We go along from day to day enjoying our lives and daily routines, but a random act of violence can quickly alter everything we plan and look forward to.  On Sunday, March 14th, a beautiful 28-year old woman was watching her two children play in a city park in a small Texas town, when suddenly a 42-year old man walked up behind her and stabbed her in the back!  She was flown to Fort Worth, where doctors found that her spinal cord was almost severed, and she will never walk again.

What causes someone to cause this much harm to a complete stranger?  The man told the local newspaper in a jail interview that he had been mentally ill for twenty years; it is our hope that authorities will solve the puzzle after thoroughly investigating this crime.

People have the right to take their children to playgrounds and parks without the fear of an assault such as this.  Chances are, there would not have been anything she could have done to prevent what happened, had she seen the man coming toward her.  Maybe this tragedy can serve as a warning to others, that we must be aware of our circumstances all the time.

Here are some places that women in particular need to be careful:

  • Parking lots – especially at night, and without ample light.
  • Parks – are safer when there are several other people present.
  • Malls – late hours when crowds thin out.  It would be wise to ask for security to walk you to your car, or have someone with you.
  • Parking garages – don’t use them if they have poor lighting.  If you work where there is a parking garage, ask security to accompany you to your vehicle.
  • Public rest stops – when there are several vehicles around them, they may be safe; however, it would be better to go to a gas station or store, with other people around, especially after dark.

Other tips for staying safe are:

  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry when you are alone.
  • Keep your cell phone handy.
  • If you have a daily walking schedule, change the routes you take.
  • If someone in a car stops to ask a question, stay far enough away that you can escape.
  • Avoid ATM’s at night.
  • Realize that using headphones can lessen your awareness.
  • If you have to go out alone, daytime is the safest time of day.
  • Don’t walk in deserted areas, where you must pass alleys, trees, and bushes that create hiding places for someone wanting to do you harm.
  • It is safer to use the “buddy system”; ask a friend or two to accompany you to take a walk or go to the mall.

One other reminder to parents and grandparents: we know that children reach an age that they feel they don’t need to be accompanied to the bathroom when in a restaurant, park, etc.  But it is a good idea to check to ensure that someone isn’t in there, and wait outside the door.  You just can’t be too careful when it comes to the safety of your child.

It is a sad fact of life that anyone may have the misfortune to fall victim to assault, harassment, robbery or physical attack.  Chances are, the majority of people won’t.  But it is a good idea to take precautions to keep ourselves safe at all times.