Yacht Security Blog

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New from CSSN

Posted by Don Weiss on November 28, 2017 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Two new features from CSSN - https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/cssn-news-item-november-27-2017-announcing-new-regional-piracy-interactive-infographics-updated-precautions/

The Regional Zoom-Tap maps (one for Central America and one for the Trinidad region) look to be a great tool for keeping yourself aware of current security incidents and for trip planning - check them out here - https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/regional-piracy-infographics/.

The General Security Precautions page - https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/security-precautions-for-cruisers/ - contains hints and tips drawn from the experiences of cruisers in the region. There are links to two other precautions pages, for more specific information.

There is also a 'translation' button at the bottom of the page - very handy item if English is not your primary language (or you want to practice reading in another language :) ).

If you would like a .pdf of the page, send me a note on Twitter - @yachtsecurity.

Awareness Training and Note on Ego

Posted by Don Weiss on November 27, 2017 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

From Mr Hatmaker - http://indigenousability.blogspot.com/2017/11/warrior-awareness-drills-by-mark.html.

He provides some excellent, common sense advice on how to build awareness. We are always told - be more aware - Mr. Hatmaker gives us a couple of examples of how to do so. Avoiding the confrontation or ensuring you set the environment if something bad is to happen - these are the main concepts I would like to ensure people understand.

An excellent quote from the article -

Warriors must be aware. Aware of what? Everything. A Warrior must be Awake. All detail is interesting, all detail may be important. We do not know what detail will change our lives. We do not know what detail will save our lives.

In this short article/video - http://gunfreezone.net/index.php/2017/11/27/ego-is-a-bad-counselor/ - the main takeaway I have is how fast it goes from simple ego driven crap to dead serious confrontation. No posturing on one parties part - just action.

Comments? Gripes? Compliments? Contact me on twitter at @yachtsecurity.

Letting Air In & Keeping Thieves Out

Posted by Don Weiss on November 21, 2017 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

From Matt and Jessica's Sailing Page - http://www.mjsailing.com/letting-air-in-keeping-thieves-out-hopefully/

A novel solution to an age old problem - how to get air flowing through the vessel (without A/C and a generator running) and still stay secure from thieves and trespassers.

Some have opted for stainless steel bars instead of a solid hatch/door.

All have some sort of drawback to them - from ease of egress to aesthetic value. Research and develop your own solutions, based on your own particular needs/desires/wants.

Have a great Holiday Season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and all the others I have missed).

As always, comments/discussion is encouraged.

And my ability to post images is again inoperable.


10 Boat Burglaries in Marathon

Posted by Don Weiss on November 7, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Depite the Hurricane hitting the area, this happens.

Detectives investigate ten boat burglaries in Marathon

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating burglaries to ten boats kept at Marina Mike’s South on Avenue I in Marathon.

The burglaries were reported Friday from the manager of the business who said he had noticed a number of vessels were missing electronics and he believed they had been burglarized. Eight of the vessels were rental boats belonging to Tropical Boat Rentals; they were all Carolina Skiffs of various sizes. Two others were private vessels, a 32’ Parker and a 23’ Cobia.

The manager said he thought the burglaries had taken place since Wednesday. Detectives responded and processed the location for evidence. They are still working to compile a list of specific items taken. The investigation into the case is continuing.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office substation in Marathon at 305-289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.P3tips.com/139.


St Lucia Assault

Posted by Don Weiss on November 5, 2017 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

From https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/date-2017-10-25-0130-country-name-st-lucia-location-detail-soufriere-event-assault/" target="_blank">Caribbean Safety and Security Net - an armed (knives and guns) vessel invasion.

Please read the article. Sounds like a 'if we don't report this (the media) it didn't happen' kind of story.

As the recovery from the two hurricanes continues (in the region), there may be more incidents like this occuring. Not that there is any linkage yet, but just some advice to be more aware than you may have been before.

Having issues with the site - linking urls, images. Might be time to move on. Any suggestions?


