We now live in an age where your mobile phone is a vital connection to the world, but in transitional spaces they can be very dangerous! Practicing Active Self Protection means knowing how and when to protect yourself from ambush, as this woman shot by a mugger found out the hard way.
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Original video of the ambush is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
Details of the ambush from local news: https://get-asp.com/ktgq
UPDATE: News story in Spanish about the perp confessing: https://get-asp.com/5jjz
UPDATE: This uploader says this was at her residence, not an ATM, and has more details on the incident: https://get-asp.com/p74i
What does this video teach us about mobile phones and transitional spaces?
- There’s a well-worn joke that ATM stands for “Accessory to Mugging,” and it’s not far from the truth. The ATM is of course a likely place to be attacked because it is a transitional space. Thieves like this mugger can easily ambush you if your attention is engrossed in the machine or your phone, and they are built to allow for easy access and escape. When you’re at the ATM, be sure to be extra aware of what is going on around you. I even suggest standing with your back to the machine, or at least with your shoulders perpendicular to it so that you can constantly see what is happening around you!
- 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. Notice the ease of ambush and escape; this makes for a quick incident, and that’s part of why your awareness is so important in avoiding an ambush! The design of an ATM facilitates this for a mugger.
- 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. The girl here didn’t have any awareness because she had her head buried in her phone. That is not to say that she’s responsible for the attack at all, but just to say that she might have avoided being victimized if she was aware.
- 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.
- The “Five Ds Plus 1” are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against a mugger when we are not armed ourselves. (or if we are armed but outdrawn such that we must deal with the problem with our hands) First, before the others, we need to control Distance. (it’s the plus 1…it stands by itself and is the gateway to the others working) Then Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. We pursue them from first to last, in order, to give us the best chance of successfully defending ourselves against an armed opponent. Close the Distance to the place where we can effectively use our empty-handed skills. Deflect their force multiplier, Dominate as much as possible (best is the whole person, second is the arm with the tool, last is the tool itself), Distract the attacker (usually using pain, redirection, movement, etc.), Disarm the attacker, and Disable the attacker.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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