March 15, 2006

Beware THE predator?!

My cousin just sent me an e-mail titled "crucial tips, especially for ladies" that contains a 9-point list of advice for avoiding THE predator. No wonder women here are scared to walk outside alone in the evenings. They're constantly warned of THE predator who is waiting out there for them to let their guard down. Last year a friend told me that she had been told by a self-defense instructor to always hold her keys in her hand with the sharp ends of the keys sticking out of the fist when walking home alone at night, apparently they were supposed to work well as a weapon against the rapists and serial killers who just waiting for the opportunity to attack.

But who is the PREDATOR? And if he, or she?, really exists, wouldnt a better means to protect oneself be to stay out of desolate places? At least that's the advice I've been given in Brazil when going into sketchier neighborhoods. When bus stations and parking lots get empty, that's when it can get dangerous, because there would be no-one to help you if something did happen. But this strategy obviously wouldnt work if everbody is so scared of each other that they wouldnt come to another person's help even if there was a need.

Last fall we read a book by a UofC professor, Danielle Allen, in which she advocated for decreasing people's fears and mistrust through talking to strangers. At the time I thought her proposal sounded silly (also I found her more general assimilationist politics disturbing), but maybe she has a point. I'm not sure being more friendly to strangers would solve the problem, but at least it might help some people to realize that not every other person they encounter on the street is a rapist or serial killer.

Dont take me wrong, I agree that its better to be safe than sorry, but such paranoia as this that basically tells every single time they set foot out of the house alone, they will be in danger of rape, abduction or murder breeds more fear, panic, mistrust and even hatred than anything else.

Here are the "crucial tips":

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this
is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the d river's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may
want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator
instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably ! in a zig -zag pattern!
8. As women, we are
always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door."
The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of
their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

And just in case the recepient of the email hasnt been convinced of the existence of the predator by now, the list concludes with the following:

Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby ----This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana.


Blogger Matthew said...


Most of these are urban legends (like the baby thing). We do live in a bit of a culture of fear.

Working from statistics, here are some real facts:

1. As far as rape/sexual attacks, at least in the states, in the vast majority of cases people will know their attacker. The idea of the unidentified rapist is greatly overexagerated.

General Self Defense thoughts:
1. Just be aware. That's really the key thing.

2. Trust your gut. If your gut tells you that you are in trouble, accept that its right and change whats wrong. Most people wait until its far, far, far too late.

The gun thing is actually true. Most people can't hit a static target, let alone a moving one.

Beyond that the most important thing, from a self defense perspective, is never go any where with an assailant. It's the best way to get into real trouble. Thats because they are taking you somewhere they feel more comfortable in order to do something to you. If someone ever tries to force you anywhere, that's when you have to fight back and fight back hard.

- Matt

3/16/2006 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Clint Carter said...

The entire list is an urban legend. See ninetips.asp for an analysis of all nine, and yes #9 is bogus [delete the space between "prevent/" and "ninetips"]. Anytime you see that something "should probably" be taken seriously, or similar verbiage, that's a prime indicator of a hoax!

6/13/2006 3:46 PM  

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