Words of Advice

Posted by Don Weiss on November 3, 2017 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Lifted from http://defense-training.com/holsters/march-2003-quips/ -

"19 Mar 03

Layers of response:

Years ago, Jeff Cooper delineated the “Color Code” and the “Principles of Personal Defense” in an effort to provide us with a logical model for one’s thinking on the subject of mental preparedness. I’d like now to go to the next step and apply the same logic to the issue of personal appearance and demeanor, as we all agree that, in the domestic defensive environment, avoiding a fight is preferable to winning one.

Layer One: Nonattendance. The best way to handle any potentially injurious encounter is: Don’t be there. Arrange to be somewhere else. Don’t go to stupid places. Don’t associate with stupid people. Don’t do stupid things. This is the advice I give to all students of defensive firearms. Winning a gunfight, or any other potentially injurious encounter, is financially and emotionally burdensome. The aftermath will become your full-time job for weeks or months afterward, and you will quickly grow weary of writing checks to lawyer(s). It is, of course, better than being dead or suffering a permanently disfiguring or disabling injury, but the “penalty” for successfully fighting for your life is still formidable.

Crowds of any kind, particularly those with an agenda, such as political rallies, demonstrations, picket lines, etc are good examples of “stupid places.” Any crowd with a high collective energy level harbors potential catastrophe. To a lesser degree, bank buildings, hospital emergency rooms, airports, government buildings, and bars (particularly crowded ones) fall into the same category. All should be avoided. When they can’t be avoided, we should make it a practice to spend only the minimum time necessary there and then quickly get out.

“A superior gunman is best defined as one who uses his superior judgment in order to keep himself out of situations that would require the use of his superior skills.”

Layer Two: Functional invisibility. We all need to practice to art of “being invisible.” It is in our best interest to go our way unnoticed, both by potential predators and by the criminal justice system alike.

Whenever I travel, particularly to foreign countries, I endeavor to be the one that no one notices; no one recalls; no one remembers. I silently slip through the radar, leaving no trace, a nameless, faceless tourist. When in any public place, I try to be clean and well groomed, but I never wear bright colors, any kind of jewelry, or anything shiny. I smile a lot, but talk softly and as little as possible. As we say in the law enforcement business, “Courteous to everyone. Friendly to no one.”

Loud talking, bright colors, Rolex watches, etc will consistently accumulate unwanted attention. On the other end of the spectrum, tattoos, poor grooming, loud and offensive language, a slovenly appearance, etc will also garner unwelcome notice.

Layer Three: Deselection. Any successful predator has the ability to quickly screen potential victims, focusing in on the ones who look as if they will make good victims and rejecting those who either (1) look too strong for expedient victimization or (2) don’t conveniently fall into any particular category.

When invisibility fails, we need endeavor to be consistently deselected for victimization. We do this by making it a habit to appear alert, uninviting, self-confident, and strong. At the same time, we never loiter or appear indecisive. We are always in motion.

“Weakness perceived is weakness exploited!”

Layer Four: Disengagement: Our best interests are not served by any kind of engagement with potential predators. Successful disengagement involves posturing, bearing, verbalizations, and movement. It is in our best interest to disengage at the lowest reasonable force level, but we must simultaneously be prepared to instantly respond to unlawful force with superior force.

Potential predators, as they attempt verbal engagement, should be politely dismissed. Bearing and eye contact should always project strength and confidence. We should continuously be moving off the “line of force.” We should be observant in every direction, giving potential predator duos and trios the distinct impression that they will not be able to sneak up on us.

When predators are confused, they are unable to focus sufficiently to carry off their victimization. Therefore, never let a potential predator seize the agenda. Don’t answer his questions, and don’t stay in any one place very long.

Disengagement, separation, and exit are our immediate goals when we have been selected or are being seriously evaluated by predators. However, if there is to be a fight, the best one is a short one. If a predator menaces me with a gun or a knife, I know that, before it is all over, there is a good chance that I will be shot or cut. However, within that prison of circumstance, I also know that the faster I can end the fight, the less hurt I’m going to get! If there must be a fight, I must explode into action, moving smoothly and quickly, in an effort to confuse and overwhelm my opponent before he has a chance to process all the information I’m throwing at him.

