Real life stories in their own words from students of how they used
something they learned in class to deal with a potential threat
(used by permission)
A Hero in My Dreams
by Jessica Cockroft
Thank you so much Tammy for the Girls Day Out class yesterday. It effected me so much that I went home last night and upon falling asleep began dreaming of grenade-tossing terrorist crashing a political rally. Thanks to my awareness of my surroundings and an incredible confidence in my abilities, I lived. And not only did I live, but, in spite of receiving a non-life-threatening wound at the hands of one of the scary dudes, I managed to take him out with my Smith & Wesson tactical pen. I was quite the hero last night! :-P lol
Thought you would find that amusing ;) Looking forward to my SDA class!
See you then,
I absolutely LOVE this! GDO is the first, foundational level class in OPD, and Jessica's first OPD class. It's wonderful to receive feedback that a young woman was so greatly affected by the first level...imagine what she'll gain as she moves on through additional levels of training with OPD classes! Jessica had very good technique in her SDA class. Her shots were tightly grouped on target, but she commented to me they were lower than where she wanted them and that she realized she was anticipating the recoil (I mention that in the two OPD classes she's taken). I asked her how long she's been shooting and she said that was her 3rd time. I assured her she'd work through the recoil anticipation!
Keep up the good work, Jessica!
Not Helpless in a Gun Free Zone
Where I work, is a weapons free zone, in both locations. On Friday, November 5th I had a parent come in to pick up their child where I work. I asked him for his identification since I had not seen him before. He told me he did not have it, I explained to him that since I have not seen him I would not be able to release the child, the child said to me, Miss Dee, this is my dad. I explained to her that I would need to see his ID; he told me then that he was taking his daughter, and proceeded to walk out of the building with her. I told him that if he walked out the door with her I would call the police, he told me to go ahead.
When he walked out the door, I yelled "stop" to him, he proceeded to his vehicle, I dialed 911, was connected to dispatch, gave a them a description of him, the make & model of the car and the license plate, as well as the description of the child, what she was wearing, etc. He did not leave the facility in his vehicle, but I was ready to follow him in the event he got in his vehicle. I had one of the staff contact my boss and inform him of the situation.
There were three responding officers who came to the facility; I had one of my staff call my boss who came to the facility. The police explained to him that he needed to have his identification when he picked up, and he needed to have his driver’s license with him when he was driving (which he did not have). All this time I had parents coming to pick up their children. I later explained to the parents what had happened and they understood.
I was not scared during this time, my heart was racing like there was no tomorrow, and I kept breathing (just like Tammy said we should do). I was extremely pissed off, that he put his child in this position. The guy bowed up to me trying to intimidate me, it did not work, my staff looked to me to see how I was going to react to this (they are all teenagers all but one are female), I know this definitely showed them that what we practice/talk about in our training sessions work and not to be afraid.
The next day one of my staff said she told her mom about what happened, her mom said what if she was armed, I told her to tell her mom not to worry about that, that I am learning how to handle that situation as well. My male staff member said to me “Miss Dee, we’ve never seen you like this!”
The training that Tammy offers is worth the time everyone puts in. Thank you!
Dee found out first hand that even though she experienced the effects of adrenaline (heart racing) she did not freeze, and this is because she has trained her muscles what to do through adrenalized drills she's done in classes like Between the Threat and the Bang and Everything Else.
Dee proved that the training really does work!
Excellent job Miss Dee!
I NEVER open my door
Wow, yesterday a man came to my door. Dressed nice, cell phone on his belt. But nothing in his hands, like a note pad or anything that might be used for asking questions, or a survey. I NEVER open my door even if they have a Bible tucked under their arm. I watched him go from house to house until he went out of sight. This was around 2:00. Then I heard the news and got your email !!!! I never did see a car that he may have been in. This is very scary. I don't even do yard work unless my husband is home. Be safe!
That is scary. You handled it very well by not answering the door and watching him until he left the neighborhood. Very observant to notice he didn't have anything in his hands - what legitimate reason could he have been there with nothing to take notes or pass out? I had a couple Jehovah Witnesses come to my door recently, I have a camera above my door and was pretty sure that's who they were when I saw them but I still didn't open my door. It was a 20ish man and woman, he spotted the camera after a few moments and pointed it out to her, she began acting real nervous when she saw it. She was wearing very high heals, very short skirt and low cut blouse – I never saw a JW dressed like that. See, he could have been legit, she might have been canvassing to come back later. Criminals are getting creative in getting in the door. Probably most of them just want to rob people - it's the terrible depression we're in, people who wouldn't ordinarily steal are stealing. But the disorganized criminal is the one that can suddenly turn violent (organized criminals plan so if you're observant you can often see it coming), these are the ones who are desperate, who would keep on trying to steal after a pregnant woman takes his knife away and slashes him to pieces, or who when you surprise them in your house might turn violent out of fear, or who after they've gotten in your door because you let them in realize you'll cal the cops when they leave so they better not leave a witness who can I'D them.
