Safety comes first

Safety+comes+first

Due to my two night classes and a 22 credit hour semester, I spend more time at the college than at home, especially in the evenings. I often find myself walking out to my car in a darkened parking lot alone. It almost sounds like a horror movie setup, and some nights it can feel that way. Whether you are leaving a friend’s house late at night, walking out of work, or about to drive home after a late night Wal-Mart run, being able to feel safe walking alone is a luxury many don’t have, myself included. I was raised to expect a certain amount of safety. Since I was old enough to know what guns were, I was taught how to handle them safely. But carrying a gun with me all the time is not an option. The campus policy on weapons is quite clear. The SCCC student handbook reads, “Possession of weapons are prohibited on campus, in college owned or personal vehicles, in student housing, or at any college sponsored event.” Essentially, keeping a knife in your car or a gun on your person is not a viable option. Even if the statute changed, some people are wary of carrying a weapon with them, and self-defense is almost useless if it is not a matter of instinct. In a startling moment, human beings revert to instinctual fight or flight. “If you haven’t practiced the movements of self-defense until it has sunk into your subconscious, it won’t help you,” Dennis Mulanax, head of security, said. Overall, we have a very safe campus and a decently safe town. But there is no such thing as too safe. As finals approach, students will probably be staying later to study, and anyone who wants to do harm will be given more opportunities. If students take the time to learn a few security measures, they can reduce those opportunities, and prevent themselves from becoming victims. Set up a buddy system, and make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Even something as simple as calling home before you leave the college can help keep you safe. Mulanax advises student to park under a light if at all possible and while walking to their car have their keys out and ready. Don’t panic if attacked from behind. Try to elbow the attacker in the side, kick their knee, stomp on their instep or kick them in the groin. If you have ever seen “Miss Congeniality” then you’ve seen Sandra Bullock ‘SING’. Thread your keys through your fingers and aim your fist toward a soft spot. As soon as they are down, run away. It is smart to yell and try to attract attention. No one wants to be caught committing a crime. You don’t have to be attacked to get some help. If you are uncomfortable, feel like someone is following you, or feel unsafe alone, talk to someone. Security is available on campus, and those of you with a cell phone should use it. The security department’s number is (620)-417-1180, and they are available 24/7 to students. “We are willing to escort students to their cars, and farther if the situation warrants it,” Mulanax said. “In the past, I have had security follow a student home, to make sure they were safe.” The most important thing to do is trust your instincts. The little voices that tell you that something or someone just doesn’t seem right could save your life. A big thing you can do to be safe is be prepared to act if necessary to get out of the situation or away from that person as fast as possible. Don’t act like a victim. Act confident, eyes up and aware, look people in the eye, make them want to pass you up. If you aren’t texting, and you pay attention to your surroundings, you make yourself into more of a risk than a target.