Monday, December 7, 2009

Passive Self Defense

The worst predators are in civilization. Two-legged predators aren't just looking for their next meal, the way a bear or cougar is … they're looking for a victim. Might be a robbery, a rape, or a murder. This is what makes civilization (and I use that term guardedly) so much more dangerous than the wilderness.

Surviving civilization requires constant situational awareness. All that term means is that you are aware of the situation — what's going on around you — and you make decisions according to what is happening. This is the best form of passive self-defense. It's taking stock of the situation, and then taking steps to avoid trouble.

Let's say, for example, that you're a woman coming out of a grocery store and walking alone to your vehicle in the parking lot. So let's analyze the situation:
  • Are there lots of other people around, or is the parking lot pretty deserted?
  • Study the scene. Who is lurking between where you are and where your vehicle is located?
  • Is anyone parked adjacent to your vehicle?
  • Is it a van, and is it parked on the left side of your vehicle?
  • Is it possible there are people in or near the van?

The reason I bring this scenario up is because one of the favorite methods used by kidnappers and rapists is to park a van adjacent to the driver's side of a woman's vehicle, knowing that when she comes out of the store she will automatically try to enter her vehicle on that side. Suddenly, the van side door slides open, the woman is grabbed and pulled into the van, and it disappears into the flow of traffic. The abduction takes mere seconds, and because the vehicles create a visual blockade, chances are nobody else will even notice what happened.

These low-lifes want to work quickly and quietly. They don't want someone screaming for help or putting up a struggle. They want to grab and run, so they set up the ambush to enable just that. If you keep your eyes open and be ready to scream and run and make a big fuss, you'll be a less desirable target. And they'll be watching to see if you're paying attention to the surroundings. Making eye contact and looking strong and determined will sometimes deter an attack.

How does the kidnapper know the car belongs to a woman alone? These vermin are patient. They stalk their prey. They lay low in the parking lot watching people come and go. When they see a woman drive in, park her car and go into the store, they pull up next to the driver's side and wait.

More than once, my wife has faced this scenario — she exited the store, saw a van parked next to her car with the sliding cargo door facing her driver's side door, and had a bad feeling about it. So, what did she do?
  • Instead of approaching her car on the driver's side, she kept her eyes open
  • she analyzed every movement of people
  • she approached her car and walked around to the passenger side
  • got in
  • locked the doors
  • then crawled across to the driver's position and drove away 
Another option is to go back inside the store and request that someone escort you to your car. This is especially important at night, if you're alone. Do not be overcome by embarrassment. Be bold enough to ask for help. It is a life-saving strategy.

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