Bad self-defense advice: Idiocy or Malice?

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.

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13 Responses to Bad self-defense advice: Idiocy or Malice?

  1. LarryArnold says:

    But the whistle solution is pushed at women of all ages, not just the most vulnerable younger girls.

    Yup. One of the points I keep making is that campus gun bans don’t just disarm students. Faculty, administration, staff, and visitors are also left vulnerable.

    And once a predator is on campus, there’s no better place to lurk than the approaches to “safe zones.” And “call boxes?” Really? College women don’t have cellphones?


    Sorry. I worked for many years with survivors of sexual assault and other violence. Dumb like this really ticks me off.

    • HSR47 says:

      “Faculty, administration, staff, and visitors are also left vulnerable.”

      Depending on the state, that isn’t entirely true.

      In PA for example, state schools don’t really have the authority to regulate firearms. That doesn’t stop them from doing it anyway, but it means that they have no power over ordinary citizens in that regard. As such, there is nothing to stop a visitor from carrying.

      As for students/staff, their only option is expulsion/termination of employment. Even then, were the student/employee in question to challenge it judicially, there’s a chance that the courts would rule against the school(s).

  2. Albert says:

    I have a whistle on my keychain, in both cars, and bought my wife one for her keychain as well. “Whistle as self-defense” is a stupid idea. BUT… whistle as a way to attract attention to someone injured; I think is a great idea. I also think if I’m in a ditch with a broken leg, a whistle would do better than yelling. If you are getting raped; finding a weapon, ANY weapon, even a pen to stab the guy in the eyeballs is a MUCH smarter idea. A whistle is very very useful; a Fox40 whistle blown from a mountain will travel 2~4 miles with no urban noise. Great for a lost or injured hiker. But I agree; as “self defense in lieu of a gun” is stupid.

    • Paul Koning says:

      If you’re in a ditch with a broken leg, firing a gun straight up into the air is more likely to get you heard than a whistle…

  3. Lyle says:

    A lot of these scumbags have law degrees. The simplest, most mind-numbed among then are certainly smart enough to read the Bill of Rights, and so the only possible conclusion is that they know exactly what they are doing. They can’t claim ignorance or stupidity here as a defense. They are certainly criminals.

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  5. Mick says:

    Folks such as in these examples epitomize the concept of “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is made up”. They have the end-game in sight, and will allow no logic to interfere: People control under the guise of gun control.

    • herddog505 says:

      Agreed. They’ve decided that gun control is a policy objective, and they’re going after it as hard as they can. If that means telling women to blow a whistle, pee on themselves, or just lay there and take it… well, it’s a small price to pay for Progress.

    • LarryArnold says:

      In some cases, yes. But many of them are simply hoplophobes.

      • Paul Koning says:

        I’m not so sure.
        The thing that makes me wonder is the intensity of the current attack on guns. It can’t be a desire to fight crime, even if you assume the attackers honestly believe their proposals are an effective anti-crime policy. It can’t be, because it’s being pursued with far more energy than any (other) anti-crime policy in recorded history.
        For the same reason, it’s hard to accept fear of weapons as the motivation. Can mere fear account for the unprecedented nationwide push we are seeing? Also, remember that a large number of gun ban advocates are themselves gun owners. So fear of guns can’t be their motivation. It has to be something else, like fear of guns owned by “not our kind of people”.
        This used to be called racism by more honest people.

  6. Lyle says:

    Actually, my first thought on seeing that whistle with its ample lanyard was; Garotte.

  7. Jenny says:

    The simple truth is they’d rather face angry parents and set up a program of rape survivor counseling for thirty assaulted students than explain one dead rapist to the police.

    They insist on ineffective means precisely because they are ineffective means. They can’t not know what they’re advocating is a totally useless placebo.

    For most it’s probably simple fear of liability. For many ignorance and a desire to go along with the received wisdom of “violence never solves anything.” For a very few (Evie Hudak, I’m looking at you), deep down I suspect there’s actually spite at the pretty girl who’s getting raped for being so much prettier in the first place.

    Slice it how you will, on the “stupid or evil” continuum, it’s increasingly looks like evil to me. Banal evil perhaps, but evil nonetheless.

  8. Rivrdog says:

    I still have the “rape whistle” that my youngest daughter was issued in 1998 when she attended Freshman Orientation at the University of Oregon. At that lecture, she was told to look to her left and right in the lecture hall. she was then told that either she or the young women immediately to her left or right would be forcibly raped while in the course of four years of study at the University.

    After the students were suitably scared by this made-up statistic, they were advised to carry their Rape Whistles, and aid could be summoned with just one blast of the whistle. That, notwithstanding the fact that the Campus Police were unarmed, had no arrest powers, and routinely did not even respond to these “rape whistle heard” calls unless numerous reports came in, but even then, they waited for a City cop or Deputy Sheriff to respond with them.

    Campus security: a figment of liberal imaginations.

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