Rob Pincus

Conflict De-Escalation: Snow Shoveling Incident

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   3  mins

WARNING: The following video contains graphic content.

Conflict avoidance and conflict de-escalation are the first two rules of personal defense. In this video, Rob Pincus presents a real-life situation where these were not practiced, and the result was a tragedy that likely could have been avoided.


You may have seen or heard of this video. While shoveling snow on a winter day, a man and a woman can be seen repeatedly engaging with another man, who eventually leaves the scene only to return with a firearm. The conflict becomes so heated that the gunman shoots the man and the woman, tragically killing them both. For our purposes, it doesn’t matter what the point of contention was or who “started it.”

We don’t need audio with this video—we can see that the body language and gestures of the people involved are escalating as the conflict continues. While we can’t be sure precisely what each party was feeling or thinking, we can see that there was no de-escalation attempted, there was no effort to avoid the confrontation, and the situation clearly became fatal.


1. Avoid confrontation whenever you can.
2. De-escalate conflict when it occurs.

If you live by these two key self-defense concepts, you will probably be able to avoid many of the situations that require the defensive skills we teach here at Personal Defense Network. The truth is, it’s very easy to get sucked into confrontation. It happens far too often, and we frequently have video evidence of people getting drawn into confrontation, creating confrontation, or choosing not to de-escalate a situation.


Of course, you never think you’ll be involved in this kind of incident, but getting sucked into any argument where tempers are flaring can be a recipe for disaster, especially when a firearm is present. It is important to take situations like these seriously. You never know what might happen.

Rob stresses that it doesn’t matter if you can defend yourself physically or are confident in your self-defense abilities such as being able to use a firearm. If you can avoid the use of physical force, whether by de-escalation or removing yourself from the situation, you will be much better off.

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