Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the book 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation by Clint Emerson.
Special operatives and “violent nomads” of all types frequently operate in or near countries that are at war or in political crisis, and thus are vulnerable to being kidnapped for ransom—sometimes as a calculated attempt to thwart a mission, sometimes simply as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. More and more frequently, travelers to unstable regions face the same risk. The most predictable points of vulnerability in a traveler’s schedule are his departure from and return to his hotel at the beginning and end of his day—but an abduction may also be the result of a staged automobile accident. Common ruses used by kidnappers to apprehend a target on the road include:
The Bump: The attacker bumps the target’s vehicle from behind. The target gets out to assess the damage and suddenly finds himself in the trunk of a car.
The Good Samaritan: The attackers stage what appears to be an accident or feign a car problem. The target stops to assist and suddenly finds himself in the trunk of a car.
The Trap: Kidnappers use surveillance to follow the target home. When he pulls into his driveway and waits for the gate to open, the attacker pulls up from behind and blocks his car. The target finds himself in the trunk of a car. In each of these scenarios, the target ends up imprisoned. But he doesn’t have to remain in that state. Take the time to understand how a vehicle’s trunk operates, learning its vulnerabilities and how to defeat them.
If locked in a trunk, always try to be positioned in a way that allows access to escape tools. Then employ one of these methods to get yourself out:
1. Pull the emergency trunk release lever.
2. Pull the trunk release cable.
3. Escape through the back seat.
4. Use the car jack to wedge open the trunk lid.
5. Kick out the brake lights and try to get your hand through the opening to attract the attention of other drivers.
100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation offers a primer on the knowledge everyone should have at the ready for surviving dangerous and life-threatening situations. AoM’s illustrator extraordinaire Ted Slampyak worked with Clint on the artwork for this book.