On January 16, 2023, I observed (from within my vehicle) a high school boy, donned in a black ski mask, threatened a woman verbally. These were his words (paraphrase), “…that’s why uno dead a road.” The woman understandably taken aback, shouted asking, “who ago kill mi!”
Now before I delve into self defense considerations, let me share a bit further the setting of the environment.
The Environment Setting
It’s the entrance of a supermarket in the business district. An apparently popular hangout spot for high school kids at the end of school. The time is approximately 5:00pm (Jamaica W.I). The group of kids that grabbed my attention most, was the group with the school boy wearing a black ski mask. Only his eyes could be seen on his face. For this particular group, while engaging in discussions among themselves, I could hear the chatter of guns. One of the boys upon being apparently ‘harassed’ by a fellow school mate, passed the remark,”nuh mek mi guh fi mi gun enuh.”
Then there were the supermarket employees, entering and exiting the supermarket with goods. These employees had to navigate their way through the crowd of students. The crowd of students included the group with the boy wearing the ski mask. I foresaw a confrontation.
Students Bumping & Peering Into My Vehicle
As I was waiting on the return of my wife, I was made to feel most uncomfortable to be in my vehicle, and witness a high school girl peering into the window of the drivers seat. After 2 seconds of her peering & my discomfort, I knocked on the window. She moved. Not too long afterwards, the girls with a couple of boys, engaged in chatter; and were bumping into the side mirrors of my vehicle. I turned on my vehicle, and pulled in the mirrors. It was during this time of me navigating my way through my experience with the group of students mentioned, that I observed the verbal exchange between the boy in the ski mask, and a woman employed at the supermarket.
The boy passed his remark, and the woman responded with her question repeatedly in anger. A man (in blind side of the boy), upon hearing the boy continue his “bad man talk”, and seeing the woman react in her perturbed manner, got up out of his chair, and stared down the boy. That look lasted about 5 seconds. He then sat back down. The direct verbal exchange between the boy & woman ended within 5 seconds thereafter.
Presence. Teaching. Self-Awareness. The presence of protectors generally visible & ‘visible when necessary’-in business districts/areas of commute; and just generally throughout a given society is necessary to serve as deterrent to confrontation between kids-kids, and kids-adults. The continuous teaching of self-defense elements to regular citizens (by private & public personnel/entities), so that they may be better able to see the world with potential danger(s), and enact a mode of operation, that will help them improve their de-escalation capacity through foresight of events; through presence & action, to say the least cannot be over-exemplified. The awareness of self in knowing your capabilities & shortcoming(s), in comparison to, or, in lieu with, other elements of your environment, at that moment in time. These are all critical in my opinion, towards helping you be safer in the streets, and in a potential, or, actual engagement.
The thing is, a physical engagement between the woman, or woman + man, against these kids, could’ve turned out very ugly for all parties. It is not beyond a group of kids to have at least 1 blade in their possession. And given the reputation of the blade at close range (police officers & military personnel can attest), and the boy in the ski mask being among a group; an engagement with him could mean the deployment of that blade without clear visibility of the source with the weapon.
To the woman who had the verbal exchange with the boy, my additional tip, would be for you take your displeasure to the security of the supermarket (once able), and let them move to disperse the crowd of students, should you witness this crowd at the supermarket entrance, in the future.
About The Author
Oshane Bryant: BSc Geology, Geography Minor; ACE CPT since 2012; Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Accelerator Graduate-2018 cohort; Licensed KUKIBO Martial Arts & Self Defense, Senior Instructor; OB Fitness Founder & Managing Director.