Humans are Natural Predators

According to a new study, genetics and evolution have made an impact on the murderous behavior of the human species. However, becoming civilized has tamed some of these instincts.

7HScientists have looked at the homicide rate of more than 1,000 species that kill their own, and noticed that there are similar rates of lethal acts. Essentially, this means that the evolution of these species can tell us a lot about how violent the species is.

This study, which was published in Nature, says that humans lie in the middle of a quite violent group of mammals that have all evolved together…and these mammals have a very violent and murderous past. What does this mean for us? It means that humans have likely inherited violent tendencies from our ancestors.

Let’s look at the numbers. When looked at as a group, the rate of all mammals murdering their own is about three in 1,000. However, when we look at our ancestors, and many primates, for that matter, this number is closer to about 20 in 1,000. In certain periods of time, this number even rose to about 120 in 1,000, such as during the medieval era, which ran from around 700 to 1500 A.D. Fortunately, we have seen these numbers fall, and when you take humans, alone, the current rate is about 13 in 1,000. So, we are now much less violent than we were just 1,000 years ago.

It’s true that we, as humans, are killing each other less than we used to, but we are still not as peaceful as some of our mammalian cousins. For example, killer whales, which are one animal that has a high level of intelligence, has a rate of violence against its own of around zero. In fact, most whale species are quite peaceful to their own kind.

So, we are more violent than whales, but when compared to mammals such as baboons, cougars, and lemurs, we are far less violent, as these animals have murder rates closer to 100 per 1,000.

Since this study examined violence in a way that compared closely related species, it’s not a surprise that these species had similar levels when looking at violence. Furthermore, the more closely related a species is to another, the more similar their levels of violence.

It is difficult to calculate rates for lethal violence for our ancestors, but we can get a rough idea based on looking at archaeological findings. What was found after looking at thousands of these sites is that things such as culture and government lower the rates of lethal violence. This also suggests that the level of murder among species is reversible, and that it might increase or decrease based on social, ecological, or cultural factors. These findings are similar to a previous study from Harvard that looked at the history of violent crimes, such as rape, as well as war, murder, and bigotry.

When we look at all of these facts, humans are social, territorial, and naturally violent. But, as modern society has become developed and we have engaged in more civilized activities, the rates of violence have fallen. What’s really interesting is that this study shows that most mammals are not murderous towards their own kind, but others, such as wolves, lions, and primates, including humans, actually do engage in this behavior. What it could come down to is that mammals that are murderous towards their own kind are both territorial and social.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Survive Falling Through Ice

It can be truly terrifying to fall through ice on a frozen lake, but if you remain calm, it can save your life. Most people don’t realize that you have more time than you think, according to experts. This is due to the concept of thermoregulation and how your body deals with the shocking cold that immediately encompasses the body.

1MAs you first hit the freezing water, you will almost immediately gasp and start hyperventilating. It is important that you remember to get control of your breath and do not thrash around. It can help to remember something called the “1-10-1 principle.” This means that it takes about one minute to gain control of your breathing, and then you have 10 minutes to move before you get too cold. The final one is to remind you that it will take one hour before you become unconscious. Again:

  • 1 minute to control your breath
  • 10 minutes of meaningful movement
  • 1 hour before unconsciousness sets in

Take that initial minute and fully focus on your breathing. Slow it down, and then look around to see if you can locate the thickest area of ice. Typically, this is in the direction of the way you were coming from, as the ice was thick enough, at least for a time, to hold your body weight. When you locate the ice, stretch your arms over the surface, and then begin to flutter-kick until your body becomes horizontal with the surface. Kick hard and use your arms and hands to pull yourself onto the ice. As soon as you are able, begin to roll away from the hole, and then crawl upon the ice until you can safely stand up. To learn more about this, and to see it in action, there are videos online that demonstrate this technique.

Keep in mind that once your body temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, officially you are hypothermic. When it falls below 86 degrees, it is likely that you will be unconscious, but not actually lifeless. In fact, people have been revived from body temperatures as low as 56.7 degrees, which is when the body will show the clinical signs of death, such as not breathing and not having a pulse.

It is possible that you can live for several hours after passing out if you can get out of the frigid water. This, however, does require some planning. You only have about 10 minutes after falling in before your muscles and nerves become too cold to work. If you feel too weak to go on and you cannot get out, place your arms over the surface of the ice and just remain still. The point is to encourage your coat to freeze to the ice, so that if you lose consciousness, you will keep your head above water. Additionally, you will remain visible for rescue, even if you pass out.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

5 Improvised Secret Self-Defense Weapons

1SDCane

  • If you use a cane, take “cane-fu” classes if possible. Yes, it’s a thing.
  • A sturdy cane with a strong handle works best.
  • Do not assume you can fight with a cane just because you need one to walk.
  • Avoid a cane with a hidden knife or sword unless you specifically train to fight with a blade.
  • A person’s first instinct with a cane-like device for self-defense is to wield it in a horizontal path as though swinging a baseball bat. This is wrong, as it can easily be seen in progress by the person you’re trying to ward off; that person could dodge it, deflect it or grab the cane from you. This is why a cane self-defense class is crucial.

