There has been a lot of debate as to whether or not students and staff should be permitted to carry on state colleges and universities. Some argue that allowing students to carry non-lethal weapons will not increase campus safety while others argue that it will.
When I was a student at UNM, I did carry pepper spray. There were a few classes that I needed to attend in the evening when there were very few people on campus. It did give me some peace of mind knowing that I could use it to help defend myself. Fortunately, I never felt a need to use it.
Should students and staff be allowed to carry non-lethal weapons? Whether you agree or not there are a few truths that I feel everyone would agree with: be aware of your surroundings, learn and practice self-defense tactics, and know how to use a non-lethal weapon correctly.
Being aware of your surroundings at all times is critical. Don’t let conversations and electronics distract you. Attackers look for an easy target. If you are distracted, they are more likely to choose you. Also, don’t stay in places where you are hidden from view especially if you are alone. And, know your escape routes. Being able to escape in multiple directions, provides you the opportunity to get away from a dangerous situation more easily.
There are many classes that you can take that teach self-defense. Even after taking the class, don’t stop practicing. You want your muscle memory to “kick in” if you are ever attacked. The only way to get those skills to stick is to practice and practice often.
Lastly, knowing how to use a non-lethal weapon correctly is extremely important. An attacker is not going to wait for you to figure it out. Know how it works and know how to use it to defend yourself. There are ways to practice safely by using practice pepper spray and by disabling the stun gun.
Stay safe out there!