Living In A Non Residence

by Scrap Metal Man�

I have been reading SurvivalBlog for a few years now, and have noticed that many folks think outside the box on a variety of issues, but when it comes to building or modifying a structure for a retreat – or even a full-time place – they lapse into conventional thinking. So many times I have come across the words “house”, “cabin”, “home” or even “residence”. I guess the idea is that we have to “reside” somewhere, and the rest of the world may as well know where that is. Allow me a chance to share some of my thinking on this issue, and you may decide to avoid anything “residential”.
Continue reading “Living In A Non Residence”

Looting Party

This is a short story written by Survival bill that I thought was an excellent example of what to expect from looters after a SHTF event and in giving ideas in how to protect yourselves from possible infiltartion and attack.

I am the leader of a band of 8-to-12 looters

I am the leader of a band of 8-to-12 looters. I have some basic military training. We move from place to place like locusts devouring everything in our path. My group is armed with light weapons and can develop and follow simple plans of attack. We take what we want by force of arms. We prefer none of our victims survive because that could cause problems for us in the future.�

It has been six months since the grid went down. You and the other five members of your party have settled into what may be a long grinding existence. The every day tasks of growing and gathering have now become routine. The news from the outside is extremely limited but you don’t really miss it much. Life is simple but physically demanding.�

Although things may seem stable you will need to keep your team focused and alert. This is your first and most important layer of defense. You should hold an immediate reaction drill once per week. Keep things simple. Practice a specific response to such threats as injury, fire, attack and evacuation. Despite the challenges you must maintain contact with those around you such as neighbors for vital clues that trouble is brewing. Regular monitoring the radio will be critical in providing an early warning of trouble. You may be able to safely interview refugees with risking your party. Keep in mind the information you get from them may not always be reliable.�

While you have been farming I have been learning the best tactics to employ to seize your property and your goods. I have been refining them since we hit the road right after the lights went out. I have conducted eight “hits” so far and have been successful seven times. Here are some of my “lessons learned”.�

Intelligence gathering and target selection is critical to my success. Targets include those who have large quantities of fuel, food and other valuable supplies. My posse is constantly questioning anyone and everyone we contact searching for this our next victim. Anyone who has ever had knowledge, even second hand, of your preparations is someone of interest to me. I may approach them directly or indirectly. If anyone knows something I will find out about it. Who seems well-fed? Who still has transportation? Who has lights? Who was prepared? Where are they exactly? Somebody talks, either in person or on the radio. They always do.�

We search for victims night and day. During the day we are listening for the sounds of machinery, cars, tractors, gunfire or generators. Day or night without a lot of wind those sounds can carry for miles. At night I look for any sort of light. Even a small flash indicates somebody with electricity and that means a rich target. I always have somebody listing to the scanner for any news, leads or insecure chatter.�

Operational Security is an important concept for your entire group to understand and maintain. If somebody outside your circle doesn’t have a real need to know about your plans, preparations or procedures then they shouldn’t know period. Develop a cover story and live it like was a bulletproof vest. It is no less important to your protection and survival. During an event you need to blend in with the surrounding environment. Carefully observe noise (such as generators and other engines) and light discipline especially at night. If you need to test fire weapons do it in one sequence to avoid a prolonged noise signature.�

Once I find and target you reconnaissance of your retreat is my next step. Only a fool would try to rush in and try to overwhelm a group of “survivalists”. We had a bad experience with that during our second hit. Now we spend at least a day or two trying to size up a large opportunity and the best way to take it down. I will observe retreat activity from a nearby-concealed position. I will get an idea of your numbers, weapons, routines and so much more by careful surreptitious observation. If your group seems alert, I will try and trigger a false alarm with a dog or child to watch your reaction to a threat. That helps me know how you respond, where you are strong and how to attack. I may also obtain a topographical map of the area to identify likely avenues of approach and potential escapes routes you will try to use. I may coerce your neighbors into uncovering a weak spot or access point or other important intelligence. I also have a Bearcat handheld scanner. I will be listening for any insecure chatter from your radios.�

Regular patrols at irregular intervals focused on likely observation points and avenues of approach could keep me at bay. You could put down sand or other soft soil in key choke points as a way of “recording” if anyone has recently traveled through the land. Dogs, with their advanced sense of hearing and smell are able to detect and alert you to intruders well in advance of any human. Motion sensing IR video cameras as a part of a security plan could play a part in your layered defense as long as you have power. A 24 hour manned observation point equipped with high quality optical tools is a must. It should be fortified and if possible concealed. It should have a weapon capable of reaching to the edges of your vision. Seismic intrusion devices, night vision and thermal imaging are phenomenal force multiplying tools. They can give you critical intelligence and warning. You should use them if you have them. Understand they are not fool proof and I can often neutralize them if I know you have them.�

These tools and techniques provide you reaction time. Time to plan your response and time to execute that plan. Recognize that a “defender” is always at a disadvantage. By definition a defender will be reacting to my attack. Modern warfare has emphasized the ability of the attacker to operate faster than opponents can react. This can be explained by the OODA loop. Below are the four steps of the classic OODA loop. These are the steps a defender goes through when under attack.�

1. Observing or noticing the attack.�
2. Orient to the direction, method and type of attack.�
3. Deciding what the appropriate response will be.�
4. Acting on that decision.�

As an attacker I will try and operate at a pace faster than you as a defender can adjust to. I will change my direction, pace, timing and method to force you to continue to process through the OODA loop. This creates confusion and wastes your precious reaction time. As a defender you will need to disrupt or reset your attackers timing with a counter-attack. When you are successful you become the attacker. Your defensive plans should utilize and exploit this concept. Here are a few scenarios:�

1. Snipe & Siege�

I will begin the attack when I can engage at least half of your party’s military age personnel in one coordinated effort. I will infiltrate my team into concealed positions around your retreat within 50 to 75 yards. I will target any identified leadership with the first volley. Two thirds of my people will be engaging personnel. The other group will target communications antennas, surveillance cameras and any visible lighting assets. I want your group unable to see, communicate or call for help. The members of my band will each fire two magazines in the initial exchange. Two thirds of my group will change to new concealed positions and wait. One third will fall back into an ambush of the most likely avenue of escape. We will stay concealed and wait until you come out to attend to your wounded and dead. We repeat the attack as necessary until any resistance is crushed.�

Ensure you adjust the landscape around your retreat so that I don’t have anyplace offering cover or concealment within 100 yards of your residence. You can create decorative masonry walls that can be used to offer cover for personnel close to your residence. Fighting positions can be built now and used as raised planting beds and then excavated for use in the future. These can be extended or reinforced after any significant event. These structures or other measures such as trenching must be sited carefully to avoid allowing them to be used effectively by an attacker if they are overrun.�

2. Trojan Horse�

For one hit we used an old UPS truck. We forced a refugee to drive it to the retreat gate. We concealed half our group inside the truck. The truck was hardened on the inside with some sandbags around the edges. The other half of our group formed an ambush concealed inside the tree line along the driveway. We killed the driver to make it look good and had one person run away. Those preppers almost waited us out. After nearly three hours they all walked slowly down the driveway. They were bunched up in a group intent on checking out the truck and driver. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.�

They could have worked together as group to sweep the area 360 degrees around the truck and they would have surely found us. A dog would have also alerted the residents to our presence. They could have taken measures to eliminate the vegetation offering us concealment on the road near the gate. They could have used CS gas or something similar to “deny” any suspicious areas. Lastly they could have done a “reconnaissance by fire”. Shooting into likely hiding spots, including the truck, trying to evoke a response. They should have established an over watch position with the majority of their group. This over watch group would have provided visual security and an immediate response if there were an attack. They were not expecting any additional threats. They didn’t consider that there might be additional danger lurking nearby aside from the truck and they died.�

3. Kidnap & Surrender�

A few weeks ago we surprised and captured a couple of women out tending a garden. It was totally by chance. We were traveling through a very rural area on our way to another town when somebody heard a tractor backfire. We immediately stopped and I sent a small team to recon the noise. They bumped into a small party tending a field at the edge of their retreat. They seized two women and immediately dragged them back to our vehicles. We began negotiations by sending a finger from each one back to the retreat under a white flag. The rest was easy.�

This didn’t need to happen. Better noise discipline would have kept us from discovering their retreat. Some simple boundary fencing or tangle foot could have delayed us. The women should have been armed and aware of such a threat. If they has established an over watch for the garden they could have engaged us before we took our hostages or at least alerted the others that there was a problem. They also could have had a quick reaction SOP developed prior to this incident. That Quick Reaction (QR) force could have followed the kidnappers back to our vehicles and set up an ambush of their own. Rural retreat security is a full time job. If you snooze you may lose everything.�

4. Fire and Maneuver�

I don’t like this option but sometimes the prize is just too tempting. We typically infiltrate quietly at night to prearranged start points. We begin our attack just before dawn when your senses are dulled by a long night watch or from sleep. Based on our reconnaissance we divided your retreat into positions or zones that need specific attention. We prepare for battle by using an air rifle to target any lights or cameras. Our first priority is to engage any LP/OP site and destroy or degrade them as much as possible. I split my forces into two supporting groups. One group keeps the target position under constant fire. The other group also fires and maneuvers, closing on the target and destroying it with gunfire or improvised weapons. Many times these positions only have one occupant and the task is relatively easy. Often these positions are easy to spot and are too far from each other to provide any effective mutual support. We will work from one position to the next. In the darkness and confusion most of the defenders are disoriented and ineffective. They fall like dominos. We have also used motorcycles to negotiate obstacles and speed through cuts in the perimeter fence. Then throw Molotov Cocktails into any defensive position as they roar past. If you fall back into your residence we will set up a siege. If we can maneuver close enough, perhaps by using a distraction, we will pump concentrated insecticide into your building or we may introduce LP gas from a portable tank into the house and ignite it with tracer fire.�

If there was enough warning time from your OP you could execute a pre-planned response. Your planned response should be simple, easy to understand and execute. Half your group occupies your fighting positions, two to a position. The rest of your party establishes an over watch and concentrate its fire at the enemies trying to fix your positions. If you had more than enough prepared positions the enemy might not know where to attack. It would also provide more flexibility in your defense based on the direction of attack. I would use Night Vision if available or illumination from flares or lights as a last resort. Rats hate light.�

Usually people keep main access points blocked from high-speed approach. Likely avenues of approach should also be blocked or choked and kept under observation. Remember though what keeps me out keeps you in. Typically the common techniques of parking vehicles in roadways will only delay my approach not stop it altogether. An ordinary 12-gauge shotgun, shooting slugs, can stop most types of non-military vehicles at close range.�

Don’t forget the threat of fire or other non-traditional weapons in your defensive plans.�

You could create the illusion of a “dead end” for your main access road by positioning a burned out trailer home or a couple of burned out cars at the false “end” of the road. Concealing the fact that the road actually continues to your residence.�

Lastly, develop a plan to evacuate and evade capture. When faced with a significantly superior force it may be the only viable option. This should include simple, reliable communications or signals such as three blasts on a dog whistle. Your fighting positions and barriers need to be constructed to allow coordinated withdrawal in an emergency. You should establish a rally point and time limit to assemble. I believe this should be a priority in your practice drills. During a real emergency you may be able to rally, rearm and plan your own version of the “snipe and siege” to retake your retreat.�

Key messages:�
Your rural retreat defense can be visualized as a set of concentric rings:�

Location – Location – Location: High and remote are best�
OPSEC – Think of it as a form of armor or shield: Practice it and protect it.�
Observation Post / Listening Post: Your first best chance to counter attack�
Gates / Fences / other barriers: May slow me down. Might keep you in.�
Fighting positions: Must provide mutual support and allow for evacuation.�
Residence: Last line. Don’t become trapped�
People, Planning and Practice�


An aggressive and unexpected counter strike can win the battle.�
Stay alert for multiple threats or diversionary tactics.�
Criminals excel at feigning weakness to lower your guard.�

Don’t underestimate me.

Continue reading “Looting Party”



“Honey, I think we’re out of toilet paper”
– Your Spouse

You’re like most of your peers. By the objective standards of the law, you qualify as a good person. You don’t rob banks, or shoplift, or kidnap. The most trouble you’ve seen in the last 10 years are a pair of speeding tickets and a slightly guilty feeling in your stomach that you took too many tax deductions.
Continue reading “Looting”

HiJack Prevention Guidelines

Hijack Prevention Guidelines


It has become increasingly difficult to steal motor vehicles, with all the anti-theft devices, such as immobilisers, gear-locks, etc. These steps have resulted in a dramatic increase in vehicle hijackings. The hijacker has the element of surprise and this is a concern. The increasing retrenchment and the high unemployment figures are also factors. This is easy earned money and the already well-established syndicates will buy these vehicles from the hijacker. Vehicle hijacking is an organised business, run

according to business principles and based on thorough planning. �

Specific vehicles with specific characteristics are ordered beforehand and efforts have to be made to meet the requirements of such orders. These vehicles will then be resold to the already predetermined buyer. The hijacked vehicles that are not sold to buyers in South Africa, will be smuggled out of the country. These vehicles will be sold in our neighbouring countries or trade, exchanged for drugs. �

The large number of stolen and unlicensed firearms is also a concern. Most of these firearms are bought or supplied to the robbers by the syndicates. This easy access to firearms make the robbery of a vehicle the easiest crime to commit and by far the quickest way of earning a few thousand rand. It is obvious that vehicle hijackers are motivated by greed and an insatiable need for more and more comfort, rather than need. An insatiable hunger for power is another theme emerging in robbers. The power-base for the latter is presented by the access to firearms. Possession of a firearm forces everybody to obey or else face the consequences.�


Vehicle hijacking forms one of the sub-categories of armed robbery and does not constitute a different crime from armed robbery. Perpetrators would consequently be charged with “robbery with aggravating circumstances” in court, and not with “vehicle hijacking“. Robbery with aggravating circumstances can be defined as the unlawful, intentional and violent removal and appropriation of movable corporeal property belonging to another. The victim’s resistance has to be overcome and the property obtained by the use of violence against the victim’s person. �

If the victim is first injured by the perpetrator and then dispossessed of property while being physically incapacitated, armed robbery is likewise committed. However, the victim needs not necessarily be physically incapacitated. In the absence of actual physical violence, a threat to commit violence against the victim is sufficient. The threat of violence may be of an express or implied nature. Vehicle hijacking neatly fits the above definition, with the property involved being specifically a motor vehicle of some kind. �

The analysis indicated that hijackings occur every day of the week, reaching a high on Fridays, due to motorists being more relaxed and traffic increasing earlier on a Friday. Weekends show a lower hijacking rate due to syndicates checking their stock and placing orders on Mondays as well as the fact that there are fewer vehicles on the road. This also explains why Tuesdays and Wednesdays show more hijackings.�

Hijacking of vehicles reached its lowest point at 0200 in the morning. Hijackings are low during the night and early hours of the morning, and start increasing at 0600 due to motorists leaving home for work and stabilises throughout the day. A drastic increase occurred from 1700 in the afternoon due to motorists heading towards home. Vehicles hijacked during this peak hour (1600 – 2000) may be explained by the fact that people returning from work are often tired, frustrated and not alert to potentially threatening circumstances. �

Negligence on behalf of the motorist could also not be excluded, e.g. an idling vehicle is left unattended to open a gate in the driveway. This trend is not new and the motorist will become the prey of hijackers. Another explanation for this phenomenon is that highways are congested with traffic, which make it almost impossible to catch hijackers involved without air support once they have disappeared into traffic. As it was earlier indicated, in the majority of vehicle hijackings, firearms were used to commit the crime. Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal reported the highest incidence of vehicle hijacking. �

The circulation of illegal firearms in South Africa is disturbing and has to have a direct influence on the increase of vehicle hijackings and violent crime in general in South Africa. The trade in stolen firearms is a lucrative industry in South Africa and the rewards seem to justify the risk of apprehension for the criminals involved. The punishment of crimes does not seem to have a deterrent effect on potential criminals anymore. The analysis indicates that firearms most used are pistols and revolvers. A very small percentage of vehicle hijackings are committed using knifes, hands, high caliber guns and shotguns.�

When to Shoot:

It is noticed with great concern that there is general confusion over the issue of the public shooting and killing or wounding another person under differing circumstances. People have a responsibility to protect themselves in a situation where they need to discharge a firearm in the process of self-protection.�

What exactly are the legal requirements of self-defense? The following points are important:

* The attack must be unlawful.

* The attack must be imminent or have commenced.

* The attack must not have been completed. One cannot act on grounds of self-defense for an attack committed an hour earlier.

* The defensive action must be directed against the attacker.

* The defensive action must be proportionate to the circumstances. The value of property involved and the instrument used for attack are important considerations. The test used by the court to determine the lawfulness of the defensive action is that of a reasonable man. The question to be asked is whether a reasonable man in the same position would have done the same thing. In all cases where a person is killed, the matter is investigated to establish if anyone was responsible for the death. This is the point when people perceive they are being charged with murder by the police and believe they cannot defend themselves against an unlawful attack without being charged. If your action is within the principles of self-defense, there is nothing to worry about.�

Types of hijackings:

Freight Hijacking – A commercial vehicle is hijacked not only to secure the vehicle but also its cargo, which can be of substantial value. Frequently, the cargo is of more interest to the hijacker than the truck.�

Transport Hijacking – The vehicle is taken for the express purpose of using it as transport during other crimes such as drug dealing, burglaries, bank robberies and gun running. The vehicles are probably later cannibalised for spare parts or simply dumped.�

Showmanship Hijacking – A gang operates out of egotistical bravado, acting on the “this is a cool thing to be doing” rationale. Peer group pressure is very high and individuals may be coerced into more dangerous and daredevil approaches; being labeled a “sissy” if they don’t. Thus intimidation, violence and vandalism are associated with the crime. Drugs and alcohol may also be a motive as theft of the victim’s personal belongings is commonplace.�

Operational Hijacking – A group formally work together in a more structured way. They usually have experience in car theft and have established contacts within the motorcar underworld that will receive and pay cash for stolen vehicles or spare parts.�

Syndicate Hijacking – The most organised of all and often has international connections. A network of hijacking groups is established with the overall coordinator, syndicating out work so that he remains out of view in exactly the same way as the drug baron uses pushers. This makes identifying and arresting the ultimate boss

very difficult. Additionally, a syndicate is often backed by a lot of money, especially if there are international links and makes full use of any potential to bribe the authorities in order to protect their operations.�

Modus Operandi used by the hijackers:

* Most hijackings take place in the driveways of residential areas. These hijackers prefer areas with accessible escape routes.

* Hijackings take place while stationed at any traffic sign or intersection.

* Hijackings take place while stationary next to the road, e.g. to answer cell phone.

* Hijackings also occur at post offices and parking areas or you may be followed leaving the filling station with the objective to hijack your vehicle where it is quiet.

* The hijackers sometimes use a vehicle to force the victim off the road.

* Hijackings take place at schools when dropping off / picking up children.

* Hijackings take place while the vehicle is idling when off-loading / loading passengers.

* Hijackings take place when advertising your vehicle for sale (Test drive method).

* Bogus Police or Traffic Officers also conduct hijackings (Blue light scenario).�


Approaching and entering your driveway:

* 2km from your house strategy. Be extra alert. Switch off the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings. If you have noticed any vehicle behind you, use the techniques you have learned during the hijack prevention & survival course to determine whether you are being followed.

* Remember to stop your vehicle just on the inside of the gate and select reverse whilst waiting for the gate to close. This creates confusion and may buy you a few seconds for the gate to close completely behind you.

* Check your driveway and street before you leave or enter your premises.

* Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear from shrubbery where perpetrators can hide.

* Be aware of unknown pedestrians close to your residential address – do not turn into your driveway – pass and go back later.

* Liaise with your neighbours – know them.

* Be aware of vehicles parked close to your address with occupants inside. It might be perpetrators observing the area.

* Be alert if your animals do not greet you at the gate as usual. It might be that the perpetrators overpowered them.

* Phone your home and ask for someone to make sure your driveway is safe and to open and close the gate for you.

* When returning home after dark, ensure that an outside light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate. Check with your armed response company if they are rendering rendezvous services.

* If at any time you have to open the gate yourself, make sure nobody suspicious around and the road is clear. Stop right in front of your gate. Do not switch off the vehicle, leave the key in the ignition, get out and close the door (not creating temptation). Then open the gate. Drive in and close the gate immediately behind you.

* If you have small children in the vehicle, take the key with you (this is the only exception). You need the key as a “negotiating tool”. The perpetrators want your vehicle and you want your children.

* If your children are older, it is advised that they exit the vehicle with you when opening the gate so that you are all separated from the vehicle should an attack occur.�

Parking your vehicle:

* Check rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being followed.

* When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a hijacker.

* Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings. Sleeping in a stationary vehicle is particularly dangerous.

* When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles / persons. This is very important as the majority of hijackers approach their victims in home driveways.�

Whilst entering your vehicle and while driving, the following should be considered:

* Have your key ready, but not visible.

* Inspect the outside and inside of the vehicle before unlocking. Check underneath your vehicle for items placed under the wheels. Also make sure nobody is hiding on the passenger side before you enter your vehicle.

* Know your destination and directions to it; and be alert should you get lost.

* Always drive with your windows closed and doors locked.

* Make a mental note of any Police Stations in the vicinity.

* When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front of your vehicle to make an emergency escape if necessary.

* When dropping off a passenger, make sure they are safely in their own vehicle before departing.

* Avoid driving through high crime or unfamiliar areas.

* Avoid driving late at night / early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.

* Drive in the center lane away from pedestrians where possible.

* If possible, never drive alone.

* NEVER, EVER pick up hitchhikers or strangers. (VERY IMPORTANT)

* Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.�

Other situations:

* If approached by a stranger while in your vehicle, drive off if possible or use your hooter to attract attention.

* Lock your doors, close your windows and do not have bags or briefcases visible in the vehicle. Use the boot for this. Cell phone should also not be visible.

* There are times and days that these items are visible in the vehicle. Try and open the window they might “smash & grab” about 3 cm, so the window can absorb the sudden impact. If you’ve left your stopping distance you may be able to escape.

* Be constantly on the lookout for suspicious looking characters or vehicles and do not hesitate to report them to the SAPS.

* Always be on the alert for potential danger, and be on the lookout for possible escape routes and safe refuge along the way.

* When approaching a red traffic light at night, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.

* Do not take anything from people standing at traffic lights or places where they gather (job seekers on gathering points). Perpetrators are usually standing among these people.

* Make sure you are not followed. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area.

* If any person or vehicle in a high-risk area arouses your suspicions, treat it as hostile and take appropriate action, e.g. when approaching a red traffic light, slow down, check for oncoming traffic and if clear, drive through the intersection. A fine will be preferable to an attack. Treat stop streets in the same way. Thereafter call for assistance if necessary. �

But remember, this is not an excuse to ignore the rules of the road. The onus will be on you to prove in a court of law that you had justifiable reason to act the way you did and this is only in the case of a real, life-threatening emergency.

* Should a suspicious vehicle in fact be a (unmarked) Police vehicle, they must identify themselves by:

o Use of a blue light, loudspeaker or any other police equipment.

o The flash of a badge through the window whilst driving is not enough.

o The Police must go all out in order to let the public know who they are.

