You are walking to your car in a deserted parking area after working late one evening, and you hear someone behind you who fast approaching. You realize that person can reach you before you can get to your car. What would you do?
Here are some choices:
- Don’t look back, walk faster or run, try to get into your car before they reach you.
- Put your hand on whatever defensive tool you are carrying, turn your head so you can see who is approaching.
- Stop, turn around, and pull out a weapon if you are carrying one.
Let’s consider the “Don’t look back” option first. In this situation, this is not a good idea. The problem statement said that the person can reach you before you can get into your car. To ignore that fact is to put yourself in unnecessary danger. By not looking back, you can’t identify the person following you, and you can’t assess the situation to understand more clearly whether it is really threatening or not. In short, this is a head-in-the-sand response to possible danger that could easily result in disaster.
Option 2 is a better response. By continuing to move toward your car, you can still get there as fast as possible. By glancing back, you can get a good look at the person following you, so you can describe him later, and identify him if necessary. Also, looking back will give you a view of what is happening, so you can tell whether it is really threatening or not. If he is threatening, knowing that you have seen him may cause him to break off his planned attack. Remember, the person behind you might be just another woman hurrying to her car because she is nervous, too.
By having your hand on some defensive tool (keys, chemical defensive spray, Persuader, or firearm, for example), and keeping it out of sight for now, you are prepared to take defensive action if necessary.
Option 3, is an over-reaction that is not justified by the circumstances. You don’t know whether the person following you is actually a threat or just another woman hurrying to her car because she is nervous, too, so pulling out a weapon (particularly if it is a gun) is not justified. (If you were thinking of a low-level weapon such as pepper spray, then it is more reasonable to take this course of action.)