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Hi everyone...a bit here with questions about the best defense with my situation and also a story about my poor reaction to what turned out to be a harmless encounter:

I recently started graduate school and commute about 45 minutes to my school. On all but one day, my classes let out in the late afternoon, when there are plenty of students around and it's still light outside. However, on one day of the week, I'm not done until after 8:15 pm, and it's getting darker and darker each week around that time. I can't park next to the building; I have to park across a small drop-off road (part of the campus...just a turn-around) and behind another campus building. This lot is accessed by a bunch of stairs surrounded on the left (as you're walking up) by bushes/trees that wind up to the elevated lot. View of the lot from the main road is somewhat blocked by a line of bushes; the only people driving by who can see it are those who turn into the drive that then turns into the lot. It's pretty isolated, especially since the building it's in front of isn't too busy at night.

I have a stack of books, usually, and am juggling those, my car keys, a purse (I should have mentioned earlier that I'm female), and trying to get safely to my car is worrisome.

I had a scare last week where I reacted in what I believe was a poor manner:

I decided to make an "illegal" (by campus police standards) left turn into the lot's drive because I was running late. I didn't cut anyone off to do this, but the car that turned right also turned into the lot with me. It was a silver Mercedes, and initially parked next to me. I saw the driver looking at me carefully, which should have set off alarm bells, but I was more focused on the spot being too far away from the stairs and instead moved my car to another spot closer to the building. I forgot about the man and parked, then had just finished getting my stuff out of the car and locked it when I heard "Miss, Miss!"

Having lived in an urban area in undergraduate school with a decent amount of panhandlers and bums, I felt annoyed and ready to start hoofing it to the stairs, but didn't immediately because he came into view and was an older, very nicely dressed man who I realized was the man from the silver Mercedes. He began to lecture me about the possibility of a big fine from my left turn; and I stayed to tell him off for the lecture, and also for approaching a female alone in a parking lot. I realized he was probably faculty for the business school (the building right there), but I never should have given an approaching stranger the time of day! He continued his mini-lecture and I cut it off and walked away at that point.

Anyway, it's given me a lot to think about - if he had been dressed in an average or poor way, I would have ignored him and headed for the stairs, but because he was nicely dressed I assumed he was 1) safe and 2) harmless faculty and decided to stop and "chat."

I'm hoping for some suggestions on being defensive with all that I have to carry (I'm afraid a bookbag would be worse because of the potential for grabbing it and me along with it, right?) and the setup of the lot. None of my classmates park in that lot, so I can't walk with a buddy. I do have Mace, but it's hard to hold that and my keys along with everything else. Suggestions? Even if I was allowed to carry on campus...I'd never be able to draw it in time with all of my "stuff."
 

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Maybe take some Krav Maga type classes. Mace which you already have, would be my first option. Are tasers (stun guns) legal in OH? If so I'd look into something like that.
 

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I have to get ready for work, so not a lot of time to respond.

So I'll make this fairly short. First, welcome to what I consider the best forum on the net for the defensive use of a handgun. :wave:

Schools, and other Criminal Empowerment Zones are a real conundrum. You have to balance higher learning with safety, but you should balance anything you do with safety. There are many many non-lethal options that may be appropriate for you. If you do consider any of these options please learn how to use the tools you select, as it will benefit and aide you, and may give you the slight "edge" you need.

1) Backpack or Bookbag (keep hands free and it can also make a good bludgeon)
2) Kubotan (very effective if one knows how to use it)
3) Pepper Spray
4) Taser
5) Defensive Flashlight (can replace the Kubotan)

With any of these tools your goal should be to create distance and time to flee your attacker. With that said, have you considered calling your school's Safety Department for an escort back to your vehicle?

Any college campus is a place that is victim rich in the eyes of a rapist. If you had a chance to see what really goes on at a college campus, from the eyes of a LEO, you would never look at a place of higher learning the same way again.

I would also encourage you to always carry a cell phone, as a communication device should be first on your list of priorities, IMHO. Everyday I strap on at least two guns, but the first thing I grab is the cell phone followed by the flashlight. I need to be able to call the local constabulary, as well as identify the threat.