* Consider the following actions:

o Switch on emergency lights and put your hand out the window (if possible), indicating that they should follow you.

Your intention must be very clear and understandable.

o By exceeding the speed limit, you are sending out a message of suspicion, e.g. stolen / hijacked vehicle, transporting stolen goods, under the influence.

o Drive to the nearest Police Station or when in doubt, the nearest busy public area.

* Always have your identity document and driver’s license in your possession as well as a pen and notebook to take necessary notes.

* If possible, avoid driving in the dark. Hijackers may stage a minor accident, for e.g. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, indicate he / she must follow you and drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area for help.

* Never open your vehicle window or door for any stranger. If a suspicious person is near your unoccupied vehicle, do not approach the vehicle. Walk to the nearest public area and ask for assistance.

* If you encounter obstacles in the road, e.g. rocks, tyres, do not get out of your vehicle to remove them. Reverse and drive away in the opposite direction.

* Do not stop to eat or rest on deserted roads.

* Do not leave your vehicle unattended at a filling station.

* Cell phones should be carried on the body. Perpetrators will not allow you to remove your cell phone and valuables from the vehicle during an attack.�

Information you should know:

If your vehicle is hijacked or stolen, promptly report it to the police. Make sure you have the vehicle details: model, color, vehicle identification and registration numbers available to assist with the recovery of the vehicle.�

When forced to drive with a hijacker, be observant without making direct eye contact and try to memorise as many details as possible.

It is important to describe the hijacker as accurately as possible. When observing a hijacker, take note of his head and face – the shape of the eyes, mouth, nose and ears. Take note of possible irregularities. Look at the hair, skin color, complexion and possible scars and tattoos. Observe the build, sex, body movement, clothing and any conversation that may take place.�

Your life is worth more than your vehicle.

* Remember the direction from which they came and fled, as well as the time and place the incident happened.

* Remember to make mental and physical notes immediately after the incident to ensure accurate and detailed information for the Police investigation.�

Taken hostage – It can be helpful to have a survival plan in the back of your mind should such an incident occur. It is difficult not to become paranoid about being taken hostage. However, it is just as easy to become complacent.�

One very important fact to remember when being hijacked: Should the conclusion of the drama be by way of armed intervention, and escape is not possible, immediately drop to the ground, remain still and obey the orders of the leader.

If confronted:

* Do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the hijacker.


* Do not resist, especially if the hijacker has a weapon. Surrender your vehicle and move away. Try to put as much distance between yourself and the hijacker(s) as speedily as possible.

* Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave everything in the vehicle.

* Try to remain calm at all times and do not show signs of aggression.

* Be compliant to all demands set by the perpetrator.

* Do not make eye contact with the hijacker. He may perceive this behavior as a threat and retaliate aggressively.

* Keep your hands still and visible to the hijacker, so as to give him assurance of your passive content.

* Do not speak too fast (if you are able to talk) and do not make sudden movements.

* Gather as much information as possible without posing a threat.

How many people?

How many firearms and description thereof?

What were the perpetrators wearing (clothing)?

To which direction did they drive off?

Take note of the language they use (the accent).

* First phone the Police Service. They will dispatch the medical services if needed.

* Activate the vehicle-tracking device, if the vehicle is fitted with one.�

The Effects of Trauma:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This is the term given to a particular range and combination of reactions following trauma. Reactions following trauma can be divided into three main groups:

* Re-experiencing the event – a feeling that you are experiencing the original event all over again, through memories intruding into your waking or sleeping life.

* Arousal reactions – you feel persistently aroused, nervous, agitated sense, anxious, tense, unable to settle or concentrate, over-reacting very sharply to small things and especially, having trouble sleeping.

* Avoidance reactions – you make frantic efforts to avoid anything that could remind you of the trauma, or cause you to think or talk about it in any way. You may shut down your feelings about other people and things you normally care about and keep to yourself. You may feel unusually withdrawn and emotionally numb.

Five stages of trauma / loss:

* Denial

* Anger

* Bargaining

* Depression

* Acceptance

The following is some general advice to help you cope with trauma in general and Post-Traumatic Stress

Disorder in particular:


* Express your emotions.

* Talk about what has happened as often as you need to. Seek trauma counselling.

* Try to keep your life as normal as possible by following daily routines.

* Find opportunities to review the experience.

* Look to friends and colleagues for support.


* Use alcohol, nicotine or other drugs to hide your feelings.

* Simply stay away from work or isolate yourself. Seek help and support instead (counselling).

* Allow anger and irritability to mask your feelings.

* Hide your feelings and be afraid to ask for help.

* Think your feelings are a sign of weakness.�

Permission to print by The National Hijack Prevention Acadamy

Bug Out Vehicle Security

This article was written by Joe Fox ( and author of �Survivalist Family�) and was originally posted on his blog on November 29, 2008.� It is reprinted here with permission.)

If we ever have to use our BOVs (Bug Out Vehicles) for real we will wish, we will hope that we have some friends along. Friends with their own BOVs. Let�s face it, when the balloon goes up, Murphy shows up. Having spares and buddies is always a good thing when Murphy is lurking in the shadows. �

If we ever have to use our BOVs for real � we will want to convoy. I use the word as a verb and a noun. More than one vehicle equals a convoy. It may consist of you driving the BOV while the spouse drives the “daily driver”; it could include friends or team mates – the bottom line is you are travelling together in multiple vehicles from Point A to Point B.�

Convoying allows you to carry more stuff, provide for better security, respond to Murphy better, and so on. But, like everything else � you have to think it out ahead of time (we call this planning) and then you have to rehearse. Merely reading about it on an excellent blog will not a Convoy Leader make.�

The Routes
So right off the bat you need to know where you are starting from, where you are headed to, and what routes (primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency) you may take to get there. Study those routes well. If possible, drive them now while it is nice and safe. Note chokepoints, danger areas, slow bits, fast bits and so on. �

Identify along your routes things like gas stations, eateries, hospitals, military bases, airports and so on. Try to avoid cities like the plague. Identify indicators that would signify a change in route and locations where you could switch from one route to another.�

Mark these things on maps. You will need one map set per vehicle.�

The Vehicles
Sure, you�d like to have uparmored HumVees and mine-resistant vehicles but you are stuck with SUVs, pickups and Mom�s Corolla. Deal with it. Decide now who is going and what they will drive. Based on what you have, you can determine your movement formations and load plans.�

If you had 5 vehicles in your convoy you could have a formation something like: Scout car � to one mile out front followed the main body consisting of a Lead vehicle, Front Security, Precious Cargo vehicle (people or stuff), Rear Security.�

You may want a scout vehicle out front. The Corolla would work well here �it�s inconspicuous and can drive up to a mile ahead of the convoy proper and report on conditions, warn of road blocks and so on. This vehicle should be �clean� � no heavy artillery. Mom and Pop and a couple bags would be great. We�ll get to communications later.�

You will want in the convoy proper to have lead and rear security. These are vehicles with firepower (and the best trained operators you have) on board. These are the guys that will respond to problems. �

You will need SOPs (standard operating procedures) for responding to all kinds of problems: flat tire or mechanical break down, road block, comfort stop, gasoline stop, overnight stop, hostile action, dealing with authorities, light traffic, heavy traffic, and so on and so on. YOU have to decide what you need to plan for. Then sit down and think it out. Come up with a couple different response options and go practice them. Decide on the ones you like as a group and make them your SOPs.�

Not every situation will require you to put rounds down range but every situation will require you to ensure 360 degree security. Don�t just pull off the side of the road and let everyone gaggle together in a clump� Keep the vehicles spread out but close enough together to control the convoy and keep eyes open all around. You may want to move away from the vehicles � you may not. Think about it now.�

You will need a bump plan. Actually, you will need several. They should be written down. If Mike�s blue Suburban becomes inoperable where are the occupants going to ride? What stuff is getting switched over to other vehicles? What stuff is getting dumped out of those vehicles to make room. Decide now � 0230 in the rain with bad guys shooting at you from across the highway is no time to have a pow wow.�

Every vehicle has a driver. The driver�s duty is to drive. Period. Every vehicle should have at least one other person. We call this person the TC but it doesn�t matter. The TC is in charge of the vehicle and makes the larger decisions. The driver drives and makes immediate decisions (swerve left now!). If there are only two people the TC reads the map, directs the driver, works the radio and pulls security (looks around and is prepared to respond). It is better if there are more people in the vehicle. It is best if all the TC has to do is read the map and stay situationaly aware and someone else can work the radio. In this case, the TC would be in the front passenger seat and the radio operator can be behind the driver. Everyone should have a piece of the pie around their vehicle to watch while moving and while stopped.�

�Unity of Command� is a military principle. �There can be only ONE!� is the battle cry from a cool movie. The point remains. You need one person in charge of the convoy. Pick your leader now. Decisions will have to be made. Some will have to be made and followed immediately � without debate and discussion. If you want to live. Choose wisely.�

Have multiple redundant communications between all vehicles. CBs, FRS, 2-meter, cell phones. Have scanners and radar detectors. Have brevity codes so instead of saying, �HEY, there are dudes with rifles shooting at us from over there, just left of the blue sign� you could shorten that to �Contact LEFT � 10 o�clock�. Instead of �we need to stop for gas� you could just say �chocolate milk�. Have a code word to switch frequencies.�

For routine information you will attract less attention if you use innocuous phrases (like �chocolate milk� than if you sound like a military convoy on the FRS.�

Devise signals to use when there are no communications working � flashing lights, hand signals � be imaginative but keep it simple. �

Everybody likes gear talk. Every vehicle should be in good repair � if you plan to bug out in it, keep it in good shape. Every vehicle should have basic vehicle stuff � working spare, jack, fluids and so on. Maps, commo and first aid in each BOV. Food and drink. Never separate a person from their BoB � their BoB rides with them no matter what. Never leave a BoB behind to make room for something else. �

You should have some serious recovery gear in the convoy � somewhere in the middle or towards the rear. Winches, tow straps, chains, shackles, saws, bolt cutters, come-alongs, crow bars and so on. You should know how to use this stuff.�

Consider carrying spare fuel. Decide where you want to carry it.�

Once all this is decided, come up with load plans for each vehicle. What goes where in each vehicle? If you are really good standard things (like first aid) will be in the same place in each BOV. Draw a diagram for each BOV showing this and practice loading it to standard.�

If you stop overnight only remove the minimum gear necessary – you may have to leave in a hurry. Keep everything packed up that you are not using. Never separate a person from their BoB.�

Practice everything from loading your BOVs to linkups, to actual movement to SOPs and so on. After each practice conduct an AAR (after action review) and discuss what you did, what went right, what went wrong, and so on. Ensure everyone participates.�

Go back and relook your plans and operations. Tweak them and rehearse again. When you have to bug out for real you don�t want the journey to be your first rodeo.�

Think it through. �
Make a Plan.�
Rehearse the plan � the WHOLE plan.�
Make needed adjustments.�
Come up with alternate plans.�
Rehearse again, and again.�

I�ll see ya out there.�

And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor. – Numbers 20:22

If you have any comments I�d love to hear them.�
If they really interest me, I may even post them.�
You can reach me at

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America (and Prepared Australians for a Strong Australia!)

Quick and Dirty Foraging

Quick and Dirty Foraging Part 1
By Ken Cook

Any time you bring up the subject of “Survival” somebody eventually starts talking about foraging for food. Usually, about 30 seconds after the subject is broached, somebody will start holding forth on edible plants.

Personally, I think that in most survival situations, foraging for edible plants is a bad joke.

There are very few places on the earth where edible wild plants abound and even in those places, if you’re not there during the right season, you’re not going to find much.

But even in the right seasons, most edible plants don’t have enough nutritional value to make it worthwhile to gather, clean, and prepare them. The quantities you’re going to find are so small the food content is going to be more symbolic than meaningful.

Even if you managed to find a large supply of wild edibles, if you eat enough of them to “get your fill” the odds are very good all that roughage on an otherwise empty stomach is soon going to be evacuating your bowels with great force and you’re actually losing more nutrients than you gained by eating the stuff in the first place. This is called “Negative Caloric Value” and is the main reason humans are not herbivores.

Then there’s the additional problem of potential poisoning. Almost all wild edibles have a twin or near twin which is harmful to humans. Failure to correctly identify the plants you find can lead to severe illness or death. For this reason, I highly recommend you never, ever, eat a mushroom you find in the wild. The temptation can be great if you’re hungry but unless you’re experienced “Shroomer” I’d strongly suggest you resist the temptation.

In short, I generally place the foraging for wild edible plants in the catagory of “Primitive Living” rather than survival. Interesting hobby if that’s your thing, but not something you should dedicate a lot of time to as a survivalist. The effort put forth both in training and during an event is more than the results will ever be worth.

Quick and Dirty Foraging Part 2
In part one, I discussed, and pretty much dismissed, the entire field of foraging for wild plant edibles. In part 2, I’d like to discuss more meaningful sources of food.


Obviously, having a firearm in a survival situation is going to great things for your odds of making it out. Armed with even a .22 rifle or pistol and a reasonable supply of ammunition, you now have the means to harvest enough game to keep you going strong for the duration of the survival event.

“But what if there isn’t any game?”

Well, if there isn’t any game, you’re not going to get any meat. Pretty simple. I won’t go into the “what to hunt” or “how to hunt” because that’s really beyond the scope of a forum post and more in line with a full sized book. Or possibly two books. Right now, I’m just cataloging a few different methods of putting food in the belly during bad times and opening those different methods up for discussion.


If for some reason you don’t have a firearm, meat isn’t necessarily off the menu, but now you’re going to have to do some trapping. Trapping is a very difficult thing to master and you’re not going to do it by reading a book or an Internet post, you’re going to have to go out and actually learn how to do it. The good news, is that unlike foraging for wild plants, this form of food gathing is truly worth the effort. With enough traps and skill, you can feed yourself and anyone else in your party in all but the harshest and most barren environments.

(I placed Trapping between hunting and fishing because trapping works as well in the water as it does as on land.)


Obviously, if you’re in an arid environment, this is out. But if you’re near any body of water, the chances are good that with a small and well thought out survival fishing kit, you can catch enough fish to feed your needs quite nicely.

One of the great things about fish is that they’re really easy to cook under primitive conditions. Gut it, lay it on a flat piece of (anything but pine!) wood and place the piece of wood on top of a hot, flat rock next to the fire, eat it when when the meat flakes easily or you can’t stand the wait anymore. In fancing restaurants, this is called “planking” and you usually have to pay extra for it. Don’t have a good plank or flat rock? Gut your fish, coat his outsides with mud, making sure you keep the mud out of the gut channel, and slip him down in the coals of your fire for about 10 minutes. Pull him out, peel off the baked mud, and eat what you find inside. To me, this is the most delicious way to eat fish there is.


What’s raiding? Simply put, it’s stealing.

In most survival situations, raiding isn’t even going to be a factor. If you’re wandering lost and looking for people and spot a garden, you don’t think about stealing from their garden, you simply walk up to the front door, ask them to use their phone, and call for pizza delivery and for somebody to give you a ride home. Quick and Dirty
Foraging Part 3
The third installment of this series of posts deals with “Raiding.” Raiding of course, is a “tactical” word for stealing.

Obviously, raiding isn’t a desirable option in a normal survival scenario simply because during a normal survival scenario when you have been lost and trying to find your way back to civilization, once you’ve found a village, farm, or occupied home, your trials are over. You simply present yourself to the locals, ask them for directions to the nearest restaurant, hotel, or bus stop and start thinking about how you want to market the movie rights for the story of your epic tale of survival in the wilds.

In an E&E situation however, there’s no guarantee the folks who’s farm/village/whatever will be sympathetic to your cause. In fact, odds are fair they will happily turn you over to exactly the people you’ve been busting your hump to avoid. Among professionals, the correct technical term for such an event is “A Very Bad Thing” or VBT for short.

So, you’re out in the bush in some God-forsaken Third World Pesthole, or as the PC like to say, “developing country” and suddenly you find you’re in the near vicinity of a village or farm. There is obviously much greater danger of discovery and or capture near such areas but equally, where there are people, there is food! Even the poorest village’s food supply seems like a cornucopia compared to what you’re going to find growing in the wilderness.

So, how do we properly raid (steal) the crops and livestock of this village?

The Rules are simple…

Never take more than you absolutely need.

Never take all of anything.

Never raid the same farm twice.

Get what you need, leave as little trace as possible, get out fast and never go back!

Why are these rules important?

Low tech farms and rural villages are used to a certain amount of crop loss and livestock depredation. No matter where in the world you are, there are always going to be wild animals who like the taste of chicken as much as you do. The difference between wild animals and man however, is that generally speaking, wild animals don’t take more than they can eat right then.

If Farmer Morales comes out to gather his eggs one day and none of his 8 hens are sitting on an egg, he’s going to find that pretty damned unusual. He’s going to know someone has stolen his egss. If one or two eggs are missing, he’ll never notice the difference. Unless of course, egg production drops every day for a week because you keep going back. Then, he’ll see the pattern, know somebody’s raiding the nests and you’re going to end up on the wrong end of a machete. (See VBT above.)

By the same token, if one of his hens is missing, he’ll figure something got to her and although he may set a trap for the predator, he won’t immediately think there’s a human raiding his hens. Again, unless you keep going back.

Likewise with crops. If you take just a little of this, and a little of that, he probably won’t notice and if he does, he probably won’t think too much of it. Kids are kids the world over and if you ever raided a melon patch when you were a kid, you know that a kid in Central/South America or anywhere else is going to snag himself a free melon (for example) from time to time if he gets the chance.

Before I completely leave the subject of chickens and eggs though, I’d like to cover eggs a bit more. Mainly because they’re a great source of fat and protein, they’re self contained, and can be cooked with relative ease even in the most primitive of settings.

If you’re going to raid for eggs, realize first that the henhouse is a pretty much western concept. Most folks who “keep” chickens in the third world allow their chickens to free range. This means the chickens run loose, lay their eggs where they please, and roost (sleep) where ever they like. This is both good news and bad news to the prospective E&E Forager.

First, you have to find where the hens are nesting. Maybe the owner of the chickens knows where the nest is, maybe he doesn’t. Hens can be pretty mobile about where they nest and if one nest is overly disturbed, they may pack up and relocate at almost any time.

Second, you have to know roughly what time of day the hens are laying. It’ll do you no good to raid a nest an hour after Mrs. Morales has gathered the eggs and it will be a VBT if you happen to be raiding the next when she’s gathering.

So, you need to recognize the sounds a hen makes when she’s laying. Laying up in a hide on the edge of a village all day long, you’ll be able to hear the soft “putting” sound a laying hen makes when she’s pushing out a cackleberry. Often, the more domestic breeds of chickens we are familiar with here in the US, like a White Leghorn will actually cackle loudly when she pops that egg out. (Can’t say I blame her a bit!) However, the breeds that are closer to being wild are a lot more circumspect and try not to draw too much attention to themselves or their prospective offspring. So, they make a very soft, low “putt putt putt” noise that’s very easy to miss if you’re not listening for it.

After you figure out you have a laying hen nearby, you need to be ready to slip in and snatch the henfruit as soon as she clears the nest. Don’t go in before hand, this will upset the hen and she’s liable to annouce to the world that somebody’s trying to eggnap her baby. As soon as you see her clear the next, move in, snatch the egg, and clear the area.

The beauty of getting in this fast is that you know the egg is fresh. Fresh? Hell, it’s still warm from the chicken’s ass! It don’t get no fresher than that.

But on the other hand, it’s entirely possible that while you’re skulking around the edges of the village looking for your chance to snatch and run, you’ll stumble across a nest with several eggs in it. In this event, you’ve struck a little chicken gold. If there are half a dozen eggs in there, you can take as many as half of them and scarper off post haste. BUT…

How can you tell if they’re edible or not? Obviously, if there are half a dozen eggs there, the hen’s been sitting on them awhile. Maybe half are fresh, and half are well on their way to being un-pickled baloots. It would really suck to steal the wannabe baloots and leave the fresh ones but how can you tell without actually breaking the egg?

Ahhhh, an excellent question!

Take a small container of water with you. Doesn’t have to be much. A canteen cup, soup can, anything will do. Place the egg gently into the water and let it sink or float. If it floats, it’s either rotten or there’s a chick growing in it. Put it back and try another one. The reason the rotten or growing egg will float, is this: A rotten egg has gases forming inside of it and the growing egg, the chick is digesting the whites as it grows inside the egg and thus the egg becomes lighter than water.

Keep it simple, just remember that fresh eggs always sink.

If the egg sits on the bottom but stands on end, you’re right on the verge of having a rotten egg. If you’re cooking breakfast at home, toss it in the garbage and grab another. If you’re running for your life in that 3WPH (Third World Pest Hole) then make a judgement call. How hungry are you?

By Ken Cook

Getting Past the “Bug Out” Mentality

Getting Past the “Bug Out” Mentality

(Original link no longer available)

Written by Benjamin T. Moore

Those of us who’ve figured things out to various and lessor degrees, realize the need to prepare for a time in the not to distant future when the society we’ve become accustom to will no longer be functional. Let’s pause a moment and savor the meaning of what I just said. Some people who have not really paused to consider the true ramifications of a societal collapse, look forward to these times with an almost naive glee. Visions of “Red Dawn,” fire fights with well armed but incompetent troops, camping out and feasting on venison seem to figure heavily in these ill conceived fantasies.

Let’s explore some of these myths. Anyone who has spent anytime in the bush or in actual combat knows that running and gunning is the option of *LAST* resort!!! When things get down to running and gunning your prospects for long term survival have just become tragically thin. Even elite forces such as the Navy Seals, try to avoid “running and gunning.” They operate from a base. They are inserted, do their jobs and are extracted back to the safety of their base. In the scenario so often fantasized, it would be like being permanently behind enemy lines with no support, no hope of extraction and no supplies. Could you survive? Some could, but they are few and far between. Even they could not survive for long.

Let’s explore the notion of living off the land. The reality is, there isn’t enough game except in a few places out west, to support a group of any size for any length of time. By the way, you’ve got to figure you’re not going to be the *ONLY* person or group out there fighting for the limited resources. Small game? How many rabbits will you have to kill to feed your self per day? Per week? How about your family? You’re going to run out of rabbits pretty quick in whatever area you happen to be in.

Fishing? That’s a good plan if you’re near a body of water. But again, you’re not going to be the only one with that idea. Suppose you have a good day and harvest a deer, or twenty or thirty fish, how are you going to preserve the meat? You’re probably aren’t going to be lugging around a refrigerator or a freezer.

What about items you take for granted, like toilet paper? How much are you going to carry with you on a bug-out? There are many things to consider. The closest description of the bug-out experience is the Mountain Man life style. However, it’s important to note, even the “Mountain Men” had to come back to society for supplies every so often. When you begin to consider all the ramifications of “bugging-out,” the magnitude of what you’re attempting begins to become clear. Of course all this becomes a moot point if you become stuck in a traffic jam trying to leave the city, or if you get rounded up at an unexpected road block. A simple rule for survival in these circumstances is, look at what everybody else is doing, and don’t do it!

