In this digital age where news is spread and consumed online, it can be hard to tell what is true, and what is fake. I, myself was fooled, and burned by it this week.

More importantly -- I'm sorry I shared it with you.

I originally posted a story about reports of three different women being stalked around Central Minnesota, and one of the reports ended up being completely false. I got the information from Jodi's Network of Hope's Facebook page. It is an organization set up in memory of missing Central Minnesota woman Jodi Huisentruit, and is an organization I have personal ties to. Their ultimate goal is to "To honor our friend, Jodi Huisentruit through safety training and scholarships".

When they shared their post about the reported cases, I took that as fact from a credible source. Amassing almost 2,000 shares on Facebook on their post alone, a lot of us did.


A day later, we have come to find out that one of the stories, the one about a woman being followed and attacked outside of a St. Cloud Walgreens, was not true. We have updated our original story on the post, and you can read it here. The folks at Jodi's Network of Hope have also updated their Facebook post and you can read that below.

My goal for the original post was meant to inform the public that there are bad people out there, and it is important to always be aware of your surroundings, and be able to protect yourself. I never meant to spread a fake story, and for that I apologize.

That being said, while one encounter may not have been true, it doesn't mean it isn't a possibility. Scary and bad things can happen anywhere and the best thing to do is be prepared. Self-defense classes, carrying pepper spray, and small tasers can make a difference if you end up in a bad situation.

Places like Central Minnesota Karate, Warriors Cove in the Cities, and even special sessions at Revolver Studios, offer self-defense training for men and women alike. Most sporting goods stores stock pepper spray as well as small tasers and personal alarms. It is better to be prepared and never need to use self-dense tactics, than to not know or have any at all.

Stay safe, and help watch out for your neighbors, as well.

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