Oct

3

 One of my daughters just got asked by a man to help her carry and buy groceries at a supermarket, and he had a young girl with him in tow or some such. The attempted crime didn't get carried out according to the daughter because "she didn't have enough money or she wanted to go into the grocery store" or some such. I recounted the story of Ted Bundy to her whose Volkswagen that he had lured a hundred college girls he killed into was on display. She asked me what the moral of the story was, and I said, "never trust a man who wants you to go with him to a private place no matter how needy or how much in authority he is." She said "you mean, never trust a policeman or fireman?" (one of the lures that Bundy and many others use and I said something like "yes". I don't think I gave her a good moral for the story. Could you help me say it better?

George Parkanyi writes:

Things aren't always what they seem, and it only takes once to make a fatal mistake. The most successful lurers/killers are the ones that are charming, or blend in with regular jobs/lives, so you can't make assumptions about how a person looks and talks.

Any valid person in authority knows they will run afoul of the law if they insist on being alone with a woman or child (or man)– especially on the strength of that authority. There are usually strict protocols in place (we have them in Scouts– never an adult alone with a child other then their own at any) to prevent potential abuse and also because of the potential liability issues. Call them on it. If someone asks your daughter to go alone with them for any reason– she should by default (politely but firmly) refuse unless someone else can go along as well, preferably another person in authority (a second officer, etc.), or someone she already knows and trusts (say a friend). Though even two or more going off somewhere with a strange person can still be very risky (they could have a weapon or accomplices)– best to avoid any such situation.

Also important to avoid situations/places where there is the risk that if accosted, no one else is around to help.

She should also never volunteer information as to where she lives (especially not take anyone there like the grocery guy), or give out any phone or email numbers. A second wallet with some cash and expired credit cards (with different numbers than the current ones) could also be a useful decoy for getting rid of someone accosting for money (say a drug addict).

Russ Sears writes:

One danger in the solitude of distance running is that you often appear an easy mark for those trolling for trouble. A few rules I follow and tell the kids I've coached are:

1. Run against the traffic. Never approach a car that stops try to stay 10 feet from any door. As others suggest, go the other way running. Pick up the pace. Beware of drivers turning right. Trust your instincts if anything is strange.

2. Do not answer questions. Asking for directions or help find something (kid, dog etc.) do not answer. Generally, there are much better people, people of authority or position to help them. You should not even been approached. Someone approaching a teen for help of any kind should send off alarms. You are much more vulnerable than they are.

3. If they persist–If somebody is near, say a passing car or someone in their yard doing work pretend to know them. Run into places of business. Most kids now always have a cell phone, take it out and dial someone. There is a YouTube video that shows how a cell phone would have ruined the drama of many famous stories: from Romeo and Juliet to Blair Witch Project. Even before it is answered, you can say something like: "some creep is trying to a talk to me." Do not be afraid to escalate into yelling and screaming. 

Jeff Rollert writes:

I can vouch for this, when two guys started hitting each other with tire irons, in the cars directly in front of me in stopped traffic this weekend in LA.

There was no where to go, and being in East LA it was not prudent to get out and run off-freeway.

Very scary. Especially when one went back to car to enter the back seat for something.

Though it scared me quite a bit, the ending was funny, as they got back into their cars and proceeded to try and cut each other off…however, after hitting each others cars with the irons, they were clearly afraid of hitting the cars in the process and damaging them. So it looked more like ballet.

Finally, to explain how LA is the NYC of the 1970's…the guy behind me was honking and screaming at me to move the car towards them. (Note, the convertibles top was down).

Nigel Davies writes:

A fascinating read is Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller, a prison guard used to dealing with violent criminals on a daily basis. He reveals that most ofthe preconceptions people have about violent confrontation are just plain wrong.

For example very few people figure on the 'hormone dump' which takes out both reason and any fine motor skills and can cause the victim to freeze. The attacker meanwhile can have everything planned, giving him a huge psychological advantage.

Miller's top recommendations are as follows, in order of preference:

1) Avoid such situations altogether by being careful.
2) At the first sign of trouble RUN.
3) Hide if possible and running is not an option.
4) Only fight as a very last resort and if no reasonable alternative is available.


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9 Comments so far

  1. Michael Tepper on October 3, 2010 4:15 pm

    This was suggested to me for you and your daughter:

    Tell you daughter that adults should never ask for help from kids. If adults need help they should ask other adults. If an adult she doesn’t know asks for help she should run away and tell someone.

  2. douglas roberts dimick on October 4, 2010 1:56 pm

    Cometh…

    Although we are unclear on the facts here, in China, a man or woman with a child are a common sight (a la ploy of well organized rackets) for begging as the Chinese “miracle” economy continues to lose altitude.

    When living outside one’s own country, a precept front and center for daily life is “be mindful of that around you.”

    The unemployment in the State of Connecticut has doubled from 5% in 2008 to nearing 10% — backing out the reactive gimmickry of federal and state government departments of labor, one may surmise the true unemployment rate to be at least double the reported 9.4% at present.

    See http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate&idim=state:ST090000&dl=en&hl=en&q=unemployment+rate+in+connecticut

    Thus, as we all must eat, remember that…

    With desperate times cometh desperate people… dr

  3. Nemo on October 7, 2010 8:31 pm

    The man with the child asking for money is no different than a Wall Street bank selling you a structured note with a higher than average coupon. You get the same immediate rush of gratification, positive carry, etc. As a trader you can explain to your daughter that sometimes that rush evaporates because in page 124, paragraph 2, section b that positive carry was really made up and is has now devoured your principal; so the note is now worth 30% less. Page 200 lets you know that the bank is under no obligation to make a market in the security. A quick scan of the Bloomberg terminal and the salesman no longer works at that bank but now at another one. And he’s sorry that he can get you a bid, since it’s not his new bank that made the note.

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