The following originally appeared at limatunesrangediary.blogspot.com and is reprinted here with permission. (h/t Eric)

A few weeks ago I saw this story on my Facebook feed. A woman, Angela Champagne-From, was assaulted in a Minneapolis parking garage. A man put a knife to her neck and told her to get in a car with him. She had no way of knowing he was a serial sexual predator. She chose to fight him. She used techniques she learned in a self defense class to defend herself and got stabbed in the process. Her attacker was later caught and she has since made it her mission to encourage more women to fight back . . .

The story is an amazing one and I encourage you to read it. But the lessons are so vast I couldn’t help but reiterate them in this blog post. I was so inspired to learn all I could from her story I sought out further information and news reports that led me to her contact information. Angela agreed to talk to me and I had an hour and a half long phone conversation regarding the incident, her mindset, self defense and the like. She is an amazing woman and I hope one day to shake her hand and tell her in person how much I admire her spirit.

I am, in no way, condemning any of Angela’s actions. She knows this and I want you to know it, too. She did what she could and she survived. She also uses her experience to empower others. She is a strong woman! But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn more from her experience to help prepare ourselves.

As I read her story and spoke with her the lessons kept rearing their heads and I found myself grouping them into categories. Though the incident itself was fluid it was not hard at all to breakdown into what could be considered the categories of any self defense situation.

The Mindset
Mindset is a huge bite to chew in a short blog post. A fighting mindset encompasses a variety of things including the awareness that bad things happen and can happen to you, the seeking of defensive training, the willingness to use that training in the time of need against your fellow man and the fortitude to continue training, preparing even through the lull of everyday life and variations therein.

When it comes to self defense most people fall into one of a few categories:

  • Unaware and unprepared.
  • Aware and unprepared.
  • Aware and marginally prepared.
  • Aware and prepared.

The problem with being aware and marginally prepared is that a lot of people don’t know how much they don’t know. They will take a self defense class, carry a defensive tool and believe themselves prepared. While they are better prepared than someone who has neither of those things there may be things lacking from their training. Most people will never need the defensive training they take and many are okay with that. Taking additional training becomes a balance between risk, reward, finances and time. But in the time of need the training they are lacking can become evident.

When I spoke to Angela on the phone I asked her about the details of the self defense class she took and why she took it. She kind of laughed. It was a high school class that spanned over the course of a semester and she thought it would be an easy A. She didn’t take any further self defense classes after high school but was aware that bad things happened. It wasn’t something she worried about but she knew it could happen.

That self defense class, though taken casually, had a huge impact on Angela’s mindset. She said had she been attacked as a teen she wasn’t sure she would have the fortitude to fight back but after graduating from high school (and subsequently that self defense class) she developed stronger boundaries and was more sure of herself. She had more confidence and more will to stand up for herself.

The inside of Angela's car courtesy limatunesrangediary.blogspot.com

That mindset did not protect her from being attacked. It only helped her make the decision to fight once the attack happened.

Even with that fighting mindset she was taken by surprise. Rushing from work to school she was emailing her boyfriend when she walked into the parking garage. She threw her bags in her car and was about to get in herself when she felt something at her neck. Thinking it was a joke she reached up and grabbed at the item and cut her hand on the knife. At that moment she knew it was no joke and immediately began to kick and scream and fight. Her attacker then stabbed her in the abdomen.

Jeff Cooper’s color codes of awareness are as follows:
White: Unaware and unprepared.
Yellow: Aware and alert for potential danger.
Orange: Alerted to a specific, potential threat.
Red: Threat identified.
Black or Triggers: A fight is imminent unless circumstances change.

No matter what self defense blog you read or website you go on you will be bombarded with the reminder to live your life in condition yellow. To be alert and aware and to keep your head on a swivel. People are so passionate about condition yellow that I’ve even seen bracelets marketed to women with beads to remind them to be in condition yellow.

It’s said that one can operate in condition yellow as long as he or she is conscious. I believe that to be more of a goal than an actual accomplishment. I don’t care how aware you think you are, if you are honest with yourself you will admit that you slip into condition white from time to time. Whether it’s an unexpected phone call, trying to remember when your kids next pediatrician appointment is or looking at the legs of the hot chick who just walked by you will occasionally find yourself slipping into condition white. Maybe you’ve gotten so comfortable in your routine that you live in condition white.