Magazine

  • Swatting someone with an unrolled magazine is worthless, even the most tightly rolled magazine won’t stop an assailant—because swatting is the wrong way to use a rolled-up magazine as a weapon.
  • The proper way to strike is with a hammer motion, your arm as the handle and the magazine as the head, so that the end of the roll is struck into the assailant; the roll, ideally, is perpendicular to the surface it strikes, concentrating as much impact as possible into a small area. But if this small area is his neck, nose, temple or groin, it will stop him long enough for you to either follow up with another blow or to escape.
  • A pre-rolled magazine, fastened tightly with several thick rubber bands, is something you should have on hand, just in case. Otherwise, pray you don’t let panic make you fumble as you’re trying to roll up a magazine when an assailant approaches.

Flashlight

  • A flashlight, being shaped like a rolled-up magazine, is used in the same way as a magazine roll.
  • But because it’s more solid, it will be more effective.

Pen

  • You’re probably already picturing a pen sticking out of the assailant’s eye.
  • A pen jabbed into the temple, nose and neck hard enough will disable the attacker; the more perpendicular the pen to the strike surface, the better.
  • A pen jammed hard enough into the collarbone will also stop the assailant.
  • Other body parts worth mentioning: ear, cheek, top of hand, groin.

Belt

  • The key is being able to quickly pull the belt off your pants.
  • And that’s it: whip at him with the buckle as the striking end. Don’t try to strangle him; that only works in the movies, then run!

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

1 in 4 Female Undergrads sexually assaulted

One in four (25 percent) of college women reported they received unsolicited sexual contact while in college, says the recent Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey of 150,000 students.

1SDHow can on-campus safety be heightened?

  • Students should have a hardcopy and smartphone-stored list of contact information for all kinds of help. The school’s emergency and security numbers should be on speed dial.
  • Memorize key numbers in case your phone is stolen or the juice dries up.
  • Ditch the headphones when walking outside.
  • See if the campus has a security escort service.
  • Take self defense classes often. Many college campuses have martial arts clubs; join and learn.
  • Don’t always walk the same paths to and from classes so that predators don’t learn your patterns.
  • Review the privacy settings of all your social media accounts, as some accounts have geolocation features that can reveal your location via photos.
  • Keep your windows locked! Always keep the door locked as much as possible and always overnight.

What about social settings?

  • Out late at a bar? Never leave alone; always have someone with you. And make sure you know precisely how to get to your next destination.
  • Never get drunk. Yep, I’m serious. Though many victims are sober at the time of assault, getting drunk can open many opportunities for being victimized, such as being unaware that someone just slipped the “date rape” drug in your fifth drink.
  • In fact, never let your drink out of sight. If you don’t want to take it with you to the restroom, then either finish it or trash it first.
  • Never accept a drink that you didn’t see poured, and never accept an opened can of soda.
  • If you feel it’s time to leave, it probably is. You don’t owe any explanations. In fact, if you say, “I have to go,” pushy people will ask why and urge you to stay. So instead, silently and nonchalantly make your exit. If someone nabs you along the way, tell them you need to 1) get some air outside, 2) make a phone call or answer a text, 3) get something from your car.
  • If it’s more obvious you’re leaving for the night (e.g., putting on coat and boots), say you 1) just received an urgent text, 2) have an early exam tomorrow, 3) look ‘em hard in the eye and say, “I’m leaving. DEAL.” Then leave.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Self-Defense and Sexual Assault Prevention

If you reach your hand to a strange dog loose on the street to pet it on top of the head, and it mauls your hand, whose fault is this? One camp would put most of the blame on the dog owner. But most people would blame the victim.

1SDBut everyone with half an ounce of sense would agree on one thing: Whose fault it is has NOTHING to do with the importance of doing whatever it takes to prevent a dog attack.

This same principle applies to sexual assault against women. An article on vice.com says that feminist Julie Lalonde isn’t too comfortable with the idea of pushing self-defense lessons on women to help prevent rape. Lalonde believes that promoting self-defense skills encourages the idea that rape is a woman’s fault.

The vice.com article quotes her talking of how society is constructed such that”…if a woman is sexually assaulted and she hasn’t taken a self-defense class, then it was her fault because she could have prevented her rape and didn’t.”

