Does a pistol belong in your Pocketbook?


A white man attended a black Bible Study class  in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. recently.  As the class proceeded, he gunned down 9 people.

The massacre at Sandy Hook upset many in our country.  A gunman walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Co. and gunned down 20 children and 6 school staffers.

I could go on for awhile with these incidents.

Every mass murder offers an angle for all journalists:

gun control


immigration reform

the right wing “patriot” movement

police corruption

hate groups

religious extremism

multi-state gun trafficking organizations

“iron pipelines”

domestic terrorists

mental illness.

Whenever one of these incidents occurs, our nation promptly undergoes soul-searching on gun laws and, if the incident involves more than people of 1 race, racism.

Each incident is unique and special in its own tragic way.  But, one thing that always happens is that sales of guns and ammunition surge.  Another thing that happens is that stock shares of publicly traded gun companies rise.

For me, there is some kind of disconnect here.  Right now, there are so many handguns and rifles in people’s possession that there are, actually, more guns than people in our country.

And yet, these incidents keep repeating themselves.  It’s as though the people who have the guns are

never in the “right place at the right time”

don’t recognize the situation for what it is until it’s too late.

Or, they freeze when the events began to unfold…

or something.

Who knows?

I certainly don’t.

The important thing is that these incidents replay themselves  in many different ways.  The bottom line is that an aggressor simply overcomes a victim or victims to achieve a goal using surprise.  It can be someone:

robbing a bank

raping a woman

carjacking a vehicle

breaking into a home.

The biggest, toughest decision is to know that this can happen and prepare for it.  And, when the horrible event  does begin to play out, decide to act…to do something!

For me, an important stance to take is this:

Carry a weapon if you can.

Make your body a weapon by learning to use your elbows, knees, shoulders, fists  when necessary.

Then, if you are caught in a situation where the worst is happening, you can defend yourself.  If your body is a weapon, you can just charge the guy!

If you charge the aggressor, you may be injured but your chances of ending up as a survivor are better than just freezing.  By just freezing, you are probably dead.

Thanks for reading this blog.

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Thurman Greco

“Use Your Eyes!” – Paul LaCroix



Home Invasions

Rape Attempts

Car Jackings 

These are all every day occurrences.  If you don’t believe me, just listen to the radio, watch the news on TV, or read the newspaper.

The thing about these stories as we read, see, and hear them is that they always begin at the middle.  They never begin at the beginning of the story.

The beginning is not when the guy rapes the girl, or robs the bank, or hijacks the car.  The beginning of the story is always when the criminal chooses  the victim.  After he chooses the victim, he plans his attack.

Well, you don’t have to sit idly by and be chosen.  And, you definitely don’t have to let yourself be the attackee.

So, what is the best, first thing to do?


But, what does that mean?  That means, basically,  you look individuals  right in the eyes.

To learn this technique, practice it on everyone you see until you are comfortable with it:

AS YOU WALK DOWN THE STREET OR  DOWN THE SUPERMARKET AISLE OR ENTER THE BANK,  LOOK EVERYONE IN THE EYE.    That includes the security guard standing in the entrance.

You look that guy right in the eye. Deliberately.   Then, once you make eye contact, you hold that connection for a second or 2.   This look should be a bit prolonged.  It should be possibly rude.

People are not comfortable with this eye-to-eye connection.  And, that’s exactly the point.  This eye contact is a game changer.

If you stare down every man you come in contact with, the one who is considering you for his next victim will go to the next person in line.  The story with you in it will begin and end with that look you give.

Practice this stare.  Get it down pat.  Use this stare to “get physical” with your eyes.  Know when you have it working.

This stare is excellent if you feel vulnerable.  Use it when you are alone in a crowd.  Use it as you walk alone in a parking lot to your car.

Be generous with this stare.  Make it a habit.  This is an important tool because when you use this stare, you are making sure you won’t be a story in tomorrow’s  paper.

Thanks for reading this blog.  And, thanks for learning to defend yourself.

