TO BE CLEAR. THEY ARE OUT THERE.  Driving and/or walking around.  Sharking out neighborhoods.  Just the other day, in Bethlehem, Pa., a man tried on three or four occasions, to lure several different children into his car.  He is still out there, driving around for all I know.  Sharking (driving slowly back and forth, seeking a victim).

For years I have been urging parents to teach their children the easy skills I am going to advocate in the next few posts.  Girls & women, by the way, can use these skills also to stay safe and/or evade and escape assailants and kidnappers.

Here we go.  My Kid Escape (or, Date Escape) Program.


You are going to say what I am going to advocate is common sense.  True.  But common sense, I always say, is the rarest commodity in a crisis.  Chicken Hawks (child molestors) would never abduct or sexually assault one child if only parents and children exercised simple common sense.  I advocate that parents take the role as their children’s safety coach, and coach their kids on some or all of these skills.  Once again, you can scroll back on this blog site and get the scoop on how to ne a Safety Coach (or, email me at

  1. Teach your children the 4 A’s.  This is crucial.  Teach them to be Aware, to Assess their surroundings, to Anticipate (to ask themselves what will I do if that man comes at me) and to take Action (to run, hide or move toward safe people like a mother with children).  There is more specific information and suggestions on the 4 A’s in past posts.
  2. PlAY THE “WHAT IF GAME” WITH YOUR CHILDREN.  Mentally and psychologically “Spinal Tune” your child in to the Escape & Evasion activity by “playing” this game with him, her, them.  Make it a fun game, but ask what would he/she do under certain scenarios.  There are no “wrong” answers.  But you can make cogent suggestions om the ideal escape & evasion tactic.\
  3. TALK, TALK AND LISTEN.  Ask him/her questions in a non-imposing manner about what happened today.  Encourage him or her to talk honestly.  You will be surprised the important things you will learn.  Always encourage them to talk about events.


In the next post, we go into what your child should do when he or she becomes aware of what I call an “Environmental Anomaly.”  A man or woman on the scene that triggers his or her “Spidey Senses.”  Potential danger lurks.

Until next time. keep your kids safe.

The Hammer


In my most recent post, I talked a bit about my 2nd book – Super Secret Police S**t That Can Save Your Life – and ended with a promise to detail secrets to keeping your children safe.  My Kid Escape (or, Counter Abduction Tactics for Children) Program is I believe as close as you can come to a foolproof safety training for children and even teenagers.

You can simply scroll back through the hundreds of posts on AAV and check out my posts, but, briefly KE jumps all over the sick psychology and goals of the Chicken Hawk or sexual predator looking to abduct innocent children and inevitably molest and kill them.  Fact:  It is a true rarity for a child, once taken from the initial crime scene, to ever return (home).

Allow me to boil this down into a few sentences.  The predator wants to seek out, target, attack and abduct a child as quickly as possible.  He has a clock ticking relentlessly in his head.  The longer it takes to carry off his mission (get the kid), the louder that clock ticks.  Ergo, what he requires and what he attacks is a child who appears to be:

  • Quiet
  • Shy
  • Inert (not moving)
  • Alone
  • Gullible (this one is hard to tell until the predator is allowed to converse with the child.  If he/she entertains a conversation, the chicken hawk is golden).

So, Kid Escape or CAT teaches kids to:

  • Be not so quite.
  • Be observant (let the miscreant know you see him)
  • Move around.
  • Be in a crowd, if possible, but, if not, be aware where others are and know whom to run to.

All that is well and good, but what are some things a child or teen can do if an adult gets too close?  Close enough to gran him or her?

That will be my next post.  Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

Super Secret Police Sh*t (SSPS)`e That Can Save Your Life

The title of my 2nd book.  SSPS are more than self-defense tips.  If you are committed to a safe life for you, your family, SSPS is a Habit of Life.  Maybe that is an oversimplification and maybe it is too vague, but in the next few posts, I thought we could chat about some of these secrets that a score of military, police, corrections, security and others have passed on to me over the last 30 or so years.  Things as a PPCT Instructor Trainer (IT), I have passed on to about a thousand officers and lay citizens at risk.

Let’s start with a brief safety and survival training axiom for your child(ren).  Specifically, “Raising Kids Who Can Protect Themselves.”  Now, this is serious.  Deadly serious, as a matter of fact.  Recently two precious girls were found slain by one devil sonofabitch along a hiking trail not far from home.  Their beautiful lifeless bodies a dual testament to the dangers lurking hidden within yards – sometimes feet – from our doorsteps.

