What Paul LaCroix taught me.

You are at a party (parade, the mall, in a line waiting to get into a movie).  Suddenly, someone grabs your arm.  Even though this hold may not be painful, the person has taken control of your body.  The move is a dominating one.  

Let’s establish this right now.  Nobody is allowed to physically control you.  

You now have a serious problem.  This controlling move  can be used to get you to go in a particular direction toward another room.  This controlling move  can be used to separate you from your purse.  This controlling move  can also be used to get you out of the area and into a car.

Whatever the intention, you do not want this to happen.  So, what do you do?

You regain control of the situation, that’s what.  You regain control of the situation and you go absolutely wild.   How?

Start by yanking your arm away from the guy.  You arc your hand up, outward, and in the direction of his thumb.  While you are jerking your hand/arm  away, punch the guy with your free hand.

Scratch his eyeballs.

Punch him in the nose.

Hit him in the carotid artery with the outside heel of your hand.

Hammer his temple with your fist.

While you’re doing this, use your feet to:

kick him in the balls

kick him in the groin

kick him in the knee

stomp him on the foot

Use your elbow to:

hit him in the solar plexus

hit him in the abdomen

Pull his hair.

You should have the picture by now.  Do all of this as quickly as possible.  Use your weight to give emphasis to what you’re doing.

It’s definitely okay to hit him with your fist in the neck and kick him in the knees or groin at the same time.

Once he lets go of his hold, get away and run as fast as you can.  Get away with your life!



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Thurman Greco

The First Step


When I walk out of my home, I look at everything.  And, I pay attention to what I see.  This is my standard operating procedure whether I’m walking my Chihuahuas around the block,  going to Bread Alone for coffee or walking in a park in the city.

I look at who I see, how that person is acting, what s/he is wearing, where s/he is going.

This is a remarkable change for me.  Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to anything.  Even a year ago, I was totally preoccupied with my own thoughts:

things I needed to do

people I needed to call

what blog posts still needed attention

how my week was going.

Now I pay attention to every person in line at the Woodstock CVS, or  in the crowd at the  Market.   When I’m in the privacy of my home I worry about my to-do list and the calls I need to make.  I have too much to do when I’m out in public.

In public I’m wondering if a person is


lurking in the shadows,

watching me,

or watching someone else in the area.

Here ‘s why:

If a person within my sight of vision is a predator looking for a victim, s/he’s going to know s/he’s been busted because I’ve seen him/her.

If a person is just going about his/her business and is not in a predatory stance, s/he may figure out that an old lady is watching.

If a person is, like myself, watching the crowd, we’ll smile and continue our vigilant activities.

When I see a predator, I try to figure out what s/he’s up to and if I’m the intended victim.  Then I ask myself how long it will take the predator to get to me.  What’s the best way for me to get away?   I’ll be hyper aware of the situation until I feel the danger is over.

One thing is for sure here:  predators depend on surprise for success.   When I’m watching, the surprise element disappears because I spot the predator before the person can surprise me.

Awareness is a lifestyle activity which:

increases my self confidence and keeps me mentally alert,

wakes up my senses,

makes me less likely to be a target or a victim.

This awareness is a very inexpensive way to protect myself and those around me.  After all, it costs nothing to know what’s going on.  I’m keeping an eye on things.

I feel no need to hide my awareness from others.  And, I certainly don’t ignore unusual behavior.

Even as I’m actively observing everything going on around me, I make no effort to attract attention to myself with outrageous dress.  I don’t go out with large groups and I stay away from civil disturbances and demonstrations.

I always wear sensible shoes.  If I’ve got to run, I want to wear shoes  which won’t slow me down.

There is always someone who knows where I’m going, what I’ll be doing, and when I’ll return.

My cellphone is always with me and turned on.  It’s battery is charged.

I avoid deserted streets and lonely country roads.

I’m alert to any and all strangers in the area.  I pay extra attention to strangers who are on or near my property either intentionally or accidentally.  I take notes of their appearance as well as the cars they drive.  This includes noting the license plates.

I definitely notice what they’re doing, how their posture supports their activities.  Are they in a rush?  Are they lurking?  Are they lost or are they trying to appear lost?  How comfortable are they walking around the area?  How noisy are they?  Is this real or faked?

This awareness is basic to self protection.  It’s the first step, actually.

When I notice a person  exhibiting predatory or other negative behavior I begin to assess the movements.

How far is this person from me?  Can I get away?  What have I got around me that I can use to protect myself?  The fact that I’m actively aware of a situation, vibe, or person is protection because this removes  the element of surprise.

Is my outdoor security light on?  Is my house locked?

Do the Chihuahuas know if strangers  are out there?

Is my car parked so that I can get out of the parking lot easily?

Predators depend on surprise.  It doesn’t matter whether they’re trying to:

steal your purse,

steal your mail,

con you out of $$$,

or attack you.

The cheapest, easiest, fastest thing you can do to protect yourself and your property is to use your eyes, ears, nose, intuition to know what’s happening.

Let people say of you:  “Nothing gets past her!”




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Thurman Greco



Tara Sanders Teaches Trauma Sensitive Yoga


Tara Sanders, a Woodstock based trauma sensitive yoga instructor, is a program director in the nonprofit Exhale to Inhale.

Exhale to Inhale yoga works to empower survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to heal through trauma sensitive yoga.  Exhale to Inhale yoga guides women through postures, breathing and meditation.  Taught in trauma-sensitive style, practitioners are enabled to ground themselves in

their bodies

their strength

their stillness.

As this happens, they connect to themselves and work toward empowerment and worthiness.  This practice can be transformative for survivors  of sexual abuse and domestic violence when they shed the cloak of victimhood.

