Chapter 1 Post 14

Discipline and the Rules of Engagement:  What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

Chapter 1: Values  (micro) versus The Rule of Law (macro)

1. Values

        What do you already know about your own values?  For the first fourteen years of their lives, your children will have no other choice but to adopt your values—or fight them, because the adoption process is never smooth or 100%.

Here’s the catch.  If there are conflicts between what you say you value and how you behave, you are going to be in trouble.  You will believe your own words and thoughts, your children will believe how you act.   Without thinking, you will have set up a four-way values conflict situation.  (1) Your beliefs and your actions are conflicting.  (2) You will fight your children to uphold your beliefs, and your children will fight you as they follow your leads in action.  (3) You will struggle to believe there is no conflict, within you or with your children.  And (4) your children will only experience the whole mess as some sort of battle between you and them that they can never win.

So therefore, they will conclude, you do not love them.

If your children get as far as fourteen believing that you do not love them, any chance you had to influence their thinking and behavior is toast.  The drive for love and acceptance will take your children anywhere they think they need to go, and that will be away from you.

There is no doubt in my mind that love for your children is high up there on that list of the things you value, or you wouldn’t be reading a book for parents.  You may be a teacher or a friend, or you may simply be trying to understand your own experiences.  We may not all have children, but we all have parents and people who have put energy into raising us.  Some of them weren’t very good at it, and we want to grow beyond them.

In making the list of your own values, don’t think about what you would die for.  Even the biggest martyrs for the holiest of causes turn out to be genuinely surprised if they are misused, hurt, or, God forbid, killed.   Don’t think about what you would die for, think about what you would live for.  Think about what you would live for if you did not have your children to live for.  Think about that.

Think about the fact that no one’s life is improved if they are the sole purpose, the sole focus, of another person’s life.  Even a caring mother, even a devoted father.  Parents who love their children, love life.  Thoughtfully—or with no thought at all—parents pull their children with them through life, showing them in words and in action what is important, what needs to be tended to, what has to be done, what is worth doing, and by fourteen, children are pulling along with their parents or are they are wild things, sailing off on their own.  It is your values–mother, father, caregiving brother, sister, uncle, aunt, teacher, friend—and your behavior, that children mirror.

Love, peace, kindness, thoughtfulness, intelligence, curiosity, strength, helpfulness, wit, humor, fun, joy, happiness, beauty, grace, skill….  What do you value?  Character?  What makes for good character?

All I know is that you  already have values that guide your thoughts, conversations and behavior every hour, every day.  Great and wonderful serious books on parenting are already in print.  They are already best sellers.  Right.  Look for more Academic Fixes[1] to introduce the best authors I know.  We’ll examine some of them in more detail later.

But now you’ll just have to take my word for it that the best of the authors have pussy-footed around the one issue I am interested in helping you to understand: The Use of Force.

Discipline.  Deprivation.  Spanking.  Switching.  Beating.  Time out. Isolation.  Confinement.  Restraints.  Pain compliance.  Physical discipline.  Abuse.  Misdemeanor behavior.  Felonious assault or neglect.  The use of force.  The threat of the use of force.  Imprisonment.

The big question: how can a list of values that begins with Love be reconciled to a list of Disciplinary measures that ends in Imprisonment?   At the very least, don’t we practice discipline, for ourselves and for our children, in order to avoid situations that would put us crossways with the law, that would open us up to the use of force against us outside the family?

Is love forever yielding?  Can force be used with love?  These questions cannot be answered with testimonials in affirmation of personal values.  They have to be examined within a framework that takes into account the rules of engagement in the use of force as any interaction expands from the family, to schools, neighborhoods, and churches, to towns, cities, states, and nations.

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[1] “An Academic Fix” is borrowed from the slang developed by drug users.  “A fix” is the ingestion or injection of the drug that immediately reduces the craving for the drug, until later.  The author, Dr. Franny, is a confirmed academic, so her work not only requires footnotes, but the occasional academic diversion she’s calling “a fix” (See Author’s Preface Post 13).