Let’s be smart. The best place to be at in a survival situation is your home. Your home should be your survival retreat! If it’s not, make it into your survival retreat. If it’s not suitably located, buy one or build one that is. Even a well conceived and located apartment or condominum can become a survival retreat with some work and planning. The two most powerful assets you can have are storage and concealment. If you want to understand survival, study the masters. The animal kingdom is without exception the best place to learn survival. Almost all animals, as a first line of defense use concealment or camouflage. Even predators such as tigers, cheetahs and lepoards use camouflage to assist in their survival. How can we profit from this strategy? The most important thing we can do as survivalist is to *NOT* draw attention to ourselves. A friend of mine once suggested we join an “intentional” community of like minded people and live in a rural communal setting. Visions of Waco and Ruby Ridge immediately sprang into my mind. I told this friend I’d rather live next door to the Governor. The likelihood of them taking tanks through the Governor’s yard to get to me would be extremely slim. Not to mention being able to keep the News Media five miles away! In essence, “bugging-out” is like leaving the safety of the herd. If you’ve ever seen predators hunt animals in the wild, the first thing they do is cut them off from the protection of the herd. Then they descend on them and rip them to pieces, while the rest of the herd looks on grateful that it’s not them being ripped to pieces. Do you see the anology between Waco and Ruby Ridge?

These were people who were cut off from the herd by the government predators and savaged. The rest of society has gone back to grazing, thanking their god it wasn’t them. They’ve even gone so far as to justify what happened by saying these people were extremist. This is very much like what happens in the animal kingdom. Only the sickly and diseased fall prey to the lion. Hence, if people are attacked by our government… they must be politically sick. But enough of this. It is not my intent to give you my political exigesis.

Being a Survivalist is a way of life! It’s not just storing away supplies for a rainy day. I’m intrigued by people who spend thousands of dollars on camping equipment, semi-automatic rifles and hand guns, and who don’t spend money where it counts. Let me give you some examples. Are you physically fit? How many miles can you run? How many miles can you run with a full pack on your back? Take an honest assessment of your self. Would you feel safe as the cruise ship pulled away from the dock knowing you had brought along your scuba tank, mask and fins, but had never had a swimming lesson and couldnt swim? If so, you’d better check the ship you’re sailing on… It might be the Titanic.

The other thing that fascinates me, is the number of arm chair survivalist that spend great time carefully assembling a firearms battery, but don’t take the time to become truly proficient with the firearms of their choice. Too many times we trade the illusion of security for reality. The reality is, everything is governed by chance and probability. Our goal should be to turn a low probability of survival into a high probability of survival. I can only shake my head in disbelief at those who spend hundreds of dollars on the finest handgun they can afford – as well they should, how much is your life worth – but then spend $9.95 on a little suede inside the pants holster for it. That holster will most likely get you killed! I practice quick drawing each of my primary pieces at least 100 times per day. I go to the range regularly. I practice quick draw with carry ammunition, that’s the ammo I carry for survival and defense at 100 yards. I can draw, fire and *keep* all shots in the kill zone at 100 yards quicker than most of the hollywood enhanced draws you see in the movies.

Does this make me the baddest thing walking? Nope! Because nobody’s shooting back! What it does is increase the probability of my chances for survival against someone who’s got their nice, shiney, new-in-the-box looking pistol in a 9.95 brown suede inside the pants holster. I’m not worried about the chap who carries an almost new looking pistol in a holster that looks like he just took it out of the plastic. I’m worried about that chap who’s pistol has the fine patina of holster wear, the chap who’s pistol is scratched and worn. To me he’s a far more dangerous foe. It’s been said and it’s true, beware the man that owns one gun… and shoots it!

Being a survivalist is a way of life. Is your home hardened? Is it stocked and supplied? Are you constantly thinking of ways to manufacture more of the things you go to the store and purchase? If your mate doesn’t sew, do you? Could you make a serviceable out fit out of cloth or fabric? Or will you be reduced to foraging for garments if TEOTWAWKI comes in our life time? It certainly looks like it’s just around the corner… Being able to “Bug-Out” is good, but it should never become your primary survival strategy!

If you don’t have a hardened place to “Bug-Out” to, you’re probably wasteing your time. Your best bet is to harden your home. Don’t blow your cover by bragging about your supplies, in fact be extremely cautious about who you allow into your home. If things blow up, you don’t want someone who’s seen and noted your food stores, showing up on your door step with their family asking to share what you’ve set aside through your hard labor and sacrifice. The best neighbors are those that mind their own business. Mind yours and insist they mind theirs. You want to develop a support network of people who not only believe the way you do… but who believe strongly enough to act on their beliefs. In a survival situation everyone must pull their own weight.

Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

Self Defense Advice

Self Defense Advice

Some of the information may be based on nothing more than urban legends, however it doesn’t hurt to think about these things and just be a little more aware. Possible urban legends will be marked with UL, don’t just ignore them, you never know.

In General.

1. Learn to develop your awareness. Regardless of how much or how little self defence or martial art training you have had, awareness is the key to staying safe. This is not a blatant plug,
2. Attacker’s like victims who are unaware so that they can sneak up on them. Victim’s often claim in statements “He came out of nowhere” or “All of a sudden he was just there” CRAP, they just didn’t see the attacker until it was to late. WHY, they had no awareness skills.�
3. Listen to your inner alarm if it goes off to tell you that something may be wrong. If the little voice in your head is wrong so what, who cares, if it’s right you better care.�
4. If you frequently places where violence occurs on a regular basis I suggest you either stop or expect something to happen one of these days. �
5. If you believe that “it won’t happen to me”, you may be right. But if you’re wrong, make sure you have health insurance!!�
6. Never run from danger, always run to safety.�
7. You don’t need to develop a siege mentality but you should develop an aware mentality. A potential attacker will be put off by a victim that look alert and ready to defend themselves.�
8. If you make a habit of talking an exercise walk at night, take a walking stick and learn out to use it for defensive purposes (of course if you are ever questioned, it’s just a walking stick for your bad knee).�
9. Two essential tools that can help you avoid becoming a victim are a Deliberate Action Plan and an Immediate Action Plan
10. If you get in a situation in which you have to defend yourself, accept the situation, don’t ignore it, don’t hope that it will magically go away, face the situation and get on with it. If you have the physical skills to defend yourself do so if need be, if you don’t try and talk your way of the situation and try to escape. Remember the Immediate Action Plan.
11. Street confrontations such as assaults (including sexual assault) or robberies, mugging etc have 3 stages: Stalking, Interview & Attack.�
During the
Stalking Phase, the attacker seeks out a victim, the attacker watches them to ensure that they are a suitable victim, weak, unaware, without help or the perceived ability to resist the attack. At this stage awareness is the key to appearing to be an unsuitable victim.�
The second stage is
The Interview during this time the attacker may make contact with the victim, asking a seemingly innocent question, for directions for example or making a forceful demand for money for example. At this stage you have three choices (1) if you are going to physically defend yourself don’t get into a discussion, just get on with it before the attacker has the chance to attack. (2) Use the Immediate Action Plan and get to the point where you engage or escape. (3) If you are not going to defend yourself escape as quick as possible at this point, use distraction or a seeming willingness to comply but get away as quick as possible�
The third stage is the actual
Physical Attack, see next point.�
12. The physical attack part of the street confrontation is also made up of 3 elements: Surprise, Speed & Savagery. Your awareness can negate element 1 Surprise. Having a Deliberate Action Plan and/or an Immediate Action Plan can slow the attacker down and stop them from launching a savage attack.�
13. Never allow yourself to be taken to a second location, especially if you are female. What ever was going to happen to you are the first location will be much worse at a second location. The second location is likely to be more isolated with far less chance of escape or help. At the second location you may find yourself confronted by addition attackers. To repeat NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE TAKEN TO A SECOND LOCATION.�
Especially for females: if you are in a car with your husband or boyfriend and you are having an argument, NEVER demand to be let out of the vehicle NOW. You may find yourself alone in a dark street with no way to get home and who knows who will drive along that street next. Alway have your husband or boyfriend drive you home, feel free to ignore him them but at least you are home safe.

On the street.

1. Always be aware of your surrounding and who is around you especially at night.�
2. Your personal space is as far as you can see in all directions.�
3. If you have a routine, for example you always walk home along certain street, ensure that you know where the escape routes are, where locations of safety are and if there is anything along the way that could assist you if you are attacked, for example shops and or houses, always occupied where you can find help, weapons such as items always left in certain garden along the way.�
4. If you are walking, walk away from the roadway. Always walk toward on coming traffic. �
5. If you are walking at night, ensure that you are aware of everything thing or person within at least 100 metres. Who cares if looking around makes you seem paranoid.�
6. If you think that you are being followed take some form of evasive action, for example speed up, cross to the other side of the street, turn around and walk the opposite direction and then observe what your suspected follower does.�
7. If they continue to follow you and you feel comfortable, stop and say “Are you following me”, if they say “yes” , well at least you know. If they say “no” and then move on, remain aware and alert.�
8. If you are approached by someone and that inner alarm goes off, take evasive action, move to the other side of the street, speed up, change direction. �
9. If you walk at night consider purchasing and carrying a Maglite style torch. These powerful torches can be purchased at various places and even the small ones are bright enough to stun a potential attacker when shone into the eyes giving you enough time to escape. The larger models also double nicely as a baton.


1. Always lock your doors when driving. It’s a myth that keeping the doors unlocked would assist if you get in a crash. �
2. If you have keyless entry, program the remote to only open the driver’s door, most remotes can be programmed so that one press opens the driver’s door and two presses opens all the doors. If you are not sure read the manual. �
3. Always look into the rear of the car before getting in, especially at night, open the door let the light come on and have a look in the back.�
4. When driving always leave a 2 second gap between you and the car in front. Not only will this help to prevent you being involved in a rear end collision, it allow you better visibility.�
5. Always leave at least 1 full car length between you and the car in front when stopped at traffic light or in traffic congestion. This allows you some room to move your vehicle in a car jacking situation. If you make a habit of not stopping at light in the middle lane if 3 lanes you will also have a better mean of escape, up the gutter or over the medium stripe if necessary.�
6. If you are signalled to pull over by an unmarked Police car at night or in a deserted area, DO NOT STOP. Drive to a more populated area and/or contact Police on 000 if need be to confirm that it is actually a Police vehicle. If it is a real Police vehicle and you don’t stop they have the ability to call for back up from a marked Police vehicle, we suggest you stop for marked Police vehicles. If you are not going to stop only proceed at or below the prevailing speed limit. If you do stop, do not get out of your vehicle until you are instructed to by a UNIFORMED Police officer, otherwise open your window slightly and talk to the person. Do no switch you car off until you are sure that it is a genuine Police officer.�
7. If you are involved in a minor accident at night or in a deserted area you do have to get out to exchange details. Write your information down and pass it through a partially open window. Obtain the other driver’s details the same way, if they will not provide details, get the rego number of the car then leave the scene if you can and use you phone to have someone come and assist you ASAP.�
8. Never leave bags, lap tops, wallets or valuables on the front seat in full view. Place large items on the floor in the back and small items in the glove box of console.�
9. If you break down at night or in deserted areas stay in your locked car, use you phone and turn the interior light off. �
10. Always ensure that you car is in the best running order, even if you’re not a mechanic, check the tires, water and oil on a regular basis.�
11. Always re-fuel when you tank gets to no less than 1/4 full, if you are going to run out of fuel it will be at the worst possible time.�
12. Never leave children unattended in a car EVER, it might only be a minute while you run into the shop, but a thief takes a lot less time to steal a car and if they find a child in the back who knows what they would you, it has happened and children have died. You would never forgive yourself.�
13. Do not leave your car running whilst you run into a shop or any other place, not even for a minute.�
14. NEVER, EVER leave a child in an unattended and running car. I know I am repeating myself.


1. Learn to use the ATM quickly, practice your PIN on a calculator.�
2. Try to avoid using ATMs at night or in deserted locations. Plan ahead, get the money out when it’s safer.�
3. Always have a good look around before using the machine, if you see someone or something that just isn’t right, listen to that little voice and get the money out later.�
4. After you have keyed in the info required look around again, the more aware you appear the less like a victim you look.�
5. When you receive your money put it in your pocket, bag etc. Don’t go walking along head down counting fifties. If you need to count the money do it in a secure location where you can’t be viewed by a potential attacker.�
6. Always ensure that you retain your card and receipt.

Service Stations.

1. When using a service station (especially at night) take the time to look into the shop area when you pull up. If there is anything suspicious going on leave the area immediately.�
2. If the car park is full of hoons leave and fill up another time. (see point 11 in car section).�
3. Always lock your car when getting out to fill up and especially when you go into the shop to pay, unlocked cars at service stations are easy targets.�
4. Always take the time to take your children with you when you go to pay (see point 12 in car section).�
5. Ladies never leave your handbag on the roof of the car as you fill up.�
6. As you fill up remain aware, look around, appear alert.�
7. Don’t walk across the forecourt of the service station counting the money you intend to pay with or counting your change.

At the shops.

1. Alway try to park in well lit (if at night) and non isolated areas.�
2. Always lock you car.�
3. When returning to your car with shopping be alert, look around the area and inside your car before your concentration to taken up with putting kids and/or shopping into the car.�
4. If kids are with you, have them get into the car before you put the shopping away.�
5. Don’t put bags or keys on the roof whilst you put the shopping into the car.�
6. Remain alert at all times.�
7. Lock the car when you get in.

Railway Stations.

1. In addition to the advice above, if you are returning to your car at night hold you eyes in such as way to allow you to defend yourself with them. (NOTE: there will be links with photos of this soon, check back next week).�
2. Make sure that you scan the area fully for any potential problems.�
3. If you see something that makes you feel uneasy take action, do not go to the car, stay in the well lit area of the station, call someone to assist you. Good luck finding someone who works there. Make sure you have your phone and pre-plan. If you know that you get to the railway station at 8pm every night have someone you can contact who can come and pick you up if need be.�
4. Purchase and carry a Maglite style torch. These powerful torches can be purchased at various places and even the small ones are bright enough to stun a potential attacker when shone into the eyes giving you enough time to escape. The larger models also double nicely as a baton.


Due to increased security less banks are robbed these days, but that doesn’t mean it never happens.�
1. As you enter the bank have a quick look around, if anything suspicious is happening leave immediately.�
2. Whilst waiting in line to make a deposit, keep you money in your pocket or bag, take it out when you get to the teller window.�
3. If you make a cash withdrawal, count the money if you need to inside the bank and put in your pocket or bag before you leave the bank.�
4. If you are making a large withdrawal, scan the other customers in the bank and ensure that none are following you when you leave the bank, if they are take evasive action such as returning to the bank to see what the person does next. If in doubt speak to bank staff or call Police.

GPS devices.

1. Don’t leave your GPS unattended in your car, apparently they are easy to steal.

Possible UL

There have been claims that people had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.

When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.

The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.�

Advice to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it. Put a nearby address (like a shop or petrol station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.

Mobile Phones.

1. Always have you mobile phone charged when you go out, you never know when you might need it.�
2. Have an ICE (In Case 0f Emergency) number in your phone.�
3. Do not store your home address in your phone under ‘Home’.�
4. Don’t leave any confidential information stored in your message inbox or sent folder or anywhere else in your phone.

Possible UL

Your mobile phone is lost or stolen.
Later you contact your husband or wife to tell him what had happened, but he or she says ‘I received your text asking about our Pin number and I’ve replied a little while ago.’

You rush to the bank to find that all your money has been withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text ‘hubby’ or ‘wife’ in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Advice Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list.�
Consider avoiding using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mum, etc and NEVER EVER send sensitive info via text without first confirming by calling.

Travelling Overseas.

1. When travelling to countries with non Angelo backgrounds be aware of their customs, for example what is acceptable behaviour in Australia may not be acceptable in other countries.�
Take the time to familiarise yourself with the customs of countries you visit.�
2. Be aware that the legal system in many countries is very different from the legal system in Australia. If may have few of the rights you expect here.�
3. It would appear that if you get into trouble in a foreign country, the Australian Government by way of embassies or consulates is next to useless.�
4. It is a good idea to check the
DFAT web site before travelling overseas, they list warning and information about many countries.


1. Always have your laptop password protected.�
2. Try to avoid leaving a laptop unattended in a motor vehicle, if you have to lock it in the boot. never leave it insight in the vehicle.�
3. When travelling put your laptop on the floor in the back of the vehicle, never on the front seat.

4. Make sure that you have any important information backed up elsewhere just in case.


That freedom and the right to have freedom, is a right for ALL people, some just aren’t aware it’s being taken away.�


The concept of Leaderless Resistance was proposed by Col. Ulius Louis Amoss, who was the founder of International Service of Information Incorporated, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Col. Amoss died more than fifteen years ago, but during his life was a tireless opponent of communism, as well as a skilled Intelligence Officer. Col. Amoss first wrote of Leaderless Resistance on April 17, 1962. His theories of organization were primarily directed against the threat of eventual Communist take-over in the United States. The present writer, with the benefit of having lived many years beyond Col. Amoss, has taken his theories and expounded upon them. Col. Amoss feared the Communists. This author fears the federal government. Communism now represents a threat to no one in the United States, while federal tyranny represents a threat to everyone . The writer has joyfully lived long enough to see the dying breaths of communism, but may, unhappily, remain long enough to see the last grasps of freedom in America.

In the hope that, somehow, America can still produce the brave sons and daughters necessary to fight off ever increasing persecution and oppression, this essay is offered. Frankly, it is too close to call at this point. Those who love liberty, and believe in freedom enough to fight for it are rare today, but within the bosom of every once great nation, there remains secreted, the pearls of former greatness. They are there. I have looked into their sparking eyes; sharing a brief moment in time with them as I passed through this life. Relished their friendship, endured their pain, and they mine. We are a band of brothers, native to the soil gaining strength one from another as we have rushed head long into a battle that all the weaker, timid men, say we can not win. Perhaps…but then again, perhaps we can. It’s not over till the last freedom fighter is buried or imprisoned, or the same happens to those who would destroy their freedom.

Barring any cataclysmic events, the struggle will yet go on for years. The passage of time will make it clear to even the more slow among us that the government is the foremost threat to the life, and liberty of the folk. The government will no doubt make today’s oppressiveness look like grade school work compared to what they have planned in the future. Meanwhile, there are those of us who continue to hope that somehow the few can do what the many have not. We are cognizant that before things get better they will certainly get worse as government shows a willingness to use ever more severe police state measures against dissidents. This changing situation makes it clear that those who oppose state repression must be prepared to alter, adapt, and modify their behavior, strategy, and tactics as circumstances warrant. Failure to consider new methods and implement them as necessary will make the government’s efforts at suppression uncomplicated. It is the duty of every patriot to make the tyrant’s life miserable. When one fails to do so he not only fails himself, but his people.

With this in mind, current methods of resistance to tyranny employed by those who love our race, culture, and heritage must pass a litmus test of soundness. Methods must be objectively measured as to their effectiveness, as well as to whether they make the government’s intention of repression more possible or more difficult. Those not working to aid our objectives must be discarded or the government benefits from our failure to do so.

As honest men who have banded together into groups or associations of a political or religious nature are falsely labeled “domestic terrorists” or “cultists” and suppressed, it will become necessary to consider other methods of organization–or as the case may very well call for: non-organization. One should keep in mind that it is not in the government’s interest to eliminate all groups. Some few must remain in order to perpetuate the smoke and mirrors vision for the masses that America is a “free democratic country” where dissent is allowed. Most organizations, however, that possess the potential for effective resistance will not be allowed to continue. Anyone who is so naive as to believe the most powerful government on earth will not crush any who pose a real threat to that power, should not be active, but rather, at home studying political history.

The question as to who is to be left alone and who is not, will be answered by how groups and individuals deal with several factors such as: avoidance of conspiracy plots, rejection of feeble minded malcontents, insistence upon quality of the participants, avoidance of all contact with the front men for the federals–the news media–and, finally, camouflage (which can be defined as the ability to blend in the public’s eye the more committed groups of resistance with mainstream “kosher” associations that are generally seen as harmless.) Primarily though, whether any organization is allowed to continue in the future will be a matter of how big a threat a group represents. Not a threat in terms of armed might or political ability, for there is none of either for the present, but rather, threat in terms of potentiality. It is potential the federals fear most. Whether that potential exists in an individual or group is incidental. The federals measure potential threat in terms of what might happen given a situation conducive to action on the part of a restive organization or individual. Accurate intelligence gathering allows them to assess the potential. Showing one’s hand before the bets are made, is a sure way to loose.

The movement for freedom is rapidly approaching the point where for many people, the option of belonging to a group will be nonexistent. For others, group membership will be a viable option for only the immediate future. Eventually, and perhaps much sooner than most believe possible, the price paid for membership will exceed any perceived benefit. But for now, some of the groups that do exist often serve a useful purpose either for the newcomer who can be indoctrinated into the ideology of the struggle, or for generating positive propaganda to reach potential freedom fighters. It is sure that, for the most part, this struggle is rapidly becoming a matter of individual action, each of its participants making a private decision in the quietness of his heart to resist: to resist by any means necessary. It is hard to know what others will do, for no man truly knows another man’s heart. It is enough to know what one himself will do. A great teacher once said “know thyself.” Few men really do, but let each of us, promise ourselves, not to go quietly to the fate our would-be masters have planned.

The concept of Leaderless Resistance is nothing less than a fundamental departure in theories of organization. The orthodox scheme of organization is diagrammatically represented by the pyramid, with the mass at the bottom and the leader at the top. This fundamental of organization is to be seen not only in armies, which are of course, the best illustration of the pyramid structure, with the mass of soldiery, the privates, at the bottom responsible to corporals who are in turn responsible to sergeants, and so on up the entire chain of command to the generals at the top. But the same structure is seen in corporations, ladies’ garden clubs and in our political system itself. This orthodox “pyramid” scheme of organization is to be seen basically in all existing political, social and religious structures in the world today from the Federal government to the Roman Catholic Church. The Constitution of the United States, in the wisdom of the Founders, tried to sublimate the essential dictatorial nature of pyramidal organization by dividing authority into three: executive, legislative and judicial. But the pyramid remains essentially untouched.

This scheme of organization, the pyramid, is however, not only useless, but extremely dangerous for the participants when it is utilized in a resistance movement against state tyranny. Especially is this so in technologically advanced societies where electronic surveillance can often penetrate the structure revealing its chain of command. Experience has revealed over and over again that anti-state, political organizations utilizing this method of command and control are easy prey for government infiltration, entrapment, and destruction of the personnel involved. This has been seen repeatedly in the United States where pro-government infiltrators or agent provocateurs weasel their way into patriotic groups and destroy them from within.

In the pyramid type of organization, an infiltrator can destroy anything which is beneath his level of infiltration and often those above him as well. If the traitor has infiltrated at the top, then the entire organization from the top down is compromised and may be traduced at will.

An alternative to the pyramid type of organization is the cell system. In the past, many political groups (both right and left) have used the cell system to further their objectives. Two examples will suffice. During the American Revolution “committees of correspondence” were formed throughout the Thirteen colonies.

