Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Some of the blog entries depicted herein are wordy but they are jam packed with useful tips for preventing crime and protecting yourself. Please take the time to scroll through all entries. You might just find some information that could save your life or the life of someone you love. KNM Consulting is engaging in a "CRIME PREVENTION NOW" campaign in response to an increase in violent crime in the Tennessee River Valley. A child predator is roaming the streets of south Huntsville; a serial rapist is preying on women in Cullman County; a local gymnastics teacher was shot in the face while leaving work; and many unsolved homicides, especially of women, are being investigated across north Alabama. KNM Consulting is in the process of additional licensure to provide investigation services for the private sector.

KNM provides the following services:
  • On Site, Education and Training in Self Defense, Situational Awareness, Rape & Robbery Prevention
  • Public Speaking to Groups, Neighborhood Associations, Churches, etc.
  • Security Checks of Homes and Businesses When Owners are Away
  • Executive and Celebrity Protection
  • Loss Prevention Consulting
  • Risk Management Consulting
  • Media Consulting
  • Selection of a Firearm and Training on Its Legal Use and Home Defense Strategies
  • Counter Intelligence in Corporate Espionage
  • Internet Child Safety Consulting
  • Coming soon.....Private Investigations
  • Much More.....

For more information or to schedule training or a home/business security assessment, contact Ken Miller at (256) 679-7405

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Protect Yourself from a National Epidemic

On a recent night in the booming city of Huntsville, Alabama, a bank's after hours remodeling contractor was shot to death after being confronted in the parking lot by an assailant in demand of money. Several nights later, police reported multiple armed robberies during the course of one evening. From approximately 9:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. the city of Huntsville was under siege by a carload of armed men in search of easy money. In addition to these troubling events, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of bank robberies reported on the news in north Alabama. This problem is not unique to Huntsville; it is a national epidemic. Reasons are many and one can blame the poor economy and the increased price of everything from fuel to utilities to groceries. Even prior to the economic downturn, a check of the local news depicted a troubling trend toward violent acts in many communities in the United States.

No amount of task forces, studies, increased police patrols, or social experiments can impact personal safety more than proper prudence by the individual. Self defense courses are fine; the martial arts are wonderful for keeping in shape and learning to fight; however, most of the techniques learned are quickly forgotten when one's life is on the line. I know this from experience. As a rookie police officer in a high crime area of Broward County, Florida, I thought I knew it all. I had graduated at the top of my class from one of the best police training academies in the United States. I was trained in the art of self defense by none other than Joe Hess, former three time heavyweight kickboxing champion of the world. I had practiced to fight hand to hand, with nightsticks, and with a handgun and shotgun. I had practiced, practiced, and practiced some more, to the point I thought my responses were automatic and second nature. The first time I found myself struggling in hand-to-hand combat with a violent criminal, all of my hand to hand combat techniques seemed to go out the window. My body seemed to go into an autopilot mode and conscious thought was difficult. The more times I found myself in these situations, the more effective I became at subduing violent criminals. The first time I saw the muzzle flash of a weapon in my direction, I felt the same feeling. My reaction was automatic and fortunately my handgun response skills were ingrained into my brain through repetitive and realistic training. My point is please do not make the mistake of thinking you are ready for a violent confrontation with a criminal. You never are. You can prepare yourself but you are never "ready." Fortunately, there are many ways to adequately prepare and the best preparation is avoidance.

For a free in-home consultation or to arrange training, contact Ken Miller at (256) 679-7405.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Choosing a Handgun for Personal Protection

The choice to own or carry a firearm for protection is highly personal. It is a decision that could change one's life. Although many people own firearms for hunting, collecting, or collecting dust, more and more people make the choice to have a firearm for self or family defense. Today's discussion will not focus on longguns, although they can be optimum home defense weapons. The shotgun, as well as the rifle, has its place in a personal defense arsenal. However, today's focus is to discuss legally carrying a weapon for protection. Shotguns and rifles are not easily carried or concealed in pubic.