Take care and stay safe.

Biker
 

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I found this video on the use of a Kubotan.
YouTube - Kubotan

I agree with Biker 100%. A student does have a lot of things to manage and being organized is absolutely essential so both their hands are free to defend. Pepper spray or a kubotan should be in reach at all times.
 

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Do not know about your university, but please contact campus police and ask for some advice. Tell them what you told us. Many campuses have escort services. Often they are service projects for various groups on campus. Also, definitely consider a back pack that will hold everything you need and leave your hands free for your keys and pepper spray.
 

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I was a Community Service Office with the university police roughly 100 years ago, and it was LOT more fun to walk ladies across campus than it was to rattle doorknobs. I reckon it still is. Give 'em a call!

[stepping aside to let others address the other issues here]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Maybe take some Krav Maga type classes. Mace which you already have, would be my first option. Are tasers (stun guns) legal in OH? If so I'd look into something like that.
I've had trouble finding information on stun guns in Ohio...it seems like they're "legal, but subject to restrictions," whatever that means. There's one county that requires a concealed weapons permit, but I'm not sure about the other Ohio counties. I'd have to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion...for some reason, a stun gun never entered my mind. :smile:
 

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Sounds like you're carrying a lot of stuff.

Here's the thing--if your life is in danger, your "stuff" should be the last thing that concerns you. If you decide to carry (you have a permit, and is legal in your state--though may be against school policy)--if you need to draw your weapon, drop your "stuff". It will be in the way and at that moment, will not be your primary concern.

Do you need your purse? Can you put it under the seat or secure in the trunk?

Take with you only what you need for class--seriously, think hard about what your really need for class (vs what you think you might need)

Use a bookbag/backpack. Put your stuff in there. If you are concerned about it being pulled from you, you can at least get your hands free. If you have mace/CS/etc...have it in your hand, not at the bottom of your purse (which you left in the car).

Above all, have a sense of awareness about you. Don't be in Condition White...be aware of your surroundings and hopefully some miscreant will move on to someone else...

Just my 2 cents

ETA: I also recommend a good, compact flashlight...maybe something with a strike bezel. Light your path and watch the cockroaches (BGs) run....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have to get ready for work, so not a lot of time to respond.

So I'll make this fairly short. First, welcome to what I consider the best forum on the net for the defensive use of a handgun. :wave:

Schools, and other Criminal Empowerment Zones are a real conundrum. You have to balance higher learning with safety, but you should balance anything you do with safety. There are many many non-lethal options that may be appropriate for you. If you do consider any of these options please learn how to use the tools you select, as it will benefit and aide you, and may give you the slight "edge" you need.

1) Backpack or Bookbag (keep hands free and it can also make a good bludgeon)
2) Kubotan (very effective if one knows how to use it)
3) Pepper Spray
4) Taser
5) Defensive Flashlight (can replace the Kubotan)

With any of these tools your goal should be to create distance and time to flee your attacker. With that said, have you considered calling your school's Safety Department for an escort back to your vehicle?

Any college campus is a place that is victim rich in the eyes of a rapist. If you had a chance to see what really goes on at a college campus, from the eyes of a LEO, you would never look at a place of higher learning the same way again.

I would also encourage you to always carry a cell phone, as a communication device should be first on your list of priorities, IMHO. Everyday I strap on at least two guns, but the first thing I grab is the cell phone followed by the flashlight. I need to be able to call the local constabulary, as well as identify the threat.

Take care and stay safe.

Biker
Wow, thanks for all of that! For some reason, I was thinking of the backpack as a liability, not an asset. You've made me change my thinking on that. I'll look into the Kubotan; I've heard it mentioned, but never really read up on it. The defensive flashlight might almost be a better choice...it's so dark, and those trees/bushes are so thick.

I do ALWAYS have my cell with me, usually in my pocket instead of my purse.

