Best defense is a good offense when walking alone at night

Dear Editor:

The recent article by Ashley Zborek entitled “Students take safety into their own hands” reminded me of “Death Wish”, a 1974 film starring Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, a mild-mannered New York City architect.  The day after Paul and his wife return from vacation, his wife is murdered and his daughter brutally raped by a trio of thugs.  Paul Kersey then takes matters into his own hands, and walks around questionable neighborhoods at night with a pistol in his pocket, looking for trouble.

When trouble found him, typically in the form of an armed robber, Paul would shoot the crook.

The local evil-doers, who had no problem robbing and beating defenseless people, were somewhat less than enthusiastic when faced with the possibility of facing an armed opponent, so the crime rate dropped.

Many people in southern Illinois  would agree that reducing the crime rate is a great idea and kudos to Jared Rosine from Strasburg who warded off an attacker armed only with a key — but there’s a better way to help ensure your own safety, so let’s steal the Scout motto and let’s “be prepared”.

We can be prepared by expecting the worst. Here are a few useful tips.

Don’t go into questionable areas if you don’t have to. If you do have to, take a friend. Better yet, take several friends. Walk confidently, and be alert to your surroundings. If you take the earphones out of your ears, you may be able to hear someone before they grab you.

Postpone your texting until you reach your destination. Keep your head up and look for possible threats. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, it’s probably not right. Avoid dangerous situations. Don’t let potential attackers get close to you.

Cross the street. If the potential attacker follows you, cross back again.

If they still follow you, call 911. Don’t worry about offending someone by avoiding them.  We’re not supposed to profile people, but a potential threat to your safety is no time to be politically correct.

Arm yourself. Knives or projectile weapons on campus are illegal, but if someone’s going to rob you, are they going to obey the law? If you do make the decision to carry a weapon for personal protection, be sure you know how to use it. Not only that, be ready to use it. Pepper spray won’t do you much good if it’s in the bottom of your backpack. Be better armed than the local evil-doers.

The old adage “never take a knife to a gunfight” certainly applies, too.

Be proactive. Be loud and proactive. The best defense is a good offense. Your most effective self-defense weapon is between your ears. Think about how you’d react if you should be attacked, so if the worst happens and you are attacked, you won’t waste precious time deciding what to do.

While there are exceptions, the majority of local evil-doers are lazy.

Robbing someone takes a lot less time and effort than working 40 or more hours per week at a job, so the harder you make an evil-doer work to take your stuff, the more likely they are to look for an easier target.

Gary Walkup
Carbondale resident

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