I am always surprised when I see how many people are reading this and where you are, thank you very much, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Please, whatever your opinions use the link at the bottom of the blog and comment and please rate it. So here we go, I will be writing this blog weekly now and publshing on a Monday. Thanks, Garry.
This weekend I have been very busy with family, the garden, training and working, I need a rest. I did do some relaxing and that for me usually revolves around reading. My latest read is ‘The Expats’ by Chris Pavone, it is a good read and has some twists and turns with the central character being a former CIA field operative, her suspicious IT security consultant husband and two undercover FBI agents befriending them, I will not go into the plot but it is good, I like spy books with lots of twists and turns, sub plots and spooks around every corner. The ability to operate on several levels is in us all, we do it unconsciously most of the time, consciously at others. The skill of the character in the book is to operate consciously and at a heightened level in order to continually analyse and investigate, to access and process complicated information and interpret this information in different ways.
We all do this but some are better at it than others. as I read this whilst I have been germinating an idea, an old chestnut of mine and something that I know, Marc MacYoung, Rory Miller, Kasey Keckeisen and Jim Wagner amongst many others have written about. How do we get people to act safer so they can avoid getting into situations where they are likely to become victims. The answer is to educate them. Simple? Not really, first you have to arouse their interest and unfortunately for many people they only begin to look at their behaviour after they have been a victim. On Friday I went to the city centre in the morning, my wife drives into work there and as I had not much on that morning I decided to walk back. The route is one I have walked hundreds of times and passes through the area where I spent much of my childhood and youth.
So it is trip down memory lane and halfway home I then walk through a string of parks for the rest of the journey. Rory will remember this walk as he walked it into town and back one sunny day in May. I took a deviation from the route Rory took and doing so decided I had an opportunity, I filmed part of the walk on my phone, it was a grey damp day and when I tried to transfer the film I hit some technical snags. So I decided to return, I’ll be back” and return I did on a bright sunny Sunday morning, this time I returned with my recently purchased hand-held camcorder. Firstly, as you will see my fumbling first efforts in a minute, I am no Steven Spielberg and will never be, secondly I am no Ridley Scott either. But my first efforts will be improved on as I learn new skills.
The point of the film was that I was looking at the dander points, ambush sites and such along this route, well one section of it. I passed a number of lone people on route, no surprise, it included one youngish woman with her tell-tale wires leading up to her ears, so I know she cannot see me and as she was texting as well her mind was clearly elsewhere. Were I a predator looking for a victim, she was it. I was already filming with my phone as I wanted to describe this area as a predator would see it. Most commentators on this topic will agree that it is a agood thing to be able to see the areas we live, work, shop and relax in as a predator sees them, not all the time of course, but to scan them this way to assess the degree of danger you/we may be exposing ourselves to. As the suspicious husband in my novel says;
“The main thing is I try to put myself into the mind of an attacker. What would he do? How would he do it? I try to orchestrate the attack myself, and find the points of weakness that a hacker would exploit. I ask myself. What is he looking for? How is he going to try and find it?” ‘The Expats,’ Chris Pavone.
So I walked through two local shortcuts, Frog Walk and Stalker Walk, I think the name of he last one should put people off but you have to look up on a wall to see it, hard to do for many in our phone obsessed world.
Taking the short cut.
So a couple of nice pics I think now for the films, it is shaky, raw footage with me trying to do three things at once which is one more than I am capable of as a man. The film is split into three sections as YouTube would not accept the full 16 minutes, I hope you like the idea, I intend to return with the tripod and a script to voiceover so it is a work in progress and your feedback would be appreciated.
So would you go down Frog Walk or Stalker Walk? At night, would you be happy if lone females you know did this? It is the site of muggings and rapes, they are fact. I know that if I go there at most times of the day and evening I will see people on their own and I know that were I a predator they would be my victims, they would have entered my paradise.
The problem is how do we get people to the classroom, actual or virtual to learn to think like a predator. I get my students to conduct an exercise where they sit in the city centre and imagine they need drugs badly, they have no money, they need it now. So I ask them to look for the people they think would be easiest to rob. Last week a lovely lady I know had her handbag snatched in a busy indoor market by two young men. Luckily she had just paid her £200 rent for that month, she was an easy target in a well-lit and well populated location but still became a victim at 85.
If we are honest, as I state in the film we can all be taken out if the circumstances are wrong, what if four or five guys attacked me to get my camcorder on that bright sunny morning? Predators do not work set hours, they can strike at anytime. The problem is it is always someone else until it is you. Prior to their predator thinking task I run my students through the hunting tactics of a pride of lions. Surveying the huge range of potential prey they do not rush in and just grab whatever, although they will be opportunist at times. no they observe, they use their knowledge, teamwork, they select very carefully the victim of the day, then they strike by ambush, no warning, game over and it is fresh meat party time.
So one elderly Zebra less the rest of the herb carry on grazing, a little further off perhaps, but they will return to that spot soon enough if the grass is fresh and green. Despite the muggings and rapes people will still walk in dangerous places with little thought of the potential danger that lurks there. That is why I love what I teach because it is honest and enlightening I try to think, I use the immense knowledge from the experts I have mentioned above, particularly Marc and Rory, to educate people to make them safer. I have other ideas for videos and will make them, this time with improved production, but their value is not in being made it is in being seen and understood and helping people adjust their behaviour if they think that is necessary and avoid visiting predator paradise.
So I better get of this blog and do some work to that effect, until then here is a great clip that shows how we can surprise of even the most fearsome predator if we refuse to act our part in their script, stay safe, sleep well, Garry.