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Women: Be Your Own First Responder
A J425 Editorial...Three dead in Redmond this morning as “protection order” is useless against motivated stalker. Women must be ready to save themselves against this plague of weak men.
Three women are killed by an intimate partner every day in America.
I’ve probably written ten editorials on the topic of violence against women. As a man I’m first to say it: men can seem indecipherable from a plague at times, given the amount of violence and death we unleash on women.
This is not a two way street.
Nor is this a woke lecture. In point of fact, it’s actually conservative to stand up against the dude who attacks women. (And I say that to all the rape apologists who fill my inbox anytime I bring this topic up. Tell you what. When 1 out of 31 men are raped or murdered by women come talk to me then.)
But that’s not the point of this brief editorial today.
Nope there’s no time for talk about societal change or statistical trends. Not today.
Not today when — like every other day in America — three women will be killed by an intimate partner.2
Today — this morning — three people are dead in Redmond after a bitter scorned dude who’d serially stalked his ex blew through a “protection order” (what a turn of phrase that is huh?), broke into his ex’s home and murdered a female (stalker’s ex), her husband and himself.
The point of this editorial, my request, is a simple one today.
Women: be your own first responder.
So today, because one out of every four women is going to face a violent intimate partner/former partner in their life, we’re going to talk about what to do in that scenario. So that’s my request today. Don’t let the stalker win.
In fact it’s less of a request and more of a rule. Call it:
Rule One - Save yourself.
I’m sorry but in the case of a scorned ex with ill intent, no one else is going to protect you reliably and that should go without saying at this point.
You have to be your own first responder, because you’re the only one who will be there in one hundred percent of the incidents that endanger you.
What are the other options? A protection order? Please.
A piece of paper is less than nothing in the face of a bitter soulless dude who is set on throwing his life away anyway. What are they gonna do? Stack a few months of time onto his corpse? No. Of course not.
And this is not at all an indictment of law enforcement. Far from it.
Lake Stevens has some of the best response times in the West Coast. But even if 12 shows up in 60 seconds — that’s way too late.
Whatever is gonna happen has already happened. So adopt the mindset that you must save yourself. We’ll talk about how below, but mindset is the first key.
Rule Two: Accept Threats at Face Value
So with that in mind, this is just a reminder that women must unfortunately always take a scorned dude at his word.
If he threatens, he means it. To assume anything else is to gamble your safety.
Women, if you have a stalker or bitter ex, yes you should file for a temporary restraining order. If nothing else, having one in place will expedite an already quick local law enforcement response as well as providing the proper context to arriving LEOs.
But more important than the restraining order is taking actions necessary to protect yourself.
Remember, you’re treating the threat as a fact.
What does that mean?
It means if one of your mutual friends said he heard your ex mumble something about not wanting to live without you while he ugly-cried into his chardonnay at book club?
Assume the ex is on his way to follow through.
And here’s the difficult part: making it through that encounter.
Unfortunately, the victims in Redmond this morning did not make it.
But you will.
With that in mind, refer back to rule two: take a threat at face value.
Let’s talk about this practically.
If a crazy dude is coming over to threaten you, then secure your residence like there’s a crazy dude who is going to test your perimeter defenses tonight.
I can’t say it any plainer than that.
Because that’s what taking a threat at face value means.
Confronting Threats with Practical Safety Upgrades
Good news? You can make huge gains in your safety in about a half hour and for less than $40. This is just sound reasoning anyway: there’s nothing paranoid about making sure someone can’t waltz into your home. Come on, what’s a better use of that half hour in this scenario?
So just take a that 30 min and do the following:
Secure your exterior windows and sliders (second story decks too) with locks and lengths of wood or metal as a slider jam. That length of wood or metal makes a slider/window damn near impenetrable aside from straight up breakage — and double pained windows and sliders are not easy to break.
Secure your front door. No, it’s not secure right now. Go hit Ace Hardware and buy 3” wood screws to replace the 3/4 inch screws in your strike plate.3 Wouldn’t hurt to have a good dead bolt in place too. It’s not expensive. I’ll link an article below4.
Swing by Cabelas (or Amazon same day) and get a POM pepper spray three pack. It’ll cost you $25 but now you’ve got a self defense weapon that will stop an attacker in his tracks without putting you in any legal danger of causing unwarranted death or bodily harm. (I’ve given them to my female cousins, and one who attended Gonzaga has put the defenses to good use against a stalker who broke into her room.)
Put one pepper spray on your keychain, one on your nightstand and keep one on you. They’re easy to use and they work as a tool to allow you time to escape. But when the time comes you gotta whip that sucker out and just bless the deserving with a face full of hot sauce. Don’t think twice just do it. If it turns out to be your cousin stopping by to return the Nicholas Sparks book he borrowed? He’ll be fine in ten minutes and he’ll understand.
Make a conscious decision to be aware of your surroundings in public. Do not dawdle in transitional spaces. What’s this mean? It’s a term describing the space between your parked car and wherever you’re going (or the inverse). In short, do not sit in your car and mess around. Park, get out, look around, walk with purpose into the store. On the way back out, do the same and have your keys in your hand.
Lock your doors. This should be second nature. Lock your doors right away in your car and your home. How dumb are you going to feel if you just installed three inch door screws at home but you don’t lock your car door and now you’ve gotta spray the idiot’s face inside your car cabin? Just hit the lock button. And it’s not time to update the IG Story, it’s time to drive.
