Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lessons from Meredith Emerson's Murder

The savage and depraved murder of Meredith Emerson by Gary Hilton (see the whole story in the post below) in Georgia offers dramatic lessons for the rest of us.

First and foremost, Meredith's immediate and committed resistance almost allowed her to escape. The killer said she would not stop fighting and her continual resistance almost got the better of him.

Some important items to note:

  • Hilton targeted Meredith "because she was a woman". If you are female, you are at risk.
  • Meredith was hiking with her dog. While it's recommended that you hike or run with a dog, don't count on one for protection from an attack.
  • Hilton has done this before. He is also under indictment for a similar murder in Florida.
  • Hilton was armed with military-style knife and a baton. You should be trained and prepared to face an armed attacker.
  • Hilton told investigators. "She wouldn't stop fighting. And yelling at the same time. So I needed to both control her and silence her." This is the bad guy's prime goal at the time of attack.
  • Hilton initially controlled Meredith by repeatedly punching her in the face. If you Fight Like a Girl, you'll learn to protect your head while being able to attack his weakest spots with your strongest weapons.
  • Unfortunately, she allowed herself to be tied to a tree where Hilton eventually beat her to death with a tire iron and then decapitated her. Don't let your attacker take you somewhere or to tie you up, no matter what he promises. It's a bargain you're going to regret.
  • Hilton said he could not bring himself to kill Meredith's dog. But, he could "bring" himself to kill an innocent 24-year old woman. How can you attempt to reason with this type of deranged behavior? Don't count on being able to "talk your way out" of an attack.

Don't let Meredith's fight for her life be in vain. Learn from her situation. Get training in a realistic self-defense method.

RIP Meredith Emerson.

Killer says female hiker fought him to the end

Drifter’s confession shows 24-year-old victim ‘nearly got the best of him’

ATLANTA (Assoc. Press) - Meredith Emerson (photo below) used her wits and martial arts training when she was attacked in the north Georgia mountains by a drifter who eventually killed and decapitated her, the convicted killer told investigators.

Gary Michael Hilton described his four days with Emerson, and how she fought him from the moment he tried to overpower her as she hiked with her dog, Ella, according to the interviews that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Hilton pleaded guilty to charges he killed Emerson and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. He had agreed to lead investigators to her body if prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty. He also has been indicted in Florida in the slaying of another woman whose decapitated body was found in a forest on Dec. 15.
He told investigators he targeted the 24-year-old University of Georgia graduate because she was a woman.

For a time, they had hiked together on New Year's Day near the Appalachian Trail in Union County, but the 61-year-old Hilton couldn't keep up.

When Emerson turned and headed back down the trail, Hilton was waiting with a military-style knife. He demanded her ATM card and Emerson immediately went on the defensive, grabbing the blade and a baton Hilton used to counter her struggle.

"She wouldn't stop," Hilton (photo at right) told investigators. "She wouldn't stop fighting. And yelling at the same time. So I needed to both control her and silence her."

Police: ‘We didn’t get there in time’Hilton said he did that by punching her, blackening both her eyes and possibly breaking her nose. He said the blows also broke his hand.

When he thought he had worn her down, Emerson fought him again, he said.

Hilton said he calmed her down by telling her that he just wanted her credit card and PIN number, then avoided established trails as he led Emerson back down from the mountains and placed Emerson and her dog in his van.

Emerson bought herself three days by giving Hilton the wrong PIN for her ATM card, telling him each time that the numbers were correct.
On the day Hilton killed Emerson, he told her "she was going home." He secured her to a tree, walked back to his van to collect himself and make coffee, and when he returned, he said, Emerson told him: "I was afraid you weren't coming back."

He said he walked behind her and hit her several times with the handle from a car jack.
Hilton said he couldn't bring himself to kill Emerson's dog. When Bridges asked if Hilton had the same equivocations about Emerson, Hilton described the experience as "surreal."

"It was hard," Hilton told the investigator. "You gotta remember we had spent several good days together."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The concealed-carry bogeyman

"Lots of kids, when very young, worry about monsters under the bed. Even when Mom or Dad comes in to reassure them, the kids may still worry. But as they get older, they begin to check under the bed themselves. And eventually, after many monster-free nights, they figure out that the danger is purely imaginary and they stop worrying. You would think by now that gun-control supporters would have made the same progress on one of their most fearsome demons: the licensing of citizens to carry concealed firearms. But they seem to be trapped in a recurring nightmare that exists only in their minds."

Steve Chapman, "Concealed weapons a threat - to ignorance", Baltimore Sun, Nov. 29, 2007

Monday, March 03, 2008

Unpredictability and vulnerability

Remember that the professional may be predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.

So, while you work with and against "trained" fighters, your attacker will almost certainly be of the "untrained" variety. Does that make them less dangerous? Don't bet your life on it!

The street thug has learned his craft well, by actually employing his strategy against real victims in real circumstances. He knows what works and when it works, which gives him a huge dose of confidence.

Unorthodox or unexpected attacks can cause havoc with your "trained" responses.

I once saw Royce Gracie almost get KO'ed in a seminar (this was during the height of his UFC fighting days) when a raw beginner did a completely unexpected move and kneed Royce right in the face. The kid was not being malicious, it's just that he had no idea of what to do next so he did something completely unpredictable.

Expect the unexpected.