Crisis Intervention Skills – Why Everyone Needs Them

Earlier this month, at the University of Calgary, Canada, 5 horrific and completely unforeseen murders took place. A house party consisting of about 30 university students erupted into chaos when one of the guests grabbed a kitchen knife and began stabbing his fellow students. Each of the 5 victims was stabbed multiple times; three died on the scene and the other 2 died of their wounds after being rushed to the local hospital.

The details:

Up to this point, no one can say why this student, Matthew de Grood, attacked his fellow students at this party. He had no prior criminal record, and is in fact the son of a retired police officer. The attack was completely unpredictable and did not seem to have any logical explanation.

While the details to Grood’s motives are still being uncovered, we can speculate as to what occurred during this crisis as the event played out. A total of 6 people were attacked, and each victim was stabbed multiple times. Even if the attacker had been professionally trained to fight with a knife (which Grood most likely was not), such a feat would take time. Also, given the location and the amount of people at this party, chances are many other individuals witnessed the stabbings.

Crisis Intervention Skills-Applicable?:

So how could Grood have stabbed so many people so many times without being stopped? In addition, were there other warning signs missed in his past which could have prevented or stalled this action?  Was this simply an instantaneous decision with little forethought or premeditation?

This article is not an attempt to blame the other individuals present at the party or those in Mr. Grood’s immediate circle. No one ever knows what they would actually do in a crisis situation until one occurs, and people act to the best of their ability in that moment. This article’s purpose is to highlight just how important it is to have self-defense and crisis intervention training. Too often people treat crisis as if happens only in select environments, such as violent neighborhoods, prisons, or mental health hospitals. While it is true the crisis events are more common in some arenas than others, this tragic event in Calgary reminds us that at any time in any place a crisis can occur.

These students were at a huge disadvantage mentally to respond to a crisis. They are in an intimate setting of a friend’s home, with their close friends or acquaintances, and many are probably further relaxed/off-guard by eating food or drinking alcohol. But how different could the incident have played out if they had at least had even a adequate amount of self-defense or crisis intervention skills? That they had known, when they realized what was happening, the general tactics for protecting their own safety and the safety of those around them?  Such skills found in Tony Blauer’s Personal Defense Readiness ( program could have been highly effective in stopping or minimizing harm that occurred.  Related crisis intervention skills training found in many violent workplace environments such as those offered by Crisis Consultant Group, LLC, demonstrate potential options available that may make the difference between life and death.

This article serves only to bring awareness to how awareness, self-defense and crisis intervention skills can drastically alter the daily lives of regular people. One not need only work in law enforcement or a mental health hospital to find themselves in a crisis, therefore everyone can benefit from related training.