Sunday, April 08, 2007

It is just a piece of paper

A piece of paper alone can't stop abuse This is an interesting, if tragic article about a woman's life cut short due to domestic violence.

There was a restraining order in place. Rebecca Griego had a copy on her desk at work. It did nothing.
[The goblin] fulfilled his plan with lethal efficiency Monday, fatally shooting his former girlfriend before turning the gun on himself inside the University of Washington's Gould Hall.
The University of Washington, where possessing guns is considered "bad conduct"
(3) Specific instances of misconduct include, but are not limited to:
...
(f) Possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals or other dangerous weapons or instrumentalities on the University campus, except for authorized University purposes, unless prior written approval has been obtained from the Vice President for Student Affairs, or any other person designated by the President of the University;
This policy applies both to students and employees. (To be completely honest, this isn't the fault of the University, it is written in the Washington Administrative Code.)

Having the ability to defend herself may not have saved this woman, but relying on "no gun" signs and policies of the University or on a restraining order did not protect her. In that instance when her attacker showed up, she was on her own; if anyone was going to save her, it would have been herself.

This is an interesting article. It doesn't sugar-coat the effectiveness (sic) of restraining orders. But it never mentions the idea of self-defense. When someone appears, suddenly, with the intent of killing you, how long do you have to react? How far away are police? How long will it take to find your phone and dial 911, and how long will you be on hold with 911? You might just have time to draw a weapon and defend yourself. And you might not. You won't have time to wait for police to arrive. You will be on your own.

This victim realized what everyone should know. People being stalked are most at risk whenever they are at a known location on a known schedule.
"I am having a serious stalker issue right now and the only place the person knows to find me is at my sister's home or the office [on campus.]
She sent this in an email to coworkers, asking for their assistance. For most people these vulnerable times are to-and-from work, at work, picking-up and dropping-off kids at school or daycare, to-and-from (and at) religious services. But these are exactly the places where we try to disarm people in the interest of safety.

So, did the "no guns in the workplace" policy do anything to save this woman? No. Did it contribute to public safety? It just left an open-field for her ex-boyfriend who knew no one - aside from him - would be armed.

Self-defense is a human right. Counting on the "system" or the police or whoever to save you is wishful thinking. Disarming the law-abiding is foolish at best, and criminal at worst. The Bad Guys won this encounter, as they do so often when domestic violence is involved, all because as the author noted, to many people are obsessed with the idea, "How dare you think you can live without me!"

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