If we’re honest, things aren’t great out there in the big wide world. As beautiful as England is, there are places, particularly in large towns and cities, that are dangerous. Those of you, like me, with families, might often think about safety. Those of you carving a solitary path might too. Is there any way to guarantee the safety of your family and that of yourself as you go about your daily business? Probably not. Nobody is invincible. Would you see someone intending on doing you harm coming? Do you know how to protect yourself if the worst was to happen? Can you honestly say that you always prepare to the best of your ability for any situation?
Many of us are full of bravado. ‘If that was to happen to me, I’d kick the crap out of him / her’. Or, ‘Of course I’d know what to do to protect me / us’ and so on. In reality, depending on your background, you might not react the way you’d imagine. And even if you do react well to a surprise assault, who’s to say that the assailant isn’t better trained or that they won’t overpower you? You might not be a fighter. You might be young, or weak through no fault of your own. How do you react to the situation then? And how many of you can say you’d hold your nerve if somebody was to attack you? Once adrenaline kicks in, the options are usually simple. Fight. Or flight.
Nobody is immune
Let’s look at a couple of scenarios. You decide to take a shortcut home through a bad area. It’s dark and you’re on foot. You cut into a subway as a quick way of avoiding a busy road. Your mind is on other things and anyway, in reality, what’s the worst that could happen? You’ll be home in twenty minutes. You pass someone in the underpass but avoid eye contact as they look, shall we say, less than savoury. A few moments later, you hear footsteps behind you. You emerge from the underpass, but realise that you’re now alone, away from streetlights, other people and traffic. Alone apart from the sound of footsteps picking up pace, getting closer and louder.
What are your options? Potentially, you’re being followed, but you don’t know that for certain. If you are, do you run? How do you know, do you wait until the person is right beside you? Do you turn around and ready yourself for what may or may not be coming? There’s a good chance this is nothing. But would you say you would be able to protect yourself if the worst was to happen?
I look around me when I’m out and about at night. I listen. I glance back. I know where I am because I have prepared beforehand. I’m not about to walk through the worst back streets carrying an expensive smartphone wearing my best clothes. And still, I am not immune to something random happening. I’ve maybe removed a little of the element of chance. Still, I pass people who cannot hear a thing as their ears are covered by headphones. They can’t see because they are hunched over, faces alight with blue white light from the phone that they hold out limply in front of them. In the dark, they wouldn’t see an attacker coming – it would take their eyes best part of five seconds to fully adjust, and they wouldn’t hear a thing because their noise cancelling headphones would block out any sound from around them.
I’ve known people that have been attacked and robbed. Even people who are big and bad enough to look out for themselves. I would imagine that you, also, know of people who have. Maybe you, personally have. There’s no shame in it. When you consider your situation, or their situation, had you or they thought ‘always prepare’ and considered safety prior to what happened? Probably not.
Always prepare, no matter the situation
If you, or a loved one, is going out – whether day or night, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Safety is paramount.
I’m not being over the top by putting this out there. You can never be too ready. Take a look at Google Maps before setting out. Check the area out beforehand. If that gig is in a high crime area and you or someone you care about must go, have an exit plan. Know those streets like the back of your hand. Don’t do anything to limit your vision or hearing. Stick to busy, high visibility areas. If you’re getting a taxi, be sure you know it is indeed a taxi by looking for official taxi licence numbers and identification (there have been a few rogue taxi driver incidents in England of late). If you’ve had a night out drinking, be sure that you’re not paralytic – and if you know things might get a little messy (this happens to most of us every once in a while) – make sure you have somebody around that is either sober or very capable of looking out for you.
Always prepare by staying in good condition
If you want a fighting chance, you need to keep yourself fit! When facing a situation where you have no choice other than to run, your physical fitness, weight and lacking stamina could be the difference between escape or injury. If you are in good shape, then the mantra of ‘always prepare’ is there – in a physical sense at least. Looking to get fit? You might want to lay off that chocolate cake..
A lot of this is common sense. But as you’ll often hear me mention, common sense is not all that common. No, you can’t be ready for all eventualities but remember, you can’t rely on the authorities, the police, anyone – to keep an eye out for you. Avoid dangerous situations altogether if possible, but if you’re unable to, always prepare beforehand and do the necessary to protect yourself to the best of your ability. It’s a dangerous world out there and only you have a responsibility for yourself and those in your care.
I’ll be expanding on this with some specifics, so keep an eye for my future posts – If the shit hits the fan, do this – a guide to keeping safe if things get apocalyptic and How to legally protect yourself by subscribing.