There are plenty of sayings out there pertaining to which weapon to carry. One notable saying, "any caliber is a good caliber as long as it's .40 or above," has been repeated by many in the gun industry. Although larger calibers are highly effective and make large wound channels, they are not the "be all and end all of self defense." In short, the best weapon to carry for self defense is one with which you will practice and carry consistently. For example, a 5'1" in female who weighs 105 lbs. may find that she does not feel comfortable carrying and shooting a large and powerful .40 caliber pistol. The same is true for the 6'4" 250 lb. former football star. He may not be comfortable carrying a diminutive .380 or .22 caliber weapon.

A weapon serves no purpose when it is locked in a case at home or when it is stored in the trunk of a vehicle. It is recommended that one takes the time to learn and comply with the local laws governing concealed carry. Most states require a licensing process to be completed prior to carrying a concealed weapon. Whatever you do, make sure you are legal. Beyond that one should take continuing training or instruction on proper safety, accuracy, threat assessment, situational awareness, and legal ramifications of self defensive actions, whether civil or criminal. Much goes into selecting and preparing to use a weapon for self defense. Make sure you get some help if you choose to arm yourself. Your local gun shop, police department, and supportive services such as KNM Consulting can help make your decision a legal, safe, and effective one.

Please remember that no one has any business carrying a weapon for self defense if they are not 100% sure they can use it and use it effectively, where it performs its job without placing the public at risk. Contact KNM Consulting if you have any questions or if you would like to receive instruction and training to help you protect yourself, with or without a weapon.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Police May Not Help in Time of Need

This week in Plantation, Florida, Olivia Kerr Day drove frantically toward the police station as a soon to be killer pursued her. Despite calling 911 and driving to the doorstep of the police department, she was gunned down in warm blood. Her boyfriend had also called 911 while tailing the two vehicles with his own. He gave descriptions, routes of travel, and details of a man with a gun chasing Ms. Day. A police officer exited the station in time to fire a few rounds toward the man who fired his own bullets into Ms. Day. This scumbag took her life and his own life before police were able to dispatch him. She knew him for three weeks. He cut meat at a grocery store where she shopped.

Many naive Americans take comfort in the assumption that police are there to protect us. Having served in law enforcement I can confidently opine that police presence may deter a crime or respond after the fact; however, police are seldom able to protect someone during a crime in progress. If you do not believe me, ask Ms. Day. Her screams on the 911 tape and her statement, "I'm stuck! He's about to kill me!" wrang prophetically true.

Similar incidents occur each hour throughout the country. What can you do?

  • DO NOT ASSUME Police can protect you
  • Make plans to protect yourself
  • Develop situational awareness
  • Be calm and try to think ahead in the face of danger
  • Always have access to a "neutrlizer" such as a gun, tazer, etc.
  • Train...Train.....Train some more
  • Seek professional assistance in developing a plan -- many law enforcement agencies offer this service, as well as private agencies such as KNM, Gunsite Academy, etc.
  • Speak clearly and as calmly as possible when describing the situation to a 911 operator -- this saves precious time and they can help you plan your actions
  • Practice acting under duress -- Run as far as you can as fast as you can and then practice actions which require thought and dexterity (i.e., dialing a phone number, reciting something memorized, or working math problems) -- this helps you learn to think clearly under duress/stress
  • If your local gun range allows, do some pushups, situps, or other physical activity just prior to shooting a target. This will give you an idea of how you shoot while "winded." You can practice accordingly
  • Keep yourself phyically fit

In short there are many ways we can practice being prepared. For more tips, shoot me an email at

Copyright 2008 KNM Security and Risk Consultants

Disclaimer: KNM is not a law firm and does not render legal advice or engage in the practice of law. KNM Consulting and its employees shall have no liability to any persons or entities with respect to any loss, liability, or damage alleged to be caused by the application of information or opinions expressed in accordance with a consulting contract, its website, blog, or via complimentary marketing survey reports (MSR’s).