Ultimately, we must “have a plan.” Potentially dangerous encounters must be thought about in advance. Decisions must be made. Skills must be practiced. Confusion, hesitation, and vacillation will always attract the attention of predators and simultaneously stimulate predator behavior."

Great ideas for everyday behavior.

Still having issues with graphics insertions, sigh....

Piracy Returning?

Posted by Don Weiss on November 3, 2017 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Just a short observation.

Piracy has never really gone away. Maritime theft has been around as long as there have been boats. There are upsurges in activity, and lulls, as well as media 'over-coverage' of events.

Another aspect is defining piracy - is it theft from a fisherman? from a cruising vessel? Or is it solely a commercial matter? Statistics provided by government agencies primarily concern themselves with commercial shipping and insurance company claims. What of the rest of the people involved with ocean going activities?

I read an account of a family escaping 'pirates' in the Amazon recently, as well as this article - http://www.marsecreview.com/2017/10/pirates-pinch-vessel/.

Any comments/concerns? Comment here or better yet, contact me on twitter - @yachtsecurity.



Pirates and Bilge Pumps

Posted by Don Weiss on October 27, 2017 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

What a combination!

Actually - it is two separate articles I came across today.

1- Piracy - http://www.bwsailing.com/bw/blue-water-sailing/pirate-attack/.  An article about a sailing vessel's encounter with suspected pirates/thieves in SE Asia.

Comments: Arm chair quarterbacking the article, there seems a bit to think about. How far is the sailing vessel willing to go to in defense? Are they worried about escalation of violence? Flares are nice, and effective in some situations, but against multiple armed 'pirates' with a bit of experience in handling violent situations? I am thankful all worked out well for them.

2- Bilge pumps - http://www.boatus.com/magazine/2017/october/how-to-replace-a-bilge-pump.asp. A nice, common sense article on a device too often considered 'out of sight, out of mind', but of vital importance to keeping you and your vessel safe.

Taking care of yourself (fitness, healthy diet, etc.) and your vessel (maintenance) are first steps in the protection of these assets. Security isn't just guns and explosions (although those are cool things 8) :D.

Comments? Feel free to message me on Twitter - @yachtsecurity.

Having image insertion issues again - sigh....


Travel Security, Part Six - Finale

Posted by Don Weiss on October 25, 2017 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Travel Security, Final Part

TERRORIST CONCERNS

The planning and execution of the attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City illustrates this process. Consider how a vigilant person might have recognized indications of a threat.

Phase 1: Broad Target Selection. During broad target selection, terrorists collect information on numerous targets to evaluate their potential in terms of symbolic value, casualties, infrastructure criticality, or public attention.

Timothy McVeigh wanted to attack a symbol of the federal government, preferably the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He identified possible targets such as individual federal employees, their families, and facilities in at least five states.

Phase 2: Intelligence Gathering and Surveillance. Vulnerable targets able to meet attack objectives are selected for additional intelligence gathering and surveillance. This effort may occur quickly or over years depending upon the target and planning information needed. Terrorists seek to gather detailed information on guard forces, physical layout, personnel routines, and standard operating procedures.

McVeigh performed initial surveillance of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, one of his potential targets. He noted the interstate highway allowed easy access and possible escape routes. He also observed indented curbs that permitted vehicles to be parked directly in front of the building.

Phase 3: Specific Target Selection. Specific targets are then identified for attack based on anticipated effects, publicity, consistency with overall objectives, and costs versus benefits of the attack.

Timothy McVeigh chose the Murrah Federal Building because he believed the Federal agencies represented there were responsible for the incident in Waco, TX two years earlier. In addition, he assessed the facility as a "soft target," with a good chance of success at low risk. His intent was to kill Federal employees and thereby gain media attention.

Phase 4: Pre-attack Surveillance and Planning. Terrorists may conduct additional surveillance to confirm previous information and gain additional details. During this stage, terrorists will select the method of attack, obtain weapons and equipment, recruit specialized operatives, and design escape routes.

