt this, check out the case of Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat in Great Britain, who left the UK after she killed a 27-year-old in a car crash. (Read the story here)
Then there’s the time when Salem Al-Mazrooei, a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates, was caught trying to have sex with a 13-year-old girl in Virginia. They set up a “To Catch A Predator” style sting and arrested him when he arrived to meet her, but were forced to let him go because of diplomatic immunity. (Read the story here)
This is the least likely scenario, but you have no idea who you’re dealing with and their general stability level.
This leads nicely to the next issue.
The odds of you crossing paths with someone protected under diplomatic immunity are small but not zero. However, I know a guy with first-hand experience dealing with the second “legal protection.”
Someone is a crucial federal informant
There’s a higher probability of getting into a street altercation with this type of protected guy.
I have an acquaintance whose brother was killed, and when he did his own digging, he discovered that the local authorities had a strong lead on a possible suspect. However, they couldn’t touch him because he was an informant in a larger federal case.
This information wasn’t told to him on the record, of course.
I don’t know how “above water” this is, but it’s not unprecedented. A few years ago, a story broke about this practice. Several former FBI agents have said, on the record, something akin to the following:
“The bureau has to encourage these guys to be themselves and do what they do. If they stop just because they are working with the FBI, somebody’s going to question them. If anything, I’d want them to become more active.”
-Joseph O’Brien, a former FBI informant coordinator in New York City who retired in 1991. (Read the article here)
In other words, some people can kill you without facing legal consequences, and they know it. In fact, they may be emboldened to do so because they need to maintain cover and not have anyone think they’re a snitch.
It recently came out that the man who stabbed Derek Chauvin (the guy who killed George Floyd) in prison had previously worked as an FBI informant.
Turscak was in prison after being found guilty of racketeering and conspiring to kill a gang rival. Before that, he worked as an FBI informant against the Mexican Mafia organization.
When being sentenced in 2001, Turscak admitted that he carried out crimes while working undercover as an informant to the FBI. “I didn’t commit those crimes for kicks. I did them because I had to if I wanted to stay alive. I told that to the [FBI] agents and they just said, ‘Do what you have to do.’” Read the LA times article here.
So please, don’t be a dumb ass in these streets.
Everyone worries about the police and the possibility of being killed by them with impunity, but at least in that scenario, there’s an investigation and trial.
In the case of a federally protected witness killing you, your death would just be the cost of doing business. As such, it would be written off and charged to the game.
This is why you have to keep a cool head in the streets. You never know who is “protected” by the law.
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I’m a former heavyweight pro-boxer (13-1-1) and alcoholic (Sobriety date 12/23/13), current writer, and aspiring chess master. I was raised in the projects by a single mom and failed high school, but I eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics.
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