The career criminals are easier to spot because they're not dressed nice and even if they are you can put pearls on a pig and it's still obviously a pig. So these, even if it occurred to them to dress up, would be easy to spot and most people if they're observant (so many women aren't and the scummiest looking person can walk right up to them) will not let someone like that approach them. Now it's a lot of ordinary people who are desperate that are committing crimes...that's why so many bank robberies by people who don't even realize the whole thing is caught on tape and their face isn't even covered. This type criminal doesn't set out to kill someone but they're already using very bad judgment in turning to crime – they obviously have the lack of morals to do such a thing (there are those of us no matter how bad it got the thought of crime would never cross our mind) and once they start down that path there's nothing to stop it from getting worse. That's the one who kills you and as they sit in prison they're remorseful, but you're still dead. We can not afford to take chances.
You did very well, keep it up!
Addendum: The morning before I sent this newsletter out, an OKCPD Citizen Alert came in about a woman in NW OKC who opened her door when someone knocked and allowed the man in her home because he was disguised as an ONG worker. I forwarded the Citizen Alert to the group, but KFOR has a few more details in their article. Once inside the house, the fake ONG worker pulled a gun on her, forced her to strip, and duct taped her head, after which his accomplice appeared...evidently the accomplice was considering raping her. She was VERY lucky that neither of these two men raped and/or killed her. You see, once inside the privacy of YOUR home, they can do what they want. Unfortunately for her, they now know she's an easy target and unless they're caught, they may be back. Even more unfortunate, she will probably be just as unprepared as she was the first time to deal with this threat.
The fake ONG worker gained entry to the home after the SECOND time he knocked on her door...the first time he asked her if she had any vicious dogs. Ladies, whether you have a dog, a cat, a ferret, a husband, or nothing at all, the answer to this question is always YES!!!!! Some of my dogs are Golden Retrievers and like Will Rogers, they never met anyone they didn't like...but if anyone asks me if they bite I immediately respond, "Yes!" So what if they only bite cookies and squeaky toys, their size plus the belief that they bite is enough to keep the uninvited at a distance. I do happen to have one dog who has enough German Shepherd in him he actually would bite...he guards me and I have no doubt he would eat someone's face off if they tried to harm me.
Home invasion is a problem that is not going away, and the answer is preparation so that 1. You can prevent this or 2. If it happens you can deal with it. Two men with guns inside your home = you shoot to kill! Best option – DON’T LET THEM IN YOUR HOME!!!!
Stalked at Church
Tammy, I know you are really busy, but I have a question for you. I go to a church on Monday nights if I am not out of town working. I park in a bank parking lot across the street. I now carry my OC (pepper spray) and my kubaton and am always aware of my surroundings. One night a few weeks ago I was going to my car and noticed a man behind me and he said it's ok.
We got to our cars and had a very brief exchange. He started going to church there also. I had never seen him before. I always put my bible down on the seat where I want to sit and then go talk with friends before the service starts. The next time I was able to go he was sitting 1 row behind me and when I sat down he came and sat right behind me then asked I wanted to sit with him, I didn't but did just to be nice. When service was over he told me he was sitting in his car and noticed me get out of mine. He now sits where I like to sit and parks where I like to park. Maybe he has always done that, I've never noticed him before though. I have always had NQR's about this guy. I get a feeling that he is sneaky, I don't like or trust him. It's just weird to me out of nowhere this guy has started appearing. Am I blowing things out of proportion? I just love this church and need it in my life, but am getting aggravated. Or is this guy just a pain in the butt? I want to take your Everything Else class on Sept 18, maybe we can talk then.
Thanks for listening.
I always have time to answer questions so please don’t ever hesitate to ask...this is a very good question. Did you read my last newsletter? The reason I included the posting and my response in Point of View about God taking care of us was to express that just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be any less proactive about your own personal defense. That includes at church. In fact, predators often can be found in churches...they believe, many times correctly, that because they're in church people won't be "mean" or "harsh" and turn them away. But you can be in just as much danger from a predator right there in church.
