Sunday, March 13, 2005

Excellent self defense story

If self defense is about anything it's expanding a person's options and a certain sort of power. So my wife and I tend to offer possibilities instead of prescriptions and to teach simple tools that are easy to use rather than complex techniques that have to be done precisely in order to work.

There are a few times when you just have to say "Do this" or "Don't do that". One of them involves secondary crime scenes. We tell our students "No matter what they should never allow a criminal to transport you somewhere else or to restrain you. Run like hell. Fight like you were fighting for your life and have nothing to lose. If he's going to do something to you make sure it's out in public where everyone can see. Whatever you do, don't get in that car or let him tie you up. Everything goes downhill from there and the best case scenarios involve incolve rape, robbery and serious injury."

This was reinforced today when Brian Nichols was captured. Mr. Nichols seems to have had a busy day. He is alleged to have beaten a sheriff's deputy nearly to death, stolen her gun, and shot and killed another deputy, a court reporter and the judge in an Atlanta courtroom where he was on trial for rape. If the reports are true he stole several vehicles, murdered a customs agent, kidnapped a woman, and severely beat her boyfriend before being captured by police. A dangerous man indeed.

One person involved in all this stands out for making an excellent assessment of the situation and taking nearly perfect action to protect himself.

The authorities said that among the vehicles Mr. Nichols was thought to have commandeered were a tow truck and a green Honda. The Honda was believed to belong to a reporter for The Atlanta Journal -Constitution, Don O'Briant, who was attacked by an armed carjacker.

"I wanted a new car, but this isn't the way I wanted to get it," Mr. O
Briant said at a news conference.

Mr. O'Briant, who has a broken wrist and needed stitches for injures to his face, wrote in the newspaper's Web edition that he was parking his car to report to work when a shirtless man barged into his car and pointed a gun at him.

"He said, 'Give me your keys or I'll kill you!' " Mr. O'Briant wrote. "I
gave him the keys, and then he said, 'Get in the trunk.'"

"I said no. I thought maybe I was going to be killed, but I wasn't going to get in the trunk," he wrote. "I turned to run, and that's when he hit me in the head with his gun. I fell down, and I got up and ran into a garbage bin. I got up again and ran. I scrambled into the street, waiting for the shots to come, but they didn't come. He must have been out of bullets, because he didn't shoot me."
Mr. O'Briant did a number of very good things. He wasn't willing to risk his life for property. He gave his attacker the keys. But he understood that his chances would only get worse if he went along after that. He decided what to do and wouldn't let anything, even pistol-whipping, get in his way. Maybe he did get shot at. He probably wouldn't have heard an artillery barrage if it were going to distract him from running.

Anyhow, a great job on the part of Don O'Briant. He got away with only minor injuries from an armed (alleged) mass murderer.

"And you won't even get kissed..." AIM terms of service

I use a few Instant Messenger programs. For the most part, unless it's my own server I assume that the hosting company is doing something mildly nefarious with whatever gets sent. But I don't worry about it. The Terms of Service usually aren't too bad. AOL's latest addition to their TOS has gone completely around the bend. Go a little less than halfway down the page for the kicker:

Content You Post
You may only post Content that you created or which the owner of the Content has given you. You may not post or distribute Content that is illegal or that violates these Terms of Service. By posting or submitting Content on any AIM Product, you represent and warrant that (i) you own all the rights to this Content or are authorized to use and distribute this Content on the AIM Product and (ii) this Content does not and will not infringe any copyright or any other third-party right nor violate any applicable law or regulation.
Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

Think about that for a moment. You still technically own your content, but by sending it via AIM you have irrevocably given up all rights to it and any hope of privacy. There are alternatives. Yahoo and MSN's agreements are models of reasonableness and restraint, at least in comparison. The Jabber protocols are open, flexible and proven. There are even installations running free Jabber servers. Big names like Boeing and the US Joint Forces Command use the commercial version of the software.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

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