Author’s Preface Table of Contents

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement:

What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

Table of Contents for Blog Posts 1-13

 Author’s Preface Post 1

  1. We Begin with A Day in the Life of Gina Herring in Concord, North Carolina

 Author’s Preface Post 2

  1. Escalation Means the Problems Multiply as Individuals and Groups Wade In
  2. But Suppose This Was a Day inYourLife?

 Author’s Preface Post 3

  1. Your Way Out Comes In Learning a New Analysis
  2. Learn the Rules
  3. We Get Our Responses to the Use of Force from Our Parents

 Author’s Preface Post 4

  1. Group Activity is Inevitable and Desirable
  2. The Rules are Dynamic Social Constructs

Author’s Preface Post 5

  1. The Book is about Taking Control of Our “Natural” Responses to the Use of Force
  2. Diagramming Escalation: Studying Rule Changes as Expanding Concentric Circles

Rules of Engagement for [Street] Team Fighting

 Author’s Preface Post 6

  1. Boys Will Be Boys, ButAdults Cannot
  2. In Case You’re Wondering, We’re Offering Social Advice Here, For Legal Advice, Please Consult Your Own Legal Counsel
  3. A Lethal Threat is Pretty Much theSameas the Use of Lethal Force

 Author’s Preface Post 7

  1. Defensive Force May Follow Threats to Use Force

[General] Rules of Engagement in the Use of Lethal Force

Author’s Preface Post 8

  1. Individuals with Authority

[Unwritten] Rules for Police Assessment of “Disturbances”

  1. “…and the Investigation is on-going…”

 Author’s Preface Post 9

  1. The Shift into North Carolina’s Courts of Law

The Rules of Engagement for the Courts of Public Opinion

               Illustration 1. [Can’t get it to post yet.]

               Illustration 2. [Can’t get this one to post either.]

 Author’s Preface Post 10

  1. Conflict – All Conflict – And the Rules of Engagement
  2. The Best Interests of Your Children
  3. YourFuture

 Author’s Preface Post 11

  1. A Warning
  2. TheMicroand the Macro: An Analytical Conceptualization
  3. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

 Author’s Preface Post 12

  1. The “Links” Are Like Ladders

 Author’s Preface Post 13

Academic Fix #1:  Rory Miller

Academic Fix #2: Marc McYoung

[Technical] Conversation with Readers

One way or another, my book is going up, post by post, as I write it.

As anyone can figure by now, about two weeks after I came up with Bluehost, I’ve still got a ways to go to get used to writing and blogging at the same time.   The last three days have been great.  The bots have discovered this website!

It’s moderated — that means I get to read and approve any comment before it gets formally posted.   And that means that I’ve gotten two evenings of practice trashing comments.

Here’s the technical part.  Websites rise and fall on their “hit” numbers.  The bots count as hits, so I’m supposed to be happy with a couple dozen hits before my stuff has been posted two weeks.  Cross links count, too.  At least half of those comments were invitations to hit on their website.  Question:  Should I have marked them as SPAM, or did I do the best thing by just double deleting them?  And then emptying the trash?

It sure would be nice to see a comment from a real human being.  But I am sure that will come in time.

Cheers.  drF.



Author’s Preface Post 13 Academic Fix 1, 2

Academic Fix #1

Rory Miller.  Notes.

“That he is willing to report back what he has learned is an act of love and social responsibility” (Steve Barnes, Forward to Meditations on Violence, p, viii).

“I am selling something, a product called “not getting your ass beat” which is very hard to sell to some people” (p. xv).

“I’ve studied martial arts since 1981.  I’ve been a correctional officer since 1991.  As of this writing that’s fourteen years, twelve of them concentrated in Maximum Security and Booking…. CERT (Corrections Emergency Response Team) has been a huge force in my life and career (p. xvi).

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 Academic Fix #2

Marc “Animal” MacYoung.  Notes.