I tell my students to never, ever disregard your NQR because it is ALWAYS right. Men aren’t so good at this but women’s “intuition” is something that is very well known. I’m sure you’ve heard me mention the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker – he is a world renown security expert and the book is about how women have this ability and if they listened to it, it would keep them out of harm’s way, or at the very least alert them something is going on...warning is always a tactical advantage. I believe we always get an alert, I think very often we are wrapped up in our busy lives and we miss a cue, but the warning is always there. I have talked to hundreds of women, studied thousands of crimes, the warning – or the opportunity for the warning – is always there. So your NQR is right.
There are times such as in your situation where you have the time to take your NQR to the next level, and you have told me the things you’ve observed about him since he first started making himself known to you. Here is the fine line and this is what women ask me all the time, how do you know he’s not just interested in you? Being flirty? Wants to ask you out? Just being friendly at church. etc., etc. And we, as women, often get caught up in that because our society has taught us that we gain something positive out of a man giving us attention...we’re flattered, maybe even interested a little bit in a romantic possibility...and here is what men ARE good at, they pick up on that, especially those who are looking for prey, it is their modus operandi. They play on that, and if you were to say “you know, you’re making me uncomfortable” he would play on your emotions and say he was only trying to be friendly. If in church, he might even take it one step farther and say he just needed a friend and felt comfortable with you. I have been in ministry on some level for 30 years and I have encountered all types, some who were nothing more than predators trying to guilt Christians into thinking that they were their only hope to get to God. Very sadly, too many people fall for this. Last February in OKC a young Sunday school teacher fell for this and she paid with her life (article).
So the question I’ve had so often is how do I know? I mean, last Saturday I was walking through Penn Square with my best friend and this guy stuck his arm out as we walked by, trying to hand us a sample of something or other...after we walked by I told her that one of these days one of those guys is gonna do something like that and I’m just going to grab his arm, flip him over and leave him there on the ground as I walk off. That’s my gut reaction when somebody comes at me like that...but then again self-defense has been my mindset and practice for 36 years so it’s automatic. But I realized the guy was just an obnoxious salesman and so I didn’t flip or pepper spray him, break his nose with a kubotan, or shoot him....I probably would have been kicked out of the mall if I had (but it might have been worth it!) I didn’t have an NQR going off, just an OJA (obnoxious jerk alert), so I made a quick decision just to walk on. It is very simple to differentiate the difference, that fine line, it is the NQR.
You admit you’ve always had NQRs about this guy, so there’s your fine line. It’s the NQR, something isn’t quite right and you can’t put your finger on it but something is going on.
I’ll give you another hint, when you suddenly realize someone is there and they tell you it’s okay, it is NOT okay. The last time somebody approached me suddenly in a parking lot, it was a man who had taken a class at a range I taught at and he was the passenger in a pickup truck, I saw the truck go by me in the parking lot, it slowed down and as I was making a wider berth around it, the window rolled down and I heard a male voice say, “Don’t shoot Tammy, it’s John...” Which was when I realized I had put my hand on my grip underneath my shirt tail (he read my body language). He wanted to ask me a question. I never brandished, and I never took my hand off my grip, and I never got close enough to the truck that he could grab me. It was colossally stupid on his part. I tell men and women both, men with good intentions know better than to approach a woman in a parking lot like that.
There is also the question of personal space, which is something we address in the Everything Else class. Unless you have given someone else permission to be in your personal space, they are trampling on your rights if they come into your space. This is where we as women have to be careful, and why I teach my students don’t be nice, we have to stop being nice, we have to stop worrying we’re gonna offend someone. So what if you tell the guy, “Look, I’m not interested in sitting with you or having a relationship with you so you need to back off.” If he plays the Christian guilt card, that’s his problem. In ministry I’ve had that played in some of the worst ways, and it’s hard when you think somebody is needing compassion and you’re pushing them away. But predators make no religious distinction. How about the BTK killer? He was a pillar in his church in Kansas City.
It is not weird that he’s suddenly showing up everywhere you are, it is planned. You are not blowing things out of proportion. Myself and a few women I know would have already scared the guy by this point (I would have scared him in the parking lot if he’d come up on me like that). It’s still a free country and he can come to the church just as much as you can, he can park where he wants to, and sit where he wants to, and you have no control over that. But you DO have control over your own self.
