Tuesday, February 12, 2008


After Meredith Emerson's murder and the revelation that a potential serial killer had been roaming throughout North Georgia the last few years, self-defense classes popped up throughout the Metro like mushrooms in March. I think there were a lot of one-off classes designed to just give the attendees a few basic ideas of what to do if they're attacked.

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a real martial arts-based self-defense class taught by a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. My friend Barrett has been attending the class for a few weeks now and asked me to go with her. I loved the class and am eager to go back. The instructor's focus seemed to be very much on empowering the women in the class and helping them to believe in their own abilities to defend themselves should they find themselves in a dangerous situation. I am eager to go back.

Especially since yesterday, I thought I might have cause to use my newly acquired, but limited knowledge of self-defense.

After picking Brendan up from school, I took the boys to Target to pick up some Valentine's goodies for Brendan's friends. While we were shopping, I noticed a strange-looking man staring at me as he walked toward us. He passed us, then I noticed him turn and begin following us. When I stopped to look at some shoes, he passed us and stopped within sight and kept glancing over at us.

I didn't want to freak out at that point and we kept shopping and I didn't notice him again until we were leaving. Suddenly, he came out of nowhere and began following us again. It was like he had been waiting around the exit for us.

So, he followed us out of the store and my first thought was landing a kick in the center of his chest. My next thought was finding someone to tell. As I was debating going back into the store, I saw two young men who had just parked next to my car coming toward the store. I stopped them and asked if they would mind waiting on the sidewalk until I loaded the boys in the car. As soon as he saw me talking to these two young man (who I think thought I was the crazy one), he turned and went in the opposite direction. I was so flustered that I left my shopping bag in the cart on the sidewalk and had to go back for it.

As I was leaving, I saw a security guard patrolling the parking lot and told him what had happened and he said he'd check it out.

Maybe I overreacted, but maybe not. It's just like when Barrett accidentally popped the instructor in the nose with her knee while he was demonstrating a technique. It was a little uncomfortable at the moment, but perhaps that pain saves her life one day. If my discomfort and embarrassment at seeming paranoid keeps Creepy McCreeperson from Target -stalking someone else, I've done something positive.


Suz said...

They always say, trust your gut. We get those sensations like the hair standing up on the back of our necks for a reason. I think you did the absolute right thing.

I've been extra careful myself since the rape around the corner from my place, so I know just what you mean. I heard a noise last night and got up and inspected the whole apartment.

Better safe than sorry!

Wendy said...

ew, that is creepy. you did the right thing. but it would have been really cool if you had landed a kick to the center of his chest!

Jeremy said...

If you overreacted, then I think overreacting is what's called for...