Staying alive

The other day, I linked to a story about a young woman who found herself having to seriously consider how best to protect her physical safety — and the barriers we have put up to keep her from doing so.

At that time, I said the lesson was “in the end, our own safety is our own responsibility.” That was not quite as precisely worded as I should have said.

Let me take that again:

The police, the military, the courts, the government, society as a whole will all try to help you as best they can. They will work to protect you from harm. But in the end, you simply can not place all your faith in them. They are not perfect. They fail — sometimes spectacularly.

In the end, you have to be prepared to protect yourself. There will come times when you are in trouble, and you turn to those who you have been taught will protect you. Most of the time, they will do just that.

But they might not. And when that happens, you have a choice: you can be a victim, or you can be a survivor.

This was driven home when I saw (and heard) this piece over at Rob Port’s superb blog. Listen to that audio, and ask yourself what all the laws on the books, all the judges and police and prisons, all the other factors did for the couple in their own home.

The answer is simple: not a goddamned thing. It came down to one intruder versus a couple in their own home, and the intruder ended up fleeing wounded — because the couple was prepared to defend themselves.

After the Virginia Tech massacre, I stole one of Bill O’Reilly’s catchphrases and asked “who’s looking out for you?” My point was that, ultimately, no one is — so you better watch out for yourself.

These people did. And they lived to tell the tale.

Others don’t. And they end up paying the price — sometimes the ultimate price.

It’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s not pretty.

But it’s real.

Author’s note: this piece was originally published prematurely, then pulled, slightly polished, and re-published. That is why the first comment is time-stamped before the publication of the actual article.

Time for this wheel to start squeaking louder?
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