Recently, we have been treated to spectacularly stupid advice on self-defense by the vice president of the US. Doing what he advised would endanger the defender, the defender’s neighbors AND put him in legal trouble. That has been discussed in detail. My question is: was Biden deliberately trying to entrap unwary listeners or is he truly that stupid?
A Colorado representative thinks that the best defense against rapists is a whistle. While that advice has been similarly discussed in detail, I’d like to add to it.
A whistle is not just a poor way of responding to a rape. It’s a spectacularly harmful accessory. Here’s why:
- The concept of using a whistle to summon help comes from 19th century police officers. They knew that their colleagues were nearby and ready to rush for help when summoned. How far would the sound carry in a noisy city? More importantly, who is going to rush to help upon hearing a whistle in today’s environment?
- Whistling requires blowing through the mouthpiece. It uses up air and oxygen that would otherwise be available for running away or fighting. In other words, the rapist wouldn’t even have to strangle the victim because the act of summoning help would use up the air in her lungs. Whistling also takes time during which even a slight backhand across the face would knock the whistle away, possibly with teeth around it.
- Whistles emit a high-pitched sound. High-frequency noises don’t propagate as far as low frequency noises. They are also fairly difficult for listeners to localize (ever tried to find which of the smoke detectors is beeping?) That can be an advantage if you are an officer summoning infantry out of trenches but definitely a hindrance for a rape victim.
- Trying to attract attention is a valid strategy, but not if it takes attention away from fleeing or resisting. If a woman must use a noisemaker to draw attention to a situation, an aerosol air horn would work better. And if we assume that she can reach for an air horn, why not reach for something more effective instead?
Gunfire would attract attention even better, also cause a rapist to become incapacitated or flee. Why is it not considered by the advisers? Many of the students are under 21, disarmed legislatively in most states by the combination of state laws and school rules. But the whistle solution is pushed at women of all ages, not just the most vulnerable younger girls.
Defensive firearms can be small and light enough to carry with no more effort than carrying a wallet. They are simple in use and quite effective. Yet certain elected creatures are pushing the non-solutions like “rape whistles” that would leave rape victims literally breathless in the face of their attackers. Do they give bad advice because they are merely stupid? The other possibility is that bad self-defense advice advances some evil agenda of theirs, such as creating more victims. Considering that high-profile anti-gun organizations are made up of convicted rapists, kidnappers and other violent criminals, that seems more likely.