On May 26th, 2017 in Portland, Oregon, two teenage girls were riding the light rail train, one of them wearing a hijab. A man began verbally assaulting them, telling them to get off the train and that “their kind” weren’t welcome when several observers decided to step in and ask the man to stop. Enraged that someone would dare stand up to him, the man took out a knife and slashed the throats of three men, killing two of them and narrowly missing the jugular of the third. The assailant fled the scene, but was eventually apprehended by law enforcement and tried in court.
This horrific event took place approximately 4 train stops before mine; a short distance from where I would board to get home from work every day. I just so happened to be working from home that day, but when I found out about the events that occurred, I was shaken. “What if I was on that train? What would I have done? Would I have been able to defend myself or others?” These questions invaded every thought that night, and it was at that point I decided I needed to take action to become more situationally aware and better prepared for something like that.
In my quest for knowledge and training, I stumbled across the Sheepdog Response podcast. I knew about Tim Kennedy from his UFC days, so I knew this was a trusted and valid source of information. I began putting some of his principles into practice, like not wearing headphones with loud music so I can hear what’s going on, not standing with my hands trapped in my pockets, and profiling who was getting on and off the train. I also began carrying a tourniquet (thanks, Dr. Mike!), first aid kit, emergency food and water, and multiple weapons on me at all times. That, combined with my regular combat fighting training at my local gym gave me a better sense of my capabilities and environment and has opened my eyes to just how “sheep-like” I was before I set out on this journey.
I will attend a Sheepdog Response course in the very near future to get some additional practical, hands-on training, but am thankful for even just the mindshift I have undergone in the last year. Understanding there is evil in our world, an evil that wants goodness to perish and fear to thrive, gives me motivation to keep pursuing my training. It also gives me a greater appreciation for those on our front lines, the men and women in uniform who confront this evil every day, often before we civilians ever have to face it ourselves. The Sheepdog Fund is one meaningful way I am able to contribute and give back to the community of warriors who have sacrificed so much for me.