Articles
CHILD PROTECTION OPTIONS
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By George Demetriou and Lisa Demetriou

A young Long Island mother of 4 month old twins returns home after a visit to the pediatrician. Before she can remove the infants from her sport utility vehicle she is confronted by a man who tries to throw a towel over her head. She swipes the towel away not even sure if this is a prank or not. It is not. The man who had the towel also has a knife.

The woman watches the knife go up, as if it were in slow motion, and then plunge into her shoulder. She falls to the ground and fights from her back. As she attempts to get back to her feet she feels a second knife stab into her back.
She didn't realize there were two attackers! The woman continues to fight with both assailants, while doing so she locks the truck doors with the remote switch, then rolls under her truck. By now this has apparently taken too long and been too much work for her assailants so they leave. They walked away, laughing. The woman suffered 7 stab wounds, a punctured lung and a broken jaw from this assault. More importantly she protected her children, herself and even her property. The emotion during the attack was anger- "These guys are trying to kill me in front of my kids!"

A Brooklyn woman out with a friend and the boys nephew were enjoying the park when a man walked up to the five year old nephew and placed a knife to the boy's face. "Give up your money or I cut him", the assailant demanded. Naturally the adults complied, but the woman saw anger in the man's face and noticed the robber was not leaving even though he got what he wanted. Suddenly the woman snatched the assailants hand, not wanting any harm to come to the boy. The robber was so startled he dropped the knife and ran. No one was hurt.

A woman seated in the back of her parked car feeds her infant child. While tending to the baby and waiting for a friend a man slides into the driver seat and proceeds to drive away. The car jacker ignored all the woman's pleas to stop and let them go. The woman was terrified and felt the carjacker was probably armed. The woman remembered her cellular phone was in the baby bag and dialed 911 without removing the phone completely. She spoke to the assailant, asking where he was taking them all the while giving directions to the police dispatcher. 18 minutes later the police stopped the vehicle and placed the man under arrest. No one was harmed.

All the above described incidents are true. As a concerned parent or a person interested in controlling one's own destiny these incidents contain valuable lessons. (1) These woman had the "warrior spirit" to fight against criminals, even armed criminals,(2)Action is better than inaction when defending others or yourself,(3)It is possible to remain calm and strategize under extreme duress and (4)Your destiny and your children's destiny should not be left up to some thief or predator.

What are you prepared to do in similar situations? Have you a plan in case some thug picks your family as the victims of the day for a robbery, carjacking or worse? I hear you yelling out there. This kind of thing does not occur often or doesn't occur where you live. Well we don't have the stats for this for two reasons. The first, if it happened once it could happen again. To this day the perpetrators from incident one and incident two are still at large. But even if they were caught these assailants did not invent this sort of thing. Carjackings and robberies are not uncommon. The other reason is these type of incidents can occur wherever there are human beings, you do not have to be in a so called "bad neighborhood".

Do not mistake the message here. This is not about trying to cause unnecessary fear or panic. In fact the message is a positive one. This is basically about awareness. The real life incidents described above all have one thing in common-they all have happy endings.

While preparing for violent confrontations while we are with our children we organized three main principles. Awareness, Strategy and Tactics. Everything done in Child Protection Options can be modified, added to or deleted, but it will fall under these three principles. It is easier to remember concepts, especially under stress, than having to remember every single thing you learned in some specific order. But everyone can remember to be aware(once they know what to be aware of),strategy(once the awareness is raised) and tactics(simple physical principles for self-defense and defending others).

AWARENESS

Criminals, whether they are petty thieves or vicious predators, look for the "weakest gazelle in the herd". They look for the “easy" target. The people who commit robberies are not looking for a challenge. The first line of defense is not looking like the weakest gazelle in the herd. When you are truly aware of yourself and what is going on around you the bad guys will know. To a bad guy an alert person means potential struggle which is time consuming and noisy. The two great enemies of criminals everywhere are time and noise. Bad guys know that a struggle, especially a long, noisy one, could lead to police response or the involvement of Good Samaritans. Bad guys will go to great lengths to avoid capture. Criminals understand that a person who is not paying attention, the person thinking about bills, the children's health, the argument they had with a relative, is vulnerable to a sudden attack. Yes, they can look at you and see you have other things on your mind other than the present moment.

The first way to make yourself a "hard" target is to be aware constantly. The time for pondering is not when you are out driving or walking with your children. Walk with your head up scanning the area. Scan while you are driving or more importantly, while you are waiting at a light or parked somewhere. Be aware of who is by your home or your car. Avoid activities that impede on awareness-driving while on the phone(unless it's an emergency),running or walking with a walkman on, playing the car stereo loud, reading in the car (yes, we often see this one in the morning). Most of defending yourself and protecting loved ones is common sense. Yet we find that in many self-defense situations common sense is uncommon. Children have been abducted right out from underneath their parents. This could only happen when awareness goes astray. A heightened awareness may be the factor that sends the bad guys looking for another target. If being aware is not enough and there is an attack it is important to have a clear mind as opposed to one that is "cluttered" or fixated on one thing in particular.