Dear Fellow Survivalist;
We all know that we live in a dangerous world. We say that these are dangerous times; but in reality, all times are dangerous. The specific dangers we are concerned with may change; but that’s nothing more than one danger being replaced by another. During the Cold War, the danger was thermonuclear warfare. That era ended, only to be replaced by global terrorism.
On a more personal level, the danger that most people face day-to-day are the two-legged predators that permeate our society. These have always existed and they’ve always preyed on the weaker members of society. Just like in the wild, predators look for the aged and infirmed, taking them out before they can die of old age. While human predators may not necessarily kill, they try to steal everything that the aged have, making their survival at least somewhat precarious.
These predators, who we know of as criminals, prey upon the aged, because they know that the aged are less able to defend themselves. Most can’t fight well, even if they could in their younger years and they can’t run fast enough to chase down a thief, reclaiming whatever was stolen. In some cases, their eyesight or tremors in their hands make it impossible for them to use firearms to defend themselves and they’re not fast enough to use pepper spray or a taser.
What can they do?
As bad a picture as I just painted, all is not lost for the elderly. There are a number of things that anyone can do, including those who are nearly crippled by age. Defending yourself isn’t just about how to fight, it’s about how you interact with the world around you. The fight is often won long before it even starts.
The number one requirement to defending yourself, regardless of who you are, is situational awareness; knowing what is going on around you. We live in a time where people walk around with their heads in their phones, oblivious to the world around them. The elderly may not have their heads in their phones, but they are still looking down, either due to being stooped with age or concerned about avoiding a fall. With their heads down, they don’t see the threat approaching until it is too late.
One of the things they teach travelers, so as to avoid becoming a victim of pickpockets and thieves, is to walk around with your head on a swivel, looking all around. Criminals don’t want to be seen, because they don’t want their victims to be able to identify them. If there’s any possibility that they have been seen by their intended prey, they’ll usually break off and look for another potential victim.
You may have to stop, in order to look around; but so what? Are you really in that much of a rush to get where you’re going. Stopping every once in a while, and taking a look around, especially behind you, makes you a very dangerous victim. Chances are, anyone who might be thinking of attacking you or stealing what you have, will decide it’s a good day to be elsewhere, leaving you alone.
Don’t think that just because you don’t have a confrontation with a criminal, that it means you haven’t been stalked. If your techniques are successful, specifically looking around, you will probably never know that you were being stalked.
Another thing that muggers look for is something that they can grab and run. They want to see something of value, or at least suspected value, which they can grab and run. Purse snatchers don’t know how much money you have, they just assume that if you have a purse, there’s something valuable inside. The only real question is just how valuable that something is.
Grabbing a purse, or just about anything else, and running is actually extremely easy. Most of us don’t hold onto things that tightly, unless they are really heavy and we need to hold tightly to keep from dropping them. Even then, it is possible to grab something out of someone’s hand.
Going back to advice for travelers, women are told to carry a cross-body purse, rather than a shoulder bag or handbag. It’s much harder to steal something that is strapped across someone’s body, whether that is a purse, a camera, a video camera, or a cross-body pack. Once again, if we make it hard enough for the criminal, they’ll just decide to go elsewhere.
We can’t talk about criminals going after the elderly, without talking about scammers. The internet didn’t create scammers, it just made it easier for them to find their victims. Scammers have gone after the elderly, trying to steal their retirement savings, for decades at least.
The only way to remain safe from scammers is to suspect everyone. That phone call raising money for injured firefighters may just be a scammer. Even if some of the money really does go to help firefighters injured on the job, it is probably only a small amount of the total taken in. That deal which looks too good on Facebook? Apply the old wisdom of “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” You’ve got to assume that anyone offering you anything which will cost you money is probably more about them getting your money, than it is about anything else.
These three things aren’t going to protect anyone from any possible criminal harm; but they’ll go a long way towards doing so, covering the most likely problems. To do better than that will require being armed and able to take defensive action. While I firmly believe in keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand, you’ve got to be able to use it, for it to do you any good.