Defend Yourself from Bad Advice
Date Added: May 1, 2003
Many e-mail urban legends portray women as particularly susceptible to the nefarious plots of anonymous madmen. Chain letters containing practical self-defense advice are popular, but often seem so unconventional that you can't help but question them.
SAFETY FOR WOMEN
I learned from my children's karate classes that the elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
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.
Last night I attended a personal safety workshop, and it jolted me. It was given by an amazing man, Pat Malone, who has been a body guard for famous figures like Farrah Fawcett and Sylvester Stallone. He works for the FBI, and teaches police officers and Navy SEALS hand-to-hand combat. This man has seen it all, and knows a lot.
He focused his teachings to us on HOW TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME. He gave us some statistics about how much the occurrences of random violence have escalated over the recent years, and it's terrible.
Something like 99% of us will be exposed to, or become a victim of a violent crime. Here are some of the most important points that I got out of his presentation:
(1.) The three reasons women are easy targets for random acts of violence are:
(a.) Lack of Awareness: You MUST know where you are AND what's going on around you.
(b.) Body Language: Keep your head up, swing your arms, stand straight up!
(c.) Wrong Place - Wrong Time: DON'T walk alone in an alley, or drive in a bad neighborhood at night.
(2.) 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 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.) A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: 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 drivers 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. (Better paranoid than dead.)
(3.) ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot.)
(a.) Do not get on an elevator if there is a weirdo already on there. (Of course bad men don't always look bad.)
(b) Do not stand back in the corners of the elevator, be near the front, by the doors, ready to get off or on.
(c.) If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and someone suspicious gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on.
[COMPLETE MESSAGE TEXT NOT POSTED]
Unconventional self-defense techniques that appeal to common-sense are popular, but questionable at best. They paint a vivid and frightening picture of the "predator's mind" and, through terrifying "it could happen to you" stories, try to convince the reader that she does not need special training to protect herself.
This chain letter began circulating at about the same time as another collection of tips. The other letter offered no source and many women's self-defense experts scoffed at the advice it proffered.
In this one, we have some idea of the source. Pat Malone is a real personal safety expert and former bodyguard who teaches defensive and survival tactics. His seminars focus on "self-protection from predators without self-defense or weapons and are not self-defense classes."
Mr. Malone did not responded to my inquiries about the letter above, but he told a reader of greelightWRITE.com that the material is consistent with what he imparts in his seminars. In a 1996 interview in Sun Newspapers, Malone gives advice that parallels that of the chain letter, though he cautions that these technique, just like formal self-defense techniques, must be practiced to be effective.
Susan Bartelstone, personal safety specialist and the host of Dear Safety Solutions.com, told BreakTheChain.org that she was so concerned about some of the advice given in this chain that she had added a special section to her web site to deal with the claims within. Click here to download her claim-by-claim rebuttal in Adobe PDF format.
BreakTheChain.org recommends against forwarding this letter for several reasons. First, it is an transcript of a paid seminar, written by an anonymous author. Malone sells a videotape for $25 on his web site that includes the information above and more. Second, e-mail is an unreliable medium for disseminating this type of information. The version above differs significantly from copies I saw just a year ago, as well-meaning forwarders add their own comments and "advice" to it. Finally, the advice it imparts is questionable at best and could be dangerous at worst. Break this chain.
References: Sun Newspapers, GreenLightWRITE.com, PatMalone.com, Dear Safety Solutions.com