What would I do if a stranger demanded my money and my cell phone? Order my guide dog to “Quit wagging that tail and look fierce?” Beg and pray? Flail away with errant crotch kicks? I ponder these questions because, being a blind person, am I an easy mark? Or shall I put my faith in the kindness of criminals? I pose these questions not to add to our pervasive culture of fear. Rather, I endorse the motto, “Be Prepared.”
Deterrence is preparedness. Cruising the urban landscape with a big black dog may appear a street crime deterrent, but Randy’s primary threat is drooling on peoples’ shoes. Self-defense can be a tactic. One blind fellow in Philadelphia learned martial arts and flipped a mugger so effectively that he broke his neck. But manslaughter — mine or the assailant’s — is too extreme. And don’t mention any “Blind Conceal and Carry” silliness.
Perhaps self-knowledge is the better deterrent. I recognize I am capable of outrage. On bad days, when disrespected as a blind pedestrian, I scowl and hurl verbal zingers. And while I have found a voice as a blind person, I need to know when to keep my mouth shut. If confronted by a street criminal, my outrage might boil over into an impulsive physical response. That I would lash out is tempting, even cathartic, and it satisfies my sense of outrage at being victimized. But self-preservation trumps. I can feel outrage at being mistreated, but it’s best expressed in this medium rather than on the street.
I am fortunate that street crime etiquette has remained hypothetical. I feel safe out there. I feel confident and at ease and that’s what I wish to project. But I also want to be prepared without expecting the worst or skewing the Law of Attraction toward negative outcomes. So, when a stranger says, “That’s a big guard dog you got there,” I’ll just nod and say, “Yup, Brutus is one mean mutt.”