I enjoy good humor as much as the next person. But the latest examples of self-defense for women are uproariously funny while at the same time being pathetically naïve.
Recently we have been subjected to the game, “I can come up with a stupider idea than you can.” The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs released a Ten-Point list of ways for women to try and avoid being sexually assaulted. A couple of days later the list was removed from the web site. Here are a few classics from the now vanquished list: “If your life may be in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.” What? You’re supposed to lie down while this creep savages you? But it’s okay because you are passively resisting. “Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.” Ever try to vomit on command? As for urination, not likely because the body tightens under pressure. And then there’s this gem: “Tell your attacker that you have a (sexual) disease or are menstruating.” Right! That should work.
Rep. Joe Salazar, a Colorado State legislator agrees with the Ten-Point suggestions. He recently participated in hearings where he argued that college students should not be allowed to carry weapons. Mr. Salazar claims that use of force to protect yourself should not be an option. Instead, he argued, “It’s why we have call boxes; it’s why we have safe zones; it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around, or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop . . . pop around at somebody.” (Salazar later apologized for his comments, claiming that he “did not mean to hurt anybody”.)
My, my! How insightful of Mr. Salazar. A woman in danger should just run to a call box, or make her way to a safe zone. That’s assuming, of course, that she knows where these places are, and that the perpetrator will honor the safety zone. Or how about just blowing a whistle. Never mind that when you are frightened, your mouth typically goes dry. Good luck with that whistle!
Vice President Joe Bidden had yet a better idea he shared with his wife. “We live in an area that’s wooded and secluded,” he said. “I said, Jill, if there’s ever a problem just walk out on the balcony here . . . put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever’s coming in is not gonna,” Biden said. “You don’t need an AR-15 (assault rifle). It’s harder to aim. It’s harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself.” Then, looking into the camera in an almost conspiratorial whisper, he said, “Buy a shotgun.”
Good ole Uncle Joe! You’ve got to love his logic. I do agree with him that when you hear a shotgun ratcheted, or a shell fired, the would-be assailant will probably be wetting himself, and/or high-tailing it over the next mountain. But, first of all, firing a shotgun, or any weapon into the air even if you think there’s a danger, is illegal in most states. The bullets or shotgun pellets are going to fall back to earth somewhere. Second, when you fire both barrels of a double-barreled shotgun, your gun is now empty. You must then reload. A bad guy is going to know the gun is empty. Not good. Third, you had better know how to handle a shotgun, otherwise you’ll find yourself sitting on the ground from the first pull of the trigger. Fourth, an AR-15 rifle is a much easier weapon to shoot, with very little recoil, and lots of bullets in the magazine. And that brings me to my fifth point. This will sound harsh to some of you, but when you fire a gun at someone, you don’t shoot to wound them, you make sure you hit them center mass. One bullet may not be enough to stop them, especially if they are on some kind of drug such as PCP. Keep firing until they are no longer moving. With the intentions of the bad guy clearly understood, he should have considered the possibility of someone resisting with force. One last thought on this: All of this assumes there’s only one attacker. What if there are two? Or five? Well then, a fully loaded AR-15 with an extra magazine would be far more preferable.
Anna Rittgers, a senior fellow of the conservative women’s group, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), reacted to President Obama’s efforts to restrict gun usage this way. “It often takes several shots to stop one attacker,” Rittgers writes. “If the maximum magazine capacity is 10 (or if all semiautomatic handguns are banned, but 6 shot revolvers remain), and a woman in danger has to stop and reload her weapon while trying to protect her children (who are likely hysterical at this point), it gives the bad guy an opportunity to react–potentially fatally.”
My advice is for women to learn some basic moves when grabbed; take a course in firearms safety and training; learn how to use a gun (if that’s the means you choose for personal protection); carry a can of MACE; and more importantly, be aware of your surroundings! Keep your head up and your eyes moving. If you don’t feel comfortable in a certain location, turn around and leave, or seek shelter where there are other people.