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A friend of mine was murdered last July 31, 2010. He was found dead in his own room. What was so alarming was, his place was secured. I want to share this because he was also a victim of an online dating gone wrong.

Now I cannot help but be paranoid about the safety of my family. I read a lot of criminal stories at www.crimelibrary.com, and Mark’s brutal death could have made it there if he was in the US. I have watched (and still is) NCIS, CSI, & Bones episodes on cable solving crimes such as this. I’ve read so many criminal/detective stuff pocketbooks way back when I started to learn reading. It was brutal because he was shot at the back of his head and his arm was twisted, too. It’s a sign of a struggle, and it could also mean, more than 1 person was there in the room.

My sister emailed me that someone sent her a message on facebook inviting her to go to a photoshoot with a pre-registration payment. She has aspirations of becoming a model or an actress, and I told her that I would not mind that. And I would definitely not be the one to block her path if she wants to. I support her all the way. It just made me more cautious because it was just an email through Facebook and she has to pay just to be part of a photoshoot that she was INVITED to attend.

So I told her that I don’t mind you following your dreams as long as you’re careful. I reminded her to make sure that my dad’s with her when she goes there, or maybe my aunt or anyone older than her who she trusts and someone she knows who could protect her from harm. I told her to make sure that always inform us or the family or her friends where she goes, what she is doing (especially if she cannot go home early), who she’s with when going out.

I have also advised my younger sister to always text my dad or anyone in the family if she has arrived to where she has to go or if she’s home already. That way, if she went missing, or can’t go home at the usual time, we would likely worry because it would be unusual for her not to let us know where she was or what she was doing. That would definitely ring the bell, and hopefully, save her in case something does happen to her.

I am praying harder for their safety and mine, too. Anything can happen in this world, and we don’t know who’s going to be  next. I reminded her of what happened to my friend, Mark. I was really scared for her safety. I don’t want anything to happen to them.

So to all of you, always remind your love ones of their safety and what they should do. There’s nothing wrong with having fun and going out with friends as long as your family is well informed.

So don’t take it the wrong way if our parents, grandparents, older sisters/brothers, aunts, uncles are very protective of us. It’s not only a conscience issue, but the thought of losing you would definitely affect them. It only shows how much they love us.

I know I can’t protect them all the time, but at least I could put caution in their minds. And I pray and hope to God that they will always be safe and healthy, and happy.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

1) If meeting someone or being invited to a place, party, photo shoots, (or any gatherings : big or small) you don’t know, ALWAYS keep in mind that only 20% of its outcome could be good, but 80% of it could put you in harm’s way.

2) If you really want to go, have someone come with you. Someone dependable, you can trust, and who will definitely help you if something happens. Preferably, someone older who have the sense of what is right and wrong & won’t just tolerate whatever you get drag into.

3) Take note of any landmarks or streets or any signs (anything at all) so if you get lost or need to break away, you know where you’re going and you can also provide these to your parents or anyone older in the family.

4) Check your watch. As much as possible, always check the time. This will let you know how long you have traveled from one place to another when going out with someone or meeting someone (a friend you just met, a neighbor, ANYBODY!)

5) Make it a habit to text your parents or family if you’re already home, or if you’re about to go home and where you are. No cellphone? Look for a pay phone to call someone.

6) Make it a habit to let your family & friends know who you’re with and what you’re doing with them. No, you don’t have to text everything every minute, but at least, a constant followup of your activities will make them know you’re safe and doing ok.

7) Last but not the least, pray before and after going out. GOD is the ultimate power. Our Alpha & Omega.

After writing all this, I remembered my motto before “BE HONEST & YOU WILL BE SAFE.”

ANOTHER TRICK: Teach your child to shout and make a scene if a stranger comes up to them and tries to talk them to coming with them or drag them away.

Be safe!