What was originally called a random car jacking was soon changed to part two of a shooting spree that began just thirty minutes earlier. Gloria Leonidas, a business woman and mother of two was getting into her car around 11:30am when a gangly, scruffy strange man approached her. He wanted her car and she resisted. This amazingly courageous woman didn’t just put up a stink, without hesitation she knocked the gun out of his hand and tried to escape in her car.

Sadly, this stranger recovered his gun before she could get in her car and he gunned her down in broad day light, with witnesses everywhere.

When I see acts of violence against women in the media, I always reverse engineer the scenario to see where different choices could have been made to perhaps improve the outcome. I teach and encourage resistance in my seminars, both verbal and physical if necessary. When a weapon is introduced however, that can change the landscape drastically.

At the point where you are on the business end of a lethal weapon, it really is anyone’s guess what the best tactic is. Some self-defense experts will encourage techniques to relieve the criminal of his weapon and others say no matter what, don’t get into the car when coerced at gun or knife point.

If someone wants something you’ve got, for the love of Pete, give it to them. If they want you to go with them, that’s different. Your intuition will be there to help guide you toward a survival solution.

In this case, the later identified mentally ill man that confronted Gloria Leonidas just wanted the car. When confronted by a stranger brandishing a gun, she successfully removed the threat, which is incredible. Unfortunately, it was temporary and instead of running away, she chose to try to escape in her car. She lost track of the gun and the criminal in her haste and the results were tragic.

My heart aches for this woman and her family.

I applaud her strength and will to defend herself. I wouldn’t dare arm chair quarterback decisions she made under the conditions of an adrenaline response. Who knows what she could have done differently to have a different outcome. Sometimes, we are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Luckily, these types of scenarios are extremely rare. They are the exception, not the rule.

Maintain a constant, gentle awareness of everything happening around you, be prepared to take action (verbal/physical resistance and running to safety) and live your life with the confidence that you are prepared to take care of you.

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