Sunday, March 16, 2008


In Plantation, Florida successful labor attorney, Melissa Lewis, was recently found floating dead in a canal less than two miles from her home. Evidence spoke of a violent struggle in her garage. The victim was known to be a vigilant, security conscious individual, who prepared herself by carrying pepper spray everywhere she went. Copious amounts of pepper spray residue were found in her garage, as well as in her abandoned vehicle.
Details of the investigation have not been released, so we do not know how the pepper spray was used. It could have come from the victim's defensive use of pepper spray or it could have resulted from the murderer's attempt to subdue her. We know the victim was not murdered by a firearm or a knife. We also know that as a result of the use of pepper spray, it appears there was a struggle and she had notice of an imminent attack.
After days of investigation we now know an alleged killer has been arrested. It turns out he was the estranged husband of a friend. He is a strong and fit man, who has been accused of being violent and aggressive toward his family in the past. It appears the victim in this case was physically overpowered by the murderer. If she used her pepper spray, it was useless. What could she have done to prevent her tragic death?
Sadly, carrying pepper spray, taking self defense classes, and even carrying a firearm all provide a false sense of security. It is my professional opinion, however, that only a firearm would have prevented this murder. Pepper spray did not stop this intruder's attack. Even if it was the attacker's pepper spray, the description of the scene leads us to believe he would have been exposed to it. If it was the victim's pepper spray, we can conclude she had time to pull it out, ready the cannister, and spray it. In this same amount of time, with proper training, she could have pulled a firearm and shot the killer, thus effectively ending the attack.
However, even guns provide a false sense of security, since we can still be at risk while carrying one. How many police officers are killed every month across the country, firearm at their sides or in their hands? There is no way to eliminate all risk or to provide absolute physical security.
With this in mind, here is a list of things to consider to remain safe at your home:
  • Keep your garage door down and locked at all times.
  • Utilize deadbolts on all exterior doors.
  • Securely lock windows and consider the use of a "pin type" or wedge device to provide extra window security.
  • Install the best security system you can afford.
  • Lighting deters criminals. Install adequate outside lighting, preferably with motion detection capability.
  • Keep your bedroom dark but consider background lighting in other rooms to provide illumination of an intruder.
  • Sleep with a cell phone near the bed. Home phone lines can be cut by an intruder.
  • Locate "equalizers" in various locations in the home. Conceal firearms or other weapons in strategic locations, which allow quick access when needed. Other equalizers include, knives, baseball bats, pepper spray, golf clubs, or anything else which can level the playing field. When placing weapons, ensure children, burglars, and others are unable to get immediate access to them. (We teach our clients means of securing firearms and other weapons).
  • Keep a bright ("blinding") flashlight near your bed.
  • Have a "panic room" or other area designated as a place to hide.
  • One should practice responses in the event of a security breach. For example, one should have a plan for locating and protecting chidren and other family members. They should know and rehearse this plan. (We teach this as well).
  • In general, let an intruder come to you, unless you have to secure loved ones.
  • Ensure the outside of the home is free of obtrusive landscaping or other items that might provide concealment for an intruder. Privacy fences protect your privacy but they also allow intruders to operate out of sight of neighbors or passersby. Trees and shrubs can also work in the intruder's favor. Be sure to keep all shrubs properly trimmed and make sure that they don't block the view of doors, windows, etc.
  • Do not hide a spare key outside.
  • When returning home, do not let your guard down until you know you are alone and the house is secure.

This list is by all means not conclusive. Rather, it is just a sample of areas covered in our interaction with clients and it provides you with a good starting point for remaining safe. For a complete Home Security Assessment and training program, call us at 256.679.7405 or email us at We teach about specifics such as types of doors, locks, windows, security systems and other hardware. We also practice and role play home invasions and defense against burglary, robbery, and abduction attempts. We help you come up with a plan to stay in charge and SAFE!!!!!