McVeigh recruited Terry Nichols and prepared for the Oklahoma City attack over a six-month period. He acquired materials for a 5,000-pound truck bomb through theft, use of false documents, and paying cash for items normally bought on credit. He also made several trips to the Murrah Federal Building to identify the exact place to park the truck and to select escape routes.

Phase 5: Rehearsals. Terrorists often rehearse the attack scenario to confirm planning assumptions, enhance tactics, and practice escape routes. They may also trigger an incident at the target site to test the reaction of security personnel and first responders.

McVeigh practiced making and detonating bombs in isolated locations. He memorized details of the Murrah Building layout, finalized the sequence of actions for the attack, and practiced responses to law enforcement officers if they were encountered.

Phase 6: Actions on the Objective. Terrorists choose to execute attacks when conditions favor success with the lowest risk. Factors they consider include surprise, choice of time and place, use of diversionary tactics, and ways to impede response measures.

On 19 April 1995, McVeigh parked a rental truck – a 5,000-pound vehicle bomb – in front of the Murrah Federal Building where it could cause the most damage. The date of the bombing, 19 April, was symbolic – the second anniversary of the fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX.

Phase 7: Escape and Exploitation. Unless an operation is a suicide attack, escape routes are carefully planned and rehearsed. Terrorists may exploit successful attacks by releasing pre-developed statements to the press.

After preparing the bomb for detonation, McVeigh walked away from the scene on a preselected route. To flee Oklahoma City, McVeigh used a get-away car pre-positioned before the attack.

McVeigh wanted the world to know that he attacked the Federal Murrah Building because he believed the Federal Government infringed on individual rights of Americans. McVeigh left a file on his sister's computer titled "ATF Read" echoing these sentiments. His get-away car contained anti-government literature and he subsequently made statements concerning his motivations for the attack.

GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS OF INTEREST

. Association: Terrorists may focus on obvious foreign tourists, personnel associated with foreign firms, foreign military and foreign government organizations, and ESPECIALLY individuals who appear to be high-ranking or important. Try to blend in with the local population. When possible, avoid disclosing your country of origin, religious, business, military or government affiliation.

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SAFE TRAVELING IN THE US OR WESTERN EUROPE? Consider this... within the United States, several organizations and individuals use Terror/criminal tactics to achieve their goals. Other organizations provide direct and indirect assistance through fund-raising, recruiting, and training support.

Terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists against US interests and personnel began in 1978 with the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran. In my personal opinion, the US has been at war since that date. Foreign Terror attacks in the US began in 1968 with the hijacking of Pan Am flight 501 to Cuba, and in 1993 with the first attack against the World Trade Center in New York. More recently, the foiled Terror/criminal plot against Fort Dix, New Jersey demonstrates that al-Qaida cells still exist within the nation's borders. (Note: Perhaps you can add the Ft. Hood shootings to this as well)

Home-grown terrorism is a reality. During the 1960s and 70s, the Weathermen and the Armed Forces for Puerto Rican National Liberation executed several small-scale Terror/criminal attacks. More recently, violent elements include the anti-abortion Army of God, the eco-terrorist Earth Liberation Front, and other domestic anarchist groups and individuals. Homegrown terrorists have employed various tactics such as rudimentary letter bombs, improvised explosive devices, small arms attacks, and truck bombs. Bioterrorism is also a concern in view of the anonymous anthrax attacks in 2001.

For more information on events in North America, see historical examples on the Oklahoma City bombing, United Flight 93, and the plot to attack Fort Dix. There are serious threats now from MS13 and other Latino gangs, who work with Russian/Italian/Asian mobs, and other gangs. Also, note that the Mexican Cartels have turned the US border area into a war zone, per recent news items. It is reported that Phoenix, AZ is now the kidnapping capitol of the world.

Islamic extremists pose the primary Terror/criminal threat to US military and government personnel. Since the mid-1990s, terrorists have enhanced their capabilities around the world... including Indonesia and the Pan-Pacific area, Venezuela, the tri-border area of Paraguay/Brasil/Bolivia and expanded their influence and presence into other parts of the world.

