Conffederate
Confederate

May 01, 2007

Illusions of Safety

As many of you know, I work part-time at a sporting goods store behind the gun counter. This past Saturday, a rather frail couple I'd estimate to be in their early fifties--a local man, and his sister visiting from Florida, they said--stopped me to ask where they could find a whistle.

An orange whistle; they were very adamant about that.

We didn't happen to have any orange whistles in stock, and I inquired as to why they were so intent on getting a whistle in that particular color. The brother informed me that they had had a rash of recent muggings in the community in Florida where the sister lived, and they thought that whistle was the best way to protect her against a possible mugging.

My eyebrows went up with that. I asked where she intended to keep the whistle, and she stated quickly, as if I was daft, that she'd keep it in her purse.

I just looked at them for a few seconds, hoping they'd make the connection.

They didn't.

"You mean the same purse that a mugger would likely grab?" I offered, trying to point out their obviously flawed logic. Instead of realizing their Carlos Mencia "dee dee dee!" moment, they shifted gears.

"What about pepper spray?"

"And where would you keep that?"

She started to answer, "In my pu-"

The brother, starting to get agitated, cut her off.

"Do you have it, or not?" he said tersely.

I replied that we didn't, and then I took the conversation where they didn't want to go.

"Ma'am, you live in Florida, correct?"

She did.

"You are aware that Florida have one of the most liberal concealed carry laws in the United States?"

I may as well have suggested raping a chicken. The looks of horror and disgust should have been comical, but all I felt was sad.

At that point I gave up and directed them to the closest place that I was aware of that had pepper spray for sale. They left, very quickly. I never did find out why they were so adamant about having an orange whistle. Perhaps they thought muggers were afraid of that particular color.

A whistle has not, as far as I am aware, stopped a determined assailant, as often as I've heard them recommended as a form of self defense by one un-serious group or another. All an assailant has to do it pluck it from your lips, or more likely, attempt to use his fist to smash it down your throat.

Whistles only provide the illusion of safety, which is all these people and others like them actually want. They want to think they're taking steps to protect themselves or others, even when they aren't.

I almost never have to time to take these customers down the logical path, as they typically eject themselves from the conversation once their illusion is challenged.

I'd love to ask them what they expect to happen if they are able to actually blow their whistle, but rarely get the chance.

Do they expect that a police officer will just happen to be within the hundred-yard or so range of such a whistle, with his radio off and his squad car windows down so that he can hear their single, brief bleat?

Do they expect other citizens to come running to their rescue and potentially place their lives in jeopardy, when the victims themselves would not?

Whistlers, however you cut it, are sheep... and self-important, arrogant sheep at that.

Whatever their physical gifts, they are psychologically unwilling to defend themselves, and yet expect others to come running to their rescue when things get predatory. They don't want the responsibility of protecting their own lives, and expect others to do it for them.

Bring on more unarmed victim zones. Buy more whistles. Expect others to come to your defense, even though you wouldn't come to theirs.

Baaaaa...

I hope orange whistle lady wises up, but I'm rather sadly confident that she won't. Some illusions are just too comforting for some people to let go of them, not matter how useless and stupid they are.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 1, 2007 12:16 PM
Comments

She's evidentally aware there's danger out there but she wants to blow a whistle, like a referee, so the good team will come beat up the bad team.

I can't add any more to what else you've said, you nailed it.

Posted by: Cindi at May 1, 2007 01:07 PM

Maybe this is a micro-version of the "world opinion" trope. You know that one--so and so nation/dictator/religious cult will be cowed and deterred from their (genocide, aggression, ethnic cleansing, etc., etc.) by the so-called " world opinion" of them.

In these little lamb's minds, maybe they think a collection of disapproving viewers will deter an attacker from committing the violence driven by his (greed, insanity, drugs, alcohol, whatever).

otoh, I really try not to understand the thinking of the delusional left. It hurts and I inevitably fail to get the knack of it.

