Thursday, December 01, 2011

Safety Reminders From Roberta X

Or, Simple Things You Can Do:

- Park in well-lighted lots with an attendant. You may have to pay for this privilege. Hereabouts, they usually want $5, $10 for "special events." How much is your life worth?

- There's safety in numbers. Two is the minimum!

- If you're drinking, either take a cab or have a non-drinking designated driver. You know what's more likely than being the victim of a crime? A traffic stop. And an arrest.

- If you are driving (sober), have your keys out before you are at your car. Don't stand there at the door and fumble for them; you can be pinned up against it. Unlock, get in, and lock the door as you shut it.

- Let's talk active defense. A "taser" or "stunner" of the most-common (and affordable) sort is a contact weapon. It has to touch Mr. Badguy. It's better not to get that close. Most kinds of pepper spray are legal in Indiana and they're effective over a greater distance; but don't count on them incapacitating an attacker from very far away or for very long -- get away to where people are or inside your car as fast as you can. If you're going to carry a firearm, follow the rules: get a permit. Take a basic class. Take more classes when you can. Determine the best way for you to carry. Practice -- and understand, you must be in fear for your life to use it. (The thing about guns is, they require an investment of time, money and effort. Compared to other martial arts -- hand-to-hand, sword, whatever -- competence is not difficult to attain and is not physically demanding, but unless you do, you only have a very close-range weapon, pretty much like pepper spray or a stunner. Don't count on the sight of a gun scaring an assailant away; it might happen, but it might not.)

- But there's another defensive tool you probably already own: once you are in your car with the doors locked, you command a "weapon" more powerful than a gun. It doesn't move as fast, but it weighs a lot more. Bad guys run from it if it moves their way. You can re-aim it while it's in motion. And you already practice with it every day. Yes, your car may be a comfortable, familiar item, but it's deadly dangerous, too. (Seriously, not everyone is a gunnie, and with all love to L. Neil Smith and the delightful characters in his novels, not everyone will be if they are offered the chance, either -- but a whole lot of people drive cars). I have been taken to task for advising readers to "run down a badguy with their car." No, don't do that; get in, lock the doors and LEAVE. Flee; you are in fear for your life. I don't think you're obliged to yield the right-of-way to someone attacking you. (Get local legal advice; IANAL) I do think he's likely to step back right smartly. In that way, a car is a "weapon:" a powerful thing unlikely to be challenged. But don't go all Batman about it, just get away. Find a policeman. Jeepers, one would think it wouldn't be necessary to advise against attempted vehicular homicide; people run away from cars, well-nigh universally, and if they are running away, what are they, class? That's right: they are no longer a threat.

- Be aware of your surroundings. It's a great big beautiful world out there but you've got to look out for the thorns among the roses instead of letting them find you.


Tango Juliet said...

Excellent! Great advice, delivered well.

My vehicular game plan: Look in the backseat of the car before getting in, lock the car doors once inside, start the car and finally, put on the seatbelt.

A Buick in motion is worth a lot of .45's. And it's much more politically correct.

karrde said...

Good advice.

I am amazed at how many people forget the deadliness of the average car.

Another idea: if a cane is stylish, or you can imitate a need for one, you have the ability to take a bludgeon with you. Extra bonus: no one will recognize it as a weapon, even in heavily weapons-free environments.

George said...

Absolutely! A 2,000 lbs car is 14,000,000 grains. I'm not sure, but I think that is a lot.

Ed Skinner said...

Stay home. Watch Netflix or Hulu or Directv. Write software and upload result to paying customer. Bank online. Shop on the Internet. Don't open the door unless it's the big brown truck. Hell, you don't even have to shave or shower. [Open the windows occasionally.]

Anonymous said...

What happened?

Mike James

Anonymous said...

As Jeff Gonzales says Mercedes puts that very nice front sight on the hood.


Panamared said...

Great advice at any time, but especially at this time of year with all of the holiday shopping and the extra traffic.

One more thing constantly taught in defensive driving classes, I learned it riding a motorcycle, always leave an escape route. Never allow yourself to be blocked in.

Joanna said...

My mother always told me that they don't rape herds. And if you do wind up alone for some reason, keep your head up and your eyes forward, and look like you have somewhere to be and every right to be there. If you can give off the vibe that you know what you're doing (especially if you don't), that goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

Contact type stun devices are not all that great. You have to make contact and maintain it for sometime. You touch someone, they will pull away. When I was in Law Enforcement we were exposed and trained on them, mainly have to get a lock hold on the person you are using it on for it to be effective. The pepper spray is good if used right, but your other information is very good. Be aware, be ready,and a car is a good way to go if you must. If someone is trying to run you off the road hit the brakes, get behind them then you will be able to run them off the road. Similar to a P.I.T. manuever police use, don't try to keep ahead unless you have a better faster vehicle. FW
IW. Good Advice you wrote up.