In the areas of current US military operations, roadside IEDs pose one of the greatest threats to US forces. Additionally, local political leaders and civilians, infrastructure, and international aid personnel are terrorized by suicide bombings, kidnappings, and murders. In many other parts of the Western Asian and African regions, suicide bombers and gunmen target hotels and tourist attractions to advance domestic political agendas.

Numerous Terror/criminal organizations operate in almost every region of the world. In addition to al-Qaida, other organizations include Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ansar al-Islam, and Mujahedine-e Khaiq, the Russian Mafia, etc.

For more information on events in this region, check the Internet for historical examples on the USS Cole, the Luxor Massacre at Deir el-Bahri, and Khobar Towers.

. EUROPEAN COMMON MARKET: This region is diverse and contains a wide spectrum of Terror/criminal threats. Threats include traditional nationalist, ethnic, and leftist Terror/criminal groups such as the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), November 17, and the Real Irish Republican Army. The region is also threatened by Islamic extremists such as Al-Qaida and Ansar al-Islam. Chechen rebels, responsible for several Terror/criminal attacks within the former Soviet Union, are both Muslim radicals and separatists. There is a lot of Mafia related activity.

In recent years, US allies in Europe have suffered dramatic Terror attacks. Terrorists have targeted civilians with IEDs and suicide bombers for maximum impact on government policies and elections. US military forces have also come under direct attack by organizations wishing to diminish America's influence in the area.

Additionally, organizations sympathetic to Terrorist/religious radical objectives actively raise funds, recruit, and provide other support to religious extremist groups. As seen in the events of 9/11, western Europe can be a staging area for attacks against the United States.

For more information, see the historical case studies for the London and Madrid subway bombings, the bombing of the La Belle Discotheque, and other attacks.

. AFRICA: Stability in the region is threatened by nationalist, tribal, and ethnic groups that use Terror/criminal and pirate tactics to support their agendas. The region is also threatened by Islamic extremists such as Al-Qaida, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, and Al Shabaab. (Note: The increases of piracy off both coasts are more examples.)

The 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania illustrate the willingness of terrorists to use indiscriminate violence to attack foreign interests in Africa. Additionally, local ethnic and nationalist-based conflicts increasingly threaten foreign corporate infrastructure and personnel.

Terrorist organizations also engage in support activities within the African continent. These include fund raising, training, recruiting, operation of front activities, and involvement in criminal enterprises. Africa has the potential to be a significant transit point and support base for Terror/criminal operations in other parts of the world.

For more information, see Internet sources on the African embassy bombings.

 

. Pacific Rim/SE Asia: Narco/criminal groups in this region present diverse threats to foreign interests. Some specifically target foreigners and others target public sites where foreigners may become victims. Additionally, there is evidence of ties between groups in the Pacific/SE Asia region and al Qaida and other international groups.

Terrorist attacks in this region demonstrate a broad spectrum of tactics. These include kidnappings, suicide bombings, and even chemical attacks. Aleph, formerly known as Aum Shinrikyo, attacked Tokyo subways with sarin nerve gas and cyanide in 1995. Abu Sayyaf, a Philippine group seeking to create a radical Muslim state, targets foreigners for kidnapping.

Terrorists have targeted foreign assets in the region. In 2001, Singaporean officials foiled a plot to attack US military forces and western diplomatic missions. The group, Jamaah Islamiya, seeks to create a radical Muslim state across South East Asia. In 2002 it conducted a suicide bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia to kill western tourists.

For more information on events in this region, seek Internet sources on the Bali Nightclub Bombing and Tokyo Subway Attack.

 

. LATIN AMERICA: The primary/criminal threat in the area is NarcoTerrorism and the continued operation of radical leftist groups. Additionally, the ties between NarcoTerrorists and radical extremists from the Middle East are reportedly increasing. It is possible Latin American countries, notably Venezuela and Argentina may become a transit point for terrorists from other parts of the world to enter the United States via Mexico and Europe via Africa. I have read accounts of Colombian NarcoTerrorists and known radical Islamics being arrested in Mexico and Spain with genuine Venezuelan passports and personal documents when said individuals are known to have never lived in Venezuela. There was one report of a US Border Patrol intercept on the US/Mexican border of some Cubans and a different party of 15+ persons of Arab descent all carrying genuine Venezuelan passports and documents. You should probably take that information as indicating that Venezuela is not friendly to US/ European Common Market interests.