I will not criticize anyone who gets taken by surprise in an attack. Angela shared with me that she was sent a note telling her that if she hadn’t been on her phone she probably wouldn’t have gotten attacked. First, that couldn’t be known. And that kind of blame shifting irritates me to no end. Checking your email does not mean you deserve a knife in your belly. Yes, you should be aware and alert but if you aren’t and are caught by surprise that does not make you culpable.

That being said, of course one should try to remain aware or in that condition yellow. Look up and around. Be aware of who is near you and what is going on. And don’t be in denial.

Angela had a brief moment of denial that what was happening was real.

A few weeks ago, Greg Ellifritz posted an article by Marc MacYoung titled Best Way to Get Attacked. One of the points was “Don’t Deny It’s Happening.”

Violence is a rarity. Many people can go their entire lives without ever having been involved in a physical fight. …
People from lifestyles where violence is common immediately recognize when it is happening and react accordingly. All other priorities fall away. 

Whereas people for whom violence ‘doesn’t happen’ or they haven’t been in a physical conflict since they were kids, there is huge denial factor.

She was initially surprised by the attack but she soon recognized it for what it was and then adjusted accordingly. She set her boundaries by determining she was not going to get into a car with him and she acted on the training she had received. She had a mindset to fight. And fight she did.

The Pre-Attack
There are no details of the pre-attack in the article posted. When I spoke to Angela and asked her if she was aware of her attacker before the knife she said that she may or may not have seen him but if she did he did not register as a threat and she doesn’t remember alerting to him.

Her first real indication that there was any threat was him putting the knife to her throat.

Because she did not see him we have no knowledge of pre-fight indicators in her case.

We don’t know how he approached her or what his demeanor was like. We know that a man with a knife can often cover a quite a bit of space before an average individual with a gun can draw and fire and so we can’t get too high and mighty about him being able to close distance and get a knife to her throat. However, we can’t help but wonder what went on between her entering that parking garage and a knife being pressed to her throat.

If she had seen him approaching could she have been made aware an attack was imminent through pre-fight indicators? Would he have asked a question? Would her guard have been down because he was dressed nicely and it was the middle of the day? Would she have gotten a gut feeling that something was off? Would she have seen something in his hand? Perhaps his hands would have been hidden? What, if any, pre-fight indicators would he have been displaying?

Of course we can only speculate in this case because we don’t know but we can be aware that pre-fight indicators exist and we should be aware of them. We should listen to our gut and watch for hands and weapons and not let our guard down for a nice suit.

Again, this isn’t to shift blame onto Angela, but to learn from her experience.

There are not as many resources on pre-fight or pre-attack indicators as you’d think. Because I don’t have a lot of experience with pre-fight/attack indicators, I did some searching and this is one article I found: Police One: Pre Attack Indicators: Conscious Recognition of Telegraphed Cues 

I plan to do more research into pre-fight/attack indicators in the future.

The Attack
Angela’s attacker put a knife to her throat and said, “We’re going for a ride.”

Angela made a bold decision. With a knife to her throat she chose to fight. She wasn’t some sort of martial arts master. She took a self defense class and she chose to use what she had learned. She set a boundary that she wasn’t going to cross and she fought. It was that simple.

It did not, however, mean that she was going to get out unscathed.

 

I’d like to point out that many people have different opinions on what it means to be victorious or to win in self defense. Some think that you only win if you walk away unscathed with a dead bad guy at your feet. I believe that kind of mindset sets one up for failure–if not personally than legally.

I prefer to follow the examples of Rory Miller who said,

It is better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed.

Self defense is a lose/lose situation. Even if you win, you’ve lost. You have been attacked or victimized in some way. All of your attempts at avoidance, evasion and deescalation have failed. You’ve already lost your battle to some level and now the goal is to lose less and survive. Maybe you’ll lose your wallet, some blood or a little pride. Accept that loss so that you do not get hung up on it.

People who get hung up on that loss die over their car or the twenty dollars in their wallets or their pride over something someone said about their girlfriend or mother. Maybe they die cowering in the back of a van because they were afraid they’d get hurt if they fought and it was better to just “go along” with it than possibly lose a little in a hand-to-hand fight. Yes, there may be a time to feign compliance but those are decisions you have to make in the moment. Don’t get hung up on what you might lose lest you lose your life.

