“Compliance,” or Why Defense Matters

Man calls fast-food joint, pretending to be a cop. He says one of the employees is a suspect in a theft, and needs to be strip searched. Over a period of hours — in something like the real-life social engineering version of Haneke’s “Funny Games”* — things get much worse. This happened over 70 times, sparking a spree of sex-abuse trials.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funny_Games_%281997_film%29 — one of the most emotionally scarring films you should nevertheless go see. Think of it as vaccination by cinema.

Think for a moment of the mindset in the victims needed for something like this to happen. See a problem? Yeah. That means they’re vulnerable to all kinds of other things too.

See it as a good reason to develop and distribute good defensive techniques, and mindsets, that anyone can use.

“She was a high school senior who had just turned 18 — a churchgoing former Girl Scout who hadn’t received a single admonition in her four months working at the McDonald’s in Mount Washington.

But when a man who called himself “Officer Scott” called the store on April 9, 2004, and said an employee had been accused of stealing a purse, Louise Ogborn became the suspect.[…]

Summers, 51, conceded later that she had never known Ogborn to do a thing dishonest. But she nonetheless led Ogborn to the restaurant’s small office, locked the door, and — following the caller’s instructions — ordered her to remove one item of clothing at a time, until she was naked.[…]

It was just after 5 p.m., and for Ogborn, hours of degradation and abuse were just beginning.”

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