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Social Behavior
by Carasue Moody

We all need to take responsibility for our safety. Whether it is crimes including assault, theft, burglary, bullying, etc. The act of random violence has become very creative, brutal and aggressive.

Unfortunately, it is everywhere we turn. Whether it is in a movie theater, a walk along the street or park, in sport stadiums, etc., a seemingly safe and secure situation can escalate into a nightmare.

I read an article by Timothy Dimoff, founder and President of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. He says, “Society has changed. What once was considered very inappropriate or even taboo behavior is now accepted as the norm – even considered justified by some.” He continues, “Social behavior, once mostly predictable, has become largely unpredictable. You should always be vigilant in the public and at work.”

Mr. Dimoff reviews some frightening new trends in random violence, and what you can do to protect yourself against them.

1.) The “knockout game”: Cell phone videos have captured numerous incidents across the country in which groups of teens and young adults prey on unsuspecting passerby. The “game” is to knock out a stranger with a single blow to the head.

Protective Measure: The best way to defend against an ambush is to avoid it. Be aware of your vulnerabilities and take measures to decrease them. The victims in the knockout attacks have been people walking alone and making little or no effort to be aware of their surroundings. Be aware of who’s around you, keep your distance from unknown or strange people, or ask a co-worker to walk you to your car.

2.) Cyberbullying: Middle school and high schools are traditionally a difficult place and time for many, but now, cruel attacks by bullies can follow students 24 hours a day, on campus and off. Cyberbullying includes intimidating messages, humiliating rumors and images spread on social networking sites, false profiles and more. To make matters worse, the bully recruits others to “join in the fun” of constant negative cyber attacks to a selected target. Just look at the supposedly supporting teammates of the Miami Dolphins. Bullying taken a little too far. Careers ruined, mental stability changed all for a little so called fun and initiation.

Protective Measure: Children do not understand the importance of boundaries as well as adults do, so it is imperative that parents establish appropriate online behavior with their kids. Help them post and filter content intelligently; make sure that what they post will not be used to embarrass them. Also, ensure that passwords are kept secret. Let your kids know that you will be monitoring their networks for their safety and if they protest that’s an invasion of privacy, remind them social media is public (and suggest they keep a written journal).

3.) Real violence at movie theaters: There have been more than 60 mass shootings nationwide since 1982, and almost half of them occurred just since 2006. The first mass shooting in a movie theater occurred in 2012 and seemed like a tragic, random fluke, the crazed violence of a mentally deranged young man. However, any sense of security was shattered in January when a respected retired police officer annoyed with another patron’s texting was accused of shooting and killing him.

Protective Measure: By now, movie theater management should know the necessity of a visible security presence, with staff stationed in darkened theaters to ensure the civility of the audience. A confrontation over what one patron perceives to be annoying behavior can quickly escalate, so adhere to the rules of etiquette and if that’s not possible (such as a crying child), remove yourself from the situation. When you enter a theater, or any public gathering place, make a note of exits and consider what you would do if you needed to intervene to stop an attack, defend yourself and /or your family, escape or distance yourself from the threatening situation. Always have a plan just in case!

“Whether we’re talking about personal or corporate security - or safety at home, schools, churches and nonprofits – it should be clear to everyone that security is no longer a spectator’s sport,” Dimoff says.

This article is not meant to frighten you but to make you think about being aware of your surroundings.