I have no clue how they were raised or if their parents had incorporated some semblance of “survival awareness” in their upbringing.  But you can scroll through my posts on this blog site & read my articles on (parents) becoming their child’s safety coach.  Which I believe to be essential to inculcating a survival psyche in times when you cannot be with him/her/them.

A key survival strategy can be found in my Kid Escape Program.  In this program we teach children how to escape an d evade the typical child predator.

Stay tuned.  In the next two posts we swill chat about the exact skills you can teach your children in your safety coaching sessions at home how to:

  • Not be targeted by a child predator.
  • How to recognize a potential predator.
  • How to escape a predator if ever approached.
  • And, if “tagged” by a predator, how to easily escape his grasp.
  • Worse case scenarios:  How To escape from a car if abducted.
  • Last Ditch:  How to fight an adult bad guy, even if you are a child!

Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer


My fear is that there ain’t nothing that can save the world.  Thing is, I bet I am not alone in my fear.  I wager that most people are fearful.  Okay, maybe not the terrorists, who are united in their hatred for anyone in the world who do not ascribe to their way of living or their sick belief system.

So, here I go with my theory about de-escalation.  It is not only a training system (Management of Aggressive Behavior, Verbal Judo and my Advanced De-Escalation Technique System), but it can, or more, it must be, a belief system, maybe even a way of life, for all of us in law enforcement and the “helping” professions.

What I mean by this is (the way I see it) the public has their own perceptions about law enforcement.  So do law enforcement.  When our paths intersect, these two mindsets also collide.

By now you may know that I make a living training and certifying law enforcement.  Many confide in me that they often go into (hostile) neighborhoods with the genuine intent of being open, sincere and helping, but seconds after emerging from a cruiser, the person whom is in some sort of “shitstorm” of trouble or distress verbally attacks them, calls them names, and even rushes them in a way and in a manner that causes their emotions (Sympathetic Nervous System, or Flight or Fight) to spike up to the “Danger Zone (220 beats a minute or higher).”

“You play hell trying to de-escalate a dude or dudette with that kind of mentality,” one cop said to me.  “I swear, I do try.  But it is hell on earth.”

Which is why I am advocating again and again that law enforcement invest in de-escalation training.  Studies show that more than 10-percent of the population cannot be de-escalated.  This may be true, but in my point of view, de-escalation is not only about calming people and scenes, it is about being able to deal with aggression and verbal hostility in such a way and in such a manner that the officer and the civilian emerge from the interaction intact.

It is about being able to anticipate harsh and hostile attitudes and have a plan of action designed to intervene in the safest way.

It is about being able to Defuse Yourself First before managing the subject’s hostility.

It is about not taking predictable (verbal) attacks personal.  Being able to depreciate the verbal icon (“Screw you, you fu**ing moron!”).

It is about Eliminating Your Ego!  Ego, I think, is the most dangerous word in a cop’s vernacular.  Remember:  “The more ego an officer shows during a confrontation, the Less Power and Control He Can Exercise!

I have a book coming out.  The Most Unnatural Act of All -De-Escalation for Law Enforcement.

Until then, stay safe and, by all means, Stay Cool While Everyone Else Is Hot!  Read how to do that in future posts.

The Hammer


Reconsidering Terrorism

I have to admit, folks, you might not learn anything new, anything that will assuage your fears and concerns as you – like I – watch the Sunday morning news (I am watching CNN) covering another mass shooting at The Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida (in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016) today.

As of this moment (almost 11AM, Sunday) on a vainglorious Sunday morning in Pa., replete with slow floating cirrus clouds and a brilliant blue sky, more than 50 innocent men and women are so far dead with almost that many in local hospitals, some of whom will probably die from their wounds.  None of whom will escape the psychological wounds.

Only time will tell us what motivated this massacre.  To me, it matters little.  We pretty much know already that the shooter harboured hatred in his heart.  Be it hatred for gays (which many Islamic radicals believe to be an abomination, or just an expression of animus for others.

Who the hell knows?

What I do know is this has been the deadliest shooting in American history.  We do know that it was eerily similar to the terrorist attack on a theater in Paris where a large number of people were gathered in a confined space (ever hear of shooting fish in a barrel?).

We also know this was a “Soft Target.”  I have written for years about the active shooter and soft targets, many of which involved our schools, work places, malls, etc.

The scary thing is that, according to my law enforcement and intelligence “contacts,” we are in (what they call) the crest of anticipated attacks against more and more soft targets across our country.

