Posts Tagged With: protection


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Meet Rock Panera, a security professional, who teaches simple moves that women and children can execute in their own defense. I took this class just before we moved from Birch Bay, yesterday. We are now in La Conner, Washington, sitting though a heavy rain this morning with a very weak signal.

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Here he demonstrates what to do when an assailant comes from behind you and pins your arms. You are not helpless. You have many options. You can go half limp and your body weight means the assailant has to hold you up, giving you a chance to break free and run. Or you can stomp on his foot and make it hurt. Keep moving, keep elbowing and punching.

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But, the best way, is to wrench yourself to the side which makes one of his arms extend and puts him off-balance and giving you, or even a young child, the chance to put an elbow to his crotch, break the hold and run, run, run.

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If an assailant tries to grab your clothes and pull you toward him, or pin you to a wall, you grab his clothes and keep your arms extended if you can and he will have less control. If you are holding his clothes whatever he does to you, he is doing to himself. But the end game is to break that hold, the minute he takes a hand off of you, bash him, with your head, knee to the groin, stomp a foot and run. Always run, as fast as you can.

Assailants look for women with long hair, because it is the easiest way to control a woman. If you are grabbed by the hair, you lace your fingers together and put your hands on top of his and press down and flail your elbows until he has to change his position. Then bolt. Always, attempt to break his hold and run.

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This little guy wrenched away from his mother and elbowed her where it hurt.

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He put the kids through the moves and it was amazing how they responded. I thought this class was a worthwhile reminder of how to be pro-active should you ever, by whatever circumstance, be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He put me in a choke hold from the front. Instead of trying to pry his hands away, he instructed me to reach out and clap his ears hard with both hands. I couldn’t reach his ears. His second was to dig fingers into nose and eyes, or to use the heel of your hand and strike his nose, hard. It can actually be a death-dealing blow and doesn’t take a great deal of strength.

In today’s violent world, unless you are trained or a karate expert, you won’t be likely to execute or even remember some fancy move, nor have a chance in a fight. It is best to defend yourself by getting away from your assailant and run and scream.

I agree. Both of my daughters were accosted as young women, and I was put at risk several times as a child and talked my way out of a rape by two men when I was 17.  Luckily we got away unharmed. You are never too old to be a victim. I was glad I went to the class, because sometimes we need a reminder.

Rock emphasized that none of these break control and run plans may work if a knife or a gun is involved. But, each individual must make that instant decision based on the perceived danger of their situation.


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House Republicans let the Violence Against Women Act Expire just days before mass protests in India about brutal rapes. The Medieval attitude in India is similar to what it was and still is in the U.S. in many ways. Blame the victim:  She was wearing tight jeans or a revealing blouse;  she was drinking in a bar, or she wandered into the wrong part of town, she wasn’t a virgin, she is too friendly with the wrong kind of men. An eleven year old victim was wearing make-up and looked 20. The message, it is okay to rape a 20 year old?

Add to that supposedly intelligent elected officials describing pregnancies from rape “a gift from God”, and “women lie regularly about rape.”  All the rapes that didn’t result in pregnancy, are they a gift from God too?

Steubenville, Ohio teens joked online about the unconscious teen who had just been raped. They are middle class Americans, not sociopathic monsters, but officials in Steubenville decided these young football players had made a mistake and downplayed the consequences of their act. The message, if you are a hotshot athlete, it is okay to rape and joke about it?

Thousands of women are raped in the military but know if they report it they will lose their jobs and never be promoted. When they do report it, the man is rewarded and the woman punished. Another powerful message of unequal justice for women and the need for special protections for women who endure the most violence of every kind at every age.

Here are rape statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sexual assault…it’s not about lust and desire, it’s a violent crime of POWER, CONTROL and DOMINANCE

  • Every 45 seconds someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.
  • 1 out of every 7 women currently in college has been raped (2), however, 9 out of 10 women raped on campus never tell anyone official about the rape.
  • 1 in 10 men is raped in his lifetime , 1 in 7 of those victims will have been assaulted before the age of 18.
  • More than 61.5% of rapes are never reported to law enforcement.
  • Approximately 28% of rape victims are raped by their husbands, 35% by an acquaintance, and 17% by a relative other than spouse.
  • 74% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by assailants well known to the victim.
  • A female child victim is 7 times more likely to be re-victimized as an adult.
  • Nearly 6 out of 10 sexual assaults occur at the victim’s home or the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor.
  • 1 in 15 rape victims contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) as a result of being raped.
  • 1 in 15 rape victims become pregnant as a result of being raped.
  • The United States has the world’s highest rape rate of all countries that publish such data- 13 times higher than England and more than 20 times higher than Japan.
  • An American woman is 10 times more likely to be raped than to die in a car crash.
  • 61% of rape victims are females under the age of 18.
  • Contrary to common belief that violent crime rates are notably lower in rural areas, an  analysis of location data collected for the National Women’s Study found that 10.1% of women living in rural areas had experienced a completed rape as compared to 13.6% of women living in urban and suburban communities—hardly a notably lower rate.

