Defending Yourself During The Holiday Season
By Julie Loeffler
This time of year, it is easy to become excited about the holiday season and all that it entails; getting together with friends and family, decorating the home, eating delicious treats and shopping for gifts. Most of us, if we’re being honest, will admit that we don’t always put the emphasis on personal safety that is necessary.
Whether you are relying on concealed carry of a gun, a bladed weapon, a compact flashlight or other means of personal defense, you should first begin with the basics of personal safety: Pay attention to your surroundings. Observing what’s happening in your immediate area could be all that’s required for a safe holiday shopping trip. There may be no need for further escalation of a situation, meaning you win and everyone is safe.
However, if you detect a possible threat, then it’s up to you to determine what level of force is needed to get away and out of the attack situation. Whether it is a person approaching you in a parking lot with unknown intent, or an altercation becomes physical and there isn’t anyone in your immediate area to assist you, the force you use to stop the attack has to be justified (especially in the eyes of the court). Legalities vary in each state, and I’m not an attorney, but I would suggest brushing up on what is considered to be a measured response when using a gun in your state. For example, brandishing a gun (while ridiculous and almost always illegal) is not a form a personal defense. It’s not a magic talisman, and it’s not show-and-tell time. If you need to deploy your gun during a personal attack, you’d better need to use it. (I’m sure you have thought through these types of scenarios many times, or at least have read and researched these types of situations.)
Here’s a less-lethal example: If I’m walking to my car at any time of the day with shopping bags, purse, phone and keys in hand, I may look like an easy target to someone with ill intent. I may stage myself a little differently, perhaps putting my phone in a front pocket, slinging my purse across my body, carrying my bags in my non-dominant hand and keys either in my dominant hand or in a quick-access pocket on the same side. If someone were to approach and ͞ask for the time͟, I’m going to attempt to put an object between us (car, shopping cart, trash can, etc.) and make my way back to the front door of the store as opposed to walking straight to my car. I’m also not going to feel compelled to answer a complete stranger other than to say, ͞No͟. Easier said than done, I know. As women, we are wired to be kind and polite. But the attacker is betting on that, and will use that to their advantage if you are not paying attention.
Regardless of your choice of personal defense this holiday season, using the basics of personal safety and paying attention to your surroundings might be all that’s required, leaving more time for enjoying the nostalgia that surrounds this time of year. Happy Holidays!