The search for Mickey Shunick has been weighing heavy on our hearts and minds. The thought of an innocent woman's safety being compromised in our quiet little town has a lot of us on edge. Even though I am a man and a large man to boot, I still get uncomfortable being on the streets at 1:30 am. You never know who you will meet under the cloak of the early morning darkness, that is why everyone should have a plan.

Almost every law enforcement official, martial arts instructor and parent will tell you the best way to stay out of trouble is to avoid it. Simply put, don't put yourself in a time or place of danger. That is why it is so important for women especially, to have a buddy, a co-worker, a trusted friend to travel with them during the danger hours of darkness.

There is safety in numbers. There is also peace of mind in being prepared for any situation that might arise should you have to travel alone. There was a reason why your parents always wanted to know where you were going to be, when you would be leaving and what route you planned on taking. That way if something went wrong or you were delayed and couldn't be reached it would be much easier to send help.

So what should you do if you are walking alone and you see a threatening character up ahead.The simplest way to prevent trouble is to avoid trouble. Self defense experts say the simple act of crossing the street or changing your path even for one block can make all the difference in the world. Regardless you should walk with confidence and that cell phone that is in your purse, pick it up and call somebody.

I can tell you that I personally ride into the office via mobile phones with three different ladies every work day. Their jobs demand that they have to be at work early in the morning. They call me on their cellphone and I stay on the line until they are safely out of their cars and into their buildings. The fact that you are in contact with another person is a great deterrent to any would-be bad guy.

What about mace or pepper spray? In some places it's against the law and in many cases the person who is being attacked winds up spraying themselves. Here is a suggestion, carry a small can of hair spray in your purse. Trust me it works just as well as any mace or pepper spray and almost all of you ladies know how to spray hairspray even in the dark.

What if you are attacked? Your first and only order of business is to get away fast. That might mean doing things that are not lady like. Remember the eyes, the throat and that special place between a mans legs are all good targets. Should you be provoked you will need to strike with a vengeance. If you must hit or poke or gouge, do it hard and fast and be ready to run like hell.

Remember you're not in the fight to win, you are in the fight to get away. If you are wearing high heels, ditch them and run in your bare feet and get to a place of safety as quickly as you can. Don't forget to scream! I have heard many different opinions on what to scream but FIRE! is always a good one since everybody knows that means get help now. This is something you need to practice because in the heat of the moment you won't have time to think, you must simply react.

I hope you are never in a situation where you will need to go through your well thought out escape plan but nevertheless you need to talk about. Ladies, your church group, your pokeno group, your fishing buddies, your shopping sisters you all need to discuss what you would do now so that you will be ready to act on instinct.  We all have to take care of each other and the best way to do that is to take care of ourselves.