As far as things that go on at college campuses...I went to a GIGANTIC public university (in Ohio, any guesses? :wink: ) and learned quickly how to be safe. However, the school was in fact much safer than most with lots of resources for students to ensure their safety, like the escorts and campus police patrolling constantly. If you guessed the school, however, you'd know that I must have witnessed some crazy, crazy, riotous behavior. I've seen mounted police pepper spraying (I think that's what it was) disorderly drunks and crushing crowds of partiers filling the streets. I'm sure a lot went on that the school didn't talk about, but LEOs had to deal with. They were all excellent, and the school was great about educating students on how to be safe.

This college campus I'm at now is set-up differently and is VERY spread out. There is only one emergency light/police call station and it's (stupidly) right by the business school itself, not out in the parking lot. The parking lot isn't very well-lit. A residential area (about 50-50 students/others) is within a 2 minute walk. I'll have to look into the escort service (what a funny term - you know which kind I mean!).

Thank you again for the detailed reply. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I found this video on the use of a Kubotan.
YouTube - Kubotan

I agree with Biker 100%. A student does have a lot of things to manage and being organized is absolutely essential so both their hands are free to defend. Pepper spray or a kubotan should be in reach at all times.
Thanks for the vid! I had no idea...!
 

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Good stuff. Look into backpacks with wheels - easier to drag around and easier to ditch if need be, put on shoulder for going up stairs. Trim down the accessories you carry like Sigguy said. Maybe get a belly band holster, Smartcarry, or neck pouch to carry essentials in (ID, keys, etc). Carpool so you have a buddy going to/from class.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Do not know about your university, but please contact campus police and ask for some advice. Tell them what you told us. Many campuses have escort services. Often they are service projects for various groups on campus. Also, definitely consider a back pack that will hold everything you need and leave your hands free for your keys and pepper spray.
I do have a backpack...I kept thinking it was a liability, as I said in the above, instead of an asset, i.e. someone could grab the backpack and me with it...but I guess having my hands free is more important than that possibility. And I could probably slip free of the backpack; it's not like it's wired to me. I will definitely call the campus police...hopefully they'll be as helpful as the ones at my undergraduate school were!
 

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I was a Community Service Office with the university police roughly 100 years ago, and it was LOT more fun to walk ladies across campus than it was to rattle doorknobs. I reckon it still is. Give 'em a call!

[stepping aside to let others address the other issues here]
Lol! I feel a bit strange asking for someone to walk me to my car once a week, but I guess feeling strange is better than the other possibility. And you're right, they probably won't mind having something to do other than sit behind a desk. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sounds like you're carrying a lot of stuff.

Here's the thing--if your life is in danger, your "stuff" should be the last thing that concerns you. If you decide to carry (you have a permit, and is legal in your state--though may be against school policy)--if you need to draw your weapon, drop your "stuff". It will be in the way and at that moment, will not be your primary concern.

Do you need your purse? Can you put it under the seat or secure in the trunk?

Take with you only what you need for class--seriously, think hard about what your really need for class (vs what you think you might need)

Use a bookbag/backpack. Put your stuff in there. If you are concerned about it being pulled from you, you can at least get your hands free. If you have mace/CS/etc...have it in your hand, not at the bottom of your purse (which you left in the car).

Above all, have a sense of awareness about you. Don't be in Condition White...be aware of your surroundings and hopefully some miscreant will move on to someone else...

Just my 2 cents

ETA: I also recommend a good, compact flashlight...maybe something with a strike bezel. Light your path and watch the cockroaches (BGs) run....
Thanks for the thoughts...I would like to not have all of that stuff - really, it's the books for the class that do it. I have a binder - you know, a bit bigger in area than a standard notebook, and about an inch thick; my textbooks - unfortunately they tend to be a couple of thick, but small and awkward to hold novels; and a course packet, which is the size of a 3-subject notebook. Were it not for those, I'd only have a purse (which contains car keys, water, etc. in one nicely compact space).

Since others have suggested - and you did in detail, as well - that the bookbag would be smarter than I initially thought, I think I'll start using mine. I can of course stash a purse inside of it, or put what I need in the bookbag and stow the purse in my car as you advised.