This mindset is one sandwich and the entire blanket short of a picnic. Again, fault has nothing to do with taking whatever measures are necessary to protect oneself! If it can be accomplished with self-defense lessons, then go for it!

Here’s a question for Lalonde and likeminded folks: Which is easier, teaching a woman self-defense or eliminating the urge to rape in a sociopath? Perhaps Lalonde can explain what sort of tactics have been proven to kill a sociopath’s or psychopath’s desire to violate a woman? Last time I checked, none exist (don’t say “chopping it off”; I’m talking about realistically, in our society).

What’s realistic and ethical is self-defense lessons. A study headed by Charlene Senn compared women (900 total) who were assigned self-defense training (which included psychological aspects such as assessing a situation) to women who were given only brochures on sexual crimes.

Rape was reduced among the first group of women (self defense) 5.2 percent, vs. the brochure group (9.8 percent), 12 months out from the study’s interventions.

Do not people such as Lalonde realize how easy it is to disable a man? Has she never seen a man become immobilized with pain upon accidentally hitting his knee into the edge of a cocktail table?

Or perhaps she’s seen too many movies and TV shows in which a man is shown being slammed over the head with a two-by-four, then taking half a dozen punches by another man, kicked in the ribs, knocked off a ledge and falling 10 feet, and despite all that, he ends up beating the tar out of his attacker. In real life, one good sock to the temple will knock a man’s lights out.

Self-defense doesn’t just involve punches and kicks, but depending on the style, focuses on using the laws of physics to put an attacker in a joint lock.

Predators look for prey. High quality self-defense schools teach women NOT to behave like prey, but to behave defensively when needed.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Could Your Neighbor be a Grim Sleeper?

Serial killer “Grim Sleeper” was captured in LA. Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was at one time was an employee for the LAPD. The Los Angeles Police Department had been hunting a man who had stalked South Los Angeles since 1985, killing at least 10 women. “Franklin allegedly killed seven women between 1985 and 1988, when his crimes seemed to abruptly stop, authorities say. The slayings resumed with three more between 2002 and 2007, police said. The Grim Sleeper serial killer had a lengthy criminal history stretching over four decades but was never sent to prison despite calls by law enforcement officials for tough sentences, according to Los Angeles County court records” It’s always very disappointing when criminals are let out only to commit another crime. It’s even more disappointing when the system enables these same criminals by giving them lean sentences or letting before their sentence is up. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics “In 2008, over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year-end — 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults.”  2,304,115 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails in 2008 There is an old saying born of motorcycle gangs called “one percenters”.  The theory is 1% of all people come out of their momma just bad. According to these stats, it may actually be 3.2 percent.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal Security Expert and Adviser to Intelius.com. For more information see Intelius at Criminal Check to reduce your chances of encountering a bad guy. See him discussing self defense on Youtube.  (Disclosures)

“Grim Sleeper” Gets Nabbed

In La La Land aka Los Angeles where everyone is a waiter or waitress and wants to be Tom Cruise  or Julia Roberts, they captured a serial killer dubbed “Grim Sleeper” named as such due to the fact there was a lull in his murderous killing spree.

The Los Angeles Police Department had been hunting the man who had stalked South Los Angeles since 1985, killing at least 10 women. Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was at one time was an employee for the LAPD. Detectives pulled DNA from the crime scenes and had the information for years.

Recently the LAPD arrested his son for an unrelated charge. From that arrest they pulled his DNA, (I don’t know why) and it was a partial match to the DNA found at the crime scenes in the 80’s. This is called “familial DNA”, like father/son, mother/daughter or twins. However the son was too young to commit the crimes back then so detectives searched out his social network and on a hunch determined his father would more than likely be the closest match to the sons DNA. Based on where dad lived in proximity to the murders, dad fit the killers profile.

Detectives followed him to a pizza joint and let him finish up then went in and grabbed a few hunks of crust and a drinking glass and did a DNA test on it and they found their match.

Real life “crime scene investigation” stuff. Law enforcement got their man. Nice to see the good guys win one.

The chance of you ever coming face to face with a serial killer is extremely slim. However, there is an extremely slim chance you’d ever get struck by lightning too. But I’ll bet you wouldn’t go climbing a metal flag pole in a lightning storm.

The key is to understand your options and know your strengths if you’re ever faced with an attacker. My favorite form of self defense is running away. Like Muhammad Ali would say “I’m too pretty”. Do you really want to get punched in the face? RUN!

Also take a self defense training program. The best self defense training technique is called “adrenal stress training”, learn as much about it as you can and find a course in your area.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing self defense on some cool station in Virginia. Disclosures.