Identifying Threats

Intuition is defined as: a person’s capacity to obtain or have direct knowledge and/or immediate insight without specific observation or reason. It the “gut feeling” that may go against reasoning. Instinct is an innate, fixed pattern of behavior in response to a certain stimuli.

Intuition is our most powerful tool in identifying threats. It is deeply rooted in all of us, yet we have learned to suppress it and choose logic over a gut feeling. If we understand intuition, we give it the respect it deserves by paying attention to it and responding appropriately. This is a vital key to staying safe.

Intuition is uncomfortable because we can’t figure out why we feel a certain way. We just know something is wrong. Our brains intake information, organizing and using it to make snap judgments before the processing part catches up. Intuition is truth unencumbered by logic, reasoning, or application of what we want the situation to be- an innate feeling not stemming from clearly articulated reasoning or learning. As a society, we are often embarrassed to admit we made a decision based on hunch, gut, or intuition. We want to apply reason, logic, and processes that lead to an intelligent decision as we believe we are too dignified and intelligent to base a decision on something as basic as our gut. But in a potentially dangerous situation, you won’t have time to process – every second counts.

During my kidnapping, I refused to give my intuition credit until I could process and determine a logical basis for the unusual feelings I was having. Intuition may be incorrect at times, but it will never hurt me to trust it. It may lead me to behave in a rude manner and react quickly to a non-threat. But in the cost-benefit analysis of the two options, I’d prefer looking rude than to ending up on an abandoned farm with a knife at my throat.


In the 62 seconds it took to get from my office door to my car I told the defendant no 7 times, or so I thought I did.  What I really told him, and what I am sure he knew, was that he already had me under his control. My weak responses were all he needed to know he was free to move forward. By the 7th no, I might as well have crawled in the trunk and given him my car keys. What I perceived to be polite, decent, respectful human behavior he perceived to be negotiations that he was winning and that his plan was already starting to come to fruition. He, as a predator, knew he had clearly ensnared me as my polite and tasteful opposition was just a series of surrendering my will to his, over and over.

Intuition is an innate tool not based on clearly articulated reasoning or learning. We are not fully aware of the facts or reasons for the feeling but they can keep us safe.

I viewed our initial interaction as a conversation while he likely viewed it as an evaluation to determine if I was a hard target.  As my first no turned into a second no, what I perceived to be a polite way to “let him down easy” was in reality a negotiation. I wasn’t telling him no; I was asking if he would agree to a no. He knew he had me at the second no, in the deadliest way possible. Had it been a “NO!” with follow-up to support it, then our exchange would have been very different. He may have pulled the knife on me at that moment- I have no way of knowing- but what I do know is that he was confident he had me. And he was right. He was already in control. He read my body language, my tone, my unwillingness to draw a firm line and support it and felt comfortable that I was an easy target – because I was.

I am not anymore.

Learning how to trust intuition and quickly identify threats helps me process information faster making me a hard target. It may not level the playing field but it certainly gives me advantages I would not have otherwise.

Memorize the red flags below so that you may become a hard target, too:
Click here for the 12 red flags