The other night I bundled up for a 20 degree walk with my dog. I had on my snow pants, boots, ski mask, gloves, and headlamp. Poop bags in pocket, of course. It was around 7:30 at night. Pitch black out there this time of year. I love walking Ringo on dark freezing cold nights. The Spring Creek Trail is completely deserted. I put him on his retractable leash when I know that there won’t be much traffic on the trail. He knows its his time to run around and be a little bit crazy. I find the cool air and clear sky so refreshing, especially if I’m dressed warmly and have a good flashlight to avoid stepping on dog poop, as well as to SEE Ringo’s poop well enough to pick it up.
I’m a pretty trusting person. Never assuming someone is going to capture and hurt me out there. I’m not the type to carry gun, though it would be nice to know how to use one if for some reason I needed to… but the point is, I don’t own one, or plan to carry one. The most I carry with me is pepper spray, but I worry I might accidentally shoot it at my self or my dog. What good would that do if I was blinded while in a bind with a bad person?
I was feeling rather secure with my headlamp on. I don’t have great night vision, and like to be visible to night cyclists. While on my walk that night, my mind on the benefits of my flashlight, I went a step further in my thinking… I thought, for someone like me, a flashlight is a mighty good weapon to carry out there on the lonely trail. I’m pretty quick on my feet, but in the dark, someone could snatch and/or trick me so easily! If someone came upon me, out of no where, with intention to hurt, if I could just blind them with my light for a moment, that would give me enough time to think of a way out. I could size the person up, see where his strengths and weaknesses are, and at the very least, kick him hard while his eyes move away from my light as he gathers himself for his next move. He’s not expected to be blinded by me! Then, I thought, I should have a headlamp as well as a real flashlight. Extra brightness, with something to hit him with if needed!
Like I said, I’m pretty trusting, but I’m not naive enough to think someone would never try to hurt me. I know that there are messed up people out there. One should always be prepared for danger. On the other hand, I do believe that someone who looks weak, slumped over etc, is more likely to be a victim of a crime. When walking at night alone, don’t! Make sure you have #1: a dog that likes to bark viciously at strangers, #2: at least one flashlight, maybe two, #3: Confidence. Walk tall and proud. Be ready for anything, but try to relax and enjoy your walk.
Hope this was helpful to any fellow weaponless, night walkers! Thanks for listening.