Copyright 2008 KNM Security and Risk Consultants

Disclaimer: KNM is not a law firm and does not render legal advice or engage in the practice of law. KNM Consulting and its employees shall have no liability to any persons or entities with respect to any loss, liability, or damage alleged to be caused by the application of information or opinions expressed in accordance with a consulting contract, its website, blog, or via complimentary marketing survey reports (MSR’s).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cardinal Rules of Personal Safety

One cannot turn on the television or computer without being subjected to various news reports of physical harm linked to crime. Not only do we have to be mindful of our physical safety in public, but we must also be prepared to be victimized in our own homes. Home invasions have become common occurrences across the country. There will be a separate article on "Home Safety," but for today's purposes a simple bullet list of Cardinal Rules of Personal Safety should apply anywhere:

  • Situational Awareness -- being keenly aware of one's surroundings

  • Assessment -- being able to quickly determine threats to security/safety while planning a course of action

  • Distance -- being able to keep distance between yourself and a potential attacker

  • Action rather than Reaction -- reacting is a last resort and puts one at a disadvantage

  • Use of an "equalizer" -- having an object to even the odds and being competent in its use

  • Use of barriers -- keeping a barrier between yourself and a potential attacker

  • Training with a communication device -- cell phone, air horn, etc.

  • Use of Lighting -- powerful flashlight, flood lights, street lights, etc.

  • Physical fitness -- consistent exercise and strength training

  • Avoidance of Danger Zones -- large shrubs, large vehicles in parking lots, dimly lit areas, isolated areas, etc.

  • Common Sense -- applies to all areas of self preservation

Situtional Awareness and Assessment go hand in hand. With each, one must practice skills of observation and couple them with a thought process, which will allow one to avoid becoming a victim or to plan a course of action to escape the threat.

Distance, Use of Barriers, Use of Lighting, and Avoidance of Danger Zones fall into the same categories. Each requires a behavioral element coupled with a thought process. It takes time for a human to react to a stimulus. This reaction time is exemplified by trying to catch a dollar bill between a thumb and forefinger when someone else drops it. Your brain must process the fact that the bill was dropped, then your central nervous system must communicate your response from your brain to your fingers. Although all of this takes a fraction of a second, it is long enough to cause you to miss catching the bill. Another example would be recognizing a criminal with a knife. It is a proven fact that human reaction time limits one's response time. A perpetrator with a knife can be standing as much as 21 feet away and start running at you with the knife. He can cover the entire 21 feet by the time your brain processes this fact. You must also plan an adequate reaction during this timeframe.

For this reason, distance and use of barriers are your friends. Try to keep cars, people, or other objects between you and someone you consider a threat. Walk in well lit areas and carry a powerful flashlight. Name brands such as Surefire and Streamlight make small, concealable personal defense flashlights. These are so bright you can blind your attacker by shining it in his eyes. One cannot attack what he cannot see. Many of these lights are made of hardened aircraft aluminum and contain "striking edges," with which you can hit someone during an attack. My personal favorite flashlight for this purpose is the Executive Defender made by Surefire. It is bright enough to blind an attacker and it contains sharp edges which will inflict damage if you hit someone. It is a little pricey but well worth the cost. How much is your life worth?

Use of an Equalizer and Training with a Communication Device fall into the same category because each requires the citizen to carry an item for self preservation purposes. Since people's values, level of training, and phsyical attributes all vary, there is no right answer for this category. Everyone needs to carry a cell phone and practice utilizing it under duress. For instance, how many of you have "911" programmed into your speed dial? Consider programming your phone so you can push one button and call "911." Practice calling "911" while you have a friend or family member engage in a mock attack. (Please do this without actually calling your local "911" service!) You might be able to call emergency responders immediately prior to or even during an attack if it only takes pushing one button. Some of my clients choose to purchase an air horn, which they can sound if threatened. Air horns are readily available in the marine section of your local "Supercenter" type department store. An air horn will bring attention to your location and to what is going on, and it is deafeningly loud. It has the potential of scaring the attacker off and it definitely makes others aware of your location. Again, practice, practice, practice with a friend or family member.

