Today’s blog is devoted to campus safety. I have heard the same news reports you have and have cowered at the thought of what can happen in the dark after a study group or class ends. There have been way too many assaults on women in particular. Everyone, however, is vulnerable when they walk across the quad when unaccompanied. The first rule of safety is to stay in numbers wherever you go. Of course, muggers and robbers don’t work exclusively at night. If you have no choice, there are products you can use such as pepper spray (mace), stun guns or Tasers, and a personal body alarm. It is all about taking action now to prepare yourself for the unforeseen but inevitable. Writing a Self Defense Guide is an enormous subject.
When it comes to students, I wouldn’t necessarily counsel them to rely on martial arts as it takes years to become effective enough to fend off attackers. If you fail with your fancy maneuvers, you could incur unexpected reprisals. Above all you don’t want to provoke a nervous thief or rapist to use force. Few students go so far as to carry weapons themselves, which is probably a sound idea. I prefer to use technology to help you stave off danger. I am thinking of key chain “weapons” (no guns) you can buy online. Here is what is usually offered:
- Pepper spray: you don’t need a huge one in most cases unless you are in a riot. You can arm yourself with a small but powerful spray that will immobilize an attacker with a quick burst. This usually lasts up to forty-five minutes. It works as far as five to seven feet should you see someone lurking in the immediate vicinity.
- Stun gun: barely touching an assailant for a couple of seconds is all you need from a small size model that weights significantly less than the police models. They give six million volts of “shocking power.” Experts say you can even fire it into the air as the noise will deter an attacker. Attach it to a keychain so it is readily available although concealed. I like the rechargeable type that include3s an LED flashlight. Two things for the price of one! Just be sure the safety switch is on when you intend to use it.
- Expandable baton: many people forget about this weapon. All you need is a retractable unit that in the closed position measures 5.5 inches. It is also a keychain and opens with the flick of a wrist. It is made of sturdy steel rendering it quite effective although it may weigh only nine ounces. It must be vertical when you wish to retract it by hitting a hard surface.
- There are various knuckle weapons and knives available if the above are not enough. They are the most popular items on campus and you won’t need more than one. It takes some moxie to deliver a punch with a sharp-edged plastic knuckle so I leave it to the end.