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Thurman Greco


Get Ready for the Bad Guys


We have to all get ready…and be ready.  All the time.  Do you have a plan?

For many women, a personal security plan means:

lock the front door,

never walk through the parking lot alone,

and live in a “nice” apartment or neighborhood.

Rely  on your brother, son, boyfriend,  husband to provide security.

I know a few women who pride themselves on being really ready who:

have contact information in a special container in the refrigerator,

and have 911 on their speed dial.

It sounds nice but it’s not a security plan…not by a long shot.

That’s because  an effective security plan usually involves unlearning a lot of things we were all taught as young girls:

“Act like a lady”.  Be




Strength and power never got in the picture.

As a result, many girls grow up to be defenseless women for whom courage simply never developed.

And, then, there’s the physical side of things.  Women are considered to be the weaker sex.

We grew up to be emotionally caring and nurturing people,  careful not to jump to negative conclusions even though the person’s behavior may be




I know that I, personally, have a way of observing a situation play out.  That, too, is a trait I see in other women.  As I become the observer, the other person becomes the controller and I become the victim.

As I review these events, I realize that I was well trained by my mother to be a victim.  I also realize that I raised 2 daughters to be lovely victims, defenseless in times of danger.  Their courage  never developed.

As women today, we spend much of our time multitasking.  Our careers,  children, spouses  consume our lives.    How can we find time to develop an effective defense plan?    How can we  figure out what we’re going to do if we’re assaulted, raped?  There’s hardly time to get things accomplished with what’s on our plates now..much less to consider what might happen….what may never happen.

A common thread in our culture, this feminine behavior  encourages and nurtures assault, rape.  Statistics for these crimes support this.

So, it’s time to train not only ourselves but our fellow workers, neighbors, students, friends.  It’s time to think truthfully  about ourselves and the situations we may someday be forced to face.

Self defense is a great mystery to most of us.  I know it was for me.  This mystery must be solved.  We do not want to let our daughters and granddaughters set out in the world unprepared to defend themselves.  We need to be prepared to defend ourselves.

Get your personal security plan together today.

That means we have to all get beyond:

lock the front door

never go through a parking lot alone

live in a nice apartment or neighborhood

Thanks for reading this blog.

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Thurman Greco



Street Fairs and Farm Markets

It’s challenging to go to street fairs and farm markets these days.  While everyone looks at the booths, scouting out treats, fun things to buy, new foods to try, I search for the EBT machine…and I count the women.


How many women are here?  At Saturday’s  Makers Market  in Troy, I counted over 100.  Thursday  in the Union Square Green Market, there were hundreds…more than I could  count.

In Woodstock, we don’t have an EBT machine so only those people with $$$ for food can shop.  The ones with SNAP can’t use their cards without the machine..

In my world, there are 2 groups of shoppers:  Those who get SNAP and those who don’t need it.


start paying attention to the women in the crowd.  If I see 200 women, that means about 50 of them have been sexually assaulted and/or raped.  The statistics are 1 in 4.  But, who really knows the correct #?  Many women are sexually assaulted and/or raped and never tell a soul.

But, the statistics are better than one might think.  When I’m in a small group and the subject comes up, I always get a pretty accurate 1 in 4 report as 25% of the women in the room break into tears and begin to share their stories.  So, I suppose this 1 in 4 number is pretty accurate.

If I ever get a chance to talk to St. Peter, I’m going to ask him 2 questions:

Whatever happened to the Anasazi? and…

Why has all this stuff about hunger – assault – rape happened to me after I’m 70?  (Where’s my rocking chair, anyway?)

In my heart, I don’t believe I’ll ever get to ask those questions.  There’s just not a lot of time to waste exploring the answers.

There are over 26 reasons why people go homeless.

In the hunger dictionary I’m writing, there are  25 different categories of hunger.

The hunger I’ve been living with and exploring for years.  The rape and assault situation is a little different.  I used to think hunger was hidden.  Boy, I didn’t know from nothing.  Rape and assault are sooo secret.

