Rob Pincus

Conflict Avoidance During Civil Unrest

Rob Pincus
Sign in
Duration:   3  mins

What is your responsibility to avoid conflict or de-escalate existing conflict, especially in times of civil unrest or civil anxiety? Rob Pincus addresses this topic with his usual clear-thinking approach. Especially in the United States but also worldwide, we have had a lot of turmoil this year. This has included civil unrest over social issues and frustration related to the coronavirus and the restrictions put in place due to it. These have been stressors on the ideas of conflict avoidance and de-escalation.


Within the self-defense community, conflict avoidance and de-escalation are among the most important self-defense concepts. Whenever possible, you should avoid conflict and de-escalate existing conflict. This is important even if you don’t carry a firearm — for example, we teach these concepts to our children.

But when you carry a firearm, your responsibility to avoid conflict rises to another level, because any time you get into a conflict, there is at least one lethal tool in the mix. Someone can die if things escalate too far or if another person tries to take your gun.


Whether someone (including you) is wearing a mask or not, or is maintaining social distance, or has different political beliefs — these are not things that should cause lethal conflict. These disagreements should not result in anyone drawing a gun and threatening lethal force.

If you have strong feelings about an issue and feel the need to jump into an existing argument, this is the opposite of conflict avoidance, and you are potentially becoming part of the problem. Rob suggests avoiding these situations entirely, especially if you are a concealed carry holder.

On the other hand, if you want to protest and make your opinions known, you are free to do so. But attending an event where you are fairly certain there is going to be conflict, Rob suggests thinking twice about carrying a gun to such an event, or not going at all if there is a likelihood of rioting or other violence.

Rob has other advice on this timely topic, so be sure to watch the entire video.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

3 Responses to “Conflict Avoidance During Civil Unrest”

  1. Jim Dierking

    I grew up in a household of Police Officers and from the days of my childhood, I can still hear my father;s voice saying words similar to your theme. He used to say that if you are going somewhere where you think there may be problems or where you think you need a gun... you probably should not go! Never forgot that and thanks for your statements!

  2. Robert

    Well said. Our country is a mixture of all races, creeds, and religions. That is what makes our country great. Our political system was built with the idea that we can have our own thoughts and ideas. It's okay to disagree on something but it's not okay to threaten someone else with violence just because they are different. It's a big country, if you don't agree with someone else, then state your opinion in a respectful manner and move one. We can continue to be a great country as long as we hold on to our values and our ability to respect not only those that agree with us but everyone who doesn't agree with us. This idea of red and blue and purple and whatever other color is on the spectrum is something we created on our own. What we need to support is politicians who respect the constitution and the true freedoms it entails. When we idolize false prophets instead of true ideas, we lose. I know when I served in the military that I didn't care one iota about someone else's political affiliation. I cared about if they had my back. We need to get back to "what is good for all Americans" and not what is good for my political party. Happy Veterans day to all those that served and especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We honor you all.

  3. Sarah Joy Albrecht

    Rob, thank you for sharing this wisdom and encouragement. This is an extremely relevant topic, and one that gun owners need to carefully consider in their day-to-day activities. As you mentioned, tensions are high and we can find ourselves faced with conflict situations when we are simply taking our kids to school activities or while out shopping. When we enter into a conflict even with the intent of de-escalation, we are also bringing a lethal variable to the conflict. We must not overlook this variable, but instead be responsibly mindful. We must choose our conflicts wisely, and perhaps even choose to avoid the conflict all together. Well said.

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!