THE GLOBAL SECURITY ILLUSION

While many believe that they are better protected against attack now then they were a decade ago, the idea that terrorism lives in a vacuum and we are controlling the lack of oxygen is absurd.

Terrorism actually poses a greater threat today than yesterday. The intent of terrorism is to create chaos and hysteria that extends far beyond the initial impact of the attack. The objective point is to cripple people and infrastructure by maximizing the social and psychological impact of the attack itself.

In response, we have ramped up security efforts everywhere to prevent future attacks. So we can relax a bit because law enforcement and government have this covered, right? Wrong. The terrorist groups and organizations have been in business for a long time.

This did not just begin with 911. This means they have had many years to probe, test and develop tactics and techniques to defeat our countermeasures. And in turn, we have developed technologies and security practices that are designed to prevent or thwart their nefarious attacks.

However, what we have developed and put in use are tactics, techniques and procedures that are primarily focused on security measures to stop the methods that have been used in past attacks. Every time we have stopped them in the past, they have gone back to the drawing board and devised a new method or tactic with which to defeat our armor. This is an evolutionary process for the terrorist. They will continue to develop new ways in an attempt to launch future attacks.

Take the transportation security administration for example when Richard Reid attempted to put a bomb in his shoe and board an American Airlines flight in 2001. In response the TSA implemented new security measures that mandated all passengers to remove their shoes for inspection before entering the gate. So what did the terrorists do?

After observing these changes that were implemented and shared globally, the terrorist’s switched tactics. In 2006 they employed a liquid explosive with which they would attempt to blow up aircraft.

In response the TSA then put severe restrictions on all liquids that passengers were able to bring into the terminal. Even passenger’s water bottles were restricted in defined areas of the airport and there were limitations placed on the amount of liquids that travelers could take in carry-on baggage.

In reality, the TSA like many government agencies has had a graded response that is reactionary. Because the truth of the matter is that they can only do so much to prevent these catastrophic events from happening. Their response while soothing to the public is only a temporary fix until the next attempt.

And while we were talking of aviation security, this illusion of total security is not restricted simply to airport and airline safety. It is a global phenomenon that affects every person and corporation and organization.

Consider the corporate offices for a business for example; which they maintain closed circuit television cameras throughout the atrium, lobby and hallways connecting offices. And in addition, they have two security officers in the lobby as you make entry to the building.

In a higher secure facility they may employ various forms of biometrics at certain key points or areas or other type access control devices that serve to prevent the normal intrusions, but these security measures will not protect those buildings or the people within them from a committed attacker that is dedicated to carrying out the attack.

And what if the attack was executed by professional terrorist actors, whom have planned and conducted surveillance on the target. What then?

Again while CCTV and access control measures can provide a degree of security for the normal criminal, it is highly unlikely that these measures will do much to protect against a suicide bomber or a vehicle- borne improvised explosive device crashed through a building or a small armed contingent of committed Jihadists that launch a surprise force attack on a building or the invisible employee who attacks without warning.

The presence of all these security measures again creates a sense of false security that people buy into, and while they assume they are safe from the threat of attack and fail to exercise good situational awareness because they never thought for a minute that an attack could happen at their office or workplace, they expose themselves to serious danger.

No, without properly trained and vetted security personnel with education in hostile surveillance detection and an understanding of concentric rings of security in conjunction with enhanced physical security and technology, all the traditional security measures are nothing more then an illusion of security.   

 

Keeping It Real

For people, personal security is not simply a task that is solved by taking Tae Kwon Do lessons. No one is immune to violence. Violence happens without warning and it can happen to anyone anywhere on the planet.

In many cases, people that have some conscious concern may feel comforted by undertaking self-defense lessons or by buying a gun, but in truth training and security measures such as having a gun can give people a false sense of security.

In my trade as a kidnap & ransom response consultant, mercenary, tactical team leader and security operator, I have often come across people that over value their abilities and training believing they have more then enough capabilities to handle whatever comes their way.

Many of these people like to prop themselves up with a bunch of initials after their name and with descriptions on social media sites that promote them as for example a “world’s leading security expert.”

And that’s fine, if you are living in America, we are entitled to freedom of speech, and if one wants to sell them as an “expert” whether it be as an executive protection agent or martial arts master or security expert they are protected under those rights.

However, in my line I have experienced violent dangerous people and I humbly would submit that dealing with these people and groups demands a level of experience that these self-ascribed “experts” severely lack. Because when reality hits, and it eventually hits for everyone, these people are not only exposing themselves to a level of danger that they have no training for, they are also subjecting their clients and people they are charged with protecting to grave danger.

Security training can be a powerful tool in the fight against violence, but that is only with proper training. Improper training or not enough education can easily lead to overconfidence and in turn could be disastrous for the individual.

