Tag: self defense
Friday, July 20th, 2012
I don’t know about anyone else, but I read good books and watch entertaining movies to lose myself in a storyline. To shed my worries and cares, to let my feet leave the planet of my reality and head off to explore the alternate realities presented on paper and in film is liberating.
I don’t read to pass time, I read to use time to experience vivid and exhilarating memories, emotions and actions of others. I don’t go to the movies to be an inactive participant in the film; I throw myself heart and soul into the action and hardly notice it isn’t real until the lights suddenly flicker on and I have to blink myself back to earth.
In short, I read and go to the theater to escape from the world, not to keep an eye on it.
For this reason, maintaining my situational awareness while reading or watching a movie isn’t something I can do. That is why I don’t lay in the park under a tree and read on my lunch break. It would be relaxing and enjoyable; it would rejuvenate me after the stress of a morning’s work. But it would also leave me easy pray to those who lurk and stalk, seeking to do harm.
To me, suspending my situational awareness to do things like read under a tree or walk with headphones in carries potential for too many negative and severe consequences to be worth it.
Going to a theater hasn’t (yet) reached that level of risk in my mind. Maybe that’s because my first two activities which result in a decreased level of situational awareness are solitary activities. There is no safety in numbers in being alone in the park or on a walk. But it turns out being in numbers doesn’t always result in safety.
In fact, all mass shootings occur in highly populated areas. This is a painfully obvious statement; it’s hard to have a mass shooting without masses. But it’s something I haven’t given too much thought to before. Most of my situational awareness habits come from a desire not to be sexually assaulted. Some of my situational awareness habits are a response to a threat from an solitary, known person. I need to develop a whole new set of situational awareness habits to increase my chances of surviving a bad situation going down in a public place, especially in public places which are designed to snuff out my situational awareness.
- Shopping malls: Malls don’t just happen. They are carefully designed, crafted to give shoppers an “experience” which helps mall-goers to forget the outside world and spend more time and money inside. A mall’s purpose is to transform me to another reality in which I am happy and rich. With artificial light, trees, sounds and scents and limited access to the outside world in the form of minimal windows and no cell phone reception, it would be easy to drop my guard here. Someone paid a lot of money to get me to do that.
- Movie theaters: As explained above, going to the movies is an escape from reality. Big movie producing companies spend a lot of money to hire good actors, makeup artists, wardrobe creators, music composers and stunt and special effects staff. I’m sure that the exact lighting, sound, seating positions, room temperature, etc. of the theater itself has been studied and optimized to help me forget my real surroundings and delve into those on the screen.
- Concerts: Music has many positive qualities. It entertains, lifts moods, heals emotional hurts. It has the ability to dramatically change the lives of its listeners. With our hearts, minds and ears involved in its sounds and with it presented in the visually-camouflaging, visually-distracting background of a crowded venue… it would be easy to lose situational awareness or miss situational awareness triggers when listening to music at a concert.
I Googled “situational awareness in crowds” and “situational awareness in crowded places” and didn’t come up with much. Does anyone out there have any tips and tricks to staying alert in those busy places which lull us into a sense of false security? Are there body language signs or foot traffic patterns which are important to look for? Help me out!
Tags: CCW, concealed carry, Defensive Carry, gender, Personal Safety, Preparedness, self defense, Situational Awareness
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Below is a “Campus Safety Alert” issued by Adam Garcia, the Director of Police Services at UNR. The incidents described below are just two examples of why I feel uncomfortable visiting the UNR campus as an unarmed female.
University Police Services and the Reno Police Department have received two separate reports of suspicious incidents. On March 8, 2012 at approximately 7:00 P.M. a victim reported that she was followed from Virginia Street and 10th Street to Angel Street by a male in a black unknown model truck with a small white rectangle shape on the cab of the truck. The male subject drove alongside her, then parked at the cemetery in the area and continued watching her. The subject was described as being male, unknown race approximately 40-50 years of age.
In the second incident, a UNR student reported that on Monday March 12, 2012 at 3:30 P.M. a male driver drove alongside her and attempted to coax her into his vehicle. The female ran to her vehicle while the subject followed her. This subject is described as a black male with scruffy facial hair, approximately 40-50 years of age, driving an older white Isuzu Rodeo with two blue stripes on the side and no license plates.
