Personal Security and Your Kids: College Student Escapes Abductors By Jumping Out of the Car

 In Personal Security

Jordan Dinsmore is one lucky and clear-headed young lady. Her three abductors could not drive her stick-shift (manual) vehicle, so they made her drive while they sat in the passenger seats. After leaving the ATM where she was forced to withdraw money from her account, Jordan decided not to follow their commands. She understood that if taken to a secondary, non-public location, these men would likely follow through on their pronouncement that they intended to rape her.

The 20-year-old remembered her mother explaining how to react if faced with such a situation, “Keep a cool head, don’t let them get you out of a public space, and try to escape. If they get you out of the public eye, they’re going to do something worse to you and shoot you anyway.”

The college student kept her seatbelt unbuckled after returning from the ATM. Instead of following her captor’s directions, she threw the car into neutral, opened the car door and jumped out. Not knowing how to operate the vehicle, her captors were not quick to respond to the car now barreling down the road at 35 mph. Meanwhile, a passing car stopped, called 911 and took Jordan to safety.

What can we learn from Jordan’s incredible escape on July 26?

She kept a clear head. Instead of going into shock or checking out mentally, Jordan kept her wits about her. She realized the importance of staying in control. It was this courageous approach the situation—one in which she knew she had options—that she was able to think through various responses and choose the best course of action.

EXAMPLE/BOGOTA: I had a contact who was kidnapped while hiking with four friends in the mountains of Bogota. (Yes, the choice to go hiking in an area rife with kidnappings and carjackings was a very bad idea.) This group was kidnapped, hogtied and held at gunpoint for 12 hours. While the leader left to negotiate the sale of the Americans to the FARC terrorist group, the captors played Russian roulette on the victims with a revolver.

My contact said that one of the women went into shock when a kidnapper held a handgun to her head and pretended he was going to kill her. From that point on, this woman couldn’t speak, interact with anyone, etc. My contact said the woman’s eyes were completely empty-looking and unresponsive. When the group finally sensed a moment when they could break free and make a run for it, the young lady literally had to be pushed, cajoled, and eventually carried down the mountain by two of the men, as they ran barefoot, crashing through the thick, almost impenetrable forest to get away from the kidnappers who were in hot pursuit. Don’t be that woman. Do everything possible to survive. A positive, fighting attitude is key.

Jordan understood: Do anything to avoid being taken to a secondary location. This personal security advice made popular on Oprah’s show years ago by self-defense professional Sanford Strong still applies today. Make sure your family understands this. (Strong on Defense, by Sanford Strong)

MY EXAMPLE: I was almost carjacked in one of my postings. Two years prior to my arrival in country, the woman who held the same position was carjacked in the streets of the capital, just blocks from her home. Thankfully, this occurred before al-Qa’ida became a major actor in the area, and she was quickly released by her tribal captors. Since then, things had changed dramatically. If I were to be kidnapped, I knew I’d be killed as other Westerners had the previous year. No one ever came back from these operations alive. My colleagues and I committed ourselves to the mantra, “Never get taken.”

I knew that I needed to act in order to avoid being abducted and sold by tribal kidnappers to al-Qa’ida for a large sum of money. With this running in the back of my mind, I ended up having to use my car as a weapon—using the bumper to “nudge” someone out of my way in order to avoid being closed in by a crowd of men forming around my vehicle. The adrenaline coursing through my veins kept me shaking for hours, understanding how very close I had come to being another statistic. (No, the man wasn’t hurt, just quite surprised, as was I—that my security training had kicked in on such a guttural and instinctive level.)

Discuss potential scenarios and options ahead of time. This trains your brain to remain engaged and reactive, even under extreme stress. I love that Jordan’s mother regularly spoke to her daughter about personal security issues. I am grateful I was trained by the CIA how to react to ambush situations. Take stories like this, dissect them, and use them as teaching points. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use them, but in today’s world, awareness could mean the difference between life and death.

For more information about this story, please see the Daily Mail:

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