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Learning a personal safety mindset can be the difference between a life or death situation. While some dangerous situations may arise seemingly out of nowhere and with no warning, the majority of dangerous situations will have warning signs. A great example of this is how most murders are related to drugs or gang killings and therefore, if you're not buying or selling drugs or in a gang, you're less likely to be killed. Likewise more dangerous situations occur at night because there are less people around, the night provides cover, and late night is generally associated with other mischievous activities. While we recommend purchasing a self-defense weapon like our Defender Ring, the best self-defense is your mind and your body. Here are 3 important personal safety mindsets that you should learn and pass along to your loved ones that could save someone's life one day. These mindsets are in the chronological order that they should be implemented in.
Avoid is the first personal safety mindset that you should adopt. You should avoid dangerous situations, dangerous friends, dangerous areas, dangerous streets, dangerous looking individuals, dangerous products, dangerous substances, and anything that you would consider dangerous.
The definition of avoid is:
- : to stay away from (someone or something)
- : to prevent the occurrence of (something bad or unpleasant)
- : to keep yourself from doing (something) or participating in (something)
We can substitute different words into the definitions to come up with real life examples.
How to Avoid
Avoiding a dangerous situation requires preparation, planning, and street smarts. While you won't always know where you're going, who you're meeting or what's going to happen, if you're traveling to a new city or meeting friends of friends you should try to be as prepared as possible.
Preparation involves learning information about new areas or people. Go to Google maps to acquaint yourself with the surrounding area of where you will be staying. Google maps will have very detailed views of train stations, restaurants, parks, and more and you'll be able to tell which streets are lively and which are away from the main street. You can also perform a Google Street View to see exactly what it looks like in real life which helps get a feel for the area. Check out online forums like City-Data, where you can read about activities, restaurants, bars, nightlife, events, and of course safety in various cities throughout the United States and the world.
Planning is another key aspect of avoiding dangerous situations. Once you've gathered information, you should plan an itinerary with the who, what, when, where and how of the day. Who are you going to be with, what will you be doing, when will you be doing it, where will you be doing it, and how will you be doing it, or how will you be getting there. Again not every activity will require such a detailed script, but you should have a general idea about these details in the back of your mind.
Street Smarts is the final aspect of avoiding dangerous situations. Street smarts entails being aware and vigilant of your surroundings, and being able to pick up on certain details that should alert you of a possible dangerous situation. Even if you're walking in broad daylight in Central Park in New York City, you should still be aware of your surroundings as dangerous situations can occur at any time. If a loved one of mine was walking down a desolate street late at night and there was an old lady walking in the opposite direction towards her, I would still advise my loved one to cross the street. It has nothing to do with the old lady, it only has to do with the circumstances. It's late at night and the street is desolate, so it doesn't matter who the person is, you should cross the street to avoid any type of situation.
2. Deter (Discourage)
To deter or discourage is the second most important mindset to adopt to stay safe. Remember that the first mindset, "avoid" should be used first before you try to "deter" an attacker. Avoiding the situation is always better than having to engage and deter.
You can deter someone from targeting you in several different ways which we'll discuss. It can be what you're wearing, what you're doing, who you're with, or how you're acting.
The definition to deter is:
: to cause (someone) to decide not to do something
: to prevent (something) from happening
We can substitute different words into the definitions to create scenarios that will help deter or discourage someone from targeting you.
a. If you walk home late at night with a group or friends or your roommate, you may deter an attacker from targeting you because you have other people with you.
b. If you are aware of your surroundings, make assertive eye contact with a potential attacker, and give off a tough attitude, you may deter him from targeting you.
c. If you are being attacked, you can yell, scream, and fight back so that the aggressor knows you're not an easy victim and he may be deterred from continuing the attack.
Deterring an attacker generally implies that you are already potentially in a dangerous situation, which is why "avoid" should always be the first mindset.
Displaying, arming, or wearing a self-defense product is normally a good deterrent. An attacker generally looks for an easy target. A woman holding a pocket knife or pepper spray is not going to be as easy of a target as an unarmed woman. We don't recommend walking around late at night with a can of pepper spray in your hand, but your protective devices should always be handy so that if someone approaches you with dangerous motives, you can quickly arm yourself and hope that it's able to deter the attacker.
Sometimes deterring an attacker simply means putting your head down and quietly walking away. Staring down the attacker and being tough is a double-edged sword that can work against you in some situations. You have to analyze the situation and use your social intuition to determine the best way to deter another individual.
To escape is the last safety mindset to adopt and should also be the last resort. One should apply the three mindsets in the order they were given: avoid, then deter, then escape. If you have to escape a situation it means you are already engaged in a dangerous situation and by an aggressor. Generally to escape literally means to run away. This is best achieved if the attacker is distracted, deterred, or incapacitated. If you try to escape before the attacker is distracted, deterred, or incapacitates he will most likely chase after you and could potentially subdue you in a vulnerable position, either by tackling you and being on top of you or grabbing you from behind.
The definition of escape is:
- : to get away
- : to get free of : break away from
We can substitute different words in the definitions to create scenarios of escaping.
a. The victim told the attacker she would electric shock him if he came any closer so he walked away, after which she ran towards the nearest convenience store.
b. During the attack the woman stabbed the suspect in the throat with her self-defense ring knife, which caused the suspect to stop the attack and run away and allowed her time to flee the scene.
c. The man kicked the attacker in the groin and ran away while the suspect curled over in agonizing pain on the ground with a ruptured scrotum.
As you can see from the scenarios, any escape situation is a dangerous and scary one. Once the aggressor is deterred, distracted or incapacitated, you should escape and flee the scene. Never continue to defend yourself or go after him. Once he is no longer a threat, you should escape the situation.
A self-defense weapon will help in an escape situation and potentially a deter situation, but never in an avoid situation. The sight of a weapon may allow you the opportunity to escape, or the use of the device may shock the aggressor and allow you to escape. The bottom line is regardless of which mindset you have to adopt, you should always be prepared with knowledge and a self-defense weapon.