Friday, June 06, 2014

Pausing for a Moment of Reflection and Remembrance for SPU

Today our thoughts are with the Seattle Pacific University community.  Deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young man taken too soon.  Wishing a quick and complete recovery to all those injured.  And much thanks to SPU student Jon Meis, whose initiative and courage stopped the shooter and certainly saved lives.

Mr. Meis apparently saw the opportunity and stepped in quickly.  Many others would have paused too long, wondering if this was a real break and how long it would last and would they really have enough time . . . you know that old cliche about he who hesitates.

KUOW-FM broadcast an interview with Greg Crane, president and founder of Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate (ALICE).  They were discussing what to do if faced with an active shooter.  Mr. Crane says the best practices are pro-active.  Know what you can do, and practice.  Noise, movement, distance, and distraction all can slow down a shooter.  It's when someone takes charge that lives are saved, quotes interviewer Marcie Sillman.

How can you prepare yourself, just in case?  Start by listening to the interview, and you should get some good ideas.


Strategic Living and Fight the Fear Campaign to Offer Teen Girl Self-Defense Classes

Seattle's Fight the Fear Campaign (FtFC) is a community-oriented violence-prevention initiative.  FtFC provides free training in basic self-defense to those who cannot afford them.  Funded by Brandi Carlile's Looking Out Foundation, the goal is to make awareness, de-escalation, boundary-setting, assertive communication, and fighting techniques available to as many people as possible.
Fight the Fear Campaign logo

Strategic Living, LLC, is proud to be among the trainers asked to participate.  We have six classes on this summer's calendar for teen girls open to the public:  two are for girls ages 12-13, two for girls ages 14, 15, and two for girls ages 16 and up.  You can see more info and register online at our Fight the Fear page.

FtFC's mission is to make self-defense training easily accessible because the skills and confidence that it builds are a proved deterrent to violence.  All classes are run by experienced instructors who tailor each workshop to serve the specific, focused needs of each group.

You can find out more about other classes and programs at the FtFC website.



Thursday, June 05, 2014

Can Your Stick Family Car Decal Endanger You?

We've all seen them.  Decals, generally on minivans, showing stick figures representing family members.  Or sometimes representing parodies of family members.  Or a T Rex snacking on family members . . .


Some people like them, some are annoyed, most probably don't care one way or the other.

But do pedophiles care?  Will the decal draw the criminal element to your family?  Some people believe so.

Even a few police departments are warning about having these decals on your vehicle.

However, there is one little issue.  There are no cases cited where a perpetrator gleaned personal information from stick figures and used it to commit a crime.

As a self-defense instructor, I have a short list of "rules" I check before giving safety recommendations to students.  Rule #1 is that any piece of safety advice has to be based on evidence.  There has to be some proof that this reduces violence in the real world, not just as a hypothetical in the world between someone's ears.  No matter how logical or reasonable it may seem, if it does not exist in reality it does not get forwarded.

This suggestion that stick figure family decals can attract bad guys fails to meet that standard.

This piece of advice also ignores the substantiated fact that most predators who go after children are people already known to the family and do not need any decals to inform them.  You're better off learning how to assess the real people in your children's lives.



Wednesday, April 09, 2014

"Superpredators:" Blast from the Past

Students who have taken my six-week self-defense course for women already know this:  the rate of violence has been in decline for the past couple of decades.

But that was not at all obvious a couple of decades ago.  In fact, the early 1990s saw a spike in youth violence.  Some experts were predicting the worst was yet to come, and felt they needed to deploy hyperbole on what they saw as the inevitable.  The term "superpredator" was coined by political scientist John DiIulio to describe teens who were increasingly violent.  These teens were supposed to unleash chaos upon our fair Gothams.

It never happened.

Almost as if on cue, after these predictions hit the mass media, the crime rate began dropping.  And dropping.  And dropping.  Today's rates of violence are at record lows.


(if the embedded video is not visible here, go here.)

However, hyperbole won out over fact.  Punitive punishments and harsher penalties for juveniles became the law.  Panicky policy repercussions from that era have lingered a long while.

When you consider your personal safety risks, what do you value?  How do you distinguish the hype from the fact?  Predicting the future will never be easy, but you can do better when you winnow out the alarminst labels and recognize the "dog whistles" for what they are.