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As prepper’s it is easy to focus on being prepared to defend what is ours when situations get dire following a disruptive event. The reality, however, is that dangerous situations are a part of everyday life. This includes visits to the local ATM, a drive down a busy freeway, or any seemingly mundane situation that involves waiting in a crowded line.
It is important to recognize that avoiding deadly situations should be the rule and not the exception. Watch Your Back: How to Avoid the Most Dangerous Moments in Daily Life, by Roger Eckstine, will prepare you for both everyday dangers and those that are more extreme.
The book is a robust collection of information and tips that teach you how to take preventive measures in a wide variety of situations. These are things you can do in advance, as a matter of course, as well as in the moment. The best part, in my opinion, is the abundance of color photographs that demonstrate the tactics used to ensure your safety.
These are practical things everyone can do, whether armed or not. And for those of us with either a short memory or little time to spare, there is a great appendix at the end that summarizes each chapter with bullet points we can read once, then review again and again at our convenience.
With that introduction, I am thrilled to share an interview with Roger Eckstine plus I have three copies of his book up for grabs in a giveaway. Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.
An Interview with Roger Eckstine, Author of Watch Your Back
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
WYB is about how to avoid being a victim and what to do if things turn ugly. It takes up where my Shooter’s Bible Guide to Home Defense left off. In fact, Skyhorse Publishing asked me to write a sequel for when we are away from the home.
The focus is on preemptive behavioral response. This includes driving, outside sales, shopping, things we do every day. But it also covers how to fight back, particularly during an active shooter situation. Gila Hayes, a founding leader of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network wrote in the March 2017 Journal a review of Watch Your Back stating:
“This book is an unusual treatment of the fundamentals of personal safety, written in an extremely cerebral manner, but then illustrated by real-life strategies. The driving chapter, like the others closes with a great synopsis the reader can convert into reminders on which to build new safety habits.”
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
One of the things that separate WYB from other books is the dissection of actual crimes to see how they could have been avoided by the victim acting differently, or by not being available for the fight.
There’s also tangential information presented such as if the predator had instead done A, the victim could have done B.
The fundamental aspect of preemptive behavioral response is pointing out small details that trigger larger problems, such as realizing that even when making a deposit at an ATM the predator sees it as a withdrawal. You might want to circle the parking lot to see who is watching you before you drive up to the machine. Or, when a female real estate agent posts a billboard featuring her Glamor Shots they invite attacks by projecting an alluring image instead a professional demeanor.
How long did it take to write?
This was really an 8 or 9 month project because there was so much interview with actual crime victims and research into what drove the perpetrators. A great deal of research went into how people form habits and also how they resist learning.
For example, a lot of road rage incidents begin with an automatic response of blowing the car horn when someone does something unexpected. One driver is just trying to be helpful and avoid a crash. The other reverts to a cave man alpha predator. The two cannot be further apart.
Why is one person maniacally driven and the other submissive and caught completely off guard? What happens then to change the game? In every instance in the process of being a victim a concrete strategy for response is enumerated, either for immediate action or preemptive. This means, ‘Hey lets roll back the tape and show how the victim could have avoided the situation altogether’.
Every book, fiction, and non-fiction includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?
I do Prepper seminars usually at people’s homes and I show them specifically how to physically defend their individual premises inside and out. I show them how a variety of scenarios could take place based on the physical layout. This includes paths of escape, verbal and physical strategy, laying out an improvised weapons trail, weapons locations, etc. I show Real Estate agents how to show vacant homes without getting trapped. And even more important, how to identify the customer.
I’ve had a couple of attendees that were skeptical at the time come back to me later and say, ‘Hey it didn’t sound possible at the time but it sure did happen that way and it saved my life. One person actually said that before and after reading Watch Your Back was like finally putting on those special glasses they give you at a 3D Movie.
I want people to see the world around them as predators see them and be ready with a way out before the bad guys and gals even think of committing a crime.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
When I was young, I mean really young like 7 or 8, I thought I was invincible. I was big for my age and would let anyone hit me and I’d do dangerous things like jump bikes and what I considered to be fetes of strength. But I stopped growing a little early so I’m not this big menacing guy.
These days I’m more of a thinking man’s tough guy. Skyhorse kind of discovered me when I was recommended by Todd Woodard, the Editor of Performance Shooter and later Gun Tests Magazine to write The Shooter’s Bible Guide to Knives. (The second edition of the Shooter’s Bible Guide to Knives of which I am very proud is due out this April.)
The knife book was a hit and the publisher needed someone to write the Shooter’s Bible Guide to Home Defense. The Editor, Jay Cassell was stunned when I turned in a completed manuscript just 10 weeks later. I just thought everyone had the knowledge I held. Maybe it was because I was had been so immersed in competitive shooting and personal defense I lost sight of what most people experience in their daily lives.
Then I took a look at my background. I had a middle class upbringing and lived in safe, quiet neighborhoods. Then my family and I moved to a nice looking neighborhood that actually had a lot of juvenile delinquency and violence. After high school I was supposed to go to college but lost interest when my father was killed in the disastrous building collapse in Port Jervis, New York in 1971.
I became the proverbial angry young man and later moved to Boston, and then lived for about 25 years in some of the worst neighborhoods in New York City. This was after the Viet Nam war and the city was very depressed. Violent crime was rampant and the crack epidemic ratcheted it up to howl. It was the perfect time to become a yellow cab driver when homicides were above 2,000 annually. I got robbed at knifepoint on my very first fare but decided to stay with it. Frankly it wasn’t the first time I’d had a knife to my throat and I needed the money. But I did tell myself that the next time I was robbed I’d quit.