 

 

Transplanting Illusion With Reality

So how do we fix the flaws and strengthen our security position? It starts with a practical assessment of the threats that the person, company or organization may be facing. In this day and age, we must concern ourselves with the threat of future active shooter incidents and the potential for further acts of domestic terrorism.

For security managers or administrative executives that are looking to “harden” their facility or office then it is proper training and education that they should be considering as a first step.

Administrators, managers and executives are in a position to offer the best line of defense against security threats for their people. It is not CCTV or the security officers that are at the lobby desk or the access control devices that they recently installed.  No, if they want to truly enhance defense then they must start a security-centric culture in their organization; one that reflects upon education, learning and practicing best security practices.

And this is best accomplished starting with the correct education and training classes and programs such as Defense Coach University’s Active Shooter Threat program, Security Operations Awareness And Safety program, Travel Safety and Security and Counter-Kidnap & Hostage Survival programs.  All a critical part of enhancing security solutions while providing an incredibly cost effective ROI.

 

What If I am Just a Concerned Citizen, How Do I Step Up Security?

If you are seeking to better protect yourself and or your family then the greatest weapon you have is your mind. The concept of being aware of your surroundings and having the ability to identify potentially dangerous situations is a critical weapon in your personal security arsenal. It is also something anyone can do with a little education and discipline. This all begins by making security a priority in your daily routine.

The first and foremost step in establishing situational awareness is to recognize that threats do exist and submit to the fact that we all live in societies where bad things happen and bad people are real.

Second, you must take responsibility for your own security. In almost every circumstance it will be you that is involved in the incident and you who are then the first responder on-scene. After all, the police do not know if a crime is being committed unless they are called or happened to be at the time and place when it is being perpetrated. And by the time they do find out that a criminal or terrorist act is in progress, there is the time gap it will take for them to respond. You must therefore be the master of your own destiny and take responsibility for your own security.

Third, learn to listen and trust the “little voice” that is inside you. That gut feeling you get that something is wrong is your primal instincts warning you of impending danger. You should listen to that little voice because it has been developed and honed over millions of years and is ingrained in your DNA.

Last, seek out proper training so that you are not “frozen” with fear or paralyzed when you need to act. Correct training and education will help you bridge the gap between freezing and taking action. Without training there is no orienting response when danger strikes. It is training that is the key component that helps you override that fear circuitry in your brain so you can fight back and survive the attack.

Defense Coach University offers many key programs to assist you in developing or enhancing your personal security goals.

9 CRITICAL TIPS TO HELP PREVENT A POTENTIAL HOME INVASION

INTRODUCTION

For many Americans, home invasions are what happen to “other” people. Most people do not plan for this, as they do not believe they will ever be the victim of this type of crime, or any type of crime for that matter. Initially the best defense is awareness. Being alert can save your life and that of your family. As in any emergency situation, Do Not rely on the police or other people to come to your rescue in your time of need.

You will need to rely upon yourself and/ or your family members as law enforcement can only respond to what crimes they are aware of. If by chance they are made aware of a crime in progress, there is still the issue of how much time will pass before they actually arrive on scene. At that point we must also consider this home invasion could turn into a hostage situation. If that happens then your chances of escape as well as your choices shrink considerably.

9 CRITICAL TIPS THAT MAY HELP YOU PREVENT A POTENTIAL HOME INVASION

  1. NEVER open the door for a simple knock or for anyone selling or asking questions unless you know them. If you open it, you have just allowed the criminals entry to your home and have jeopardized the safety of your entire family.  
  1. Develop a crisis or emergency plan with your family. Rehearse it so that everyone is sure of his or her roles. Try to work in as many variables as you can think of. If you do not know how to develop this type of crisis plan, please call defense coach university at: 1-800-820-0882 for further assistance.
  1. Keep a cellular phone accessible inside your home and close to you at all times. Make sure it is always charged and in good working order. Your cell phone is no good if it is off; leave it on through the night.
  1. While in your home, keep all the doors locked. Do not leave your garage door open at any time, unless you are doing something directly in front of it. If you are outside mowing the lawn, keep the garage door closed and locked. If you take the bikes out for a quick ride around the block or neighborhood, lock all doors and windows before leaving that space.
  1. Vary the routes you travel daily to work and or recreational activities.  Criminals watch for patterns and can monitor people’s habits as they observe you. This makes you both vulnerable and accessible, which is very dangerous. Don’t be predictable! Vary the routes you take and the times with which you do things in your daily life. Make it difficult for any criminal or opportunist to pin point where or when you will be somewhere.  
  1. When approaching your home after being out, scan the area for anything out of place or unusual prior to entering your property especially before opening any door. If you have a “feeling” someone is watching or following you, do not go home. Instead call the police immediately and give them your description and tell them where you are. If you know where the police station is or even a fire station, drive there without hesitation. If that is not possible, drive to the most public place you know of, where there are lots of people. In this case, you may want to attract attention to yourself, as a protective measure so honking the horn is not only acceptable but also advisable.
  1. Set up key words or phrases with your family members so that you can all communicate an emergency covertly, in the event you or a family member is in trouble. An example of this is as follows; you are out shopping, your youngest daughter who is 16 years old is home, but a hostile intruder is with her. You call her from your cellular phone on the way back from your work or shopping and she answers with a “hello”. As a concerned but unaware parent at that moment, you will likely respond with, “hi, what are you up to?” or something like this.