“The difference between theory and practice is in theory there is no difference” (from MacYoung’s review printed before the title page of Rory Miller’s book Meditations on Violence, 2008).

“Where things get really complicated is that there is NO ONE simplistic strategy that you can use in every situation. What works to resolve a conflict with one person will provoke another into attacking. You may think what you’re doing will scare him away, but often you’re actually pouring gasoline onto the fire. Knowing when to do what and when NOT to do that are another reason why things get complicated. Personal safety is less about punching and kicking and more about people skills” (Why is Crime Simpler…? No Nonsense Self Defense).


Author’s Preface Post 12

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

24. The “Links” Are Like Ladders

          The interactive nature of information on the Internet means I don’t have to put everything in this book for you.  I can “give you a link.”[1]  The “links” are like ladders.  To make your access to “giants” easier, I am pulling the academic discussions out of the direct exhortation I’m leaving in the text.    Some of us like academic discussions, some of us avoid them like the plague.  Some of us are addicted.  So you’ll find Academic Fixes inserted in easy-to-skip text boxes,[2] along the way.

[Look for Author’s Post 13 for the Academic Fixes.]

This book is unfolding in two formats.  Its essential format is the electronic manuscript where I type away on my tiny little notebook computer.  That is the format that eventually will be raked over by professional editors in a publishing house where their ideas will improve the work to no end.

The more crucial format is the format posted here as a work-in-progress at, open to discussion from all comers.  I didn’t come by these ideas in a closet, there is no use retreating to a closet to write them down.

One more question and answer, here, in the Preface.  Is this just one more book about violence, pro or con?

No.  The books about violence, in all its modern day social aspects have already been written by Rory Miller.[3]  The nitty-gritty on down and dirty self-defense as well as all manner of insight into street life is available in the work of Marc “Animal” McYoung.[4]  Both these men blog.  Check Academic Fix #1and Fix #2 [Post 13] for more about them.

Chiron Training is Rory Miller’s web site at  Marc’ site is

This book is more about studying the rules that govern violence in society and knowing what to expect when the use of force is in play.  Sometime the use of force is in support of social norms, sometimes the use of force runs counter to them.  Survivors use all the rules they can, and break as few as possible. To survive, you need to know the Rules.   And as a parent, you want your children to survive and thrive.

Fran Fuller, April, 2015

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[1] “A link” is the key to writing in hyper-text.  With the correct coding, whatever you write that is accessible on the Internet can be directly linked to anyone else’s writing.  The hazard is always the stability of access to the web-publication you have “linked to.”   Unlike the fixed in stone nature of print publications, hyper-text documents require maintenance.  “Broken links” are not considered the problem of the web-publication that has vanished, but are a reflection on the publication that fails to edit them.

[2] Unfortunately for me, a blogging newbie,  the text boxes did not translate to the web any better than the illustrations did.  Please look for the Academic Fixes in Author’s Preface Post 13.

[3] Rory Miller.  Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence (2008) and Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected (2011).  Both from YMAA Publication Center: Wolfeboro, NH.

[4] Marc McYoung.  His first of fourteen books was Cheap Shots, Ambushes, and Other Lessons published by Paladin Press In 1989.  You have heard of people who speak several languages.  They can shift from one language to the other the way most of us chase food around on a plate.  Marc is fluent in so many of the nuances of body language it boggles the mind to watch him and listen to him at the same time.  He makes sense because violence is so physical.  Force is not necessarily physical.  Violence is.  Marc’s prose is fine.  He is literally translating from a world of physical communication to the world of written information.  Marc in person is unforgettable.

Author’s Preface Post 11

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

21. A Warning

         Be careful. My book itself is a rejection of a fundamental analytical concept in social science. To explain that, we have to look at the analytical division of human activity into the micro and the macro. The Little World and the Big World. This division is fundamental to most studies in sociology, psychology, and economics. However, I submit that in real life this conceptual division is not only misleading, it is destructive.

