A couple of recent events in my life got me thinking about the topic of what to carry should you find yourself in a situation where you can’t carry a gun.
There are two situations where this would come up – involuntarily and voluntarily. While I have found the solutions are similar, they do differ some.
In the last week there have been 4 robberies or attempted robberies on or near the campus of Georgia Tech, in midtown Atlanta. This hits home because my daughter is a student there, and frequently passes by the place where some of the incidents happened.
Under the law in Georgia, students and faculty are prohibited from carrying guns, even with a valid Georgia Weapons Permit. Visitors to the campus are allowed to bring guns, but they must stay in your car. This leaves students on campus without firearms for defense.
So, for my daughter, there is a three-pronged solution to living in a gun-free victim zone. First, she doesn’t travel alone on campus at night, and even in the day, she doesn’t travel alone in areas that are not well traveled by others. As much as it pains me as a father, this is the one time I am glad she seems to be always surrounded by boys. Of course, with the Ratio at Tech, that’s not hard to achieve.
Second, she carries pepper spray with her almost always. It’s a cute little pink bottle I bought for her as a present when she first started school there.
Third, she’s taken self defense courses, and she stays in shape. That way, she can fight or flee as the situation allows.
Does this make me feel better for her? A little. Her Mom, not as much. But we have come to accept that we do what we can.
The other situation is voluntary. I’m not talking about the time when you decide to leave your gun in the car instead of taking it into the doctor’s office – more the time when someone physically can’t use a gun.
My mother-in-law lives alone in an apartment near us. My wife calls on her often, but she can’t be there all the time.
Recently, my mother-in-law asked me for advice about what kind of gun she could buy for protection, and I had to be brutally honest with her – none. She isn’t physically able to use a gun reliably. And even if she could, she isn’t physically mobile enough to be able to go practice with it, or to be able to quickly reach her gun safe (required!) before an intruder did.
Plus she lives in an apartment, and Rule 4 means she would have no good field of fire any way. With the construction of her apartment, even .410 bird shot would take out her neighbor and her neighbor’s neighbor.
The solution? A trip to Wal-Mart and $20, and I came home with 4 large cans of wasp spray and an air horn. Wasp spray in the eyes will totally ruin an intruder’s day, and it looks a lot less menacing than a bear-sized can of pepper spray.
She now has a can of wasp spray in her bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen, the four places she stays in the most. The air horn is by the couch, and she’s talked to her neighbors, who now know that’s her call for help.
I also got her a small can of pepper spray, that’s on her key chain, for when she’s going to and from her car.
And my daughter’s dorm room got a couple of large cans of wasp spray. Take note, boys.
It’s not a perfect world, and given that, we can’t always be guaranteed our Second Amendment protections. But by thinking through the possibilities and planning ahead, we can make the most of what we do have.