Profiling began with book

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I am not so sure how I started.

Maybe I just happened to wonder in the wrong section.

However it began, I am still not quite sure. The final product is that I am a criminal profiling junkie.

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At first, I thought my obsession was just an odd fascination. I faced reality though when I noticed that my true crime books heavily outweighed my other books.

Until recently, I did not think my reading would benefit me much.

That is until I heard of a book called &8220;The Gift Of Fear&8221; by Gavin De Becker. The book basically teaches readers to follow their intuition.

It seems like a logical idea. However, many people will ignore their gut feeling because they do not want to be offensive.

Becker told story after story about how reacting to feelings saved peoples lives.

I realized, while reading Becker&8217;s book, that my prior reading of profiling helped me develop a stronger instinct.

There have been times that I have avoided unsafe situations because I will remember a passage from one of the books.

That is why I believe very much in the education of protection. I understand that crime will not be eradicated, but it most certainly can be lessened.

Former F.B.I. criminal profiler, John Douglas, told a story about his daughter in one of his books.

He gave her a basic lesson about strangers when she was about 8 or so.

A year later, she came home and relayed a frightening story to Douglas.

She was approached at the neighborhood playground by an older man that she did not recognize. He did not try to hurt her, but she remembered what her father said. He asked if she needed a ride as she was walking home. She echoed the words she was taught and said no, thank you.

Much later, Douglas was reviewing a case of a convicted sex offender. His daughter saw the mugshot and identified the man as the same one from the playground.

Douglas is a prime example of why and how to teach children to be safe.

However, we must not forget to teach ourselves.

Criminal profiling books might not be your method of education, but knowledge is essential.

Katie Nichols is the public safety reporter for The Selma Times-Journal. She may be reached at 410-1716 or e-mail her at