If you have any information regarding these incidents, contact Investigator Jaime McGuire at 682-7284 or Regional Dispatch at 334-COPS(2677).
University Police Services also wants to take this time to remind you of the following safety tips:
- Make personal safety your number one priority. Awareness, Avoidance and Risk Reduction is the best way to not be a victim.
- Travel in groups of two or more and always travel in well-lit, heavily traveled areas.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Carry a whistle or noise maker. This can serve as a reminder to exercise caution, and can alert someone in the area that you need help.
- Be alert! Look around you; be aware of who is on the street and in the area. Make it difficult for anyone to take you by surprise.
- If listening to music, keep the volume low so you can hear what is going on around you.
- If you know you are going to be working late, plan ahead as to how you will get to your vehicle or home safely.
- Use Campus Escort or University Police Cadets to get you to your vehicle safely. Campus Escort operates 7 days a week during academic semesters from 7:00 P.M. – 1:00 A.M. They can be contacted at 742-6808. Police Services Cadets operate Monday through Thursday from 6:00 P.M. – 12:00 A.M. during academic semesters. Student cadets can be contacted at 745-5921 or 745-7505. When these services are not operating, contact the duty officer at 745-6195 and request an escort.
This message is being sent in compliance with the timely warning provision of Title II of Public Law 101-542 34, CFR 668.46 (e), the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act.
University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia St. MS/250
Reno, NV 89557
(775) 784-4013 Main
(775) 784-4689 Direct
(775) 327-2220 Fax
Tags: campus carry, concealed carry, Defensive Carry, gender, Girls and Guns, gun control, guns, self defense, Situational Awareness
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
Someone online, at my encouragement, asked me some gun questions. Her text is below. I’m more of a target shooter than a hunter. Please let me know what you all would say to her! Thanks in advance for your help.
“My current 5 year plan is to set up a small homestead in northern Minnesota. Moose, bear, wolves, deer and other such critters are commonplace.
As a nearly middle aged woman who has never held a gun – whats the best starter weapon for me? I’m thinking some kind of rifle, something that would be good for property protection as well as eventual hunting.
My husband was an expert marksman with the military, so I’m sure he could help me learn to use it well. That said, he never used guns before the Army and not since, so its not an area we know much about.”
Tags: Female Shooters, Girls and Guns, gun ownership, guns, hunting, rifles, self defense
Saturday, March 19th, 2011
If Nevada’s colleges and universities allowed concealed weapon permit holders to carry guns on campus it might have prevented two rapes and a murder, a sexual assault survivor told state lawmakers Friday.
During emotional testimony before the Senate Government Affairs Committee Amanda Collins, 25, testified for Senate Bill 231, which would eliminate a restriction that prevented her from carrying her legal concealed handgun the night she was raped in a University of Nevada, Reno parking garage.
The attacker, James Biela, went on to rape another woman, and was convicted of kidnapping and killing a campus visitor, Brianna Denison.
“On Oct. 22, 2007 my right to say ‘no’ was taken from me by both James Biela and the Nevada Legislature,” said Collins, recounting the night she was attacked. “If the purpose of the current law is to ensure safety to those on university property then it is not serving that objective.”
Tags: 2nd Ammendment, campus carry, CCW, concealed carry, Defensive Carry, Female Shooters, Girls and Guns, gun ownership, gun safety, guns, Personal Safety, self defense
Thursday, December 30th, 2010
I have always been cautious about the location of my purse. I learned that lesson early on. I left my first purse in a bathroom stall at a restaurant as a small child and it had $40 in birthday money cleverly tucked inside a flap on my glasses case inside of it. I didn’t have a wallet, phone or anything else awesome in there; just kid stuff. But I’ll never forget leaving behind my purse and my $40. Ever since then, I’ve taken carrying a purse seriously. Knowing I’m a forgetful person and that I’ll set it down and leave it if I’m not careful, I’ve since selected purses that are harder to lose. Backpack purses, purses with straps long enough to be worn like messenger bags are worn; I’ve even skipped a purse and have carried a wallet instead as it stays in my pants where it belongs when I am shopping and can’t be set down to pick up something sparkly at a store. The concern I’ve had about my purse, weather guarding it from thieves or from my forgetful self has escalated recently though.