Their purpose was to subvert the government and thereby aid the cause of independence. The “Sons of Liberty”, who made a name for themselves dumping government taxed tea into the harbor at Boston, were the action arm of the committees of correspondence. Each committee was a secret cell that operated totally independently of the other cells. Information on the government was passed from committee to committee, from colony to colony, and then acted upon on a local basis. Yet even in these bygone days of poor communication, of weeks to months for a letter to be delivered, the committees without any central direction whatsoever, were remarkable similar in tactics employed to resist government tyranny. It was, as the first American patriots knew, totally unnecessary for anyone to give an order for anything. Information was made available to each committee, and each committee acted as it saw fit. A recent example of the cell system taken from the left wing of politics are the Communists. The Communist, in order to get around the obvious problems involved in pyramidal organization, developed to an art the cell system. They had numerous independent cells which operated completely isolated from one another and particularly with no knowledge of each other, but were orchestrated together by a central headquarters. For instance, during World War II, in Washington, it is known that there were at least six secret Communist cells operating at high levels in the United States government (plus all the open Communists who were protected and promoted by President Roosevelt), however, only one of the cells was rooted out and destroyed. How many more actually were operating no one can say for sure.

The Communist cells which operated in the U.S until late 1991 under Soviet control could have at their command a leader, who held a social position which appeared to be very lowly. He could be, for example, a busboy in a restaurant, but in reality a colonel or a general in the Soviet Secret Service, the KGB. Under him could be a number of cells and a person active in one cell would almost never have knowledge of individuals who are active in another cell. The value of this is that while any one cell can be infiltrated, exposed or destroyed, such action will have no effect on the other cells; in fact, the members of the other cells will be supporting that cell which is under attack and ordinarily would lend very strong support to it in many ways. This is at least part of the reason, no doubt, that whenever in the past Communists were attacked in this country, support for them sprang up in many unexpected places.

The efficient and effective operation of a cell system after the Communist model, is of course, dependent upon central direction, which means impressive organization, funding from the top, and outside support, all of which the Communists had. Obviously, American patriots have none of these things at the top or anywhere else, and so an effective cell organization based upon the Soviet system of operation is impossible.

Two things become clear from the above discussion. First, that the pyramid type of organization can be penetrated quite easily and it thus is not a sound method of organization in situations where the government has the resources and desire to penetrate the structure; which is the situation in this country. Secondly, that the normal qualifications for the cell structure based upon the Red model does not exist in the U.S. for patriots. This understood, the question arises “What method is left for those resisting state tyranny?” The answer comes from Col. Amoss who proposed the “Phantom Cell” mode of organization. Which he described as Leaderless Resistance. A system of organization that is based upon the cell organization, but does not have any central control or direction, that is in fact almost identical to the methods used by the Committees of Correspondence during the American Revolution. Utilizing the Leaderless Resistance concept, all individuals and groups operate independently of each other, and never report to a central headquarters or single leader for direction or instruction, as would those who belong to a typical pyramid organization.

At first glance, such a type of organization seems unrealistic, primarily because there appears to be no organization. The natural question thus arises as to how are the “Phantom cells” and individuals to cooperate with each other when there is no intercommunication or central direction? The answer to this question is that participants in a program of Leaderless Resistance through phantom cell or individual action must know exactly what they are doing, and how to do it. It becomes the responsibility of the individual to acquire the necessary skills and information as to what is to be done. This is by no means as impractical as it appears, because it is certainly true that in any movement, all persons involved have the same general outlook, are acquainted with the same philosophy, and generally react to given situations in similar ways. The pervious history of the committees of correspondence during the American Revolution show this to be true.

Since the entire purpose of Leaderless Resistance is to defeat state tyranny (at least insofar as this essay is concerned), all members of phantom cells or individuals will tend to react to objective events in the same way through usual tactics of resistance. Organs of information distribution such as newspapers, leaflets, computers, etc., which are widely available to all, keep each person informed of events, allowing for a planned response that will take many variations. No one need issue an order to anyone. Those idealist truly committed to the cause of freedom will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them. While it is true that much could be said against this type of structure as a method of resistance, it must be kept in mind that Leaderless Resistance is a child of necessity. The alternatives to it have been show to be unworkable or impractical. Leaderless Resistance has worked before in the American Revolution, and if the truly committed put it to use for themselves, it will work now.

It goes almost without saying that Leaderless Resistance leads to very small or even one man cells of resistance. Those who join organizations to play “let’s pretend” or who are “groupies” will quickly be weeded out. While for those who are serious about their opposition to federal despotism, this is exactly what is desired.

From the point of view of tyrants and would be potentates in the federal bureaucracy and police agencies, nothing is more desirable than that those who oppose them be UNIFIED in their command structure, and that every person who opposes them belong to a pyramid type group. Such groups and organizations are an easy kill. Especially in light of the fact that the Justice (sic) Department promised in 1987 that there would never be another group that opposed them that they did not have at least one informer in. These federal “friends of government” are intelligence agents. They gather information that can be used at the whim of a federal D.A. to prosecute. The line of battle has been drawn. Patriots are required therefore, to make a conscious decision to either aid the government in its illegal spying, by continuing with old methods of organization and resistance, or to make the enemie’s job more difficult by implementing effective countermeasures.

Now there will, no doubt, be mentally handicapped people out there who, while standing at a podium with an American flag draped in the background, and a lone eagle soaring in the sky above, will state emphatically in their best sounding red, white, and blue voice, “So what if the government is spying? We are not violating any laws.” Such crippled thinking by any serious person is the best example that there is a need for special education classes. The person making such a statement is totally out of contact with political reality in this country, and unfit for leadership of any thing more than a dog sleigh in the Alaskan wilderness. The old “Born on the fourth of July” mentality that has influenced so much of the American patriot’s thinking in the past will not save him from the government in the future. “Reeducation” for non-thinkers of this type will take place in the federal prison system where there are no flags or eagles, but abundance of men who were “not violating any law.”

Most groups who “unify” their disparate associates into a single structure have short political lives. Therefore, those movement leaders constantly calling for unity of organization rather than the desirable unity of purpose, usually fall into one of three categories.

They may not be sound political tacticians, but rather, just committed men who feel unity would help their cause, while not realizing that the government would greatly benefit from such efforts. The Federal objective, to imprison or destroy all who oppose them, is made easier in pyramid organizations. Or perhaps, they do not fully understand the struggle they are involved in and that the government they oppose has declared a state of war against those fighting for faith, folk, freedom and constitutional liberty. Those in power will use any means to rid themselves of opposition. The third class calling for unity and let us hope this is the minority of the three, are men more desirous of the supposed power that a large organization would bestow, than of actually achieving their stated purpose.

Conversely, the last thing Federal snoops would have, if they had any choice in the matter, is a thousand different small phantom cells opposing them. It is easy to see why. Such a situation is an intelligence nightmare for a government intent upon knowing everything they possibly can about those who oppose them. The Federals, able to amass overwhelming strength of numbers, manpower, resources, intelligence gathering, and capability at any given time, need only a focal point to direct their anger. A single penetration of a pyramid type of organization can lead to the destruction of the whole. Whereas, Leaderless Resistance presents no single opportunity for the Federals to destroy a significant portion of the Resistance.

With the announcement by the Department of Justice (sic) that 300 FBI agents formerly assigned to watching Soviet spies in the US (domestic counter intelligence) are now to be used to “combat crime”, the federal government is preparing the way for a major assault upon those persons opposed to their policies. Many anti-government groups dedicated to the preservation of the America of our forefathers can expect shortly to feel the brunt of a new federal assault upon liberty.

It is clear, therefore, that it is time to rethink traditional strategy and tactics when it comes to opposing a modern police state. America is quickly moving into a long dark night of police state tyranny, where the rights now accepted by most as being inalienable will disappear. Let the coming night be filled with a thousand points of resistance. Like the fog which forms when conditions are right and disappears when they are not, so must the resistance to tyranny be.

“If every person has the right to defend–even by force–his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly.” —The Law. Frederick Bastiat Paris, 1850.

How to Stay Lost Amendments

How to Stay Lost Amendments

Section 1 What I’ll be discussing in this how-to essay

He’s right in saying who the article isnt written for. Avoidance involving criminal activity isnt really covered but geared that way in some chapters. “You will be caught”. You can be on the run for a certain amount of time but DNA has a tendancy to catch up with people. The sections go into several different topics that dont really apply to the target audience. If you havent commited a crime then removal of finger prints isnt really neccessary. If you have committed a crime then the article doesnt go far enough into removing DNA, fingerprints can also be found on paper towelling used to smudge prints. Acetone is needed to fully remove prints and bleach mist to remove DNA, let alone removing every ounce of body hair. As just one strand with a root stem is enough left behind for a trace to begin a profile.�

Domestic violence is covered briefly. From my experiences, if your reading this to dissapppear from spousal abuse dont bother. If your not willing to just pack your bags and walk out after the first time of being hit then you wont go as far as many of the suggestions in the following chapters. Ive known too many people that have been in these situations, both men and women. It is the cycle of phycology that needs to be broken first. The first time I saw a female friend with a black eye, I put her boyfriends face into a side of a bar. She went straight back to him feeling sorry for him and spent the next few years going through assaults and not placing police charges. Ive had to remove a boyfriend from a pub for beating his girlfriend in the middle of the dance floor. He was removed without a punch from him or us, but the female was placed on three assault charges for trying to glass us for attacking her boyfriend. The cycle needs to be broken or they will keep becoming involved with the same type of people through their relationships until finally being beaten enough that they end up in hospital and it becomes a police matter and social workers are brought in.One good point. Dont involve the children. Place them in foster care, or they’ll just grow up being taught the same cycle. Whether that is to be a victim or the abuser.�

If yourve been reading this to change your identity because life sucks, then I suggest growing some balls and changing your life. It will take more work to become someone else than it will to change the old you.�

Section 2 Understand who or what you’re hiding from

Understanding who your running from. Once again, if a federal agency the only way is to leave the country and depart for another with no extradition treaty with your own. This requires cash and lots of it. Federal agencies have more resources than state. Facial recognition at every airport etc. State is easier, but it only takes one speeding ticket to see if warrants have been issued or one mistake. Criminals are creatures of habit. If a crime, that was spur of the moment, then the inability to cover your tracks is going to make it even easier to find you when all of a sudden you disapper by becoimg primary suspect. I think the article is mainly written for people just wanting a break from society. In which case I dont understand why its neccessary to destroy a vehicle. The author has tryed to cover too many bases where he may have been better off writing three different articles. If simply wanting to disappear for a time then burning a car will draw more attention to yourself. When the vehicle if found but you are not, then its probable that a suspicion will be formulated that you have become a victim of crime and listed as a missing person. �

If wanting to slow down a spouces pursuit then, phycologically if spending the last few years accepting abuse its highly unlikely to trash that persons vehicle out of fear of retribution. If wanting to slow down a vehicle then there are much easier ways of doing it than those mentioned. A screw driver through the welsh plugs or radiator. To fix welsh plugs requires the manifolds to be removed or if able to reach the rear plug then the engine needs to be removed and gear box dropped. Unattaching the electrical system so the alternator wont charge the battery if timing is wanted as theyll travel only so far before not being able to restart the engine without jumper cables. Simply removing the rotor from the distributer cap or adjusting the sequence of leeds from the spark plugs will put the order in which the cylinders fire out of place. If a diesel try filling the fuel tank with unleaded petrol. Stay away from revenge manuals with ideas of filling batteries with petrol etc. You will end up being placed under criminal charges yourself. I know of one person that tried placing golf balls into a trucks fuel tank, because of a dislike for the boss. The outer core is meant to gradually be melted by the petroleum, leaving rubber strands throught he engine. Pitty about fuel filters and cctv at the fuel depot. Firearms. If in an abusive relationship, I doubt that the other party will ever allow you access to a firearm. Let alone being able to remove it.�

Section 3 Throw away yourself and build a new you

Good points here but trying to reopen bank accounts without 100 points of ID now is very hard. Can be done, but Im not going to go into how to do it. Once again lending itself to an article written for criminal activity. Abandoning a car, just leave it in a parking lot with the window down and the keys in it. Better off selling it for the cash to finance leaving.�

Section 4 Keep from depositing traces of yourself

Once again this seems more written for the criminal element, good habits to get into but written before DNA testing.�

Section 5 Keeping yourself hidden

Once again for the criminal element. If satellites are being used to track you, then major funding is being used and your a terrorist, otherwise it costs more than a small nation to turn one into a search device for a bank robber. Helicopters, this was once again written before thermal imaging. Dont know where he came up with the information about dogs? Try grabbing my staffy by the neck, he’ll just get off on it until he gets pissed off and there goes your forearm. Running from ground forces, good information.�

Section 6 People and Organizations Which Can Assist You

Yeah, try going to bikers for help now a days? Theyre watched more than you will be. Stick to soup kitchens and try woofers. Willing workers on organic farms. You can work for several days to pay for meals and board and travel from one registered woofer farm to another. Same goes for section 7 �

Section 7 Employment: Food, Shelter While on the Run, While Underground

Employment. Everywhere now requires a tax file number or large businesses wont employ cash wokers in case of being sued if injured. This is the down fall of dissapearing, cash is always needed or the ability to find people willing to pay cash jobs is an art in itself most of the time. Trying woofers once again. Have the skills behind you to work in several different areas. Do a few night courses in hosptality, welding, horticulture etc. Fruit picking can be followed all year. See links below�

Section 8: Checkpoints on America’s Highways — People Looking for you

CCTV is on every highway, and public transport now. The police use a different UHF system now that cant be listened to by scanners in some states. Sticking to back roads, good idea.�

Section 9: Summary

If you want to start a new life you’ll need more information than is supplied here.�

Section 10: Special note to Earth Liberation and Animal Liberation groups

I wont even bother here. Ive once again known too many people involved in these organisations. One day they were bragging about breaking into a chicken farm and releasing all the hens. Im a conservationist but not a greeny. When I pointed out that the chickens had never walked more than a few feet in their lives if that, had no idea what preditors were, had their beaks clipped to only pick up large grains and were incapable of feeding themselves free range and that most would be dead by the time the week end had finished. I had no time for these people after that. It never occured to them to get a job and all put their cash together to buy the chicken farm and release the hens into a rehad facility. That would be too hard. Just kill them in the name of being right. Dogooders are more dangerous than nazism. They have their own web sites for the activities they are involved with. Some with good information others with lets see who can be a raving loony first?Reality isnt a high prioity.There are better ways of going about things. Common sense and logic have little to do with mandates of dogooders. If you read the Green Party policies they read as if taken from “Mien Kampf”.�

Section 11: Deserts as a Place to Hide / Squatting

A few good ideas here about squatting. Dont bother about deserts in oz. Not enough small towns to get supplies from and not enough water. If in a desert here youll need a good supply of water and thatll be the easiest way of finding you and small towns are farer apart. Better to be around many small towns to purchase supplies at a different store each time. Good thoughts about squatting on public lands and setting up semi permanent accomodation.�

Section 12: Fright Hopping — Riding the Rails

Wouldnt even try it in this country, better to just buy a ticket. By doing anything illegal youll draw more attention to yourself faster than anything else�

Section 13: Dropping off the Grid: Peace Corps, Others

Farm work and voluteer work? Farm work, yes. Still one of the few places to find cash work and have accomodation thrown in and never have to go to a town.�

Section 14: Montana Supreme Court Notes Ability to Track Everyone

If on public land or once that container has been emptied into the trash truck its anybodies.�

Section 15: Hanging Out in the Mojave Desert — How It Was Done

Interesting video to watch, will need to go to original link to view it. I checked out the youtube site and found over 600 vids. You can make up your own mind on that one.�

Section 16: Some good comments offered by readers

Getting better, worth the read.�

Section 17: Public Camps and National Forest Squatting

Lots of camping spots in books available from 4WD sites that do not require payment. Camping on public lands, depending on local goverment restrictions can mean. Being able to stay for a few days to being told to move on within minutes of being located by inspectors.�

Section 18: Internet Research Before You Disappear

Erase all internet searches and servers. Nothings easier now a days to search your entire life through your computer. Get off face book etc.These are a great source for stalkers and wackjobs.�

How I’d do it.

If not a fugitive and being actively searched for its actually pretty easy to go off grid. The main problems are accomodation, transport and employment. Gain the skills to find work in several different industries. Try farms, pubs and woofers. Erasing ID wont get you far but placing the rego of a vehicle under someone elses name is a smart move. All you really need to do to dissappear off the grid at a state level is to have no utilities under your name. No gas, electrcity, phone or vehicles. Try subletting from another renter. Buy a small VW combi for travelling, placed under someone elses name and have no bills other than petrol and pay rego yearly this also helps with accomodation. No need for backpacking with a tent or having to try and find hotel rooms in inclement weather. Squatting in camping areas or carparks overnight and move the van during the day and to different car parks during the week so your not noticed. The only way of really tracking someone under these circumstances is through either a medicare card for health rebates if becoming ill or bank account details if listed as a missing person.�

I subletted for several years and was so far off the grid I had trouble getting a new bank account. I had a warrant for a minor traffic infringement, involving towing another vehicle which ended up being unregistered. The court sheriffs office tried all previous adresses that were listed due to previously owning firearms at those times. The new renters called me to inform me of the warrant. I repeatedly contacted the local police and courts informing them that I was working three jobs and wasnt at home much and gave them the new address, which they didnt believe. I even offered to pick up the warrant from either the local police station or to let them know where I was at a certain time of day. All of which was not in their way of serving paperwork. I later turned up at the court and explained the situation to the clerk who relayed that I had turned up volunterily and was given a 2 day suspension of licence for pleading guilty and handing my self in even though a second offense. The first being a mix up in a change of address.�

I later lived in a bus for three years. A double decker that stood out like dogs balls. Better with something that didnt draw so much attention. It was never registered in my name and only moved every 6 months for a change of scenery or closer to work opportunites from transfers. I used trade plates for transporting it and never had it registered for the three years. The girl I lived with for a year then wanted to take me for half of what I owned. I just said take me to court. She didnt have the money for a lawyer and when she did pay for one found out that my car was financed to the bank for a personal loan and belonged to them and the bus wasnt officially ever in my name. I had never had the rental sites in her name and no way of ever proving she had lived with me.�

When I later left work after a back injury. Workcover that is local government workcover, which is like work cover was 30 years ago kept harrassing me. No utilites or address and I ended up throwing the mobile phone at a wall which took all their power. I used up 6 months of RDO’s rostered days off that I had accrued and only returned their calls from work until finally leaving. The funniest part is when they threatened me with survielance. I asked if they ever bothered to read my resume. When they asked why. They were informed that I used to do surveilance for their bosses and the payout doubled after 3 hours. I took it before I burned down the depot. Theres only so much BS I could have taken at the time. Too much pain, too many meds and being told I probably wouldnt be walking by the time I was 40 was enough. Point is they couldnt find me by living in a van park with nothing in my name. I will never live in a van park again. Theyre usually filled with either wackjobs or the owners are minor dictators.�

Good to visit for using amenities such as showers, but Id prefer to use a solar shower and not even pay or associate with a van park and have solar panels on the roof for power uses. Long range fuel tanks to avoid as many towns as possible, solar for power, small gas tanks for cooking and just stay in parking bays with hundred thousand dollar views or scrub blocks away from tourist destinations. I have skills to work with heavy vehicles, horticulture, welding, mechanics, hospitality(barwork), cleaning, building, other than security but would probably stick to fruit picking and enjoy travelling the seasons and doing pruning after the picking has finished. Then use WWOOFERS in between. Better cash opportunities that dont go through bank transactions.�

Self Defense Awareness

The Nuts & Bolts Of Awareness

Learning To Detect Trouble

What if violent criminals looked different?

If they did, and you knew what gave them away, would this reduce the chance of becoming their victim? You bet it would. Unfortunately rapists, muggers and predatory reprobates don’t look any different than a “normal” person. However, the good news is that they can be recognized by their behavior. If you know what to look for, you can recognize a problem as it unfolds and stay one step ahead of a human predator. That is the goal of awareness.

Communication is Predominantly Non-Verbal

People communicate their intent in three ways. Seven percent of your ability to interpret that intent is based on words, thirty eight percent through voice, and a whopping fifty five percent is projected through body language. Why is this important?

A predominant aspect of self-defense involves the communication process. Human predators don’t just pounce on the first person that comes along. There is an evaluation process that occurs where they deliberately or unconsciously assess the “victim potential” of a target. In doing so, they project’s their intentions by watching, following and even “testing” you. If you understand this process you will spot predatory intent before an assault is initiated.

In future articles, I will explain victim selection and predatory behavior in greater detail. For now, realize that knowing what clues to look for will allow to anticipate and respond effectively to a potential confrontation.

What is Awareness?

Awareness is the ability to “read” people and situations and anticipate the probability of violence before it happens. It is knowing what to look for and taking the time to notice safety-related aspects of what is happening around you.

Awareness is not about being fearful or paranoid. It is a relaxed state of alertness that you can incorporate into your character. It is neither desirable, nor necessary, to go about life hectically scanning your surroundings for the boogey man around every corner. Your level of awareness should be appropriate to the circumstances you are in.

Some circumstances call for a greater degree of awareness than others. Obviously, you would want to be more aware when walking alone to your car at night than when shopping in a crowded mall with friends.

What is Successful Self-Defense?

How you define success determines the strategies you implement to achieve it. Many people confuse the ability to defend themselves with the ability to fight. If your image of successful self-defense is fighting off an assailant, your solution will be directed at learning physical techniques. You would be missing the point.

Success in self-defense is not winning a fight but avoiding it. The ultimate success in self-defense is when nothing to happens! If that’s not possible, consider this philosophy: If you can’t prevent it, avoid it. If you can’t avoid it, defuse it. If you can’t defuse it, escape. If you can’t escape, you may have to fight your way out of the situation. If you do have to fight, it will be as a last resort, not a first. Does this philosophy influence your success strategies?

Predatory/Defender Time Line

The sooner you detect and recognize a threat, the more options you have to respond to it. Imagine a time line spanning from the time a predator forms the intent to commit a violent crime and the moment he initiates it upon you. The time it takes you to detect, recognize and respond, impacts how successful your actions are likely to be. The sooner you act, the more flexible and deliberate you can be in avoiding, escaping or responding to the situation.

Awareness strategies focus primarily to the “pre-incident” phase of the encounter; to the cues and signals you can detect and recognize that allow you to anticipate the event before it occurs. �

Knowing What to Look For

There are three primary aspects of awareness: knowing what to pay attention to, paying attention to safety-related details and matching the degree of your awareness to your circumstances.

Effective Self-defense Requires a Map

The brain’s ability to recognize and understand anything is a result of having a mental map or blueprint relevant to that experience. Psychologists call these maps, “schemas.” They consist of our accumulated knowledge, experience and beliefs and are activated when we recognize patterns associated to them.

A good mechanic can detect what’s wrong with a car by the clunks, squeaks and rattles it makes. Paramedics can diagnose unseen injuries by the patient’s symptoms. Hunters can track an animal for miles based on broken twigs, displaced soil and clues invisible to the untrained eye. They have the mental maps that allow them to do this. Diagnosing a potential confrontation requires self-defense maps.

