Tag Archives: common sense

Freedom has a price.

freedom-isnt-freeOn Independence Day especially, I contemplate the countless freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America.  Our freedom was paid for with the blood of patriots, and our unalienable rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Your own freedom also has a price.

In order to maintain and enjoy your personal freedom, you must not infringe upon the rights of others; obey local, state, and national laws; pay your bills; and make good choices with regard to mental and physical health and safety.

If you break the law, you may lose your freedom through incarceration.  If you fail to be financially responsible, you could lose the comfort and security of your home, your means of transportation, or even face incarceration.  If you aren’t a good steward of your physical body and mind, you may lose your freedom of movement, forfeit your sight, or even face an early demise due to your own poor decisions.

Making safe choices for yourself can help ensure your own freedom from harm, threat, or grievous injury.   Be aware, stay alert, and be present and thoughtful in your choices and decisions, so you can enjoy the countless freedoms we as Americans – and you as an individual – have.

God bless America.  Stay safe!

 

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No is a complete sentence.

Verbal self defense“No” is a complete sentence.  Anything else either clarifies or amplifies your message.  In terms of self defense, anyone who won’t take “no” for an answer likely doesn’t have your best interest in mind.

It’s okay to say No:

  • No, thank you.
  • No, I don’t want your help.
  • No, I won’t give you my phone number.
  • No, I can’t help you.
  • No, you can’t sit with me.
  • No, I’m not interested.
  • No, I’ll take the next elevator.
  • No, I’ll take the next cab.
  • No, I don’t want to sit with you.
  • No, I won’t go up to your room.
  • No, you can’t join us.
  • No, I’m not okay with that.
  • No, you can’t come in.
  • No, I don’t want to share a cab with you.
  • No, you can’t use my phone.
  • No, you can’t call me.
  • No, I won’t be your Facebook friend.
  • No, you can’t sit with us.
  • No, I won’t loan you $20.
  • No, I won’t let you give me a ride.
  • No, I’m not going anywhere with you.
  • No.

Any of these sentences has the potential to save you from a compromising or dangerous situation, if you’ll simply say the words and mean them.  And if the person doesn’t respond appropriately, know in advance what you’ll do next…and do it with conviction.

Visit www.redrivertkd.com or contact the author directly at redrivertkd@gmail.com.

Stay safe!

What’s Worth Fighting For?

whats-worth-fighting-for

What’s worth fighting for? Each person’s answer may be different, but that decision should be made before a confrontation ever occurs.

Know yourself and what you’re willing to fight for.  This can’t be a game-time decision…it must involve some soul-searching and personal inventory well before you’re faced with an attacker, an intruder, a mugger or any potentially life-threatening situation.

If you’re suddenly accosted by someone who is trying to take your wallet or purse, you need to know whether to toss it away (YES, in almost every case), or potentially risk your life and personal safety by trying to keep it.  If someone you don’t know knocks at your door, will you open it? What determines your answer?  And if an intruder tries to force his way into your car or home, how will you react?

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A Nice Guy, or a Good Guy?

man-male-happy-face-guy-portrait-198949My friend was talking about a man who had stalked, restrained and physically attacked a woman we knew when she said, “But he’s basically a good guy.”  Shocked, I clarified:  “No, he’s a nice guy.  Definitely not a good guy.”

A nice guy, or a good guy?

We both knew this person.  He had been a guest in both of our homes.  He was attractive, charming, likable and a great conversationalist, making him very pleasant company.  However, beneath the surface, his niceness paled in comparison to his aggression, threatening behavior and willingness to put others at risk.

Yes, we all have bad days. We all have triggers that can cause us to behave unlike our better selves.  But someone who deliberately intimidates, terrorizes or attacks another person?  That’s not a good person.

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Believe Them the First Time – 6 Questions to Help You “Hear” Your Inner Voice

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.When someone shows you who he is, believe him the first time. Don’t wait for him to show you again.  If we’d all actually believe our eyes and ears and listen to our gut feelings, we’d avoid a lot of pain and heartache.  From business relationships to dating, and from online communications to in-person meetings, you can believe what people tell you…if you know how to listen.

I met someone recently I liked and felt comfortable with almost instantly.  This is rare for me, and was almost a “red flag” in and of itself.  However, when I considered what I knew about this person, that added context increased my comfort level, as did his willingness to answer questions directly and share relevant historical, professional and personal information.  We discussed appropriate topics, he respected my personal space, and allowed me to set the pace of our meeting.

What’s the context?  How long have you known this person? How did you meet?  Do you have shared business associates or friends, or did you simply meet by chance or through a shared activity or common location? Continue reading

listen-to-yourself

Listen to Yourself!

