Thursday, August 12, 2010

Serial Killer loose in Auckland!!! (Not!)

Hi Everyone,

Today I received the below ‘urgent’ email for the fourth time with people asking me what they should do from a self defence perspective to avoid this man. The answer to that is easy: Delete the email. It is a hoax, like most of these emails are. I have copied the email below NOT so that you forward it to your friends, NOT so that it has the intended effect of making you feel unwarranted fear, and NOT for any other reason other than I want to flesh out the topic of these emails briefly and it is good to see an example of what I am talking about. So here it is, with the discussion following it:

“ ( Article from Ten One , NZ Police Edition )

Know what money you are carrying! or pay using Eftpos you will see why as you read!

Be sure every lady is aware of this. Share it with your wife and
daughters. Know what money you are carrying. This was the first I have heard of a scheme like this.. I wanted to pass it along. Be safe! It
is something very serious to pay attention to.

Criminals are coming up with craftier, less threatening methods of attack, so we have to be extra cautious. Read on.

I live near Herne Bay in Auckland and as many of you know from
Police Ten Seven and last weeks news there is a killer in the Auckland area. I just want to let you know about an 'incident ' that happened to me a few days ago, and it may have been deadly.

At first I didn't go to the police or anyone with it because I didn't realize how serious this encounter was. But since I work in Comms ( NZ Police ) i told a few people about it, it wasn't long before I was paraded into Internal Affairs to tell them my story.

It was proximately 5:15 a.m. I had stayed with a friend in Manurewa and was on my way to work. I stopped at the Mobil Station Quay st City to get petrol. I purchased $10 petrol and a Diet Coke. I took into the store two $5 bills and four $1 coins (just enough to make my purchases ).

As I pulled away from the store, a man approached my car from the back side of the store (an unlit area). He was an approachable-looking' man(clean cut, clean shaven, dressed well, etc.). He walked up to my window and knocked. Since I'm very paranoid and 'always looking for the rapist or killer,' I didn't open the window I just asked what he wanted. He raised a $5 bill ("$5 Bill" - American terminology supposedly written by a kiwi - Phil) to my window and said, 'You dropped this.' Since I knew I had gone into the store with a certain amount of money, I knew I didn't drop it.
When I told him it wasn't mine, he began hitting the window and door, screaming at me to open my door, and insisting that I had dropped the money!

At that point, I just drove away as fast as I could. After talking to the Police at Auckland Central and spoke with Detective Kevin Hooper describing the man I saw, and the way he escalated from calm and polite to angry and was determined that I could have possibly encountered the killer myself.

Up to this point, it had been unclear as to how he had gained access to his victims, since there has been no evidence of forced entry into victim's homes, cars, etc and he is also the main suspect in the Stabbing case which took place in upmarket Remuera involving a 53 yo lady on March 26th , 2010.
And the fact that he has been attacking in the daytime, when women are less likely to have their guard up, means he is pretty BOLD.

So think about it...what gesture is nicer than returning money to someone that dropped it?????

How many times would you have opened your window (or door) to get your money and say thank you.... because if the person is kind enough to return something to you, then he can't really be a threat....can he????
Please be cautious! This might not have been the serial killer... but anyone that gets that angry over someone not accepting money from them, can't have honourable intentions. The most important thing to note is his reaction was! NOT WHAT I EXPECTED! A total surprise! But what might have happened if I had opened my door? I shudder to think!

Forward this to everyone you know...maybe they can be as fortunate as I was!

P.S . Ladies, really DO forward this to EVERYONE you know Even if this wasn't a serial killer, he looked nice, he seemed polite, he was apparently doing an act of kindness, but HE WAS NOT A NICE PERSON!!! Men send it to all the women in your life. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. Make it a good one!
Please copy, paste and send this to anyone you think might benefit from this story”

Ok, so there it is. Most of us have seen this type of email before. Firstly let me confirm that it is fake. It is not from the ‘Ten One’ publication and it is not referring to any actual case in NZ. As far as I am aware there is no serial killer operating in Auckland and if there is this email has nothing to do with it.

So are these emails good or bad? Are they in any way helpful or are they just a nuisance? They all have a different slant to them of course so I’ll just comment on this one, it is fairly representative of the rest of this type though.

To start with, for the life of me I don’t know why people bother starting these fictitious email trails. I am not tech savvy at all so maybe there is a reason for it, a benefit to the original author, or maybe it is a case of ‘Occums Razor’ and these people really don’t have anything better to do so they sit around writing these things. (If anyone can shed light on that for me I’d love to hear it)

I’ll cut to the chase on the helpfulness vs nuisance value of this email. Is there some helpful value in it? Maybe, a little. I would break it down to about 95% nuisance and 5% value. The value (maybe) lies in that it increases some level of awareness around unsolicited approaches by strangers in ‘out-of-context’ situations and may help people think ahead of how they would deal with such situations if they should happen to them. This is a valuable exercise and follows a concept that we train in at Protect but it has to be done the right way, from a positive and empowering standpoint and that may not be the case here. It also highlights that ‘bad guys’ most of the time don’t ‘look like bad guys’, they look like every day people and it is their behaviour that makes them dangerous not their appearance. But that’s about it. A lot of it depends on the readers’ level of experience on the subject of violence and Self Defence. If the reader has a good understanding and knowledge of our training then they will be able to sort the wheat from the chaff and form their own educated opinions on the value of the email and what (if any) lessons can be taken from it. But for most people, they do not have any level of knowledge in this field (sadly) so this distinction cannot be made.

The other 95% is not just annoying, it is dangerous. It serves to create un-warranted fear in the reader. This un-warranted fear can manifest itself as worry, anxiety and hyper-tension and cause people to un-necessarily change their habits and develop a paranoia mindset. This is disempowering and dangerous. We have enough in our lives to worry about (and the media loves to add to that on a daily basis) without having these annoying emails compunding it. My advice is to skim read them if you feel like it and if they really do seem genuine (and that is highly unlikely) visit the police website to confirm. We are lucky to have a very well-informed and pro-active police force in NZ, if the threat is real they will let us know through official channels, not some ‘forward to your friends’ email trail. And when it turns out to be fake, delete it and get on with your day. Alternatively, just delete it straight away with all of the other SPAM as these usually carry as much value as the ones offering cheap Rolex watches, Viagra, or the 11.2 million dollar inheritance from King Jabbar of Nigeria.