I'm not a fan of living in fear, but there are certain precautions that it would just be naive to ignore. Among them is the notion that unarmed women should not go running alone if they can help it. Being alone is not something I can do much about at the moment, but at least I can be smart about where I go. That currently means sticking to the main drag and avoiding those lovely, secluded, asphalted walking trails which crisscross the woods and surrounding neighborhoods, all of which are maintained at great expense by the county. I would absolutely love to use those trails, but that same government that created them has also flatly refused to allow me to protect myself. So we're basically back to square one. Thanks a freakin' lot.
I'm not one of those people who "like" guns. I don't get particularly excited about an outing to the shooting range and don't put a lot of thought into my weapon of choice. But I certainly don't dislike them. I used to be reasonably comfortable with the 9mm pistol I was licensed to carry in Virginia back in my short-lived single days. As I understand it, the state in which we are currently unfortunate enough to reside does not issue carry licenses to anyone, period. Nor does it recognize the licenses of other states. The other pistol-packing members of my family call it "Indian Country" and refuse to cross the border if they can help it. Eventually I intend to wade through the morass of bureaucracy which will hopefully allow me to retrieve my gun from Virginia and keep it in our home. Still, that doesn't do me one bit of good on a secluded walking trail.
So, in this civilized world of modern enlightenment and alleged gender equality, it is still incredibly unsafe for a lofty-minded independent woman to go jogging. We're back to the rules of the jungle, it seems.
Deprived of a long-distance defense, which is certainly preferable, we have to get down and dirty. I do carry a knife, but that's one of the last things I want to have to use in the event of a hostile conflict. I wanted to get one of those collapsible batons, but apparently those are illegal too if you intend to use it as a weapon. A big screwdriver is illegal if you intend to use it as a weapon. Seriously, people, can you work with me on this?
I have yet to investigate the rules and regulations which may apply to a can of mace. I don't have a lot of confidence in its ability to save my life, but it would be better than nothing. I considered getting some three years ago when I was reporting to work at 4 AM, but it was disallowed on the grounds that it was dangerous and forbidden in our employee lockers. Of course it's dangerous! That's kind of the point.
Running out of alternatives, I have come to the conclusion that being a flabby, weak-wristed American housewife is no longer an option. There is a Krav Maga school nearby where my husband attends his western martial arts (old-school sword fighting) classes. As soon as we can fit it into the budget, I am determined to learn as much as I can. Of all the various styles of martial arts I've considered, I like that Krav Maga isn't so much about spiritual balance and inner peace as it is about disarming the guy and crushing his windpipe.
But, because I would prefer not to tempt fate, the scenic walking trails will still be out of bounds and I'll have to stick to the sooty thoroughfare through the neighborhood, albeit ready to beat the crap out of anyone who tries to pull me into his car. As a woman who has been rendered practically helpless, I protest. I am being discriminated against. I am being inconvenienced and my freedom to go where I please is being curtailed.
Why aren't more women upset about this? Oh, right, because they drank the Kool-Aid. They actually think it's a safe, decent world out there. Most of them probably voted me into this position. Just because you live in the nice part of town doesn't mean there isn't a rapist lurking in your neighborhood. If and when you meet him out in the woods, you'll be wishing you were carrying something more intimidating than a cell phone and your house keys.