Ever since I trained for, applied for and received my concealed carry weapons permit, I’ve been even more mindful of my purse. This is because my concealed carry weapons permit is inside of it. If I lose my purse or if it is stolen from me, not only am I out money, as I was out $40 as a child, I am also out of my permit. A replacement concealed carry permit isn’t very much money, but the gun-naked downtime of not being able to carry a firearm concealed on my person as I await the arrival of my new permit is just too much to bear.
Additionally, my mind has been processing panic situations. What if my purse is stolen from me or lost and I am concealed carrying at the time? Do I take off my gun, knowing that concealed carry without my permit no es muy bueno? Or do I continue to conceal carry until I can get home and change? Being in Nevada, open carry is legal, but what if the outfit or holster I am wearing that day doesn’t work with open carry? Or what if I am in a situation where I don’t feel comfortable open carrying? How would I switch from concealed to open carry without causing those around me to be uncomfortable? Even changing in my car could get me “(wo)man with a gunned.”
GB and I talked about it and he suggested that I conceal carry straight home and if a cop pulls me over, I can explain to him my stolen purse as the reason why I not only don’t have my driver’s license but also my concealed carry license. That sounds a little scary to me. I decided I can switch from concealed carry to open carry in a nearby restroom or dressing room without causing a ruckus. From there, I can continue my outing or head on home depending on the open carry friendliness levels of my prospective destinations.
Concealed carrying causes lots of thoughts to run through my head… my outfits, my destinations, the people around me and now my purse. Carrying a gun has changed nearly every aspect of my life.
Tags: CCW, concealed carry, Defensive Carry, Female Shooters, firearms, Gear, gender, Girls and Guns, guns, open carry, Personal Safety, Preparedness, self defense, Situational Awareness
Saturday, December 4th, 2010
Tags: 2nd Ammendment, Activism, campus carry, CCW, concealed carry, Defensive Carry, firearms, gun control, gun ownership, guns, Personal Safety, Preparedness, school shootings, self defense, shootings, Situational Awareness
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Everyday, I read the gun news. To keep me informed and to get some content on the blog here for you all, even when I’m super-busy with final exams and Thanksgiving. I’ve been trying to keep my head in my school books so I can get good grades on my finals, but reading this article really got me all riled up. It’s an ask-me-for-advice type article from a site called Salon. In it, a woman who has left an abusive relationship writes in because her new boyfriend is afraid her ex will show up with a shot gun. This is part of her advice-seeking letter:
“I was on the receiving end of a physically, emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for almost 10 years. It wasn’t easy, but I got out and I’m happy… I disclosed the tip of the iceberg about the verbal and emotional abuse, just to explain why I avoid confrontation. My boyfriend was upset, naturally, and said that if he ever met my ex he would tell him off. I replied that I would do everything in my power to make sure that they never met, because my ex is a big, crazy dude. My boyfriend asked if my ex could “take him” and I answered honestly that yes, he could. Plus, he has guns… I guess I should have kept my mouth shut.”
The author of the article advised her to NOT keep her mouth shut and to do whatever it takes to feel safe again. From changing her attitude or taking self-defense classes to buying her own gun. He said, “I think you should get a shotgun. Wouldn’t you rather be the one with the shotgun? I’m all in favor of women having guns.”
I am happy that he advised her to arm herself. Often, an abuse victim is in more danger during the process of leaving or right after leaving an abusive relationship than she was when she was staying in the relationship. I know, I’ve been there.
Tags: abuse, domestic violence, Female Shooters, firearms, Girls and Guns, gun ownership, guns, rifles, self defense
Saturday, October 30th, 2010
I checked my email this week and found an interesting message from Pepper over at Discreet Carry. It really hit home with me because this last week, a student at TMCC reported being assaulted at the same time I get out of class and in the same parking lot where I happened to park that night. Had it been me who was attacked, I too would have been unarmed as campus carry is not Kosher here. It was later realized that the attack could not have taken place as described and the attack claims were withdrawn, but the reminder to me to be safe is still applicable. And Pepper over at Discreet Carry has given me one more idea on how to be safe. She says that they have found that their cleavage holster fits many personal pepper sprays and even tasers.
