May 20, 2009
Phoenix, Arizona can’t seem to catch any breaks. First the sniper attacks, then a rash of home invasions and now a veritable plague of kidnappings. You can read about it here. It’s one thing to have these scumbags to kidnap each others kids and family members, it’s another thing entirely to kidnap innocent kids and terrorize law abiding citizens.
And in California, we apparently have gangsters now kidnapping kids and taking them to Mexico. These scumbags, after realizing they screwed up, left this poor kid in a border town on the wrong side of the border. Things are getting way out of hand here. One must ask why is all of this happening.
One problem is the wrongheaded war on drugs we’ve been fighting and losing for the last four decades now. Prohibition was repealed after only one decade. One would think that our resources would be better spent in other areas like rehabilitation, rather than criminalization and turning otherwise regular people into criminals. Just like in the 20’s and 30’s we have a burgeoning prison population that will cause us trouble down the road.
Like I posted before, law enforcement is going to be inundated with cases and won’t have the manpower to deal with it. The worsening economic crisis and budget cuts will see to that if nothing else will. Home invastions, too, are on the rise. The worst part about that case that I linked to is that the invaders posed as cops. Now you can’t be sure who to trust.
So what’s a person to do? Well I’ve noted before that the most underutilized home security device can help as can a series I’ve been posting on Hubpages about home security. When it comes right down to it, politicians can’t save us, cops can’t save us, good intentions can’t save us. the only thing that can save us is ourselves. We have to learn about personal protection, self defense and home security so that we can defend ourselves and our families in an increasingly dangerous world.
April 8, 2009
Two items stood out in the news today. First was a shooting in a Korean religious retreat in California. This will turn out to be, I think, another example of stress violence and a gust front in the coming storm of crime. Politicians will, as usual, react badly and too late to stem this tide. As an example I will use the current economic crisis. Signs of the coming crisis were there for anyone to see as early as 2005, at least by then the writing was on the wall. During the presidential campaign, nary a word was said about the economy until last fall. By then, it was too late.
So too, will this fly under the radar until it’s too late. While the masses are mesmerized by trillion dollar budgets, angered by bailouts and stunned by the antics of those in Washington, they ignore the signs of the coming tsunami in crime much like they did the economic collapse we’re seeing today.
The second item of interest today was this bit on the resurgence of Somali Piracy. I could go on and on about how we came to this pass, but it would seem a better use of our time to look closer and decide what this means in terms of safety.
As usual, it would seem that the Navy is asked to do a job covering too much of an area with too few assets with which to do the job. Plus it would seem that the tactics of the pirates are evolving. While not as dramatic as the tank laden Ukrainian ship seized by Somali pirates last fall, the ransoms paid to pirates has been substantial, especially in a nation as poor as Somalia. Paying those ransoms just encourages more piracy. People are more willing to roll the dice and take their chances. If they die, oh well, they live in a place where life is cheap anyway, so they might as well take the chance.
So what does all this mean? Why should you care? Well for one it seems that the world is getting more and more dangerous by day. Random shootings are increasing, once extinct criminal enterprises like piracy are on the rise and evidence mounts day by day that the world is becoming more and more unstable. Our “leaders”, as usual, are clueless about all of this and either can’t or won’t put the pieces together. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You and only you can ensure your own safety. Waiting for someone else to save you is a fools errand.
At the very least you might want to consider learning some fighting techniques. At the very least you’ll develop the ability to scan your surroundings and identify places that you might not want to be. Rather than walk blithely through life oblivious to potential threats, you will learn how to stalk your stalkers. The choice of confrontation will no longer be with your attacker, but with you. You will have the initiative and that makes all the difference in the world.
Ideally, whatever system you choose it should be simple, easily mastered and, most importantly, allow you to quickly take down your opponent. Size doesn’t matter, nor does age. I’ve seen small guys take down large guys, women take down guys, old guys take down young guys. What matters is that you have the training and the confidence to overcome your attacker.
Remember, there is astorm coming. Will you be one of those who waits for help that will never arrive, or arrive too late; or will you take your destiny into your own hands and learn simple techniques to save yourself and your family?
April 6, 2009
It seems like there’s a fresh tragedy in the news every day now. Churches, community centers, homes, heck you’re not safe out on your front porch anymore. The scariest part of all this is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind these rampages.
One of the things I learned working in the mental heath field is that people have differing levels of what they are able to cope with and that people cope with stress in different ways. Now most of the population we worked with were not able to handle much stress at all and when they had an episode, they didn’t handle it very well.
What this means for the rest of us is that there is a population among us that have a low threshold for stress and when they surpass that threashold, they react with violence or self injury. While it is possible to increase coping skills so that you can cope with more stress and cope better with stress, it’s really up to an individual as to whether or not they will practice the skills needed to cope better with stress.