In his book, “Vital Lies, Simple Truths,” psychologist Daniel Goleman describes how schemas work. “The (process) that organizes information and makes sense of experience are ‘schemas,’ the building blocks of cognition. Schemas embody the rules and categories that order raw experience into coherent meaning. All knowledge and experience is packaged in schemas. Schemas are…the intelligence that guides information as it flows through the mind.

Schemas allow us to make sense of the world and influence what we recognize, understand, notice and ignore. They allow us to interpret patterns, predict outcomes and respond in appropriate ways to what happens in our lives.

Evaluating Your Self-defense Schemas

Effectively defending yourself requires an accurate mental map about self-defense situations. Assessing your own schemas is difficult. We tend to resist or ignore anything that challenges our existing perception of the way things are. Schema enhancement is impossible without an open mind and curiosity about the way things really work.

In order to evaluate your own mental maps, and determine where they can be improved, consider the “Three A’s.”


Accurate mental maps are essential to effective self-defense. You establish and refine them by learning about violent and predatory situations; how they happen, where and when they happen, who they are perpetrated by and so on. This involves learning to recognize pre-assault patterns and developing an inventory of skills and strategies to resolve confrontations.

We build experience by using what we have learned. By consistently applying awareness and prevention strategies they become habits. Soon they are unconscious and automatic. Physical and scenario-based training drills can reduce your fears and desensitize you to the threat and exertion of combat. (See the article “Reach Out and Punch Someone” for an example of this type of training).

Beliefs dramatically affect your perceptions and behavior. Do your beliefs empower or disempower your ability to protect yourself? Are they realistic and functional or based on fantasy? Evaluate your beliefs about your power to defend yourself and, if they don’t contribute to your skill, resilience and ability to respond, change them.


When you lack knowledge or experience in an area your maps about it are absent. Absent self-defense maps result in people being naive about their safety, more likely to place themselves in risky situations, and oblivious to signs of danger. If someone with an absent map encounters a confrontation, they are more likely to panic, freeze or react ineffectively. In self-defense jargon, that’s called, “Not Good!”


An assumed map occurs when a map associated to an experience is flawed, inaccurate and erroneous. A map of Winnipeg is useless is Chicago. A map that is wrong won’t help you produce the results you desire.

Assumed self-defense maps are more prevalent than you might think. Even trained martial artists often hold an unrealistic perception of what a “real fight” is like. They confuse the chaos of violent encounters with sparring. They confuse martial art techniques with the ability to defend themselves. That’s like equating hockey with golf!

Studying self-defense is about developing and refining accurate mental maps of confrontation. We must build an accurate mental database of knowledge, experience and beliefs about self-defense situations and our power to respond effectively to them. The purpose of these articles, my courses and seminars, and the Protective Strategies Self-defense Resource Center is to assist you in the development of your self-defense maps.

Note: In this discussion, I don’t mean to imply that people without extensive self-defense training are helpless or unable to respond to threatening situations. It is indisputable that far more “untrained” people successfully defend themselves from assault than those with formal training. We all possess the instinct to survive. More important than learning self-defense skills is respecting, re-awakening, and tapping into existing instincts that have been neglected, denied, or suppressed. Self-defense training is not always a matter of “installing” new maps but “dusting off” and improving the ones we already have.

Paying Attention

Attention is the process of consciously attending to a thought, activity or event. It is one thing to know what to pay attention to. It is another thing all together, to pay attention on a consistent basis.

What we are conscious of is a function of our short-term memory. The capacity of short-term memory is limited, at any given time, to about seven “chunks” or pieces of information. Our senses bombard us with far more information than we could ever hope to acknowledge or be aware of. The vast majority of what is happening around us is “filtered out,” and only a small portion of it reaches the conscious mind (short term memory).

The mind is selective about what it pays attention to. To a great extent, the schemas we have stored in our long-term memory determine what we notice and what we don’t. Schemas influence, usually unconsciously, the filtering out of stimuli deemed to be irrelevant or unimportant. This further emphasizes the need to develop accurate self-defense schemas. Unless we do, the signals and cues we need to stay safe will be filtered out and ignored.

Distraction and Preoccupation

Being distracted or preoccupied can occupy the limited capacity of the conscious mind and disconnect us from what’s going on around us. Distraction is when our mental focus is occupied with external stimuli such as loading groceries in your car, fumbling with your keys or being drawn to something unusual. Preoccupation happens when our mental focus dwells on internal stimuli such as thoughts, worries and daydreaming.

Distraction and preoccupation are inevitable. Even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t be able to eliminate them for extended periods. However, if you are preoccupied or distracted when you should be attending to your surroundings, you won’t detect a predator positioning himself for an assault and you won’t be able to defend yourself. It is important to identify situations in your life when a higher level of vigilance is necessary and minimize distraction and preoccupation during those times.

Attention is like a Spotlight

Imagine that your attention is a beam of light. Whatever you point it at is what you notice. Inevitably when you point the beam in one direction you neglect another. Attention works something like this.

Since our consciousness is limited, we must develop the ability to aim the beam of our attention at details relevant to our safety. We need to pay attention to the “right things” (people watching or following us, potential ambush places, escape routes etc.) at the “right time.”

Interest & Importance

Schema, distraction and preoccupation are only parts of the attention puzzle. What we notice is also a result of our interests and priorities. I’ll quote Dr. Goleman again to make my point. “What gets through to awareness is what messages have pertinence to whatever mental activity is current. If you are looking for restaurants, you will notice signs for them and not for gas stations; if you are skimming through the newspaper, you will notice those items you care about. What gets through enters awareness, and only what is useful occupies that mental space.”

Goleman is not writing about self-defense but his point could not be more relevant. We notice what we consider (often at an unconscious level) important or interesting at the time we notice it.

Responsibility Increases Awareness

Have you ever heard of the, “I-never-thought-it-would-happen-to-me phenomenon?” I’ll bet you have and it was probably in relation to someone who had something happen to them. At the core of the awareness issue is the need to take full responsibility for your own safety. Until you acknowledge, “it could happen to you,” pre-incident cues may not register as important or relevant enough to notice. They will go undetected. Unless you acknowledge a need to be aware, you simply won’t be.

Awareness is a deterrent to assault

As you will learn in subsequent articles on victim selection, a predator’s primary targets are people who are unaware of their surroundings and lax about personal safety. One of the best, most proactive, things you can do to reduce the probability of being victimized is improve your awareness skills. Once the predator realizes that you have noticed him he’ll move on to a less observant prey. The fact that you are reading this and exploring the issue of self-defense, in my opinion, decreases the likelihood that you will fall into the category of a desirable prey. �

Points To Remember

Your ability to recognize a dangerous person or situation makes you safer. Awareness involves knowing what to look for and disciplining yourself to pay attention. The ultimate success in self-defense is when nothing happens! The earlier you detect and recognize a potential problem, the more options you have to resolve it. Detecting and recognizing danger is based on accurate mental maps. Attention involves adjusting your conscious focus toward what is relevant to a particular situation. �

So What!!! How can I use this information?

How can you use this information in your own personal safety strategy? Here are some examples of activities and exercises that will improve your awareness:

Accept Full Responsibility for your Safety
Unless you take full responsibility for your safety and make it a priority, you are less likely to detect and recognize danger cues. You are more likely to be selected as a target.

Identify situations in your own life requiring a higher level of vigilance
You can’t be totally aware all of the time, nor do you have to be. Identify times and situations in your own life where a higher degree of vigilance is merited. When out jogging alone? When commuting to and from work? When staying in a strange city? When out socializing at the bar?

Build and refine your self-defense maps by continuous learning.
If personal safety is important to you, read books and articles about it, take self-defense courses, etc. You may not want to join a self-defense club or spend all of your waking hours studying self-defense. You don’t have to. However, don’t read a single book or take a single course and consider yourself “finished.” Make an effort to periodically review what you know and continuously build on what you’ve learned.

Analyze the News
Analyze news events to familiarize yourself with criminal patterns and factors, which contribute to violent crimes. Apply the questions who, what, when, where, why and how to these incidents and use your acquired knowledge to stay out of the news yourself!

Practice Observations Skills
Pre-determine specific things to look for as you go about your day-to-day activities. For example, when going shopping make a “game” of spotting as many tall, dark haired men with a moustache as you can. Next time look for something else. Consider the fact that “playing” awareness games makes you appear more observant to a predator who may be evaluating you as a potential target.

Establish self-defense habits
If you knew you were going to be attacked the next time you went to work you just wouldn’t go. The truth of the matter is that you never know when you may be targeted as a potential victim. Assaults happen at all times of the day and in all types of setting and situations. The only effective self-defense strategies are those that you build into your day-to-day behavior. They become unconscious habits by repetition and consistency. �


I have discussed the nuts and bolts of awareness and attention: what they are, how they work and why they are important. I’m sure you still have a lot of questions remaining to be answered. There are still areas of your “map” that needs to be fleshed out and completed. The Protective Strategies Self-defense Resource Center is intended to assist you in that process. As you learn more about the components of a comprehensive self-defense strategy, you will develop a clearer, more specific map to reduce the probability of a confrontation.

Good luck and Stay Safe.

Randy LaHaie

Home Invasion

Home-defense is pretty important. After all, you probably spend a lot of time at home. Let’s take a look at some simple things you can do to make your home, a safer home. We will also look at natural weapons that you can use, and probably already have scattered around your home.
When you buy a home or first move into a rental property, be sure to change the locks on all the external doors and do so as soon as possible. You should also consider putting deadlocks on your external doors, and windows.�

If you don’t have them already, install and USE locks on your windows. If you like to leave a window open at night, or when you go out, consider having a GOOD security fly-screen installed. They can be a good idea and will bring peace of mind.

The only problem with GOOD security screens is that you can’t escape through that window if your home catches on fire, or you hear someone breaking in through another part of your home.

A cheaper alternative to locks on your sliding windows is to get and cut a piece of round dowel/wood to fit in the sliding track of each sliding window. You can cut them four-inches (100mm) short, so that the window can be opened, but not climbed through from outside.

To play it safe, you should keep the doors and windows in your home locked day and night, whether you are home or out.

Natural weapons in your home
Every room in you home should have some kind of natural weapon in it. You should consciously position items in ALL the rooms in your home to use for self or home defense.If you have an uninvited guest, the idea is to do something to him that will slow him down long enough for you to escape and get help. The first thing you should do is put a pen in every room. They make great weapons!

The second thing you should do is go into every room and come up with a way to get out of THAT room via a window – FAST!

Will you need to break a window or will it open quickly? Can you dive through it or must you climb through it? Where will you go once you are out? Think. This is important!

If you can get out, you will not need any natural weapons. But have them in place, as back up.

Your kitchen is full of weapons, everything from knives to spices. Leave spices like chili out on a bench or table. Salt is a good one, and spray cans like fly spray and oven cleaner should be within easy reach.
Lounge room
Your lounge room probably has a lamp on a small table. Both of these items can be used. The TV remote control, or a CD case could be used to strike the throat. Good solid ornaments, that we all have out on display, can be used.
Hair spray, shower cleaner sprays and powders. Some kind of beach-feel display with dry sand. Sand can make a great stand-in for fly or hair spry.
Yes, even here. It’s actually a pretty safe place to go if you can’t get out, because you can jamb the door shut by sitting on the floor with your back against the door and your feet against the toilet. If someone manages to get in, you could spray them in the eyes with air freshener. With the toilet cleaning brush, you could eye gouge, strike to the throat or temple.
Your bedroom probably has a clock of some sort. It can be used as a weapon and so can its power cord. You may have a glass of water next to your bed that you could hold by its bottom and strike at an intruders face, eyes, temple, and throat. If you are going to put security screens on your windows, be sure to have one installed in your bedroom.
The laundry door is an easy way for someone to get into your home, if you have a window next to it. Someone can easily break the window, then reach in and open a standard door lock. If you have got a window next to the laundry door, install a dead lock and don’t leave the key in the lock. Keep your iron in your laundry. They make good weapons, because they are solid, have a grip-able handle and a dangerous, pointy, top end. A hot iron is even better.
Become invisible
Close the blinds on your windows at night. A burglar will look in at what you have got for the taking window-shopping. A person planning a home invasion will be able to better plan his attack. The less information you give people on what’s going on in your home, the better.

You should also think about an escape plan to use if you have an intruder or fire.

Remember that windows are made of glass and glass can be broken. The broken window can then be used to escape through.

Can you walk around your home in the dark no lights on? If you can’t, you should learn how. If you wake up in the middle of the night, hear a noise and then see a torch light in another room, for example, you can sneak out if you know your way in the dark.

Count how many steps it takes to get from your bedroom to external doors. Learn to quietly feel/know your way around. If you go to the kitchen in the middle of the night to get a drink, or go to the toilet, practise walking in the dark.

As you have learned, there are some simple ways to improve your self or home defense. Make sure all your external door locks are working and only you have the keys for them. Know what natural weapons are in each room and how to use them. Learn to get around your home in the dark, and plan ways to get out fast!



Safety Tactics

Safety Tactics

byRandy LaHaie

Home Security Tactics

Keep hedges and bushes trimmed so that the doors to your home are visible to neighbors and passers-by.

Ensure that entrances are well lit. Sensor lights are exterior lights that are activated when an infrared beam is broken. These lights are fairly inexpensive and are excellent because they are likely to scare off prowlers outside your home.

Invest in a good burglar alarm system from a reputable company. Place alarm stickers on your windows.

Consider buying a dog and post “Beware of Dog” signs outside your home. The size of the dog is not important. Even a small dog will make noise when it detects a prowler or intruder.

Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and ensure that the doorframes are sturdy and strong.

Ensure that all windows have locks and that you keep them locked while out or home alone.

Use wooden or metal rods to secure sliding doors and windows. Many styles of sliding patio doors can be easily pried open with a screwdriver or opened with a sharp tug that will break the latch.

Avoid hiding keys outside, especially in obvious places. It is better to give a spare key to a trusted neighbor.

If you lose a set of keys, have your locks changed as soon as possible.

Don’t put your name and address on your key chain.

Do not leave your house keys or garage door opener on your vehicle when it is being serviced. Keys can be stolen or copied. A garage door opener can be opened and the frequency combination can be recorded.

If your garage door opener is lost or stolen, have your opener code changed.

Install peepholes in doors as opposed to chain locks that can be easily forced and broken.

Teach your children not to open doors for strangers.

Avoid indicators that you live by yourself or are home alone.

o Draw your curtains at night to prevent people from determining that you are alone.

o If you live alone, don’t put your name on the mailbox. If you do, use only your first initial. People can look your number up in the phone book and phone to determine if you are out.

o Consider an unlisted phone number or use only your first initial in your telephone listing.

o Never inform unknown callers or visitors that you are alone. Inform them that your spouse/roommate is asleep, in the shower or that you are unable to speak because you are expecting company at any moment.

Have automatic garage door openers installed. You will be less susceptible to attacks from assailants hiding outside your home.

Scan your surroundings before exiting your vehicle and approaching a house or building.

Have your house or car keys ready in case you have to get in quickly.

If you arrive home to find a stranger or vehicle in your driveway, leave and call a neighbor or the police.

Have a phone at your bedside along with important phone numbers for police, fire, neighbors etc.

A cell phone is best because the lines cannot be cut.

Arrange to have service people, salespeople, etc. attended while you have company or invite a friend over during that period.

Placing an emergency call:

o State your location and name first in case you are interrupted

o State your reason for calling

o If possible, provide police with a description and present whereabouts of a suspect (i.e. trying to get in, running away etc.)

Get to know your neighbors and determine whom you can call in an emergency. Consider developing an emergency signal such as flashing lights or noisemakers.

If someone does try to force his way into your house, keep your foot on the floor with the ball of your foot against the bottom of the door as a doorstop.

Consider placing a personal defense weapon/device(s) around the home or be prepared to improvise by converting household items into weapons.

A stranger at the door:

o Are you expecting anyone?

o Does he look the part? (uniform, company vehicle, etc.)

o Are these normal business hours?

o Does he appear to be nervous and/or scanning for witnesses?

o If you are suspicious, ask for ID and the phone number of his superiors. Is he able to recite it immediately?

o If you are the least bit suspicious of a stranger, advise him that you are expecting company and to make an appointment. Trust your intuition.

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Outside Safety Tactics:

Outside safety tactics refer to times when you are out in an uncontrolled environment such as when commuting to and from home, work, stores, etc. It is preferable to avoid “risky” areas. At times however, this is not always possible. Here are some examples of tactics:

Avoid isolated locations with low witness concentration. If you are alone you are more likely to be targeted for assault.

The time of the day is an important factor. Late night hours have lower witness traffic and an assailant is more capable of assaulting you without being seen or caught. A location that can be safe during daylight hours can become the opposite at night.

When you are outside, make sure to exercise your awareness skills. Be conscious of your surroundings. Check over your shoulder every once in a while and avoid isolated location and potential hiding spots.

When walking, stick to well lit routes with high witness traffic. If there are no sidewalks, consider walking on the left side of the roadway facing traffic. This makes it difficult for a car to follow you undetected.

In the city, where you must walk on the sidewalk, walk near the curb. This makes it more difficult for an assailant hiding around a corner or in a doorway to grab you before you can react.

If you are taking the bus, sit near the driver. Report unwanted advances to the driver immediately. Try to sit in an aisle seat or beside a female passenger.

If you feel that you are being followed and crossing the street confirms your suspicions, begin screaming and run to a public location. You can also consider placing an obstacle between you and your pursuer and continue to scream for help.

If you are alone, avoid waiting inside a bus shelter where you could be trapped.

When out for a walk, jog or while commuting, try to go with a friend. If you go out to exercise alone don’t wear headphones. This reduces your ability to detect an attacker approaching from behind.

Avoid walking alone at night when you are upset or have been drinking. Your awareness level is likely to be low.

Know the area and your escape routes. Become familiar with stores, service stations and other places that will be open at the time you are traveling. If you are unfamiliar with an area, avoid trying to find shortcuts. You may end up boxed in or isolated.

Know your bus schedule so that you do not have to wait any longer than necessary.

If you know that you are being followed turn around and look at your pursuer. Project an assertive attitude and take note of the person’s physical description. If you can help it, don’t go directly home. This shows the pursuer where you live and he may choose to try again another time.

Have your keys ready while approaching your house or vehicle or even while taking a stroll. If you spot a potential assailant, you can hurry into your car or house. Keys can also be an effective personal safety weapon. A personal defense weapon is useless if it is at the bottom of a purse or pocket.

If you spot a suspicious person or group of people, go around them as opposed to walking through them. Consider crossing the street.

If someone asks for the time or directions or tries to initiate a conversation, remember that you do not have to answer. If you do, keep it brief and move on. If you become suspicious, you may instruct the person to keep his distance.

Consider your clothing and footwear for defense and escape capabilities.

Avoid public displays of money at automatic teller machines, stores, banks, getting on the bus, etc.

If you carry a handbag tuck it under your arm. It is best to keep money in your pockets. If someone does grab your purse let it go. Property is not worth getting hurt over.

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Vehicle Safety Tactics:

A cell phone is one of the best personal safety devices you can make!

If possible, park your car in an attended lot or in a well-lit, busy area.

Avoid parking next to vans because they will obscure you from view and you can be pulled in through a side door.

Make sure to scan the area before getting out of your vehicle. If there is a suspicious person don’t get out.

When returning to your car, scan the area around the car as you approach. Check around it, underneath it, and pay attention to occupied vehicles nearby.

Scan the interior of your vehicle before getting in to make sure no one is hiding inside.

Lock your car doors whether you are in it or not. When driving in urban areas, keep the windows rolled up as far as comfortable.

Have your keys ready when approaching your car in case you have to get in quickly. In the event of an assault, keys can be used as weapons.

If you are loaded down with several packages, get in first, lock the doors and then organize your possessions.

Don’t pick up hitchhikers. Even if the hitchhiker is a woman, exercise caution; she may have an accomplice nearby. Use your discretion and intuition. At the same time you don’t want to leave a stranded person to fend for herself.

Create a “buddy system” with your co-workers so that you are all sure of a ride in case of car trouble.

If several people have cars parked in various locations, it is safest to walk together to the nearest car and then drop each person off at her vehicle.

When dropping off a friend, wait until she is inside her home or vehicle, or that her car is started before driving away. Ask friends to do the same for you.

When attending social functions, consider arranging a car pool. Leave together.

Carry “emergency money” for a bus, cab fare, or a phone call etc.

Prepare an emergency kit and keep it in your vehicle. In particular, make sure you have warm winter clothing. In the winter, if you are dressed improperly and your vehicle breaks down, your options are severely limited to turn away offers of help or a ride from suspicious people.

If you frequently wear high heels or dress shoes, consider keeping a pair of running shoes in your car in case you have to walk.

If possible, tell a friend, spouse etc. where you are going, the route you will be taking and your estimated time of arrival. If you don’t show up or check in, an effort can be made to locate you.

Keep your car in good running condition and avoid driving with less than a half of a tank of gas.

If you have a flat tire and feel that it is unsafe to get out of the car you may have to drive to a place of safety very slowly with your hazard lights on. You will ruin the tire but you’ll be safe.

Learn how to repair a flat tire. If you do get a flat, try to find an occupied location such as a police or fire station parking lot, convenience store, etc. to change it.

Never hitchhike. If you must accept a ride, profile the occupant(s) of the vehicle. Vehicles driven by women or families are statistically less risky.

If you are stranded and someone stops to help you, do not get out of your car. Through a partially open window, ask him to notify the nearest service station, a tow truck or a friend/spouse for you.

When loading items into your trunk, unlock your driver’s door first. If a suspicious person approaches, get in, lock the doors and wait to see what he wants.

Be careful not to pull up too close to a stopped vehicle in front of you. It is easier to escape if someone tries to get into your car or attempts to box you in.

If someone tries to force his way inside your vehicle at a stop sign or red light, sound your horn and drive away. Notify the police.

If you are alone and someone is able to force his way into your car, jump out.

If you are being followed by another vehicle, there are a number of tactics you might consider: o Sound the horn and activate your emergency flashers. Try to draw attention to yourself. o Drive to the nearest police station, fire hall or other public place and lean on the horn to attract attention. o Consider turning around and going in the opposite direction. Try to get a license plate number and description of the vehicle and occupants. o If you are being followed on a highway or multi-lane road, keep to the left lane. This makes it more difficult to cut you off. o Don’t try to out run the vehicle, you could end up having an accident, being hurt or immobilizing your vehicle. o Don’t drive home if you can help it. This will show the assailant where you live.

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Building Safety Tactics:

If you work late, find out who else is in the building. When you leave, ask someone to accompany you. (Such as a co-worker, security guard, etc.)

If you can, time your departure when there is likely to be other people leaving such as at the end of a class or shift.

Elevators are common places of attack. If there is a person already on the elevator who makes you uncomfortable don’t go in. Act like you forgot something and wait for the next one.

When you ride the elevator, stand close to the button panel. If you are attacked, you can press as many buttons as possible and the emergency alarm.

If you intended to go up, don’t get on an elevator that is going down. This might take you down into the basement where you might be isolated.

Try to avoid isolated, poorly lit areas of a building. Isolated stairways should also be avoided if possible.

If you are working alone at night, ensure that the exterior doors to the building are locked so that intruders are unable to gain entry.

