July 22, 2013
I have often wondered how some people are able to dissociate themselves from anything bad ever happening… they can watch the news, see a tragedy or horrific event and say, “that is horrible, but it will never happen to me”… another group can see the same thing, and notice that it is horrible and say, “wow, that could happen to me.” This is a subject that has fascinated me in my career as an emergency response professional, and I can tell you that there are profound implications for those who have not developed a mindset and training that allows them to deal with high-stress situations.
The video has horrific implications and is unpleasant to watch. The positive outcome is that the woman was not killed and the predator was apprehended, but as you will see, it could have been much worse. Men: How well prepared are the women in your life to deal with a situation like this?
My work as an emergency response professional in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and later as a Branch Chief at the US Department of Homeland Security HQ has exposed me to the unpleasant realities of violence and personal security. I have seen, firsthand, how disaster can bring out the best in a community. Unfortunately, I have also seen how disasters will bring out the violent predators in our society. Disasters are unique in that they heighten the senses of all involved, which can make it easier to detect predators. This is offset, however, by the opportunity that a disaster inherently creates for those inclined to victimize in the first place. The real challenge is in our day to day lives… when there is no disaster and our senses return to a more relaxed state.
Guys, every woman in your life (wife, daughter, child, mother, sister, friend) can benefit from this information. It’s not stuff that we think about every day, but just like learning how to swim, or how to perform CPR, it can save a life.
The bottom line is that we all inherently know violence can impact anyone at any time, and regardless of my ability to deal with such a situation, the simple fact remains that I cannot always be there to do the same for my loved ones. I wanted to help my wife and the other women in my life, but I was totally frustrated by their lack of interest in self-protection. “I don’t want to be a commando”, she would say. This letter is what helped to spark the interest in my wife shortly after she bore our first child. If sharing it with you helps you get this across to even one woman in your life, please drop me an email and let me know.
I want to share a letter that I wrote to my wife shortly after our first child was born regarding safety and security. This is the video that she saw which sparked her interest in a subject that she had otherwise been outwardly uninterested in… The letter is what follows…
I am so proud of the strength and confidence you cultivated over the past 9 months. You sought out the best advice from doctors and naturopaths to make sure our baby and his mama would be healthy and safe. You followed their advice religiously and you were able to safely and naturally deliver our healthy baby boy.
You spoke up and stood firm when you needed to advocate for yourself and the baby, and you continue to do so to this day. You researched contingencies and made sure I was aware of them, and that I knew what to do so that we could act as a team. You made sure I knew MY role in the event you could not advocate for yourself and I had to make decisions on your behalf.
Throughout this entire process you showed great family leadership, which resulted in a healthy baby and a mother that was recovered enough to go on a short walk to our neighbor’s house the very next day.
Both you and I know the sad fact is, that 50 or 60 years ago, the societal pressure against speaking up to advocate for yourself in a pregnancy would have been much greater. The same pressure that kept people quiet with regards to medical decisions 60 years ago is still active today with respect to the role of keeping people quiet with respect to the importance of personal protection, especially for women.
We have a great responsibility in raising our child, and part of that responsibility includes doing what we can to make it home safe at the end of the day. When I worked for Homeland Security, I took courses that included trainings in personal security, the duties and obligations of the police and fire department, and courses in the legal and ethical ramifications of using lethal force.
As I became more experienced in this regard, what immediately struck me was the vast chasm that divides the realities of the legal responsibility of police or fire personnel to “protect you” vs what TV would have you believe.
Rebekka, you are a leader in this family and a mother. You have taken specialized pediatric medical training in addition to what is required for your profession, you have researched the pros and cons of various educational avenues for the child and you have taken a very active role in making sure that you will be there for our family and for our child… With one very glaring omission… your own personal security.
You were able to enjoy an idyllic “Andy Griffith” upbringing in the bucolic settings of a New England farm town. The cottage on the lake in which you were raised was never locked… save when your family went out of town, and you knew everyone by name when you went to the store. People looked out for each other and it was very easy to tell when a stranger was around. Or that’s how the story went 30 years ago.
You are a smart woman, and I can tell that the narrative that I have painted in the preceding paragraph has conflicted with the reality of some of the places we have lived (Washington, DC, and other big cities, and even in Hawaii, for example). I can appreciate that you want to live in the world that I just described, and to be quite frank, I want that as well. But I think that for the sake of our family and our child, we should train for the reality that exists in the present day. Let me put it to you this way… We have both been trained and certified in adult and pediatric CPR for over 15 years… yet neither of us has ever had to perform it outside of a work setting. Do we ever balk at getting re-trained and re-certified? No, never.
Let’s face it, personal protection is not an intrinsic interest of yours, and in many ways conflicts with the narrative by which you have come to define your upbringing. Reality can suck… and just like no one tells you in the CPR class that you’ll probably get vomited on by the person whose heart you are attempting to re-start, there are many fallacies that mainstream media perpetuate about violence and personal protection that have far worse consequences than getting puke on your shoes. I’m not asking you to become a swat team member or a commando here, but if you will give me your ear, and open your heart, I want to show you what I have learned regarding the realities of “real world” violence and most importantly, how to avoid it in the first place.
