Power For Peace: Who's Watching You?
Copyright 2007 Richard Andrew King
Being aware of your surroundings is one of the first lines of
self-defense. Yet, many women go through their days not really paying
attention to who's watching them. Remember, this is a predatory world,
and although most people are decent there are those who are not, who
have nefarious agendas of molestation, kidnapping, rape and more. Being
responsible for one's safety means surveying your environment to assess
any potential threats.
Who's watching you?
For example, when you go to the market, do you notice if anyone is
watching you or following you up and down the isles? When was the last
time you took notice of such things? Interestingly, a few weeks after
one of our Ladies Self Defense Workshops, a woman who had taken the
class noticed a man following her in the market. After she checked out,
he followed her out into the parking lot. She quickly got into
her car and drove to the nearest police station to dissuade the man
from following her. It worked. Her awareness most probably saved her
life. But she said that until she took the course, she was oblivious as
to who was watching her when she went grocery shopping. Not any
Another true story. In the 1980s in Orange County, California, a
college coed approached her car in the parking lot after leaving class
late one night. Unfortunately, she wasn't paying attention to her
environment. A man was waiting for her under her car. As she put her
keys in the door, he cut her ankles with a razor blade, then raped and
murdered her. Did this young lady feel that because she lived in a
relatively crime-free community that she was safe from attack? We'll
never know, but it's obvious that she didn't look under her car as she
approached it. Sadly, her lack of awareness was a fatal mistake.
Another true story. This was aired on NBC on 29 April 2007. In Saratoga
Springs, New York, a high school Senior female track star named Lindsey
Ferguson was going to her car in the school parking lot. Adjacent to
her car on the driver side was a van. She saw it and thought it was a
parent's car. As she opened her car door, the van door slid open and a
man exited. He grabbed her around the waist with one arm and attempted
to cover her mouth with the other.
Miraculously, a teacher named Ray, who just happened to be in the
parking lot, saw everything, screamed out to the assailant who jumped
back in his van and drove away. Ray, using his cell phone (thank God
for cell phones) called the police as he ran after the van, giving the
police the license number. He then jumped in his car and followed the
van. When the police stopped the van, the assailant claimed he was only
making phone calls and all he did was startle the girl, nothing more.
Upon inspection, the suspect's van was filled with a tarp, a saw,
pre-tied slip knots on a rope, a syringe pre-filled with anti-histamine
to knock out the girl and a camera. His name was John "Rocky"
Regan who had a history of stalking and abduction. He was, in fact, a
predator. Interestingly, neighbors said this 'family man' was a great
guy! In other words, predators don't walk around the neighborhood
wearing a red suit with pointed ears, a long tail, carrying a pitch fork
and announcing their intentions. They can be perceived as nice guys.
John Regan was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.
How lucky, though, was Lindsey Ferguson? The hand of God was certainly
on her head that day. Had it not been for Ray, she might not be alive
today. What could she have done? First, not make the assumption that a
vehicle, any vehicle, belongs to a parent. Second, and this is key, she
should never have approached her car seeing that a van was parked next
to her car, a van whose sliding door was just a couple feet from her
drivers-side door - a common kidnapping strategy. The best choice would
have been to return to a safe place, call school security or the police.
Yet another true story; this even more scary. At a family amusement
park, a mother of twins parked her stroller next to a bench to change
one of the baby's diapers. When she turned around to put the baby back
in the stroller her other baby was gone! A parent's worst nightmare.
She did the right thing by running to security. They closed the entire
park down and made everyone in the park exit through one turnstile.
About twenty minutes later, a lady carrying a baby came through the
exit. The mother didn't recognize the child but the shoes were the same
model her baby was wearing. For precautionary sake, security made the
woman step aside so they could investigate the matter. Upon further
study, the mother realized it was her baby! The female predator who
stole the child had dyed its hair, re-pigmented the skin, changed the
baby's clothes - all in twenty minutes! The only thing she didn't do
was leave the shoes off! Had she done so, the mother would have lost
her child forever. How scary is that?
Obviously, the mother wasn't watching who was watching her and her
babies when she was in the park. The female thief may well have been
stalking her, waiting for an opportunity to steal the child. After all,
she did have hair dye, skin pigment and a set of infant clothes with
her - all signs of premeditated kidnapping. Most likely, this is not
the first theft of its kind. Common sense tells us that child predators
like to frequent places where children are present: amusement parks,
playgrounds, school yards, toy stores. Therefore, it is wise to be
ever-vigilant and take note of who's watching you . . . or your kids .
. . wherever you are.
The highway is another place to watch out for who's watching you. For
example, when you're driving, do you ever check your rearview mirror to
see if a vehicle is following you, especially if you're driving
alone . . . and at night? If you become suspicious, drive to a crowded
place if possible, watch to see if, in fact, you're being followed and
don't be afraid to ask for help. This is another good reason to have a
cell phone with you at all times. Emergency 911 calls are a click away.
By the way, did you know that all cell phones have GPS tracking devices
in them? As long as the phone is turned on, you can be tracked, a good thing if you're being stalked.
To repeat in closing: being aware of your surroundings is one of the
first lines of self-defense; perhaps the most important line. By
watching out for who's watching you, you claim power over your
environment and maintain peace in your life. By being oblivious to your
environment, you invite disaster. Therefore, next time you're out and
about no matter where you are, for your safety and well-being, make
sure you know who's watching you.
Richard Andrew King: Grandmaster - The Karate Institute of America