22. The Micro and the Macro: An Analytical Conceptualization

         People narrowly focused on their own little inter-personal face to face, computer to computer, commentary, interaction, home building, community engaged lives—the micro, may miss the larger forces—the macro—rising unseen, unnoticed in the towns, villages and states all around them.

By the same token, in reverse, individuals with enormous power and authority, operating as heads of states, illuminati in think tanks and universities, directors in powerful bureaucracies, banks, insurance and other financial operations, not to mention various magnates in these organizations, as well as private entrepreneurs—these people literally think of themselves as “big picture” operators. They think in extra zeros. They don’t think in thousands of dollars, they think in millions, or more. If the DOW[1] is a remote measure of the behavior of these individuals, then collectively, these individuals and their behavior, however measured, can be conceptualized to be a reflection of the macro, and their actual impact on the micro may not be what they think it is.

As social scientists, and I am one, we divide our examination of the worlds of human activity into the macro and the micro, and our academic publications, departments and class titles follow suit. Sociologists who practice reductionism literally cannot graduate with advanced degrees in the discipline. It is axiomatic (an iron Rule) in sociology that there are forces at the macro level in societies that cannot be reduced to explanations using the interplay of individuals as primary variables controlling social outcomes.

To avoid being defrocked in my own discipline, I make this defense: conceptually, the micro and the macro are secure in their place as analytical tools. But there are some concepts that transcend the micro-macro conceptual division. Human ideas about the use of force in society, and by extension the social construction of the rules of engagement in the use of force at every level of society, is one of these concepts.

Anyone who adopts the sociological notion in its purest form — that the Rules of the Many will, given time, almost always overpower the Rules of Any One Person—will benefit from an examination of the Rules of Engagement. It will from many a blunder free you.[2]

Any ongoing analysis of the Rules of Engagement will transform your capacity to see the world, not as you want it to be, but as close as you can get to how the world of human interaction really is. This book can do that for you. Or, rather, you can use this book to do that for yourself.

After that, you will be able to help others. Perhaps even your children. The reason this book can give you a new way of looking at your world is because I don’t have to put everything in the book. I can make the do-it-yourself part short and simple.

23. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

         Sharing and building together is the beauty of non-fiction, the beauty of science. In any field, we build knowledge slowly and, literally, on the shoulders of recognized giants whose written work is already accessible. The explosion of information available through the Internet means many published authors’ works are “out there,” and those who are still alive are often blogging their hearts out in contemporary exploration.

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[1] The Dow Jones Average.  Or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Or the Stock Market Index.  A key measure of financial activity from 1896 to the present for Wall Street, USA.

[2] Borrowed directly from the poetic observation I was taught in its original Scottish cadence:  “Oh, wad some pow’r the giftie gi’us, to see ourselves as ithers see us, it wad from many a blunder free us, an’ foolish notion” with apologies to Robert Burns, To a Louse, 1786.

Author’s Preface Post 10

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

18. Conflict–All Conflict – And the Rules of Engagement

         As a parent, as a teacher, as a friend, you can learn to think about interpersonal conflict in terms of the Rules of Engagement.   This will help you in these ways:  First, you won’t be thinking like everyone else and find yourself slurped into their mistakes.

Second, you will learn to recognize conflicts where you have no standing and avoid involvement before you are dragged in.

Third, when you find yourself snared, with no escape, in engagements that have escalated to conflicts of will, to force on force contests—in the home, in your workplace, in your neighborhood, state or world—you will know how to mount a successful defense and win against all comers, or beat a hasty escape, dragging your team mates out with you.

How can you do this?  Learn to think like a parent.   By learning to think about the best interests of someone other than yourself, you can learn to see options from the point of view of other people.  It is as parents that human beings come closest to being able to put someone else’s interests above their own self-interest.

19. The Best Interests of Your Children

         Even the worst parents have simply unconsciously substituted their best interests for the best interests of their children.  How many times have you heard these words: “Look, I’m doing this for your owngood.”

Or worse: “Hey, this hurts me more than it hurts you.”