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Travel Security Tactics:

Arrange air travel during business hours to avoid being alone and reaching your destination at night.

If you’ve rented a vehicle, arrange to pick it up close to the airport terminal.

If possible, arrange for a company representative to meet you at the airport. Verify his credentials and have him escort you to your car or hotel.

Avoid late business meetings. If one is scheduled, make sure that you are in the company of several associates.

Stay only in quality hotels. Do not accept a room if: o It is located in a remote section of the hotel o The doors and windows are not secure o The hotel does not have 24 hour security

Use the security lock and consider bracing the door with a chair when retiring for the evening.

Do not answer the door unless you are expecting company.

In a strange city tourists may inadvertently wander into the “wrong place a the wrong time.” Speak to hotel staff or the local police to find out if there are areas to be avoided.�

Combative Anatomy

Combative Anatomy

Article written by George Matheis, founder of the Modern Combatives System.

Much study and argument revolves around which Martial Arts or techniques are best for self- defense. To know which are best we have to look at it like we would to select a tool for a specific job. What are we trying to accomplish?�

In combatives that job is stopping a human being from harming us as fast as possible. The first area of study then needs to be anatomy or even more specialized for our purposes, Combative Anatomy. The science of how to stop a human from doing a specific harmful act in the minimum amount of time. Combative Anatomy also does not rely on pain compliance.�

Just like the MCS Combative Anatomy has to first be looked at with the understanding that during a spontaneous attack you will initially have to deal with attacks ranging from open hand, impact, edged and pistols with the open hand. This problem is two fold.�

One you need to be able to defend against the initial attack as well as make sure that you attacker is not going to get up and chase you when you run to call for help. Also understand that the only ways to damage the human body it to crush or cut it. Because we don’t have claws if fighting open handed you will need to rely on crushing attacks at least until you can produce a edged weapon.�

Crushing attacks can cause immediate incapacitation unlike cutting attacks which can take from seconds to minutes, and that is a long time when you life is on the line. For this reason we will break down Combative Anatomy into four specific systems. Lets look at your attackers body like a house that needs to have electricity, walls, and plumbing for aggression to dwell in it.�

Central Nervous System – is made up of the brain and spinal cord and in charge of processing information. A hammer fist between the eyes or a slap to the side of the head would have the same effect as cutting power to the house. At the very least is will cause an interruption in services. That is why we don’t attack just one system, stand back and see what happens. The CNS is easily attacked with open hands and items typically carried in the hand. These are crushing / impact attacks.�

Skeletal System- the 206 bones of the human body that make up our frame. Without our frame, locomotion and the motion needed to articulate a weapon are impossible. For fighting the two joints we count on most are the elbow and knees.�

Both joints work very well on only one plane-which makes them hinge joints. By smashing them we can ensure that our attacker will not pick up another weapon or follow us when we leave. The elbows and knees are most vulnerable when extended all the way out.�

This is also why we don’t lock our arms out during a punch and make sure we have a slight bend in our knees at all times. The Skeletal System is also easily attacked with the open hand and feet. These are crushing / impact attacks.�

Muscular System- the system that allows us to move. The muscle needs to be cut to incapacitate. And just like any traumatic injury having one or more muscles cut can have little or no effect on what the rest of the body is able to do.�

If you are lucky enough to have an edged weapon in your hand when attacked and manage to cut your opponents strong side bicep he can still use his other hand to use the same weapon, access another one or just run after you as you run away.�

I would view it as closing one door to get away from someone when there is another open door right next to it. Wouldn’t make more sense to incapacitate them so they could not chase you?�

Circulatory System- system that carries blood to and from the heart. Again this system can only be affected by cutting. I know you are going to say what about chokes. And don’t get me wrong, chokes are great but to do them effectively you need to be behind your attacker and it ties up both of your hands.�

Usually you will have to start defending while facing your attacker. And whether it is a choke or a cut, both will take time even if only a few second to incapacitate your attacker. And in that 10 seconds he can get a lot of stabbing done and inflict some serious damage on you.

A human only has six basic physical weapons
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– Head
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– Shoulders
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– Elbows
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– Hands
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– Knees
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– Feet

Experience has taught us that the majority of attacks are hand attacks. The mechanism of the attack is the same whether it is open hand, impact or edged.�

Using MCS Combative Anatomy along with the proper mindset gives you an easy to remember full force continuum to effectively deal with all threats appropriately in a way that is defensible and grounded in science not marketing.

Article written by George Matheis, founder of the Modern Combatives System.

It has been just over a year since I coined the term Combative Anatomy, the study of incapacitating your attacker during a violent attack. Since that time I have done more research on the subject and have some new thoughts.

First, let’s define incapacitation. For our purposes it means that the attacker is physically unable to continue to attack. Since the majority of initial defenses are likely to be open handed even against weapons, we cannot count on things like pain compliance because of tolerance or desensitization related to drugs or alcohol.�

Defenses need to focus on the mechanism of attacks and not the method i.e., destroying the elbow of the arm that holds the knife instead of trying to disarm the knife.

Regardless of whether you are defending yourself with your hands, stick, gun, or firearms there are only two ways you can cause trauma to your attacker, and they are cutting and crushing. You either penetrate the skin or you don’t.�

The hierarchy of incapacitation is as follows-

– Central nervous system

– Skeletal system

– Muscular system

– Circulatory System

It is interesting to note that although trauma to the circulatory system is most likely to prove fatal it may actually be the slowest in terms on the immediacy in which it causes physical incapacitation that stops your attacker. With the exception of choking, targeting of the circulatory system is also impossible with the personal or impact weapons.

Instead of having a specific game plan or secret move, I feel it is more effective to target areas of the body that are most vulnerable to open hand attacks that are likely to be exposed during an altercation.�

These targets have been narrowed down to-

Head- responsible for decision-making

Elbow- the lynch pin of all open hand attack and using weapons

Knee- responsible for locomotion, base and balance

The way to combat the failure of specific targeting is redundancy. Since an attack with the open hand or a contact distance weapon would expose all three primary targets, all should be attacked if possible. For example, if someone were to attack you with a tire iron and you were able to move to the outside you would- smash the weapon side elbow with your elbow or palm, smash your knee into the side of theirs and then yank them back causing their head to strike a wall or vehicle.�

This of course is an example in open hand force vs deadly force. A slap to the side of the head is also an effective optional technique. Disruption of the central nervous system should be considered the primary target even if it is not attacked first.

This doctrine allows for a measured open hand response that because of its effectiveness may prevent the need to escalate to a mechanical or deadly force option. As a side note, practicing these techniques even in a controlled environment is likely to result in hyper extended knees and elbow. Headgear should also be worn. Communication with your training partner is the key.

Now a few words on Combative Anatomy as it relates to the use of an edged weapon for self-defense. Again it seems that our goal needs to be defined as stopping our attacker as fast as possible, not killing them eventually. The debate over stab vs cut continues.�

Since attacking the central nervous system with an edged weapon is improbable we will discuss the most effective way to attack the circulatory system. Most of those knowledgeable and trained in edged weapons prefer to stab and believe they will be able to do so even when attacked. Since I believe that the vast majority of people reading this are likely to never use an edged weapon offensively, I can only theorize that if they do have to use one it will be in response to being attacked.

My research has shown that when people are on the defense and moving to the rear they are more likely to slash. The people that I have observed have ranged from novices to those who would define themselves as seasoned knifers. Either way they responded the same way.�

This is telling since it has been my experience that many folks who carry a knife for self defense have little to no training and consider their knife a last ditch weapon. What I teach has to be as effective for those who attend a weekend seminar as it is for those who pursue edged weapons as a martial art. For this reason I don’t feel comfortable teaching stabbing as a primary counter attack.

For those of you who don’t hunt, try watching a few hunting shows. You can see hunters shooting white tail dear with shotguns, rifles, and bows. I don’t think that anyone would argue that a knife would cause more damage than any of these other weapons. Their shots usually target the circulatory system. Most of the time the animal recoils in shock before bolting off to die a distance away. How much damage could a human do in that time? This overwhelming trauma to the thoracic cavity results in an adrenaline dump and blood pumping into the legs allowing the animal to run.�

They are for a few seconds able to run faster on their extremities than they ever have before. Why don’t they target the head and the central nervous system or the skeletal system? One is for the trophy and one is sportsmanship. It is more important to kill them eventually than to stop them immediately. The exact opposite of what we need to do when defending ourselves against human predators.

These theories on Combative Anatomy continue to reinforce my belief that Inverted Edge Tactics offer the best defensive edged weapon skills.

First of all the use of the inverted edge prevents people from swinging wildly outside the silhouette of their attacker which increases economy of motion, while at the same time targets by default the inherent weaknesses of the body.

The most important feature of Inverted Edge Tactics is that it takes advantage of the fact that arteries and nerves run together along the contours of the muscle like a wiring harness. As with the open hand this combats the likeliness of failure with redundancy. The more systems attacked the better the chance of physiological failure.

Careful consideration needs to be made in reference to how humans respond during stress, the positions we are likely to find ourselves in, and the most effective way to blend those things to formulate repeatable tactics to stop attacks as fast as possible.�

Tactical Anatomy�



Ive just purcashed one of the new RAT knives, (RC-5 SERE) from Urban Conquest here in OZ. Very good prices for the local knife comunity. I havent been a big RAT fan. Ive owned the Izula for a parasite blade and the RTAK before, but cut the 10.25 inch blade to an eight incher and lost too much of the leverage for chopping. Probably would have worked, if made from 1/4 inch stock. Its now makes a fine camp knife. Ive mainly been put off their larger blades by being made of 3/16th, preferring 1/4 inch stock.

So when the SERE was released, I jumped at a good price to try one out. I wont write out a complete review, only make a few observations. The links below have done a much better job of it, than I could. On the blade it actually says ESEE which stands for Escela Supervivencia Escape Evasion and not SERE which is distracting some people. The sabre grind, which once again Im not a fan of is done very well. I dont like large flats on the sides of blades, most sabres are very low for maximum strength but tend to stick when battoning or chopping. The RC-5 has a nice high sabre which hasnt effected battoning at all for me and acts more like a scandi grind.

The leg tie down strap isnt intended for that purpose but to actually tie the sheath to webbing to reduce noise when on military patrol. The bow drill divet balances in a nice position and is one of the hardest items to come across or produce in the wilderness when attempting to make a fire bow kit. The feel of the grip in the hand is also superb. Its made of 1095 steel, which once again not a fan prefering higher end steels but it makes sense for a survival knife to be made of 1095. For one it should have a high enough carbon content to strike against flint to produce sparks and secondly can be sharpened on suitable stream rocks. Something I wouldnt like to try with the higher end stainless steels. Its well designed and worth checking one out and definately a keeper for me.�



Second Opinion

Canadian Wilderness�….0%20Review.html

Luke 12


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How to Survive a Dog Attack

How to Survive a Dog Attack

by Margaret Eden

Based on statistics obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year 4.7 million people suffer a dog attack in the United States. Of this number, 800,000 require medical attention, and 17 result in death. Despite leash laws and animal control programs, dogs roam free in city streets, suburbs, and rural and remote areas. Generally, dog attacks occur in average neighborhoods while people walk, jog or exercise their own dogs.

“I took my Huskies out on their leashes late one evening,” says Phil in Oklahoma. “We had only gone a block when a Golden Retriever charged out of the bushes and attacked my dogs. It wasn’t until I managed to separate the dogs that I felt blood trickling down my leg where the Retriever had sunk his teeth into my thigh.”

Phil’s story is not unusual, according to Mark Minnerly, owner of The Dallas Dog Trainer, Dallas, Texas. “Dogs frequently attack other dogs who stray into their territory. If people get in the way, they get bit. Dogs are pack animals, territorial by nature.”

“Some dogs possess a stronger instinct than others,” says Minnerly. “The profile of killer dogs has changed over the last 15 years. Great Danes were responsible for the largest percentage of fatal attacks in 1979. In 1995 and 1996 Rottweilers killed 11 of 22 dog attack victims. However it’s important to remember that Rottweilers are owned in greater numbers these days.”

All dogs test the water during new encounters. They immediately try to access who you are, why you are there, and who’s in charge. If the person or dog under attack acts correctly, it may diffuse the situation.

How to avoid a dog attack

The best way to avoid an attack is to avoid a strange dog’s territory — but that’s not always possible. If a dog is charging at you, you must quickly determine what type of attack the dog has in mind.

“Dog aggression really takes two forms — defensive or offensive,” says Minnerly. “If a dog feels threatened, he growls and moves away from you hoping you’ll do the same.

“If he moves closer, it’s best to stand still, maintain good posture and keep your eye on him,” says Minnerly. “Try talking. Use a soothing tone. Call for the owner. Hopefully, he’ll call off his dog. Watch the dog closely. Pivot to face him, if necessary. Don’t shout or make threatening body movements. This might make the dog shift from defensive to offensive mode.”

If the encounter takes place in an open area, a steady gaze lets the dog know you feel confident and may discourage an attack. Usually, a fearful dog will back off after a few minutes. However, if the confrontation takes place in a confined space, you might want to stare at a point on the dog’s body rather than directly at his face. If a fearful dog feels cornered, a direct gaze may goad him to attack. If the dog operates off the herding instinct, he will want to chase you down and bite you on the heels or the buttocks. But generally they aren’t bold enough to bite you if you face them. Never let the dog get behind you.

You can easily recognize an aggressive dog by its bark. It says, come on over here. I’m going to have you for lunch. An aggressive dog doesn’t try to scare you away. Instead, he dares you to do something. Often an aggressive dog will move in close and snarl in your face, teeth bared, or charge you in an attempt to make you run so he can give chase.

Most dog attacks take place when an unsupervised dog charges up to investigate a dog on a leash. “It’s a dog’s nature to investigate the new dog by sticking his nose in the new dog’s crotch,” says Minnerly. “Dogs instinctively attack the stomach because gut wounds nearly always prove fatal. It’s a lot like the way lions bring down prey in the wild. If you get in the way, the dog will bite you, too. The worst thing you can do during a dog attack is run,” says Minnerly. “If you run, the dog sees you as prey, and he’ll chase you down.”

“Dogs in the wild don’t usually present a problem,” says Minnerly. “Most are loners and go out of their way to avoid humans. They are looking for food, not trouble. They live on mice, rats and sometimes small or injured deer. If you encounter a wild dog accidentally, it usually runs away.”

On the other hand, dogs running in packs can prove extremely dangerous. “They feed off each other’s excitement,” says Minnerly. “They may attack larger prey than normal. They do things a lone dog would never try. Sometimes they attack pets or livestock.

“During a recession in Alaska in the ’70s, people moved away leaving their property and dogs behind,” says Minnerly, who lived in Alaska at the time.

“Dogs banded together in packs and roamed the streets searching for food. They’d come into your yard and eat your dog while he sat chained to a tree if you weren’t careful.”

What to do if things get nasty

If the unthinkable happens, and a vicious dog attacks you or someone you love, quickly search your environment for weapons to hold the dog at bay. If a bite is truly inevitable and you find no weapons at close range, use a shirt or jacket to wrap your weak-sided arm. Offer the protected arm to the dog as a distraction while you call for help or attempt to back to safety. Often in a frenzied attempt to get at you, an attacking dog will bite almost anything. A stick, a bag or a book may provide a valuable substitute for an arm or leg as you try to escape. It’s always a good idea to carry weapons such as mace, a knife or even a handgun. Real survivalists carry more than one weapon. Two knives, one carried on each side prepares you to survive an incapacitating wound to either your right or left side and allows you to fight on.

If you carry a knife, cut the throat, stab the eyes or the face of the dog for the quickest reaction. Stabs to the body don’t always take effect in time to prevent the dog from biting you. Attacking the dog’s face, jaw muscles or throat will disable it quicker and may prevent serious injury to the person.

If you carry a small caliber gun, aim for the dog’s head/brain; a body shot may not bring the dog down immediately. If you carry a large caliber gun, aim for the body. The impact alone can significantly disrupt the attack. However, it takes time to draw a gun. Statistics indicate a person attacking you may run 19 feet before you can pull a gun from a holster and shoot. Many dogs run faster than the average person.

If serious attack becomes unavoidable and you are:


* search the immediate vicinity for weapons

* wrap your weaker arm in clothing and use it to distract the dog

* call for the owner

* back to safety


* use mace or other spray to subdue the dog

* use knife to stab jaw muscles, face, eyes or throat of dog

* fire small caliber gun at dog’s head

* fire large caliber gun at dog’s body

It’s important to know that dogs always follow the survival of the fittest principal unless extensively trained to do otherwise.

Home Security Tips

There is no such thing as a burglar-proof home. What there is, however — using a burglar’s double criteria of speedy entry and not attracting attention– are homes that are too difficult to break in to .

The enemies of the burglar are time and attention. The longer it takes to enter and the more noise he makes increase his chances of being seen and caught. Homes not easily and quickly broken into are most often bypassed for easier targets

Although the main focus of this is to deter burglars, what is talked about on this page is an example of “walk-aways” mentioned on the Pyramid of Personal Safety page. The same issues that will deter a burglar will also serve to stop a break-in rapist or stalker.

Tip #1 Make your home security system like an onion, not an egg. Layers upon layers are not only the best deterrent, but the best defense against break ins.

Reason: It is easy for a criminal to bypass a single line of defense. Multiple layers not only slow him, but serve as a means to alert you or your neighbors that someone is trying to break in. Doing these “layered walk-aways” makes it more difficult for a criminal to meet his criteria of quick and unobserved entry. If, like the tip of an iceberg, enough of these deterrents are visible, most of the time the would-be intruder will simply choose not to even try. If he does try, then the layers he did not see will impede him.

A good example of a layered defense is rosebushes outside the window, double-locked, barred and safety coated side windows and something difficult to climb over inside under the window.

Tip #2 Pretend to be a burglar
Walk around your property and ask yourself: How would I break in? Examine your house from the street, where are the blind spots? What are the most vulnerable areas and, therefore, likely to be attacked? Stand outside the windows and look in, make sure no valuables, like expensive electronics or artwork, are visible. If you can see your belongings doing this, so can criminals.

Reason: We don’t tend to think of our homes in these terms. So spend just a few minutes doing this. Find where “blind spots” are (areas where a criminal can work without being seen or would be screened from view of a neighbor looking to see what that loud noise they just heard). Also look for “weaknesses” (easy access points) are (for example, sliding glass doors, doggy doors or louvered windows). These are the areas that will be “attacked” by the criminal. That is also where you must focus your defenses.

Tip #3 Consider the area that the lock sits in
A lock is not enough, you must also address the area around it. You need to extend your thinking about security measures to 18 and twenty four inches around the lock itself. That is the area you must protect.

Reason: A burglar doesn’t care how much damage he causes getting in. The best locks in the world will do no good if he smashes the door in. A pinewood door frame will splinter and give way after a few savage kicks. The backdoor deadbolt can often be bypassed by just breaking a window and reaching through to unlock it. Windows can be broken and locks undone. Many locked gates can be opened by simply reaching around and over. A hasp-and-lock will swiftly yield to blows from a even a small sledgehammer.

Tip #4 As well as locking something, you must also protect the lock and its components
A common combination of cheap locks and small construction flaws, that we tend not to notice, often give criminals the “cracks” in security they need to break in.

Reason: Many home doorlocks can be quickly bypassed with a knife or screwdriver slid in the gap between door and frame. After that the criminal can easily work the tongue of most cheap locks out of the door frame. A thin kitchen knife slid between sash windows can “tap” a normal window lock open. Hasps and locks can be hammered or twisted off in a few blows, or simply cut off with bolt cutters. Many sliding windows and doors can simply be lifted out of place.

Door: Look at the gap between your door and your door frame from the inside – can you see the lock’s tongue? All it takes is a flip of the criminal’s wrist while holding a screwdriver while on the outside to break away the thin doorjamb molding and expose that same gap. From there, it is another simple wrist gesture to jimmy the tongue out of the faceplate. Total elapsed time for break-in, about 10 seconds — with minimal noise.

On ALL outside exit doors, buy locks that have locking tongues. Test this by holding the door open and locking the knob. Then attempt to depress the tongue into the door with your finger. Better locks will have a secondary tongue that doesn’t move. The best locks will have entire tongues that don’t move.

Window: Put “window stops” on the first floor and basement window frames. These often functionally amount to secondary and tertiary locks. The best kind are those that go through a moveable frame and lock it into place. Something as simple as drilling a hole through both frames when the window is closed and placing a nail in the hole will lock the windows in place.

Other: Use hasps with protective shrouds. These make it harder for the criminal to hammer away the lock. If for some reason you have an outward swinging door, not only get the best lock possible, but place a safety plate (a small formed sheet of metal) over the tongue so it cannot be seen or easily manipulated

These slow down the criminal and make him work hard to get in. This entails him making more noise for longer periods of time, thereby increasing his chances of being detected.

Tip #5 Brace doorframes and put multiple locks on all outside doors
What he doesn’t know *will* hurt him. With a little extra work, the bracing can be hidden behind the doorframe’s internal molding and will not be noticeable from either inside or outside. For the burglar, this is like unexpectedly hitting an invisible wall.

Reason: The most common means of breaking into homes is simply by kicking in the door. Most doorframes are made of 1 inch pine which saves the contractor money. This makes them vulnerable to this basic assault. Multiple locks and bracing under the molding make this kind of entrance unlikely and will not destroy the beauty of your home.

Bracing: Take between a 2 and 3 foot piece of flat steel stripping (1/8 x 2 inches is good) and drill a staggered series of holes down its length. When you take the interior molding off the door — in most houses — you will see the 1×6″ (or 1×5″) pine plank of the doorframe. That is nailed to the 2×4″ studs of the wall. (You may or may not be able to see the studs because of drywall, but they are there). That thin 1 inch piece of cheap wood (it is usually pine) is all that was between your possessions and a burglar. A few savage kicks, and it usually breaks off in a 2- to -3 foot sliver and the door swings open.

Fast and more secure version: On the inside wall, where the molding was, position the steel strip so that all the lock strike plates are behind it and its edge is along the edge of the 1×6. Screw it into place with long screws — leaving a few holes open. The staggered drill pattern should result in the screws seating into both the 1×6 and the 2×4 studs. Take the molding and shave or chisel out the thickness of the metal strip in the proper place. Replace the molding, using the remaining holes to tack it down over the strip. Putty and repaint.

Slower, better looking, but slightly less secure: This version looks slightly better, but requires some precision Dremel or chisel work. Instead of abutting the strip to the exact edge of the 1×6, seat it between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch away from the edge. When carving your groove in the molding, leave the same sized tongue running down the doorside edge. This seats over and covers the steel, making it invisible. Repaint.

Strike plate: Just assume that they did it wrong — and odds are you will be right. Using the same length of screws that you are using for the steel strip, remove the shorter screws that are in the door frame strike plate and replace them with the bigger screws. It is not uncommon for short screws of less than a half inch to be used (or come with the lock assembly), such short screws are easily ripped out after a few kicks. On the other hand an 1 1/2 or 2 inch set of screws that reach into the house’s very framing is not going anywhere quickly — no matter how hard you kick it.

