Monday, April 21, 2008

Serial Exposure

A man is going around certain SeaTac aparment complexes exposing himself, and more recently groping women. The youngest woman was 11 years old. Read the King 5 story here for the assault sites.

I have 3 suggestions for women who encounter this sort of assailant:

1. Use your voice. Yell and attract attention. What should you yell? Yell directly at the offender, and tell him to go away, get lost, back off, let go. Give him a strong direct command.

2. Back away from him. Keep a few yards distance.

3. In the less likely event that he try to close that distance, remember the best targets for strikes are eyes, throat, groin and knees. If you need to physically defend yourself, give it 110%.

Please take this kind of offense seriously. Flashers such as this who get bolder and escalate their attacks are on the path to rape. Help the police get him before he gets there.
Last week a man's body was found in a Seattle construction site. Today's paper had a summary of the sad story (click here to read). The victim had a history of mental illness. He apparently stopped taking his medication and was challenging others to fights. He was obsessed with the movie Fight Club. What makes this story truly tragic was that 2 other men, apparently egged on by others, saw fit to take him out.

From what I've read, these 2 others had no history of mental illness, nor did those who encouraged them. One of these men is in police custory, the other being sought. The one in custody is blaming the second man for delivering the excessive force.

There's been a lot of local focus in the media about the mentally ill as dangerous. As this story (once again) illustrates, we should be more concerned about regular joes taking group dyanamics to its lowest common denominator.

Seven Simple Safety Skills (take 2)

This past weekend (April 19 and 20) was King 5 TV's Healthy Living Expo, and I was invited to present on self-defense. Here is the mp3 file of my 20 minute talk, Seven Simple Safety Skills. My previous blog entry had a link to an audiofile that worked only on Quicktime on a Mac, and I'm deleting that.

Monday, April 14, 2008

TV's New Vampire

This year's TV writers' strike had some interesting effects. For one thing, it showed me that Jay Leno really doesn't need writers, but that's not the point of this blog.

One show that migrated over from Showtime to fill the broadcast void is called Dexter. It begins with the premise that the protagonist, Dexter--a serial killer, a psychopath totally incapable of empathy--is indeed capable of "correctly" targeting other homicidal psychopaths as his victims.

One of the core traits of psychopaths, as described by Dr. Robert Hare (the foremost authority on the subject), is that lack of empathy. Many psychopaths do learn to at least minimally fake that emotional expression to blend in. However, another core trait is intense self-centeredness, which works against the idea of a Dexter having any inclination whatsoever to kill only other other homicidal psychopaths. I've read some other blogs that denounce the Dexter writers and producers for portraying this sort of violence in a heroic light, and I cannot disagree with them.

But to me that's like criticizing vampire stories and fairy tales, which is what this is. And the real point of such stories is to make a point of some aspect of the human condition. Dexter, in his improbable existence, highlights the kind of masks, emotional coverups, that we all do, thinking we'll get by better in our social interactions. Every character on that show has a dark side, has something to hide. Ironic that the psychopath is the one who is portrayed as the least self-absorbed.

But do you really want to feel safer? Just turn off your TV. Including Dexter.