Archive for the ‘Personal Safety Management’ Category

Superglue Blinds Woman

An elderly woman who had previously had a cataract operation accidentally put superglue into her eye thinking it was her eye ointment. The tube of superglue is very similar in look and feel to her ointment. Fortunately she was able to have her predicament resolved by emergency medical treatment but she could easily have been left blinded. She is the most recent victim but not the only one. In 2005 a Thai Buddhist monk, aged 81, made the same mistake.

Then there are the prank playing kids and other fools who mess around with superglue near their eyes and other body orifices on purpose.  It is like an eye ointment tube in size and shape and easily confused. I once mistakenly gave ear drops to a soldier who needed eye drops as they were in identical bottles and the writing had worn off due to the rough conditions the section first aid kit had endured. We knew right away something was wrong and washed it out asap but it still caused pain and discomfort and potentially could have blinded him.

According to the official Super Glue website, things aren’t as permanent as the media reports would like us to fear. Eyelids will come apart in 1-4 days  and even if it gets on the eyeball it will dissolve in a few days after some weeping (and no doubt gnashing of teeth!).  Acetone such as that found in nail polish remover is the stuff to use, very carefully. We have small children in the home (lots of them!) and I am always very careful with chemicals, toxins and corrosives and glues, paints, oils etc. Like most things, prevention is better than cure.

Online Dating – Offline Dying

A British man who went to the Philippines to meet his online penpal was stabbed by her jealous Filipino boyfriend. The man died of his wounds. The internet has increased the ease with which we can meet compatible partners from around the world and yet that instant gratification aspect doesn’t lend itself to a positive outcome.

Usually the man finds his bride to be has more than one iron in the fire, but then she probably isn’t the only woman he is writing to either. Many of these women are out and out scammers, a lot are often not women at all but “Bakla” (Tagalog) or “Bayut” (Visayan) – trans gender homosexuals who work the chat rooms getting western men to send money to them.

Lately the chatcam scene has taken the lead for ‘introducing’ men looking for a new life and partner to a Filipina. Many men overlook the fact chatcams are a form of prostitution, albeit virtual prostitution as the couples never physically touch while online. Some of the ‘genuine’ girls on the penpal sites also work in the sex industry there, usually because there are few other options for the poorer ones with no tertiary education. College costs money but to even work in fast food you need to be ‘college level’, or have at least one year of a college course under your belt.

There are many other very genuine, loving women online also and perhaps the lady in this story was one of those, although one must question her bona fides if she has a ‘jealous Filipino boyfriend’ who takes such objection to his foreigner competitor he runs amok with a knife.

The whole foreign bride scene is one where you need to be cautions and get advice from trusted sources. My eBooks on the topic sell well and I am happy to report many very positive testimonials from my readers. Sometimes a few dollars invested up front can save a lot of money, heartache, and perhaps even your life!

One thing I do take umbrage at is the use of the term ‘Mail Order Bride’. I find it offensive to say the least, to both parties involved. I and my wife were defamed by a Queensland law school in a report they prepared on People Trafficking for the UN, claiming I was the husband of a ‘mail order bride’. I pursued the matter vigorously, knowing I was picking a fight with an organization that had vastly superior resources and capabilities then I did when it came to a legal stoush. However, I had right on my side and I was not going to allow them to go unchallenged. Finally I received a letter of apology from the Dean and the offending statement was removed from the report.

I met my Filipina wife face to face in the Philippines but even if I had met her online, so what? ‘Mail Order Bride’ raises an image of a female shaped courier satchel arriving on one’s doorstep… “Sign here please sir, here’s your new wife.” It demeans both parties and is no different to calling anyone derogatory names based on their ethnicity, race, gender or orientation.

If it is wrong to use such terms when referring to negroes, homosexuals, minorities, disabled people and so on, so too it is not acceptable to use it about women who utilise technology to increase the number of potential partners they can connect with. Remember, the words we use form our thoughts and our thoughts direct our actions.

A Life Sentence- Just Like His Victim’s

I read with utter disgust the report on the sentencing hearing of a serial rapist in a Sydney court. It makes chilling reading as you think what it must be like for a woman, after the rape at knife point is over, to be told by her attacker he has been stalking her for two days and knows where she lives? We should applaud her personal courage in not buckling to this slime and reporting the crime to the police, then seeing it through the courts.