In order to signal you that she is in immediate danger, she replies as follows, “I’m feeling kind of “blue” so I’m just taking it easy. The key word is “blue”, in this case, which alerts the family member that person is in immediate danger, and they can then respond by calling the police. Some people also add a second security measure by telling the family member or friend to push any key on the key pad a couple of times before speaking or before hanging up. If you are the person in trouble and do this, you may need to explain this off as being “nervous” so the intruder does not get suspicious.

 

  1. When possible, designate or construct one room or place in your home to be the “safe room”. This room must maintain a very solid door (fire proof when possible), heavily constructed walls and ceiling and you will need to fortify the door hinges as well. Always keep a form of communication, preferably a cellular phone in that space that is active and fully charged and test the reception to make sure you will actually be able to use the phone in case of emergency. You may also want to consider potable water, non-perishable food items, weapons, separate ventilation system and electrical supply when feasible.
  1. Setup your entire living space as a “defense zone” and divide it as such into individual defense zones so that if a home invader breaches your home, you can then use whatever is available within each defense zone to assist you in fending off any intruder. An example of a defense zone is your kitchen. What is in your kitchen that could help you fight off an intruder if that became a reality? You likely have knives, forks, spoons (yes, I said spoons. With some training, anything can become a weapon or used to disrupt an attacker), and pots and pans, which can be employed as a physical barrier to someone trying to attack you with say a knife, or as an impact weapon with which to strike. In the bathroom, you may have hair spray. That and a lighter could help you potentially change the level of commitment of an attacker. There are also combs and other household products that may be employed to deter an attacker enough so that you can escape.

In the end it will boil down to your own awareness, training and quick wit which will help you thwart this potentially deadly crime. For more information on how Defense Coach University’s training, education and services can help with your security and safety goals visit us online at: www.defensecoachu.com or call us at: 1-800-820-0882.

What is a Tactical Pen and What Are Its Advantages?

As a minimal force everyday carry (EDC) option for everyone that you can take anywhere, the tactical pen is a fantastic force multiplier. Whether you are old, young, tall, short, male or female, the tactical pen is a great tool to help you level the playing field when the odds are stacked against you in a threatening situation.

Though fairly new as a defensive tool, the tactical pen does not require any license to carry, it is compact and easily concealable, but is best hiding in plain sight.

Many are made from aircraft grade aluminum and thus are quite strong. On the one side is an actual pen which can be used to sign documents or take notes, and the other an impact point, which can be employed against a threat should you be forced to respond.

Simple, but powerful, unassuming yet perfectly legal, the tactical pen presents you with practical options for personal safety and security that are progressive when they need to be, realistic and truly accessible.

As a less than lethal personal defense tool, the tactical pen gives you choices that are scalable in the event you are confronted with a potentially threatening or dangerous situation. The tactical pen also allows you to “brandish” it without having to worry about legal recourse.

If you were to pull out a gun or a knife and brandish it, you would likely need to explain your actions to the police and why you thought it was absolutely necessary to employ a “show of force” with a deadly weapon. And your actions had better be in alignment with what any other person would do in that same situation or you could face possible arrest.

Let’s face it not everyone is cut out to carry a gun or a knife, but most people do carry a pen so why not a tactical pen with which you can be prepared in a pre-emptive manner once you have identified a potential threat so that you present yourself as a “hard target.” One that the attacker can see is visibly committed, as opposed to someone that is an easy target.

And when the going gets tougher and you are challenged with an increasingly dangerous situation that is moving in the direction of a physical confrontation, the tactical pen though small and seemingly innocuous can inflict serious damage to an attacker, even lethal force in trained hands, if there was no other option.

Perhaps the tactical pen challenges your traditional thinking because it is not what you are accustomed to in the form of a weapon?

Yes, having a firearm is truly a great equalizer under the right circumstances, but guns require a good deal of training, and then there are the moral issues that accompany carrying a gun.

And what about the fact that you must be willing to shoot and kill someone? That’s a pretty heavy thought morally, legally and assessment wise. It is quite realistic though. If you pull out a gun you had better be able to make the conscious decision to use it, after all you are not carrying it to impart psychological prowess or because you “hope” to threaten an attacker.