These statistics are not the most recent, but the incident of rape has increased, not decreased.

I take this very personally because I fended off two rapists working together when I was 18 years old and working for the Sheriff’s Department. I was at a bus stop near a field in San Leandro, 9:00 at night.

I was followed by a stranger and talked myself out of a rape walking home from a babysitting job when I was 12 years old. The parents came home drunk in a cab and shoved me out the door to fend for myself without a dime for a phone call in my pocket. What saved me is this man, age 25, knew my brother. Weeks later he was arrested for rape and murder, convicted and sent to prison.

My oldest daughter was the victim of a “crotch dive” three times in three different cities where she worked. Once while running early in the morning, once in a shopping center parking lot in the daytime, and once in a movie theater. Incidents like this are frightening and demeaning.

My youngest daughter was assaulted by 5 young boys approximately 12-13 year olds in France while waiting for a bus. She backed up against a wall and kept cursing and swinging her purse at them until some adults appeared and they fled.

Movies will have you believe that attacks against women happen in dark alleys by a single intent perpetrator by a women who uses poor judgement. Statistics tell a sadder story of assaults by family members and friends.

I wrote to my representative to protest that vote, not that it did any good. But, educate your daughters, your nieces, your sisters. Find out what kinds of defensive moves work best. Carry mace or pepper spray available in small hand held containers. Rapists like girls with long hair. It is easy to control them by grabbing them by the hair. Put your hair up inside of a cap while running.  Screaming and being loud and fighting will sometimes divert an intended assault to an “easier” victim. Put your phone down your bra if you feel insecure. Run if you have the opportunity as fast as you can anywhere. Toss your purse and valuables in your pursuers path, if you have them, except your phone is in your bra. Run up on someone’s porch and pound on the door and scream. Roll up into a ball if you are knocked down. Or if grabbed from behind, sink heavily to the ground and roll up into a ball and scream and kick.  But, the best move is to be prepared.  Be aware of where you are. Walk quickly and purposefully. Stay away from dark places. Always carry your keys balled up in your fist with the sharp end protruding through your fingers when in a strange place headed for your car.  It is a weapon. There are so many different situations, bars, date rape drugs, elevators, home invasion. The Web will offer many suggestions. Check them out for your young girls going off to college. Be safe.

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Our planned trip to South Padre Island got dumped on ALL DAY.  That river is in front of the motor home.

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The wind blew and blew. We braved the weather and took my bike to a bike shop. It needed a tire, the brakes adjusted and new derailleurs But, the derailleurs, he told me, will be just as bad in two months carrying it like we do without a cover. A problem to chew over.

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The jack rabbits did their best to stay warm by curling up as tight as possible. This one took refuge away from the wind by backing up to a tree.

This one hunkered down in the grass and made himself as round and tucked in as possible.

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It was a good day for reading and listening to the weather beat around the motor home giving us some unwanted rock n’ roll. The weather report is telling us we’ll be getting more of the same. With 100 percent humidity, it becomes hard to sleep at night as the temperature warms.

Even so, I don’t think it is a good idea to deal with climate change by salting clouds to reflect sunlight and heat away. It seems to me the more we mess with nature, without a clear idea of what can go wrong, things often get worse down the line. (Cloud salting is a new idea to help mitigate warming climate change.)

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We take a bus to visit one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China. I’m so excited, I can hardly believe I’m going to actually walk on the Great Wall of China. On the way, Vicki gives us a history while we look at the passing scene out the windows. We see the Beijing Romance Club, a matchmaking club, which seemed strange in 2006. Now, don’t we all know about on-line matchmaking?  We see farms, fruit orchards, vendors along the highway lay out their produce on blankets. Highway workers in droves sweep the edges of the roads with straw brooms. I mean straw brooms that look like “witches” brooms. China doesn’t buy machinery to do a task that can be accomplished by human labor, though, that is changing. But what then do you do with a huge population of workers without work asks Vicki?  People don’t drive as fast here and the highway is teeming with people on foot.

The walk up to one of the Great Wall’s entrance places is lined with vendors, since the Great Wall is the biggest tourist attraction in all of Asia.