Put your significant other on the same game. You’re a team, make sure you’ve got the same playbook. If your S/O is worth a damn they’ll be highly motivated. Now, you don’t want any vigilante stuff going on, the goal here is matching energy. Two of you are much stronger than one.
Long term safety
If this is a longer term issue - if your ex lives in town, if the danger lingers, I’m gonna venture off into non-standard recommendations.
These are steps I took…steps we took: dogs and guns.
Yes, I thought my ex should become a trained and licensed carrier for reasons I’ll explain below.
This isn’t for everyone.
But remember: Take threats at face value. Save yourself.
We really mean these things.
And so under that assumption… there’s a logic in taking every legal step that you are comfortable taking.
And comfort levels will differ, that’s why these aren’t rules. I’m sharing personal experiences here, do with it what you wish.
But before you call me a prepper or Randy Weaver, just hold up a sec.
As far as dogs? I have Golden Retrievers ok? Sweethearts.
But you know what else they are? 75 pound wolves that’ll not only hear and smell anyone trying to get near you waaaaay before you do — they’ll also make one hell of a racket… and they’ll die to protect you from a real threat.
Yes, Goldens are protective.
And yes they’ll know the bad guy coming in through the window — in the example we’re giving here at least. They’ll read your energy and his. Dogs know what’s up.
That’s why I think that if you’re gonna live in proximity to a dangerous ex, strongly consider getting a family dog, the type that is more your dog than the family’s lol. The type that goes with you an awful lot.
Any variety of dog is a great idea in the long term.
It’s a huge comfort, advantage and just an all around bet positive.
Plus scientists say that petting a dog is proven to lower stress levels. 🤷♂️5.
That brings me to the second long term suggestion.
I’m a believer that women should avail themselves of legal, licensed hand guns and concealed carry permits.
These are your rights, if you’d like to avail yourself of them, it’s a perfectly acceptable and rational choice if you take the responsible steps.
Which you’ll need to do in order to be legal, safe and proficient anyway.
The goal that we’re discussing here is surviving a life or death engagement. And before you cross that off as improbable I’ll remind you that it occurred this morning just 20 miles from here, three died. Further, a disturbed man tried to kidnap a woman he was carjacking in the Frontier Village parking lot Jan. 13. I realize that wasn’t stalker or ex partner violence. But it was a man, threatening great bodily harm to a female. And he was stopped by a female officer.
All I’m saying is that when the stakes are your life, your safety…maybe don’t handicap yourself over some political theory or what other people think.
Do what you think is best in order to win.
That’s the logic here. You don’t have to agree, you don’t have to adopt it. Just sharing one perspective.
Next, I’ll explain the personal reasons why we went this route.
Worldwide, more than 640 million women aged 15 and older have been subjected to intimate partner violence — about 26% of women.
- United Nations Global Fact Book 2022
Ok here’s the deal.
For the men reading this editorial, I want you to mentally prepare to fight a 7’5 500 pound attacker. Ok?
How’s your grapple? You got a strong dirty boxing game?
The attacker just picked you up and lawn-darted your ass through the drywall.
What’s my point? I just described the size discrepancy between a small female and a 6’ 200 pound dude.
It’s the same difference as that 6’ dude taking on the giant in the previous example.
There’s an overwhelming size and force discrepancy that needs to be considered.
And again, when you evaluate the scenario at hand — we are taking threats at face value — then what the hell are you realistically going to do? Not take the best option?
I’m (not) sorry, but I wasn’t willing to give up any potential advantage that would favor my wife if she faced a male attacker (again).
See, like many women, both of my exes had been savagely attacked by men in the last. (My ex wife and a girlfriend previous to meeting my ex wife….in other words… two women that I spent 12 years with total).
My ex-wife had repeatedly told me she didn’t want to live if IT happened again.
Now what the hell are you supposed to do with something like that? Obviously move hell and earth to solve for the negative outcome. To remove that possibility.
For me it was simple.
No external political argument means a damn compared to people you love.
If some dude was gonna hurt her… and I wasn’t around to stop him? She needed to be prepared to do it herself.
Because we couldn’t risk her safety or life. This seemed like simple math.
She grew up in Eastern WA and was familiar with ranch and hunting firearms so she wasn’t opposed to the idea and agreed to check it out. We took basic firearm safety, followed by the next two classes of firearm self defense. Together. We got concealed permits. Together.
And she picked out an airweight .38 with a factory laser. It had a pretty teal blue handle and fit in her purse. She never had to use it but she felt better.
And if it had been her in Redmond this morning?
If I couldn’t get there or if I’d been taken out by the stalker?
She’d have been ready to be her own first responder. I’ve seen her shoot.
The weak, bitter man would’ve taken the room temperature challenge without taking his female target with him.
And until the day comes when we can get a handle on this plague of death and violence acted out by emotionally immature, bitter men, the best we can do is make sure we take the logical steps to insure evil doesn’t triumph.
So please take this editorial to heart. If you’re a woman facing domestic violence from an ex — or if you know someone who is — don’t be lackadaisical about protecting life.
Take threats at face value. Act appropriately. And by all means be your own first responder.
A little bit of preparation today will provide you with everything you need to win on your own if — God forbid — the type of evil that surfaced in Redmond this morning ever touches your life.