Dateline NBC recently aired a show called Wild Bill Stanton Watching Your Back. The premise of the show is to help viewers be more alert of dangers around them by watching security consultant Bill Stanton as he travels the country to demonstrate how to stay safe by being alert and aware of one’s surroundings.
The first parts of the show were on travel ripoffs, spraying graffiti, and pickpocket experts showing how easy it is to have your purse, wallet, key, etc stolen when you’re not paying attention. I’ve seen shows on these topics before, and while they definitely deserve airtime, the next two segments are what really set me on edge and disturbed me the most.
Disturbing segment 1
Wild Bill wants to show how vulnerable women are when they are out on the town and nightclubs or parties. He sets out to see how easy it is to slip a date rape drug into a woman’s drink. I was shocked at the results, and I think he was a bit shocked as well.
He starts out by interviewing a woman who had been the victim of a drugged date rape herself. She didn’t really know she has been drugged until a few months later when she turned up pregnant. Wild Bill stages three tests.
For the first test he went to a bar and took a glow in the dark highlighter with him and marked the drinks that he could have drugged if he had wanted to. He was standing by the bar and noone was paying attention to him as he handled drink after drink. He eventually goes to each table of girls who were given the drinks and shows them what he had done and how easy it would have been for them to be drugged. All of them were frightened by the possibility of what could have happened and none of them wanted to comment on camera, except for one girl and she said that she thought she was safe because she was with a group of friends.
In the second test Bill took an actress with him to play as the woman he was going to supposedly drug. The actress seated herself at the bar before he walks in the door. There are several other men seated close by. Bill walks in and starts talking to his “victim” and also to the other men in the area. He makes it abundantly clear that he is going to drug the girl but none of the men try to stop him or question his actions. He tells them again as he is walking out of the bar with her that he is going to drug her and they wish him luck and do nothing to warn the girl. He comes back later without the girl and one of the guys from earlier is still there and asks him how everything went. Bill says the girl was unconscious and laying out on the beach. The guy asks him where exactly she is at so he can go and get “sloppy seconds”.
For the third test Bill actually comes right out and tells two guys standing at the bar that he is going to give the woman drugs and they say they think it’s a cool awesome idea. They watch him as he hides the drink under the edge of the bar and supposedly puts something into her drink (he doesn’t really but they think he is). They do nothing to stop him and even encourage the behavior, congratulating him when he returns thirty minutes later without the girl. Then they ask him where he got the drugs to do it with and said they had always wanted to do the same thing. He told them to give him their phone number and he would call them and tell them where to get some of the drugs. Turns out only one of the guys gave his real number and he says he thought the whole thing was a joke and he would never drug a woman’s drink. Hmmm … didn’t sound like that to me to me on that show!
Wild Bill ended this segment by talking to the original girl who had been the victim of date rape. She now goes to college campuses and tells her story to bring awareness to this issue. She says that no woman should go out partying without her “party kit” which consists of cash, cell phone, identification, and date rape drug test strips.
Disturbing segment 2
Wild Bill sets out to see how many latch-key kids will actually follow the advice of their parents and not open the door to a stranger. He tries his scheme on three different sets of kids. He shows up at their door with a puppy and some balloons and says he is from a pet store making a delivery.
The first set of kids, two girls age 9 and 11, were very quick to open the door. The youngest one hesitated a bit and looked out the window and went to tell her sister. The sister immediately opened the door. They open the door wide and Bill walks in. Had he been a child predator there would have been no stopping him.
The next set of kids was a girl age 13 and a boy age 16. He uses the same ploy again and this time there was no hesitation. The boy immediately opens the door. The girl says they should call their parents but by this time the “predator” was already in the house.
The last test was of a 9 year old girl home alone. She was on the phone when Bill knocked on the door and told her friend that someone was banging on her door. She sees Bill through the window and slips around the corner out of sight. Bill is persistent that she open the door but she questions who he is and tells him he has the wrong house. He doesn’t give up until she tells him to go away or she will call the cops.
So in this test, 1 out of 3 tests went well. The parents of the first two groups were naturally very upset and shocked that their kids had so willingly and quickly opened the door.
Segment 1: I can’t believe the appalling lack of concern these men had for women. I hope this one small test does not represent the way the majority of guys would react to such a situation.
Segment 2: I think this shows us that no matter how much we think we’ve prepared our kids for the dangers around them, they really don’t think something bad could happen to them. Or they just forget to apply all the “stranger danger” rules at the appropriate time. Perhaps we as parents should stage fake scenarios such as Wild Bill did and see how our kids react. Setting a trap for them might just scare them enough to be more alert and aware of their actions next time.
If you missed this show, maybe you can catch it on a re-run. I think it’s a great show to have your kids and all your women friends watch. Danger does lurk around us and it never hurts to have reminders of it, and reinforce ways to avoid that danger.