I took a picture of this camel and was shushed away by the owner. Vicki explained that this man makes his living by charging for pictures taken of his camel, usually with mom and the kids standing near it. I felt bad for my “sin”, but I couldn’t read the sign nor undo the picture. Vicki explained that most of these vendors have been licensed to sell here because they were once farmers displaced by the flooding of the Yangtze River.

We enter near one of the towers built to house the soldiers and their families who lived  there and manned the towers all day and night.  I was stunned to learn that. It isn’t as though the Great wall could be driven to from a nearby city during the 1200’s. Somehow, I thought the wall was its own defense, a deterrent. Vicki took us to an entrance that is the farthest from Beijing city center, and not as busy as others. Notice the dip on the right to take rain water away from the steps.

This gives you an idea of the height of the walls at the top, just over five feet tall.  From magazine pictures and travel ads I’d seen, I  thought of the wall as this smooth brick roadway for miles. It is smooth here.  This section has been restored and looks quite new.

I guess I expected an even structure built in a ring at the Chinese borders, never giving much thought to the undulating terrain of the mountain passes it guarded. It is mind-boggling just trying to see in the distance as it traces the tops of the mountains in every direction you look.

It’s uphill, jagged, stairs both straight and crooked; weathered and broken.

You can hike the wall for days, or weeks. We met a family that backpacked in for miles and found vistas, and wild animals, and broken, crumbling sections of the wall where they could climb down and explore the woods and meadows.

When you look over the edge, you realize that the wall is much taller than it looks on the “inside”.  Here Vicki pointed out the remnants of an old fruit orchard the soldiers and their families depended on when they guarded the border. They had to grow their own food and carry or pipe water to farm on the Chinese side of the wall.  On the opposite side, it was part of their job to cut away all vegetation within 30 feet of the enemy side of the wall. Ascending and descending the wall many times a day, to toilet, haul water, tend gardens, and other tasks,  tests the sense of believability.

This is a spot where soldiers could get out to their work detail off the wall.

In inclement weather, you can imagine how treacherous it would be to patrol this wall. It drains one way and then another. Like castle walls, cut outs were built for the soldiers to fire their arrows at raiders below.  The towers and exits are located I’m guessing about every 300 to 400 feet, or so. Inside those towers, all open to the air above, the families kept warm by body heat and a charcoal brazier, also used for cooking. The feat of building the wall is hard to put your mind around. It at one time stretched 13,171 miles. And, while we were in China, news came that archeologists had uncovered another 400 kilometer section of earthen and stone wall from ancient times. The original wall was started in 200 B.C.   Each section has a distinct character, an individuality,  as one worker differed slightly in his method than another. Hauling and mixing the cement in a remote area, hauling the water, again, it tests the sense of believability. I expect they used horses and donkeys to help with the work. Even so, a monumental achievement.

You can see this section of the wall is  shorter, warmer and sunnier.

This was an emotional experience for me. I felt it was worth the whole trip’s expense just to see the wall. I cast one last look at this impossible place, straining my eyes through the mist to see, as far as I could, this amazing wall etched like a painting  on the mountain tops. I hated to leave.

The website below gives some history, facts and pictures of this one of seven of the greatest world wonders.

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I’ve always had a survivalist mentality. I think it stems from being raised on the land, with few amenities, and dependence on what you grew or raised to live. Subconscious fear may have played a role as well since we were put through air raid drills in grammar school. We were  instructed to hide our heads under our desk when the air raid siren went off during the Korean war. Of course, we now know hiding our heads under our desk  wouldn’t have protected us. The powers that be probably knew it then, too. It was just feel good stuff.

During the 1970’s, people were building bomb shelters in their yards for fear of a nuclear bomb from Russia.  We didn’t build a bomb shelter in our front yard during the 1970’s, but, I have to admit, we pondered the idea.  We read in the newspapers the way to survive nuclear fallout from a bomb was to fill your tub with water, stay inside, put foam rubber over the windows and doors, and buy a lot of flashlights and sterno. We were instructed to stock up on basic foods like rice and beans, but only canned goods. We took it seriously, and did stock up, except you couldn’t buy a flashlight or a battery within a day of the announcement.

Again, fear is in the air. Bomb shelter sales are up 1,000 %. Membership in  giant communal bomb shelters on the plains states, like Kansas, are selling like hot cakes, and many of them aren’t even built yet.( I read HOAX.)
Health food stores and pharmacies have run out of iodine as people stock up on the stuff even though “experts” say it isn’t needed. But then, various “experts” have lied to us so many times in the past, and we know many expert’s opinions are for sale to the highest dollar. Why would we believe them? Oh, I’m so cynical. Yes!

