The Gift of Fear – Gavin DeBecker
One of those books I have read repeatedly and bought repeatedly, both to give as gifts and because I lend it to people and they lend it to someone, and they lend it to someone, etc., so, I never see it back. Which I’m totally okay with.
Anyone who is a woman, has a women they care about in their lives - a mother, a sister, a wife, a girlfriend, a daughter, a niece, a female friend - in other words, all of us - should read this book.
DeBecker is a world recognized expert on violence. He’s been a consultant to the FBI, the Secret Service, corporations, public figures, etc. to give them advice on preventing assassinations, attacks, kidnappings, etc. Anyone who might be a target of random or targeted violence, either financially, ideologically, religiously motivated, or just by a demented nutjob.
He opened my eyes to a lot of things. Violence is usually always very predictable. There are always warning signs. The nut who kills a bunch of co workers isn’t the nice guy that everyone likes and cracks jokes and buys rounds of drinks for everyone on Friday evening, who suddenly goes off the deep end. The one who does, fits a recognizable pattern of behaviour, and all the signs are there.
A dog doesn’t go from a happy, bouncy, tail wagging, squealing with delight dog to suddenly turning into a snarling, flesh ripping, vicious attack dog. A cat lets you know it’s upset. There are always warning signs. And if you know what to look for, and choose to look for them, humans also give off warning signs.
That’s the other thing he talks about – how humans have an amazing propensity to ignore those warning signs. We have instinct and intuition, and people do everything in their power to ignore it. They dismiss it as silly, unscientific, paranoid. It’s nothing of the kind. He gives the example of a woman waiting for an elevator, the door opens, the man in there gives her the worst vibes imaginable, but rather than make this guy feel bad by not getting in the elevator, someone she will likely never see again, she would rather get in a locked, sound proof chamber with someone who her every instinct is telling her not to go near. Listen to that instinct. His insights into men who can’t let go, who can’t or won’t take no for an answer is counter-intuitively spot on. He had a quote that blew me away. “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.” Yikes.
He states that everyone has intuition, but we all need to hone it to a fine point. I ALWAYS trust my intuition. People I’ve sensed were going to be trouble always turned out to be. Listen to that little voice in the back of your head.
He also talks a lot about how to truly protect your children, and it really has nothing to do with the sort of hyped up nonsense the TV media would have you believe you need to protect your kids from. Like I said, if you have a daughter or niece, you owe it to yourself to read it. The warning signs he cites of men who will abuse (and sadly, often kill as well) and how to react to men who can’t or won’t let go are really edifying as well.
I highly recommend this book. I’ve told some cops I know to read it and they’ve come back to thank me, telling me that it was indeed a very worthwhile read. I figure that’s as good an endorsement as there is.