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Old February 15, 2007, 11:13 PM   #1
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A Reply to the Seattle Times

This evening, I read a column called "Ask Amy", who appears to have inherited the space from the old "Dear Abby" column. Of course, I am aware of the slant of most newspaper columns, but I still like to read these.

Tonight, I was VERY perturbed and concerned about a reply she gave to one woman.

It seems that the woman and her 14 y.o. daughter entered their home to find a burg in progress. The 14 year old apparently pushed the burglar....

whereupon the mother RESTRAINED HER DAUGHTER and told the burglar to take anything he wanted.

The burglar then TIED THEM UP, AND GAGGED THEM . However, fortune smiled on them that day--the burglar left them alone, and her husband found them.

The woman is upset because her daughter is now angry with her and tells her that her (the adult's) lectures about strength and independence are hot air.

Moreover, the responding officers told the woman that she did the right thing! (Where's the smiley for projectile vomiting?)

The columnist wrote back, praising the woman for doing the "right thing". (Another moment to urp.)

Here's my reply:


Good evening!

I am writing this as a comment--and an observation--to a reply you wrote to a poster, that appeared in the Seattle Times on 2-15-2007. The post was concerning the actions that she took when she (and her 14 year old daughter) walked in on a burglary in progress in their home. You applauded her for restraining her daughter, and yielding to the burglar's demands.

Moreover, she comments that the police praised her for her actions.

I am sorry, but this advice is WRONG. And, for the victim, it can be DEAD wrong.

I know that statistics show one thing; I am speaking from cold, hard experience as a police officer who has responded to burglaries, assaults and other crimes against persons.

Any criminal who comes in contact with other people counts on fear to ensure compliance to their demands. The criminal seeks control and mastery over their victim. Criminals like compliant victims. They do NOT, however, like victims who fight back.

The woman allowed her daughter and herself to be tied up and placed in a totally defenseless posture. Congratulations--you are now at the mercy of the criminal. What if the criminal decides that he is angry at the intrusion, and needs to teach a lesson in subjugation? Remember, rape is not a crime of sexual fulfillment, but a crime of anger, control and subjugation.

And, there is a good chance that they walked in on a repeat offender--perhaps a two strike felon. Now, they're tied up and helpless. Well, here's the brass ring--whoever lives the longest gets to see the other killed first.

NEVER yield to a criminal!

How should they have handled it?

If they had space and just a bit of time, they should have both left the house--IMMEDIATELY! Better yet, they should have been in what is known as "Condition Yellow"--they might have heard the burglar as they entered the house, and had a chance to leave immediately.

If they have the misfortune of contacting the criminal, they can still leave if they have the time to do so. If they are in direct (arms' reach) contact, FIGHT. Claw, scratch, SCREAM, hit, kick, hurt! Create space--then get out of the house!

Once a criminal gains control and feels in control, the situation usually goes downhill, really fast. Criminals will not bother with someone who fights back--especially women!

ALWAYS be alert. ALWAYS have an exit strategy. ALWAYS be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones--NEVER yield or surrender!

Feel free to use my real name, if you wish.


Sometimes, the sheep are bleating so loudly that it makes my head hurt. What say you all?
Hiding in plain sight...
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Old February 15, 2007, 11:29 PM   #2
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Very good post...good advice for the sheep out there that live life with head up their a$$...I would never want to rely on the "mercy" of a criminal.
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Old February 15, 2007, 11:29 PM   #3
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i'm with you on this one. Sadly this is the accepted advice of 'the sheep' do what he tells you ect ect pathetic is what it is. Sounds like the daughter has more sense than anyone in that article.
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Old February 15, 2007, 11:32 PM   #4
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Giving in to criminals seems to be the way to deal with crime. I thought things had changed, but I guess I was wrong.
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Old February 15, 2007, 11:36 PM   #5
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Use of the word sheep destroys the credibility of this "could have been interesting" thread.

