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Falling limply to the floor might thwart an attacker

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Dear Abby: A few days ago here in Eugene, a woman was abducted from a small one-employee store. She was forced at gunpoint into the gunman's vehicle. It is unlikely she will ever again be seen alive.

Here is a suggestion that could possibly save lives under these circumstances:Fall down! That's right - fall down. And stay down. Anything is better than getting into a thug's vehicle and vanishing. Very few men are capable of lifting a limp body and putting it into a vehicle. And a few screams might help, too.

- Mr. Holly K. Robinson,

Eugene, Ore.

Dear Holly: I checked with the police, who said that in general, "playing 'possum" - going limp or pretending to faint - can be an effective way to keep from being taken from "crime scene A" to "crime scene B." The police stressed that one should avoid getting into a perpetrator's vehicle if at all possible. Calling attention to the crime by screaming or crying for help can also scare off some assailants.

They cautioned, however, that every crime situation is different. The unfortunate store employee had no options, but usually the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to stay alert in the first place.

Dear Abby: I was suddenly awakened to the fact that nowhere else did I see or hear of George Washington on Feb. 22, except for reading the heading of your column, "Happy Birthday, George."

It made me stop and think about what has happened to our country when we overlook respectful recognition in exchange for our three-day holiday weekend. It's a sad day for us when we fail to even mention the birthday of the father of our country.

Abby, your "Happy Birthday, George" revived my proud-to-be-an-American spirit, so I hung my American flag out on the balcony of my apartment for all to see. Thank you, Abby, for reminding me and many others, I hope, of our precious American heritage.

- Jack R. Robinson,

Kennewick, Wash.

Dear Jack Robinson: Thank you for your thank-you. Perhaps some formerly forgetful folks will remember to mark their calendars at the beginning of 1998 that on Feb. 12 we honor Abraham Lincoln and on the 22nd we honor George - and President's Day honors them both.

Dear Readers: Earlier this month, an incorrect address for ordering "PLEASE CALL POLICE" banners for your car was printed. The post office box number contained an error, and the shipping and handling cost was omitted.

The post office has assured me that orders mailed to the incorrect box number will be forwarded to the correct one, and WCIL has agreed to ship those orders without the $1 for shipping and handling. (One banner is shipped as a premium for a $5 donation, plus one banner per each additional $4.)

In the future, please send your orders to: WCIL, P.O. Box 92501, Los Angeles, CA 90009, and include $1 per order for shipping and handling.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable - and most frequently requested - poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

1997 Universal Press Syndicate