There are different ways you can approach this situation. One, if you have a friend who also goes to that church, whether male or female (or even a married couple), that you can confide in away from there and say you know, I’m just not comfortable with this guy, will you make sure to save me a seat by you where there’s no way he can sit there too? For example, if you know a married couple that you can sit in between, or two friends of yours that you can sit in between. Ask the friend(s) to shadow you when you get there, just hang with you or pay attention and if they see him monopolizing your time come over and say “hey Laurie, I want you to meet somebody” and take you away. And then if he sits near, or follows you inside the church, completely ignore him. Don’t say hello (if you do say the brush off hello where you acknowledge somebody but don’t slow down), don’t sit with him if he asks – by doing so you told him you have a weakness in saying no. I’m not cutting you down, 98% of all women have this same issue and the only way you don’t have it is if you work for it (thus the training in classes). This is what the drills are for in Between the Threat and the Bang, to help teach you to be more aggressive in situations just like this. So you have to correct your indication of weakness to him by being more aggressive. Never, ever, EVER let him follow you out to the parking lot. Absolutely have someone else walk out with you from now on. It sounds like this is a place where you have some friends, whether it’s a male or female, arrange ahead of time to have a buddy with you when you walk to your car. Don’t make an exception to that unless you’re carrying a gun and are very well prepared to use it. The parking lot is your most dangerous place, this is where Mr. Friendly, who has spent time charming you and letting you know he’s a gentleman, does an ungentlemanly thing by coming up to you in the dark parking lot, you are scared when you realize he’s there and he chuckles and says, “It’s just me” and you let your guard down for one second which is when he grabs you and forces you into your car or his and carries out whatever plan it is he’s had all along. It never ends well.
Sadly, most people would say I’m being paranoid and trying to instill fear, which is why I don’t recommend you tell anyone these things at your church unless they are of like mind to you and will understand and accept self-defense. Unfortunately, too many people in churches assume as the woman did in the letter at the beginning of my Point of View, that just because they’re a Christian nothing bad will happen. Christians are both victims and predators...and God is true to Himself, He does not force anyone against their will, so even some Christians become victimizers and predators. You can be very diplomatic about telling a couple friends that the guy makes you uncomfortable and you want them to shadow you while you’re at church, including walking with you out to the parking lot. That will be received much better than expressing the more sinister things I’ve expressed. Even in my own field I have people tell me I’m overreacting, but that’s because they’re men and they are not prey. We are prey so we have to think like prey, it gives us a tremendous tactical advantage.
You have a right to be at a place you enjoy and you don’t have to be terrorized out of there. If he is just a pain in the butt, he’ll get the hint quickly if you start completely ignoring him and have a couple friends shadow you...if nothing else, he’ll get tired of you ignoring him and he’ll move on, either away from there or on to someone else there. If he’s a predator, he’ll move on to an easier target. Either way you’ve accomplished your goal, which is keeping yourself safe.
A note about churches...many churches now have “security teams” which are conceal carry citizens who attend the church. Usually no one but the pastor and the persons on the detail know their job is to be on alert for problems. This started occurring more after more and more churches had gunmen walk in. I have no idea if this church has any such thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some who attend who are carrying concealed. I would be, I have been standing in front of churches with a guitar on me, leading worship, with a gun strapped on my side. So you don’t know, and you can’t assume someone else will protect you, but my point is it wouldn’t surprise me if there were some people there who you could tell you’re uncomfortable and they would probably close ranks and help keep an eye out.
I have to tell you this. Tonight I went to church, which starts at 7PM. I normally get there around 6:30 to fellowship with friends. I got there at 5:50 and parked directly across the street. There were 4 kids walking across the street and went by my car so I waited for them to go by.....only a few seconds. I grabbed my purse, bible and keys locked and shut my door......only a few seconds, was not barely in the middle of a 2 way street when that guy I was telling you about called my name and waved, I kinda waved back and kept walking and then he asked me how my week was and I said it was ok and walked into the church and he walked away. He did come in a few minutes later. I sat down by some friends and I was rattled. I had played some scenerios in my mind but not that one. I know I just got out of church, but I'm gonna cuss, how in the hell did he know where I was gonna park? This dude just comes out of no where. I told one of the guys there and he told me we have a police officer that goes there and got him. He watched him for me and told me that this guy doesn't have any people skills. I sat across the room from him with that other guy and he and the police officer walked me to my car. It freaked me out because he has been parking over in the bank parking lot. Whew,will I be glad to see you Saturday. He obviously was waiting for me, If he has any brain cells between his ears, he will get the message. Thanks for listening.
I can tell you that it always SEEMS like they came out of nowhere, but they most definitely do not. When they “come out of nowhere” it means they have been watching you...which you already figured out, and yes, it does rattle you.
You did the right thing by being aware, telling a man inside the church, talking to the police officer who goes there and alerting him, having him walk you to your car. The man may have no people skills, or that may be a ruse....either way, he has made it clear he is watching you and that makes him dangerous to you no matter what. Even complete idiots kill people, so it really doesn’t matter what his deal is.