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Old February 16, 2007, 12:01 AM   #6
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This is exactly my flavor of Kool-Aid.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
--commonly misattributed to, and most likely not, Benjamin Franklin
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Old February 16, 2007, 12:16 AM   #7
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Our family walked into our house on two different occasions while it was being burgled. Both happened at night and both times the perp came through the backyard and through one of the windows, so there was not hint to tip our family off. On the first occasion we nearly bumped into the perp with a bag of loot in one hand and a small television set in the sister totally freaked out and SCREAMED...the dude dropped everything and dad gave chase. The rest of us kinda just stood there in dis-belief. On the second occasion, we came into the house and my father walked into the master bedroom to find a guy rummaging through all the dad (trained in Kendo/Iaido and Judo from birth and having been involved in Hand-to-Hand in Korea) immediately, without a seconds hesitation grabbed a baseball bat that just happened to be nearby...Kiai'd (Martial Arts Yell) loud enough for the World to hear and charged the guy...that perp also took off, like a bat outta hell. On this second occasion, the cops found a large hunting knife and sawed off shotgun that the perp had brought with him, but left in his haste. Hate to think what he would have done if we had given in and just let him tie us up!! By the way...we got Security Window Bars and an alarm system after the second time.
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Old February 16, 2007, 12:04 PM   #8
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Not enough information to go on, here.

Its easy to talk big from across the Internet, and its entirely another to be confronted by a criminal in real life.

Let's get the important facts out:
So, mother and child find someone robbing their home and child pushes theif. Mother restrains child, tells theif to do what he will. Mother and child are bound.

That's all teh facts, right?

So, what we don't know: Was the criminal armed with a firearm? A knife? A club? Raw strength? Was the daughter a trained fighter eqiupped to deal with any of the above, or just physically bigger?

We don't know any of the above, but we can make some stereotypical assumptions: The guy was larger than the daughter and the mother, and that the daughter isn't a trained fighter. A weapon doesn't matter, size and power is the factor, and the theif probably has it over the daughter, a weapon on the theif only makes this more likely for what I'm about to say next:

No, I think the mother did the right thing. No one's life is worth your possessions. The really smart thing would've been to flee and leave the criminal behind, but obviously that was no longer a choice.

Was there a risk of being killed or raped? Sure was, but do you think its more likely you'll be killed when fighting with a theif, or just rolling over and letting him take what he will. Rape is probably a far more realistic fear, but even then, crime doesn't pay and chances are all the thief wanted was a couple of bucks for whatever his fix may have been.

My credentials? I've been on the receiving end of a holdup once. Sure, I could've valiantly tried to attack and incapacitate my assaulters, but instead I was happy to let them have the money so I could go on breathing. Lots of people had the bravado to tell me what they would've done the next day, but I know for a fact that each and every one of htem would've handed the money over with a smile.
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Old February 16, 2007, 12:38 PM   #9
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I'm in no position to tell you what you should or should not have done with your own terrifying experience. Your choices have obviously resulted in you being alive - thank God - so in hindsight your choices were optimal.

However, I think this is really more about changing the default attitude of most people, and not about deriding the choices of others who come out on the positive end of a bad situation. That default attitude of most is one of compliance and hope. One should comply, and hope for the best. The result is that one is placing their life in the hands of a bad person. And essentially, one is relying on the good will of a bad person. That is a large gamble.

To say that the default reaction should be always resist is just as irresponsible because it leaves no room for evaluating the situation. There are times, as evident by your experience, where one reads the situation and determines the best avenue is without resistance. But, again, there’s that illogical decision to rely on the good will of someone who’s already proven they are bad by their actions.

For people like myself, who feel that relying on the good will of a bad person is a gamble where The House has an overwhelming upper-hand, my tendency is resistance, but that does not mean I'm incapable of compliance. It really just depends on the situation, my physical abilities, and a number of other variables.

But if certain opportunities surface, I’m undoubtedly taking advantage of those opportunities because I’m more comfortable taking an active roll in my fate, than relying on some dirt bag to let me live.