Then there is the challenge of weapon retention, which is, in my experience, a real issue for most people. If you pull out your gun and the criminal takes it away from you, it could just as easily be used against you. That will likely escalate an already heated situation that could cause you great harm or worse.

All of which brings me back to why I like the tactical pen so much, and very much recommend you get one. It is a fantastic everyday carry personal defense tool that can go anywhere with you. I have even taken tactical pens countless times through airports and aboard commercial planes without the slightest hiccup, and so can you!


Here is a short review of why you should consider the tactical pen an advantage:

  • You can take it anywhere
  • Easy to use
  • Great personal defense tool
  • It’s rapidly accessible
  • Easily concealable
  • Hides well in plain sight
  • Excellent tool in an emergency where you have to break a car window to escape
  • You can walk around with it in your hand without drawing attention to yourself
  • It can be clipped to shirts, blouse, suit, pocketbook strap, pockets
  • You can sign a check or write a note with it
  • Works well to inflict pain upon someone who would try to do you harm
  • You can “brandish” it without recourse in an effort to deter a potential threat or change their level of commitment

Defense Coach University offers a very comprehensive Tactical Pen Defense Program to prepare you with the mindset and tools you need to successfully mitigate threats, dangerous people, situations and conflict.

It is a simple, but powerful mobile first program designed for personal protection that gives you practical options for personal security, safety and defense empowering you with an edge over would be opportunists and criminals when it comes to personal safety. Click here to watch the tactical pen defense trailer.

Visit us online at www.defensecoachu.com or call us at: 1-800-820-0882 to learn more about this exciting, fun and safety-centric educational program that can be taken anywhere anytime.

About the Author

Dr. Jeff Cantor is a Kidnap & Ransom Response consultant, Active Shooter Preparedness expert, Terrorism Prevention Expert, International and personal security expert, high-risk environment tactical instructor, professional educator, author, leadership coach and speaker. He has spent his life in the service of protecting people from dangerous situations and high-risk threats.

 

He is a subject matter expert (SME) advisor to governments, military, law enforcement, corporations, organizations, security professionals and people in matters of active shooter preparedness, kidnap & ransom and kidnap 2 kill, security, threat assessment, risk and crisis management, counter terrorism and warfare.

He is founder / CEO of the TRS International Group, a highly successful private security, defense intelligence, risk management and training firm. Through TRSIG, he has worked for governments, corporations, organizations and private parties around the world supporting a myriad of security objectives and low signature operations including hostage rescue, counter terrorism, personal security detail operations and maritime anti-piracy.

Dr. Cantor has gained his knowledge through the school of hard knocks and more than an occasional bullet, executed with decisive actionable leadership and a focused capacity for specifics. Cantor is also the founder and CEO of Defense Coach University, an organization that is dedicated to empowering defense through education, technology, science and intelligence.

San Bernardino: An Act of Terrorism or Calculated Violence?

On December 2nd, 2015, at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino California, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik had attended a holiday party in which according to witnesses, Farook had an argument with another employee. Many details of the attack will surface in the coming days, however the incident clearly identifies the need to distinguish between ideological terrorism and acts of calculated violence perpetrated by a lone wolf.

Farook, a 28 year old who had been employed there for 5 years then left the party with his wife only to return at around 11a.m. The couple came back to the party prepared for war. They had assault rifles, handguns and a full complement of tactical gear. They then proceeded to open fire indiscriminately on the people attending the holiday party.

In the end, 14 people were killed and 17 wounded. The obvious coordinated attack was no suicide mission as we have witnessed many times in these active shooter incidents. No, the couple made their getaway in a black SUV. The police chased the SUV that wound up in a shoot out that left Farook and Malik dead while wounding two police officers.

The couple was not on any FBI watch list, but as the investigation continues, the search for links to terrorist groups will become clearer.As it stands, the couple also pre-positioned explosive devices at the scene that was likely to be remotely detonated upon their safe escape. This may have been pre-planned for a secondary attack on first responders or as a secondary attack on the holiday party.

And as if that were not enough, a search of the couple’s home revealed another dozen pipe bombs, bomb making materials and enough ammunition for a small war.

One major factor in the emerging investigation for authorities will be to construct a time line and a deeper understanding of the couple’s motives and if they were operating alone or if they had any support from a larger terrorist network. If ties to any organization materialize, this would be cause for authorities to consider other potential soft targets that could be next.

The continued onslaught of these violent attacks underscores the need for education and training to prepare, as these incidents become part of our lives. Safety as you go about your daily life should be at the forefront of your thinking.

Your brain is your most important weapon and it is with you all the time. Does it not behoove you then to arm yourself with the knowledge and tools to prepare for an active shooter threat? Developing the right mindset, one of both security and survival is quintessential and places you in a superior tactical position to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations. And when avoidance is not possible, to evade or even counter to increase your chances of survival should you be faced with this type of threat.