And, no, that doesn’t mean you should think getting hurt or losing is no big deal. I have often heard people say, “Expect to get cut” (or hurt) in a fight. Yes, have a realistic viewpoint of what a fight for your life might be but don’t accept it to the point where you don’t work to defend against it or think it no big thing. Acknowledge that it can happen, defend against it as best you can, but don’t stop fighting because you weren’t able to prevent it.

Angela reached up and grabbed the knife at her throat and immediately cut her thumb. She could have defeated herself and given up at that moment and thought, “I’m cut. It’s over. I lost.” She didn’t. She accepted that she lost a little but was determined to accept that loss in favor of saving her own life.

She fought!

The article says, “she stomped his feet, clawed at his face, bit his hand and jabbed at his crotch, kicking and screaming.”

In the end she gained her life and her attacker walked away with the words, “You’re lucky you’re a fighter!”

What an amazing testament to her, her mindset and her effort! She didn’t kill him. She didn’t beat him. She did not overpower him and keep him from hurting her. While she inflicted at least some injuries to him there is no indication that they were anything severe or life-threatening. But she kept him from taking her and from killing her. She lost the battle but won the war for her life! That is self defense at its finest!

I asked her if at any time she felt that compliance was the better option. She said no. She told me that despite the injury her actions ultimately led to his capture and conviction and stopped him from attacking anyone else. Yes, she was injured but she stopped him and therefore it was worth it.

The Defensive Weapon
It bears mentioning that Angela had a self defense tool. She had pepper spray. She said that it was in the zipper pouch in her purse and she tried to get to it during the fight.

A self defense tool is only as good as your access to it and its state of readiness. If we know this we don’t always practice it. Sometimes we think just having the tool means we will be able to use it in a time of need. We are often unaware that getting to a defensive tool can sometimes be the hardest part of a fight.

I don’t care how many times you’ve practiced grabbing that little canister of spray out of your purse while you are comfortably standing in your living room or how many times you practiced getting that gun out of your bag or racking a round into an empty chamber.

When you’re rolling around with a knife buried in your belly the situation changes quite a bit. The ability to use your self defense tool will directly relate to how accessible it is (i.e. on your body in an accessible location) and its state of readiness (loaded and ready to fire). If you cannot, for whatever reason (attire, personal preference, vocation, local legalities) have a weapon accessible and ready than you must accept the fact that you may not be able to use it and must plan accordingly.

I don’t know how long she fought to get into her bag for her pepper spray. The fight lasted about three minutes from start to finish. That’s a very long time in a fight. At some point it became clear to her that her pepper spray was not a viable option. I’m sure if the situation changed so that she could have used her pepper spray she would have used it.

Many people use the excuse of “well, I carry a gun (knife, pepper spray, taser, etc) everywhere I go” as an excuse as to why they will not take hand-to-hand training or train with other defensive systems. There may very well be a time when that tool is not available.

Angela had some hand-to-hand training. She used what she had and it may have saved her life. If you carry a self defense tool, have it accessible and have it ready to use but also be prepared for the possibility that that tool may not be available, or functioning.

If you choose to carry a defensive tool, get training with it. Run some scenarios with a trainer and a willing partner. Be realistic about its access and state of readiness and have a backup for it it’s not available.

The Call 
What stirred me to search out more information on Angela’s story was the 911 tape. I wanted to hear it.

I found it in a radio interview with Angela and was shocked and enraged at what I heard.

Angela pleads for help and the dispatcher asks her where she is located. Angela tells the dispatcher and the dispatcher says, “I don’t know where that is.”

At that moment Angela ran. She was already starting to get a little delirious with blood loss but felt she needed to find help and that staying where she was would mean her death.

The toll booth at the bottom of the parking ramp where Angela collapsed courtesy limatunesrangediary.blogspot.com

She was attacked on the fourth level of a parking garage. Throughout the call you can hear Angela running down the ramp and giving the dispatcher her location and pleading for help. The dispatcher keeps saying she doesn’t know where that is and doesn’t know where to send help. At the end of the call you hear Angela speaking to someone else. She’d reached the bottom of the parking ramp and was speaking to the person in the toll booth. The dispatcher says, “I’m disconnecting now,” and disconnects the call.

