Walk Talk Series
Day 63 – Walking Safety – Be Aware of Stranger Danger
You have made it through 9 weeks! We are heading into the home stretch.
Exercise: Upper Body Exercises
Crosstraining – Martial Arts
Learning a martial art can give you confidence as well as a good workout. You will develop your speed, flexibility, and coordination.
What would you do if confronted by someone while walking? Do you have a plan? Many walkers fear being attacked or mugged by a stranger.
The following information, although very alarming, is not for the purpose to scare or deter you from walking. But to help you to become more aware during your walks and inform you of was to lessen the possibility of attack. There is no technique or tip or weapon to guarantee you won’t be attacked. The bad guys have surprise on their side and even the best martial arts expert can become a target. But the following information can help you from being chosen as a victim.
DON’T go to isolated places, especially after dark, and especially alone. If you must go to an isolated place, go only with a group of friends – all armed and ready with Pepper Spray (special training required) and a Personal Security Alarm (noisemaker or screamer).
There Is Safety In Numbers
walking safety, & biking safety all involve the risk of being isolated with no help or even any witnesses around. Always remember that the law of the wilderness always rules – predators attack the prey that stray away from the herd.
At the very least, be with as many friends as possible. You can lessen your risk by staying only in a more populated area. If the crowd starts thinning out, go with them or go home.
The biggest obstacle to staying safe in parking lots and on city and suburban streets, country roads, and secluded paths is the average person’s innocence. This naïveté of the prey takes four forms:
1st: carefree/careless (assuming no one wants to harm you, you act carelessly);
2nd: too trusting (if someone seems harmless or has a good story, you’re gullible);
3rd: mirror imaging (assuming a predator shares your morals, you try to reason with him rather than outsmart him);
4th: location immunity (assuming you’re in a “safe” area, you turn off your danger radar and fall into one of the first three traps).
NEVER drop your guard, and NEVER let anyone get near you (in a vulnerable location) or isolate you – no matter how friendly he/she appears.
Most victims simply didn’t expect the depravity of a psychopath’s mind.
Here’s a handy rule-of-thumb: a violent criminal is either a Force Predator or a Friendly Predator.
You’ll instantly know a force predator – he’ll suddenly attack you from the open or from ambush, though he might first play cat-and-mouse while deciding whether or not to attack you.
However, a friendly predator will first try to get near you to isolate and trap you, and then attack you.
Many victims, afraid to appear rude, ignored their gut feelings and were trusting, easy, naïve prey for a friendly predator. Never forget that and you’ll never fall for a stranger’s lure.
It’s impossible to fully anticipate the panicky chaos of a sudden threat forcing you to make split-second life-and-death decisions. Nonetheless, understanding your victims options now will help your intuition choose an option then.
• Your wariness: using a cell phone or headphones, or daydreaming, is like a lame antelope attracting a lion.
• The type of assailant: is he a scared yet volatile kid, a depraved lunatic, or somewhere in between?
• The presence of a weapon or an accomplice: neither may be visible at first.
• The location: populated areas might inhibit him. And, is it your turf or his? Familiarity makes a difference.
• Your personality: can a passive person be aggressive? Can an aggressive person surrender (or fake it)?
• Your abilities to strategize and fight.
• Your willingness to truly fight for your life – and to never give up.
Expect intimidating threats and expect to be hurt, but especially expect to survive . Opportunities may arise as the scene unfolds. A victim must trust her intuition to choose among the five victim’s options:
• 1st Option – Posturing: presenting yourself as a tough target (predators prefer easy prey). If that doesn’t work:
• 2nd Option – Fleeing, the most obvious choice, might not be possible. If not:
• 3rd Option – Outsmarting: by verbally defusing a confrontation and maneuvering toward escape. If that doesn’t work:
• 4th Option – Surrendering: as a prelude to an escape, perhaps aided by:
• 5th Option – Fighting like a mad dog to enable your escape. Stun & run.
Deter a predator by holding Pepper Spray & a Personal Security Alarm (noisemaker or screamer) in plain sight.
Nature’s most complex creation, the human brain, must first of all ensure its own survival. Thus, its early-warning-system – intuition – is its most sophisticated function, ruling the all-powerful survival instinct to detect criminal minds. Essentially, it’s your inborn crystal ball.
It senses without rational thinking – it guesses or feels with a “sixth sense.” The subconscious mind constantly evaluates millions of bits of information, detects subtle conflicts within patterns, and alerts the conscious mind when something is awry. We call this awesomely complex process our gut feelings, suspicions, or hunches. It saved our ancestor’s hides throughout history.
INTUITION – Too Often Ignored
Modern, socially-imposed good manners and political correctness have tamed you into trusting only logic and ignoring your gut feelings.
Intuition – a faint wisp, a fleeting radar blip, a subtle nudge that something isn’t quite right – is ignored while friendly predators, skilled in the art of deception, coerce and entice you into traps. Your ultimate alarm – already shyly quiet – gets shushed down as mere silliness.
We tend to cling to our first impression of a stranger and ignore clues that say otherwise. We also tend to trust strangers who “seem” normal – forgetting that dangerous predators are experts at seeming normal. Worse, we also, like Pollyanna, tend to assume that other people share our values and beliefs, i.e.: you don’t want to hurt others, so others don’t want to hurt you. That makes you gullible – a sucker for a smooth-talking, innocent-looking predator – despite warnings from your intuition. All these tendencies set us up for a disastrous mistake.
The basic axiom of science is: “Skepticism is the only tool to find the truth.” And a skeptical attitude is crucial to enhancing your intuition. Predators usually don’t look dangerous (they’re experts at looking normal) and they’re masterful liars.
LISTEN to your intuition and honor your doubts! Live by the street-savvy maxim: When in doubt, leave it out! And, even if you live in Sleepy Valley, don’t be naïvely trusting of unproven strangers. Be SKEPTICAL!
Your goal, is to look like somebody who will be too much trouble to mess with. They want to make you their victim without attracting attention from others.
- Attitude: Keep your head up and striding purposefully. Look aware of your surroundings and be aware of them. Headphones may give the impression that you are less aware. Lt. Jim Bullard suggests your mental attitude should be, “No low life scum is going to spoil three minutes of my day!”
- Companions: Walking with a friend or group reduces your chance of attack significantly.
- Dog: Walking with a dog, even a little ankle-biter, will greatly reduce the chance of attack.
- Stick: Why mess with somebody with a walking/hiking stick when there are lots of people without one?
- Alarm: A brightly colored personal body alarm can be a deterrent when visibly worn. Bad guys don’t want to attract attention. A whistle is also a good signal device.
- Pepper spray: (Where legal) carrying this in your hand or visibly displayed may be a deterrent.