How does a man move on with his life after losing his wife and daughters to two ruthless home invaders who tortured, then killed them?
For years, a nation both disgusted and captivated by a chilling crime in prototypical suburbia has wondered that. Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor now is piecing together the fragments of his shattered life.
William said these words: “My only hope is for justice to be served and to do my best to honor the lives of my family, who should all still be here to share their gifts and love with the world… I hope to continue to honor my family,” Petit survived being beaten with a baseball bat and tied up by the home invaders who murdered his family right before his eyes. “I push forward in the hope that good will overcome evil, and feel the need to tell the world that evil lives among us and we need to rid the world of it.”
I was gripped by this heart breaking story. How can these types of atrocities happen especially to a productive and loving family? The wake up for all of us is that we live in a world at war. It is a war between evil and good; between all that is dark and light; between Satan and God; and the object of the war is your heart, your service and your soul. This war is not just for you and your life but also the lives of those that you love. Satan will hit you where ever and how ever he can. If the enemy can rob you of your life, he will. If he can take you from your family, your wife, your husband, your children, and the God ordained spiritual leadership and influence you have in their lives… he will. If he can snatch you away from the work that God has given you to do… he will. Don’t be fooled, this world is at war.
Note: This is not an article about gun control or vigilante justice. Of course, one of Jesus’ key teachings was to turn the other cheek. Please make your own decisions about retaliation or defending yourself and your family. But here are a few valuable safety tips from Dr. Waggoner.
Abductions, assaults and home invasions are commonplace, especially in war-torn countries. But they can occur near you! One interesting report points out that many of these attacks occur during daylight hours when most people are at work, going about their routines, and least suspecting. Families, even good Christian families are invaded, abused, and murdered by those who abide darkness and evil in their hearts.
Many modern day Christians are conflicted about protecting themselves and their families. A prevailing thought is “If I’m Christ Like I need to turn the other cheek”. Somehow, the idea is that Jesus wants us to sit back and allow ourselves to be abused. The thought is that Jesus was an effeminate, pasty, punk who allowed others to walk all over him. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Jesus is the warrior King (Revelation 19). He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5)… not the kitty cat of Judah . Jesus freely gave his life (John 10); no one took it from him. Christ fulfilled his father’s will (John 3) on the cross to save a sinful world. He did not allow a depraved attacker to kill him or any one of those he was responsible for simply because of criminal intent.
It is also our responsibility to defend our families and ourselves. This does not mean we look for fights or go off on cruel crusades. It does however mean that we must protect ourselves so that we may continue in God’s plan for us and our families. We are the teachers and perpetuators of God’s truth. Keeping ourselves safe and sound to spread the Gospel is a no brainer.
I have trained in martial arts and self-defense for over 25 years. Below are some basic concepts I and my closest colleagues have learned about how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. A portion of the below information is thanks to Mr. Fred Weeks from ATF.
- Have on-hand some means of defense: Arming yourself gives you an advantage. However, all the weapons in the world do no good if you cannot access them. Any weapon for self-defense must be out and deployable. If you cannot access your weapon or if you do not have one then you must be prepared to protect yourself with what ever resources you have. Find weapons to use. Everyday objects, your purse, items in your purse, car antenna, newspapers, basically everything can be used to aid your defense.
If you must utilize your body, remember to head butt, elbow, knee, bite, spit, scratch, punch, and kick every where you can. Try to be cognizant of the fact that while using your body as a weapon, soft tissue makes the best targets. The groin, eyes, throat, ears, and neck are places to aim for. Its not a boxing match… This is for your LIFE!
Carry foaming pepper spray with ultra violet indicators. Cans of wasp/hornet spray work terrifically, especially when at home, just beware of wind direction. Aim for the face.
Keys woven through your fingers make great deterrents… they really hurt when pressed into and through the skin.
Use your overall surroundings. Dirt, rocks, sticks, pencils and pens are all wonderful projectile weapons that can give you precious moments to run away.
Shopping carts are great tools to keep attackers at bay. Even though I may not look manly, I always shop with a cart when I can.
- Make a break for it: If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you….Chances are he is more interested in your money than you. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
The key is to get and keep as much distance between you and assailants as possible. Hopefully, you will never have to use close quarter combat. If you must fight, this means that you are already too close and the level of escalation has jumped off the charts. If you are in someone’s grasp, your life IS IN DANGER! Do everything possible to be released and get away! Self-defense classes are available almost everywhere. I highly recommend them.