Another of his victims was raped only a metre away from her baby. Imagine how vulnerable she now feels, for herself and her child. Meanwhile this criminal will probably get a few years in prison where he will be fed and even educated and most likely protected from harm. All the time his victims have to live their lives, cope with the fears and the stress and hope they never become a victim again.

In cases such as this, where the offender has damaged so many lives, I feel a primal need to even the score. It might not be rational or ‘educated’ but it is very, very heart felt. If the courts could prevent this rapist from ever physically raping again I would be happy. But that would mean either solitary confinement until the day he dies, at public expense, or some form of castration.

While he might not be able to penetrate his victims as he once did, he would still be capable of doing other harm to them,perhaps even more physically damaging. He might turn to murder in his anger and frustration. So is the anger for us, the State, to pre-empt how he might react and execute him? This is the dilemma faced by the courts and the law makers.

In the short term the only solution is to do one’s best to try and avoid becoming a target and then a victim. The victim’s of this rapist are not at fault and can never be held to any blame for their attacks so don’t misconstrue my message. What is done is done but for the future, if all of us, as men are raped just as women are violated, took a moment to think about how much of a target we sometimes make of ourselves, perhaps we can begin to take steps to minimize the risk and the likelihood we suffer such a tragic fate.

To the victims of Shannon Curreen, you have my respect for your courage and strength of character. Take whatever solace you can from the fact that you are still alive, so what ever you did to stay that way was the right thing at the time. You can never be held to blame so don’t, please, don’t waste a moment blaming yourself. I wish you all the best in moving on with your lives and if I can be of any service, just say so.

A Woman’s Worst (Motoring) Nightmare

A 49 year old woman in Queensland was raped by a passing motorist after her car broke down, leaving her stranded by the roadside. While waiting for help she was dragged into the rapist’s white van, punched in the face, threatened with a knife and raped. How could this have been avoided?

I think we too often feel we are being paranoid if we were to lock our doors and windows and remain in the vehicle, refusing help from anyone but the police or road service crew (NRMA, AAA, RACQ etc). I would certainly understand if a woman, especially at midnight, didn’t want me to help her, better safe than sorry and no offence taken.

In this day and age everyone should have a mobile phone they can call for help on and most places are within coverage. Having said that my 73 year old mother still goes once a month to a friend’s restaurant in the country and helps with the cooking. She returns in daylight the next day but only a few years ago she would make the trip at night. A lot of the steep, winding rural road has poor cell phone coverage. On one trip, on a Sunday afternoon, she was stopped by three indigenous persons blocking the road. As two remained in the middle of the road, one climbed in followed by the other two and told her to give them a lift to town. She complied and was terrified the whole way but fortunately this time, they just wanted a ride. Lesson? Lock your doors and keep windows up, use the aircon.

How safety conscious  do you have to be nowadays before common sense precautions becomes paranoia? Some experts speak of being in Code Yellow, then going to Code Orange and finally Code Red as things escalate and when there  is no risk they are at Code Green. But what if you are colour blind or simply can’t be bothered living your life by a colour chart? All too complicated really, either you are at risk or you aren’t.

Vehicle breakdown? You are at risk. After dark? At risk. By yourself? At risk.  It might be hard to overcome one’s natural predilection to believing most people are good and intend no harm (and that is true) but sadly the few who are not are opportunistic predators. They will be forever alert to the chance to make you their prey.

And to the woman who fell victim to this slime… You are not at fault, ever. You survived which means you did everything right. There are no hard and fast rules as every situation, every predator, is different and while there are some commonalities, if you escape with your life then you did the right thing, even if that was to not resist.  While that might seem to contradict an earlier post of mine, it doesn’t. As I said every situation is different and in this case the man had the element of surprise, a weapon and no hesitation in striking the woman to gain some compliance. I repeat, she did nothing wrong, it was not her fault, yet all too often victims suffer for years afterwards feeling they were the one that caused the crime.  Let’s hope this predator is caught and punished.

So Tragic, So Avoidable

Nona, lured to her death by two men she met on Facebook. Rest In Peace.

On Wednesday last week an 18 year old young woman arranged to meet two men at a railway station and go camping. She had never met these two men in person before. She had met them on Facebook. When she didn’t return home on Thursday her distraught family alerted the authorities. Sometime on Friday her body was found in bushland and a 20 year old man is going to charged for her murder. For those facts to be published so early in the case and so definitely suggests the police are in no doubt they have the murderer.

