Last night around 11:00 I was about 50 feet away from my own house when I noticed a man walking toward me on the sidewalk. He had the crazy vibe that anyone who’s been mugged can sense from a mile away. He was wearing a white sleeveless t-shirt, walking quickly with a kind of dance in his step, listening to headphones, talking in a rambling way to himself. What I did then surprised me. I stepped onto my neighbor’s lighted porch and just stood there until the stranger walked past.

I’m conflicted. I’m glad that I followed my self-preservation instincts and avoided what could have been a dangerous situation. But I also don’t want avoidance to be my only means of self-defense in the future.  I want to control as much of a situation’s context as possible so that dangers are minimized wherever, whenever they arise.

By context I mean the interrelated conditions of any given situation. Some conditions are relatively easy to control, such as the kind of neighborhood I’m in or the time of day. But when I can’t control those basics, what then?

I know that one way is to carry a concealed handgun. I intend to do that over the next few months—purchase the gun, get a concealed carry permit and take exhaustive gun safety and training courses. But a handgun is meant to be used as a last resort, and it will be concealed. I need an early warning system, as it were, that will broadcast to would-be thugs that I am not easy prey.

A muscular body is an advanced warning system. It tells muggers that you aren't easy prey.

At the very least, this means I need to be more physically intimidating. I need to be more muscular.  I’m already tall, and since getting mugged I’ve lost fat and added muscle by going to they gym nearly every day. But I’m still not big enough.

How big is big enough? I don’t want to be Lou Ferigno big, but big enough to make muggers think twice. Here is a pic of a random guy whose body approximates how Id like my body to look. I think the parts of his body that radiate power are his shoulders, arms, chest and legs.  They say he is a man who cannot be easily assaulted.

I’m already tall–over 6′–, with broad shoulders, and I carry myself well. But I’m just not big enough yet. And size, the physical armor of muscle, may be the one condition necessary for discouraging a mugger wherever I happen to be.

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