I've been carrying the mace in my hand (it has one of those elastic bands that loops around your hand), but juggling the books made me worry about - something you pointed out, too - being able to react quickly enough to drop the books, but not my weapon.

Thank you!

Oh, also: so it's a good practice to light my path as I walk using the defensive flashlight, if I decide to carry one?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good stuff. Look into backpacks with wheels - easier to drag around and easier to ditch if need be, put on shoulder for going up stairs. Trim down the accessories you carry like Sigguy said. Maybe get a belly band holster, Smartcarry, or neck pouch to carry essentials in (ID, keys, etc). Carpool so you have a buddy going to/from class.
I like the idea of the bookbag with wheels...carpooling is impossible because I'm a commuter student, unfortunately. There is one man who also commutes 45 minutes, but it's from the opposite direction I come.

Ha ha, accessories. Just because I'm female, I swear I'm not carrying a giant bag of hairspray, perfume, and an alternative outfit for the day in case I tire of the one I'm wearing... :wink: my "accessories" are 2-3 500+ page novels, a big binder, a course packet, and then the basic purse with a wallet, a snack for my 3 hr+ class, keys, cellphone, small water bottle, and writing utensils. I will, however, probably now, thanks to Sigguy's advice, combine all of these things into a bookbag, and leave the empty purse in the car. Or shove the purse into the bookbag before I leave the building.
 

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Schools, and other Criminal Empowerment Zones are a real conundrum. You have to balance higher learning with safety, but you should balance anything you do with safety. There are many many non-lethal options that may be appropriate for you. If you do consider any of these options please learn how to use the tools you select, as it will benefit and aide you, and may give you the slight "edge" you need.

1) Backpack or Bookbag (keep hands free and it can also make a good bludgeon)
2) Kubotan (very effective if one knows how to use it)
3) Pepper Spray
4) Taser
5) Defensive Flashlight (can replace the Kubotan)
The problem is, anything other than the backback, and a standard non tactical flashlight will be considered a violation of regulations at 99% of colleges. Those things listed about are all considered dangerous weapons and students are prohibited from carrying them.

That being said, I'd just grab an ultra concealable handgun (IN THIS CASE SINCE YOURE A FEMALE, NOT ONE YOU PUT IN YOUR PURSE BUT KEPT ON YOUR PERSON), and carry that.

I know of atleast half a dozen people that CC at my school every day.
 

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The problem is, anything other than the backback, and a standard non tactical flashlight will be considered a violation of regulations at 99% of colleges. Those things listed about are all considered dangerous weapons and students are prohibited from carrying them.

That being said, I'd just grab an ultra concealable handgun (IN THIS CASE SINCE YOURE A FEMALE, NOT ONE YOU PUT IN YOUR PURSE BUT KEPT ON YOUR PERSON), and carry that.

I know of atleast half a dozen people that CC at my school every day.
I would shy away from carrying a handgun on campus, as it is most likely a violation of the law.

Violating school policy is quite different from violating the law. The Kubotan is a keychain that just happens to have a stick on it so that you can carry it on your waist by putting it down your pants. Take a look at where a lot of cops carry their keys, if not in the pocket. That was a hint by the way.

As for Pepper Spray. It may or may not be against the school's policy, but likely isn't against the law. As I said before, violating policy and violating laws are two seperate issues. One can take your freedom, the other can only expell you from school. One has to weigh the pros and cons and make their own decision.

I am in no way advocating violating the law! I would urge anybody to research their respective jurisdiction's laws in regard to such matters, as well as school policies.

Take care and stay safe.

Biker
 

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I would stay away from C.C. on campus in buildings, Ohio has(had) some messed up regs when it comes to C.C.(where it has to be openly carried-by law-like inside a car, but people are working to change and have changed some of these dumb regs.) it could get this young lady in trouble. Those that have a Ohio permit know what I am talking about.

Let me start by saying that I am(was-owner closed the school) a martial arts instructor, we also taught a "street self defence class" to non-tradional students, pepper spray is one of the things that I highly promoted it is a very good tool, the other tools people mentioned are good tools also (but INMHO) you need some training to utilize these items to their efectiveness, with the classes we had and siminars and classes we went to for instuction/training i have seen/heard the whole spectrum of the use of these tools from being effective to only p.o.ing the perp.

