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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

The Bar Fight Debate

I know, I know. Some of you are probably shocked that I even asked the bar fight question. You know that I have worked against violence on college campuses, done rape crisis work, domestic violence education. Still, I had to ask. I even sent an email to many of my guy friends.

Overall I’m hearing a lot of, “Why would I have even hung out with the asshole to start with?”

Here are what they said.

My best friend Ryan (late 20’s, married, computer guy/designer/musician)

c.) realize it is all a bunch of bullshit and leave on your own. Non-violence/it takes a stronger man to leave the situation.


Former Co-worker and current Friend Ben (late 20’s, in a relationship, IT guy, soccer hooligan)

I don’t hit first because generally I’m so calm about a situation like this that even a meathead gets a little unnerved. What has worked for me in the past is something to the effect of “You can hit me, but I’ll hurt you” or something logical and straightforward like that. If you look someone in the eye and say that sincerely they generally just keep puffing their chest and ultimately walk away.


High School friend and 2nd Ammendment Activist/Hunter Adam (early 30’s, married, biologist)

d, other. There is no chance that I would be out with someone like this. If I were, I would have left early on, long before it got to this point. I don’t like being around annoying people so I wouldn’t be.

To a large degree, it depends on the makeup of the group, too. If somehow I were stuck in this group and couldn’t leave earlier, that means I can’t leave now. Since this person is obviously not a friend of mine, he must be a friend of a friend. How many of the people in the group are my friends, versus how many are his? I would tell his friend, ostensibly a friend of mine, to talk to his friend before he gets hurt. Under no circumstances do I swing first. I have too much to lose with a violence conviction of any kind to do that. I would wait. At the same time, I would not intentionally egg him on, either.

“You’re drunk, I don’t want to fight you, don’t be stupid. Think about what you’re saying, is this really worth fighting over?”

Now in defense of Melissa or a friend, I don’t know what I’d do–I’m much more patient when my own safety is on the line that when the safety of people I care about is.

Having said all that, once I get attacked, I will not pull any punches. Legally, I am within my rights to make this person stop attacking me with an appropriate amount of force. This means I can’t shoot him unless my life is in danger (and I don’t carry in bars anyway). But you’d better believe that I will be perfectly happy to headbutt, knee in the groin, etc. once I get swung on, no sympathy.

College Friend Geoff (mid 20’s, single, finance guy with art background.)

We spoke on the phone, so I can’t quote him. But he agreed that he would neither egg the guy on or throw the first punch.


My first real boyfriend Michael (Late 20s, married with kids, computer with art background)

Well, it depends on how big he is :^)

If he is within our, “group,” then I would suspect we are all friends. To which I feel I could probably just start ignoring him and he’d get over it. If we were not friends, however, I would just turn around and walk away. If after I turned, he grabbed my shoulder or tried to stop me, I would break every bone in his body. Hope that helps. Have a great holiday!


Ryan the Accountant (late 20s, single, accountant, downstate)


If I am right and I know it, there is no reason to hit him. He is the idiot, and there is no reason for me to make one of myself.

More answers as they arrive, but I’m glad to hear my guy friends agree with me on this one.

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