Examples of other equalizers include: pepper spray or mace where legal, knives, guns, sticks, chinese throwing stars, or other objects (even ones found on the scene). For example, I had enough notice prior to an attack on me, which allowed for me to arm myself with a large rock off the ground where I was standing. I placed the rock in the palm of my hand with an edge sticking out approximately an inch or so. On this occasion, I successfully fought off three attackers after striking the first one in the forehead with an overhand punch style swing. Without this equalizer, I have no doubt I would have suffered great bodily injury at the hands of these three attackers. I have also successfully used a handgun and a police style baton to subdue attackers and criminals. Although I do not recommend that everyone carry a handgun, I have no problem with someone who is properly licensed and trained doing so in concealed fashion. The key word that applies to carrying a firearm is CONCEALED. No one should ever brandish a weapon or even allow another person to know about it until it is time to use it. When considering your options for carrying an equalizing device, make sure you check your local laws and do so only in safe and legal fashion.

Physical Fitness and Common Sense apply to everyone, no matter their body type or cognitive ability. People need to practice moving and moving as quickly as their bodies allow. A daily walking or treadmill regimen will allow you to become conditioned to moving and breathing. Self defense classes are fine and a good way to keep fit, but please choose a reputable instructor and do not fall into the false sense of security that self defense training provides. Practice observation and making common sense choices when in public. Observe parking lots before you even park and when you come out of a store or other location. Keep distance between you and strangers. Groups of people are your friend. Walk near other groups if possible. Go places with a companion. Practice the use of profiling even if political correctness discourages it. Fortunately, many criminals actually look like criminals, although this is often not the case. After awhile, the practice of good common sense breeds better common sense.

Copyright 2008 KNM Security and Risk Consultants

Disclaimer: KNM is not a law firm and does not render legal advice or engage in the practice of law. KNM Consulting and its employees shall have no liability to any persons or entities with respect to any loss, liability, or damage alleged to be caused by the application of information or opinions expressed in accordance with a consulting contract, its website, blog, or via complimentary marketing survey reports (MSR’s)

If you would like to receive personalized training or to schedule a seminar or group training, please contact Ken at 256.679.7405 or by email at

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Refuse To Be a Victim

This week's news brings more tragedy which could have been prevented. Two Georgia families will bury beloved college students, both strikingly beautiful, talented, and in the prime of their lives. Eve Carson, Student Body President at the University of North Carolina (bottom), and Lauren Burk of Auburn University (top), came to their sudden demises at the hands of brutal killers. The North Carolina killer remains at large, while a suspect has been arrested in Phenix City, Alabama, charged in the death of 18 year old Lauren Burk. The suspect remains jailed, not only a suspect in Ms. Burk's death, but also suspected of kidnapping and attempting to rape her, as well as of robbing several individuals.

When parents send their children off to college they expect late nights spent studying, socializing, and meeting the demands of college life. They do not expect their worst nightmare: a late night body in a morgue, awaiting identification. Sadly, each became a victim of fate by being woefully unprepared and at the wrong place at the wrong time. Many details have yet to come out, and when they do, we will see that each tragedy could have been prevented. Security at Auburn University has already been publicly criticized, but random acts of violence and crime are often only prevented by the victims themselves.

A previous article on this site, titled "Safety While Shopping," highlights many questions we can ask ourselves. Although details remain sketchy, circumstances surrounding each crime depict stranger abduction scenarios. My "Cardinal Rules of Personal Safety" would apply to both crimes. Going out alone at night, not carrying an equalizing implement (such as a tazer, stun gun, handgun, pepper spray, etc.), and allowing a stranger within close proximity are just a few of the "Cardinal Rules" that seemed to have been ignored. When all details are finally released, I have a high level of confidence that effective skill sets could have prevented such tragic endings.

American citizens, I plead for you to wake up. Realize the state of modern society and the unique set of dangers we all face on a daily basis. This is no longer the era of Andy Griffith and Leave It to Beaver. We face gangs, drug violence, and toxic unadulterated evil.