It was later discovered that a separate 911 call from someone else at the scene was what actually got responders moving. Even so she found out later that the ambulance drove right past her and had to double back. Had she stayed where she was and relied solely on her 911 call she probably would have died.

Be aware that while we have an amazing system of response it is not infallible. In this area the difference between saying 3rd avenue and 3rd street could be the difference between the north side of town and the south. Even if your phone is equipped with GPS the call center you are calling into may not have the capability of accessing that information.

Even if dispatched to the correct location road blocks, construction, street set up and so much more can complicate responders reaching you in a timely fashion.

Take stock of where you are and be prepared to have an address be the first thing you say when connected with 911 operators. At least you got that out there. Whether or not the responders know what to do with that information is entirely on them.

Which brings me to my next point.

The Injury

stab

Angela was lucky to survive that attack. Through the course of the fight she was cut in the hand and stabbed in the abdomen. She lost so much blood at the scene that a homicide unit was called to take pictures. She lost half of her blood volume. Most of it pooled in her abdomen due to internal bleeding. It is amazing that she survived.

The attack ended at 4:03 in the afternoon (according to time stamps on surveillance footage). She was rolled into the emergency room at 4:28.

Many people who are interested in self defense do not carry medical supplies. They operate under the assumption that in the unlikely event they will get attacked they will not only survive but if they suffer injuries the injuries will not be sufficient to kill them. Most people who run scenarios through their heads never postulate that they may be injured and if presented with a scenario that begins with an injury they often have no response or admit not having a good option.

A deep abdominal puncture wound like Angela’s would be hard to treat outside of the hospital. You can’t just put on a tourniquet and wait for paramedics. Applying a dressing on the top of the wound might be sufficient to keep some of the blood inside the body but the internal bleeding would continue. I searched high and low for advice on how to treat such a deep abdominal puncture wound and while one trauma doctor said he would not hesitate to try to pack the wound with something like QuikClot combat gauze, without being able to see the injured blood vessel it would likely not be as effective. Others I talked to reaffirmed his statement.

She needed surgery or she would have died. As it was it is a miracle she survived. But not all wounds are as severe as hers. And even if they are severe, many otherwise fatal wounds can be sufficiently treated outside of the hospital temporarily.

Do you have the skills and supplies to treat such wounds?

If not, why not?

If your interests really are in saving your own life, learn how to save a life. Get medical training and carry the equipment with you. You may not be able to treat everything but what you may be able to treat may save your life or the life of someone you love.

I asked Angela if she was aware of how severe her injury was. She said no. She said she knew she’d been stabbed only because she felt a warm sensation in her abdomen but did not know the extent of the injury and there was no pain. She was able to function and fight even while losing so much blood. While that should encourage us to fight even when injured be aware that the same is true of your attacker.

It’s often said that stab wounds don’t hurt. They feel like punches and many times people do not know they’ve been stabbed until they see blood. The pain does not come until later and even with severe injuries the ability to fight is not necessarily hindered. If you use a knife for self defense know how to target areas that will incapacitate not just cause pain or bleed. Get defensive knife training.

Fitness
Yes, fitness.

Take a look around at the fitness levels of people around you. Maybe even take a look in the mirror. We Americans are chronically out of shape and overweight. Middle-age and bigbellied has almost become the cliche image of gun totters. Many even cite the fact that they carry a gun as an excuse as to why they don’t get in shape.

Angela fought for roughly three minutes (an eternity in a fight). She was stabbed and while bleeding internally she ran down four flights of a parking garage to help.

Many Americans would not have the physical stamina to make it through half of that.

I didn’t have to ask Angela about her fitness level. She brought it up all on her own. She told me she was a runner and took her fitness seriously. She told me that she strongly believes her level of fitness helped her fight, survive and recover from her injury.

Take your fitness seriously. Stop making excuses. If you have a previous injury or ailment, acknowledge it but do what you can to improve the fighting condition of your body. Get out there and strength train, endurance train, it may very well be the difference between life and death.

The Conclusion
Angela’s story is an amazing example to those of us in the self defense community. Her strength and determination to fight are inspiring. Take inspiration from her but also learn from her.

