I will sleep better at night knowing my big dog is watching after us on our boat. We believe in keeping at least one protection dog in our home for security. Why wouldn’t we take her on our boat when we cruise the Intercostal Waterway (ICW) and Caribbean? Onyx is a specially trained former police and protection dog. She doubles as my certified service dog. I think that being a service disabled Veteran has its benefits. I am writing this journal as a series of entires where I share with people how I have chosen to prepare for our adventure on our boat Miss Lone Star.
I have completed extensive research on crime in the Caribbean. We will be most concerned with violent (person) crime and property theft. There are plenty of different subdivisions for different crimes that most likely concern us in our travels. I see adding a protection dog to any cruiser’s boat as a good idea. We love having Onyx aboard she is a great companion. She is a working dog and preforms several very useful tasks. I see her as a valuable member of our family and she takes her duties very seriously. She goes everywhere with us and has intervened in several situations that would’ve become worse without her. I’m not kidding when I say we take her everywhere. She has flown all over the country on commercial airliners, gone grocery shopping weekly, dined at fine restaurants and hung out in bars. She loves to go to the movies but her dark color causes people problems because they can’t see her. I think this is a plus when picking a dog, by the way.
I teach people who there are three steps in the process of self-defense: Detect, Diffuse, Defend. A good protection dog can provide assistance in all three of these steps and is a good complement to anyone’s self-defense plan. In my experience, thieves are like anyone else. They look for the easiest way to accomplish their goals. The easiest target in a location where they are unlikely to be detected with the highest probability that they can get away without being caught are all considerations that go into most encounters with bad guys. Everyone has a plan, even bad guys. That is the problem with self-defense, it is entirely reactionary. Only the bad guy knows what he is going to do in advance and it is up to the person who needs to defend herself to react and survive. Good intentions are a key component to acting in self-defense, in my opinion, because people who take action to prevent an attack are usually acting with good intention of being honest, law-abiding people. I like to say that adding to your self-defense “tool box” increases confidence and happiness. Only you know your capabilities and with the right kind of practice a person becomes better. Have you ever noticed that truly capable people never brag? They usually don’t look like the kind of meathead that can really cause damage, but they do when necessary.
Fear the calmest person in the room.
I have taught many tens of thousand women in my time through various disciplines of self-defense. I like teaching women because they learn at a higher level than men. Their intuition is so much better, it’s not even funny. I always thank my female students for keeping our species alive because if it were up to us men, we would’ve already killed everyone off. I can’t say enough about a woman’s intuitive will to survive and protect her loved ones. The only intuition that I would trust more than a woman’s is that of my dog. Think about it. We feel proud when our dog barks because she is defending our house or just doesn’t like that contractor who looks at you sideways with those beady eyes. We tell stories to our friends about “how our dog never really liked that friend who did us wrong.” After-the-fact. Always after-the-fact.
I tell a personal story about a man’s (MY) intuition that failed me because I have the standard male ego. it is so stupid, it’s funny. Here goes:
I am at a grocery store in East Las Vegas, Nevada doing some shopping for a week-long stay in that wonderful town. I had a branch office there for my security and investigation company. I had a contract with a big national chain of stores who needed undercover loss prevention, security and detection of employee theft. We provided service for 36 stores in one of the countries worst cities, in my opinion. East Las Vegas is a super high crime area but I always thought it was good for my employees to see me in person and at unexpected times. I got some “street cred” for showing up in especially sketchy areas of town.
Here I am, Mr. Whiteboy in flip-flops, cargo shorts and wearing a Rolex. I drove a Ford F350 diesel truck that I had to park at the end of the lot because of its size. I arrived, to do my weekly shopping for the apartment I kept. I didn’t see any of my guys or any crime, except me being in a not so nice area looking like a mark. It was a really hot day and I remember the smell of the parking lot asphalt. I couldn’t wait to get home to eat my cold ice cream that was riding in the old shopping cart. I had to get to my truck and turn on the AC! I had a long diagonal walk across the parking lot to get to the big white truck. My intuition picked up on a man who was matching my strides toward my truck. He was in a different part of the parking lot that was away from any other cars, businesses, drug dealers, etc. “Hey that’s strange,” I thought as I grieved for my melting ice-cream.
I checked back in with myself, about ten steps and gave my second notice for a potential problem. “Hey man, somethings not right with that big crackhead walking towards my truck! There’s something fishy.” Naw, I’m a man. I know all of this bad ass self-defense stuff and nobody would want to mess with me. Besides my ice cream is going to melt.” Seriously, that is exactly what my little man brain thought! Ten steps later, same drill. I though about turning back and going back into the store. It was either that or trudge off to the truck. “Shit, there is no cooler in the front of the store, surely the ice-cream with perish!” No kidding, another true confession! Along I went, reminding myself than chiding myself as I got closer and closer. The man continued to look at the ground and make no eye contact, which was not normal and a clue in and of itself. I rounded the tailgate and pushed the cart to the back door as he met me out of sight from the front of the store. I was in no man’s land. Nobody at the bus stop and cars driving quickly to get to the casinos, pawn shops or liquor stores. It was just me and my stalker.