Obviously, all of us are not parents.  But all of us have parents, whether or not we knew them face to face.  And all of us have people who raised us, who brought us (or who are bringing us) up to the age of reason and to the age of self-determination, the age of legal majority.   It is the fate of children to be raised to be fit players in their parents’ worlds, and then to grow up to play in worlds surrounded by elders whose watchwords turn out to be “Oh, who would ever have thought that such a thing would be possible?”

By thinking through the ways in which your parents taught you what they believed to be the best responses to techniques of coercion, i.e. the use of force and the threats of the use of force, you can literally de-program yourself.  You can see the use of force played out around you in a new light, and you can learn new responses to force when it is leveled against you.

If you are fortunate enough to still have children and young people you are responsible to as a parent or as a teacher, you will begin to teach your new look to your children and young people.  Your new look will not change the past, but it will shape your future.

20. YourFuture

         You will learn to use analytical tools to help clarify your thinking in your own situations.  Considering the Rules of Engagement in the Use of Force is an analytical tool.  Diagramming is an analytical tool.  You will examine analytical concepts for what they are: ideas, and accept them or refute them, as you see fit.


Author’s Preface Post 9

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

17. The Shift into North Carolina’s Courts of Law

         The move from Circle Number 5 to Circle Number 6 shifted the whole incident out of the neighborhood, formally, into North Carolina’s courts of law.  That’s usually where participants in these incidents get sorted out, some for better, some for worse, but no one is left untouched by their involvement.

Not so for Gina Herring and her sons.  Not so for Zay Faggert or for Eddie Motley.  The court of public opinion, the court of social media, the court of neighborhood protest action—all those informal courts went into debate and action mode, and there you have it, Circle Number 7.

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The Rules of Engagement for the Courts of Public Opinion

1—If it bleeds, it leads.

2—If its race, make haste.

3—Avoid lawsuits, report all facts as quotes.

4—Keep the story going off line until it fits back into the news cycle.

5—Never underestimate the drawing power of 15 minutes of fame.  Everyone is entitled to as much. Remember, a camera makes you bullet proof, keep those cameras rolling.

6—There is no downside to supporting a victim.

7—A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but every picture can be improved with a passionate voice-over.

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         Journalists do exist.  The internet does give us access to information at unprecedented speed—but in order to base further decisions and further action on reality, every fact gleaned in Circle Number 7 has to be back tracked and verified, all the way back to Circle Number 1, 2, & 3, the escalation of any event through the parties that join at the time, versus  all the onlookers and responders who join as time moves forward through Circles 4, 5, 6, and 7.

                    Illustration 1.

[Sorry.  Haven’t gotten the diagram to load, yet.]

See it now?  It looks even better in color.  Add color to the diagram and the whole situation begins to reflect the murky morass of real life.

               Illustration 2.

[Sorry, haven’t gotten the diagram to load yet.]

Notice the original participants, the school age adolescents who began the fight with a chase, the original occupants of Circle Number 1?  They are gone.  Circle 1 is wiped out, gone.

What the young people thought they were doing does not matter anymore.  What is a parent to do?


Author’s Preface Post 8

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Forc

15. Individuals with Authority

         Circle Number 4–where the adults joined the beat-down in front of Gina Herring’s house–morphed into Circle Number 5 when the police arrived.   The entry of police is important to the Rules of Engagement because police have the power, the obligation, in fact, to define the situation—or perhaps to re-define the situation—that requires their presence.

Police bring with them also the potential for the use of lethal force.  Law enforcement rules for the use of force are pretty well covered under the “[General] Rules of Engagement in the Use of Lethal Force” enumerated above.   There is one exception, and the exception is important.

Law enforcement officers are required to assume  Rule 1 applies to them.  The officer’s badge – some version of protect and serve—make them The Defender.  Law enforcement skips straight through to [General] Rule 2, where the defense of others begins.


[Unwritten] Rules for Police Assessment of “Disturbances”

1—Look unperturbed, but always assume the worst.

2—In cases of affray, listen to what participants tell you, but let them know that you must assume they are all equally guilty.

