Critical Incident Tape Loop

Critical Incident Tape Loop

One of the things that should be discussed is the aftermath of a violent encounter and what you may experience for the days and nights to come.  First of all, if you have survived a violent encounter, you did it right!  The most important aspect of defending yourself is to survive.  Having done that, you are on the right side of the event.

Once the altercation goes to the law enforcement authorities, others who were not there at the time of the attack will be there for a variety of reasons.  Some of these professionals are there to ensure your continued safety, some are present to gather facts to assist in the furtherance of justice, and a host of other titles and various duties. 

After the flurry of law enforcement activities subsides, and once you have time to yourself, you may experience the gravity of the situation that befell you.  This allows you to reflect on what occurred and your current state of affairs mentally and physically. 

Whether you go home after all is said and done or are admitted to a hospital for any injuries sustained during the encounter, you will eventually lay your head down to rest.  It is at this time and place that I devote this piece to. 

Your mind “may” start to relive the incident and begin to play back the event as they unfolded.  As you are in this state, your mind may attempt to play back and almost justify the actions you took to survive the event.  Some of those events will play back as they actually occurred while others may be slightly or significantly altered.  As an example, I will depict an attempted carjacking and kidnap and place these events in a numbered format to illustrate the tape play back loop and how it may change.

  1. You were just getting out of your vehicle in the parking lot of shopping mall when
  2. you were approached by a man with a gun. 
  3. The man approaches you on the driver’s side just as you opened the door. 
  4. The man stands in the open door, pointing a handgun at you and demands your car and wallet.
  5. The man decides he wants you to move over across to the passenger’s seat because he wants to drive away in your car with you.
  6. At first you are incredulous to the event occurring because you have always prided yourself with you personal safety.
  7. You quickly realize you are the victim of a crime and that you need to act to save your own life.
  8. Because you have a licensed concealed handgun on you, you are able to change the outcome of the event. 
  9. Just as you unbuckle the seat belt on the driver’s seat in preparation to move across to the passenger’s side,
  10. You take the action with your right hand to draw your concealed firearm and shoot the would-be car jacker and potential kidnapper
  11. Just as the armed suspect is slipping into the driver’s seat of your car.
  12. The suspect mumbles some incoherent words to you as he is taking his dying breaths.
  13. Within minutes, police arrive on scene and begin to sort out the details.

We have at least thirteen points in which our mind can play back.  This tape loop play back occurs when you are at rest or during your “attempt” at sleep.

In some cases, the loop may play back the event as it truly occurred.  In other cases, information may be missing.  Let’s say that a couple of critical pieces are missing and the actions you took may appear unjustified. Instead of point #4 playing back where the man stands in your open car door, pointing a handgun at you and demanding your car and wallet, your tape loop is playing back a man who only approached to ask you directions.  After he asked directions, you moved through the rest of the tape loop with no other altering facts.  Or, you might begin to doubt yourself asking did you shoot a man because he asked directions.  But then, what about his gun?  You may even doubt yourself and think that instead of a gun it was his cell phone. 

You can see that sometimes the mind may play tricks on you.  It is during this tape loop that you may wonder if you did the right thing no matter what steps you took to survive the incident. 

I would offer this: know that you are a good person with reasonable and rationale thoughts.  You not the kind of person to jump to conclusions or see things that are not there. If you took an action to keep yourself safe, it “was” for a good reason then and is a good reason now!  It is not in your DNA to bring needless and unjustified physical pain to another human being and if you were forced into some action to save your life, it was 100% justified! 

Rest in the fact of the people you surround yourself with would also come to that conclusion and perhaps that too will bring you some solace. 

This tape loop play back may happen for several days (or nights).  Do not allow the doubt to creep into your mind to cause you to wonder if you did the right thing.  Know that you are a good person with a proven track record of doing the right thing for the right reasons, AND this is just one more of those right things.  You were forced into this not by your own choice, but by someone who forced you into this set of unfortunate circumstances. 

You did not wake up that morning and one of the first things to pop into your mind is to go out looking for a bad guy to take on and settle a score with.  Instead, you woke up to your life.  Through a set of circumstances sometimes out of your control, this bad guy approached you and started the ball rolling.  You did exactly what you had to, in fact what you needed to do in order to survive!

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