Two years, almost to the day a guy stuck a revolver in my ear. Just to show you how much I knew about guns I was able to guess correctly that it was a Smith & Wesson Model 10, 38 Special with Patridge sight by the way it cut into my ear.
I quit taxis and became a driver for hire. Sometimes I didn’t know what I was getting into. I did all kinds of jobs, and along the way got to know how people think and react. Good people and in fact, a lot of criminals, too. I learned how to read people, situations and how to handle myself.
Like I said, I’m not the most imposing guy in the room. But I am the thinking man’s tough guy.
As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
A few years ago I would have answered massive civil disobedience, power outages, and apocalyptic related behavior. Now its more the lone wolf terror attack or active shooter.
Here’s a brainteaser. You’re in a coffee house; people are working on their laptops, iPads, whatever. A guy comes up to you and says, “Recite the Quran”. What do you do? First of all its an invasion of privacy but is it an overture to violence?
I don’t do IPSC or IDPA type competitions anymore. I train to save lives with trauma training, doing simulated crime scenarios, a lot of shoot/don’t shoot and hostage rescue. It’s a skills test and a thinking man or thinking woman’s challenge.
What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?
Secure the home physically. Make the home less inviting to a thief than your neighbors. Its not keeping up with the Jones’ its keeping ahead of the Jones. Dry goods and staples are important but a water supply divided in to potable and non-potable water should be maintained just as a matter of course. Houston, for example is going through a problem with Chromium 6 in the water. We drink bottled spring water, only.
What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?
Okay, I’m sure you’re thinking I’ll say Hancock or some movie like that. I walked out on Hancock when the dog got killed. That’s my weak point. But here’s my favorite movie. In 1981 my brother and I saw Escape From New York at a theatre in Times Square. This is in pre-Giuliani NYC and crime in the city was worse than present day Chicago. Remember, in Chicago it’s a lot of gang on gang. In the NYC of the day it was straight up poor against rich ‘give me your money or I’ll kill you—never mind I’ll kill you anyway’.
The premise of the movie was that in the year 1997 crime was so bad in NYC that they simply walled it off and turned it into the only federal penitentiary in the country. Why not, so many criminals were already there. Saved the police the problem of capturing them and putting them somewhere else.
In view of the fact that virtually everyone we knew had been the victim of some sort of violent crime, my brother and I thought it was entirely plausible. If Rudolph Giuliani had not become Mayor and instituted the processes I recorded in the Guide to Home Defense, the plot of Escape From New York might have come to fruition.
Do you have plans for another book?
Well, right now I am very excited about the Shooter’s Bible Guide to Knives Second Edition. There has never been a book like it. It has all the knives and the stories behind 43 different commercial knife makers.
It was just supposed to be an update of the first book in terms of what knives were being shown. But the more I got into the stories behind the knives the more excited I got about how fantastic the people were and what knives have meant through history and to America in general. There are also a number of informational chapters including a How-to on knife throwing.
But to answer your question more directly it’s inevitable. The landscape is changing so much as we speak. Home defense, personal defense, and preparation may mean something entirely different very soon. The threat of a civil war due to a split between left and right wing factions or a religious based war are very real. If not in a totality of the nation then in smaller skirmishes that take place anywhere there is a soft target, like a school or a “gun-free” zone. The threat of no-go zones and Sharia law are additional challenges that have to be considered.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
I’m always looking for opportunities to help. I was a pretty selfish guy most of my life and my writing career has helped me take a look at myself and turn things around.
Maybe you don’t really start living until you start living for other people. I’m on Facebook if anyone wants to knock on my door.
Roger has reserved three copies of his book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.
A special word about the giveaway question/comment: Please read the question and respond accordingly, even it the answer is “I don’t know”. This week’s question is:
Life is full of dangerous moments. Which situation would you like to learn more about if you are one of the winners of this book?
The deadline is 6:00 PM MST Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
Although there are many different interpretations of the term “watch your back”, I like to think of it as being mindful of the people around me, ensuring they do nothing to harm me, my home, or my loved ones. Reading Watch Your Back reminded me that you can never be too observant or complacent when it comes to staying safe. Whether in a parking lot or as an unwilling participant in an active shooter event, what you learn from this book will help you prevail, no matter what.
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival 14: Books to Learn, Prepare, and Be Ready for Anything.
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Spotlight: Watch Your Back: How to Avoid the Most Dangerous Moments in Daily Life
Concrete Strategies for Staying Safe and Protecting Yourself from Assailants
Do you ever feel the urge to furtively look over your shoulder to check if someone’s following you? Have you second-guessed a decision to walk in a poorly lit area late at night? Every day, unsuspecting people fall victim to muggers, pickpockets, carjackers, and other criminals. What can you do to make sure you’re not one of them?
In Watch Your Back, Roger Eckstine presents dozens of possible risky scenarios that can occur in daily life and ways to counteract each threat. Potential hazards include:
Using the ATM
Road rage and the belligerent fender bender
Concealed carry and the rigors of daily life
And much more!
Eckstine illustrates his points by referencing case studies and news clippings of real-life events. You and your loved ones deserve to feel safe all the time. Watch Your Back has the advice you need to make this happen.
A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.