ACTIVE SHOOTER EDUCATION NEEDED NOW!

In regards to active shooter incidents, Defense Coach University’s philosophy is to inculcate a fresh perspective that includes changing people’s mindset and behaviors on 2 levels; first the security mindset. The security mindset facilitates recognition and avoidance behavioral lessons so that the participant learns that their first line of defense is pre-planning and pre-positioning in advance of this conventional and highly dangerous situation.

The second level is the survival mindset. Here, through education and a comprehensive interactive learning experience, we clearly explain the development of an active shooter event and how to respond to an active shooter situation.

For the student, teacher, average citizen, doctor, nurse, medical professional, office worker or corporate leader, we stress the need for education and cognitive learning to train the participant for practical application of skills without the stressors and risks associated with the usual reality based training model.

Our team has vast experience in force protection training and professional education. We have found after training thousands in reality based programs, that when an individual is introduced to the very real stress of an active shooter or force protection scenario without prior and proper training and or conditioning for dealing with this type of critical incident; we end up with individuals that fail to learn and respond, and thus falter, leaving the training in a state of trepidation and perhaps worse, a lack of confidence.

It is for this very reason that Defense Coach University’s active shooter threat model is designed from the start to facilitate neuro-muscular cognitive learning (NMCL). NMCL is the bridge between an individual’s state of mind and their ability to respond.

The education and training is impactful then reflecting proactive and reactive abilities, and portrays a situation that may arise as a direct or indirect consequence of a mass shooting incident whether from an act of terrorism, active shooter on campus or workplace violence.

The DCU Active Shooter Threat program is therefore a force multiplier that bridges the gap between the absolute need to educate people in active shooter incidents and their ability to properly respond to it.

For more information on Defense Coach University’s comprehensive active shooter threat program or other programs, call us at: 1-800-820-0882 or visit us on the web at: www.defensecoachu.com

“SOFT” IS THE NEW HARD WHEN IT COMES TO TARGETS

As Parisians and visitors alike were out to enjoy the evening on Friday November 13th, the mood was obliterated by mass shootings and four suicide bombings in multiple locations. These coordinated attacks left 130 people dead and hundreds injured across Paris, another proclaimed “victory” for ISIS.

Though this time, Paris, France was targeted; it again revealed to the world just how vulnerable we all are. This was yet another tragic wake up call that could be heard around the earth. Even with the intelligence agencies working around the clock, a no-fly list that keeps get longer, a massive terror watch database and ears to the ground across the globe, it only takes a “lone wolf” to wreak havoc in any city in any country at any time.

The perpetrators planned and plotted to attack what are known as “soft targets”. Places that we all go to work or to be “social” with one another such as malls, concert halls, restaurants, bars, schools, sporting events and office buildings. These are soft targets, for the most part, unprotected and vulnerable to attack.

People often ask me if there is reason for concern in regards to future terrorist attacks as we traverse through our daily lives here in this land we call America. The reality is that while we have implemented many security practices, which help us mitigate large scale collective attacks by tightened and heightened security measures to make it more difficult for these people to enter the country. It is not the foreign radicalized terrorist or terror cell that concerns me. It is the lone wolf.

Because of heightened security here in the United States, (and not that a large scale attack could not happen, we just allocate huge resources to reduce the possibilities of coordinated attacks) terrorist organizations are utilizing technology such as social media to aid in recruiting people here.

In this manner, they do not have to move people across borders to carry out acts of terror, because they are already here in your backyard. And as America is a “cultural melting pot” with a thirst and laws to allow everyone their civil liberties to live their beliefs and lifestyles, it is not a far stretch for people to self-radicalize with extremist Islamist beliefs.

And so it is this lone wolf, this individual or small group of individuals that is already here, and that has been radicalized either by their own self-fulfillment or by the rhetoric of ISIS that poses a threat to our way of life currently.

You will recall the Tsarnaev brothers, who used pressure cookers to bomb the Boston Marathon in 2013? These brothers were not recruited by ISIS to carry out this horrendous act of terrorism; they simply learned their “trade” online.

In October of this year at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Chris Mercer carried out a mass shooting on campus that killed nine people.

These are but two examples of “soft targets” and the “lone wolf” perpetrators. There are many more and sadly, more yet to come. These soft targets lack the physical security measures that would make it more difficult for these horrific acts to be carried out.

The lone wolf does not have the support of these large terror organizations, even if recruited they are expected to develop their own plans, use whatever resources are available to them to gather supplies and intelligence and to execute.

They succeed despite the fact that they do not have much or any training or funding. They go virtually unnoticed, and thus ISIS has carefully shifted their tactics to gain this “share” of the market in America. Get these lone wolves to “buy into” the Islamic extremist propaganda. And as these supporters grow in numbers, they are encouraged to attack targets within the United States.