"On the Record," Greta Van Susteren's nightly show on Fox News, should be more aptly titled, "In the Grave," as she profiles similar crimes on a nightly basis. Everyone needs to get training to improve their skills at recognizing and confronting danger. Reading how to protect oneself is one thing, but practicing and implementing ways of living, which will serve one's self preservation needs, are paramount.

Copyright 2008 KNM Security and Risk Consultants

If you would like to receive personalized training or to schedule a seminar or group training, please contact Ken at 256.679.7405 or email him at

Monday, February 18, 2008

Safety While Shopping

Like it or not, society is changing. In Yourtown, USA, a trip to the mall now brings risks previously seen in the big cities. Purse snatching, auto burglary, car jacking, robbery, abduction, rape, and even murder are all too commonplace occurrences these days. Despite retailers' efforts to install security surveillance systems and to employ security guards, these crimes continue, often in brazen fashion.

So what can you do to prevent becoming a victim? We do not need to be so paranoid and afraid that we become prisoners in our own homes. After all, there is a world out there and life is too short and precious to live in fear. We must replace fear with a sense of confidence and control. Certainly anyone can search the internet and find tips on being safe. However, these tips are meaningless unless one consistently practices and implements new skill sets.

Here is a list of questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you observe a parking lot before you park?

  • Are you careful not to park next to a van, truck, or SUV?

  • Do you scan the parking lot and observe strangers who lurk on foot or who sit in parked vehicles?

  • Do you leave packages or other items in plain sight in your vehicle?

  • Do you carry a purse?

  • Do you shop at night?

  • Do you place items in the trunk or under your seat to hide them after parking?

  • Do you remain alert while shopping, looking for suspicious activity or people?

  • Do you always have a cell phone handy?

  • Do you ever ask mall or store security for an escort to your car?

  • When you return to your car, do you spend additional time putting on make-up, looking at the recently developed pictures, balancing your checkbook, checking your receipts, etc.?

  • Do you ever look around to see if you recognize a familiar face, as if someone might be following you?

  • Do you walk confidently to your car, making eye contact and carrying your keys and cell phone in your hand?

  • Do you carry a neutralizing agent, such as pepper spray, tazer, or gun?

  • Have you sought training to use these items in an appropriate and legal manner?

Of course, there are a multitude of other questions we should all ask ourselves, many of which, I address in seminars and individual or group training sessions. Staying safe may seem like common sense, but in reality, smart people become victims every day, every minute. Grandma's old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," rings true in the personal security arena. Despite the FBI's efforts to amass statistics using Uniformed Crime Reports, there is no statistical way to encompass the number of crimes prevented by aware and vigilant people.

It is a fact that criminals often choose the path of least resistance when victimizing others. Someone who appears frail, inattentive, or otherwise unable to defend himself or herself is much more likely to have a confrontation with a criminal. Someone who leaves items in plain sight in the car or who places valuables in the trunk (in an effort to hide them) while in the parking lot, is likely to become a victim of the property crime known as auto burglary. Many perpetrators sit in parked cars, scan the parking lot, and look for people who place items in their trunks. Then once the shopper goes in the store, they smash the window, push the trunk "unlock" button, and abscond with the valuables. Have you ever placed a purse, digital camera, pistol, or other valuable item under your seat after you park? You might think you are hiding your valuables but did you ever think someone may be watching?

On your next trip to the mall or to the local "supercenter" type store make an effort to observe others. If you are like me, you could spend all day people watching. Some look hurried, some look lost, some look totally unaware, and others look like predators. Occasionally you will make eye contact with someone else who is in tune with the surroundings, but not often. It amazes me when I see a mother intent on buckling her child into the carseat, oblivious to those walking within her immediate vicinity. I often want to walk up to people and give them an on the spot personal security lecture.

