Everyday, a lot of interesting things go on around us, but we rarely pay enough attention to notice. Below, you can read the experience of a CIA employee stationed in Europe, and what happened to him while he was seeing off his son at the schoolbus loading zone:
… we arrived at the corner with other school children and pedestrians on their way to work. As we chatted, waiting for the school bus to arrive, I noticed one of the older students, the pretty daughter of a family who lived nearby, standing next to an older man a short distance away. Just then, the school bus rolled up so I gave my son a hug and kiss goodbye. He and the other students shuffled towards the bus to board—all the students, that is, except for the girl, Jean.
I watched her for a moment, wondering why she wasn’t approaching the bus, then noticed that the man was standing between her and the bus. Each time Jean tried to walk around him he blocked her, moving his face closer to hers as he stepped back and forth in her path. At first I thought it might be a male friend, another student intent on teasing her. Then I noticed that he was an adult, and I saw the look on her face. She was worried.
__ DB Foley
At this point, DB is waiting for the schoolbus with his son. But because he is paying more attention than the average parent, he notices a potentially serious problem. Here is how the situation then developed:
I told my son to wait and I approached the two. I first asked her if she was okay. “I’m fine,” she said in a frightened voice. I then asked the man, “Who are you?”
“I’m nobody,” he replied, rudely.
“Well, okay, she needs to leave now,” I told him.
“I’m not done talking to her,” he said, as he moved around to face me.
“She’ll miss her bus, so she has to leave now,” I added, trying to stay calm.
“No, not yet.”
“Yes, she is leaving now. Look, she is too young for you, anyway,” I warned.
“I don’t care how old she is,” he countered.
His last, disgusting statement made me angry. Anger is an interesting, tricky emotion, a double-edged sword. It can be a good thing when it stirs someone to action, when needed. It can be also be a bad thing if not controlled and kept in check. When it’s not….
Despite my growing anger I tried to keep calm. I had been in another fight a few months earlier (protecting a victim who had been attacked in a subway), and did not relish the idea of returning to the office of Security in the U.S. Embassy and filling out another report. I gave the harasser another chance.
“Listen, her dad is a big guy, and a rugby player. You don’t want to mess with this young lady.”
“Right,” he smirked, “and what are you going to do about it?” With that last comment he gave me a shove. What was he thinking?
Actually, there was not much thinking from that point on, just reaction. I shoved him back. He stormed back at me with fists raised. I threw a punch, which hit him squarely on the left cheek. He came back for more. I struck him again, a blow which left him on the ground, his back against a tree. He then reached for his bag so I kicked it, sending pastries spilling out across the sidewalk.
The would-be sexual predator then whined, “Leave my croissants alone.” I answered, “Okay, if you leave her alone.” It would have been funny, if not for the violence. __ DB Foley
Foley goes on to analyse what he did wrong, and what he did right. He continues to sketch out the basic concepts of street level awareness, which he taught and used in the CIA.
Foley is the author of “Street Smarts for Women.” The book might also have been written for Dangerous Children in general.
The above story was featured in the website, The Survival Mom. The Survival Mom site has a large number of useful articles dealing with raising more savvy, competent, and situationally aware children.
and Situational Awareness, a quick and insightful introduction to a crucial topic.
Predators and hazards pervade many landscapes through which we may pass. Dangerous Children — no matter the age or sex — should learn to anticipate, evade, and/or deal with these threats.