So Why Don’t Americans Change Their Mindset and Thinking to Alter Outcomes?

 The simple answer is that Americans for the most part do not want to be bothered or inconvenienced. They do not want to walk around in fear or with constant concern that something bad will happen and so they choose to ignore it and hope that it will just go away on its own.

Unfortunately, it’s not going away anytime soon. Until we acknowledge that we have a very serious problem here in the United States and around the world, nothing will change.

We need to instill a security mindset into people everywhere. We need people to understand that the barn door is already open and the “animals” are out. We need to find a way to balance daily life with security. Security is and should be the “word” of the day. It needs to be a daily part of everyone’s life.

When it comes to soft targets, the first line of defense is going to be a combination of everyday people watching out for one another and private security firms working in coordination with law enforcement and intelligence agencies. If we are going to win this war, it will be done collectively, and the collective starts with each and every person taking an active interest in their personal security as well as the security of our nation.

 

THE CHALLENGE OF PREPARING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

Knowing what to do and how to do it in a sexual assault does not necessarily mean that you will be able to execute at the moment. We live in a developed world that we would like to believe is peaceful and where no harm will befall us.

The college campus environment supposes to represent a “safe haven”, a place of higher learning for the student and the parents. This could not be further from the truth.

Our ancestors, primal man lived in constant fear of danger from wild animals, disease and rival clans that wanted to eat them or kill them. They were exposed and largely defenseless against saber tooth tigers, snakes, lions, crocodiles and other man-eating creatures.

Our ancestors through evolutionary biology had to develop certain traits that helped them survive. Instincts that transformed them from prey to predator. Today, these same instincts are ingrained in our DNA and have been honed over millions of years as an early warning system of survival.

The Flight or Fight Response is your body’s way of warning you of danger. It is a description of the natural unstoppable psychological and physiological changes that take place in every human being when they have been startled or thrust into a crisis, a lethal force threat or when they are afraid.

So let’s talk about what parts of the brain are responsible for fear and recognizing danger. Your brain and body are hard-wired for fear and survival.

The emotion of fear is first generated by some stimulus, say a guy with a black hood over his face confronts you with a gun and throws you on the floor. In your head, you know that he is planning to rape you.

The “fear” alarm has been triggered and the part of the brain known as the Amygdala picks up this stimuli and processes these signals by stimulating autonomic responses such as increased heart rate, increased breathing, pupil dilation, auditory exclusion, tunnel vision and shutting off non-essential body functions.

In response to this involuntary reaction, you freeze, unable to move. You are paralyzed by fear and cannot take action to thwart the sexual assault. The part of the brain known as the pre-frontal cortex is responsible for our rational thought, but with all the hormones such as adrenaline, epinephrine and cortisol surging through our blood stream, we have lost our ability to think rationally. We have in affect; shut down like turning the light switch to the off position, and it was not voluntarily.

So you are overwhelmed by fear, and panic starts to set in making things worse. In my experience as a mercenary operator and kidnap & ransom response consultant, I have seen first hand how extreme fear of death can paralyze a man rendering him or her inert and unable to respond. And when we are in the middle of a situation where people are shooting at us with extreme prejudice and where our lives are literally on the line everyday, the only thing that bridges the gap between freezing and taking action is training.

And so we make it our business to train under extreme pressure to prepare for combat so we have an orienting response when danger strikes, but what about the ordinary person, say a college student or someone that is walking from work to their car parked in a garage, what if they are being sexually assaulted or raped?

They don’t have any training or orienting response, so how do they train and prepare for this? How do they over ride that fear circuitry response so they can fight back and survive the attack?

Most of us are not mercenaries and do not have combat training or experience, but there is a way you can learn and train to extinguish fear and replace it with an ability to respond faster and more appropriately to the situation. It is called “Visualization”.

Visualization is when you use mental imagery to picture yourself or events in your mind with a stated purpose; almost like daydreaming, but much more intense. In order to train with visualization, you must first state the purpose of your visualization, in our case, sexual assault.

A determination of what “picture” or “movie” you will be visualizing is the first decision you will make. The decision of what imagery to use is totally dependent on you, and states the purpose of your focus.

You will want to take note whether your visualization is in color or black and white, is it like a picture or a movie where everything is in constant motion, is it in slow motion or are things moving very fast? And most importantly, are you in the picture performing and doing, or is it like a movie where you are sitting back watching yourself perform and do from a distance? I suggest that you place yourself in the action itself so that you are the one executing the action and responding to the sexual assault.

Next, proceed by running a picture of yourself over and over again. Visualize everything, the sights, feelings, emotions, and your actions that you would take.

It might be your actions are to run away by employing a push and go technique or it may be deploying your tactical pen and using it as a defense tool to counter the attacker. Whatever your actions are, run that picture over and over again in your mind. Always making sure you picture yourself in the superior position to the attacker. Always so that you are the victor in the conflict.

