Ed­i­tor’s Let­ter

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By John Schwartze, Net­work Man­ager & Act­ing Ed­i­tor // RECOIL OFFGRID

Ev­ery Par­ent’s Worst Night­mare

I’m the prod­uct of a very over­pro­tec­tive mother. Grow­ing up, I had a hard time un­der­stand­ing her in­sis­tence on al­ways know­ing where I was and what I was do­ing. When I was a kid, I re­mem­ber she had a bumper sticker on her car with a phone num­ber to call for any­one with in­for­ma­tion about a miss­ing girl named Laura Brad­bury.

Laura, who was 3½ years old at the time of her dis­ap­pear­ance, was ab­ducted in the fall of 1984 dur­ing a fam­ily out­ing in Joshua Tree, Cal­i­for­nia. She ac­com­pa­nied her brother to a camp­site re­stroom and waited out­side. When he re­turned mo­ments later, she had van­ished. No one saw a thing. A sub­se­quent search of the area and ex­haus­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion turned up lit­tle if any promis­ing leads. The case went cold.

Re­cently, I be­gan think­ing about the dis­ap­pear­ance again and won­dered if it’d ever been solved. I came across this ar­ti­cle ( http://www.lacp.org/2010-Ar­ti­cles-Main/092010TheMys­teryOfLau­raBrad­bury.htm), which dis­cussed what hap­pened to the fam­ily in the years fol­low­ing and the ul­ti­mate out­come of Laura’s ab­duc­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, this story doesn’t have a happy end­ing.

It was heart­break­ing to not only learn the bad news Laura’s fam­ily waited years to be given, but also the feel­ing of de­pri­va­tion they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced and how it changed each of their lives. What’s even more dis­turb­ing is that the per­son or peo­ple who ab­ducted Laura are prob­a­bly still out there look­ing for oth­ers to vic­tim­ize — if they haven’t al­ready. Whether you’re a par­ent or not, I en­cour­age you to read this ar­ti­cle. Then af­ter­ward take a deep breath, hug your kids or some­one else you love, and let’s talk about how we can de­fend our­selves and pro­tect the next gen­er­a­tion of sur­vival­ists.

It makes sense to teach our kids the “stranger dan­ger” con­cept, but we also must be cog­nizant of the fact that many times an at­tacker may be some­one we know (or at least think we know) who’s se­cretly con­spir­ing against us. There are preda­tors roam­ing the streets with com­pul­sions that are be­yond our com­pre­hen­sion. Google David Parker Ray or Otis Toole, and you’ll see what I mean.

Peo­ple who find ful­fill­ment in in­flict­ing pain or kid­nap for fi­nan­cial gain spend years per­fect­ing their abil­ity to strike and get away with it. We can pon­der the ori­gins of this sadis­tic be­hav­ior all day long, but one thing is for sure … you can’t rea­son with in­san­ity. Be that as it may, we’re all born with the in­stinct to pro­tect our own lives and those of our loved ones. There’s a word for this … sur­vival. That makes us all sur­vival­ists. You can’t be there 24/7 to safe­guard your chil­dren from the world’s mon­sters — but you can teach them how to sur­vive among them. So let’s get started.

We posed a ques­tion to two of our con­trib­u­tors — what would they do if their child went miss­ing in a for­eign coun­try? I think you’ll find their ideas for prep and ac­tion items dur­ing the cri­sis an in­for­ma­tive read. Mykel Hawke has also re­turned to grace our pages with tips on how to com­mu­ni­cate when deal­ing with a lan­guage bar­rier. We’ve also thrown in some in­for­ma­tion on how to pre­pare your­self and your kids for pos­si­ble as­sault or kid­nap­pings, with some tips on sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and how chil­dren can de­fend them­selves against a much larger at­tacker.

In our sur­vival­ist spot­light, we had the plea­sure of get­ting to know Ed Calderon, a counter-cus­tody ex­pert who has worked some of the tough­est groups and ar­eas south of the bor­der. En­rolling in one of his classes is an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that I’d rec­om­mend you check out. Get­ting a glimpse of the kind of re­morse­less ab­duc­tions that hap­pen each year puts a new per­spec­tive on how you view the world. Re­mem­ber, you’re worth some­thing to some­one. Don’t give those who view you as a dol­lar sign a chance to add your life’s worth to their crim­i­nal cof­fers. Be aware of how they se­lect their tar­gets.

Mon­i­tor both your own and your kids’ on­line be­hav­ior — don’t put van­ity ahead of the safety of pri­vacy. Dis­cuss op­tions with your loved ones on how they can get in con­tact with you dur­ing sit­u­a­tions where com­mu­ni­ca­tions are lim­ited (see also our piece on hav­ing and lo­cat­ing lan­d­lines). You might also want to in­vest in a de­vice like a Gizmo Watch af­ter read­ing this story: http://ktla.com/2016/08/11/9year-old-utah-boy-es­capes-kid­nap­per-uses-smart­watch-to-call­for-help/. No mat­ter the prob­lem, there’s al­ways a so­lu­tion.

The world is a dan­ger­ous place, and un­for­tu­nately those who choose mur­der, ma­nip­u­la­tion, and ran­som as their pas­time don’t come with a warn­ing la­bel stamped on their fore­heads. RECOIL OFFGRID is here to pro­vide you with the tools to pro­tect the gift of life we’ve all been given, so you can stack the sur­vival odds in your fa­vor. We all have the where­withal to outsmart the bad guys. It’s just a ques­tion if you have the will­ing­ness to learn. I’m sure we both know the an­swer to that.

And one more thing … thanks, mom. I get it now.

Love you al­ways.

COR­REC­TION: In Is­sue 25’s ar­ti­cle, “Ig­nite Your In­ner MacGyver,” when dis­cussing us­ing a chain­saw as an im­pro­vised fire-start­ing de­vice, we ne­glected to men­tion that the chain­saw must be close enough to cre­ate a ground. For the up­dated ver­sion of the ar­ti­cle, please visit www.of­f­grid­web.com/sur­vival/ ad­vanced-fire-start­ing-tech­niques-in-cold-weather.

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