Be aware. Be aware of your surroundings and those around you. Be aware of pre-fight indicators.

If you carry a defensive tool train with it. Have it accessible, ready to use and in good working order.

If your defensive tool is not available or not functioning be prepared to fight without it.

Be prepared to give an exact location to responders but don’t rely solely on that to save you. Run, move, treat, seek alternative sources of help at the scene.

Have the skills and tools to treat injuries to yourself and others.

Be fit enough to fight.

Fight!

Fight and survive!

A special thanks to Angela for her willingness to speak with me and share her story and pictures with me. Thank you for the inspiration!

Angela’s mission is to inspire women to fight. Check out her Facebook page at Angela’s Story: Fight Like a Girl.

_________________________________

You can follow Lima on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Limalife.

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46 Responses to Personal Defense Tip: Fight Like a Girl

  1. I feel much less confident that my gun is enough. I was just thinking about the 21 foot rule last night. I certainly don’t have the skills to treat a deep knife wound.

    • You don’t have to treat the wound. JUST STOP THE BLEEDING AND GET TO EMERG ROOM. Carry Quikclot in your car first aid kit. Most important – never ever give up. I once ran (well walked some too) a 50 mile race when I was 20. Id been running 5-8 miles a day and signed up on spur of moment. I did well until hitting the wall halfway thru. I actually laid down in grass at one point and felt so sorry for myself id have quit if I could have just got in a bus and taken a hot shower. But there was no road or aid station for about five miles so I had to get up and hobble on. Just about then an old man I’d passed earlier who I’d noticed was running in jeans hightop tenni’s and op windbreaker passed and said Don’t give up son. I was so mortified I had to get moving and after jogging a bit caught and passed him. Later he passed as I was walking again and just nodded and said just keep moving. Well I got jogging again and at least had the courtesy to say thanks. A few more miles and the day cooled and a flat stretch of paved country road and I loosened up and picked it up and somehow besides being sore and raw felt better and finished last ten miles on a total high. Milling about after

      • Sorry- long post..too hard fat-fingering the kindle- cont on laptop:
        So I am milling around with friends and other runnners at end, and the old guy comes shuffling in- same regular pace, no worse for wear- the guy is easily in his seventies… and after I see he gets some water and fruit, and sticks a couple power bars in his pocket I go up and say, thanks so much for your help, I dont think I would have made it otherwise- he kindly just waves it off, and says you did fine, son. And I say can we offer you a ride back to your car? (the end point is about 20 miles from the start, is why I had a friend and girllfriend along in support) and he says “no, I am just going to run back to my car- but thanks anyway. And I kid you not, he just heads back out into the sunset, with a water bottle in hand, down the road, DOWN the SAME ROUTE, the 50 mile path!!!
        while I stand there in wonderment..

        True story. You just dont know what you can do, until you have to, and I think all of us have a story like that, one way or another, that suprised us with the strength we had, when we needed it. And this is just a trite one about running- not saving your life, or someone elses….

    • A trauma surgeon would be hard pressed to treat their own similar wound. Surgery is the cure for non-compressible bleeding. A tourniquet is the best item for a deep wound on the arms/legs of most people, and for scalp wounds for liberal anti-gun nuts. Strap it on and leave it on. You won’t lose your limb after an hour or so.

      A basic first aid course/kit is a easy realitively inexpensive thing.

  2. Good job. Better to have fought and died in the parking garage than be taken to a private place and endure torture and degradation before having your body dumped in a shallow grave. At least your loved ones wouldn’t have to endure possibly years of never knowing what happened to you.

    Better yet to have gut shot the pervert.

    • Thats what I teach my kids- never EVER get in the car, or let someone bind your hands. Fight like hell, scream and holler, aim for the eyes and nuts and NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

  3. Tim Larkin of Target Focus Training is releasing a book on women’s self defense this week, worth checking out.

    • I’ve purchased quite a bit of Tim Larkin’s materials. Top notch stuff. Haven’t read his new stuff for women, but I’d expect the same level of quality and applicability. He spends a lot of time on mindset and helping people understand the differences between social and asocial violence. Larkin’s book, How to Survive the Most Critical Five Seconds of Your Life, is a good introduction to violence and mindset, much of it penned by one of the TFT trainers, Chris Ranck-Buhr, who is an outstanding writer.

