How do you think that this woman could have protected herself from this attack? This kind of knife attack really should make all of us think about our Active Self Protection before, during, and after the attack.
Video of the knife attack with some details from local news: https://get-asp.com/ye33
How do I protect myself from a knife attack?
- 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. This knife attack, while surprise, didn’t come completely out of the blue! To build your situational awareness, use clothing and habits that help you to be aware. Use a beanie rather than a hood. Put your phone away. Look around!
- Since criminals are looking for victims and not fights, they tend to look for vulnerable people to target. Think about a pride of lions chasing wildebeest in Africa and you get the picture. They target the elderly, the young, and the sick for easier attack and greater success. Likewise, criminals pick victims who they think will not effectively resist them, or that the criminal can quickly overwhelm. This includes the elderly, the young (kids and early teens), the sick, and the distracted. Men (the overwhelming majority of attackers) also target women because women tend to be physically weaker than men. If you’re in a vulnerable population take extra precaution and train!
- 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. Sidewalks are transitional spaces in urban environments, so being aware in those environments is important.
- If your awareness is solid, you should get plenty of pre-attack cues from a robber or other attacker. If you’re paying attention to your surroundings and the people in your vicinity it becomes a lot easier to see who is out of place! Look for people lurking and not doing what everyone else is doing, or covering their face or head when that’s not necessary (like inside or when it’s warm out). Watch for furtive glances which are an indicator that they are looking for potential witnesses to their actions. Check hands as well to see if they have anything in them or are hiding unnaturally in pockets. If you see a pattern that makes you uncomfortable, move from condition yellow to condition orange and take action to investigate or move to safety. It looks to me like this guy had communicated with the woman before the attack, “interviewing” her to see what he could get. Learning what to do when your spidey senses or “creep alarm” goes off is important!
- In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. This woman didn’t escape the ambush unscathed, but she did escape it alive and that was enough.
- As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.