Don't Let This Happen to You...
CBS NEWS' 48 HOURS:
"THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH"
The Horrific, Angela Lawless Homicide:
Could it have been prevented?
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
But knowing some simple awareness and self defense strategies
could help prevent a potential nightmare...
Read shortened version on CBS NEWS.COM
In light of the suspected nature of the Angela Lawless murder, 48 Hours consulted former NY cop and forensic crime scene expert John Perkins on prudent steps to take to protect yourself against such heinous crimes.
The Angela Lawless murder occurred after the victim pulled over to the side of a deserted stretch of highway; a popular location for criminals to commit violent crimes. If criminals can convince or force you to pull over they’ll probably have you to themselves for as long as they want. Then, they’ll have a choice: let you go, or leave no witnesses. The crimes can range from robbery and carjacking to abduction, rape and murder. What's the defense?
Never stop (much less leave your car) for anyone except an obviously marked police car. This is especially true if it tuns out you know the other driver but their presence gives you the slightest bad feeling in your gut. The biggest mistake homicide victims often make is not trusting their intuition when dealing with hostile relations. Never, ever think that you can just "handle" them.
By the way, you must also be aware of criminals who buy sirens and roof lights to impersonate police. If you have doubts about the authenticity of a police car, call 911 yourself, especially if you know you’ve done nothing wrong.
If someone signals you to pull over or you’re involved in a minor accident that leaves your car drivable, turn on your hazard lights, signal the other car with your hand to follow you and drive to a secure or at least well populated area. If you’re near a police or fire station or hospital, drive there. A gas station or shopping center may work as long as it’s well populated and you stop in a lighted area right next to the window of the store. Make it impossible for the potential criminal to isolate you.
On your way to the safer location, if you suspect foul play or if the other car was driving dangerously, use your cell phone to call the police and have them come to your location. (Always keep a cell phone charger in your car so that you never get stuck with a dead phone battery.)
Once you pull over in a safer location, if you must confront the potential criminal before the police arrive, do not ever get out of your car nor unlock the doors. Keep the engine running and gearshift in drive, foot on the brake. Open your window less than an inch, just enough to talk through and exchange insurance information if necessary. If the potential criminal attempts to get in your car, starts to pull a weapon, or does anything else threatening, floor the gas pedal and drive away as quickly as possible.
In general, remember this: your safety first, his feelings second. Do not be so hesitant to inconvenience or offend a possibly harmless person that you put yourself in danger if he turns out to be not so harmless.
If you have a flat tire or other car trouble that does not instantly immobilize you, again, drive to a safer location before pulling over, even it that means possibly damaging your car. A ruined rim is less valuable than your life. Avoid at all costs ending up isolated by the side of the road. As you drive, use your cell phone to call AAA and/or the police for help. If you do end up stalled on an isolated stretch of highway, stay in your car with doors and windows locked and call the police immediately. AAA will take too long. You don’t want a criminal to find you before rescue personnel do. Always refuse any offers of help from non-uniformed people and unmarked cars. In this age of wireless communications, few well-meaning people will actually pull over to help a stranded motorist. They’ll simply call the police or AAA instead. Anyone who does pull over to “help” you is very likely to be an opportunistic criminal. You’re generally safest in your car, doors locked, windows closed, cell phone visibly in use.
If your car is immobilized and a criminal is about to successfully force entry, and you do not have a gun or other weapon with which to threaten him before he gets in the car, exit the vehicle on the side opposite where he is just as he starts to get in and RUN. Run along the edge of the highway, visible to passing motorists and police, towards the nearest secure or populated location. If he pursues and catches you, you had better hope that you’ve been well trained to deal with the chaos and brutality of real life-or-death violence. Having or picking up an effective weapon will help. A sturdy metal pen, for example, can be stabbed into the eyes and throat. If you must fight bare-handed, gouge deep into the eyes, chop or rip into the windpipe or use the heel of your palm to slam up under the chin, tearing at the eyes on the way out. Bite deeply into any available flesh. This is your life we're talking about and you do not want to be abducted to a second location from which it is doubtful you'll be rescued and survive.
If you are car-jacked anyway and remain unrestrained, wait until you're doing at least 30 mph and do whatever it takes (regardless of whether you or the carjacker is driving) and crash the car into something hard. Criminals lose interest in you rapidly in an accident. If despite all you're thrown in the trunk of a car you may be able to punch out the brake light covers and thrust your hand out to attract the attention of other motorists--but don't count on it. (Note: Most of today's autos have an emergency lock release inside the trunk where the lock is located. A criminal who plans to place you in the trunk will usually remove the inside trunk release.) Also consider that you may be rendered unconscious and tied up before you are placed inside a trunk. Learn serious self defense based on realistic scenario training. You want to fight like a cornered sewer rat because once you allow yourself to be put in the trunk or another vehicle the odds of your survival are remote.
Remember: 1-Pull over for no one. 2-Call 911 at the slightest hint of danger. 3-Fight for your life NOW. Never go with your attacker to crime scene #2.
Trust no one, especially strangers offering assistance. Always carry a fully charged cell phone with battery back-up. Maintain a personal comfort zone around you of at least 5 feet whenever possible.
2. WHAT RHYMES WITH GUN? RUN!
No matter where you are, inside, outside, city street or country lane, the instant you see either gun metal or a knife, run like your life depends on it...because it does. If you are not disabled, infirm, trapped or restrained, you should leave skid marks on the ground. Don't even wait for them to say anything. Police statistics show that the odds of being shot are small because a) the original "plan" has been disrupted b) gunfire attracts attention and c) the odds of you being hit are small and d) the odds of being hit with a lethal shot are even smaller. Even when shot (in non-lethal areas) the human body under adrenaline can be unbelievably resilient. As civilized human beings we are conditioned to be polite and politically correct. The psychopathic criminal knows this. Do what any wild animal does and bolt at the first inkling of danger and not after. Fear can also immobilize you and the psychopathic criminal knows this also and relies on it.
3. DO NOT GO TO CRIME SCENE #2
If somehow you are forced into the vehicle then do whatever you have to do to crash the vehicle. Wait until you are doing at least 25 mph and then rip out his eyes, bite his throat, scratch, hit and punch his testicles and grab the steering wheel. Police statistics show that abductors lose interest in you fast in a car accident and the injuries you might incur are far less than what he will inflict upon you should you arrive at his chosen destination.
4. DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH A MUGGING
If you are restrained and the criminal demands money, give it to him. All of it, and quickly and politely. However, if he wants to then take you somewhere, police statistics show that if you make your stand right there, you have a better chance of surviving than if you're taken to crime scene #2.
There is much more to know about self-defense awareness but just knowing the above can and has saved the lives of many.
BEST TOOLS FOR BASIC AWARENESS, PREVENTION AND SELF DEFENSE:
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THE ATTACKPROOF COMPANION PART 1
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