Posted by: iconoclast at May 1, 2007 02:03 PM

"Fifties"?? "Frail"???? WTF??

I don't think that I've ever met a "frail" fifty-something - at least, not a healthy one...

But then, I'm not from Florida...

Posted by: Diogenes at May 1, 2007 03:12 PM

The obvious answer is to stock orange whistles and charge a LOT of money for them ;->

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 1, 2007 03:56 PM

Maybe she does not trust herself to be able to pull the trigger if she needed to. Some people are unable to take that kind of action. And if she had a gun, and she was unable to pull the trigger, the end result of this person having a firearm is that it will fall into the hands of criminal - thus giving the leftards more "ammunition" to seek the abolishment of the personal ownership of firearms.

Of course, she could just be a leftard gun control fascist with an unrealistic view of humanity and society's obligations to her.

If you are afraid of guns, you should not carry and it sounds like she might be.

And in the spirit of Purple Avenger's comment -
So, which companies make orange whistles and are they publicly traded?

Posted by: Rich at May 1, 2007 04:17 PM

It does indeed sound like these people are afraid of guns, and for me that is a good reason to keep them out of their hands.

Of course, you would probably call me a leftard--whatever that is--except that personal attacks raise the ire of the proprietor on this site.

The point of the whistle, by the way, is that bad guys don't like loud noises that call attention to what they are doing--it is not a question of using it as a way to summon help.

It probably won't--but the bad guy doesn't know that. He thinks he sees an easy target, and when he (or she) realizes that things might get complicated, other options start looking better--like finding another victim. This, by the way, is the reason we all lock our cars--opportunity makes a thief, after all.

Of course this will not always work--and it may not even work very often. But a gun might not be any more effective, if the bad guy gets the drop on his victim, or if the person holding it is a frail 50-year-old likely to twitch and miss, or fail to fire. The point is that not everyone is capable of using firearms correctly, even after training. I saw plenty of people like this in the Army. If they need a second or third best option, why complain?

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at May 1, 2007 06:38 PM

and she was unable to pull the trigger, the end result of this person having a firearm is that it will fall into the hands of criminal

Put on your criminal hat and see if this makes sense. I'd run like hell if an intended victim pulled a gun on me. The guys who tried to carjack me back in 93' or 94' ran like hell when I pulled the gun on them.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 1, 2007 08:25 PM

R. Stanton, I believe you are right that perps don't like anything that calls attention to their attempt at crime. However, CY made a excellent point in his questioning the lady - how are is she going to blow a whistle that's in the purse that is being pulled from her hands?

Posted by: MikeM at May 1, 2007 08:35 PM

Where will she carry the gun? It is no more effective in her purse than a whistle.

Holster, I guess. I agree that CY is right to say that whatever method you use, access is important.

Whistles can be hung around the neck (though a rope around the neck gives the bad guy something to grab). Remember to use a breakable chain.

A frail 50-year-old who is afraid of guns and likely to panic is probably beyond help from whistles or guns, wherever carried. This, of course, is why the bad guy chooses the weakest, and why we need police forces and other systems for deterring them. It does not, of course, always work, but neither does concealed carry, at least not for this person.


Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at May 1, 2007 08:57 PM

I may as well have suggested raping a chicken.

Quit picking on me, CY. That chicken was asking for it.

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 1, 2007 10:56 PM

The way I see it, CY and R. Stanton Scott both made good points. Not everyone should carry a gun, criminals wish to remain low key.

A gun will scare them away, a whistle will make them wish they were somewhere else.

The violence can come at them either way, if they are afraid of pulling the trigger and stand there shaking like Barny Fife, the crook may not be so scared and may end up with a gun.

Of course a whistle force fed down your throat doesn't taste very good either.

I guess everyone has to find their comfort zone.

By the way, most Boating stores carry INTERNATIONAL ORANGE Whistles.

