Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Few Words on Kidnapping

This morning, I saw the following headline on a local news site: Woman robbed at gunpoint in Kapiolani Park, suspect still on loose. Reading further I saw that the story was a bit more complicated than a mere robbery.
The victim reportedly parked near the tennis courts when a man suddenly entered her passenger door, pointed a gun at her, and made her drive around the park…. The suspect made her stop at the exercise equipment and ran off with several of her belongings.
That sounds an awful lot like kidnapping. According to,
Under federal and state law, kidnapping is commonly defined as the taking of a person from one place to another against his or her will, or the confining of a person to a controlled space.
All things considered, the woman who was robbed was very fortunate. It could have gone much worse. The robber could have been a sexual predator.

Everyone has to make their own choices, but based on my research the best options (especially for women) when faced with a potential kidnapping situation are escaping or resisting. The chances of being raped and/or murdered are just too great. To quote neuroscientist Sam Harris, a man who knows a fair bit about self-defense issues, "Anyone who attempts to control you—by moving you to another room, putting you in a car, tying you up—probably intends to kill you (or worse)."

Or consider these words from very respected self-defense expert Marc "Animal" MacYoung:

Basically many people comply to the demands of the criminal believing it will convince the criminal to spare them. While this can be the case–especially in a business robbery —generally estimated number of rapes and/or murders of adults who allow themselves to be moved to secondary locations is about 90 to 95 percent depending on who you ask.

Again, the situation at Kapiolani Park obviously was an exception to the above, but that's why I said I consider the victim to be fortunate.

Some people are no doubt thinking, "But what if the kidnapper pulls a gun?" I found this on a site dedicated to women's and children's safety, and it coincides with my own research:
J. J. Bittenbinder, a Chicago police detective and author of Tough Target, quotes Department of Justice figures showing only a 12 percent chance an abductor will pull the trigger in a populated area, a 6 percent chance of actually hitting you, and only a 3 percent chance of that bullet being fatal (shooting distance undetermined). Moreover, think about it, if he’s willing to shoot you there, he’s willing to do even worse harm elsewhere.
I think that makes quite a bit of sense, especially the part about "a 6 percent chance of actually hitting you." Trust me, hitting a moving target with a handgun isn't easy. (Remember... serpentine!) UPDATE: Or don't serpentine. It might not be as effective as previously believed.

It's important to stress I'm not telling anyone they MUST flee or resist an armed kidnapping attempt. That's a choice each individual has to make. The woman at Kapiolani Park chose to comply and came out fine. However, it's also important to realize how lucky she was, and how much worse things could have been.

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