March 26, 2014 at 10:32 pm #3748
In the early 1970’s New York City had the best welfare around, so people would come from other states to get this handout. It was also during the Vietnam War, which added a whole other element. Growing up in the city educated me about survival. Here are two short stories.
The first was an incident where a Vietnam Vet was acting crazy on the divider in the middle of six traffic lanes. A group of us kids started heckling him. ( I think I was eleven years old at the time.) He charged after us and we all ran. My luck, he stayed after me. I got into my apartment building and knew that I could not open our door and get inside due to too many locks so I ducked under the stairs and made myself as small as possible. I could hear him screaming that he was going to kill me as he was running around upstairs looking for me. I was so terrified that I was sure he could hear my thundering heart while at the same time I was breathing through my knees to make sure he could not hear my breathing. It was pure hell. He eventually gave up and went away. That was the last time I EVER made fun of someone or made any kind of antagonistic motion or sound towards another.
Another lesson: I was waiting for a train in a subway at night. I am standing about ten six to ten feet away from the edge of the platform and close to the main entrance to the station. One of the things I learned at an early age is to always watch around you for any motion. Three guys were entering the platform and when they saw me they started to spread out in what looked like attack mode. Uh-oh, this is bad.
I always carried a large bag with books in it so that I could read while on my ride. I turned and faced these three men, pulled my bag down from my shoulder and started swinging it around. This was to let them know I was not going to be an easy mark. In other words I would not act like a victim or cooperate. As I am swinging my bag I came up with a fast plan. If they rush at me, I will jump onto the tracks and hide under the train platform.
There was a group of people standing about 20 to 30 feet away, but on those days if people saw things going on they would turn a blind eye and pretend nothing was happening that’s why I thought they would not be much help. Luckily for me, just by swinging that bag those guys changed their path direction and moved on down the platform.
Lessons I learned in the city; never act like a victim. Always look the threatening person right in the eyes. Does not matter if they weigh 200 pounds and you weight 98, most criminals do not want a fight. Can’t tell you how many close calls I had because of that attitude. Secondly, ever since that incident I put myself on the other side of the groups of people so that the group is closer to the entrance and I am farther away. On that platform I was closer to the entrance with space between myself and a large group of people father down. That was really stupid of me and l learned that lesson really well.
During winter months I carried a long skinny knife in my inside jacket pocket. Once I opened the pocket to let the threatener see I had it and he did not attack because of it. Other times I have carried screw drivers, etc.
New York City has some of the strictest gun laws in America yet all the criminals have them!
Just having something that can be used for self defense makes you feel more confident. That confidence can be felt. Although I have had many close calls I was never mugged or attacked during my years growing up in the city.
The only time looking into their eyes does not work is if drugs are involved. Drugs make people act and do insane things. That was what was wrong with the Vietnam Vet, he was on meds from the local psych hospital.
dmarieMarch 26, 2014 at 11:05 pm #3762
Your fortunate you learn so quickly Deb. Am sure your taking time to share what you learned from that time helps many. It amazes me so many walk in NY and other big cities looking at their phones so often as they do. I would not want to be that distracted/unaware what is going on around me. Thanks for reminders!March 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm #3766
Very good lessons to learn and pass on, Deb – thank you for sharing this!March 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm #3770
There is one more thing that is crucial and really before anything else. Never allow a person to get close to you. If in a dangerous situation you want to keep as much distance as possible. That’s probably why I was never physically attacked.
Thanks for the feedback. *I changed my personal data and user name so that I am not using my real name. Feels better that way.
dmarieMarch 27, 2014 at 1:13 am #3813
Thanks for sharing this experience dmarie. Dealing with mentally unstable people can quickly become a problem because they often don’t know when or even how to stop if they have something made up in their mind. Of course as a kid most of us lack this judgement.
Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")March 27, 2014 at 11:35 am #3988
You are right! Thankfully I got away unscathed and learned.March 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm #4013
A very good reminder, tweva: we should always be aware of what is going on around us. Too many people are in a fog of self absorption. It takes conscious effort to learn new personal skills to improve one’s chances in an unfriendly world, but it can be done. It can seems weird to others; I know some people who think it bizarre that I keep scoping around me to see the exits and to see what other people are doing, and flicking my head around when I see movement in my peripheral vision. I didn’t get this from prepping but from my former line of work, but it’s a good survival skill.
I think we all wish the world was a nicer place and we didn’t have to take any of these precautions.
Bugs Bunny: "I speak softly, but I carry a big stick."
Yosemite Sam: "Oh yeah? Well I speak LOUD! and I carry a BIGGER stick! and I use it, too!" BAM!March 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm #4028
Yes Elijah B. it is definitely not what most people practice – being aware of their surroundings. It is just important when a person is traveling in a vehicle to pay attention closely – and not just to avoid accidents.
Had I been paying more attention I would have noticed someone that was following/stalking me for almost two weeks ‘off and on’. And, saved myself an unpleasant encounter.
Practice varying your ‘routines now’, including how you drive to and from normal places. Become aware of how predictable you are and how that can be used to your detriment by someone watching you that you are unaware of
Pay attention to the vehicles behind you and beside you at all times and train yourself to notice the ones you may be seeing a bit to frequently. Notice vehicles that are out of place in your neighborhood/area BEFORE you get accustomed to seeing themMarch 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm #4034
Gypsy Wanderer HuskySurvivalist
Great post Tweva, Routines are something we our self try to change regularly.
Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
George S. PattonMarch 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm #5195
When we were in gun training classes, they taught us about living in different color zones of awareness. Never live in the white zone where you aren’t aware of what is transpiring around you. Keep in your yellow zone and keep your eyes open and be alert, no matter where you are. It takes training, but now when a car pulls up next to me, I always glance over and check them out. I leave enough room in front of my car to make a sudden turn out to get away from a situation that might arise. I listen to sounds more. I don’t hug the street side or the building side of the sidewalks but keep in the middle. Never will I talk on the phone while I am exposed like that. These are lessons they taught us and I have drilled myself on them.June 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm #16284
I grew up in New York in the 80s it was really bad when crack hit, in fact the declared marshal law. I grew up next to Harlem, hearing gunshots all night.June 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm #16301
Excellent post, thank you for sharing dmarie!
It’s a good thing that you’re a very fast learner.July 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm #18000
I prolly would have ended up dead in NYC in the 70’s
Good Post DM!
"ROGUE ELECTRICIAN" Hoping to be around to re-energize the New World.....
Cogito, ergo armatus sum
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