April 11, 2009
Unarmed sailors take back their ship. This is incredible for several reasons. The only downside is that their captain, as fitting a man of his station, ransomed his safety for that of his crew. It’s telling that he tried to escape, unfortunately he failed. Somali pirates might think twice before attacking a US flagged merchant ship.
What I have a problem with is the assertion that ships have little recourse against pirates. There’s plenty of options a crew has to secure their ship. It may take some retrofitting, but there are many things a crew can do. First is making it harder for pirates to board the ship. I’ve heard of electrified rails, barbed wire or water cannons washing pirates off the ship like vermin. Second would be covering the superstructure with cameras, probably hidden. In conjunction with this, a secure room to which the crew can view the cameras and the crew can take refuge in. While retreating to the panic room, the crew can lay booby traps with pepper discharge, irritants and other disabling methods.
It only makes sense to make things harder for these scumbags. The only reason the engage in piracy is because it’s easier than anything else they could do. Plus the rewards are amazing for people who live in Somalia. With millions being paid in ransom, one successful hijacking can set a Somali up for life. The international community has shown that they are unable or unwilling to do anything about the pirates, so it falls to the sailors and captains who ply the trade lanes to take measures to protect themselves, their ships and their cargo.
Again while criminals might have the advantage concerning initiative, a prepared defender can suck them in and drop them at a time and place of their choosing. All it takes is determination and action when something like this happens.
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.