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ldsailor
10-16-2020, 12:38
I thought this article (link below) was very interesting. It also hit home to some degree. I try to be friendly on the trail. Many years in sales oriented jobs taught me that people like to talk about themselves, so I'm always asking questions oriented in that direction. More than a few times, it occurred to me that maybe I was coming off creepy. What do other male hikers think about the article and in particular, does it ring true for the female hikers?

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-scariest-encounters-women-have-on-the-appalachian-trail-are-with-men?ref=scroll

Traffic Jam
10-16-2020, 13:11
I read it the other day and my opinion is that the article exploits the terrible murder and assault that happened and uses it to over-dramatize women's experiences when hiking. I'm a woman and have been solo backpacking for 6 years and while I've had a few incidents and concerns, the article presents it as a regular occurrence. It's definitely not older white men who I've had issues with but younger, homeless, mentally ill men. When my 20 ish yr old daughter was hiking the AT, she loved hiking with mature men because she felt so safe.

ldsailor
10-16-2020, 13:16
I read it the other day and my opinion is that the article exploits the terrible murder and assault that happened and uses it to over-dramatize women's experiences when hiking. I'm a woman and have been solo backpacking for 6 years and while I've had a few incidents and concerns, the article presents it as a regular occurrence. It's definitely not older white men who I've had issues with but younger, homeless, mentally ill men. When my 20 ish yr old daughter was hiking the AT, she loved hiking with mature men because she felt so safe.

Well, as a 71 year old "mature" man that makes me feel better. Of course, women have one great advantage over me. They could hike backwards and I still probably couldn't keep up with them.

stephanD
10-16-2020, 14:12
Harassment of women on the trail is definitely an issue that has to be taken seriously. But to bring this terrible murder as an example is (very) bad journalism. That raving, hallucinating psycho was a menace to everyone, men and women alike. And the irony of it is that Stronghold died attempting to protect his female hiking partner.

illabelle
10-16-2020, 15:08
Harassment of women on the trail is definitely an issue that has to be taken seriously. But to bring this terrible murder as an example is (very) bad journalism. That raving, hallucinating psycho was a menace to everyone, men and women alike. And the irony of it is that Stronghold died attempting to protect his female hiking partner.

You bring up an important point. I didn't read the whole article (really long), but enough to get the gist. Several times the strong independent female solo hiker (or perhaps the author) implied that male hikers should step in and protect women from creepy guys. That sounds right. Gallant brave man saves helpless girl from threatening ogre... But as you pointed out, that particular ogre was a serious threat to everybody, and the gallant brave man is dead. Men come in all sizes, big/small, strong/weak, old/young, athletic/skinny. While I would be very grateful to any man (or woman) who stands up for me, I don't believe I should expect that someone else should risk their life for mine just because I'm female. If I'm out there on my own, I accept the risks, and I prepare to defend myself or accept the consequences.

disclosure: I normally hike with my husband, rarely alone.

JNI64
10-16-2020, 16:21
All 4 of them should have stuck together and fought back against this animal.

Dogwood
10-16-2020, 18:05
Lots of scary things occur to all genders on the AT. It happens to males, people of color, LGBQT, etc sometimes with females being the perpetrators.

Five Tango
10-16-2020, 19:07
Stories like the one I just read about the murder and harrassment remind me why I have always been an advocate of carrying a weapon,either lethal or non lethal,on ones person in most situations.

HankIV
10-16-2020, 19:20
Yeah, did you see that video of the cougar chasing that guy in Utah?

Seriously, don’t be creepy is good advice. And recognize that behavior that might be okay at home, like asking for a number is creepy on the trail.

KnightErrant
10-16-2020, 20:39
I agree with Traffic Jam that using Stronghold's murder as an example of gender violence or harassment on the trail is completely inappropriate. Like StephanD said, that perpetrator was a danger to everyone. And of course, that event was tragic and horrifying, but exceedingly rare. To make it sound like all female hikers are or should be worried about getting murdered on trail is not a reasonable assessment of the risk. Suggesting as much is alarmist clickbait, plain and simple.