Never allow yourself to be surrounded. Walking through a crowd may seem like the best opening for an exit. However, if you allow attackers to surround you, your defense ability just fell through the floor. If approached by suspicious people (trust your gut – God has given you that little 6th sense, especially to women… listen to it) always walk to the outside so they all are grouped together. Get out of there as quickly as possible even if it means running back into the store, leaving your grocery cart, and making a scene.
- Never get into a vehicle for an assailant: Statistics show that the majority of individuals who are abducted are never seen again alive. RUN!!!! Get away from a would be abductor. You have a better chance of surviving if you even attempt to get away. Chances are you will. Make noise (Scream with all your might and don’t stop!) and run where there are people (back into the store, etc.).
If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car get out as soon as possible. On most newer automobile models there is a glow in the dark pull knob that opens the truck lid. Get it open and get out as soon as you can. You may have to feel around for the knob or the cable if the handle has been removed. Keep Trying!
If you cannot find the trunk release, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out of the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
If you are tied up, it’s not the end. Struggling will loosen your bonds. Duct tape, zip ties, ropes, even hand cuffs are escapable. Never, NEVER GIVE UP!
- Don’t tarry in your car: People have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit talking or texting. DON’T DO THIS! Also, do not bend over conspicuously while you buckle your children in. If at all possible, get in the car with your child, lock the door, and buckle them in. The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CAN, GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF!
DO NOT DRIVE OFF!
Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes, bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
- How to be aware: A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
Be aware: look around you; look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
It goes without saying: Keep your head up. Be observant and orient yourself to what is going on in your surroundings. This is the best way to be clear minded so you may make quick and correct decisions to act appropriately when the time comes.
Avoid “Auto Pilot”! So many of us operate on automatic when we are super busy, distracted and in a hurry. How many times have we forgotten where we parked our car? Wondering around in the parking lot looking like a lost puppy attracts predators like chum draws sharks. Take note where you park. Many major department stores have their parking isles marked with letters and/or numbers. Being able to quickly and efficiently walk with confidence to your vehicle is automatically a deterrent to criminals. Don’t be caught dead with a “victim posture”.
If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Many serial killers have attacked their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side… If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
- Elevators instead of stairs: If possible take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. Always be smart about entering an elevator. Stand back and allow those exiting to clear away. Look into the elevator before entering. If someone “icky” gets on… you leave! Try to never enter an elevator or stairway alone!
- A gun does not mean death: If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital shot. RUN, preferably in a zigzag pattern!
- Not your job: Women, tend to be sympathetic: STOP! If you are alone, with your children, or in a compromising situation, it is NOT your responsibility to intervene. Getting out of your vehicle and checking on someone may get you raped, or killed. Many unsuspecting and caring women have been ambushed when they were simply trying to help.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
- Its Better to be Safe then Sorry: There are many, schemes and tactics designed to compromise your protection and safety.
– Baby Crying Scam: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her ‘Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door…’ The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, ‘We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.’ He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby’s cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby’s cries outside their doors when they’re home alone at night.
– Water scam: If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your outside taps full ball so that you will go out to investigate and then attack.
– Authority scam: Research shows that we simply overlook someone who appears official. Just because they are wearing a uniform does not mean they are legitimate. Police officers should have a warrant. If you know you haven’t committed a crime, then the chances are they are not real cops. You have the right to ask for assistance and representation. If they insist, call 911 (always do this in every emergency) and leave the house before they come in. Cable guys, plumbers, telephone men, mail men, all of them wear a uniform and project the image of authority. Do NOT be alone if they come to your house for even a scheduled appointment. Be smart! There have been many people raped and murdered because of uniformed scams. Also be aware that after a legitimate house call, workers have often returned to the home appearing to follow up, only to scope out the property for their next robbery or assault.
- Be Smart: Keep lines of communication open and make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Carry a cell phone, program an “ICE” (in case of emergency) contact numbers into your phone, teach everyone to call 911 in emergencies, have plans for escape including areas of refuge and neighbors to go to, keep your house locked and secure, invest in a home alarm system, travel with a buddy… the list goes on and on. The key is to be smart and be alert.