I just learned this minute that the ammunition used by this miscreant is specifically designed to create as much pain and destruction (of the human body) as possible upon arrival.  When I heard that, I muttered to myself—



So, what can you do now and in the future to prepare to survive and/or escape such an attack.

Truth is, I have absolutely zero fricking clue as to what to do.  If I was in this club, I would have no more idea what to do and how to do it in order to come out of this in one piece.

ALL I can suggest at this point is to scroll back and peruse my posts on the active shooter, but, heck, think about it:

  • You are in a nightclub with loud music, surrounded by other humans.
  • Your mind and concentration is absorbed in the atmosphere.
  • Your mind is in a non-combative status.  Simply put….
  • Once the shooting starts, you automatically (this is how our brain works) will absorb the sounds into an assumption that is part of the entertainment.  It will take over 2-seconds to recognize danger, and, by then—
  • It is too late.

Until my next post where I will address how to respond to a tactical mindset, etc., please stay safe.

Sorry I could not be more helpful.

The Hammer

Mass Shooter In Your Church?

Just the other day I was conducting a Defusing Aggression Training for security staff at a local Baptist Church and was asked what I would  suggest for members of their Safe Team to do if some nut job (my words, not theirs.  They’re nice people) started charging the pulpit (and the pastor) in the middle of a service.  Since the question was raised in the context of several Baptist pastors getting blown out of their pulpits by mad men in the past few years, let’s assume the person charging the pulpit is either brandishing or unleashing many bullets from that firearm!

Outstanding question, considering the fact that every 2.9 months in the United States there is some sort of mass shooting. Not only that, Rage-Shootings in our churches are not uncommon. Worse, of all the places of worship in our country Baptist venues are the most popular targets of Rage-Attackers.  There are reasons for this, but that is not the theme of this post. I thought I would do my best to answer the question posed at my seminar.  You might be concerned about your family’s safety at your place of worship, or your school, maybe even your workplace.  In my opinion, all of these workplaces (church, schools, synagogues are also workplaces) are ripe targets for Workplace Violence, which is rampant in the U.S., and, by the way, wil be more rampant in coming years…but I digress…...


Since June 22, 1980 when a crazed zealot stood and shouted, “This is War!” in the First Baptist Church in Dangerfield, Texas (as the pastor was leading the congregation in a song about Jesus) and raked the packed pews with bullets, wounding 15 and killing 5, including the pastor (the first mass murder in a church in the U.S) , over 500 churchgoers and clergymen have been killed to date, 145 of them of the Baptist Faith. I mention all of this to establish that the concerns of my Baptist friends are certainly legitimate.

My answer to the query about what to do if a shooter charges the pulpit is whatever it is you do, it is probably too late.  I hope I’m wrong, of course, but the Rage-Shooters I study are just that – Rage Shooters! They may be driven by an opposing ideology that the pastor and/or church has attacked; They may be impelled by serious mental health issues; or a guest speaker at the offending church might represent an opposing religious view point that enrages.  All of which, to me, at least, means that, like the shooter in Dangerfield in 1980, they will, after maybe a brief pronouncement, attack the church and all the people within suddenly and with extreme violence.  Again, I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but—

Likely, he will charge the pulpit, but probably not before unleashing Hell on the congregation on his way to  the spiritual leader of the church.  Once it starts it may be too late to stop the shooting, but the best bet is to Be Proactive instead of Reactive.  That may be your best strategy.


  • Create a Safety Committee.
  • Initiate and Perfect a Safety Plan.
  • Make Creating a Safe Room(s) where parishioners can barricade themselves “safely” a priority.
  • Establish and Inform about Escape and Evasion Routes, etc.
  • Communicate with local authorities and solicit ideas and suggestions for dealing with an Active Shooter.
  • Identify  Possible Groups Hostile to your Beliefs.
  • Initiate and Conduct Safety Training for your Parishioners.
  • Training Should Educate, but also put parishioners through Dynamic Simulation or Realistic Scenario Training(s).
  • Stress Inoculation/Dynamic Simulation Training for Safe Team on how to respond to an Active Shooter event.
  • Reach out and help parishioners who are in crisis.
  • Police Sources who would likely respond to a shooting-crisis, or violence, should be invited to participate in Dynamic Simulation training.
  • Local EMS (Medical Emergency Responders) should also be contacted for suggestions and/or information regarding how and when they would respond, etc.

Churches should also be aware of their resources available to mitigate and minimize the possibility of a mass shooting in their facility.


