By Steve Rose
History repeats itself over and over. Some things are sure to cycle back around a second and third time. Here’s hoping disco is not among them.
Things within things will also cycle. Crime is constant. Patterns, series and trends all cycle around within it, around it or whatever — you know what I’m saying … I think.
Lately there have been several high-profile cases where women were targeted. Kristi Cornwell, a former probation officer has been missing since the early part of August. She was believed to have been taking a walk near Blairsville. Meredith Emerson was abducted and later murdered in the Dawson Forest area of north Georgia. Although women have always been the target of that especially creepy kind of stalker, it is only periodic that several are abducted or victimized in what seems like a short time.
Right now, self-defense classes are big. Sandy Springs Police offers a monthly course in self-defense. I did an interview this morning with a radio station sponsoring self-defense courses. It all the rage! Right now you can find them all over the place.
Here’s the problem. When you hear “This just in: breaking news!” remember that breaking news is old after an hour or so. We’re so saturated with crime-dominated news that a murder here and there barely gets a mention. There’s so much information out there that our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter.
We are our own worst enemies when it comes to preventing the most important thing in the world: your safety and, potentially, your life.
Women are specific targets. They are unique targets. They’re victims of sexual assault and, in many cases, also murder. We teach the same things over and over.
How many of you have been to a self-defense class like this? “Okay, you can use your keys as a weapon, your pen as a weapon, and this and that as a weapon … “ And it goes on and on.
What they don’t drill into your heads are the fundamentals, the absolutes of being the victim and why you’re the victim instead of the woman or girl down the street and the “why me?” of being the one targeted.
Ninety percent of keeping out of trouble is the 89 percent of what you don’t do because you don’t relate to how important it is. Prevention doesn’t have any overt reward. You probably won’t know when you prevented yourself from being a victim because the bad guy had the opportunity to change his mind before committing himself to the crime.
What this means is that unless you develop some discipline, some consistent good habits that don’t really offer a specific reward, you’ll fall back into the habit of doing whatever it was you were doing. Why? Nothing bad ever happened to you before, so why should it happen now? Our attention spans can sometimes be 5 seconds long and then our brains can be off to something else.
It’s not easy being that woman who puts prevention into play every day. It’s not like you need to dedicate your life to crime-fighting or even alter your life. You just need to realize that this can happen to you. In case you missed that last remark, IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.
Believe it ladies. When you realize it can, many times it’s too late. It might be a purse theft or burglary or stalking or it may be something much worse. There are bad people out there. You are one of many potential targets. Your goal is to be that small percentage of very unappealing targets.
Read on, sisters, this gets heavy!
I’m going to lay out a simple group of absolutes that will point you toward that small percentile of women who are not considered attractive as victims. Relax, it doesn’t involve steroids or large wigs:
“Casing the joint” is a head-trip. Perception is reality! We all know that most rapists are after the power trip and not the sexual trip. They have criteria that serve as sort of a checklist. That list includes a victim who appears subdued, submissive and naïve.
So what do you do? Use your eyes. Look folks down. After a while you’ll like it. Here’s a good drill next time you’re at the mall or on the sidewalk at lunch or wherever there are crowds walking. Walk down the street or sidewalk and look at the people who are walking toward you. Who looks down first? If you’re pretty like me, they’ll look at you, But when you look back, it’s awkward. Eye-to-eye! People hate that awkward second or so that they go eye-to-eye.
Embrace it! Who the heck cares if some stranger, who initially looked to check you out, gets that “uh-oh” look when he looks up and you’re staring right at him. I’ll tell you something. It’s intimidating. That’s what you want. Be subtle. You don’t have to go all “Fatal Attraction” on people with weird looks and perhaps some grunting and scratching. The fact is you just accomplished something very important. You asserted yourself to someone you never saw before.
There was no mistake that there was nothing submissive about you. You are your bad self — in a good way. It’s the little things and it’s consistency that will keep you in that small percentage.
Don’t live in denial. Accept the circumstance and work with it. If you live in Mayberry, North Carolina, the chances of you being assaulted are minimal compared with Atlanta or Chicago. In Ball Ground, we had two assaults last year. Both involved cow-tipping.
Most police departments have mapping or crime analysis officers and websites that will tell you what happens where. Utilize it. Find out where these assaults happen. Unless in groups or involve a high-profile case, you won’t see them on TV. That doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Educate yourself.
Have a plan. Are you the person who can carry a weapon and are comfortable that you can use it or get to it if that situation presents itself to you? Guns, OC spray (pepper spray) or even Tasers are available to the public. They will deter crime and save your life if you’re committed to that level.
I carry a gun just about everywhere. I am afraid that if I walk into a convenience store without one, Murphy’s Law will engage me. I’m very discreet — not like rookies who want everyone to see: “Hey! I’ve got a gun and I’m bad!” No, I’m the guy who looks like your older brother or your father, wearing a coat or vest on so that nobody knows I’m armed.
If you are at that level and know the laws on concealment and are confident that you can keep that gun from being used against you, go for it.
Know when you’re vulnerable. Don’t go to the ATM at night. Try to stay out of isolated areas such as large parking lots or remote areas, not only at night but during the day.
Don’t open doors to people. Be comfortable with being overtly skeptical. Embrace the awkwardness! Don’t look down. Be the one who looks straight on and see how they look away. Don’t be the prey, be the predator — mentally, at least.
There are all sorts of good solid fundamentals that you can have for absolutely free, so e-mail me and I’ll get you pointed in the right direction. If you’re looking for a self-defense class, Sandy Springs Police offers a monthly class. They’re popular, so e-mail me and I’ll give you some info on it. If that doesn’t work for you, we’ll help you find a class near you.
I’m always open to questions so write me at and don’t be afraid to ask the “dumb” questions. Remember, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.
Be safe, folks.