  4. “Facing Violence” by Rory Miller is a very good read, and covers a lot on predatory attackers. Fighting an attacker in a situation like this is very important, if the attacker would have been successful the victim would have faced much worse than a stab wound. Preventing the attacker from getting the victim to a private place to carry out whatever sick assault he was planning is key. These sociopathic predators prey on people, they know how to choose a victim, walking confidently, and obviously tuned into one’s surroundings will help to not look like prey. They want someone distracted, and not willing to resist. They don’t want to draw attention….the less you look like a victim, the less likely you’ll be one.

    • I agree – Rory Miller is an outstanding resource for dealing with real-world violence. His original book “Meditations on Violence” is the best book I’ve ever read regarding self protection. It should be required reading for anyone who has contemplated maybe having having to fight for their life (with or without a gun). Rory does a good seminar too, for what its worth.

  5. Almost every animal on the planet will respond to violence with violence until they feel that the threat is negated. Why “fighting back” is a new concept to some people will always be one of those head-scratchers to me…

    • Agreed.

      The will to fight and survive isn’t exceptional, and we shouldn’t promote the idea that everyone isn’t capable of being “resilient” or “a fighter”. We wouldn’t be as prolific a species if we were not.

  6. Nice article.

    “Middle-age and big-bellied has almost become the cliche image of gun totters. Many even cite the fact that they carry a gun as an excuse as to why they don’t get in shape.”

    Big pet peeve of mine. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. Gun guys like to talk about preparedness, but typically disregard fitness, leaving a gaping hole in their system.

  7. Outstanding article. AGAIN KUDOS TO TTAG for spreading the word. Someone will read this and Fha ge how they train and think and that will save their life someday. Don’t forget that in the day to day blur of padeview this or font size that. You are making a difference. Thanks again!

  8. Good article. I would suggest an alternative to the bit about not fighting for your wallet or car.

    I would say that the decision to resist a robber is a personal one. Some don’t think it’s worth the risk. Other’s realize that they’re not fighting for the $20 or whatever is at play. They’re fighting for themselves, their family, and their community. They’re helping to create an environment that is toxic to criminal activity. In many cases, the criminals will move on to easier targets or just perhaps get into a legitimate line of work.

    • Yep. Same here- keep the cellphone, keep the wallet, keep the car- its yours.
      You touch my family- fights on.
      ( I wouldnt say that of course- that stimulates the need to save face)
      But thats the line, and then its a fight with no rules except to survive.

      IMHO, that is the mindset you have to establish in your head so when you are faced with a no-$hit life or death you arent paralyzed mulling it over.

      PS: thats what they taught us in SERE school in 80s. Research then showed survivors were those who had the mental attitude that they never ever gave up. Physical condition was far down the list. It was all about attitude. Read about Col Bud Day, MOH- who just passed away, G-D rest his soul.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/29/us/col-bud-day-vietnam-war-hero-dies-at-88.html?_r=0

  9. Thank you Mr Zimmerman for posting this brave lady’s story. It just might be the best thing I have ever read on this site.

  10. I carry daily and home carry. Karambit knife on my weak side and a modded G29. I’m a student of Krav and I also carry condition 3.

    These choices are highly personal after some serious thought and application. My personal defense theory(and personal I mean my person, not defense of others) is that if Im in condition yellow as a rule, I should be able to avoid or run in most cases. If not, im out of options and its going to be within personal space.

    Knife first, gun second (if at all). The G29 sports a cut off 1911 hammer spur welded to the slide for ease of one hand charging. In my world its a melee weapon first, ranged weapon second inside 30 feet.

    • @Tom,

      Me too. The daughter’s only 2, so it’ll be a while, but I think I’m going to start compiling a book of examples to teach her how to live and protect herself. If I do, this is definitely going in it.

  11. I can only hope I would do as well. And pray my daughters would do as well. As an old fat white guy, I do try to work out three times a week, and play racket ball three times a week, but can’t be called in shape by anyone’s standards.

  12. Excelent article, sir.

    One bit of Monday morning quarterbacking, though: a multilevel, above-ground parking structure in the afternoon is about the worst spot possible as relates to situational awareness.