My cart bumped up against his leg as he faced me on the other side of it closer to the front of the truck. “Give me your wallet and your watch dumbass,” is what he said. Now, that was the truest thing I heard all day! My immediate thought was this: “you just killed yourself over some Fing ice-cream you stupid %$#!”
He was holding a large knife and I felt scared. He said he was going to kill me and leaned towards me at the waist. He was a tall guy who later trend out to be 6’5″. He had dead eyes and looked right through me. “Money, Body, Life” I remembered. That is all he can take, or a combination thereof. “Oh crap! You don’t have your pocket gun in your back pocket, Robb!, only this stupid can of OC spray!” My next realization on a day of unprecedented screw ups. “You need a plan Robb, you need a plan so you don’t die.” Life really throws a curveball at you sometimes.
I put my hands up, palms forward and told him I would get him my wallet. I said “please don’t kill me, I will give you my stuff.” He said, “I am going to kill you man,” in the calmest voice I have ever heard. I knew then that Life was what I had that he ultimately wanted and that was out of the question, regardless of how stupid my brain previously behaved. “Yea man, whatever you want.” Compliance was anticipated as I reached slowly for my back pocket with my right hand. I was in fear for my life and “imminent jeopardy” in the truest sense of the law.
I bumped the cart with my knee, which caused it to bump his knee. He looked down only for a second as I retrieved my 1/2 can of OC spray from my back pocket. Hissssss went the can as I coated his face with the lather, which also had a paint marker and the standard 10% Law Enforcement concentration of the chemical. The cart provided me with distance away from his blade. In self-defense, distance is time and time is well, life. I gave him a 5 second spray and he dropped the knife after waving it in any direction I went. Anger kicked in and I stuck him several times as he tried to fight back in an ineffective manner. “Man, he is as strong as an ox! Maybe it was PCP not crack? Hmm.” This shit went through my mind, seriously. I am a dumb guy.
The next thing I knew I was mounting him on top and striking his head. He had no tension in his neck muscles so his head was limp as it thudded to the pavement with each punch. I felt the sting of the OC chemical in my hand from the cuts that I gave myself with the crackhead’s teeth. I realized that I was going to kill this man if I continued and I took a breath. I scanned my area and saw nobody paying any attention of any kind. It was a big parking lot. ” I can’t kill him but I can’t let him get away and go do this crap to someone else,” was my conscious decision. He came to and tried to rise until I made it too painful for him to continue. I stood him up and we walked into the store with him on his tip toes, due to the lock I held on what unbroken fingers he had left.
The employees of the store thought I was the crackhead as we waked in. He was screaming and saying that it was ME who attacked him. That statement did hurt my feelings, upon reflection. I told the store manager that I owned the company who provided security for this store chain and to call Las Vegas Metro Police, ASAP. I shouted some police jargon that would identify me as someone who could only know what a cop should know. I didn’t want to get “Rodney King’d!” The responding officer showed up 20 minutes later, in true Las Vegas fashion and drew his weapon on me. “Damn, I wish I had my handcuffs for this guy!” I explained myself as best I could and cool minds prevailed. Crazy crackhead was taken into proper police custody and I could finally wipe my hands that stung and had the scumbag’s DNA all over them.
In the end, I was thanked for my time and apprehension of the crackhead. It turns out that in addition to the crime the perpetrated on me, he had an arrest warrant out of California for.. you guessed it.. Armed Robbery! He was extradited back to the Golden State and I never even got a subpoena for what he attempted to do to me. My ice cream was melted but a nice grocery bagger brought in my cart before it got stolen. I learned a lesson that I wouldn’t forget. Don’t obsess over ice cream. Well, the most important one was to trust intuition and look for anything that is not congruent, given your specific situation. Anything out of the ordinary probably is just that. If I was a woman, this wouldn’t happened. I should’ve buried my stupid ego and went into the store watch the crackhead get tired of waiting for me.
I can safely say that my dog would’ve deterred this and many other situations where I was the intended victim of crime. People hate working dogs, especially bad guys. Dogs pay attention to their intuition, like women. Dogs are great for your peace of mind and they serve a purpose more than fetching a ball if you let them. Later in life, I met my wife who introduced me to working dogs. She is a dog trainer among other things for fun and trains police protection dogs. I have learned a lot from her and all I can say is thank God for women. Learning from my mistake, I vowed to get a girl dog so that I could compensate for being a dumb man.