I did security work for a long time, a very long time, and the only fights I couldn’t de-escalate were with cops. All the worst experiences were with cops.
Anybody else was easy. They’d cross some line or be acting like an asshole and I’d tell them they had to go. Which they’d take as a challenge. To which I’d say “what, you wanna go? You wanna go man? Let’s step outside!” And they’d agree, and we’d walk to the door, I’d open it for them, they’d step outside. And then I’d lock the door.
See because here the important thing is, I wasn’t a bouncer to “win fights” or “dominate” anything, I was there to protect the patrons and staff, I was there to protect the business. I was good at my job if nobody had to think about me being there. I wasn’t a fucking “warrior.” I was there to keep drunk women from being harassed. I was there to keep out people who were already overserved. I was there to keep us from breaking the fire code and all the complex laws around selling alcohol. I was there to reassure the staff that if someone started to become a problem, I was paying attention and I would step in when they needed help. Deescalation was the fucking job. I was successful because I wasn’t strutting around all uptight about being perceived as “tough.” Because if you think being a bouncer is all about putting out a “tough badass” vibe, I guarantee you that people will want to fight you. Making a tough guy look like a chump is great fun for everybody, and you become a huge target for every little weasel with tiny junk or a pocketknife or whatever makes those men that way.
Police acting like it’s a job requirement to strut around like the biggest meanest sausagenecked thug, and then acting all helpless and oppressed when nobody fucking trusts them not to murder people is… well it’s nuts.
It’s been such a privilege to read some of the amazing notes and stories people have added to this post over the last couple months. It’s so encouraging and reassuring to me, seeing how many people understand and appreciate this kind of thinking.