I learned about the very serious road rage that occurred to Ron Steininger a couple of days ago, and it was very disturbing. You can read about the details here, and this is definitely one of those “couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy” scenario, because my husband’s family has known the Steiningers for years and have always raved about them being an outstanding family, “do anything for you,” typical North Dakotans.
Situational Awareness was at play in Ron’s situation, and it’s something we have taught hundreds of people in the past 4 months. Tomas Reis is on our team, and with his law enforcement, military, and personal self-defense background has a uniquely valuable perspective on this situation, so I asked him for his thoughts on the details that Ron provided. I hope you take to heart his recommendations. – Beth
The following is from Tomas Reis, ND Krav Maga expert-
The Road Rage situation that Ron Steininger encountered, at Old Red Trail and Sunset Ave in Mandan recently, was obviously frightening for so many reasons. Not only was it unexpected and the attack physical, but the safety of his fiancé and 13 month old son, both passengers in his car, were also at risk. How can this happen in North Dakota? Let’s take a look at that.
With the increased population into North Dakota, due in part to our economic strength, our affordable lifestyle and job opportunities, people from all walks of life are migrating here. On the positive side, that means they bring diversity, services never before available here and investment opportunities for community growth in business and housing. On the negative side, that means they bring an increase in crime and use of North Dakota’s healthy social service benefits. So if crime is on the increase, and it is, what can we do about it?
I grew up in San Jose California and later as a Police Officer there, I saw the same thing happen with the Telecom boom. Since then, much of California has fallen prey to over use of social services, increased crime, decreased productivity and growth and municipalities stretched beyond financial means for emergency services. So how can we learn from California and other similar states to avoid the same result here in North Dakota? It’s actually pretty simple.
There is a term we used in the military and in law enforcement: “Management by Crisis.” It means – wait until the event happens, then throw resources at a solution until the event is no longer a cause for concern. For example: a stop sign goes up only after enough people get hurt through accidents or after the traffic counts warrant it. In other words, save the money that should be spent on prevention in the hopes that the event may never happen. Problem is, people’s lives are at stake in these situations. In my opinion, prevention is always the best and insures that the cost associated with the preventative measure is manageable today. When we wait until the event occurs, the costs have no way of truly being planned for. For example: taking a personal defense course that costs $100 for a few hours of time, will give you tools to stack the odds in your favor during an attack (at which time you’d empty your bank account to get those skills right now!) Not taking a personal defense course, may cost you: medical care due to injuries, law suits, loss of work due to injuries, the injury or loss of a loved one, and the possibly catastrophiTc psychological effects of being a victim. As the Devil says: “you can pay me now or you can pay me later!”
I’ve been a professional personal defense instructor for over 25 years, martial arts practitioner for 40 years, retired California Police Officer with SWAT and Youth Gang unit experience and I’m a combat veteran. As such, I’ve seen both scenarios play out. Let me tell you, Management by Crisis is the reason why California and so many similar states are on the brink of bankruptcy. Police can’t be everywhere and stretched budgets with an influx of population (some desirable, some not so much), leaves our communities racing to figure out how to find the money to hire enough qualified personnel to fill the need. And just because we have oil creating millionaires almost overnight, that doesn’t mean that the communities hit by this impact are able to grow their budgets to keep up with the demand.
So what can you do to make sure you and your loved ones are safe? Train, it’s as simple as that. You see, personal defense can’t be learned by watching a video in the comfort of your living room. It can’t be learned by you and a buddy putting on gloves and doing some sport based rounds that you remember from 5 years ago, with no directions. The kind of training I’m talking about is consistent, foundation building, high stress inducing, physical and mental muscle memory providing, aggressive training. And of course, under the supervision of a qualified, experienced instructor. Think about it, do you go to a medical professional with experience and training or do you have your friend watch a video then try and perform the procedure on you?
Personal defense is not a recreational activity or sport. If it is or if it’s taught that way, then the results will be recreational or sport in nature, not life saving. Find yourself someone who knows what they are doing and seek appropriate continuous training. Be very careful here. I have met a number of “personal defense instructors” in my life, some here in North Dakota and they have neither the experience or knowledge, in my opinion, to offer you anything truly worthwhile. Make sure you research them, their training, their affiliations and their motivation for teaching. Just recently, I spoke with a woman who is taking a 3 day instructors course to offer women’s self defense. I know her personally and she has no experience and frankly, no business teaching others what she has never used. She doesn’t have a clue on the reality of a chaotic, intense, active, violent attack and the people who attend her training will actually be more in danger due to a false sense of confidence, than they would be if they took no training at all.
As far as my recommendation for what Ron could have done in the situation he encountered, well, he did it. He did exactly what he thought of, at the moment the event happened. We use the phrase: “under stress you will react the way you have trained!” If your training is sub-par, nonexistent or lacks the stress levels that an actual attack will induce, then you will not be effective. No disrespect to Ron, I hear he’s a great man. I bet prior to this attack, he, like so many of you reading this, would never have thought it would have happened to him. I never once took a victim’s statement where they told me that the attack was set as an appointment so that they knew when, where, under what circumstances, why and by whom they would be attacked. Fortunately for Ron, all he sustained was some minor injuries. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the training or skills (I’m assuming here since he did not describe actions consistent with someone who is trained in personal defense) to be aware of the impending attack – awareness skills, prevent his injuries – defense skills and be able to subdue the attacker – stress training skills, while waiting for the police. Remember, this violent criminal is out there still and YOU may be the next to encounter his rage on the road. How will your encounter turn out? Will it be preventive training or management by crisis…well, as always, it’s entirely up to you. – Tomas
Beth again –
We think that is outstanding advice, and one of the reasons the Pretty Loaded team (and my daughter) are students of Tomas’. A very sad part of the story that Ron shared today is that the perpetrator wasn’t alone, there was a woman and two kids in his car. Ron had a wake up call and is taking immediate steps to ensure the safety of his fiance’ and son. We’re working with him to get some serious training for he and his fiance’ in short order.
Your Grandmother taught you, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and we’re going to teach you, “It’s better to have the skills and not need them, than need and not have them.”
Thanks to Ron for being so brave to want to alert our community to this predator, he is putting the needs of the Bismarck/Mandan area residents above his own for being so forthcoming with information. Please contact the Mandan Police Department if you have any information related to this incident.
We’re thankful that the outcome to this encounter wasn’t worse, as it was a moment and a decision away from having a very, very tragic ending. If you want to be empowered and take charge of your safety, check out our upcoming courses including the Krav Maga course in May. Pretty Loaded is for the ladies, but for the men out there (and we get emails weekly from men interested in training), contact us via email, and we’ll get you in touch with the right people according to your training needs.
Be Safe, Be Empowered, Be Loaded!
Beth is the founder of Pretty Loaded. On a mission to install strength, awareness, and confidence, Beth began her journey as an educator and speaker after a close encounter with a would-be predator. She has trained thousands of people in person, and through her online training around the world. Beth loves spending her time reading, running, cooking, and painting. She is married and has four wonderful young girls, organic chickens, and lives on an organic produce farm and vineyard.