If you listen to the news, you know about Mollie Tibbets, the young woman from Iowa who went out for a jog and never came back. So does this mean that we should all stop jogging or riding bikes or mountain climbing or whatever on our own? Certainly not.
I taught self-defense for years, and in my classes we talked about “common sense” self-defense. It is easy to become wrapped up in your own world when you are doing something you love, such as walking or jogging, etc. Many people like to listen to music or stories while they are exercising.
If you are in a busy and somewhat loud gym, that’s fine. The headphones and earbuds drown out the noise from other people or a blaring TV. However, if you are outside by yourself walking or jogging, it’s not a good idea to isolate yourself with music or stories, especially if you are on your own.
You may think that you can hear everything around you; cars, people, barking dogs, etc. but when your brain is otherwise engaged with your music or stories, you are not present in the moment. What do I mean by this? I mean that when you are out alone, even in an area you are familiar with, you need to be constantly aware of what and who is around you.
It is far easier than you think for a van to come up behind you, and have someone open the side door and pull you in. It is far easier than you think for someone to come up behind you and attack you. Why? Because you are not fully aware; your brain is concentrating on what you’re hearing in your headphones. Predators look for people who are not paying attention.
Some good safety tips are these:
- Let someone know you are going out for a run, walk, etc. and when you think you’ll be back.
- DO NOT WEAR HEADPHONES OR EARBUDS IF YOU ARE OUT ALONE.
- Do not run or walk alone in an area where there are no houses or businesses.
- Carry pepper spray or a loud whistle (or both). Should you be taken by surprise, scream and yell. FACT: people will respond fast if you yell “FIRE!” not “Help!”
- If possible, run or walk with a friend or two.
- Keep a phone on you should you need 911.
This is a cautionary reminder that we all need to be more aware. This certainly isn’t a dig at poor Mollie Tibbets or anyone else who gets hurt or killed. I can’t stress enough that, when you are out on your own, you absolutely MUST be aware of what is going on around you.
BE PREPARED, NOT SCARED!