Target Selection and Approach



This unfortunate event illustrates a couple of points:

Selection. Prior to the event and unbeknownst to the young woman in the video, her attacker was making a decision whether or not to proceed. Some factors can be controlled while others cannot. She’s tiny at ~85lbs.! She can’t make herself a 300lb. man covered in biker tattoos and scars. Instead, she looks small and easily overpowered. She can appear alert and aware of her surroundings. Will that prevent an attack? I’m convinced that outward demeanor can deter attack, but also know it is not a 100% solution. In this case, the woman had an unconcealed firearm, but it was either not observed or disregarded. Maybe an attacker just can’t be dissuaded. In any case, the argument to deter when possible is solid.

Approach. A predator wants to gain proximity before revealing intent. That’s why they’ll use some innocuous ruse to engage in conversation and close distance. Watch any predator in the wild. They’ll get as close as they can before they spring their attack. One advantage the human predator has is that it can (often convincingly) portray itself as a “good guy”. Maintain your personal space. That will vary according to conditions. If you are alone at night, challenge any entry into your personal space. No cigarettes. No donations. No directions to the pet hospital. Will that stop the predator? Don’t count on it. But if they advance against your instruction, you’ve forced them to reveal their true identity and while you still have time and space to take appropriate action. “Good guys” are perfectly willing to ask a question from a safe distance and unlikely to intrude on personal space in a non-public area in the first place.

Equalizer. This woman demonstrated that she could defend herself against a much larger, armed attacker. Size and strength disparity is not insignificant particularly at close range. However, what would be an overwhelming advantage against a weaker, unarmed defender became inadequate against the victims’ effective use of a firearm. I respect the decision of each individual in regard to whether to carry a weapon and if so, what type. However, it would be immoral not to identify the single factor that most impacted the outcome of the attack in question.

For purposes of discussion, I’ve accepted the version of events as presented. That might not be accurate. In fact, I have a few questions. Did the location make sense as an attack site? Advance identification of an ideal location for a crime helps in avoidance or at least heightened vigilance. Along those lines, did the attack take place in the presence of witnesses? How was the attacker able to approach the victim from behind? Did she turn her back? In any case, I’m not investigating the case or second guessing the participants. It is interesting to note familiar patterns though.