Myth: If I take XYZ firearms training or martial arts training, then I’ll always be “on edge” and the other moms will think I’m weird.
You are more aware than ever of the slightest peep that comes from our
boy. Your response is dictated by the situation, and you are always on
top of the game and are always ahead of the curve. I just want to show
you how you can model this awareness in another specific area of life.
Myth: I’m not very big, how could I possibly beat a larger person?
Reality: It’s not your job to “beat” them, it’s your job to come home safe. The best fight is the one you avoid. The best training in the world is the one that shows you how to avoid a violent situation all together. If avoidance does not work, then that’s where the rest of the training kicks in. As a mother, you have the instinct already, you just need to learn to focus it to make sure you come home safe…
Myth: If I take this kind of training, I’ll be too edgy and will fight back too soon
Reality: There is a stigma about fighting back in our society. And as a general rule, the more polite you are (i.e. the better you did in kindergarten) the LONGER it will take you to initiate a response. Especially if you haven’t trained how you will react and what merits a response.
By using specific awareness techniques, you have a better chance of avoiding a violent encounter in the first place. Remember, just like in nature, predators prefer the unaware… they like an easy fight. If you can’t avoid an encounter, then that’s when the physical part of your training will kick in.
Here is the bottom line… I can’t always be there to protect you and our family. So what I have done is put together a compendium of some of the best training and resources that I gleaned from my duty while at the Department of Homeland Security. This is all stuff that is applicable to daily life. In fact, your 60 year old mother and father in law have even been through a few of these courses and completed them with a smile on their face. I know you can do it too.
I know you have been doing a lot of self-development work lately as well, so I thought I would mention that one of the courses and books is recommended by Tony Robbins. Interestingly, the one he recommends is by far the most violent. The instructor who taught the class was even barred entry to the United Kingdom in 2012 because they did not want to encourage “vigilantism”. Why does Tony Robbins endorse it then? Because it works. I know you will get a lot out of the package that I put together for you, and I can vouch for all of it myself as I have watched dvds of these trainings or attended these courses multiple times.
My dear, I know that you have a lot on your plate, so I have arranged the trainings such that you can go as deep into the training as you like… Here’s what I mean by this… I’ve laid it out in such a way that if I hypothetically knew that you were going to be placed in harm’s way, and that you only had 48 hours to learn what you needed to learn, this would be the path that I would suggest you take.
Start out with a book or a DVD… absorb the material. If you want to go further, go further with another training course. If you decide it is increasing your confidence and you are enjoying it, then you can even attend a course in person… it is entirely up to you…
You have been such an inspiration to me throughout the last 9 months and all of our marriage that I can only smile with delight as I think of just how quickly you will absorb all of this material.
You are the protector of our child when I am not around, and I know you have what it takes to keep yourself and our child safe from predators… how to spot them, how to outsmart them, and if necessary how to stop them in their tracks
This letter moved my wife not only to tears, but also to action. I hope it can give you some good ideas on how to connect with loved ones who you would like to see take an interest in self protection. If nothing else, the book is a great resource. Rebekka ended up watching part of a DVD series on the difference between social and asocial violence. She remarked that it was not what she had come to expect from the stylized violence she had seen on TV, or on the news.
She attended an in-person training course shortly thereafter and remarked that while she truly hoped and prayed that she would never have to use the tool of violence to defend herself, that she now had a much better understanding of something she had avoided learning about at all.
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A few days ago, she made this remark to me… ”When he’s old enough, we’ll teach our son how to swim. If he falls into water before he learns how to swim, the only thing he can do is panic. If he knows how to swim, he may still fear for his life, but his body at least knows what to do to stay afloat. Thank you for doing the same thing for me by introducing me to the concept of real self-protection and the tool of violence. I hope to never have to use it, but at least I have another option than sheer panic.”
For more information on how you can help this book become a best seller and get some amazing self-protection training resources as my thanks to you, please click here.
Note: This is my first article for NWV, in the future, I’ll show you just how much information Facebook and other networking sites makes available about you and your family, and what implications this has for your privacy.
� 2013 Anthony Veltri - All Rights Reserved
Anthony is the author of Hurricane Katrina – A Journey of Hope, which recounts the work done by emergency search and rescue personnel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He has also served as a Branch Chief at the US Department of Homeland Security HQ where he led a team of professionals charged with protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure ranging from nuclear power plants to the Hoover Dam. Has its roots in several years of public and private sector work, as well as disaster relief work.
Through his family's consulting company, Anthony is now focused on helping hardworking people use the skills and talents they already have, to help them create products and services to share with a community of people who want them, and in turn, help them make additional income to better their life, become more efficient and more self reliant.