Multiple locks: Deadbolts, rim locks and floor locks are your friends. All outside doors should have at least two separate locks. Doors that are on the blind side of the house or homes in high-risk areas should have more. The deeper the tongue goes, the better.

Tip #6 Find alternatives to normal deadbolts in doors that have windows (or windowed frames) �
Talk with a locksmith about what is available.

Reason: Most burglaries occur during the day when you are away at work. Unfortunately, many back doors are decorative and windowed. It is easy for a burglar to punch out a small window, reach in and unlock the door. Since they are off the street and out of view this is why most break-ins occur through the back and side doors.

A single-key deadbolt has a key on one side and a handle on the other. After punching out a window a burglar can reach in and, with ease, open the deadbolt then the doorknob – elapsed time five seconds. Placing a secondary lock (i.e., a floor lock) outside of the reach of the windows is recommended. If that is too much, a double-key deadbolt is recommended for non-primary access doors. This secures the door while you are not at home. If fire safety concerns you (and it should) at night put your keys in the deadbolt. This not only allows you immediate exit should a fire occur, but you will also always know where your keys are.

Tip #7 Treat inside garage doors the same as an outside door: multiple locks and bracing.
Even though it is inside your home, it must be able to withstand a full out assault. Often, the doors that access the house from the garage are hollow-core and have cheap locks (if they are locked at all) which is why break ins through garages are so common.

Reason: Criminals often cruise neighborhoods looking for open garage doors. Once an open garage door is found, they pull in, close the door, park their car and then start piling your possessions into it. Although they might still do it occasionally, criminals no longer need to cruise the neighborhood with a stolen garage door opener and pushing the button to see whose door will open, and incredible number of people just leave the door wide open for them when “just running down to the store.”

For criminals on foot, the side door of a garage is a prime target, as it is often easier and offering better ease of access/escape than a back door. This is why you must treat the door into your home from the garage like an outside door.

If the inner door is locked it is usually hollow core and with minimal locks. Realize that with the garage door closed the criminals can unleash a sustained full out assault against that inside door. Usually the door will give way. By bracing it and replacing hollow core doors with solid core ones, you significantly lessen the chances of that happening.

It should also be noted that many home invasion robberies come through open garage doors and these inner doors. More so than the front door.

Tip #8 Plant rosebushes or cactus in front of all vulnerable windows.
Thorny landscaping not only adds beauty to your home, but makes even getting close to such windows an unappealing prospect

Reason: The second most common way of breaking into homes is through rear or side windows. A thief can work on such windows with little chance of detection. Standing in the middle of a thorn bush to do it, however, is not a pleasant experience.

Tip #9 Look into safety-coating the most vulnerable windows.
Safety coat is an adhesive plastic sheeting that makes breaking out windows difficult.

Reason: It’s not going to be fun for him, standing in a rosebush only to discover that the window isn’t easy to break either. Instead of a quick pop, he now has to stand there and repeatedly pound before he can even reach the lock. Wait until he discovers that the window has window stops as well.

If you can afford it, there are many quality windows that are not only good to keep inclement weather out, but provide serious burglar protection, as well.

Tip #10 Put a secondary lock that prevents the panel from being moved on all windows.
This is repeating what was mentioned earlier, but it is important enough to warrant such emphasis.

Reason: Put stops on the frame on all sash windows. This allows them to be opened, but only so far. On sliding windows and doors, the best type of lock is a pin that goes through both frame and sliding part. This prevents the window from being lifted out.

Tip #11 Get and close heavy drapes — especially on rooms where there is expensive equipment. Thin, sheer drapes –although attractive — also allow burglars to look inside.

Reason: It is often amazing how often a home intruder will walk up and look through the windows of a home to see if there is anything worth stealing. Sheer curtains allow him to do this. He knows what he wants to steal before he even breaks in.

Getting into the habit of closing heavy drapes not only keep your home warmer in winter but lessen the chances of your home being targeted by a burglar. Without this ability to see into the home, there are less guaranteed results for him, which helps to serve as a deterrent.

Tip #12 In really bad neighborhoods, get safety bars on the windows. In so-so neighborhoods, you might want to consider putting them on side windows — especially ones that are perfect break-in spots.

Reason: When it comes down it windows are always breakable. A set of regular bars on high risk, non-bedroom windows are not likely to destroy the looks or value of your home. And the added security is well worth it.

On bedroom windows, it is advisable to spend the extra money and get the releasable bars that can be jettisoned in case of fire.

Tip #13 Make sure sliding glass doors and windows are installed correctly.
Not everyone in the construction industry is a rocket scientist. And their incompetence and laziness can cost you plenty.

Reason: An estimated one quarter of all sliding glass doors and windows are installed backwards (so the sliding part is on the outside track). This allows the criminal to simply lift out the panel and enter

Tip #14 If you use a pole in the track to secure sliding doors and windows make sure it is the right length.
It should be within a ? – inch of the track’s length.

Reason: If the pole is not long enough to keep the criminal from slipping his fingers in, it is of no use. Staple or tape a piece of string to the pole to make it easy to pull out when it is in the track.

Better yet get a “track stop” or “track lock” that you can put in the tracks. They are far better than the “poor man’s version” of a dowel. Better yet get sliding window/door bar (jamb bar).

Tip #15 Install motion detectors in areas where no one should be. �
This way, you know something isn’t right when they go off.

Reason: Most people put safety lights where they do the least good. While they illuminate your approach as you pull into your driveway, such lights are often hard to see if you are indoors. Put them along the side of the house or back, so that someone lurking there sets them off.

Position them so you can see when they go on. The lights are adjustable, so even if you have a blind wall you can turn the lights so they will both illuminate an area and attract your attention. Put them high enough so that they cannot be knocked out of service by someone jumping.

Look into low voltage and/or solar powered outdoor lighting. This kind of lighting illuminates your property at very little cost.

Tip #16 Get a dog. �
A barking dog, whether inside the house or in the yard is proven as the best deterrent to burglars.

Reason: It doesn’t have to be a 250 – pound Rottweiler named Spike, even a smaller yappy dog serves as an early warning system. Not only does the intruder risk a bite, but the barking attracts attention. And there is no such thing as a stranger intimidating a dog into silence.

We don’t recommend dog doors. It is not uncommon for thieves to bring small children and send them through these and have the child open the main door. Also, since many burglars are, in fact, teenagers, it is also common for them to bring a younger child with them to do this. If you do have a dog door already, either a) put the dog out and lock the door during the day or b) make sure the access gates to your yard are locked. That way the criminals cannot simply walk by, open your gate to let the dog out and then return when the dog has wandered away.

The truth is a dog, even a small dog, inside a house is not something a burglar wants to to deal with. Getting bit is not fun.

Tip #17 Create a neighborhood watch on your block. �
Even just the signs often send would-be burglars elsewhere.

Reason: An alert and involved community is the criminal’s nemesis. It is often reason enough for him to try business elsewhere.

Even if you can’t create an organized program, get to know your neighbors, especially retired folks who are home all day. Let them know who belongs there and who doesn’t. Have them watch your property and pick up your newspaper when you are on vacation. It is also a good idea to hire a trustworthy preteen/young teen neighbor to do such mundane jobs as mowing your lawn or taking out the trash. Such kids then have vested interests in your property and they are home to watch your property when adults aren’t. The kids like it because they get spending money and you get to watch TV on the weekend instead of doing lawn work.

Tip #18 Make sure the gates are locked if you have a fence. This is especially important with accesses to the alley.

Reason: Each layer serves as a deterrent. The more layers and hard work the criminal has to do, the more likely he is to pass by your home. A locked fence is something he must climb over while carrying objects. If the gate is left unlocked, however, he can just walk right through it.

Tip #19 Leave the stereo/TV on
An empty house “feels” empty. There is no vibration or noise inside that indicates someone’s presence. Put the “vibes” in.

Reason: Although this is not a guaranteed deterrent, it can serve as a “bluff” to young, inexperienced prowlers. Even though they have “checked” to see if anyone is home (e.g. knock on the door), the unexpected noise, especially from the back or upstairs (any place they can’t look into), indicates that they made a mistake on their primary recon. Maybe someone is home and just didn’t hear the doorbell.

You might especially want to consider this strategy for vacations. Close the drapes, turn the stereo/TV on in the room where the criminal is most likely to try to break in.

Tip #20 Etch your name on all electronic equipment TV/stereo/computer and then tape it�
Etching, in and of itself serves as a deterrent in case of a break in, failing that it greatly assists the police in the recovery of your property

Reason : Items with your name and address cannot be easily sold. The reason for this is that anyone buying them is buying something that can easily be proven to be stolen property and they know it. What protects most buyers of stolen goods is the fact that it is difficult to prove something is stolen property. However, a name and address on an item combined with a police report is a fast way to end up in the county jail for possession of stolen property — even if the person who has it bought it off the burglar. As such, why steal something that you a) can’t sell, b) if you are caught with you’re definitely going to jail for?

Although it is better to record serial numbers, a faster way to assist the police in recovery is to video tape every room and all the items in them. As you tape say what it is (for example Sanyo TV, Hitachi DVD player, etc.,) Title the tape something like “Family Reunion” or something you will remember and put it in your video collection. This way, if items are stolen you can give the tape to the police, video and the etching will identify your property when the police encounter it. Which quite often they do, being called to homes where stolen property is present, but without a means to identify it as such, they cannot prove it. Also send a duplicate copy to a relative.

Tip #21 Get a safe!
It’s not just cash and jewels that need to go in there, but your important paperwork.

Reason: Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the US. Although many people think burglars are going to go for jewelry, silverware or electronics, what most people don’t realize is that the greatest damage to you will be if the criminal gets access to your personal identification and financial records!!! A criminal can clone your identity and steal everything you have, up to an including selling your property. Passports can sell for as much as a thousand dollars. And a passport and your checkbook…kiss all that money good-bye.

Make sure the safe is bolted through the floor and cannot be carried out. If you are in a situation where you cannot use such measures (such as an apartment) then invest in a large, heavy duty filing cabinet with locks. Do NOT leave the keys nearby.

Tip #22 On top of everything else, get an alarm system.
This is another layer of the onion. You can go anywhere from a basic system to incredibly high tech.

Reason: Now that you’ve made it slow and difficult for him to get inside, an alarm is far more effective since it gives the cavalry a chance to arrive in time. In addition, burglar, carbon monoxide and fire alarms do wonders to keep your home owner’s insurance down.

Know however, that the bread and butter of most security companies is the service they sell you in support of the alarm system (calling the police, paging you if there is a problem or even sending their own guards). While shopping around is important, do your homework on security systems, providers and services first. And remember, you are investing for the long term. That is how you must think when investing in an alarm system.

Carjack: An Armed Response

Carjack: An Armed Response.

by Dennis Martin

You know about the dangers of urban life, and the predators that infest our cities, but as you speed down the streets, cocooned in an “encapsulated environment” you are you remote and protected�until you stop. Like a flash it happens, you are looking at the wrong end of a gun, and you are another victim, one who thought it would never happen to him. There are four components to our personal protective “package”: Mindset, Tactics, Skills and Equipment. We can prepare to fight our way out of the problem, and if all else fails we may need the hard option, but it is better to avoid the confrontation. The key to this is Mental Posture.


The first element of the Mindset phase is preparation, finding out about the methodology of the attack, case histories, news items. From this go into a planning stage, where you do a series of “what ifs”. Mental visualisation is essential; “see” yourself performing in the situation. Next comes rehearsal where you go through simulated attacks in a scenario situation. Ideally, you would do this under professional supervision, but tactically minded friends/colleagues could set these up for you. The final phase is situational awareness, used when actually operating. We will discuss this in detail.

The well-known concept of “defensive driving” can be extended to cover potential attacks, as well as traffic hazards. You should have your “mental radar” pulsing out, in Jeff Coopers’ renowned Condition Yellow. From the above preparation phase you are already aware of the patterns of attack, so you are alert for any attack indicators. Whenever you come to any “chokepoint” you are especially alert.

A good training method is to practise commentary driving, giving a continuous verbal commentary as you drive. This is how we train the bodyguards to increase awareness. Every feature, vehicle, hazard etc is noted and described. Eventually it becomes automatic.

When actually in a critical situation the OODA-Loop concept, taught by Marcus Wynne (see Combat Handguns, June 1996), enables you to process threat information and respond with the appropriate action. We have found the system highly relevant.

Being “switched on” gives you time, and time gives you options- to make decisions, to avoid, to escape. If you are driving in a rural area and you encounter a body in the road you should stop, reverse-out, then seek help. If the “body” jumps up and runs off, this is known in the trade as a clue! Leaving a possible casualty is not callous. Current European first aid training insists that with an unconscious casualty your first priority is to call for professional assistance. Faced with just such a “body” in the road, a South African women drove her 4�4 off road, going around the problem. She ran over two attackers hiding in the bushes and killed them!


Tactics allow you the maximum advantage in a situation. In a Carjack context tactics are not specialised, but must be adopted as part of your normal driving habits.

The first area to consider is parking the car, as this is a prime location for an attack. Try to park near the pay booth, or, the exit. Avoid areas which afford cover to a lurking attacker, such as bushes and low walls. Consider the lighting, it may be dark when you return to the vehicle. Reverse-in, so that you can drive straight out. Visually check the interior before opening the door, then use a tip from the bodyguards and back into the car, facing outwards so you can maintain visual scan.

Know exactly where the door handle is, especially in a strange car. You may need to exit quickly. Always drive with all doors locked. The bad guys look for the locking catch when assessing victims. A woman in South Africa left the doors unlocked and at a stop-light a well-dressed guy, with a briefcase and a pistol got in and told her to drive. Along the way he produced a cellular phone and made a call to a potential buyer describing the car, colour and mileage. When the buyer rejected the offer the guy told the woman to pull over, wished her “Good Day” and walked off.

When approaching a red light slowly “creep” up, to avoid stopping. If you must stop, allow yourself escape room between your car and the one in front.


This phase involves the various skills needed to avoid, or, react to an attack.

We have already mentioned Defensive Driving. This includes route planning, so that any stops, such as refuelling are done in low-crime areas. Added to this is Evasive Driving, which is a specialised skill, and we recommend attending professional training. The Scotti School is World renowned for all aspects of driver training. This installs the ability to manoeuvre out of danger. A typical program would include forward/ reverse slaloms, and J-turns. Finally, Offensive Driving allows breaking contact by ramming, or, using the car as a weapon.

A firearms training program should include weapon presentation from covert-carriage, seated presentations, multiple-target engagement and firing from vehicle cover positions. The shooter should then be introduced to firing from within the vehicle. Here it is often found necessary to modify the carriage method, or, position. Drills should include engaging through the open window, and also exiting then engaging.

Once the shooter is adept at accessing the weapon within the vehicle, he should experience firing through the windscreen and side windows. Under threat, as you forcefully extend the weapon there is a tendency to punch the window. This can cause you to lose your grip, to miss, or induce a stoppage. Allow a gap between muzzle and window. Multiple shots should be fired, especially through the windshield. Eye and ear protection is essential.


Unfortunately, neither I, nor any other instructor, can give you clear cut guidelines on when to submit, when to fight, in an article. It’s situational. Only you can assess all the factors, as they are happening, and make the appropriate decision. This is why hands-on training is so important. Scenario work, using Redman � suits and Simumitions � gives you the experience in a controlled learning environment.

If you decide to fight there are two main options:

Immediate counter-attack, either ramming, or, firing from within vehicle.

Exit the vehicle and counter-attack.

Factors to consider include whether you see the threat far enough in advance, whether you are taking fire (in which case you must counter-attack), or whether you can create a “window of opportunity” to access your weapon.

Avoidance and escape are much better options, but we must be prepared to fight. But, it’s a decision that only you can make�.because you are going to have to live with the consequences. It’s big boys rules!

I finish with a quote from Colonel Mike Henning, a highly experienced police SWAT instructor:

“We avoid the fight if we can, but if we must fight, we must win. Avoidance, or, victory, there is no other option.”

Defensive Tips

Carjacking is a relatively new breed as crimes go. Using violence to hijack commercial trucks filled with goods has been around ever since the wheel was invented. While it is pretty safe to assume that the first car was stolen shortly after the automobile was invented, car theft has normally been a nonviolent property crime. Until carjacking came around.

These days, many, if not most, car thefts are committed by organized rings. Stealing cars is big business. In fact, it has become not only interstate, but international — worth billions of dollars a year. It casts a massive shadow that extends from the legitimate (insurance companies, shipping companies and car dealerships) to questionable (shady auto body shops, junkyards and auto parts suppliers) to avowed criminals (gangs, drug- and illegal-alien-running cartels).

Car theft rings often recruit gang members and pay them upwards of $1,000 for what is, in effect, an hour’s “work.” They are sent out to steal a certain type of car. An industrious pack of nonviolent thieves can gather several cars in one day, netting upwards to $10,000 for a days work.

With carjacking, however, acquiring a car becomes just a few seconds of “work” and without telltale signs of break-in.

The 1995 Honda Civic was the most-stolen car during 2004, according to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Of the top 10 most-stolen vehicles, six were Japanese brands. All four domestic vehicles on the list are light trucks, including one minivan. The NICB statistics are based on data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

Popularity and longevity have a lot to do with a vehicle’s attractiveness as a theft target. Not only are there more vehicles available to steal, but as cars get older they require parts more frequently, creating demand for parts from stolen cars.

Types of vehicles stolen can vary by the region and state. For example, the 1999 Bombardier Ski-Doo snowmobile was one of the 10 most-stolen vehicles in Maine. In most Midwestern states, cars from Detroit-based manufacturers dominate the most-stolen cars lists with few, if any, foreign cars making the top 10.

Most stolen cars in 2004 included 1995 Honda Civic, 1989 Toyota Camry, 1991 Honda Accord, 1994 Dodge Caravan, 1994 Chevrolet full-size C/K 1500 pickup, 1997 Ford F150 pickup, 2003 Dodge Ram pickup, 1990 Acura Integra, 1988 Toyota pickup, 1991 Nissan Sentra.

Important Points to Know About Carjacking (the Bad News)�
Carjacking is a felony offense. In the eyes of the law, it is a violent crime against the person. That makes it not only a felony, but a higher class one. While grand theft auto also is a felony since it is not violent, the sentencing is less severe(1). A carjacker is risking a far more severe penalty if he is caught than a regular car thief. A person who is stupid, lazy, violent and selfish enough to think that this is an acceptable risk is not going to suddenly start making smart decisions when he has a gun in your face.

You are dealing with a stupid, violent person with a track record of violence. And now is not the time to be a hero.

If you argue or resist a carjacker, the odds are you will be shot.
Like all robbers, the carjacker has come to the situation ready, willing and able to commit violence. While it may seem “it comes out of the blue” to you, the carjacker already has prepared himself to commit violence. You are literally playing against a stacked deck. Everything he needs to commit serious violence is in place at the same time you are surprised and shocked.

Unfortunately, most people have never faced such raw, unbridled violence. They suddenly find themselves dragged out of their normal, everyday parameters of existence and thrown into a strange — and dangerous — alien landscape. It’s a place where none of the rules they are accustomed to apply. An effective strategy to “defend your space” under normal circumstances could in this instant get your brains blown into a fine pink mist.

Your normal defenses are not enough. Words, anger or outrage are insufficient to protect yourself against someone committed to violence. It is nearly impossible for the average citizen to effectively defend himself when confronted in such a wild and unexpected manner. To go instantly from thinking about scheduling the day or what you are going to have for dinner to the killing savagery necessary to overcome an armed opponent is beyond even most trained martial artists. And by the time you could muster enough outrage to effectively defend yourself, the carjacker would have long since pulled the trigger.

Carjackers seldom operate alone. Although you only may have seen the guy who stuck a gun in your face, chances are that there are more of them around. Car thieves in general and carjackers especially tend to operate in groups. Often a driver will stop, let one of the members out of his car and wait until the vehicle has been stolen. They will then caravan to a drop-off point, and the thief will rejoin his comrades. Working in this manner, a group of thieves can steal many cars in one night and split several thousand dollars.

If something goes wrong with the carjacking attempt (i.e., you miraculously defeat the carjacker in a blaze of kung-fu glory without getting shot) there is a very good chance that his cronies will open fire on you. And unlike the carjacker, the gunmen will not be close enough for you to karate chop him. No matter how good you think your martial prowess may be, you can’t dodge bullets — especially if you are trapped between two parked cars. This same problem applies to any firearm defense you might muster. You can easily find yourself in a firefight after shooting your primary attacker. These are situations where you will be responsible for where your bullets go and any rounds you might fire as the accomplices flee.

If the carjacker gets your purse, as well, now you have identity theft and burglary problems. It isn’t just the loss of your car that will be the problem, important information and credit cards are often lost in carjackings. This means you have to go through the hassles of canceling credit cards, changing your locks (remember he not only has your address now, but your keys, too) and protecting yourself from identity theft.

This is why you must spot the problem developing in order to save both yourself and your vehicle. If you don’t see it coming, the best you can hope for is to save yourself. And you do that by giving the carjacker what he wants without resistance and escaping with your life.

Important Points to Know About Carjacking (the Good News)�
There are two types of carjacking. The most common is when you walk to your car in a parking lot or street. The other is when you are in your car, but momentarily stopped (e.g., at a traffic light, entering traffic from a parking lot or turning).

The really good news is that what works to avoid being carjacked in the first example is the same as what you do to prevent yourself from being robbed. Those basic steps will go miles toward reducing your risk. By adding the following information and minor adjustments specific to carjacking, you can reduce your odds of being victimized even farther.

The other type of carjacking is best foiled by some simple measures.

Tips to Prevent Being Carjacked
What follows are minor additions to the information given on the robbery avoidance tips page. These apply directly to theft of your vehicle. The rarest form of carjacking is where the carjacker runs up to your car when you are stopped at a light, stop sign or parked, opens the door and drags you out. He then jumps in and drives away. For this type of carjacking.

Tip #1 Wear a Seatbelt
Not only can wearing a seatbelt save your life, but it also is a serious deterrent to carjackers.

Reason: A carjacking at a stoplight relies on speed. A carjacker has to open the door, quickly pull the person out of the vehicle, jump in and drive away. Locked doors and seatbelts slow down the process. He cannot gain access and pull you out of the car quickly. A would-be carjacker will see these conditions as he approaches and often abort the process.

Tip #2 When Stopped in Traffic, Leave Enough Room to See the Rear Tires of the Car in Front of You
While it is commonly the first vehicle at a light that gets carjacked, the second car often can be targeted — especially at stop signs and turn lanes where the car in front will be moving shortly. The idea is that by the time the carjacker pulls you out of your car, the car in front will have moved on.

Carjackings from stopped vehicles tend to occur in medium traffic levels. Gridlock is not conducive to a fast get away. Nor is the criminal going to be able to successfully steal your car when you are traveling 45 mph. Therefore, carjackings tend to happen in slow, stop or choke points (e.g., turn lanes, stop signs and driveway exits). These are places where the criminal will have the ability to quickly join other traffic and escape. The same elements that he needs in order to successfully carjack your vehicle can be used to foil his attempt.

Reason: By leaving enough space to see the tires of the car in front of you, you leave yourself room to maneuver. Different cars, SUVs and trucks have different turn radii so there is no hard and fast rule as to what this distance will be. But, generally speaking, being able to see the tires of the car in front of you over the hood of your vehicle should give you enough room.