So I really don't believe Powderman's post (and letter) is about talking big on the internet. I think he's uncomfortable with reinforcing a default attitude that bolsters the mindset of, "do nothing, someone else will save you". This is especially important when many of us (not all) believe a more positive message with better benefit for the community is one of, "take a more active roll in your own safety, and the safety of your loved ones and neighbors."
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Old February 16, 2007, 12:49 PM   #10
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Agree with the statement that if held up...I would hand over my wallet and valuables, no question! However, if in my home with NO WAY would I allow myself to be bound and held helpless, not without some sort of fight. Another story...a friend of mine's sister was raped during a robbery of her apartment. A little different twist, but she was sleeping and a guy broke into her 2nd story apt., woke her up, led her into the kitchen, told her to be quiet (he was armed), bound and gagged her while he ransacked her apt. As an afterthought, he decided to sodomize her while she was still bound and gagged...then he left. Her thoughts on the event?...she would have rather fought and been killed than to have to go through that experience. It's a crazy place that we live in. In the OP's story, it turned out to be the right move and decision because no one was another could be the worst. Ya' just never know.

Last edited by Topthis; February 17, 2007 at 08:21 PM.
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Old February 16, 2007, 12:52 PM   #11
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Deleted: Trip20 said it first and more gently...

Kathy Jackson
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Old February 16, 2007, 01:02 PM   #12
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Good reply PM.
I have to agree w/Trip & Pax, assuming that compliance will guarantee survival is foolish. Avoidance should always be your first choice, but you should never put your fate in the goodwill of a criminal. It is also sad that our mechanisms of socialization encourage a victim/rely on the state type of mentality. This is where the liberals have almost already won the battle. People need to understand that their security and the resposibility for it lies with them. Law enforcement is reactive. They respond after the crime has begun. Their job is to protect you as a member of society, not as an individual. To rely on the police to save you is like relying on the tooth fairy to make you a millionaire.
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Old February 16, 2007, 02:20 PM   #13
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Just ask any homicide detective if you should just comply and allow yourself to be tied up. They will tell you overwhelmingly and unequivocally, NO!

Also, there are levels of compliance - one could allow a burglar or thief to take valuables without immediate resistance, but resist if physically assaulted or if the perpetrator attempted to tie one up.

What resistance might be the most productive if unarmed or even sometimes if armed - fleeing. I think the original poster had it exactly right - do not ever comply with attempts to drag you into a vehicle or to tie you up - at that point flee, fight, fight to flee - but resist.

As some subsequent posters have most eloquently pointed out, the “roll over and comply” pabulum that is given as stock advice by police public relations and by advice columnists is at best irresponsible and more often it is enough to induce nausea. Such advice needs to be called out and denounced strongly and consistently.

I still remember a pathetic news magazine show that caught my attention because they were doing a segment on crime and self-defense/protection. Diane Sawyer was interviewing, (I use that term loosely), an "expert" on safety. She asked him, “What about guns/” He handed her what I assume was a fake gun and then said are you prepared to kill me Diane? She started to say something. …Well, I err, uhmmm – he then grabbed the gun back and said too late you’re dead.
But that was not the topper. He advised that if she or other parents heard an intruder or burglar in the house that they should lock or barricade the door to their room if possible and then hide under the bed with a phone and call 911. Diane asked, but what if there are children and the intruder might or actually is hurting or attacking them. The expert said to just stay hidden, because essentially you would only end up dead too and it was more important that you be alive and a good witness, than anything you might do to save the children. I really could not believe I was hearing such crap on national TV. This was probably over ten years ago and the "official" attitude and mindset about defending or protecting oneself or family has only gotten worse. :barf:
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Old February 16, 2007, 02:41 PM   #14
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Their first mistake was returning home unarmed.
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Old February 16, 2007, 03:20 PM   #15
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If you're not in the position of defending succesfully, why not running away? This puzzles me. If I surprised bulgars in my house and I was at such disadvantage that I thought not to resist...well, I'd run out and call the police. Likely the bulgar is more interested in my goods than he's in pursuing me.
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Old February 16, 2007, 03:58 PM   #16
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More information makes absolutely no difference here. If the criminal used a knife or gun to gain obedience it proves even more why they should have resisted. The criminal carrying a deadly weapon has already enterred into the crime with the idea that he may maim or kill a victim.