Posted by: Retired Navy at May 2, 2007 05:31 AM

There are purses specifically designed for firearms with fast side access pouches. I imagine one could put a whistle in it ;->

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 2, 2007 07:37 AM

When I was in high school (back inthe dark ages)(also known as the early 70s) my high school band went to a music competition in Hawaii. One of the clarinet players mothers bought her a nice shiney metal "rape whistle." She was instructed to wear the whistle on a chain around her neck and if anyone bothered her she should blow it as loud as she could.

On the plane ride over one of my friends asked what was on the chain she was wearing and she proudly showed us. We asked her to demonstrate the whistle for us. Seeing as we were on a crowded airplane she refused. In many ways she was smarter than we were.

For the next couple days we endlessly badgered her to blow the whistle for us. She kept insisting that it was for emergencies only.

Being young and stupid we were not willing to accept that answer so the next evening when the whistle bearer and two of her friends walked around an isolated corner near an outdoor shopping center we jumped them.

One of us grabbed each girl, pinning her arms to her sides and slapping a hand over her mouth. The fourth "criminal" in our group grabbed the chain around the whistle bearers neck and tugged the whistle out of her blouse. At least that was the plan. Unfortunately the chain was too long and the whistle tangled up on some mysterious item of clothing under her blouse. The chain broke leaving the whistle lodged in a place where any of us would have loved to go looking for it.

But since we were just young and stupid, and not really intent on doing harm, we turned the girls so they could see who had grabbed them, then slowly released them while asking the whistle bearer to please retrieve her whistle.

As she pulled it from it's hiding place we each took a hold of one of the girls again and the fourth member of the group (who had lost the contest to see who didn't get to grab a girl) snatched the whistle from her hand and blew it three times as loud as his tuba player lungs could manage.

Then we stood there for what seemed like forever but in reality was probably only several seconds, while nothing happened. Finally I nudged the girl I was loosely holding and told her to scream.

She looked at me like I was crazy, but went ahead and screamed. In middle of her scream I put my hand suddenly back over her mouth.

We all waited again for several seconds. Finally a voice from around the corner interrupted our little experiment by yelling at us "If you damned kids don't stop making all that racket I'm calling the police."

At this point we reluctantly released the girls, handed the whistle bearer back her whistle, said "Yep, that's gonna to do you a lot of good." and walked away.

Maybe she needed an orange whistle...

The downside of this story is that for the next three days, every time those girls wanted to go anywhere they made us guys go with them. The upside is we got to spend our last three days with those three girls.

After we returned home the whistle bearer was grounded for two weeks. Apparently in relating her opinions of her parent's attempts to protect her she got a little personal with the comments like "stupid and useless." But once her grounding was over her parents allowed her to take some self defense classes. The next summer when a bunch of us were clowning around I grabbed her from behind and suddenly found my self being slammed painfully into the ground. Damned that girl learned fast!

Posted by: David at May 2, 2007 10:44 AM

Just remember the pepper spray isnt a fail safe, and mace isnt permitted in several states.

Working as a security guard at a bar last summer we all had to get sprayed. Myself and two others never had our eyes forced shut, after it took a few seconds for the burning to take effect. I know that if I were after someone's purse or w/e and they sprayed me, it would just anger me and make me much more likely to deck them in the process.

Posted by: Frank at May 2, 2007 11:13 AM

Odd that I've never heard the argument, "If YOU won't do anything to protect YOURSELF, why would you expect someone else to do it for you?" That's deep.

Posted by: DoorHold at May 2, 2007 11:54 AM

I'm originally from St. Louis and I've been mugged twice in my hometown. It's a violent and dangerous city. It also has a conceal-and-carry law.