  1. Your ushers could be your front line.  Ushers come in contact with almost, if not all, of your visitors.  Train these people to recognize Signatures of Danger – verbal and non-verbal signs of danger, as well as signs that a visitor could be carrying a concealed handgun, edged weapon, and/or shotgun/machine gun, etc.
  2. School ushers and others how to deescalate and/or defuse aggression and/or even violence.  Maybe teach ushers and others on self-defense and subject-control techniques, or at least escape and evasion.
  3. Train you safety team on how to disarm an active shooter.
  4. Do not forget to involve your local police authorities.  At least those that would likely be your first responder(s) in a shooting or other type of violent event.

In the next post let’s talk about Dynamic Simulation Training designed to prevent and/or actively respond to this type of violence.

Until then, stay safe.



I’m not going to sugar coat it, Dudes and Dudettes, any time you are attacked the bad guy has the advantage.  Something like a 97.6% chance of doing to you whatever it is that he set out to do.  Rob you, rape you, torture you, kill you.  Walk away from your body, indifferent to the blood seeping from damn near every orifice, pleas for mercy unheeded.  Well, excuse my English, but fuck that, we are going to turn the tables on that miscreant starting now.

Put briefly, these miscreants are almost always stronger, faster, meaner, more determined than you.  They are also cowards who are not looking for a (fair) fight, so they hedge their bets by choosing where and when they attack so that there are no witnesses (to come to your aide), very little room for you to escape and evade an attack, and, more importantly, at least 97% of the time, they first distract you to shatter the connection between your mind and your body, and, then, bang, they surprise you with a spontaneous attack!

You can not only survive this, but actually prevail – actually knock this thug out – by adopting The Hammer Survival Blueprint.

  • Never Be Surprised! Be aware of your surroundings; trust your gut instincts/they are always right/The Gift of Fear/be aware of people around you.
  • Anticipate! Once you observe someone or some thing that may endanger you, devise a plan of action.  ”If he does A, I will do B, etc.”
  • Breathe! Rocket oxygenated blood to your fighting brain!
  • Protect Your Space! If the miscreant cannot enter your Personal safety Zone (6′), he cannot harm you.  Do not cement yourself to the ground.  Move.  Maintain your PSZ!
  • Speak! Almost all victims say nothing as they are being stalked, confronted, and finally, attacked.  Look at the evil sumbitch (I know what you are doing, man) and tell him to stay back.  Believe it or not, verbalizing will liberate something from deep inside.  Verbalizing will minimize paralysis.
  • Use the Element of Surprise To Launch Your Attack! The Bad Guy has a fantasy script.  In that script you are quiet, you are immobile, you are frozen in fear (paralysis), you will not fight.  And, here is the thing:  The longer his fantasy script is allowed to go on, the more confident he becomes and the more dangerous (homicidal).
  • So, Fracture His Fantasy Script Immediately By moving, yelling and using surprise.  Use his Expectation Against Him.

In my next post, how to use the bad guy’s expectations against him?

Until Then, Stay safe and Be Volatile


COEDS AWAY AT COLLEGE – How To Protect Yourself

Here’s a fact.  Colleges are under fire.  Under deep scrutiny concerning their lack of interest in protecting their female student body from the almost epidemic sexual attacks from young men, on and off campus.  Witness the University of Virginia media accusations that, despite years of complaints by coeds – horror stories about gang rapes, groping, stalking and other criminal activities – the administration took no meaningful actions against even the most pernicious of assaults.

My point:  If you are a young woman attending a college, it is in your best interest to take positive steps toward protecting yourself against any and all types of sexual aggression.


First of all, if you are going to commit yourself to your personal safety on and off campus, you have to also Commit Yourself To a New and Specific (Warrior) Mentality. Why?   Because I firmly believe that successful self-defense is more about being willing to do whatever you have to than being able!


