Seniors taught self defense

Published 2:05 pm Saturday, July 3, 2010

Women of Atmore were given another chance to learn how to defend themselves against potential attackers as Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith held his second defense class in as many weeks Wednesday at Atmore Community Hospital.

Smith was on hand last week teaching ACH employees, but this go around, he taught senior ladies some simple procedures that could save their lives. He also distributed police whistles to each lady attending the meeting to use as an alarm should they ever be attacked. In addition, he gave them ultraviolet pens to write their driver’s license number on their belongings and on the other end of the pen is a light for reading what has been written.

“Just remember, you all have cell phones these days, and that is one weapon you can use.” Smith said. “Dial 9-1-1 on your phone, but don’t push the send button until you decide that you need help. If you don’t have a cell phone, get an old one, and put batteries in it. You don’t have to have a phone contract to use it that way.”

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Atmore Community Hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary sponsored the program, which was aimed at getting information to ladies to let them know that they are far from being helpless in a terrible situation.

As part of this program, one victim was on hand to tell her story of how she used her head and followed some simple rules to keep from being killed.

Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Vickery stood before the group of ladies and told her story for the first time before an audience.

“I had a plan,” she said. “I didn’t think about it every day, but it was in the back of my mind all the time. I also wanted to let you ladies know that you are not a victim if you remember the right things to do. One is to have a plan of what to do in this situation, and secondly, never, ever go with your attacker to a second location. Chances are that you will be killed at that second location. Stay low to the ground and go limp. Chances are pretty good he will not be able to lift you off the ground.”

Smith talked about how to defend one’s self by throwing her purse as far as she can.

“Spread the contents of your purse or your keys as far as you can,” Smith said. “Your attacker has to make the decision of whether he wants to get you or the contents of your purse. Hopefully when you throw the purse and scattered the contents, he goes for the purse and you can run away.”

With the help of one of the ladies who attended, Smith demonstrated several ways to render your attacker helpless to take advantage of you.

“You have to be willing to do some things you might otherwise not do, such as poking his eyes out or knowing the benefit of having a wall to your back,” Smith said.

I also recommend a can of mace in your purse instead of a gun. Most police officers that are killed on duty are those done with their own guns. But if you must have a gun, don’t make it a handgun. Buy a 22 rifle to put in your house instead of a handgun.”

The women who came to the self-defense programs are certainly more informed than they were before. It might just be a good idea to repeat it once a year, Smith said.

“It’s all about being able to defend oneself,” Smith said. “We are lucky to live in a more rural area. Cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta have a lot more crime than we do, but we should never believe that we can’t be attacked by a burglar or on some dark street.”

Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith demonstrates a self defense move Wednesday afternoon at Atmore Community Hospital.|Phot by Lydia Grimes