While preparing a personal safety lecture for a local group, I was looking for an opening that would get everyone’s attention. My audience was a group of teen and pre-teen girls and a few parents. The inspiration for the class was the recent abduction and murder of a seven-year-old girl.
Being in an upscale community, everyone had the mindset that “those things do not happen here.”
So my opening question to the group was, “How many registered sex offenders are there within a five-mile radius of here?”
While not a pleasant or popular topic, I felt it was necessary to shake people out of their complacency and denial. Answers ranged from “We don’t have any people like that here” and “We don’t allow them here” to the highest estimate of five.
I pulled out my nine-page report from the State Sexual Offenders and Predators website. Within five miles of our location were 62 offenders/predators. And that was in a town with a population of only 20,000 people!
From that point on, I had their undivided attention.
While I do not believe in shock tactics or a harsh style of communication, sometimes a little “wake up call” will open peoples’ minds and enhance the learning process.
The report listed the names and addresses of the offenders, and the reality is that they are among us in our “safe upscale” neighborhoods. Several were within half a mile of our location, which was also near an elementary school, a community center, and several churches.
- The topics we covered in the class were:
- Psychology of Criminal Predators
- Mental Preparedness
- Awareness Levels
- Home Security
- Physical Security
- Social Interaction
- Cyber Security
- Vehicle Security
- Defensive Tactics
These subjects provided a good balance of mental awareness and personal safety skills for my young female students and their parents. The class went much longer than anticipated, which was a good thing, and created a great opportunity for follow-up classes. Several parents asked me offline about incorporating a firearm as part of a home defense strategy, and a single mom signed up for a basic pistol class.
I donate my time for these classes as a service to the community. Often they are organized through a church or community center. My reward is that hopefully I keep someone from becoming the victim of a crime. Frequently someone will hire me to do a security evaluation of their home or seek out self-defense or firearms training.
By sharing your knowledge and skills with others in a non-threatening community service venue, you will be able to reach many people who may be too intimidated to go to a range or dojo.
As instructors, we often get caught up in the glitz of advanced training and tend to forget that most people will never carry a firearm for defense or are currently too young to own one. These are the people who most need our help, who need to have their eyes opened to the harsh realities of the world we live in, so that they don’t become victims. Consider donating your time and expertise in your community to teach local citizens. And who knows, they may become students in your self-defense or firearms training courses. Share the knowledge and everyone reaps the benefits!