Ideas re: staying safe in the States

Discussion in 'Women's Self Defence' started by KarateMum, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Don't be black, be white. That helps enormously.
  2. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    Johno - isn't it a shame that society causes that sort of response?
  3. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Yes, it is. I suppose I was being facetious as much as cynical, but it's concerning when you see so many stories of African Americans being shot by the police in very dubious circumstances.

    My son is hoping to go to the USA on a sports scholarship, and I can't help worrying about it. He doesn't have the cultural 'radar' that someone who grew up over there would have.
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick


    I lived in Florida during my teens. And I have visited the US more times than I can remember. I never experienced real violent crime - nothing beyond high school bullying or drunk idiots in bars anyway.

    In fact, I've experienced worse violence in England than in America.

    But here's the FCO's offical advice. Follow it and you should be fine.
  5. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    But he will have a british accent, and the ability to drink without getting drunk, women will love him, men will want him as a drinking buddy.
  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    American bar culture is just wierd.

    I've been asked to leave a NYC bar as I hadnt eaten yet (2pm) but had drunk 3 beers.
    apparently saying its ok we're english isnt good enough!
  7. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    I'd say that particular bar's culture was weird. Doesn't strike me as "American' bar culture of any stripe.
  8. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    A sports bar in hawaii had a similar rule up in the wall.

    which was ok as the food was good!
  9. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    NYC is a place like no other even by American standards.

    Footfall = dollars, so maybe they were turfing you out to make room for new customers.

    Get yourself to N'Orleans.

    That southern hospitality is something you can never get enough of.

    One restaurant (jokingly) wouldn't let me leave until I ordered dessert!

    Had cravings at 3am so went to a 24 hour diner, got a free slice of pecan pie just for my English accent. :D
  10. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Don't forget to buy a Stetson, all Americans wear a Stetson
  11. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    And chaps.

    Leather chaps with pink glitter and the butt cut out.
  12. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Which reminds me, how is Ero these days?
  13. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Last I heard, on tour with Magic Mike.
  14. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    Thanks all. Unless I am def. playing tourist for a day (which of course I will do), I will otherwise be based within day to day rural Canada and America with ordinary families. As such I am kind of hoping that the accent might assist in glossing over any cultural faux pas that I might cause.

    It's funny because I can also drink without getting drunk, I hadn't realised it was something endemic to British culture!

    Moi, I did smile at buying a Stetson :-D
  15. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    You know you want to :)
  16. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    Moi, Ha, Ha

    Redcoat Ninja - Nah, I don't do pink glitter!
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    I am sure you will have a grand time. I grew up in the States and have travelled around the States quite a bit (as well as Canada). As long as you stay smart and aware, you really shouldn't have any problems.

    Keep in mind that the extreme crime stuff you see on the news is fairly rare compared to ordinary existence in the States.

    For the most part, I recommend checking out the areas you are going to before hand to see what kind of places they are - I don't really recommend random wanderings through cities, but if you read up before you go, you can have a lot of fun. For example, Toronto is very safe and has an easy to use public transpo system - you can get a day pass and visit Chinatown, Kensington, the downtown area and so on for real cheap.

    Rural areas in the States tend to be very safe. Cities have some areas to avoid (check your travel guide) BUT people in the US tend to be very helpful to strangers who ask for help, especially asking for info on the subway or using buses or asking how things work.

    Don't be so paranoid about what you've heard that you miss out on a good time. The US is actually quite safe and loads of fun. Have a good attitude, be friendly and polite and you should enjoy it.

    By the way, I have always found the police (all various groups) to be very professional and helpful throughout the US. The basic rule of thumb is "don't be doing stuff you shouldn't be and you shouldn't have a problem."

    Here are some things I put together for my classes that I mention... it falls on the 'better safe than sorry' side, but I think it's pretty good advice:

    (1) As you walk, keep your head and look side to side, above you and below you. Don't do it too much but do it enough to see potential obstacles and take not of the people around you.

    (2) Walk upright, focused and confident. A shy person who avoids eye contact may be mistaken as weak. Look at people who pass you but don't stare or look too long.

    (3) Try to park under street lamps (esp. in parking lots) where you can be seen and where you can see people around you. Also, try to park as close to the area you are going.

    (4) When you get to your car, as you approach it, look for anything unusual, like scrapings, broken windows or fluid stains under the car. If you see something, be extra careful.

    (5) (Especially after dark), walk purposely to your car in a direct manner. Have your keys out in your strong hand and hold them as if you need to drive them into someone's face or scratch someone. Try to keep your purchases and/or bags/purse in your weaker hand.

    (6) When you get to your car, take a quick look as in #4, unlock the door and open it. As it opens look into the back and side seats quickly, as well as behind the front seats for signs of people.

    (7) After checking as in #6, get into the car quickly, sit down and LOCK the door. Do NOT stand half in the car with the door open adjusting your bags or looking for stuff. Get in the car, lock the door and then do whatever business you have to.

    (8) When you arrive somewhere, as you prepare to park, look around and note who and what is around. Try to park in a lighted area and look for potential alternate routes of exit or travel.

    (9) When strangers motion for you to roll down your window or stop (hitch-hikers or information seekers or vagrants/beggars), do NOT do it. These people should mean nothing to you and are not worth putting your safety in danger.

    (10) At least once a week, at your home, check out your car. Check tires, fluids, batteries and such to try to prevent breakdowns later on. Make sure all of your lights work (so you won't be pulled over) and make sure the locks work. At least once, check out how your trunk works and find where the emergency (from inside) catch works in case you ever have to use it.

    (11) Keep an emergency kit in your car with tools, blanket, first aid kit, extra water/oil/trans. fluid and such in it.

    (12) When going anywhere, check in with someone and give them an estimate of where you'll be and when you'll be back. If you're going to be much later, call them.

    (13) If you are walking along (or driving) and see an altercation (verbal or physical), do NOT stop and watch. Most importantly, do NOT try to get involved... especially in cases of spouses/family, they may join against you. If you want to help, call 911 and let them handle it. Don't try to break up fights if you don't know the people very well.

    (14) If someone starts to try to make a problem with you, especially verbally, don't stick around in hopes he'll lay off. Get out of there.

    (15) Anywhere you go, look for an alternative exit in case the primary way is blocked.

    (16) Always try to wear clothes that allow freedom of movement. If you have to wear tight or restrictive clothes (skirts, tuxedos, etc.) for some kind of event, try to get a size that will allow you to move. When you put it on, try a few basic movements that you might need. Check the stitches to see if you can rip off parts if needed to run. Wear socks/ sturdy stockings in case you need to kick off shoes for running or use as a weapon.

    (17) Don't chat mindlessly on a cell phone as you walk mindlessly. If you need to take a call, find a public place to talk, even if you have to call them back. Walking around with a "walkman" on takes away one of your senses as well... and distracts you. I only recommend them in the privacy of my own home (but I'm paranoid anyway!)
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo


    Generally it isn't so much 'race' as it is doing something you aren't supposed to and then provoking a hard response.
  19. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    The thing is that we've heard so many news stories of young black men (and boys) being shot by police for apparantly very little reason. So while I admit that I was being a bit cynical, it is a genuine concern.

    If you were to give some advice to a young black British male about staying safe in the USA, then what would it be? Saying "just stay out of trouble and you'll be fine" is all very well, but what happens if trouble comes looking for you? If a redneck cop was pointing a gun at you, would speaking loudly in a British accent do you any good?
  20. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    This advice goes double for British black men:


Share This Page