Only keep in your backpack what is 100% needed, do you really need the wight of the extra jeans/shirts ect. Keep your drivers lic./student ID/credit card/etc. in a little wallet that you can slip in your pocket, leave the purse in your car, under the seat in the trunk somewhere unseen. Pepper spray in a pocket of your pants/scrubs that has quick easy access.

And take some self defence classes, keeping in mind that these are just tools too, they are not meant to stand toe-toe with someone, use these to get out of someones grasp and "RUN & SCREAM" you should already be sceaming at this point. I never recomend that anyone stand and fight with a attacker if you are able to get away essecially if they have not had formal training-alot of it.

How near Toledo are you, I might be able to put you in touch with someone I trust very much.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I would shy away from carrying a handgun on campus, as it is most likely a violation of the law.

Violating school policy is quite different from violating the law. The Kubotan is a keychain that just happens to have a stick on it so that you can carry it on your waist by putting it down your pants. Take a look at where a lot of cops carry their keys, if not in the pocket. That was a hint by the way.

As for Pepper Spray. It may or may not be against the school's policy, but likely isn't against the law. As I said before, violating policy and violating laws are two seperate issues. One can take your freedom, the other can only expell you from school. One has to weigh the pros and cons and make their own decision.

I am in no way advocating violating the law! I would urge anybody to research their respective jurisdiction's laws in regard to such matters, as well as school policies.

Take care and stay safe.

Biker
I know the CC is against the law and policy. I'm fairly certain the pepper spray is not, and I know a lot of girls who do carry it...it's possibly one of those things that is written down in a school regulation somewhere, but isn't followed in practice. I'll definitely check on it, at any rate.

I think I'll pick up a kubotan...I saw a couple at a gun show I was at yesterday, and it couldn't hurt to have it with me.

I've thought about the CC, since I tend to wear blazers and suit jackets to class and the likelihood of being caught is so slim with a shoulder rig...but I can't bring myself to risk it, especially in my field of study which is 99.9% :sheep:. I'd just rather not, even if I have to ask for an escort once a week (which was a great idea, thanks to everyone who suggested it).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I would stay away from C.C. on campus in buildings, Ohio has(had) some messed up regs when it comes to C.C.(where it has to be openly carried-by law-like inside a car, but people are working to change and have changed some of these dumb regs.) it could get this young lady in trouble. Those that have a Ohio permit know what I am talking about.

Let me start by saying that I am(was-owner closed the school) a martial arts instructor, we also taught a "street self defence class" to non-tradional students, pepper spray is one of the things that I highly promoted it is a very good tool, the other tools people mentioned are good tools also (but INMHO) you need some training to utilize these items to their efectiveness, with the classes we had and siminars and classes we went to for instuction/training i have seen/heard the whole spectrum of the use of these tools from being effective to only p.o.ing the perp.

Only keep in your backpack what is 100% needed, do you really need the wight of the extra jeans/shirts ect. Keep your drivers lic./student ID/credit card/etc. in a little wallet that you can slip in your pocket, leave the purse in your car, under the seat in the trunk somewhere unseen. Pepper spray in a pocket of your pants/scrubs that has quick easy access.

And take some self defence classes, keeping in mind that these are just tools too, they are not meant to stand toe-toe with someone, use these to get out of someones grasp and "RUN & SCREAM" you should already be sceaming at this point. I never recomend that anyone stand and fight with a attacker if you are able to get away essecially if they have not had formal training-alot of it.

How near Toledo are you, I might be able to put you in touch with someone I trust very much.
Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately I'm not close at all to Toledo - about 3 hours away.

See my post to BikerRN regarding the CC. I agree with him (and you) that it's not a good risk to take, particularly because I'm surrounded by people who would be THRILLED to "out" a gun owner and are already suspicious of my political leanings due to some things I've said during discussion.

I'm going to stow the purse; there's not much in it, anyway. Whatever was in there can go in my bookbag.

Thanks!
 
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