Over time, repetition of this sexual assault scenario with absolute victory should bring you to a point where it feels so real, that your physiology such as your breathing, heart rate and movement will coordinate and function as if you really fought off the attacker.

By this point, you will also have undoubtedly created new strategies and tactics in addition to increased skills for combating and surviving sexual assault.

What is interesting to note is that professional athletes, elite military units and law enforcement agencies have been using visualization techniques for years with hugely successful results, which is why Defense Coach University employs and teaches visualization in all our programs as a powerful training technique.

We would like the student that is new to this highly specialized form of training to know that this newfound knowledge gained from employing visualization can and does cross over to enhance and augment your actual survival skills.

The incidence of sexual assault goes unchecked on college campuses around the nation. The idea that you can train and prepare for this horrendous crime should you ever be confronted with it, is very potent and represents an effective tool that you can add to your toolbox in sexual assault prevention.

For more information on sexual assault prevention or on our other college, corporate, organizational or individual programs, please contact defense coach university at www.defensecoachu.com or call us at: 1-800-820-0882.

SURVIVING A KIDNAPPING

Kidnapping is a booming business of global proportions. Despite what most think, kidnapping does not just happen in areas of conflict or in places that are socioeconomically depressed. Kidnapping can happen anywhere in any town, city or country.

You could be taken off the street, from your college campus, hotel, at an airport or your home or from your vehicle. It will happen rapidly and when it does you likely will be wrestling a number of emotions including terror and fear

Fear can be a paralyzing emotion, preventing you from acting to the situation. Having the right mindset is central to your abilities during and after the attack. As difficult as it seems, you must adopt the “kill or be killed” mindset to survive and escape that first sixty seconds of the attack.

Let’s face it; the majority of people are of good moral character. They are law-abiding citizens and would like to believe that if they are faced with a decision that involves defending their life in a kidnap or criminal situation, they will defend themselves.

The problem with this is that most people associate their survival in these circumstances with “self-defense”. Self- defense is a commercially marketable terminology. It is a term used by the majority of people to accept what is morally right and not what is actually needed to survive the unthinkable.Homepage Slider_4

Sadly what is needed to survive kidnapping is to take on the survival mindset. Remember it is fear that paralyzes you and prevents you from acting. The fear that you will suffer pain, the fear that you will not see your family again, and the fear that, if you even try to do something to prevent this attack you will be hurt or killed. The reality is you must use all of your fears and turn them into your greatest strengths when confronted with a kidnapping.

Exercising a survival mentality does require some specific training, and execution of such tactics and techniques must fit the circumstances. You must consider your options as it happens and hopefully you will have planned and prepared in advance for the same. If you cannot think and act along these lines, then it would be best to comply with the kidnappers and hope for a negotiation or possible rescue.

OF COURSE LOGICALLY YOU WANT TO DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO PREVENT THE KIDNAPPING BEFORE IT HAPPENS…

  • Become a hard target
  • Identify potential threats
  • Understand travel vulnerabilities
  • Avoid choke points
  • Analyze routes
  • Learn the principles of surveillance detection
  • Maintain situational awareness at all times
  • Train and rehearse offensive and defensive tactics

I will tell you that compliance and cooperation is the best chance you have for survival and release in a great number of the cases. I will also tell you that once held in internment, you should be patient as hostage negotiations are difficult and many times lengthy.

I will also tell you that your survival, and in cases where execution is imminent, and your escape crucial, training is the key. The fact is, if you don’t have any, you greatly reduce your chances of survivability.

THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND KIDNAPPING

Let’s talk about how technology and social media have contributed to the proliferation of kidnapping globally.

Let’s face it there are more college kids these days on social media then in the classroom. It has become a modern convention for the college student as well as other younger students and even adults.Hands of a missing kidnapped

Because of the sheer number of users on social media sites like facebook and others that foster a “freedom of information act” type attitude”, kidnap gangs and transnational criminal organizations have literally assigned their own “tech” and social media people to scan and investigate profiles for target selection.

Since the vast majority of people want to disclose personal information including there whereabouts at any given time, and their residential or even office addresses or companies they work for or own, it has made it infinitely easier now with technology to gather intelligence on the best targets for kidnapping.

The other aspect of technology for the kidnappers is that the majority of the crime can be executed online. Of course they cannot actually abduct someone physically, though there are various types of kidnappings that can occur wholly online and via communication devices, but technology has paved the way for these criminals and transnational criminal organizations to accomplish their objectives efficiently and quite effectively.

There have been numerous cases where the kidnappers have arranged for rental cars to abduct and transport the victims to secondary crime scenes, buy plane tickets online with fake identification and purchase equipment and gear needed for the abduction.