Under absolutely no circumstance do you allow yourself to be tied up and gagged. Period. No Discussion.

There was a girl I knew almost 20 years ago who followed the "comply with their demands" rule in place at the Taco Bell she worked at in Florida. She and her coworkers, when confronted with armed criminals (one who they knew as a former employee) after hours allowed themselves to be usherred inot the walk in freezer and obeyed the order to get on their knees. Amazingly she was the only one who died when they were all either shot in the back or stabbed.

I will not die on my knees in a freezer at the whim of a criminal I have given all control over to. This is not just emotion speaking but logic. Never give over total control to a criminal, especially is they have already proven a capacity for violence (weapons).

On a second note, there is nothing wrong with referring to this as another case of people obeying the instructional diahrea of the popular media like sheep.
"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies." Thomas Jefferson

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." Benjamin Franklin
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Old February 16, 2007, 06:22 PM   #17
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Human Preditors ahould be treated like animal preditors - fight back!

You never hear anyone say if a mountain lion is in front of you on a path or jumps onto you just lay there and let them go for it - no they always say resist, make yourself look big, tough, etc...I say the same goes for 2 legged preditors.
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Old February 16, 2007, 07:28 PM   #18
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Say What You mean and mean what you say

Once upon a time a carload of dopers pulled into my driveway, I had blown them into the LEOs for dealing, doping, noise and whatever across the street.
I told them with a shiny Ruger in hand that, 'I have 357 reasons that you SOBs have no business in my driveway nor with me". Tires squawled. they departed and left for unknown places, I never had any problems with them/

Would I have shot them ? It was after 1:00 Am, And in what the Germans call an Augen Blick, a blink of the eye !!!
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Old February 16, 2007, 07:38 PM   #19
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I think that some here have missed the point...

This not about protecting possessions or being an internet commando. The teenage daughter was probably foolish for attacking a (I am assuming) larger and stronger man, who may or may not have been armed. IMO it was more foolish for the mother to submit both of them to the whim of the BG. It is not always the answer to fight, whenever possible (and what these women should have done if possible) you should retreat from the house and call the police.

I am not an internet commando nor a tactical mall ninja wanna be, it is not my job to sneak around the house looking for the BG, that is for LEOs. By the BG bieng in the house before me he has the tactical advantage anyway.

In the case that I came home (where nothing was amiss, even being in condition yellow) and I stumbled upon the BG, and could not retreat, I would then without a doubt fight with anything and everything I had...

The whole point here is that you do have options, fight or retreat, but do not submit to the BG...

I think the biggest lesson learned here is to always be aware of your surroundings (which most people are not) even in your own home...

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Old February 16, 2007, 08:17 PM   #20
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Another reason why I choose not to read my local dead fish wrapper. (to quote Lars Larson)

--Good job with your reply powderman, it's just unfortunante that the message isn't likley to make it past the numb-skull reporters inbox!--
Nothing is more satisfying than a brick of .22, a few empty soda cans and all day to shoot at them..........nothing other than......Hmm...maybe my AK-47 and a bag of apples? DAMMIT who has 7.62x39 on sale right now?
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Old February 19, 2007, 02:33 PM   #21
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Where does she live?

And I wonder if she has anything else worth taking?
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Old February 19, 2007, 03:15 PM   #22
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Where does she live?

And I wonder if she has anything else worth taking?
Well, she'll gleefully hand over her 14 year old daughter. :barf:
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Old February 19, 2007, 03:33 PM   #23
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Lots of people had the bravado to tell me what they would've done the next day, but I know for a fact that each and every one of htem would've handed the money over with a smile.
I'm so glad that you know what I did. My memory must be faulty.

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Old February 20, 2007, 05:00 PM   #24
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Powderman, it will be interesting to see what , if any, response you get from Ask Amy. Please keep us posted.
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf. - George Orwell
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