A most careless action is underestimating an unknown subject and using that to needlessly antagonize a potentially dangerous foe that could put you at risk.


We live in a sad world that an article like this can exist and be useful. It shouldn’t have to be said that it’s not right to mess with a stranger for no good reason.

It’s better to overestimate a target, conversely, it’s better to be underestimated by your target. -Det V Cader

But this isn’t about what’s right, wrong or ethics, just why you shouldn’t for self preservation.

Everyone knows someone or is that someone who offends / aggravates / provokes / abuses a complete stranger who just happens to be present and is undeserved of any malicious attack.

This usually occurs when one is aggressively drunk, in a furious mood or in a state of an unbalanced ego, typically late night on the streets, at a party or a bar.

So these 3 Australian muscle guys walk into a bar…

And realize the only women in the place is sitting with a small geek wearing thick glasses, an oversized sweater and shorts with flip flops at the end of the bar.

The Aussies sit at the other end and order drinks. When ordering another round, they also order 2 drinks for the women. When the waitress arrives and tells them the Aussies ordered the drinks for them, they decline while ignoring the Aussies’ attempt at their attention from across the bar by raising their drinks. The women continues their conversation with the Geek.

Several drinks later, 1 of the Aussies walks to the Geek’s table and right as his mouth opens up to say something, one of the women politely says “not interested, sorry”. Trying to speak again, he’s interrupted by the other woman as she simply says “no”. He walks away.

Another drink later all 3 of them come up to the Geek’s table and start talking to the women and gets shutdown again. They walk away. The entire bar laughs.

Now drunk, the biggest Aussie comes up to the Geek and puts his arm around him and asks him to introduce the women to them, the Geek says “sorry, they’re clearly not interested”. The Big Aussie tightens his hold on the Geek then throws him off his stool and on to the floor. The Big Aussie takes the Geek’s seat and attempts to talk to the women.

The Geek gets up, picks up an empty stool and swings it to the legs of the stool that the Big Aussie was sitting on – not hitting his body as not to cause serious injury.

The stool collapses and the Big Aussie falls to the floor on his back. When raising his head to get up, the Geek smacks his forehead slamming the back of his head on the bar floor then gently rests his knee on his larynx just enough to bruise it. The Big Aussie is out.

The Small Aussie (but still much larger than the Geek) approaches the Geek as if it was an official boxing match with his fists in position. The Geek laughing, infuriates the Small Aussie causing him to set up an obvious haymaker, misses, and another, misses, and another and misses but then trips over the fallen Big Aussie.

The Geek about to be tackled by the Mid Aussie, ducks and right hooks the side of his right knee, tearing his ligaments. The Mid Aussie falls to the floor and cries. The Small Aussie gets up and runs out the bar.

Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man. -Iain Duncan Smith

That Geek was me. I was on assignment.

The professional move was to let it go, but I was young and still had my ego getting in the way.

I stand at just 5’6″ with a thin but cut build and when wearing a loose top, I don’t look like much and that’s my point. I’m understandably underestimated which can always be used as a tactical advantage.

I was armed with a Beretta and a couple of blades but it never crossed my mind to deploy them as I didn’t feel there was any real threat, but more importantly to retain my cover.

You just don’t know who you may be messing with.

It’s not just the martially trained and physically capable strangers you may encounter, however.

It’s the psychopaths and inherently violent people that’s more of a concern. They don’t wear name tags nor do they fit a specific physical description.

A random stranger, no matter how friendly, weak or innocuous they may seem, may have a blade and or a firearm and is not scared to use it. Or worse, they actively look for an excuse to do so.

And finally, there’s the possibility that the person you’re messing with is a plain clothed law enforcement officer or the relative of a prominent and powerful local figure.

It may not always be possible to avoid being messed with, but you can always avoid messing with others.