I was perusing my local Sunday paper when an article about the stubbornly decaying neighborhood of South Norfolk caught my eye.  I read how well-meaning politics and a changing business environment prompted all but the poor and the criminal element to move to the new suburbs.  This is a story repeated in urban areas throughout the country.

It’s so common that I was about to stop reading.  That is, until the reporter wrote about a middle-aged woman who has a college-age daughter.  Amy Byrum-Strickland noted that every house on her block had been broken into… except hers.  Ms. Byrum-Strickland speculated that the reason was her “art”.  So what is her art?  Why belly dancing on her front lawn with a full-sized sword, of course.  Isn’t that what every proactive Neighborhood Watch program incorporates?  I’m no felon, but the mere thought of a middle-aged woman in abbreviated attire dancing with a sword gives me a good reason to give her a wide berth.

I can see it now… a weekly community meeting to schedule the citizens’ watch…

“OK, Reggie… you belly dance during the 8 – 12 shift.  Joe will relieve you at midnight and his wife will cover the 4 – 8 early morning watch.  Be sure that your bra tassels have the approved 3M reflective coating so they show up at night.  And Joe… no more mooning the London Oaks Crew and the YNIC gangs.  We can’t afford to draw attention to ourselves.”

Of course, there’s always the straightforward Ruth Gordon plan.  For those of you who don’t remember, it’s a scene from an old Clint Eastwood film about a bare-knuckle fighter.  Ruth Gordon plays Eastwood’s mother.  It’s a memorable scene and I recommend you check out the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azxFvvUtu40

The bottom line?  You don’t have to be crazy to defend yourself, but if the bad guy thinks you’re a little off your rocker… it might just help.

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Bruce Bremer, MBA is LET’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Since then, he has been involved in fleet modernization and military research analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.  He does not now, nor has he ever, belly danced.