In a brutal scene in the 2007 film Zodiac [clip below], a couple relaxing lakeside, is approached by the black and hooded ‘Zodiac Killer’ (true story; 1970’s San Francisco Bay Area). The Z.K. instructs the woman to take from his hand a rope to bind to her boyfriend’s wrists. Watch the video below (or if you remember the scene from the movie) – please offer your insights on the how the violence was played out. Was there anything that the victims did wrong? Just how big was their window of opportunity?
The Combative Corner was able to enlist two other self-protection professional’s perspectives on this scene; Melissa Soalt of Dr. Ruthless’ Practical Primal Self Defense and Roy Elghanayan of Krav Maga LA.
MICHAEL JOYCE : What would strike me immediately (if I were the man in this scenario) is that the “Man in Black” not only had a gun, but was dressed as an executioner. This, obviously, should not be taken lightly. Considering the isolated area and the fact that there was very little cover, running away/running for help would be an iffy proposition. If I felt very confident that my girlfriend and I could outrun (and if the car was close) the attacker, I would most certainly take that option. However, my advice (if continuing with the “hostage” scenario) would be to whisper to my girlfriend to tie it very loose, so as when the Zodiac Killer comes to inspect her work, I immediately attack him. I would hope that my girlfriend would assist me in this action as well.
DR. RUTHLESS : My professional advise is common sense. Already stated — NEVER allow yourself to be tied up by a criminal. Period. This is classic- using one victim’s fear and pain against the other. As soon as he says, “Don’t get up…” All their alarms should go off. Feign submission for a spell if you need to to (goal is to lower bad guy’s aggressive aroussal; allow him to feel in control. One of them NEEDS to act and close in on the gunman, grab the gunhand etc… and now there’s two against one!!!! (Would be great if it was the female because the gunman would least expect that. Then the man rushes in…)
The ZK essentially (as is not terribly uncommon) TOLD them out out-loud WHAT HE WOULD DO : “I’m not afraid to kill a man,” he said.
Also kneeling position offers some great explosive moves. (Simple one: yank his ankles hard and fast and very snappy – toward you while shoving him back in the groin region to send him slamming back and down hard. (of course there’s the issue of handgun…) Other from kneeling options too… snappy springing moves and then grab gun hand – slap gun off “kill line” Too tehcnincal for this…but you get the idea… ACT!
Hope is not a strategy– I don’t mean to blame these innocent peoples but c’mon folks– don’t believe the words of a f&#$% criminal!— Part of the work here is that we NEED TO GET OVER OUR FEAR OF INJURY– that’s critical for people to act in such dangerous scenarios- something else has to be more pressing than your fear…. like survival. It always entails a risk – but this scene is clearly shouting out ” this ZK IS going to kill you both!” I think nowadays (today versus then) more people get it.
ROY ELGHANAYAN : The guy obviously misjudged the situation. Based on how he (Z.K.) was dressed (and his initial demands) he thought (perhaps) it was a random mugging situation. What the victim should have done from the beginning was act like a victim – nervous – confused – (etc). And hopefully the attacker will come closer & do what he wants, because in this example the attacker is keeping a distance between himself and his victims. And because of this distance (and because the attacker has a gun) the only thing you can do is pray. Your goal is to get the attacker at close range so you can grab the gun. If you can’t do that, you have a problem… How do you get him closer? Don’t give him your wallet or keys. Make him come and get it.
[If the scene plays out, and the guys HAD to toss the Z.K. the wallet and keys] What the male should have done (as she was going to get the rope) would be to move his hands to the front. Hopefully the gunman won’t care whether he’s tied up in the front or the back. If she did this, and the Z.K. was okay with this, the guy can do the technique really well (See Roy’s Video).
Another thing is that hopefully the woman wouldn’t just stand there. She shouldn’t rely on anyone to save her. You need to protect yourself – your family – your husband – So when she walks up to the gunman – boom! She moves the gun away, she redirects the line-of-fire, she’s there to attack. And the thing is that the attacker would not expect that from her!…
You’ve got to train for these situations. Unfortunately if you take a cardio kickboxing class (or something similar) you won’t be ready to deliver what’s needed in this scenario. In order to get to the level you need, you must train hard – not just physically but mentally as well.
Michael Joyce is the owner of The ChenCenter and founder of The Golden Thread System in Winston-Salem, N.C., & the author of 2 books on self-protection. He is constantly active teaching Women’s Self-Defense Workshops. Visit his CombativeCorner profile for more information [here].
Melissa Soalt, or more famously known as Dr. Ruthless is an award-winning teacher of women’s self defense and a Black Belt Hall of Fame recipient. She is currently liberating women from the jaws of fear. For more information, visit her website at dr-ruthless.com.
Roy Elghanayan (his CC Interview – here -)is the owner of Krav Maga L.A. and a leading authority on reality-based combatives. He’s a two-time Israeli Krav Maga National Champion and former trainer of the Israeli Special Forces. For more information, visit his website KravMagaLA.Com.
WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SCENARIO