He SHOULD get the message when you have a police officer walk you to your car – whether or not he was in uniform, law enforcement puts off a different vibe, especially to criminals, than regular people. I’m not a criminal but just because of my training and what I know I can most always spot law enforcement even in plain clothes....criminals pick up on it, at the very least he’ll realize you’re having somebody walk you out. However, even if he seems to back off, don’t ever let your guard down around this guy. Organized bad guys, which he obviously is (these are the ones who plan versus act randomly) are willing to wait months to get what they want, so never let your guard down no matter what.
And yes, after Saturday's Everything Else class you will be even more equipped to deal with this.
You were ready tonight and you did all the right things, even though it scares the crap out of you! You are in good company, recently a guy in a big bubba truck pulled up in my driveway and I saw him on my surveillance camera, he opened my outside door when I didn't answer the doorbell (I was already armed by then) and even though he drove away, it rattled me so badly that I shook for an hour afterwards. A couple weeks ago in BTB one of the women was shaking from the adrenalized drills. Yeah, it does rattle a person, even when you get through it unscathed!
Keep your head up, you’re doing fine,
Car Jacking Thwarted!
I'm soooooooo glad I've taken all of your classes....I had an interesting trip downtown. I went down to the Court House to file a deed and while I was sitting at a red light to turn left a man tried to get into my car. Thank God I always keep my doors locked because he snuck up from the back passenger side and I didn't see him until he was trying to open the passenger door. Nobody else was at the light. It scared the crap out of me and immediately made me furious. I am unable to carry during the week because of my job, but I always have my Fox pepper spray in my purse, which I keep unzipped on the passenger seat so that I can get to it quickly. I'm so glad for all of your classes – I had the Fox in my hand in a heartbeat as I lunged at the passenger window screaming, “I’ll kill you you son of a bitch.” It shocked him so much that he ran off, looking behind him as he went. There were no police around as usual and no other people really except for the cars flying by that I would have hit if I'd run the red light, which I would have done if he'd gotten in. It sounds funny being downtown but it was actually an oddly isolated spot at the moment he picked to try and get in...I'm sure that's what he was waiting for. I know I'm paranoid but it's no wonder, there's always some scumbag just around the corner.....
So, this is just an extra thank you for the training you have given me because I could tell it shocked him at how I immediately reacted.
Angie proved what I strive to get across to my students – that you must prepare ahead of time (i.e. train) so that you are always ready to deal with an unforeseen threat. Some people have the attitude they’ll go on alert when a dangerous situation arises, but as you’ve heard me say, I don’t go to dangerous places yet sometimes the places I go turn dangerous. What happened to Angie verifies this. She was downtown at a typically busy location in her car, and she told me she was looking around as she always does. “He came out of nowhere” is what I frequently hear – and I have in fact experienced this myself. The truth is, he doesn’t “come out of nowhere” but it is impossible to see everything at all times so yes, of course, sometimes even the most situationally aware of us are going to miss something. This is why we cannot rely upon only one plan of action. For example, Angie cannot carry on week days because of her job, so she had an alternative weapon. Most importantly, she had her alternative weapon at the ready, meaning she didn’t have to reach for her purse, or dig around inside of it to find the pepper spray. I cannot stress enough that it does absolutely no good to have a weapon – any weapon – and not be prepared (trained) to use it, AND have it close enough so that you can quickly get it when you need it.
Angie also demonstrated what I teach about aggression. First of all, we must care enough about ourselves to get angry when some scumbag decides to take advantage of us…in her own words, it first scared her and then angered her. This is a perfect example of what I teach about using our own adrenaline in our favor. Yes, get angry, let 100% of that anger out toward the would be attacker. Mr. Scumbag may not have seen what she had in her hand, that it was pepper spray and not a gun, but I doubt he would have even looked because he was too focused on the crazy lady in the car screaming that SHE’s gonna kill HIM!
Wait, what? Scumbag decides to get in innocent woman’s car and do God only knows what to her and suddenly she opens up a can of whoop ass on him!?! I am bursting with pride…and I have to wonder if Mr. Scumbag had to change his pants after that…
This is an excellent example of going on the offensive as soon as possible. Angie’s actions turned the tables and she went on the offensive rather than being on the defensive, which is a tactical advantage…as soon as you have the opportunity, turn the situation around and put your would be attacker on the defensive. Yeah, I think this scumbag was quickly on the defensive.
I asked Angie if she bruised her shoulder because the seatbelt was holding her back as she lunged toward the window and she laughed and said “probably.”