Earl said...

I am large, but since I have a Concealed Carry Permit, I just haven't figured out how to stuff the Caravan under my jacket.

Seriously, very good advice, especially about the numbers - two is a minimum for watching all the backs.

russell1200 said...

Unless they changed it, in North Carolina you get more insurance points for passing a stopped school bus than for attempted vehicular manslaughter.

So when trying to ram the badguy, don't pass a stopped school bus.

Drang said...

I hope this post wasn't inspired by real events...

Larry Niven, "The Deadliest Weapon".

kishnevi said...

One further consideration: be aware of your stress thresholds, and prepare some sort of script in your head for what you might need to do if caught in a bad situation.

One of the reasons I don't own a gun is because I stress out easily; any situation where I would realistically want to use a gun would be a situation so stressful I would be at the verge of being totally nonfunctional, or beyond it, and if I used a gun in such a situation, the bad guy would probably be the safest person around.

What karrde says about canes is a good idea. I have a sort of gimpy leg, which allows me to have a crutch or walking cane available whenever I want to, whether the leg is feeling good or not. But I was practicing what they call "situational awareness" all my life: it's just a common sense idea to know what's around you.

Two further related things: in a marginal situation (that is, if it's not certain the bad guy is a bad guy, or that his bad intentions are aimed at you), acting as if you don't realize the bad guy(s) exist can be helpful, if you can prepare discreetly (ie, get weapon ready without it being noticed) or are close to your car or other refuge: bad guy, if he is a bad guy, will meet with unexpected resistence. And in a marginal situation, walking directly at the bad guy, as if you are assuming he will be the one to get out of your way, can help: it indicates a willingness to be aggressive on your part. But I'm slightly above average in height and weight, and while this works for me, it may not work for someone who is smaller than I am.


Dave H said...

I'm not sure trying to run down an attacker is a good idea. If you're in a car and he can't get in, it's hard to make a convincing claim that you were in defending yourself unless he was actively trying to get in, was attacking the car directly, or displayed a weapon that could pierce the car (gun, crowbar, etc). Same for trying to run the guy off the road. If you can get behind him, turn and go the other way. Some jurisdictions might not care, but others will see you ramming the guy as an assault, not a defensive move, if you had the opportunity to escape.

Joanna's advice about looking like you know what you're doing is good. One other thing I've seen suggested elsewhere is to make eye contact with the people around you as you pass by them. You don't have to nod, speak, or stare, but that way they know you know they're there. That takes the element of surprise away from someone who may have been planning to use it.

Anonymous said...

What happened?

Mike James

Larry said...

TJ: A Buick in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an external Ford.
Or something like that.

Tam said...


"A 2,000 lbs car is 14,000,000 grains. I'm not sure, but I think that is a lot."

Let's see... 14,000,000 grains @ 30 fps equals... carry the one... 27,985 ft/lbs.

Yup, that makes major.

Roberta X said...

Ed: Meanwhile, where I live, women alone are favored targets for assault; where I live, the holidays see a spike in burglaries and robberies; not everyone can or will carry a gun; and not everyone can stay t'home.

Most folks find a way to relate to the rest of the world somewhere between hunkered in a bunker and universal love-grooviness; I just want 'em to not be easy marks.

Roberta X said...

Dave H said...

"I'm not sure trying to run down an attacker is a good idea. If you're in a car and he can't get in, it's hard to make a convincing claim that you were in defending yourself..."

I'm not sure that's what I was saying -- I suspect attackers will be even more likely to run from a car than a gun -- if they dorrs are locked, they're not going to "take it away from you and use it on you," as the fretful claim will happen to a woman with a gun.

Not, you get in the car and LEAVE. Mr. Badguy will give way.

Roberta X said...

Mike James: two women robbed at gunpoint, another raped, up in Broad Ripple proper.

John B said...

One of my favorite Larry Niven stories The deadlier weapon, has a similar scenario.

I do practice. Usually I practice with the intent of NOT running over stuff jumping in front of me begging me to though!

Have you had cause to worry?

Dave H said...

Roberta: Sorry, I was responding to the other commenter who talked about the PIT manueuver and I didn't know when to shut up.

Firehand said...

Advice to daughter after she'd seen the video of Denny being crippled for life:
"If someone tries to make you stop, don't. Not in a riot, not ever."
"What if you don't have a gun?"
"You're in control of at least a ton of metal and plastic with an engine; DRIVE."
"What if they get in front of you?"
"What if they won't move?"
"Drive over them. Worry about legalities later."