How sad, how tragic, how so very bloody avoidable! My heart goes out to the family and also to the poor woman now lost to us all for who knows what she might have contributed to our society? For me, never having met any of the family or the woman herself I can sit back and analyse, make comment, pass an opinion and do it all without the emotion of having lost a loved one in such brutal circumstances. Please take what I write as a professional observation, not a personal attack on the deceased or her family.

To me it is obvious that you do not arrange to meet anyone you have only ever had contact with via the net without someone else you know and trust being present. You especially never willingly put yourself in a position where you are outnumbered and no doubt ‘outgunned’. I have yet to meet the woman that is the match for two men. Having had to physically manage more than one man at a time I know how difficult and dangerous it can be for a trained person.

Camping? What was she thinking? Isolated in the bush with two complete strangers? What did she think was going to happen at best, let alone at worst? Of course she was a ‘good girl’ from a good home, aren’t they all? But still she agreed to meet two strange men for the first time and go camping with them.

At 18 a person is an adult in the eyes of the law. If a person was born on the 1st of June 18 years ago then on the 31st of May they are still only 17, still a juvenile, still considered a child. The clock strikes midnight and Voila! Instant Adult. But what is really different from the juvenile of a few moments before to the adult of now? I am sure the parents would say they were still their baby… it’s what we parents do.

Somebody’s baby boy made friends with somebody else’s baby girl online. Lured her to a meeting with him and his friend, another mother’s baby boy, and they murdered the poor, naive baby girl. Why? What did it achieve? Was it a friendly camping trip gone horribly wrong? Did the killers plan this after watching too many straight-to-video teen horror flicks?

So very, very avoidable. We all make errors of judgment. Fortunately all of mine have been less than fatal… so far.

It’s Always The Little Things That Really Count

Crash proof plastic garden chairs - of course

A lot of people think that when something goes wrong, such as they are in an accident or come in contact with criminal elements, that it is all down to one, identifiable and often major factor. The car hit the tree because the car went out of control is often heard or read. Actually the driver lost control of the car and that is why the car struck the tree. What made it happen was a series of minor incidents which taken by themselves would be harmless. However, as a part of the series of events leading up to the major one (the crash) they all had a part to play.

In this typical yet made up example, let us say the driver was tired. He had not been drinking but he did have a big meal of pasta after a long day at work and was heading home well after dark. It was raining and his tyres should have been replaced a thousand kilometres ago. His brake pads were new and well bedded in but his brake rotor discs were pretty rough and should have been skimmed at the last service when the new pads were fitted. It was a cold, wet night so he had the heater on and combined with the carb spike from teh big pasta dinner he was feeling tired and drowsy.

His attention was diverted by something rolling on the floor over in the passenger footwell, turned out to be a bottle his son had left under the seat a week ago. When he looked down to see what the cause of the noise was he started to veer in the direction of where he was looking, everyone does it when driving if they aren’t careful. As he looked up he realised he was almost on the verge so he corrected but the road was slippery and the car shifted its weight rather quickly so he corrected, then over corrected then saw he was almost on the bend and tried to brake and… lost control of the car.

Not one, single, major problem but a series of minor events, small problems and ‘little things’. All of which were preventable. Don’t eat a big meal when late and tired. Maintain the vehicle and change tyres, pads and skim rotors when needed. Make sure you save your money and budget properly so you do have the money for these things when you need it. Who would have thought good housekeeping and proper money management would have any bearing on one’s personal safety? But it does. Everything is interdependent.

The same goes for getting mugged. If you had thought about it you would have grabbed the cash you needed for the next day when you bought some groceries on the way home, just asked for ‘Cash out’. Saved the ATM fees and you wouldn’t have felt it necessary to drive to the ATM later that night. You might have chosen a better one than the convenient,plenty of parking available open one in the wall of the mall. You might have gone into an all night convenience store and used the one they have inside instead.

Simple choices, little things but all requiring a little thought and forward planning. What brings most of us down and into grief is ourselves. Our own laziness, ego or ignorance. If we pay attention to details, to the little things and we start to take an interest in our lives we can avoid so much hardship, heartache and harm. But too many of us muddle through from one day to the next, reacting.  Reacting puts you one step behind right from the start. Get proactive. Think ahead. Pay attention to details.

Managing Safety Is A Personal Matter

Perry Gamsby

Enjoy the blog posts here. They are an eclectic collection of opinions, events, experiences and sadly a few tragedies. All are true and have happened to someone, somewhere. Just about all of them were avoidable.  Visit every page on the site but come back here regularly as there will always be something new to read and hopefully learn from. Remember, few things in life are ever actually fatal.

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