Part Five of our ongoing series.
IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT: DEALING WITH THE STRESS OF BEING A VICTIM
If your attempt to be inconspicuous is unsuccessful, your defensive tactics aren't a good idea and you find yourself naked on the side of the road with a bunch of bad guys, here are some tips that were passed down from folks who have succeeded in getting away from the NarcoTerror boys.
. LIGHTEN UP ON YOURSELF. You have the right to a reasonable expectation of personal security no matter where in the world you are located. Your rights have been violated and you were savagely captured by bad guys who have no redeeming social value. Now is the time to settle down and consider your new situation and possible options.
. Be creative with health issues. Show them your surgical scars, your diabetes meds, (consider getting some meds whether you really need them or not... your doctor may have some ideas) anything that may make them decide you are more trouble than you may be worth to them... even if you have to make stuff up. Lie to them, please. Be creative in subtle ways to slow the column of marchers throughout the journey. Fake a bad ankle and make them go steal a mule/burro/horse off some poor farmer to transport you. Always be alert to opportunities to escape safely from the NarcoTraficantes' area. Always go downhill when you escape... find a stream, then a river, always go downstream until you find a road or other signs of civilization. Sometimes it's a good idea to hide in the day, travel at night... but, be aware that traveling at night can be dangerous in the jungle/woods/mountains... not recommended for those with poor night vision.
. Make certain that they understand that you have no living relatives or flush employer to ransom you. This is key. If they took you from your work compound, a helicopter they shot down. etc THAT'S going to be a tough sell. If you carry family/love interest photos... unless you can convince the NarcoTraficantes that the folks in the photos are dead, it's REALLY not easy. OPTIMALLY, PLAN TO TRY TO APPEAR TO BE AN IMPOVERISHED, ANTISOCIAL, SOLITARY ORPHAN BACKPACKER, STUDENT OR TEACHER.
. One of the best ways to escape is to fake an illness that they can't treat you for locally. Several victims have gotten away from relaxed security in a town with a doctor under NarcoTerrorist control. Some research on symptoms prior to your trip may be a good idea. It is not very easy to fake out the medical person most NarcoTerror bands usually have.
. If you appear to be such a hi-value prize that they can't afford to give you up except for a big payoff... none of the above will be very helpful... but do it anyway. Everyone lets a competitor have an advantage by making an error... especially the NarcoTraficantes. Many of the individual groups include young people who don't like what they are doing... many were pressed into service during raids on their village. But, you most often will have to be creative and make up a good story to create your own opportunities.
. MOST IMPORTANT: FORGIVE YOURSELF for being captive and unable to meet your obligations. When Ingrid Betancourt was rescued from FARC forces in Colombia, she told debriefing officers that she had more problems related to the mental stress from feeling she had let down her family, friends and associates by becoming a captive than the physical stress. Even though she understood that she was a captive through no fault of her own, she had a difficult struggle overcoming her guilt. She and other captives have reported that self forgiveness is the most important key to survival in a long term captivity... seven years, in her case.
. WHAT SURVIVAL TYPE ARE YOU? Survivors of violent events have been studied extensively. Their faith in God, family and friends seems to head the list of essentials for survival, and survivors were successful at “rewiring” their attitudes to adapt to harsh... even inhumane... circumstances. And, they survived, while many others failed to adjust and survive.
The TYPES of SURVIVOR are as follows: fighter, thinker, realist, connector and believer. It is important that each reader think about and analyze their feelings about each of these approaches to survival, come up with their own definitions of what each type is like, decide which type each reader is, and start thinking about “what if...?” scenarios for their particular circumstances. IF YOU THINK THE UNTHINKABLE AND DEVISE PLANS TO SURVIVE, WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE OCCURS, YOU WILL MAKE THE CORRECT CHOICES OF AUTOMATICALLY. This is important, because people have failed to survive because they refused to think about the unthinkable, and their brains froze, they acted thoughtlessly, or they reacted without thinking clearly through all the possible ramifications of their actions. Sounds like crisis government, no?
. A WORD ABOUT MARTIAL ARTS: A surprise attacker with a knife in his hand coming from behind has the equivalent of a 900th degree black belt. Real world fights do not occur as they do in the dojo or boxing ring. Those who have as many knife scars as I have and are still walking around can attest to that.
Anyone with knife scars and bullet wound scars is NOT proud of their scars... they know that each scar is a visible reminder of a personal failure to avoid a life-threatening event. I acquired the knife scars on my arms as a dumb teenager living on the Texas border and getting caught in avoidable confrontations while being in places where I shouldn't have been... both in Texas and Mexico. As I got a bit smarter and more aware of my sometimes dangerous surroundings, I started getting knife scars on my legs... having learned that distance is the best defense with an over-medicated knife fighter. When I finally wised up and started avoiding bad places, I got fewer and fewer scars.
I have had no formal martial arts training except the small amount standard in armed forces boot camp. Those of you who are interested in martial arts, please be certain that you make a serious commitment to always stay in peak physical condition. IF YOU CANNOT FIGHT FOR 2+ MINUTES, NO AMOUNT OF TRAINING WILL SUFFICE. It has been my experience that none but those dedicated to their physical conditioning can maintain an aggressive fight for two minutes. If you are proud of your elite status as King of the Dojo, check out the free video series on real-life street defense at AttackProof.
Note: Attitude and fitness are the key to prevailing in confrontations. Attitude will also improve as fitness improves. in addition to KCT mentioned above, check out Yau Kung Mun for more information on a traditional martial art that can assist you. Also, I have found that Target Focus Training (TFT) provides great resources that can be added to a traditional martial artist’s toolbox.