If someone unexpectedly appears by your car door, you can — with this space — floor the accelerator and escape. There is no legitimate reason for a person to be in this position in the middle of traffic.

Although stopping at this distance can help prevent carjacking, it also is a safe driving practice. It can help keep your car from being pushed into the vehicle in front of you if your auto is rear-ended at a stoplight. It also helps prevent the car in front hitting your vehicle if it rolls back (as occasionally happens with stick shifts and bad drivers). And these kind of traffic accidents are more common than carjackings.

Note: When it comes to carjacking, there is a risk of being shot at this point. Several factors come into play, however. 1) Although many carjackers have guns, many thefts are done by groups or at knife point — especially in places where strict penalties exist for carrying a gun. (Remember, the criminal has to get to where he going to commit the crime. During that time, he is at risk of being stopped by a cop). So you are not always going to be facing a gun. 2) Many criminals are not good shots. The more distance between you and him, the safer you are. 3) It’s hard to shoot straight while dodging out of the way to avoid being run over. Face it, your car is bigger than he is. 4) Modern triage methods have greatly increased your chances of surviving a single gunshot. Now this last one may not sound like much of a comfort, but it is important. Your chances of survival are far less if you are trapped and the criminal shoots you multiple times. Your chances of surviving are much greater if you are shot only once while fleeing. The latter strategy gets you out of range of being shot more than once. Cold comfort we know, but it is a pragmatic and realistic approach to a dangerous subject.

Tip #3 Immediately Lock Your Doors When You Get In Your Car
This is a good habit to get into anyway. It takes no more than a second, and you can proceed to ready yourself for travel in greater safety and at your leisure.

Reason: General Ulysses S. Grant was once asked why he posted a line of cavalry around the camp. It was pointed out that any attack would easily punch through such a thin line. His response, “They buy us time. This way we don’t wake up with the bastards in our tents.” The same idea applies here. A locked door doesn’t necessarily stop a carjacker. But it does prevent you from first learning of his presence when he grabs you and drags you out of your car at knife point.

If you wish, you can make it to your second action after putting keys in the ignition and starting the car. That way, while you put on your seatbelt and adjust your belongings, your car is warming up. This is actually good for your engine since most of the wear and tear occurs when it is started. If instead of immediately putting it into gear and driving, you let it warm up, you will significantly extend the life of your engine. If an emergency arises, you can simply slam the car into gear and escape.

In the presence of a gun, however, we recommend getting out and giving up your car. He can pull the trigger faster than you can put your vehicle in gear and drive away.

Tip #4 Do NOT Open the Door or Roll Down the Window to Talk to Someone. It is usually a bad sign when someone unexpectedly appears at the side of your car. Like phone calls after 10 p.m., it’s not going to be good news. People who appear unexpectedly usually want something. If you decide to talk to them, do not open the door or roll the window down all the way.

Reason: Although a window won’t stop a bullet, it can stop hands and knives. By only rolling your window down slightly, you prevent an attacker from reaching in, opening your door, snatching items from your person or robbing you at knife point.

You might also want to put the car in gear before you crack the window. If something is amiss, you can accelerate out of danger. If someone tells you something is wrong with your car do not get out and look. Thank them for the information and tell them you will look into it. Then drive away.

Be especially cognizant of such a person grabbing and working your car door handle. There is no legitimate reason for such an action. Actions such as knocking at your window are often used as a cover for this. If you see a criminal trying to work your door handle, immediately put your car in gear and start driving away.

The second — and far more common — form of carjacking, however, is when the thief simply walks up when you are getting into your car and puts a gun in your face. The carjacker then grabs your keys (and possibly your purse), jumps in and drives away. This type of carjacking resembles a typical robbery. Again we stress that most of the same measures that will keep you safe from robbery apply here.

Tip #5 Look Around Before You Put the Key into the Lock
This is the second check to do in a fringe area (the first is when you entered). Most carjackings occur in parking lots, as do many robberies and abductions. It is an excellent strategy to look around before you put yourself into a position where you can be trapped.

It is better still to look around as you approach the car. If a shady character is close by, keep on moving. Do not put yourself in the narrow gap between cars.

Reason: A quick scan will show if you have been followed. Most carjackings occur as you open the car door or are getting ready to drive away. Many people wrongly assume that when they reach their cars, they are safe. Not true. Even if you lock the door, if he has a gund he can shoot through the window. Or he can smash the window and threaten you with a knife. It is far better to spot someone approaching as you near your car than to try and extract yourself from a situation already gone bad

Tip #6 Have Someone Time You to See How Long It Takes to Get into Your Car, Start It and Drive Away
Many people think of their vehicle as “safety.” But you will not be safe from a criminal on foot until your car is doing about 15 mph. This is why you should never try to reach your car if you think someone is trying to rob you. The time it takes to unlock your car, get in, start it, put it in gear, back out and drive away is too great.

Reason: Even when doing it as quickly as you can, this process is slow. Have someone start timing you at about 10 feet from the vehicle. Signal when you reach 15 mph in the car. Now see how much distance a person can cover in that time. The first time, again start 10 feet from your car and have the person helping you about 20 more feet behind you. That’s 30 feet from your car. You have to unlock the car and get in before the person reaches you. Repeat this, gradually increasing the distance until the person can no longer reach you before you drive away.

If an unsavory character is within that distance and approaching, do not try to get in your car. He is close enough to get to you.

This also is why you always need to look around when you reach your car and again before you try to put the key in the door. Knowing how long it takes will prevent you from making a potentially deadly mistake if there is a carjacker approaching.

Tip #7 If Someone Approaches While You’re Getting into Your Car, MOVE!
Do NOT stand there and watch him approach you: Control the distance by moving away from him.

Carjackers tend to work with partners. This is especially true, when they drive up to you as you are getting into your car. One jumps out and carjacks you while the other speeds away.

Reason A carjacker must close with you to gain control of the situation. Your feet are not nailed to the ground. If someone approaches you, move! Preferably, around the hood of your car, which puts something between you and him; as well as giving you cover in case he starts shooting. But get away from the car door.

Tips #8 Throw Your Car Keys
Your car keys go one way, you go another.

Reason: The criminal now has to choose, you or the car. If he is after your car, then his task is made more difficult because he has to go looking for the keys. If he decides to pursue you, then you know he wasn’t really interested in the car after all. This tells you the extent of your danger and what response is warranted. If he pursues you, he is running away from his escape route — whether that is your car or his friends in another vehicle.

Some might advocate throwing the keys at the criminal — we do not. The reason we advocate throwing your keys away from the criminal is twofold. First, he is not harmed which makes him less likely to shoot. If you hurt him, he now has an investment in hurting you back. Second, if you throw your keys at him then you are giving him your keys. By throwing them away, you increase your chances of his not getting your car.

Tip #9 Get Theft Insurance�
Certain cars are more likely to be targeted. Before you buy a new car, check with the police if that make of car is currently in the “Top 10” of stolen vehicles.

Reason: Cars are most often stolen for parts. The vehicle is chopped up and sold to body shops. The body shop pays $1,000 on a part that the manufacturer would charge $5,000 for. The shop turns around and charges you the dealer price and mark up. By doing this the shop made an additional $4,000 profit. This particular risk of theft lasts until enough of the car model becomes easily available in the junkyards — where parts can be legally purchased for a reduced price.

If given a choice between filing an insurance claim or getting shot, giving up your car suddenly looks much more appealing.

Tip #10 Get Lojack, On Star or Other Tracking Device
A locating system on your car can do wonders for getting it back before it is chopped up and also can help lower insurance rates with some agencies.

Reason: Stolen cars are often taken to large parking lots and left for a few days. Due to the high number of auto thefts, descriptions of stolen cars only stay on the “hot sheets” for a short time. (Hot sheets are listings and descriptions of newly stolen cars used for quick reference by law enforcement.) On cars that have been “stashed” for a few days, the only way to tell if they have been stolen is to pull them over and “run the numbers.” By simply waiting a few days, thieves greatly reduce their chances of being caught.

If your car has a locating system, however, all it takes is a phone call to have it found. If you make the call fast enough, you can often have the criminal arrested while still in the car.

Having both insurance and this kind of system will do wonders for your willingness to let the criminal have your car. This will lessen the chances of you foolishly trying to resist a carjacker, who gets the drop on you. And cell phones are faster than driving.

Tip #11, If Despite All this Information, a Carjacker Gets the Drop on You, Give Him Your Car Keys
It sounds so stupidly obvious to say this, but the number of people who are killed or wounded by carjackers every year, prove that people do it.

Do NOT attempt to argue, fight or resist someone who has a gun screwed up your nose!

Accept that he won this round and give him your keys.

Reason: The carjacker has come prepared for violence. You, on the other hand, were just getting into your car. It is an incredibly rare person who can flash into committing lethal violence. In fact by the time most people can get over their shock and decide to resist, the criminal has already pulled the trigger.

Even if you could make that mental jump that fast, it only takes a second to pull the trigger. Can you inflict lethal force that fast? That is what it would take to keep you teeth from being blown out of the back of your skull when the criminal has the drop on you.

Furthermore, at that range, the criminal will not just shoot you once, but repeatedly. This is why we suggest — if you lapsed in awareness and personal safety habits and allowed a carjacker to close with you — you just give up your car and accept the fact you have some identity theft, burglary and insurance problems coming your way. Alive with problems is better than dead or in the ICU with a sucking chest wound.

Why Are Carjackings More Dangerous?
While any kind of robbery is dangerous, carjackings take on a particularly nasty twist because the vehicles themselves create walls and limit your options.

In the Five Stages of Violent Crime, the third stage is called “positioning.” This is where the criminal puts himself into position to successfully attack you. One of the types of positioning is cornering/trapping. That is where the criminal ‘pins’ you between himself and a large object (such as the car). The presence of a car — and often the car door as well — seriously limits your mobility and increases your chances of being trapped. Even in an open parking lot, the presence of four cars can create a “hallway” that makes it easy to shoot you.

This is why you need to remember to flee in front of or behind your car. Do not run down the “hallway” between cars since that leaves you in the line of fire. By cutting in front of your vehicle or another, you put something between you and the criminal. Even if the cars are parked against the wall, there is often room for you to wiggle through. If not, scramble over the car’s hood or trunk.

The main idea, however, is to flee the scene ASAP.

Hostage Survival

Survival as a Hostage (Part I)

By Richard Clutterbuck

Being Mentally Prepared

Before considering contingency planning and crisis management, it is important to understand the ordeal of the hostage, because the negotiator must all the time try to visualize what is happening to him, and how he may be reacting.

The hostage will have more chance of survival if he is mentally prepared. The shock of being kidnapped will probably be the worst he ever has to endure. A busy, comfortable, gregarious and secure existence, in which he is always exercising options and getting a response, will suddenly be transformed into a forced inactivity and isolation, with no options at all, and great discomfort and degradation. The transformation will have been violent, and he will have been pushed around and possibly injured. He may have seen his driver or bodyguards killed trying to defend him. He will find himself stripped to his underwear, forced to ask for a bucket in which to perform his bodily functions in full view of people who seem to take a conscious delight in humiliating him. Worst of all will be fear, and particularly fear of the unknown. He does not know whether he will be tortured or killed, or if so, when. The ordeal is open-ended. And it will be made worse by self-pity or reproach:

‘why me?’, ‘if only…’ The first few hours will perhaps be the most horrible hours in his life.

He will endure the ordeal better if he has thought about it rationally, but not morbidly.

Depending upon how seriously he regards the threat and the character of those involved, he will gain from having discussed the possibility of kidnap with his wife or his colleagues.

Geoffrey Jackson did so with both, and with the Foreign Office in London. His book is truly valuable reading for anyone facing a high risk.

The more the victim knows about kidnapping, the less will be the fear of the unknown. He will be able to remind himself that only about 3 per cent of kidnap victims have been killed in cold blood (though more have been killed during the snatch or in rescue attempts); and that, though some hostages are held for a long time (one was held for twenty-two months before being released on payment of a ransom), the majority of kidnaps have ended in under five days. And — albeit cold comfort — he can recall that, if it does last longer, the human body and spirit have remarkable powers of adaptation, and that the great majority of hostages have survived without permanent damage.

Soldiers with duties classed as ‘prone to capture’ (e.g. in stay-behind parties, parachute units or deep penetration patrols) go through a basic program of training to prepare them for the ordeal. This includes simulation of treatment at capture (often painfully realistic), isolation, acute discomfort, degradation, and mental disorientation. All who have done this testify to its value. Even if the ordeal has only been faced mentally, the victim at least knows what to expect, and it will be easier to bear.

The Snatch

The moment of kidnap offers the best — and perhaps the only — chance of escape. Evasive driving has already been mentioned. A high-risk potential victim (or his driver) is more likely to grasp this fleeting opportunity if he has run through some scenarios in his mind, perhaps as he drives to and from work. The basis of these scenarios should be to do what the kidnappers least expect, as the best way of throwing them off their stride.

Curtis Cutter, US consul general in Porto Allegre, Brazil, thwarted a late-night kidnapping attempt outside his home in April 1970, when a car blocked his path and four armed men jumped out. He drove straight at the men, carrying one of them along on his bumper for several yards. The others fired and Cutter was wounded, but he escaped.

It was perhaps with this in mind that, when Hanns-Martin Schleyer’s car was blocked by the terrorists’ minibus in September 1977, the ‘gap’ was filled by a girl terrorist pushing a pram off the pavement. She knew that few drivers would run down a baby, and the hesitation proved fatal to the driver, the body guards and, in the end, to Schleyer himself.

Sometimes, particularly in a more lawless society, in which they know that witnesses will not dare to come forward, the kidnappers may deliberately pick a crowded street for the holdup, to give themselves more time and cover. Few policemen or bodyguards would fire unhesitatingly at a man amongst a crowd of innocent bystanders. In one Latin-American capital the victim’s car was rammed by another in a long, narrow, crowded shopping street.

The two drivers both got out and a long altercation ensued. The victim got out and joined in. By this time a large crowd had gathered round, amongst which were the other kidnappers (who had meanwhile signalled their other cars to block both ends of the street). Only when they were quite sure that all was set up and that they had got the right man did they produce their guns and bundle him into a car.

Once his car has been stopped and the victim finds himself facing armed men, there is little he can do. Unless police or bodyguards are still fighting to open an escape route, the only sensible course is usually to surrender and do what the terrorists say. Heroics achieve nothing unless there is a real chance of success.

The First Few Days

The victim should, from the moment of his capture, make a determined effort to recover his calm and alertness so that he can start making mental notes of any details likely to help the police. He will be able to compose himself more quickly if he avoids provoking his kidnappers. He should do his utmost to fix in his mind their faces, voices, dress and characteristics; how many they were; and the particulars of any vehicles that were involved. If psychologically prepared, he will be better able to discipline himself, to concentrate on these things rather than on agonizing over why it happened.

He will probably be forced face down on to the floor of the car so that he cannot see, and he may later be transferred into a closed van, or have his eyes covered and his ears plugged. Nevertheless, he should fix in his mind any clues he can get about his route: time, speed, distance, sharp turns, gradients, traffic lights etc.; and any sights or sound he is able to detect, such as crossing a railway or passing close to the airport; also the direction of the sun. If he has an idea whether he went north or south, he may possibly find a way of communicating this during negotiations, or in written or taped messages he is ordered to send out; even if he cannot do that, the information may help in arresting the gang later.

He should also try to detect the kind of place into which he is taken: e.g. into a garage with inside access to a suburban house, the car park under a block of flats, the back entrance of a shop, or a workshop or a warehouse. If the gang is a professional one, the likeliest eventual hideout (probably after at least one transfer between vehicles, and perhaps also after a brief spell in a transit lockup) will be a house, flat or garage in a quiet, prosperous suburb, which may offer more choices of getaway route than an isolated farmhouse. Again, the victim should consciously store sights, sounds and smells in his memory. At least one hostage contributed to the eventual capture of his kidnappers because he could hear aircraft taking off from a small and recognizable airfield; and another by remembering details of the wallpaper.

The treatment of the victim in the first few days after capture is likely to be at its most brutal, calculated to humiliate and demoralize. He may be injected with some drug such as scopolamine, designed to relax resistance and loosen the tongue. Geoffrey Jackson countered this drug by disciplining himself to talk fluently to the point of verbosity on unimportant issues and, if cornered on important ones, to attempt to blur his answers with more verbosity, in such a way as to make the two indistinguishable.

Interrogators are likely to use Pavlovian techniques of contrasting brutality and kindness, light and dark, noise and silence; and to attempt mental dis-orientation by sensory deprivation, probably keeping the victim permanently blindfolded, with ears plugged, without any means of telling the time of day, with deliberately irregular and unpleasant food (perhaps none at all for a time) and repeated interruption of sleep (if any). He can only steel himself to endure it, knowing that this is probably going to be the worst time of all, reminding himself again and again that the great majority of hostages survive.

He must be particularly careful not to reveal, unwittingly, anything about the likely reactions to his capture. He will probably be asked for a telephone number to ring; and he should think about who is likely to react best to the first message — because this first reaction can influence all subsequent negotiations. He should also avoid discussion about how ransom money might be raised, or to give any clue which will help the kidnappers to gauge the level at which to pitch their first demand. The only exception to this is that he could consider feeding in any genuine reasons why the sum the kidnappers are demanding could not conceivably be found — but this is a dangerous subject, and he may do better to avoid it if he can.

He must do his utmost to restore his own morale. Post-kidnap shock is a major physiological and psychological problem; and the fact that (unlike a soldier or a pilot in war) he may be wholly unprepared for it makes it worse. The kidnappers will do their utmost to exploit this in order to establish total dominance over him; and he must consciously resist that, not by heroics and provocation, but by battling to retain his self-respect and sense of humor. Geoffrey Jackson had his kidnappers laughing within minutes of his kidnapping by accusing them of trying to tattoo the Tupamaro emblem on his hand as they tried to inject him with a drug during the first bumpy car ride. He also took the offensive, though not provocatively, by telling them that he had already agreed with the British and Uruguayan governments that they would make no concessions of any kind to secure his release.

Survival as a Hostage (Part II)

By Richard Clutterbuck

Surviving the Long Night

Surviving the Long Night is the apt title of the US edition of Jackson’s book. Though most kidnaps end within a few days, the victim will do well to face the possibility of a longer ordeal. Again, his most vital task is to maintain his self-respect — and his physical and mental health. The kidnappers will still try to prevent this, but they may gradually relax. Most criminals retain a vestige of humanity which they cannot wholly stifle, though some fanatical political terrorists have none. The Japanese Red Army terrorists are specifically trained to stifle their human reactions and not to allow any softening of their attitude, either to victims or, if they are besieged, to negotiators.

The rapport which often develops between kidnappers and their victims is now well known, and its psychological roots are fully established. Provided that it does not lead him to give away vital information or encourage his kidnappers to hold out for a higher ransom, the victim should not resist the development of this rapport, but foster it. The more it develops, the less likely they are to kill him.

The hostage’s greatest enemy is demoralization by inactivity and morbid contemplation.

He should do his utmost to find positive things to do, within the limitations available to him. Exercise programs (like the Canadian Air Force 5BX system) can be done in any space in which a man can stand up and lie down. Mental exercises, such as memorizing details of his cell; or composing a diary or letter to be written later or (Jackson again) short stories, or verses; or designing the ideal home; or trying to memorize plays, poetry or music, can keep the mind from unhealthier thoughts. Planning escapes, however unlikely, may help, and soldiers are trained to start doing this — for psychological reasons — from the moment they are captured.

Provocative non-co-operation is likely to be counterproductive, but the victim may be able to restore his own morale by little victories such as persuading his captors to allow him a pencil and paper, or to alter a phrase in a letter or taped statement which they are compelling him to send out.

The problem of providing written or taped communications is a difficult one. On the whole, it is best to give them fairly freely. Some men will prefer to resist making statements which could be of propaganda value to their enemies; and all should certainly avoid saying anything which will give away important secrets, or put someone else’s life at risk. Apart from this, however, resistance may not be worth the price in exacerbation of the captor-hostage relationship. Statements will be recognized by everyone as being made under duress, and will carry no weight. On the positive side, they will help the police and the negotiators to judge the hostage’s state of mind, either from his recorded tone of voice, or from analysis of his handwriting by graphologists.

It is possible to agree in advance upon some system of codewords whose use can transmit a particular meaning; but they are probably of limited value. The victim may not know much worth communicating; he may find it difficult to arrange their inclusion without exciting suspicion; and the kidnappers may, deliberately or accidentally, dictate the inclusion of a word which sends a dangerously misleading message.

The conditions of a hostage are calculated to develop total dependence upon his captors. According to their whim, he eats or starves, sleeps or wakes, washes or urinates. He reverts to the relationship of a baby to its mother. His captors can assume the mantle of gods, with (literally) the power of life or death over him. This can be totally demoralizing, especially if the ‘gods’ are young enough to be his children and their doctrinaire opinions or lifestyle represent all that he despises. Nevertheless, provided that it is recognized, this relationship can be handled in such a way as to develop a constructive rapport, and to weaken the fanaticism and inhumanity of the kidnappers — because the effect works both ways.

Siege and Rescue

If the police discover where the hostage is being held, and can surround it or raid it before he is moved away, a totally new situation arises, psychologically and physically.

The handling of such a situation by police and negotiators is examined in Chapter Ten. The victim can play an important part, both in getting information out to the police, and in influencing the actions of his guards.

The police will be playing for time. One of the effects of this may be the intensification of the rapport between kidnappers and hostages, because they now share the same ordeal. Since the greatest threat to all their lives has become the guns of the police, the hostage may find himself identifying with his captors. He must not allow this feeling to go too far, but it can be helpful to the extent that it further reduces the likelihood of their killing him. He can subtly remind them that, once he is dead, they have not only played their last card, but they have also removed the only insurance they have against the police wading in with guns, grenades or incendiary devices to kill every one of them.

The victim’s best course is to do his utmost to calm them, lest they go berserk and kill both him and themselves, and to help spin out the negotiations. He should try both to weaken their resistance and to help to wear them out, physically and mentally. Their position of dominance has been destroyed. He can remind them, kindly if possible, that they can achieve nothing if they are dead, politically or otherwise; and that as kidnappers they have already forfeited all hope of being regarded by the public as martyrs. He may even feel a genuine desire to promise to do his best to reduce their sentences.

He should not agree to negotiate with the police in place of the kidnappers, since the process of negotiation with them gives the police and their psychiatric advisers the best hope of judging their state of mind. He should remember that, if the police know their job, they will have established surveillance microphones very soon after the siege is mounted. He should avoid reminding his captors of this, but should take whatever chances he can to direct the conversation in ways likely to help those who are trying ‘to rescue him.

If the kidnap ends with an armed rescue — whether after a siege or by a surprise raid — the hostage must help the police both to save his life and to capture the kidnappers. The police share these aims, so they will almost certainly shout instructions to him. These will probably be to lie down, keep still, and identify himself (if he is wise he will already have tried to communicate, through the bug or otherwise, how he is dressed). And, of course, it will be in everyone’s interest if he can persuade the kidnappers to yield