This has me seething, mostly because mayor Greg Ballard is determined to keep the Monon Rail Trail as an official Victim Disarmament Zone. Thugs can carry whatever they want, but law-abiding citizens, who have paid a ton of tax money for this pleasant bicycling path, are officially defenseless by decree of city ordinance. I have become a single-issue voter on this: Get me, Greg; either you reach up between your legs and grab your ears and pull hard on the issue of lawfully-carried guns in parks, or you have completely lost me as a voter.
What can we learn from this?
- I don't use the Monon alone, as a general rule, even north of the 52nd Street DMZ. Local surface streets offer more room to maneuver should two or three thugs block your path.
- In both cases, the attack happened in a nice neighborhood, in broad daylight. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that it's a pretty day out. Don't get lost in your iPod or cell phone conversation to the exclusion of the outside world. It amazes me to see people walking around out of doors, lost in some electronic world of their own and oblivious to their surroundings.
- In both cases, the attack was launched more or less out of the blue. Urbanus strongarmus is an ambush predator. Your first warning that you are in a life-or-death struggle may come when your face hits the asphalt. How often do you practice drawing and engaging multiple targets from flat on your back?
Carry a gun. Practice getting to it from awkward positions. Stay aware of your surroundings. If something feels wrong, listen to your feelings and turn around and leave: You can recover quickly from embarrassment, but forty stitches in your mouth take a long time to heal,