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I remember a scene in a movie with Steve Martin. He's holding a bunch of bad guys (nazis, iirc) at gunpoint. There are like 10 or 15 mooks, but the pistol he has does not hold 10 or 15 shots. One of the bad guys points this out, something like "We should rush him! He doesn't have enough bullets to kill us all!" Steve replies "That's right, I can't kill you all, but who wants to volunteer to be first?!?" or words to that effect.
So in essence the idea is that of one entity that could overwhelm, defy or escape another entity through attrition, but no one in the thwarting group wants to be the first to suffer the threat, so the victims remain victims.
I'm sure there's a word or phrase that describes this concept (in the way that "Mexican Standoff", or "Mutually Assured Destruction" describe their respective concepts), but I can't think of what it would be. Help, please?
Peter Principle on
"A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." - Eric Hoffer, _The True Believer_