We all appreciate the freedoms we have and the wonderful and exciting things that we can do and become with the advent of the Internet, but in the booming business of kidnapping it only serves to deepen the riff in preventing these crimes.

It would be prudent behavior to seriously consider what information one displays online including photos and personal information and think about limiting exposure to whatever you do decide to post to friends and family whenever possible. And know that there are people watching and they are not the government, they are not friendly and warm, they are the enemy and they don’t sleep, so it would behoove you now to be very proactive from this moment on.

THE INVISIBLE HOSTILE EMPLOYEE

The invisible hostile employee is the one we do not see. He or she is the one that is easily overlooked. They go through their daily job un-noticed and “invisible” to fellow employees and security, but do take notice as they may be the one that is stealing corporate proprietary information and selling it to the competition or the one who walks into work or school with an AK-47 assault rifle on a suicide mission.

They are unassuming upon first glance and most of the times because of their characteristic personality remain undetected to the rest of the world around them.

As a business owner, corporate decision maker or defense coach, it would behoove you to recognize that these “invisible workers” do exist and they pose a huge vulnerability for your business welfare as well as employee safety.

To effectively “see” these individuals, you will need to look at all aspects of your business to identify weak links in the personnel as well as your security and countermeasures for the same.

If you do not already require it, you may want to institute more comprehensive employee screenings to include unconventional background checks that go beyond credit history and previous employment. Perhaps personality and behavioral testing executed both on paper and via a professional experienced in profiling and matters of this type.

It is common practice for even the most seasoned employers to direct their focus on augmenting things such as their sales volume or gross revenues while overlooking the potential profile of a would-be opportunist or worst.

A profiler would approach the identification of this invisible worker as someone on the extreme end of the personality characteristic spectrum. The personality spectrum will span from the introvert loner (male or female) to the extrovert celebrity. This will single out the obvious employee while the person that poses the highest potential threat will go undetected.

The invisible employee will be the one with previous training who has imbedded himself/herself in a group by balancing the personality characteristic. They will be an occasional contributor, attentive listener, interactive to the point of not being too memorable.

They will be gathering information on the corporate structure, customers, proprietary formulas, security measures, database, marketing direction, future product development, acquisitions, employee background for threat definition or raiding (head hunting), building engineering/layout/construction and sabotage areas of advantage.

The invisible employee will use his/her access to become familiar and confident with your surroundings. These are the same areas, which you, your employees and the security should be using to gain an advantage.

Prepare yourself and the people around you to screen for aberrant behavior and query out of the ordinary. As past cases have shown many times over, the individual was an “inside man” or there was a relationship that extended to the interior of the work arena.

History has shown us; Virginia Tech, Fort Dix Six, Columbine, etc. all had reconnaissance performed by people who had been inside the facilities and felt confident with their surroundings to be able to perform their nefarious activities with relative impunity.

An evaluation should be performed to test the objectivity of your security and the awareness of the employees that surround you; a red vs. blue team test scenario can accomplish this. Test Scenarios and vulnerability studies should be performed regularly to eliminate as many weaknesses or flaws with human beings and those that may exist technologically so that you are better able to thwart an attack—if and when one should come.

Now for completeness, let us not forget our “invisible employee” which can be anyone who enters our arena. This can be the simple intrusion to the advanced.

The simple intrusion can be the delivery services guy; pizza man, coffee service, pest control, sanitary services, window washers, interior gardening services, pool maintenance, sub shop delivery, temp workers (day/ scheduled inventories), carpet cleaning, etc.

The advanced intrusion would require the intruder to monitor the communications (verbal and electronic) and wait for the opportunity for a need to be requested. This situation could have been created in the facility to force the interior persons to request the services of the nefarious group who had presented their services prior to creating need.

Our objective is not simply to specifically identify weakness, but to spur thinking outside of the box. This thinking will assist identifying objectives for planning and actionable purpose. The objectives need to be periodically revisited, as a boilerplate template to create updates.

One other aspect to pause upon is to consider an outside source for a vulnerability study. You might not like the findings, but this will serve as a template for your internal investigational studies. Lastly, consider making this personal or someday it may affect you or the ones close to you personally.

Getting the correct defensive training includes observation and awareness skills as well as threat assessment. It is always a good idea to have your management team and support staff trained in potential hostile surveillance and/or situations. Defense Coach University provides up-to-date comprehensive defensive and protective training for identifying these type threats on businesses and corporations and how to effectively curtail, control and mitigate potential risk. DCU in association with the TRS International Group also offers red cell type security penetration testing to assist in vulnerability assessment and effective security planning and implementation.

CONTACT DCU

Whether you are an individual, corporation or learning institution we have a solution to fit your needs. Contact us by phone or email to set up a free consultation to find the right DCU program for you, your employees, faculty and student body.