I have an earnest question

CINCINNATI — A Colerain Township man is accused of ambushing a woman outside of her home, slashing her with a knife and threatening to set her on fire.

[…]

According to court records, Ingram waited outside the woman’s Mount Auburn home Thursday. Once she came out, Ingram grabbed her, cut her face, cheek and chest, choked her, and said he’d pour gasoline on her and set her ablaze, court records state.

[…]

The woman had a temporary protection order against Ingram, according to court records.

Full story (h/t TDI)

My earnest question.

What could have been done to keep this woman safe?

I’m not trying to fish for or lead towards the answer of “guns!”. Honestly, while the article is very short on details, it appears the woman was ambushed and simply “having a gun” may not have been sufficient.

So I’m earnestly curious.

She had a restraining order. That didn’t keep her safe; in fact, I’d say it was pretty useless.

That restraining order effectively created a portable “gun/weapon/criminal/killer free zone” around her. Obviously ineffective.

I’m not sure “teaching men not to knife, choke, and burn women” would have been all that effective at keeping her safe. I mean, you’re taught not to exceed the speed limit while driving, yet you do it. “Teaching” isn’t sufficient to keep people from doing (or to get people to do) things; so it certainly isn’t sufficient to keep you safe from other people. That also puts your well-being in the hands of other people, and if a barista can’t get your Starbucks order correct, if that jackass texting while driving runs you off the road, what makes you think some sicko is going to give a damn about your life and dignity?

Good luck trying to pee or vomit on someone while under such an attack.

While I have my thoughts on what could have been done (and please don’t assume you know what I’m thinking; but if you can read minds, I’d like to talk with you about taking a trip to Las Vegas), I’m earnestly asking:

What could have been done to keep this woman safe?

Corollary question: if these other, oft-suggested solutions, are ineffective, why do they continue to be pushed as viable solutions?

15 thoughts on “I have an earnest question

  1. Unless there were actionable threats (need more info than provided) I do not see what could have been done beyond the protective order.

    As for ‘why’ these schemes continue to be applied, well, “security theatre” comes to mind. As in it’s a feel good way to DO SOMETHING!

    John, I’d honestly like to hear what your thoughts are.

    • My thoughts will come someday. I’d like to see what other people will say, if anything.

      But in many respects, my answers don’t matter. In large part my point is to question the oft-suggested solutions by people who don’t understand the nature of violence, because I cannot see how those suggestions could actually work here (and in most violent attacks). That isn’t to say simplistic retorts of “have a gun” would be effective here either. But certainly I want people to actually think about those oft-suggested solutions (including the simplisitic retorts like “have a gun”), I want them to put things in context of actual violent attacks, and try to actually think about finding real solutions — not just blind agenda or emotion.

      • Ok. This appears to be pretty close to my comments. Notice I did not scream “carry a gun”. Although that may have helped…. No details to base that on.

        Your point is not lost on me. I see many of the policies we utilize really are not based in real understanding of the situations. Off balance violent people will do the damnedest things. Even when you tell them not to.

  2. She obviously doesn’t know how to keep herself safe. So the only thing I can think of is 24 hr protective police custody.

    • Do our police have the manpower to place an officer with every person under protective order?

      How do you decide who among those with orders placed against them are actually a threat?

      Should this woman gone off to stay with a friend or relative while her ex is under protective order?

      The problem with attempting post game analysis on this story is a lack of more details.

      • The question asked was “What could have been done to keep this woman safe?” She obviously doesn’t know how to keep herself safe. So the only solution I could think of was 24 hr protective police custody. I know it isn’t feasible and I doubt anyone else would be able to keep her safe 24 hrs a day. Accepting responsibility for your own safety and being prepared for what that scumbag might do is the best option.

        • The thing I have issue with is saying “obviously”. How is it obvious that she doesn’t know how to keep herself safe? The article is bereft of information to draw such a conclusion. There are numerous stories every day/week/month/year of people that are well-trained yet fall prey to ambush and bad things happening to them. So while it is possible she doesn’t know how to keep herself safe, we really don’t have enough information to fairly draw that conclusion.

          Setting that aside then… why would 24-hour protective custody be the only solution? Why not education?

          • I thought the question was asked in the context of what had happened, not what could have been done for many years to keep her safe. Of course self defense education beginning early in life would go a long way towards keeping her safe. Among other wise education.

  3. I am reminded of a martial arts movie that I saw a long time ago… don’t remember the title or actors, but this one scene stuck with me. The master and student are talking about various scenarios, and each time the master finishes, the student comes back with, “But what about…X? This proceeds through a couple of scenarios,and then 2 attackers, and then 3 attackers, and so on, and finally the student asks, “What if there are [more than can be dealt with] attackers?”

    The master replies, “Then you die.”

    We know so very few details about this story. Was the woman capable of defending herself (knowledge, skills, abilities, tools)? Did she scan the area before leaving the house? Did she have the option to call someone else to escort her when leaving the house? Could she hire security?

    And yet, even if she did everything “right”, even if she prepared for “every possibility” (which isn’t really possible), even if others acted on her behalf to protect her, sometimes the circumstances are such that you are overwhelmed and then you die. Or are seriously injured.

    There are likely many, many things that could have been done to make her safer (emphasis on the -er). There is no absolute guarantee of safety.

  4. Leave! Hide!

    This works so well we have given it a name for the select few that quality for it, witness protection.

    Assuming the threat had been ID (she filed an order) she had the option to move on. Pick a new home/city/state. Change names. Avoiding the problem is a way to win.

    • Yeah, but those are pretty heavy-handed measures. I mean, could you and your whole family pick up and move right this moment?

      And even then, is that enough? If someone’s “stalker” (or whatever) is determined enough, they’ll follow….

      I do agree that avoidance is a solid strategy. Just not sure how well it might work in a case like this. Maybe just part of a multi-tiered approach.

      • Could I move the family, yes. I think we all could, i is just a matter of pain of the move/relocation. Job, friends, family come to mind. No doubt it’s heavy handed. The upside is it is legal (vs striking first would be helpful in keeping her safe) and within your control (vs relying on 24/7 protection by others).

        Would you move to prevent this same attack on your spouse or daughter?

        Hindsight not withstanding, I read this event as a line in don’t go stupid place with stupid people.

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