For example, Pepper says “the $350.00 Taser C2 aimed at women (it comes in pink….) fits well in the large Cleavage holster. It is very light and 6 inches high and 1.5″ thick, and narrow enough to fit.” Cool! For those of us who can’t carry at work or school, using our same holster in our same place will help us to react quicker in an emergency where we don’t have our carry gun, but we do have a backup plan like a taser or a pepper spray. It sure beats digging through your purse or wondering where your keys are if the spray is on your ring. Pepper says, “the key to self defense is being able to access your weapon easily, which as we both know, means just barely reaching down and drawing something to disable the attacker in order to escape harm.”
I haven’t tried this because I don’t yet own pepper spray or a taser, but this sounds really promising. If you try it, write me and let me know how it works for you.
Tags: CCW, concealed carry, Defensive Carry, Discreet Carry, Female Shooters, firearms, Gear, gender, Girls and Guns, guns, Personal Safety, Preparedness, self defense, Situational Awareness
Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Dad drove down to visit me and he brought his girlfriend with him. This was the first time I’ve met her and I found her sweet, witty, all-around awesome. One highlight of their visit was the following situation. We went out to eat at a local restaurant. We sat where we could watch the comings and goings of our fellow food-lovers. One particularly scroungy guy approached the entrance carrying something bulky and wrapped up in his jacket in his arms. It was heavy from the looks of it. Dad wondered aloud if this guy was going to come in and shoot up the place. While I took mental stock of if I was carrying, what and where, Dad’s girlfriend made a comment which has really stuck with me. She said, “Well, if he is, let it be a surprise.” And she continued to eat her dinner without even looking out of the window for another glance at the incoming stranger. Dad agreed with her, saying “Yah, we wouldn’t want to disappoint him.”
As you can tell, we didn’t get shot and the strange patron was a harmless one. But it was interesting to see the varying levels of situational awareness and responsibility for personal safety at the table. Dad and I both watched the door throughout our meal and also observed the happenings inside of the restaurant. None of this interfered with our dinner enjoyment or the quality of conversation around the table. But she didn’t. Dad, aware, didn’t seem to have any inclination to act, however, should a bad situation arise, and I plan to step up if there’s an active shooter situation in the establishment where I and my family are eating.
All in all, though I do like his new girlfriend. And her surprise comment makes me smile each time I remember that dinner.
Tags: CCW, concealed carry, Defensive Carry, Female Shooters, firearms, gender, Girls and Guns, gun ownership, guns, Personal Safety, Preparedness, self defense, Situational Awareness
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
GB’s dog, GP, has been living with me since they moved in almost a year ago now. I’ve heard her bark when we’ve taken her to the park and another dog was nearby. I’ve heard her growl when we play the “my toy” game. But until this morning, I’ve never seen her bark and growl in a frightening manner.
I was upstairs doing my thing as the shower water warmed up when I heard a great commotion downstairs. GP was barking and growling and bashing up against the door and the window by the door. She was loud and forceful and my heart just started going in super-quick motion.
I came tearing out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but my delicates, and high-tailed it into GB’s room. It was closer than my room. I grabbed his Springfield XD and its mag. I went carefully down the stairs while jamming the mag into the XD and getting it ready should I be about to face an intruder.
I arrived in the living room to find GP terrifying a man who was underneath our front window wearing a hood over his head. He had a white trash bag in his hand, which he dropped under the window as he retreated to his truck.
His FedEx truck.
Ay, ay ay.
False alarm, praise God.
He was wearing a jacket because it was cold and looked about ready to storm. We had received two boxes, which he had thought to wrap up in a waterproof trash bag before placing them out of sight of the street and under the overhang below our front window.
I safed the XD and retrieved my robe before venturing out on the porch to retrieve our packages. All the while I’m thinking… “Did I handle this surprise intruder drill okay? If it hadn’t have been a mock exercise, was I prepared? Does our around-the-house gun-placement strategy work? Or do we need to move some firearms to place them in better positions if and when a real emergency happens?”
What a day to get all of this adrenaline pumping! I’m home, sick as a dog. I think I just used up all of my energy protecting myself from the FedEx guy.
Tags: guns, Personal Safety, Preparedness, self defense, Springfield