Even after being mugged twice, I still wouldn't apply for a conceal-and-carry permit. I really don't see the justice in shooting some poor guy who's so desperate for cash that he'll break the law. To me, life is more important than private property ó even the life of a criminal. And I know that the idea of having a concealed weapon is not to inflict violence, but to be used as a threat to stop violence. But just the possibility that I might accidentally pull the trigger and kill the assailant, a bystander, anyone, is just a risk I'm not willing to take. I also saw what taking another's life did to my grandfather in WW II. I really want to avoid that kind of suffering if I can.

Iím pretty sure the frail 50 year-old woman was coming from a position similar to my own.

Posted by: dmarek at May 2, 2007 04:08 PM

dmarek, that was the argument used in the old days, vis a vis just give 'em what they want and they'll leave you alone, and, when plane-hijacked, just stay calm, do what you're told and you will be ok.

The bad guys have changed the rules to steal your stuff and kill you anyway just because....., and, hijack the plane and fly it into a building.

Posted by: Cindi at May 2, 2007 05:55 PM

Silly Confederate Yankee! Those people were obviously University of Florida Gator fans!

Posted by: Don at May 2, 2007 06:21 PM

I'm going into every sporting goods store in the greater Raleigh area and asking for an orange whistle.
I'll let you know when I find one.
And the guy that gives me a dirty look...that will be CY.

Posted by: Larry at May 2, 2007 10:40 PM

"... I really don't see the justice in shooting some poor guy who's so desperate for cash that he'll break the law. ..."

You certainly have a right NOT to defend yourself, but where do your loved ones find justice when "some poor guy" decides to kill you for your wallet?

Posted by: DoorHold at May 3, 2007 12:34 PM

Hey David,

That's an awesome story. Do you have any more examples of when you criminally harassed innocent schoolgirls that you'd like to share? I sure hope that you taught them a lesson and that the young girl with the whistle was provided with a gun by her parents every subsequent time she was flying off on a school trip so that she could protect herself from the likes of you and your friends. You sure taught her a lesson!!!

Posted by: Lawnguylander at May 3, 2007 12:47 PM

The bad guys have changed the rules to steal your stuff and kill you anyway just because....., and, hijack the plane and fly it into a building.

Jihadis are into purse-snatching now? How about littering and tagging? Be careful, they'll be TP-ing your lawn next.

Posted by: g at May 3, 2007 01:43 PM

If nothing else, David certainly taught her that she is far more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone she knows than by some random stranger. Way to go, Dave!

Posted by: RobW at May 3, 2007 02:20 PM

The point has already been made, but I'd like to highlight it.
If a whistle and mace are useless because they'd be kept in the very purse an attacker would immediately grab, how is a gun kept in said purse any more useful?

Posted by: brad at May 3, 2007 02:21 PM

Hey Lawnguylander,

Sorry, no more stories about harassing innocent school girls. However we all stayed friends for several years and I have a few embarassing stories where those "innocent school girls" used the things they learned in their martial arts classes to kick the crap out of us guys on occasion. All in good clean fun of course. We all had to learn the hard way to never challenge a girl who has already proven that she know how to hurt you to a wrestling match or a football game.

No, the girl's parents didn't provide her with a gun for subsequent school trips. She went out armed with something much more useful - the knowledge that she has to depend on herself for protection, not the benevolence of total strangers. That, some martial arts training, and the advice from her Dad - "Stick with those boys, they may be annoying at times, but if trouble happens they will likely sacrifice themselves to give you time to run away."

He was right. As young and stupid teenagers we were smart enough to know that a whistle will not protect you. A lesson apparently many of todays "adults" have never learned. But then, and now, us guys believed that you protect your friends. Even if you have to "criminally harass" them a little to teach them a lesson. After all isn't that what friends are for?

For the record, what you call "criminal harassment", the girls involved as described as "stupid and annoying." When one of their mother's asked if they were scared her daughter asked "Of those clowns?"

To everyone else - sorry I just did a bad thing - I fed a troll.

Posted by: David at May 3, 2007 02:26 PM

Dave said "The downside of this story is that for the next three days, every time those girls wanted to go anywhere they made us guys go with them. The upside is we got to spend our last three days with those three girls."

those three girls were clearly suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

Dave, that's the creepiest little comment I've read in a long while.

