The Gift of Fear

Women seem to be disappearing from parking lots all over the country these days. I don’t know if this is an actual increase in stranger-danger or if it’s the 24-hour news cycle monster that needs to be fed (more on that in another post).

From the time the Admiral was little, I always emphasized two things with her:

1. If you get lost in a store, find a lady who has kids or who looks like a Grandma. Older women are least likely among all demographic groups to be predators. This rule superceded the “stay in one place” rule after we discovered how ineffective that could be in stores (J.C. Penny; Quincy, IL; December, 1999. A mother never forgets.)

2. Do Not — Ever — Go With Someone. — even if they have a weapon. The chances of ever being found alive after getting in the car, exiting the building, or leaving the parking lot are exponentially lower than if you stand and fight. Better to get stabbed once in the parking lot than murdered in a field. Scream and fight. And specifically for children, scream “This is not my parent!” lest a kidnapping be misinterpeted as a family discipline problem.

The LawDog has a sobering, but ultimately gratifying post about a young woman who followed her instincts in a parking lot. Surveillance video of the incident, posted at the end of the article, serves to underscore the lessons learned.

But remember — surveillance video is great for after-the-fact investigation, but doesn’t do much to prevent a crime.

Trust your fear instinct. Better to be embarassed and alive than polite and dead.


  1. It is sad how the media cycle can focus attention on something that isn’t truly that common, raising our fears; on the other hand, it is useful if it reminds us to be aware of our surroundings and encourages people to be proactive calling for changes to the environments to make them safer for everyone…

  2. Mama always said “walk like you have some place to go”. In other words, don’t amble, don’t fool with your purse, bags, etc. Keep moving. Be aware of who is around you. If you suspect you are being followed, change direction, go into a store, etc. This problem is not new, it’s better reported.The Cranky Yankee

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