    Other people are expected, there are places with deep shadow and very bright backlighting, and there are plenty of objects and collumns behind which to hide; one should bear this in mind when parking, seeking a relatively open area that is and will be uniformly lit rather than the first available slot.

    While not the entire garage will be like this, the bad guys will find the best spots.

    Even being in condition orange is no guarantee of not being caught unawares in such places unless a buddy has your six and you his.

  13. Kudos to this brave and tough young woman.

    There is *no* first aid treatment for an abdominal stab wound except to get to the hospital ASAP.

    The only possible exception would be if your attacker injured a superficial artery, i.e. the inferior epigastric or possibly the ascending deep circumflex. I’m personally and professionally doubtful that you could exsanguinate from either unless you were anti-coagulated because you’d probably clamp down but I’ve never cut it without tying it off. If you did have an abdominal stab wound that was *spurting* blood then pack something like a t shirt into the wound to tamponade it.

    The only thing that I would have considered would have been to drive down to the entrance. It would have been faster and would not have caused nearly as much blood loss as running, but it would be a tough call.

    No first aid kit is going to have anything to help you. The most you could do in the field is start hypertonic saline, which I would have held off on since she was still mentating. In the real world quik-clot would be a waste of time. In a TEOTWAWKI situation pouring quik-clot into someones abdomen would be a waste of quik-clot.

    What she needed (and got) was an exploratory laparotomy.

  14. Cellphone texting point is well taken. If you are engaging in “social diseasing/media”/texting you’re at Condition Yellow (at best).

    90% of the “shoes” sold to/worn by women put them in/mark them as Condition White

  15. This was a fantastic article. Thanks both to the author and to TTAG for putting it front of me. It made me reevaluate a couple things that I thought I was pretty sure about, so it did its job well.

  16. I really appreciate you posting this, and far more so to Angela for realizing the value of her story to others who are concerned with protecting themselves. Real world instances are the best to learn from.

  17. She lost half her blood volume. Amazing… I’ve always said, Gun Control is a war on women, the weak, the infirm, and the elderly.

  18. So much to address here. First, I have almost never seen any young person without a cellphone either dominating their attention while they type or read, or glued to their ears while they talk or listen. I have seen them cross the road in this state, move towards their cars in a car park, walk along lonely stretches of road, and generally treat their phone as insulation from the actual physical world around them.

    The only thing I see when I observe these young people is another victim waiting for the worst to happen. Possibly they think that the presence of a phone means they can call for help…

    Will they die if they don’t carry their cellphone? No, but they might if they do!

    I have only been in one violent confrontation in my life (apart from fighting with my brothers- which we stopped when we realized we could do serious damage to each other).

    This was when I was coming home from my High School break up shindig. I came out of the subway, and a guy took a swing at me. I moved my head, and my glasses flew off. The guy told me he had just got out of jail, he was semi drunk, and looking for a fight. He spent ten minutes insulting me and goading me into a fight, but I was in a funny mood, and didn’t react as he wanted. I think I was a bit depressed at leaving school and being kicked out into the harsh world of reality. Anyway, after a while he gave up, apologized, and gave me a beer in recompense.

    There was a bit of comedy when he saw a patrol cop approach, he booted the carton of beer bottles to the bottom of the subway, where they exploded in a cloud of beer and glass. The cop got his foot hooked in the handrail when he vaulted the starway railing, and he had to hold the guy’s shoulder and asked him to stay there while he took his ahoe off and extricated himself. It all ended amicably when the cops took the guy back to jail, and I walked home.

    I have faced plenty of hostility and threats in my Government job later on, but I knew that as long I maintained self control and didn’t react to insults, I could sort matters out. The Psych 101 course I briefly did also taught me that what people intend when they communicate is not always the message that comes out of their mouth – there is always an underlying motivation or need we need to interpret, so a literal reading of what people say can be very dangerous. Often people are just asking for help, though it can sound like they want to kill everyone they meet. The key of course, was that I always had a reason to interact with these people, and usually had sufficient leeway in policy that I could offer some sort of help.

    I know I am lucky in that I am a big ugly male, and I have nothing that any psychopath would want. If only women could understand and realize just how vulnerable that cellphone makes them every second they step outside their locked door, and how deep is the need of predators that want to capture and enslave them, or slice them up for shits and giggles, they would throw the damn things away at once.

