There was a red Jeep sitting near the power lines, an out-of-the-way place apart from the houses in the neighborhood. I was walking Prince when I noticed it—and knew to be wary since it was an unfamiliar vehicle. The car’s windows were down and as I drew closer, I could see a guy sitting in the driver’s seat.

An alarm rang in my head, telling me to be alert. I held the dog’s leash firmly, positioned him on my side closest to the car, took a deep breath and picked up speed as I began to pass.

Then I heard his voice. “Hey, good-looking!”

My blood turned to ice and I readied myself to get into defensive stance.

The Rape Aggression Defense class (RAD) I took at the local police department taught me to do exactly that. I had practiced for years and now it looked as if I was finally getting an opportunity to use my self-defense tools.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see the driver leaning towards me as he spoke through the passenger-side window. At least he hadn’t yet jumped out of the car, so I was about to shout “NO!” and take off running…when I realized the man was Officer Jeff Carson, one of my RAD instructors. A friend. Or maybe that characterization is questionable since he nearly scared the shit out of me. 

I’m glad I was prepared to react in the proper way. Next time, though, I’ll probably just sic the dog on him.

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