Personal safety is your responsibility
I was reading about the horrible attack on Jane Dyer, and one line in the article stood out to me:
The [District Attorney's office] statement added, “The office will make every effort to ensure the safety of all concerned and the community.”
But you didn’t. She was attacked. She was beaten with a shovel. You did nothing to ensure her safety, and there is nothing you CAN do to ensure her safety.
Where were the police?
Where was anyone that could have protected her from this attack?
Dyer, 63, said she was outside her Cummington home when she spotted the teenager standing at the bottom of her driveway with a shovel, but thought nothing of it. The family has a residence in Northampton. Dyer was alone at the time.
She re-entered the house a short time later and surprised the youth, who she said had apparently entered the house unseen and was lying in wait.
There are numerous lessons we can learn, like paying more attention to your surroundings, whatever could be done to better secure your home so unauthorized people can’t just waltz in. But again, are these things the responsibility of the state or the police?
Or are they your own?
Because the only person that’s certainly around when you’re being attacked is you.
I could also examine if she ever thought violence would happen to her. From her reaction to the beating she didn’t fight back. The reporting of her attack response leads me to believe she was surprised and in shock that she could get attacked, in such a way, in her own home — like it never occurred to her “this could happen to me”. Some say “I’ve never been attacked”, and I’m sure in Mrs. Dyer’s 63 years she may have figured she beat the odds. We must remember that just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. Finally, in the past I’ve asserted that tools are only useful if they are handy/available when needed; that “home defense shotgun” in the closet isn’t useful as you’re on the floor being beaten. But your hips are still with you, right? And what can you keep on your hip or in your pocket?
What seems more unfortunate is, at least from the way the article presents it, the Dyer’s don’t appear to take any further responsibility for their own actions:
Dyer’s husband, Tom, said Monday he believes the suspect is receiving foster care at a nearby home. The incident marks the second time someone from that program has allegedly broken into their house, the first occurring about four years ago, he said.
“We’re not waiting for a third,” Tom Dyer said.
Dyer said he’s sensitive to the needs of at-risk youth who need supervision and services like foster care, but believes the rural location isn’t appropriate, and he would like to see it shut down.
“It’s unfair to the kids,” he said.
He said that there is little for the youth in the program to do in such a remote area on a dead-end road, and it may be that a lack of activity options contributed to the July attack.
It’s the second time someone broken in.
They believe the problem is the foster kids, and the solution is to shut down the foster program. The solution isn’t to lock their doors. The solution isn’t to increase their awareness. No, they don’t see solution in improving their own behaviors. Their solution is to shut down the program. Heck, if it is such a bad program, why don’t they try to do something to help fix the broken program? But again, that would require them to change their own behavior. I understand as humans we wish to justify our own behavior as right and can be quick to find fault in others; we also need to be better than that and first look at ourselves to see what we did wrong and how we can improve ourselves.
I could be wrong; it could be the way the article is reporting it. I hope I am wrong and they are taking steps to improve their own behavior so they won’t ever be victims again. What happened to Mrs. Dyer is terrible, and I do hope justice is served. But this isn’t so much about the Dyer’s as it is an illustrative point that personal safety is your own responsibility, and I hope you take it seriously.