Feb 142011

One week ago today, a young woman near campus woke up to a stranger in her bedroom. What allegedly followed qualifies the perpetrator as one of the lowest forms of life.

While most of us believe Johnny Law will materialize in an instant in an emergency, the young woman last week had no opportunity to call the police.

The reality of life for most of you young women is not all sunshine and rainbows. You have to watch out for yourselves and your friends for threats few men of the same age will ever face.

This issue has precedents few people have knowledge of and even fewer people understand. The Supreme Court ruled in Warren v. District of Columbia that police have no duty to protect individuals.

The reason for the lawsuit is dreadful, look it up.

What do we take from these situations? I offer some suggestions gleaned from 10 years served in the Air Force entirely in law enforcement.

Lock your doors and windows: very simple, very effective. Take this step just to protect yourself in general, and it applies to both genders. Ladies, walking anywhere alone after dark qualifies as stupid. Call, and get a ride from a friend if necessary.

SafeWalk will escort you anywhere on campus or within two blocks. But I encourage SafeWalk to expand its radius or team up with RamRide to get people home safely anywhere in town.

Learn self-defense. Take a class, rent a video, practice on a TA –– the Sociology Department has plenty, and from what I hear they’re mostly convicted felons anyway. Yes, that was a joke.

Strike tools are cheap and effective. Collapsible batons are legal in Colorado. Self-defense spikes can be hidden virtually anywhere, some even fit on a key ring. Few rapists have the will to proceed with a quarter-inch hole in their skull.

Pepper spray and mace are both highly effective; the primary issue with using either of those is the sprayer all-too-often becomes a co-sprayee. That stuff hurts.

Stun guns can be purchased, as well. Be careful as to what qualifies as a concealed weapon if you move to another state.

Massachusetts and California would both rather see you assaulted than carrying a collapsible baton or stun gun in your purse.

Ladies, I cannot emphasize this enough: You absolutely do not purchase a firearm until you are certain you would have the will to use it if necessary. Few things are worse than being raped, but being killed with your own firearm qualifies.

Firearms are not a deterrent. They are, however, an effective tool in competent hands. I know the pacifists, liberals and progressives among you will make claims that shooting a home invader or attempted rapist “continues the cycle of violence.” I would argue it definitively ends the cycle of violence.

This is my area of expertise outside of what’s wrong with the federal government. For home defense, a shotgun is by far the most effective tool available outside of the Acme FlameThrower.

Shotguns are inexpensive, functional and finally, they fill the air with far more flying lead and righteous justice than any pistol or rifle.

Take lessons from a competent instructor. For those of you with friends in law enforcement or the military, discuss it with them. Not every veteran is competent, but if they’re not, you probably know it already.

Protect yourselves, and watch out for each other.

Seth Stern is a senior journalism and sociology major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:40 pm

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