3—With no other guide to decision making, use the blood rule for determining immediate guilt and responsibility: A serious injury will generally bleed, wounds do not heal before photos can be made, photos will indicate the incident was serious and the investigation can begin with the individual who inflicted the wound(s).

4—If there are women involved, go slowly, everyone will appear to be hysterical.  Everyone will also be hysterical if someone is deceased.  In that case, secure the scene and wait for reinforcements.

5—Send as many people to the hospital as possible.  Medical reports always help.

6—Be polite and immediately physically secure anyone who cannot be polite or fails to follow your directions.

7—Remember that the phrase “you are under arrest” is better used in movies than useful on the street.  No one will believe they are under arrest unless they hear you read them their Miranda rights.  Arrests can come later.  Stick to Rule 3 in Police Assessment, above. Blood always makes a safe probable cause.

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16. “…and the Investigation is on-going…”

         In the case of the scene the Concord police mopped up in front of Gina Herring’s home in March, 2015, there is a gap in the initial news reports.  It is not clear how many onlookers the disturbance had gathered.  It is not clear when or if Zay’s mother Monica Bailey arrived before the police departed.  It is not even clear who was arrested where and for what.

The arresting process for juveniles in North Carolina differs from the process for adults, with a further complicating factor that juveniles over the age of 16 can be bound over from juvenile court to adult court at the recommendation of juvenile authorities.  While police officers can, and do make arrests on the spot, responding officers still may collect information, file reports, and leave the decision about arrest warrants to the discretion of higher ups.

Therefore, as we examine the interaction of participants in Gina Herring’s front yard riot as the action and actors move from Circle Number 4 to Circle Number 5, it is important to note that the widening circles have now moved us from the decisions of the fighters–attackers and defenders—to include the responses and actions of onlookers and responders.


Author’s Preface Post 7

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

(14) Defensive Force May Follow Threats to Use Force

When Eddie Motley waded in, he shifted the neighborhood brawl into Circle Number 4, where the Rules of Engagement are most definitely codified.  Eddie had witnessed an unlawful attack.  Three people on the ground being kicked and stomped is criminal assault.  Whether or not he heard the young attacker’s threat to blow Gina’s brains out is not pertinent. The situation for the mother and her sons was already potentially lethal.  The attack was on-going, and there was no time to call the police.

There is an expression for this moment in your life.  It roughly translates as “aw, shucks!”  It comes when you yourself and all by yourself have to take on a deadly threat.  Motley played by all the new Rules that entered the fight with him.  The rules governing a lethal fight have been song, legend, and legal code for so long Eddie Motley himself would just have to say he did what he did and he would do it again.[1]


[General] Rules of Engagement in the Use of Lethal Force

1—Be sure you are the defender.  Be sure you have really been threatened.  Know your alternatives. Nobody can make you run, but do you have a way out?  You own the ground or the floor under you, wherever you are, but can you get out of this by getting to someplace else that is safer?  You have to know this for yourself because you are getting ready to trade your life for somebody else’s.  You are the one who has to know that your attacker left you with no other way out.

2—If you are defending someone else, all of the above Rule 1 applies.  Defending someone else will not make you feel any better about yourself if you violate Rule 1.  The only difference defending someone else makes is that you have no option to leave if you cannot take them with you.  And Rule 3 keeps you from leaving them.

3 – Human beings will defend each other as if the other person’s life was their own.

4 – If you are sure death or serious injury is at stake and you have to fight and you cannot wait for reinforcements and you have both the means and the skill to try less than lethal force to stop your attackers, try it.

5—If you are sure death or serious injury is at stake and you do not have the time, the means, or the skill to use less than lethal force, use lethal force to stop the attack.


         In song, story and legend, the four Circles would be enough.  But, oh, no.  The Rules in Concord changed again and again as Individuals with Authority entered the picture.


[1] Neima Abdulahi. March 23, 2015. Concord man strikes teen with metal bat, speaks out.  Accessed Mar 26, 2015 at by FF .