Angie did everything right. She prepared herself by training in different methods of personal defense. She had her car doors locked, and yeah Scumbag could have broken her window (he was banging on the window when the door didn’t open) but she bought herself enough time by having her doors locked to get to her pepper spray. Had he succeeded in breaking the window he would have gotten a face full of Fox 5.3 (the 5.3 stands for 5.3 million Scoville Heat Units of pure chili pepper – if you haven’t taken my pepper spray class, don’t miss that class so you’ll know why that’s important). Yes, Scumbag would have been in a world of hurt. I suspect had he succeeded in breaking the window, and gotten 5.3 million SHU in the face, the grand finale would have been getting run over as Angie drove away.
Don’t have a gun? Use your car.
Fox Pepper Spray, $14.50. Training, $45.00. Not getting raped, tortured and murdered–PRICELESS!
Incidentally, the day after this happened to Angie the local news reported two men wanted in two different incidents of car jackings. One approached a woman in a parking lot asking for a ride, when she refused he forced himself into her car with her in it…she escaped by throwing herself out of the moving car and running for help at a business. This suspect is still at large. (See OKC PD Citizen Alert for details)
Ladies, there are plenty of scumbags out there, and they don’t just want a ride, they want to do unspeakable things to you. You must be prepared to deal with these would be attackers, as Angie was, because you cannot rely on anyone else to protect you from those who would do worse than kill you.
Great job, Angie!
Road Rage in the Parking Lot
As I turned from 122nd into the parking lot of Homeland, a little red car raced in front of me—I slammed on my brakes to miss him and honked my horn thinking he’d stop, but he didn’t. Instead, he screeched in front of me anyway, and then as I drove on to park near the store, he left rubber on the parking lot and raced BACK to park behind me to block me in…with his window down shouted obscenities….I was horrified. I was parked with my windows up and doors locked, but still, I was totally unnerved. I picked up my cell phone and “pretended” to be talking on it thinking he MIGHT think I was calling the police…instead, he just kept his car behind mine, hemming me in and continuing to shout the obscenities and wave his arm outside his window. During all of this time (what seemed like a long time but really wasn’t), I noticed a man in a black SUV looking toward me as he sat in his vehicle. Finally, the red car sped away, then stopped at the outer west edge of the parking lot and just stayed…like he was waiting until I got out. (I sat in my car until he was out of sight). Then, he drove out of the parking lot and disappeared.
Well, I sat for awhile making sure he didn’t come back, and then I got out of my car and walked into the store with my pepper spray in my hand…SUDDENLY, OUT OF NOWHERE, he came racing down in front of the store as I was nearing the sidewalk walking into the store—I RAN on the sidewalk and ran inside the store…so rattled…and then walked in and just stood there looking out at my car. An older gentleman (probably late 60s) began to talk to me saying that guy in the red car was speeding in the parking lot, acting CRAZY and had been driving crazy around—said that is why he hadn’t gotten out of HIS vehicle. Then, the man told me he had a concealed weapon but kept it in his car…and wanted his wife to take classes to have one, too. I kept standing at the front of the store looking out on the parking lot at my car thinking that red car might return and do something to my car…or just wait for me. I felt scared. I had come in the store for ONE can of soup for a recipe I was making for dinner…I thought to myself WHAT in the world am I going to do now? I knew that I was NOT going back outside by myself to my car…so, as I went through the checkout, the package guy asked if I needed help out (strange question since I had only 1 sack)…so I told him actually, no, but that I needed to have someone WALK with me out to my car—told him what had just happened to me…and he said he’d walk out there. I told him IF we got to the front of the store and saw that red car, I did not even want to go out.
But, it turned out okay—nobody was there, but I will tell you I was rattled over this for awhile. It made me think if I was this rattled over THIS, what in the world must someone feel like after being attacked!!! Anyway, it made me realize how really crazy some people are—and of course, I should never honk my horn at ANYBODY if I can help it.
My husband later said that if ANYBODY ever hemmed me in like that, I should just call 911 right away and stay put in my car.
Analysis and Action Plan
The reason I like to post student stories is because they help women know that these things do happen to everyday women in their everyday lives. So I appreciate every story I receive from students.
It also gives me an opportunity to address what could be done in a given situation, so here goes...
The #1 rule in self-defense is if you can leave, LEAVE!
But you may not be able to leave if someone suddenly pulls behind you and hems you in. The positive of this situation was that Janet was safely inside her LOCKED car when this guy blocked her in. Her best option at that point would be to call 911. Law enforcement may have gotten there while this guy was still in the parking lot and they would have dealt him appropriately. At least had it escalated, law enforcement would have been there. This is an application of don't second guess yourself, don't think you're being rude or bothering the police or overreacting. That's what they're there for, call 911!