What this also means is that there is no agency other than you that can protect you life, family and property. Police officers can only react to calls about criminal behavior, they can’t be in all places at all times. It’s funny, as I was reading about the news about the shooting in Binghampton and people were grilling the police chief about the time it took to police to respond and whether they should have waited for backup or not.
In a way it’s a moot point. The police can’t respond quickly enough to stop that sort of thing. Plus with the political oversight officers endure, they cannot respond effectively to those sorts of situations. That’s not meant to disparage officers either. They do a tough job, but you can’t be everywhere at once.
So, in the end, each person is responsible for their own well being. By all means try to delay an attacker until help arrives, but don’t expect anyone to be there to save you from a situation. You must be prepared to save yourself. Many people take the time to learn combat skills and unarmed fighting skills and techniques both for men and women. Size isn’t always everything. Others may use tools like personal alarms, pepper spray, or stun guns to protect themselves. Most street cops I’ve talked to like the idea of a citizenry who defend themselves. All too often they have to deal with the aftermath of things like Binghampton.
So read and learn. You don’t have to take this lying down and live in fear. If there’s one sure way to beat the fear of the unknown, it’s to learn as much about it as you can. Then should you ever be in the right place at the wrong time, you’ll be that much more prepared to preserve your live and thelives of the innocents around you. One thing you can be sure of is that we’ll see more people afflicted with stress violence and incidents will increase in the future.
March 23, 2009
The death of a 4 year old in Echo Park, Los Angeles by a recent “non-violent” parolee leaves one questioning if anyone released from prison can be trusted. And these people will have to be let go. California is among the worst with budget shortfalls, many states will be following in the near future as tax receipts from sales tax fall.
Another unintended consequence of the law is this report by California’s Sex Offender Management Board regarding the living places of sex offenders. Apparently one of the effects of the law has been to push these people past the margins of society and into homelessness, where law enforcement can’t keep track of them. Now instead of being able to see where these people live, they move invisibly among the growing homeless population every day. Could the even be in the tent cities springing up all across the nation?
If so, this could be a disaster waiting to happen. I’ve worked with kids who have been sexually abused. Sometimes you can bring them back and sometimes you can’t. The deciding factor seems, at least to me, to be the level of violence involved in the abuse and the victim’s reaction to the violence. I would think that life among the dispossessed in the tent cities will, sooner or later, degenerate into violence.
The worst part of all of this is the fact that most of it will occur under the radar. With the budget cuts, increase of parolees and law enforcement being a less attractive career, there won’t be much if any manpower devoted to the problem. Much like the inner city projects before them, tent cities will be incubators of crime. Politics, as usual is focused on yesterday’s problems and this is going to blindside those in power just like the problems of the economy did. As usual, it’s up to us to decide how we’re going to protect ourselves from the tyranny of evil men.
March 19, 2009
There’s a perfect storm brewing. It’s not a thing of nature or weather or climate. It’s a thing of men. There are three seemingly independent situations that are going to combine into the greatest criminal wave to hit this country since Prohibition in the 1920’s or the bank robbers of the 1930’s.
The first theme in this symphony of crime is the current economic crisis, which contrary to mainstream economists, shows no sign of getting better. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have evaporated in the last few months and, if anything, the number is increasing daily. Whenever the economic situation gets bleak, rise in criminal activity is not far behind.
The second melody in the symphony is the pending release of people jailed during the height of the War on Drugs in the 1980’s. Most of these guys were given 20-25 year sentences. They’ll be due for release over the next few year. In a normal economic environment they’d be hard pressed to find a job, especially with a felony hanging over them like a Sword of Damocles. What chance do they have to find gainful employment now? Not to mention that they’ve spent the last two decades in the real-life version of the School for Scoundrels. No, they’ll go back to what they knew, drugs now with schooling in how to really be criminals.
The third movement in the symphony regards the forces of Light. It’s not only the criminals who will feel the consequences of the economic meltdown we’re now suffering through. Budgets for city and county law enforcement are being squeezed all over the nation due to declining tax receipts. A friend of mine told me that one of the counties around here are freezing the pay, not hiring any more officers and denying overtime in order to meet budget cuts. While this might be a good idea in the long term, it has serious detrimental effects when you look at long-term consequences.
First, by freezing pay, you increase the chance that people will choose to do something other than police work. Especially among the older, more experienced officers and detectives. This brain drain will take some time to manifest, but when it does the effects will be noticeable with less cases closed and irreplaceable knowledge and skill lost to the next generation of law enforcement. Second, by not hiring new officers, when crime does pick up, the newly pared down force will need to take up the slack. But wait, if they deny overtime, who will take up the slack?
When you combine the three factors, more people choosing crime, more criminals getting out of prison and less police on the streets, things start to look grim. At leas they do if you don’t believe there is anything you can do about it. The good news is that there is plenty a citizen can do to protect themselves from the coming storm. Much like preparing for a storm, it takes a little foresight and planning, but even this can be weathered. We’ll look at how in coming posts.