Germany has decided to wean itself off nuclear power. But, it won’t help unless  all countries do it. Nuclear Power is like playing with extremely, costly, destructive dynamite. But, there is no warning or protection from fallout  if you live anywhere near one, except to get farther away.  If a huge comet or asteroid hit the earth, with  hundreds of nuclear power plants in the United States and a couple thousand of them around the world? Oh, boy!  There is no protective measures anyone, governments or communities or individuals can take against a cataclysmic event that sets up nuclear winter.

Wars all over the mid-east have religious fanatics predicting that Armageddon is at hand and they are giving a precise date in May. I’ve lived through these predictions before as well. I don’t remember the year when a large group of people sold their worldly goods and waited on a mountain top to be brought up into heaven at the given date of the end of the earth. How do these people reconcile their lives after it doesn’t happen? And, that, or a similar event has been repeated several times in my lifetime.

Fear is understandable. We live in troubled times. But, there are practical things one can do to keep yourself comfortable and relatively safe. First is to just enjoy each day, and do what you normally do. Live one day at a time. You can’t do anything about it anyway. Its like taking an airplane flight. It could drop in the ocean, but you still take the flight.

Practical measures you should always take: Keep a decent stock of  staple goods on hand. Always, flashlights, batteries, candles, and simple medical supplies like aspirin, band aids,bandages, burn and antibiotic salves. Its easy enough to  keep a  couple gallons of distilled water in your garage for emergency use. A couple five gallon cans of gasoline might be helpful if you can safely store them. In your car? Keep a first aid kit, a couple blankets, flashlights and water, an umbrella, extra socks and lightweight jackets, a couple flares, matches, rope and a tarp. It sounds like a lot, but it can be packed tightly into a backpack and jammed into the corner of your trunk. This isn’t to protect against a nuclear event, but any event that leaves you stranded, be it a storm, a road closure, or a flat tire on a lonely road. Then, hope for the best.
When you have a  chance, read George Stewart’s novel, Earth Abides. It will give you a blueprint on how to survive anything. Its out of print, but available in those old book stores that deal in out-of-print novels. And, its based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its an eye opener even though it was written in 1931.

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The United States Coast Guard is the smallest of the five federal military services. It grew from combining various services that outgrew their function, mostly civilian. The Revenue Cutter Service was established in 1790. The Life Saving Service was established in 1878. These two merged in 1915.  The Light House Service established in 1789 was added in 1939. The Steamboat Inspection Service established in 1838 had combined with the Bureau of Navigation established in 1884. They were added to the final complex of organizations in 1946 in what is now a multi-missioned maritime and military service accommodating diverse duties. We visited the museum, (above) in New London, CT.

Its history, therefore isn’t only military. The Lighthouse Service was the first non-clerical positions allowed to women, who served as keepers and lifesavers with great heroism.

The Life Saving Service used these tags to keep their surfmen honest. The posts were spread along the coast within walking distance of each other. A man from each post met halfway and exchanged his tag with one from the neighboring posts on either side, thus proving he had walked his shift, which was often in untenable weather, cold and wet and often dangerous.

With much of the work about rescuing people and ships in danger, there are many heroic stories in this museum among the artifacts. Plus many good paintings since few pictures were taken of daring at sea rescues.

This figurehead from The Bear, one of the most  famous ships in Coast Guard lore. A three masted rigged barkentine rigged steamship patrolled the Bering Straits for the Revenue Cutter Service and the Coast Guard for over 30 years. From its deck, the officers were the law. They issued verdicts for crimes at sea and land. The crews brought medicine and food to natives and fortune hunters when in trouble. They transported stranded gold miners and unfortunates out of the frozen wastes. They regulated the sealing and whaling industry during marine disasters and defended Native Alaskans from modern encroachments along with the U.S. Army, demonstrating the diverse nature of the Guard.

There are some great old photos here of adventure and camaraderie to enjoy.

And war.

The museum contains this colorful history of the Coast Guard, but this site is also the home of the Coast Guard Academy with young men and women in uniform visible over the campus. Visitors are welcome to go into the exchange, and any building on the campus except one, where classes and field training and meetings are held. It sits next to the Thames river on 100 acres of rolling hills here in New London, and is often home to the Eagle, a barque captured from the Germans during WWII. The barque still sails as a training vessel for seaman from the Coast Guard and provides education and joy to people in ports all over the U.S. It was out during our visit.

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