That said, I think harassment is totally an issue on trail sometimes. Most female thru-hikers I've met, particularly young and/or solo, have pink-blazing stories, some that verge on stalking like the ones in the article. I've encountered bears and coyotes and moose, and my scariest ever hiking encounter was with a man. It wasn't the AT, but on a lesser known route of the Camino in Spain, I was catcalled, then followed, then passed, and then "ambushed" by a creep who had waited for me just off trail in a secluded wooded area only to expose himself and tell me to f*** him. (I literally just ran away, and luckily he seemed to just be getting off on scaring me and showed no inclination to chase or attack me after that.) I know it's highly unlikely that something like that will happen to me again, but it still crosses my mind if I'm hiking alone and I cross paths with a solo male hiker. Of course, as soon as he greets or even just nods at me in a normal way, I immediately feel at ease, and overall I have a lot of faith in the hiking community regardless of gender.

To the OP's question: does the article ring true? --> About being terrified of men on the trail all the time? Absolutely not. About being initially wary of men, especially in one-on-one situations? Yeah, I do feel that a bit, particularly if they're behaving erratically, appear to be intoxicated, or anything else is "out of place" (nosy questions, no hiking gear/apparel while on trail/in shelters, suggestive comments about sex/women's bodies/etc). The pink-blazing stuff rings true to me, but luckily I never had serious issues on the AT, just a lewd comment here or there and drunkenness that occasionally made me uncomfortable and would have made me feel unsafe if I'd been alone (I had a tramily by those points). Actual criminal stalking behavior seems quite rare, but the pink-blazers who just repeatedly push boundaries despite discouragement and reminders of SOs back home are unfortunately somewhat common.

Obviously I can't generalize for all female hikers, but as a young woman who hikes alone a lot, my advice to men like OP who are concerned their friendliness might come off as creepy: don't worry! If you're genuinely just being friendly, I can probably pick up on that, and the moment you said hello to me in a friendly way, I felt totally comfortable meeting you. Friendly questions are welcome, but the ones that might get me back on edge are things like "where are you camping tonight?" or "you're all by yourself?" or "are you carrying a gun?" because even if they are just natural curiosity, it can be slightly unsettling (for anyone, male or female!) to wonder why a stranger might want to know where you'll be sleeping, if you're alone, or if you're unarmed. Conventional wisdom for female hikers is to dodge or lie when asked these types of questions, anyway. But I'm usually happy to chat about the trail, wildlife, gear, what have you. My family and friends are so sick of hearing me talk about thru-hiking that I'm generally pleased to meet other hikers to geek out about it with!

TNhiker
10-16-2020, 21:02
That raving, hallucinating psycho was a menace to everyone, men and women alike.



yeah....

a mentally unstable person like this suspect was bound to hurt someone eventually.......

trail or no trail-----he was a danger......

rickb
10-16-2020, 23:40
Every one of the 7 thru hikers (yes, thru hikers) murdered on the AT in the middle of their thru hikes were either women, or men hiking with women.

While the AT can feel and be safe for all thru hikers, the author’s comment (copied from elsewhere?) that risk of getting murdered at home is 1000 times greater than on the trail does not hold water — at least for folks on a thru hike.

Dan Roper
10-17-2020, 08:55
Who was it that said if you drew a 2,200-mile line through America randomly, you'd end up with more examples of violence than has happened on the AT. The AT seems like a remarkably friendly and safe place, despite the risks that exist.

I'd much rather hike the AT than drive on I-285 in Atlanta in the rain.

rickb
10-17-2020, 09:19
Who was it that said if you drew a 2,200-mile line through America randomly, you'd end up with more examples of violence than has happened on the AT. The AT seems like a remarkably friendly and safe place, despite the risks that exist.

I'd much rather hike the AT than drive on I-285 in Atlanta in the rain.
Me too.