In short, there are many things we can do to prevent becoming a victim. The key word is "prevent." Sound choices often will keep you out of trouble. Occasionally, someone who exercises all proper precautions finds herself or himself in a precarious situation. Distance is your friend. Try to keep as much distance as possible between you and a potential perpetrator. By the way, anyone is a potential perpetrator. If you see someone walking on the same parking lot aisle as you, and you feel uncomfortable, cross into another aisle. Keep cars between you and the other person. On a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I noticed a suspicious individual, sweatshirt hood on his head, standing within 100 feet of the front door, and scanning the parking lot with his eyes. My wife, with whom I was walking, was totally unaware of this character. Rather than enter that door on the "grocery" side of the store, we traversed the entire parking lot to enter through the door opposite this person. It was a much longer walk, but it was also the safer route. I do not know his intentions, but we later heard of a purse snatching at this same location. Could this have been one of those "unmeasurable statistics," whereby, a crime was prevented by appropriate awareness and prevention? There is no substitute for awareness, sound judgement, and distance!

Copyright 2008 KNM Security and Risk Consultants

If you would like to receive personalized training or to schedule a seminar or group training, please contact Ken at 256.679.7405 or email him at

Serial Criminals Find Easy Victims: Brianna Dennison and Meredith Emerson

In Reno, Nevada Brianna Dennison was found strangled, her body dumped in a field. In North Georgia, Meredith Emerson was found decapitated, her body dumped in isolated woods. Both were victims of serial criminals. Meredith Emerson, a student of karate, was abducted off a popular mountain trail while hiking with her beloved canine companion. Her killer was arrested, thanks to an aware and vigilant public. He has been linked to multiple abductions and homicides in three states, thus qualifying him as a serial killer.

Brianna Dennison's killer is still at large after abducting her while she slept peacefully on a friend's couch. According to authorities, DNA analysis links her abduction and murder with a string of rapes near a college campus. We do not know if her killer had killed previously or if he underwent a transformation process, graduating to a more sinister and sadistic modus operandi, or mode of operation. Law enforcement circles view the modus operandi as the signature of the criminal; the defining set of circumstances encompassing the methods used to accomplish the criminal act. All too often in today's society, criminals, especially violent rapists and killers, prey upon unsuspecting, previously unknown victims. This means we are all at risk of becoming the next table fare for one of the tens of thousands of predators which roam the streets of the world.

Our risks to such a fate can be minimized through proper awareness, preventative action, and training in response to acts of crime. Situational awareness is paramount, as is the ability to defend oneself with or without the use of a weapon. We all know criminals use weapons to gain control of and to strike fear in the hearts of victims. How many people think of consistently carrying a neutralizing instrument such as pepper spray, a knife, a bright flashlight, or even a firearm when they go out in public? How many people become "willing" victims by being "willing" to allow a criminal unfettered access to their property or their person? Proper training of parents, children, teachers, business leaders, and employees is one of the main ways to fight crime. This training should always begin with "situational awareness," the ability to sense and to quickly assess the danger within one's immediate vicinity.

The police are never there at the time we need them. All too often they are responders who respond only "after" crimes have been committed. It is the individual's job to ensure his or her own personal safety, as well as the safety of family members. Where were the police when Meredith Emerson ascended a mountain slope in her search for fresh air, exercise, and companionship with her dog? Were the police patrolling the neighborhood when Brianna Dennison's killer peeped in windows in search of an easy target of his sadistic, sexual and violent impulses?

Could either Meredith, who was schooled in the martial arts, or Brianna have prevented their suffering demises with proper education and training? Could a simple curtain, covering a window, have prevented Brianna's abduction? News sources reported that Meredith fought her attacker ferociously. Could a blast of pepper spray to her assailant's eyes have allowed her a few precious seconds in which to affect an escape? Proper situational awareness could have enabled both of these precious young lives to live another day.

Copyright 2008 KNM Security and Risk Consultants

If you would like to receive personalized training or to schedule a seminar or group training, please contact Ken at 256.679.7405 or email him at