October 30, 1997 in City

Nra’s Advice: Learn To Avoid Confrontations ‘Refuse To Be A Victim’ Program Not About Guns, But Anti-676 Plug Given

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Every day people go to work, go to sleep, walk to their cars in a mall parking lot.

Most of the time, it’s safe.

But what would you do if an attacker pressed a knife to your throat as you walked from the office parking garage? Forced a gun into your temple while you lay in bed? Ripped a bag from your arm as you left the mall?

Members of the National Rifle Association had an unexpected recommendation for Spokane women on Wednesday night: Don’t run out and buy a gun.

About 20 women and one man attended a class at Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop, 1200 N. Freya Way, to learn how not to be victims.

They weren’t taught traditional self-defense techniques such as kicking an attacker in the groin, or taking a person down with a blow to the head.

They also weren’t shown any guns.

“This isn’t about firearms,” said Robin Ball, co-owner of the shooting range. “(The class) will keep you out of situations where you think you could have used a firearm.”

The free lessons, presented by the NRA around the country since 1993, make one major recommendation: Devise a plan to keep you from having to defend yourself or your family.

“Women of America all think they live in safe neighborhoods,” said Tanya Metaksa, executive director for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

“It doesn’t matter where you live. We’re all susceptible to the criminal predator.”

Simple, inexpensive techniques can help women feel safe: Lock doors at home, trim bushes near entryways and windows, install outdoor lighting and good locks.

Take it one step farther. Consider installing a deadbolt on a bedroom or bathroom door to use as an emergency safe haven. Sleep in a room with a phone. Install substantial locks on all windows and glass doors. Get an alarm system.

“Criminals want an easy target,” Ball said. “If you look like a victim, you’re more likely to become a victim.”

In the car, a cell phone can be a lifesaver.

“You can call for emergency road services and you’re still within the security of your car,” said Chandra Gribbon, manager of the NRA’s “Refuse To Be A Victim” program. “Never get out of your car on the road.”

In the parking lot, have your keys out. Check out your car from all angles before getting in. Buy a remote control car light to see inside, Gribbon said.

At stop lights, roll windows up and lock doors. Leave enough space between you and the car in front so you can maneuver around it.

Be aware of people when walking.

“No one should come into your space,” Gribbon said. Stay clear of openings along walkways. Consider buying a purse alarm or carrying pepper spray.

“If you can avoid a confrontation, there are absolutely no victims,” Metaksa said. “Learn to be aware of what’s going on around you. You can’t go through life living in a fog.

“If you see something you don’t like, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up, pay attention.”

For those willing to listen, Metaksa did speak briefly about the NRA’s anti-Initiative 676 campaign and provided literature at the seminar.

If approved by voters on Tuesday, I-676 would require Washington residents to pass a state test to obtain a safety license. It also would require that any gun sold, traded or given away have a trigger lock.

, DataTimes


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