Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The warrior inside you: Protect yourself from knife attacks

This post takes a detour from virtual security to physical security. I raise this issue because here in America we are not well acquainted with small-scale terrorist attacks—the type of attacks that Israelis are well-versed in combating.

A couple years ago, I heard Dr. Robbie Friedmann speak about the types of terrorist attacks that we can expect to see more of. He specifically mentioned knife attacks, whereby an aggressor appears in a public location like a city sidewalk and suddenly wields a knife, stabbing at any human being within reach.

Because we've seen more of these lately, including this week's London Bridge attack, I reached out to women's self-defense and security expert Celia Cortes, founder and CEO of Seva 6 Security Consulting.

When I asked Celia how we can defend ourselves in a situation like this—one with no escape route—she advised that going on the offensive may the best way to save lives. Most importantly, the decision whether to act offensively or defensively must be made quickly:
"A knife is more dangerous than a gun. You have to decide if you want to attack offensively or protect yourself defensively. 
If the attacker is upon you, you have no choice but to burst in and attack offensively. That means going after the knife. Or at the very least the arm that is holding the knife and doing your all to control the weapon and/or disarm the guy. If you are with other people, one should go for the knife, the other should go for the legs. A group of people can easily overpower an attacker but they have to overcome the fear of being cut. Cut is better than killed. 
It happens so very fast, so there is no time to hesitate. 
Here's hoping you never have to deal with it but if you ever do, call on the warrior inside you and protect your life."
In other words, should an attack like this occur, act immediately. If others are present, work together against the attacker. There is power in numbers. For me, that means summoning up the courage of 9/11 hero Todd Beamer, who famously motivated other passengers on Flight 93 to take down their attackers when he said, "Let's roll!"

Some may disagree with how Celia or I would respond in this situation, and how you react will depend upon the totality of the circumstances and your presence of mind in the moment.