Use your car as a weapon if you have to
Had the guy gotten out and come at Janet in her car, she could have thrown it in reverse to get out of there. No, it's not a pleasant option, but neither is getting attacked by someone who is obviously out of control. So yes, if he gets out of his car and tries to bash your window in, ram his car if you have to and get out of there, use the weapon you have at hand, even if it happens to be your own car.
The #1 rule in self-defense is if you can leave, LEAVE!
At the point he moved, a good option would be to leave and go to another store, BUT watch very carefully to make sure he is not following you and if he does, drive to the nearest police station. If you don't know where one is, call 911. Don't stop your car anywhere that is isolated, if you have to stop somewhere stop in a public place. DO NOT GO HOME IF SOMEONE IS FOLLOWING YOU.
Yes, I know this is inconvenient, especially if you just ran to the store for one item! This is part of your mind-set change, I'm sure Janet would have chosen inconvenience over the terror she experienced just to not have to go through that.
Have a plan!
If I did choose to get out of my car at this point, I would have moved my car to a different location close to the door. Think outside the box. What would make you a difficult target at this point? I would not be beyond putting the driver's side of my car (two wheels) parallel to or even on the sidewalk with my driver's side door facing the store so that when I open my door I am on the sidewalk, not on the street. No, it's not the most ideal or socially acceptable thing to do, but neither is trying to run someone down in a parking lot. What if a police officer comes by and sees your car like that? Well, it's a great time to tell them about the lunatic that just hemmed you in in your parked car!
Call 911 when you need to
Now if I got out of my car and someone tried to run me over, absolutely at that point I would call 911. If there wasn't incentive yet to do it, do it NOW!
Janet did the right thing coming out of the store – she had someone walk her out, she decided she would not go out if she saw the red car, she got herself safely to her vehicle so she could drive home.
Janet had a very natural reaction to someone who almost ran into her – who among us wouldn't honk our horn? I've done that myself. You cannot walk around on eggshells, hoping you won't tick somebody off because you're being a normal human being. Unfortunately there are people out there who can't control themselves and their behavior for whatever reason, and sometimes we get caught in the path of those people. When that happens, breathe, think, remember your training, and respond in whatever way you have to to protect yourself. This is not a reactive, unpredictable response, this is a methodical response, a response you make, yes, while you're terrified because yes, it is terrifying when someone turns aggressive like this, but even through the very normal human fear you do the right thing. Right thing = you're still intact and bad guy (lunatic) is either gone or down.
Road Rage at a 4-Way
Janet's story reminded me of something that happened to me a few weeks ago...Not as 'severe' though. I approached a 4-way stop, and was stopping, when a red Chevy Avalanche flew through the intersection. I honked at him. As he was nearly through the intersection, he stuck his left arm out of his window and gave me the bird (although I think it's rude, I could handle that), THEN he made a 'gun' out of his hand and acted like he was shooting me, like a child would do playing cowboys & Indians. Then he gave me the bird again. I didn't retaliate; he just sped on and weaved in and out of traffic and I didn't see him after that. I just let him go on. The whole gun thing got to me, though. Like my husband said, had he tried to confront me directly, I was prepared, I had my gun with me. Thankful I didn't have to use it, though! There are lots of crazies out there!
Sometimes, ladies, the best self-defense weapon you have is the one between your ears...Pam did the RIGHT thing!
In a parking lot one Saturday
In a parking lot one Saturday afternoon, while Tammy was teaching a Between the Threat and the Bang class, I was dealing with a situation.
It was mid-afternoon and I had treated myself to a leisurely late lunch at a new restaurant in my area. As I was preparing to leave, a man came into the restaurant that immediately got my attention. It was a NQR moment. Something was Not Quite Right. It was probably the plastic tub he was carrying, the kind that you see people selling candy out of at busy intersections supposedly for the benefit of some obscure charity. He walked over to the cash register and started talking to the cashier. I went to the ladies’ room, and when I came out, he was gone.
I stopped in at another business next door, browsed a bit, then left the building to go to my car, which was parked about 25-30 feet away. By this time I had forgotten about the man, but was actively scanning the parking lot and area around my car, because it’s a habit.
I had covered about half the distance to my car, when another car about half a block across the large parking lot pulled away to reveal a person. It was the man from the restaurant. He saw me at the same time and started walking toward me. Thoughts flashed through my head: “No way I’m turning my back on you and going back into the store. It’s just as far as my car. He’s twice as far from the car as I am, I can make it to my car and be locked inside before he gets to me.” I walked faster. He picked up speed, too. So I walked faster… and so did he.