“Would you just listen to yourself?”  Although this sounds like something your best friend might say when you’re being unreasonable, or even an admonishment from a frustrated parent, it is the best safety advice I can give.  If you will allow yourself to listen to – and hear – your own true voice, and act on what it tells you, you can avoid many dangerous situations.

We’ve all had “gut feelings” before.  It’s very easy to explain your gut feeling about something or someone after something happens, but often very difficult to explain it beforehand. You may feel uneasy being alone with a coworker, or get a “weird vibe” from a guy at the gas pump across from yours.  You might even walk into a store, get a panicky feeling, and simply leave.

We are the only living creatures on this planet who rationalize away fears, worries or instincts. We do this because of social pressures, fear of embarrassment, or the inability to articulate or explain what we are feeling.  A cat or dog can go from being startled and defensive to being calm and affectionate within a few seconds.  They are unconcerned about what their peers think, or whether they should be embarrassed for overreacting to a false threat. Don’t let your internal monologue (“this can’t be happening to me” or “I’m sure he didn’t mean that” or “this will turn out okay”) keep you from acting on your intuition – your gut instinct.

As Gavin de Becker writes in his outstanding book The Gift of Fear, “When it comes to survival signals, our minds have already done their best work by the time we try to figure things out.” De Becker also writes, “…when it comes to danger, intuition is always right in at least two important ways: 1) It is always in response to something. 2) It always has your best interest at heart.”

Listen to yourself.  Trust your instincts and act on them! Stay safe…and while you’re at it, make an investment in your safety and read The Gift of Fear.  It’s available in hardback, paperback, digital and audio versions.

Stop Giving Away Information!

It is impossible not to give away information about yourself.  The way you talk, the clothes you  wear, the vehicle you drive, and even the conversations you have in public tell others who you are.

Think of all the things you can surmise about a 20-something woman who gets out of a Prius with a college parking sticker on it, wearing an OU Sooners sweatshirt, worn-out jeans and a silver necklace.  She’s carrying a Coach purse, talking on an iPhone and has manicured nails.

Someone who wants to earn the trust (however brief) of a potential victim may need only to distract her a moment for a theft or assault…or might attempt to forge an “acquaintance relationship” by complimenting the target or enlisting her help.

Possible opening questions:

  • Your nails are gorgeous! Where do you have them done? (Where’s that? Are they gel? Is it expensive?)
  • I love your bag! My mom gave me one just like it, but zipper on the inside pocket broke immediately and I had to exchange it.  Is yours okay?
  • Hey, I think that guy just dinged your car door! You’d better go check.  I’ll get his license plate.
  • Is that an iPhone 6? I have a 5, but I’m thinking of upgrading. Do you think it’s worth it?
  • Can you tell me where Murray Hall is? I’m supposed to give a speech there but they didn’t give me directions and I’m late.
  • I’ll bet you get amazing gas mileage, don’t you? I’m thinking of trading…is it worth it?
  • I think you dropped $20 (either pointing to where it was allegedly dropped, or holding out a bill) when you got out of your car.
  • And the easiest one of all: Do you know what time it is?  (You look away, at your watch or phone, giving a stranger a moment of opportunity.)

Remember, context is everything.  How long have you known the person in question?  How did you meet?  How well do you really know him or her?  Consider these things when you let someone in your personal space, your car, or open your door to them.  When you engage in a conversation with someone, remember that it is a two-way street.  If you feel like you’re giving a lot of answers but not learning anything yourself, it may be time to cut that conversation short.

It’s become a cliché that we “open up” to certain people and share things we generally wouldn’t:  hair stylists, bartenders, seatmates on airplanes, and as a general rule, “people we’re never going to see again.”  Why do we do that?  Perhaps we’ve built rapport (or they have), we’re attracted to the person, our inhibitions are lowered due to alcohol, or they’re a “friend of a friend.”

Watch your words.  Keep your private information private, and don’t give away important information like your travel destination, hotel name or room number, children’s names, where you bank, your pets’ names, or where you went to school.  It is your personal information, and your choice whether or not to share it with a stranger.  Why should they care what your kids’ names are, or what grade they’re in?  (Honestly, I don’t even give my own name when asked in a restaurant.  The hostess or cashier doesn’t care, it amuses me, and I don’t have my name announced publicly for all to hear.)

Be careful when you encounter someone new with whom you have something in common.  Just because you both share a passion for the same type of music, you’re reading the same obscure book, or you’re on a flight to the same place doesn’t mean they’re not still just a “familiar stranger.”

Listen to your intuition, and remember your context.  Until next time…stay safe!