    They have banned driving with cellphones because science has shown how great a level of concentration they require, such as to make driving itself hazardous. Just walking down a street can be similarly dangerous – how many accidents do people have walking and talking? My neighbour’s granddaughter had her hip broken by a car that didn’t see her crossing the street. A cellphone is not a give way sign. Besides, why on earth would you want people to contact you all the time? A little alone time is very precious in today’s busy world. Especially if it can save your life.

  19. Great article, and my deepest respect for the victim. However, I’m going to fight like a man. An armed man – with a gun on the strong side and a knife on the back up side. For some, the challenge to turn the aggression off is greater than to turn it on.

  20. Wow. That was a terrific article and an amazing story about one heck of a courageous person, woman or man. It sure is sobering to read that little dose of reality. I’m something of a big tough dude (with a CCW) and the honest reality is that there’s a good chance I may not have made it out of that situation (or a comparable situation) alive – or acted as courageously and wisely…. She not only saved her own life, she undoubtedly saved the next victim(s) lives as well. Good on you, Angela. You’re the person I think we all hope we can be if God forbid something terrible like that were to ever happen to us. It also snapped me out of condition White there a bit, have to admit – and I have to re-think of a few things about my preparedness here…. As others have stated, it sure does highlight the particular need for women to be especially prepared. It’s easy to think that everyone is like the good people we work with, live with, our friendly neighbors… but there are real effing psycho monsters out there who see women as prey, and the difference between life and death could be the difference between hearing about Angela’s story or not – and doing something to make sure you’re prepared.

  21. Great piece.
    However, “Condition Yellow” makes me unable to concentrate on serious study or problem solving. Heck, to improve focus while sitting in a place like Starbucks, I sometimes put in my earplugs.

    Solution anyone?
    Or should high focus activities be left only to the home and/or workplace office?

    • Sometimes you have to get on with your life. Possible partial solutions are keeping a reasonably sharp eye (though that messes with your focus on the task at hand) and picking a strategic seat (back to the wall, facing the door, near an exit, etc.).

  22. Remember, If your Cell phone can not see the sky or a reflected signal from the GPS satellites, GPS does NOT work! Roof???? No GPS signal.

  23. on january 24 at 7:20 in the morning my wife a nurse was going in to work. as she got to the door at the doctors
    office a man came up behind her and said hey. as she turned to see what he wanted he stabbed her in the
    right side of her neck. he then grabed her breast, shoved her up against the plate glass window. she hit the
    floor then he tried to pull her paints down. she was able to fight her way up by kicking at him. when she got to
    her feet he stabed her in the right side. she kicked him in the nuts and he dropped the screw driver and ran.
    the police caught him 2 hours later. very proud of my 54 year old wife to fight back. he was out of jail waiting
    on trial for criminal sexual conduct with a 11 year old girl. to bad my wife couldnt carry her gun into work.
    hes in prison now for 30 years. women need to fight back any way they can and dont give up.

    • scot, I’m proud of your wife and I’ve never met her. My mother was a nurse and I know that to do that job you have to have an inner toughness. Your wife let that inner toughness out when it was needed. Good job.

  24. I hope you left some scars on your attacker!Glad you had the intestinal fortitude to fight for your life,and didn’t cower down to a thug.Keep your head held high,and know that you have fans out here.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  25. Totally blown away. I’ve been in four DGUs and none of them lasted 3 minutes. Max was maybe 10 seconds, until the creep realized the hippie with the gun was serious, and waited politely for the cops to show up. Never had to shoot anyone, and the Houston cops always (3 out of 4 cases, one was a drunken thief friend-of-the-family) praised me for self-restraint in not pulling the trigger. But I spent a couple of years with a rape victim, who would wake up screaming at 3 am because that’s when the creep came thru her bedroom window and held a knife to her throat while he sodomized her. She finally got a good night’s sleep when I bought her a Browning High-Power and after a thousand or so rounds of PMC hardball I figured she was recovered enough to sleep with the gun (cocked and locked, full of hollow-points) under her pillow. Violence against women… just kill them all. Nothing works against rapists except a center of mass triple-tap.

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