And, if the woman is in the SNAP category, the story simply doesn’t get told.  People visiting food pantries don’t seem to have voices.  Many of them have no confidence in the police even trying to find the person.  And, of course, many of them know the rapist.

Anymore, when I hear a woman tell her story and break down in tears, I applaud her.  I congratulate her for her courage.  It takes much courage to be a trail blazer and that’s what those rape stories are:  trailblazing stories.

WHAT WE NEED TO EXPLORE MORE IS HOW THE WOMEN GOT AWAY.  That’s the important take away item.  Because, those who haven’t yet been raped and/or sexually assaulted need to know more about how these success stories went down.  After all, as long as we come away alive, we’re winners.


I attended a class with my daughters in which a man (a Marine, actually) told us all that if we got raped or sexually assaulted we would be killed.  His advice was to fight for all we were worth, get as much of the attacker’s skin and blood under our nails as possible so the police could catch him.

He gave us specific instructions to bite everything possible.  “Bite the guy’s penis off if you can!”

What a story to hear when you’re a 15-year-old girl.

But, more 15-year-old girls need to hear this message.  Especially if they’re college bound.  College campuses are perfect for rapist students.

The guys rape the inexperienced and unknowing coed and more than likely she won’t let out a peep.  And, if she does, the school will make sure that nothing happens.  After all, if a student gets arrested for rape, it would be bad for the school’s reputation.

I grew up thinking that if a girl got raped it was because she was a “slut”.  She wore suggestive clothing, drank a lot, smoked dope.


A girl or woman gets raped because she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.  End of story.

One thing, though, I do believe that women should be careful about what they’re drinking in public places.  Keep your hand over your glass or bottle.  Make sure some drug is not slipped in your drink.

And, look out around you.  Listen to what is being said to you.  Don’t let yourself get invited out the door to a more private area.  (For many sociopaths, saying “yes” to the invitation means that what comes next is not rape.)

And, if you are raped or assaulted…go to the police.  Do not hide the event.  Press charges.

As if the rape isn’t bad enough, the stories women tell about the police are worse in their own way.  Well, think of it this way:  You’re still alive.  You’re a survivor.  Step right up and answer the questions with pride.  Don’t let anyone convince you of anything any different.  And, if things don’t seem to be moving along like they should, make some noise.  Do not let your rape experience get forgotten.  It’s the policeman’s job…but it’s your life.

Thank you for reading this blog.

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Thurman Greco


What do you do? 8 things you can do to protect yourself in this situation.

Here is the scene:  You’re at a small gathering of friends/neighbors.  It’s a summer evening.  The moon is out.  Everyone is sitting around visiting, talking.  The party has probably been going on too long, but who knows?   There’s been too much of everything:  sun – skin – alcohol – drugs.

Suddenly, one guest begins to get loud right in front of you.  This person is losing it right in your face.  There’s screaming.  Shouting.  Immediately, the hair begins to stand up on your neck.  Your intuition tells you that you’re in danger. What do you do?

For starters, don’t argue.  This is not the time to do anything that will escalate the situation.  Now is a good time to apologize for anything.  Don’t let your ego get the best of you here.  Do this  to cool the situation down.  It doesn’t matter who’s to blame.  

Stay on high alert and pay attention to your intuition,  What’re you sensing?  What do you see?   hear?   feel?  smell?

Don’t lose sight of the person.  Give him  some attention by keeping your eyes on his throat and chest.  You don’t want to be surprised by a




Keep your breathing regular if you can.

Be prepared to protect yourself by keeping your hands above waist level so you can protect your face or throat.

Back away from him.

Be quiet and get the hell out of the whole situation.

Physically leave.

The message here is this:  If the punching, grabbing and kicking hasn’t started, don’t hang around for the action.

You are ahead of the game if you –

have 911 on your cell phone auto dial

wear shoes you can run in

have a remote starter installed in your car

are not afraid to leave before things get bad

have a hairstyle that an attacker can’t turn into a weapon against you

did not wear a scarf around your neck

Thanks for reading this blog.

Hopefully you will never be in a situation where you have to use the knowledge shared here.

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Thurman Greco