Unlike the 1980s, recent attacks against US interests are focused primarily on businesses and not US military or government assets. In addition to bombings and arson, Terror/criminal tactics include targeted assassinations and kidnapping, especially against foreign-owned commercial assets.

Some of the most prominent Terror/criminal organizations within the Latin American region include the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN), and the Shining Path in Peru. Various Internet sources are available.

. A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE MUMBAI ATTACKS. The FBI reports are trickling back from the agents dispatched there to cooperate with Indian authorities, and the results are depressing. It appears more and more certain that various Pakistani high-level authorities were aware of the activities of the attackers and their support team in Pakistan. An incident of this sort could easily be the start of a war between these two nuclear powers.

But, take a moment to think of the businessmen and their families that were at their hotel having a nice dinner and deep into their cozy world... when the unthinkable happened. I hope each and every reader of this report will resolve to include a special SURVIVAL bag in their luggage to include packaged ready-to-eat food. I use WalMart granola bars, peanut butter and crackers... MREs, if space is available. You should also have lots of spare batteries, a flashlite... I use a head-band light, a bottle for water, a fire-starter kit (cotton balls soaked in vaseline with a sparkstriker and a Bic disposable lighter). Want more ideas? Research the web for what others have assembled as EDC: Every Day Carry survival bags on the web. If you want to read how life is affected by a total societal meltdown, read the blog of FerFal, a student of architecture during the 2001 financial meltdown. I especially liked the info on his family's ideas of what they would have done differently given the chance, the items that became most important to them, and some gimmicks that helped them keep a good survival attitude.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to maintain a positive and happy attitude while preparing for the unthinkable.

QUESTIONS? [email protected]

 

I hope you have enjoyed the series. It is thought provoking, and hopefully will help readers of this blog desire to search out more information. The world out there can be scary, but it should not be a hindrance to people getting out and traveling. It is unfortunate that the 1% chance of something happening will prevent many from enjoying the many people and cultures of the world.

Safe Travels


Re-Post - Travel Security, Part Five

Posted by Don Weiss on October 22, 2017 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Part Five of our ongoing series.

IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT: DEALING WITH THE STRESS OF BEING A VICTIM

If your attempt to be inconspicuous is unsuccessful, your defensive tactics aren't a good idea and you find yourself naked on the side of the road with a bunch of bad guys, here are some tips that were passed down from folks who have succeeded in getting away from the NarcoTerror boys.


. LIGHTEN UP ON YOURSELF. You have the right to a reasonable expectation of personal security no matter where in the world you are located. Your rights have been violated and you were savagely captured by bad guys who have no redeeming social value. Now is the time to settle down and consider your new situation and possible options.

. Be creative with health issues. Show them your surgical scars, your diabetes meds, (consider getting some meds whether you really need them or not... your doctor may have some ideas) anything that may make them decide you are more trouble than you may be worth to them... even if you have to make stuff up. Lie to them, please. Be creative in subtle ways to slow the column of marchers throughout the journey. Fake a bad ankle and make them go steal a mule/burro/horse off some poor farmer to transport you. Always be alert to opportunities to escape safely from the NarcoTraficantes' area. Always go downhill when you escape... find a stream, then a river, always go downstream until you find a road or other signs of civilization. Sometimes it's a good idea to hide in the day, travel at night... but, be aware that traveling at night can be dangerous in the jungle/woods/mountains... not recommended for those with poor night vision.

. Make certain that they understand that you have no living relatives or flush employer to ransom you. This is key. If they took you from your work compound, a helicopter they shot down. etc THAT'S going to be a tough sell. If you carry family/love interest photos... unless you can convince the NarcoTraficantes that the folks in the photos are dead, it's REALLY not easy. OPTIMALLY, PLAN TO TRY TO APPEAR TO BE AN IMPOVERISHED, ANTISOCIAL, SOLITARY ORPHAN BACKPACKER, STUDENT OR TEACHER.

