Making the case for self defense

Kelly Smith

With all the acts of violence that occur on a college campus, I’ve been thinking a lot about self defense.

I’m not just talking about using defensive moves with the body, because I know Grand Valley State University does offer instruction in this area. I’m talking about something that goes beyond GVSU and looks at the bigger picture.

Why are non-lethal weapons and accessories not allowed in some states? How can we defend ourselves from an attack given the resources we are legally allowed to use in Michigan? Let’s really think about it. People are different shapes and sizes, and sometimes the attacker has a size advantage. Some people may not have ever studied or practiced self defense. If that’s the case, the situation could be even worse.

While using self defense techniques may be the most efficient way to fend off an attacker, sometimes a little help may be needed. My belief is that the use of not only pepper spray, but also non-lethal weapons such as stun guns should be permissible for self defense purposes.

However, allowing lethal firearms is probably a step too far on college campuses, because it runs the risk of possible casualties in a given scenario, especially since an attacker only needs to be subdued at most. I’m not saying we should allow students full access to weapons, even if they are only non-lethal, but there definitely would be benefits from having a secondary means of taking down an attacker if self defense is not a option.

So what’s the issue with legality? Although many states allow non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray and stun guns, a few completely prohibit them or apply certain restrictions on them, Michigan being one of them.

We don’t need to complicate things. If we can get the job done with something much more simple and less dramatic, let’s do it. Self defense is crucial when you’re approached by someone whose intent is to do you harm. With assaults of all kinds happening on college campuses, we need to know how to properly and legally defend ourselves. Assuming the allowance of pepper spray has not changed, it is highly advisable that you prepare yourself, especially if you constantly feel unsafe in your environment. Be smart, and stay safe!