  • Understand that you are in a combat zone. In my mind, the critical first step in self-defense is to believe that the environment in which you must live is a “combat zone.”  Girls and women are viewed as targets by both male students and predators off-campus.  My research and interviews with students, teachers, etc., shows that well over 80% of women have experienced at least one variety of sexual aggression (stalking, uninvited groping, date-attacks, alcohol-related sexual aggression, etc) in their (highschool and) college careers.  Also, in my considerable experience in and with law enforcement there are hundreds of stories of men assaulting coeds who were enroute from class to dorm.  Several abductions and murders—
  • Adopt the Four-A System. I know this is old and trite wisdom, but, believe me, it is a life-saver.  Always BE AWARE, meaning aware of those around you, subtle changes in body language.  ASSESS what you see.  What do these things mean to your safety?  Trust your gut-instincts.  They are never wrong!  ANTICIPATE. Meaning you should always have a plan of action.  If this guy does this, I will do that.  ACTION. Meaning, always be prepared to take quick action when what you anticipated comes to reality.  Oh, yes, when I talk about Taking Action, I consider always reporting any kind of sexual or criminal assault as critical to campus safety.
  • PROFILE. You know, not everybody on or off campus is trying to stalk and assault you.  As a matter of fact, most are not interested in attacking you.  But, you see, campus sexual assault is a totally different entity. Young men and even young women are fascinated and interested in exploring sex.  Many coeds are away from home for maybe the first time and are exploring exciting adventures. Naivety and curiosity is a pretty nasty combination.  There will be keg parties.  Invitations that are hard to turn down to a freshman coed interested in being popular in a new setting.  Add this to an alarmingly liberal atmosphere set by college leaders, well, hell, it is almost like “Boys Will Be Boys.”  I am not advocating locking yourself in your room, leaving only to attend class.  What I am advocating is to use common sense when responding to an invitation to a “party,” entering a room, and getting the feeling that You Are The Keg Party! Having the courage to turn around and leave may be your linchpin to self-protection!

In My Next Post.  Professional Self-Defense & Personal Safety Techniques Designed To Stop “Boys Wanting To Just Be Boys.”

Until then, Stay Safe.



I am in agony.  And there is nothing I can do to ease the pain.
Over and over we read about violence against girls and women on or near our campuses.  This has been going on seemingly forever.  Not too long ago, Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old Virginia University student vanished from this placid community school in Charlottesville,  never to be seen again. Odds are she was abducted, tortured, raped, and mutilated by a monster who is suspected of another abduction and murder in 2009.

As terrible as this is, women students have been stalked, harassed, beleaguered, targeted, molested, raped and even killed by male students and male intruders for eons.  Attacked in their sleep, fondled in hallways, raped and murdered and I can find no evidence any school is focusing on these issues through training, security, and/or addressing these issues in public forums.

I will address self-defense for college women, on and off campus, in subsequent posts.

Until then, stay safe.



Much of this is from Lori Hartman Gervasi, the author of “Fight Like a Girl…and Win.”  I recommend this book to any woman, girl, boy or man who is interested in staying safe in this dangerous world.  Before I picked up this book, however, I was teaching the concept of adopting a a Survival Psyche, or Mentally Conditioned (Tough) Attitude in my SD For Women classes and, as a matter of fact, to many of my safety and survival classes designed for (mostly) male police, corrections, security and probation and parole personnel.

Several officers over the years have told me that this warrior mentality helped them prevail during dangerous confrontation with bad guys.

According to Gervasi, in self-defense, each of our five senses is important, but what we do with our eyes is absolutely crucial.  Take cats, for example.  Cats are easily among the best fighters in the animal kingdom.  They snap their heads to spot their foes.  They move and they size up their foe,  They silkily move forward, watching their enemy, reading him, reacting to him lightning quick.  The cat never takes his eyes off the foe, ejecting his claws—

Cats have forever known that “the fight is in their eyes.”

How does this relate to you and self-defense?  Simply put, you (we all do) are harboring this beast inside you.  And this beast, or animal, is waiting for you to call him forth and to set him upon your enemy.  Meaning, when you are attacked, like the women I spoke about in my last two posts, you can freeze, fail to breathe out of stark fear, or you can get angry and summon that beast now to give to the strength and power to fight for your life.

Or, you can summon that animal now! Now when you are not in danger.  Which to me is what self defense is all about.  Summon that animal and put it in your eyes!

Get that “fight” in your eyes so you can “Mad Dog” each and every man you see.  This from Gervasi’s self-defense instructor, who went on to describe mad-dogging as staring into someone’s eyes in a deliberate way and then holding on for a bit.  The message mad-dogging sends is:  “I see you.  I see you plain and clear.  I will remember you and I will pick you out of a lineup if I have to.  You stay right where you are and do not move because I am watching you.  I don’t particularly like what I see, man, but make no mistake, I do see you.”

I have no doubt this strategy works.  Not only will it work, it will change everything.  Combined with great (confident) posture, a sure-footed, striding walk (again, think “cat”), and an overall awareness of your environment, mad-dogging will zing the predator considering you as a victim to back-off, probably choose another victim.

If your bad guy is one of those rare 1-percenters (bonafide, real killer bad guy), who will take the look in your eyes and your confident posture as a challenge, now this is when you must explode into action.  You must have and act upon a Survival Plan of Action. More on that in a future post.

Next post.  Staying Out of Jail.  Legal Parameters to self-defense.

Until then, stay safe.