. One of the best ways to escape is to fake an illness that they can't treat you for locally. Several victims have gotten away from relaxed security in a town with a doctor under NarcoTerrorist control. Some research on symptoms prior to your trip may be a good idea. It is not very easy to fake out the medical person most NarcoTerror bands usually have.

. If you appear to be such a hi-value prize that they can't afford to give you up except for a big payoff... none of the above will be very helpful... but do it anyway. Everyone lets a competitor have an advantage by making an error... especially the NarcoTraficantes. Many of the individual groups include young people who don't like what they are doing... many were pressed into service during raids on their village. But, you most often will have to be creative and make up a good story to create your own opportunities.

. MOST IMPORTANT: FORGIVE YOURSELF for being captive and unable to meet your obligations. When Ingrid Betancourt was rescued from FARC forces in Colombia, she told debriefing officers that she had more problems related to the mental stress from feeling she had let down her family, friends and associates by becoming a captive than the physical stress. Even though she understood that she was a captive through no fault of her own, she had a difficult struggle overcoming her guilt. She and other captives have reported that self forgiveness is the most important key to survival in a long term captivity... seven years, in her case.

. WHAT SURVIVAL TYPE ARE YOU? Survivors of violent events have been studied extensively. Their faith in God, family and friends seems to head the list of essentials for survival, and survivors were successful at “rewiring” their attitudes to adapt to harsh... even inhumane... circumstances. And, they survived, while many others failed to adjust and survive.

The TYPES of SURVIVOR are as follows: fighter, thinker, realist, connector and believer. It is important that each reader think about and analyze their feelings about each of these approaches to survival, come up with their own definitions of what each type is like, decide which type each reader is, and start thinking about “what if...?” scenarios for their particular circumstances. IF YOU THINK THE UNTHINKABLE AND DEVISE PLANS TO SURVIVE, WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE OCCURS, YOU WILL MAKE THE CORRECT CHOICES OF AUTOMATICALLY. This is important, because people have failed to survive because they refused to think about the unthinkable, and their brains froze, they acted thoughtlessly, or they reacted without thinking clearly through all the possible ramifications of their actions. Sounds like crisis government, no?

. A WORD ABOUT MARTIAL ARTS: A surprise attacker with a knife in his hand coming from behind has the equivalent of a 900th degree black belt. Real world fights do not occur as they do in the dojo or boxing ring. Those who have as many knife scars as I have and are still walking around can attest to that.

Anyone with knife scars and bullet wound scars is NOT proud of their scars... they know that each scar is a visible reminder of a personal failure to avoid a life-threatening event. I acquired the knife scars on my arms as a dumb teenager living on the Texas border and getting caught in avoidable confrontations while being in places where I shouldn't have been... both in Texas and Mexico. As I got a bit smarter and more aware of my sometimes dangerous surroundings, I started getting knife scars on my legs... having learned that distance is the best defense with an over-medicated knife fighter. When I finally wised up and started avoiding bad places, I got fewer and fewer scars.

I have had no formal martial arts training except the small amount standard in armed forces boot camp. Those of you who are interested in martial arts, please be certain that you make a serious commitment to always stay in peak physical condition. IF YOU CANNOT FIGHT FOR 2+ MINUTES, NO AMOUNT OF TRAINING WILL SUFFICE. It has been my experience that none but those dedicated to their physical conditioning can maintain an aggressive fight for two minutes. If you are proud of your elite status as King of the Dojo, check out the free video series on real-life street defense at AttackProof.

 

Note: Attitude and fitness are the key to prevailing in confrontations. Attitude will also improve as fitness improves. In addition to training mentioned above, check out Yau Kung Mun for more information on a traditional martial art that can assist you. Also, I have found that Target Focus Training (TFT) provides great resources that can be added to a traditional martial artist’s toolbox.

Stay safe, train hard, train smart.




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