About 10 paces from my car, I realized that I wasn’t going make it before he closed enough distance to be a threat. I was on the edge of panic, but pulled myself together. I can handle this. I locked eyes with him, still moving toward the car, and was about to raise my left hand and bark ‘Stop’, at him when he raised his hand in a wave as if to say, “Ok, lady, I get the message,” and altered his angle of approach so that he would pass me several feet away instead of coming straight toward me. I kept looking right at him because he was still coming to close. He waved his hand, again, then fixed his attention on someone or something behind me and off to my left. I kept my eyes on him while quickly getting into the car, starting it and pulling away in the opposite direction.
I learned several things from this encounter:
It was mid-afternoon in the middle of a parking lot with people around, and this guy made me feel like prey with his first step toward me. He got too close a lot faster than I imagined possible. Even with my training and a gun on my hip, I nearly panicked. Because of my training and advance planning, I quickly pulled myself out of panic and took charge of the situation. In the very moment that my attitude changed, he got the message that I was not prey and immediately set his sights elsewhere.
My take-away: From the very first moment that you feel like prey, take charge and do it aggressively.
Saved from being kicked in the face!
I had a patient who suddenly got quite combative last night. He'd been taking off his oxygen mask, and as I was reaching for it to put it back on, he tried to kick me in the face. I moved fast enough that he missed my face, but he caught me right under the collarbone. This was a big strong guy, and he kicked hard. His other leg had just started moving towards me when I yelled "STOP!" in that tone. He froze just long enough that I was able to jump out of the way of that other foot. Apparently I was pretty loud because all the other nurses came running from the nurses' station down the hall to see what was going on.
It may not have been exactly the kind of situation we were practicing for in Between the Threat and the Bang, but what we practiced certainly helped keep me from getting kicked a second time.
Woman in distress fake-out
Just thought I would pass this on to you. I work for Oklahoma Breast Care Center and I drive a big mobile van all around Oklahoma. We have to stop frequently to get diesel fuel and often stop at a station at I-35 and NW 10th Street. In the last few weeks I have been approached by two different women on two different occasions saying they have broken down and are looking for gas money. Their cars looked fine to me!!! I just tell them NO! and they drive off.
Why I never really put my purse down in the grocery store
(or any other store for that matter)
Just thought I would share this incident as a reminder to be careful while you are out shopping this holiday season. This could happen anywhere. I just happened to be at the local Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store.
Some jerk thought he would help himself to my purse today. I’m habit of keeping my head up and scanning my surroundings everywhere I go. Some call it paranoia; I call it refusing to be a victim. Even with that level of awareness, my purse was almost stolen today. It pissed me off, especially since my SDA license, which I had picked up less than 24 hours earlier, was in it.
I went straight to the grocery store after church to get something for lunch (the larder is pretty bare right now). It is my habit to rest my purse on the cart as I push it down the aisle, but it is always attached to my body somehow, usually on a long strap across my body, but today I kept my wrist through a short strap instead. I probably looked like an easy mark: middle-aged woman with a purse in the top basket of the cart. However, any time I reached for items on a shelf, I picked it up, put it on my shoulder with the long strap and turned toward the shelf so that my purse was between me and the cart.
I was in the bread aisle, which is on the side of the store where the lunch meat and cheese is. It’s a very wide aisle, and there are display cases down the middle of it between the bread shelves and the cold cases on the wall. It’s also a fairly easy shot down the aisle and out the front door.
About half way down the bread aisle, I stop my cart and reach to pick up my purse. Just as I lift it out of the cart, I see movement out of the corner of my left eye (bread shelf is on my right). I turn around to see a very tall man walking briskly up the aisle away from me. He doesn’t look around or stop or slow down. I have no idea where he came from. He could not have approached from the direction I was facing when I stopped the cart, because he was very tall and the cases are short enough I would have seen him coming. I suspect he was coming up behind me and did an about-face when I picked up my purse, which was the movement that caught my attention.
After that, I carried my purse on across my body on the long strap, as I should have been doing all along, and put just enough room between the cart and the shelves for me to stand between them. I was all over that store, crossing paths with other shoppers multiple times, and never saw the man, again.
I am certain that he was looking for an easy mark, and thought he had found one. Except for a quick flash in my peripheral vision, I didn’t see it coming, and I look for this kind of thing all the time. If I had not religiously followed my ‘don’t ever put the purse down’ rule, I am certain that it would have been out the door in a flash.
So, I’m making changes in how I carry certain important items. I will still carry a purse, but the important items won’t be in it. Ladies, you might want to think this through for yourselves.
Gentlemen, please pass this on to the women in your lives.
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