How to Prevent a Kidnapping

There have been a few abductions in the news lately, which is about the time that all my highly intelligent, completely rational, uber enlightened liberal friends take to facebook for the emerging war on personal firearms.

Let’s dissect this kidnapping and see how it might have been prevented. Let me first start by saying I don’t have all the information on what happened and it was indeed a tragedy. My only hope is that this article may somehow prevent someone else from getting abducted.

The short version is this:

  1. Woman is working alone at a Starbucks Kiosk
  2. Man approaches Kiosk at around 8pm at night and asks woman for an Americano
  3. After he receives Americano, man shows woman his firearm
  4. Woman takes a step back and puts her hands up
  5. Man instructs woman to turn off the light in the Coffee Kiosk (which puts her finger within inches of the silent alarm)
  6. Man zip ties woman’s hands through the window of the Kiosk, after having her empty the cash register
  7. Man then enters the coffee stand, closes the window, places gag on woman
  8. Man forces woman to leave the coffee stand, crossing a road while holding the woman tight with his right arm and jamming a gun in her ribcage with his left arm.
  9. Man forces woman into his truck, drives to his home, locks woman in shed in front of his house, returning some time later to kill woman

This is a tragic situation, but it is the world we live in and I refuse to bury my head in the sand. The first key here is to prepare for the worst, then practice your immediate actions over and over again until they are second nature. Anytime you are working alone at night, you need to prepare for an attack as if you are absolutely certain it will happen. You need to brainstorm several scenarios (one attacker, multiple attackers, robbery, abduction, etc.). You will have to plan on someone getting the drop on you and how you would respond to it, and also plan on you recognizing the threat first and getting the drop on your attackers (action is faster than reaction).

Here, it appears as if the man got the drop on the woman. She had no choice other than to be taken captive.  I don’t know if she had a gun handy either under the counter or on her person, or if she ever would have had time to grab it. There may have been a split second for her to back up and grab a gun as soon as she saw his gun (probably not, but maybe).

Make an effort to train yourself to recognize threats quickly. You do not want your attacker to get the drop on you. As a woman, in a situation where you are alone (working a kiosk, walking home from work, getting gas at the gas station) you need to be HYPER VIGILANT. Constantly scan your surroundings and most importantly, WATCH PEOPLE’S HANDS. If someone gets to close don’t be afraid to yell, “Show me your hands. Don’t come any closer!”

Employ lateral movement.

There is a concept called “Getting off the X.” Disrupt your attackers plan and thought process by getting off the spot where he has planned to take you down. This is easily done by moving to the left or right while scanning behind and to either side of you (checking for multiple assailants). If you recognize a threat, or feel threatened, GET OFF THE X (it may buy you the precious seconds needed to make the difference between life and death).

I don’t know, but I imagine that the woman above was probably trapped in this kiosk. In an idea situation, she could have early recognized the threat, employed lateral movement to get off the X, and grabbed her nearby firearm. The reality is probably closer to she was trapped in an enclosed space, trapped on the X, with no practice in or ability to early recognize a threat, and no way to defend herself even if she had recognized the threat, and no way to get off the X even if she had recognized the threat.

Never put yourself in this kind of situation. Do not ignore the state of the world we live in. No job is worth this. From what I know at this point, I do not believe there was any way for the woman to prevent this kidnapping other than by not being there. The world is made up of wolves and sheep. Never put yourself in a situation where you are a sheep. Never put yourself in a situation where you are forced to tell all the wolves in the world that you are a sheep. If you are a woman, don’t go walking alone at night in a bad neighborhood, don’t date abusive men, and don’t put yourself alone at night in a job that lends itself to kidnappings (don’t be a woman working alone at night or a man working alone at night). Yes, somebody has to man the 24 hour convenience stores and midnight coffee kiosks, but it does not have to be you. There may have been no way to prevent this kidnapping. This is the world we live in. Wolves and sheep.