These women have experienced first hand the negative side of a culture   oversupplied with guns.  Many live in communities saturated with firearms and weapons of all types.  They know all too well the violence accompanying them.

I’m suspecting their vulnerability in these neighborhoods has toughened them somewhat.  They live in areas packed with guns yet don’t have the resources to get their own.

Tara teaches the classes without music.  She does not touch the students to correct a posture.  Lights remain on throughout the class.  These sessions offer survivors an opportunity to reclaim their lives through the healing and grounding of yoga.

Tara uses the yoga classes to help her students feel safe, and in the present moment.  As she teaches, she is a conduit for healing and healthful programs in our community.

Exhale to Inhale is a New York-based nonprofit offering free weekly yoga classes to survivors of domestic and sexual assault.  Until June 20th, classes are open to the public at no charge on Saturday mornings from 11 am to noon at the Center for Creative Education, 15 Railroad Avenue, in Kingston, NY.

After June 20th, Exhale to Inhale yoga classes will be taught free of charge in area shelters.  Many survivors of abuse and assault don’t have the financial resources to attend these classes if there were a charge.

For women without  an income, and who do not have a support system outside the home, there is often no $$$  for things like trauma  sensitive yoga.  Many women survivors have absolutely no $$$ at all.

Anecdotal evidence tells me that women in this situation don’t see gun ownership as being a 2nd amendment right.  Rather, they see anyone who owns a gun as being untrustworthy.  Experience has taught them that the armed person attacking them may probably be a:



domestic partner




Finally, the women most in need of protection are the least likely able to get it.   They simply don’t have the resources for self defense classes and/or guns.






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Thurman Greco





I Need a Gun


“I’d like to get an application for a gun permit, please.”  I said…the only cotton top in the room.  I was finally first in line at the government office at Golden Hill in Kingston, NY.

The counter person, an overweight man in his 50’s, could hardly contain his laughter as he handed me the form.  “That’ll be $5 please, miss.”

I handed him the $$$ and started to walk away.  Then, I just couldn’t stand it anymore.  I turned around to him and said in my best little old lady voice “Will you sell me 3 more applications, please?  I forget the girls in my Senior Tai Chi  class asked me to get applications for them, too.”

I pulled out $15 more and put the money on the counter.  The man gave me 3 more applications and then I walked away.  I had no idea who I was going to give the applications to but I remembered the old  “Alice’s Restaurant” song about 3 or more people doing something and being a movement.

When I got home in Woodstock, Barry was sitting on the sofa surrounded by his cats as he read the latest thriller.  “Hi Thurman.  How’re you doing?”  he asked without looking up as he took a few grapes from a large fruit filled bowl on a table beside the sofa.

“I WANT TO LEARN TO SHOOT A GUN.  I want a gun.” I replied.  “I got the permit application today and I want you to teach me to shoot a gun.”


“I want you to teach me to shoot a gun.  I know you can.  You didn’t spend all those  years sneaking off to the CIA and the NSA without knowing how to use a gun.  They even gave you a medal or award or something at the CIA once.  For all I know, you’re a damn bazooka expert.  Maybe I want to learn that too.”

“You can’t do that!  You might accidentally shoot one of the Chihuahuas.”

“Well, it’s not not safe in the pantry after hours.  I haven’t felt safe after hours in the pantry since that incident with the air conditioner.  I’m not one bit afraid of the shoppers.”

“I know your job is difficult Thurman.  Not even a Marine drill sergeant would do what you’re doing.  But I don’t know about a gun.”

“I know.  I know.  I should be more comfortable with everything that’s happening.  After all, I did live 50 miles from headhunters in Venezuela but that was a long time ago.  This is the 21st century.  That Maglite I bought awhile back just isn’t the same thing as a club.  I need something more powerful.

“I’ve lived with guns my whole life” I continued.  My father wore a pistol every day to work in his office.  Everyone in my family carried guns and had rifles in their cars and pickups.  My Aunt Adeline  kept a rifle in each of her her bathrooms.  And, she was no dummy.  She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Texas.”

“TG, YOU’RE JUST NOT THE GUN TYPE.  I don’t care what you say about your relatives carrying arms.  Besides that, I sold my last gun years ago.  What about a knife?  Let me teach you to use a knife.  A good knife will cost you much less and you won’t need a permit.  You won’t need bullets and it won’t require maintenance.  It’ll be easier to carry and use.  I’ll give you lessons.  Nobody will ever know.  Leash up the Chihuahuas.  We’re going to Warren Cutlery right now.”

And off we went.  I held several different knives to see how they fit in my palm.  My 1st choice didn’t pass muster.  “That knife is too big and too heavy” Barry said as he pointed to a smaller model.  “You need something small enough that you can open quickly.  If you’re too slow, your attacker will have you down before you get it open.”

So I chose a smaller, lighter model that happened to be on sale.

He taught me to use and carry a knife.  He taught me how to open it quickly but never bothered with teaching me to close it fast.  “That part’s not important” he said as I practiced.

And, he was correct.  A knife is quiet.  It weighs less than a gun.  I don’t need a permit.  I don’t have to worry about shooting 1 of the Chihuahuas by accident.  And, unless I go through a metal detector before I take it out of my purse, no one has a clue.  I’m just a sweet little old cotton top lady in a Prius tootling down the road 5 miles below the speed limit.

Before it was all over, he bought me a second knife…a smaller one which I kept open on the counter in the pantry ostensibly to open cardboard boxes.  So far, only 1 person has caught on.

Throughout this whole experience, I never even once thought about my Second Amendment Rights.  It was and is, with me, all about self protection.



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