Gas stations and convenience stores are, in particular, places where we need to practice our Active Self Protection. How do you keep yourself safe in locations like these?
Original video of the murder with news story: https://get-asp.com/oiyx
More information and a follow-up story from the victim’s mother: https://get-asp.com/wonm
What does this murder teach us about protecting ourselves?
- If you can win “the fight before the fight,” you win. You win that fight by minimizing your potential for being attacked in the first place! That means making smart decisions and living a life of awareness and readiness so that you don’t take unnecessary risks. In this instance, it means a life of locking your car doors when you’re not in it and of knowing that cars are inherently dangerous places when parked.
- Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. Parking lots are transitional spaces, as are gas stations. So the parking lot of a gas station that has a convenience store attached (most of them) is particularly a watering hole that a mugger finds attractive!
- Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private.
- It’s dark for half the day, and bad guys of all kinds love to launch ambushes from the dark. That means, as a self defender, that part of having good situational awareness involves keeping a flashlight on your person. That flashlight doesn’t have to be crazy tacticool and shouldn’t be firearm-mounted, because its purpose is to help you see at night to give you better awareness of any potential threats far before they can hurt you. A VERY compact option that runs on AAs is this Streamlight: http://amzn.to/1U9S39H and I carry this 1000 lumen Fenix: http://amzn.to/1S73jjb which is rechargeable and has multiple modes of brightness. I highly recommend a flashlight for everyone, simply as an awareness tool at night. I use mine to check my car’s passenger compartment if it’s parked in a dark area, and while walking in dark areas as well. That small check might have saved this man’s life.
- Cars are constant transitional spaces. When they are moving, they’re really not, but when standing still your car is a likely place of attack. When you’re getting in or out, your awareness generally suffers because you’re distracted, providing carjackers and muggers with opportunity to ambush you. When approaching the car when it’s parked in public, it can be used as a hiding place as well. When you’re stopped at a light you have a highly valuable commodity (the car itself) and can be ambushed and carjacked. Recognize the increased risk your car brings and keep your awareness high!
- People have to fight from their car more often than we care to think about. You should consider and prepare for fighting for your life and freedom while in the seats of your car! These kinds of skills can be practiced in a good force on force class and should prepare you to win against a determined attacker who means to harm you and yours in your vehicle.
- Spiritual fitness is an important part of Active Self Protection. You don’t often get any advance notice of the last day of your life, but we see over and over that self-defense isn’t a guarantee of winning every fight you might be placed in. You want to be at peace with your loved ones and with God, because you’ll need that peace on the day that you meet Him. Since you can’t guarantee advanced notice, make peace today.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.