We spend a lot of time talking about firearms and self-defense and rights and tactics and considerations and legalities and all the rest of that good nonsense on a regular basis here at "walls of the city", but the simple truth of the matter is that the most valuable, most important, and most capable tool for ensuring your own safety and that of your family resides behind your two eyes. You could be naked and unarmed and still successfully defend yourself from a stronger, armed aggressor so long as you keep your wits about you, do your best to think clearly, and maintain situational awareness. If, however, you are not paying attention to your surroundings… well, people who are paying attention to you will notice that, and may exploit it.
Thankfully, Laura declined the opportunity to be exploited:
Today, however, something was definitely off. Someone was following me around the store. He was a white male, about 6’2" tall, maybe 200 lbs. He apparently decided I was interesting, and decided to follow me around the store. The guy didn’t look at anything or anyone but me. By the time I was midway through the store, I was fed up – screamed at him to get the hell away from me. He took off running, and I completed my shopping. Turns out, the guy was waiting for me on his scooter outside the door. He waited until I exited the store to start his scooter. I screamed at him again and called the police – fortunately, at that point he took off.
Did Laura overreact? In this day and age, I think not. She describes herself as "short", and a man like the one she described probably would have had little trouble physically overpowering her, even if he was using nothing but his bare hands. However, that is exactly the situation she found herself in, and that is the situation the anti-rights cultists would have all women find themselves in – due to the laws of Maryland, she is unable to lawfully carry a firearm with her, and thus she only had a small knife with which to defend herself against a larger aggressor… again, not odds I would like to bet on myself, but better than bare hands.
However, that small knife was superseded by an even better tool – her situational awareness.
Thanks to her being mindful of the people and area around her, she was able to identify someone acting strangely, realize that he was acting strangely in a way directly relating to her, and do something about it before the opportunity for him to close to hand-to-hand distance ever presented itself.
Was the guy ever going to be a threat? We will (thankfully) never know. But she did nothing permanently damaging to him, and, from her description, the way he was acting was simply inappropriate. If you want something from someone, politely approach them and ask them about it – following them around while staring at them like a fox sizing up a hen is a surefire way to get a small, capable woman to loudly bitch you out in the middle of a crowded supermarket.
And lest you delude yourself into thinking this is nothing more than the paranoid rantings of an insecure woman, stories like this are far from uncommon:
I don’t know what the man’s intentions were*, but I do know that he did not purchase any groceries there. Nor did he browse anything other than me. When I presented myself as a harder target than he had assumed, he exited empty handed. I was lucky that he didn’t call my bluff because I was armed with nothing more than a hard stare**.
That will never happen again. That was one of the markers on the road to gun ownership for me. It could have played out very differently. I now carry tools that really do make me a hard target for someone over twice my size. If I square off today, I’m not bluffing. And I don’t go to that grocery store anymore.
*I also know that a woman of similar build to mine was abducted from that very same store later in the week. She was brutally raped by a man fitting the description of the guy that followed me.
**Exactly how the Brady Bunch would like me to be.
That first footnote is the important one – given the man’s actions, given that he did not purchase anything at the grocery store before he left, and given that someone of a similar description kidnapped, assaulted, and raped a woman at the same store later that week, we have almost no question whatsoever that Jennifer’s actions were the appropriate ones. However, those actions were born out of the awareness of the person and his actions; as before, that awareness is the key element in all of these stories.
The additionally key element, or rather question, is, "What if these women standing their ground had not been enough?" They were both disarmed – as Jennifer says, exactly like the Brady Campaign, CSGV, VPC, and all the rest of those bigoted, anti-rights organizations would have them be – so what recourses would they have against a larger, stronger man? I am not one to tell other people what to do, but I do believe Breda’s quote of, "Carry your gun – it is a lighter burden than regret," is all too valid.
Situational awareness is the key, but the willingness, and the ability, to do something about what you observe is the twist that opens the door to your safety.
(Image again borrowed from Oleg Volk.)