Posted by: Candy at May 3, 2007 02:29 PM

if I were writing a post entitled "Illusion of Safety" I would write about airport screenings, no fly lists, warrantless wiring tapping, rendition, and loss of habeas corpus, rather than the War on Whistles.
But I guess I am just a "leftard".

Posted by: Kathleen at May 3, 2007 02:34 PM

We all had to learn the hard way to never challenge a girl who has already proven that she know how to hurt you

So David just confined his criminal assault behavior to the weak and frail.

Next up - David tells us a little story about how he learned to hurt them where it doesn't show when they go out in public.

Posted by: g at May 3, 2007 02:36 PM

Cindi. Yeah... I've never been robbed by a terrorist, and I doubt that the two guys who robbed me used my grand total of $40 bucks to slam a plane into a target of interest. In fact, Iím going to go out on a limb and say that St. Louis isnít exactly a city with a high terrorist population ó or any terrorists, for that matter. St. Louis ? Tehran.

DoorHold. Speaking from experience, I never felt threatened when I got robbed. The second guy even gave me my wallet back after he took out the money and realized that I didn't have any credit cards. (Note: When heading to South St. Louis or North County, just bring cash. Leave the credit cards at home.) As bad the St. Louis inner city is, it's not Gotham City, and I really can't envision either of my two muggings ending in a Wayne-family-like murder. The guys were poor, and looked very, very hungry. They didnít look like wild-eyed killers with an insatiable thirst for blood.

If you want to have a weapon and get a conceal-and-carry permit, thatís great. As much as I disagree with the law, the voters spoke and itís on the books in Missouri. Democracy in action. But knowing veterans and police officers that had to use their weapon in the course of duty, consider what killing someone ó even a ďbad guyĒ ó could do to you. Then consider whether or not our tax dollars might be better spent better funding our police force or even setting up a surveillance infrastructure like they have in London.

Posted by: dmarek at May 3, 2007 03:12 PM

We all had to learn the hard way to never challenge a girl who has already proven that she know how to hurt you to a wrestling match or a football game.

Silly me, I took the easy way out by telling my son that being violent with girls is wrong and cowardly. He seems to have gotten the message but your comments leave me wondering whether I've done the right thing. Do you think it would be better if I advised him to manhandle a few for their own good? It seems to me that such advice from his dad would lead to social isolation and even a criminal record but your contrarian view is intriguing. Do continue.

Posted by: Lawnguylander at May 3, 2007 03:23 PM
Silly me, I took the easy way out by telling my son that being violent with girls is wrong and cowardly. He seems to have gotten the message but your comments leave me wondering whether I've done the right thing. Do you think it would be better if I advised him to manhandle a few for their own good?

I'd probably advise against that, even if it has worked for two generations of Kennedys and our last President.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 3, 2007 03:26 PM

I'd probably advise against that, even if it has worked for two generations of Kennedys and our last President.

Thanks for the advice, CY. What if the girl in question is the chancellor of Germany. Is it OK then?

Posted by: Lawnguylander at May 3, 2007 03:36 PM
Thanks for the advice, CY. What if the girl in question is the chancellor of Germany. Is it OK then?

I would think that is every bit as acceptable as is the similar guesture as applied to the Speaker of the House.

Or so I would think.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 3, 2007 03:45 PM

Hot air using the daily show?
Sheesh.
The right wing truly has no shame.

Posted by: brad at May 3, 2007 03:53 PM

So what are you saying, CY? That both Bush and Reid were wrong? Because then we're in agreement. Oh no!

Posted by: Lawnguylander at May 3, 2007 04:11 PM

Having a gun didn't save the 92 year old woman when the cops kicked down her door and shot her something like 20 times, did it?

Posted by: merlallen at May 4, 2007 06:07 AM