Many risks of modern life simply do not exist on the trail — and then there are the health benefits of an active lifestyle.

But just as it is OK to recognize and accept the risks of driving, so too it is OK to recognize risks — even small ones — in other activities. And then take reasonable/measured approaches to lessen them.

As for the line analogy, consider that on a decent size map of the USA, that pen line will be about 3 miles wide.

We can only wish the trail covered so much ground. Any one who has thru hiked the trail has likely slept, lunched or otherwise passed directly over the site of not one, but several horrible crimes — and not just been in the general area.

Traffic Jam
10-17-2020, 11:30
Just an observation...from the stories in the article related to sexual harassment, it seems a common theme is that the women are hiking in groups with strangers and exchanging personal information, such as cell phone #’s. I know that’s common on the AT but it’s not something I do. Typically, I have no interaction with other hikers beyond a friendly greeting.

BlackCloud
10-17-2020, 12:30
The article makes the AT sound like a pretty bad place, which of course it is not. 7 people have been murdered out of how many millions of cumulative hiking days?

I advocate that all hikers / travelers learn basic self defense skills. This builds confidence and actual know-how if it comes down to it.

I may sleep in a nylon tent, but so does my .40 semi-auto pistol. The complications of interstate travel while armed have been covered in other threads. If you choose to do so, be properly trained and know the law.

As way of correction, the NPS's Investigative Service's Branch and the FBI have concurrent jurisdiction for felonies on NPS lands. Neither agency is a local police force.

https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1563/index.htm

Five Tango
10-17-2020, 12:41
A stun gun,tear gas or bear spray,and a good sized rock in a sock should discourage most of the "creepy" guys I would think................(my stun gun is also a flashlight so it's stealthy and arouses no suspicion...)

Knocky
10-17-2020, 16:28
Self protection starts with mindset. Men, as well as women seem to be woefully unprepared for a sudden crisis. Adequate means of protection are available, and there is no legitimate reason these days, for anyone to suddenly realize that they are on the menus, with no ability to defend themselves.

Captain Blue
10-17-2020, 17:37
Every one of the 7 thru hikers (yes, thru hikers) murdered on the AT in the middle of their thru hikes were either women, or men hiking with women.

What about Scott Lilly?

https://www.strangeoutdoors.com/true-crime-in-the-outdoors/tag/Scott+Lilly+-+unsolved+murders+on+the+Appalachian+trail

rickb
10-17-2020, 18:15
What about Scott Lilly?

https://www.strangeoutdoors.com/true-crime-in-the-outdoors/tag/Scott+Lilly+-+unsolved+murders+on+the+Appalachian+trail

Section hiker.

JNI64
10-17-2020, 18:57
Self protection starts with mindset. Men, as well as women seem to be woefully unprepared for a sudden crisis. Adequate means of protection are available, and there is no legitimate reason these days, for anyone to suddenly realize that they are on the menus, with no ability to defend themselves.

Well said, you have to have the mindset to do something you'd thought you'd never have to do. But a life threatening situation deserves a life threatening defense. And yes men are just as vulnerable. No matter what your line of defense practice, practice, practice.

JNI64
10-17-2020, 19:39
And I have to say and I swear I'll go away. To all the female hikers like Blackcloud mentioned learn some form of self defense. Great workouts, self confidence etc... there's good videos on YouTube and books learn some stuff to, lets say equal the odds against a bigger stronger opponent. Than you can practice on your husbands and or kids...

Ancient Diver
11-29-2020, 00:38
Only 1 out of 4 rapes are reported to authorities. When I hiked the Shenandoah National Park section in 2016, my 19 year son went ahead of me and my other son. He got lost and his cell battery was dead. He hiked west, all the way out of the park using survival skills I taught him, 14 miles off trail through the wilderness before he found someone with a phone. He was beat up and bruised but OK. I was worried sick and still have nightmares about this. After we collected him, we stayed in a hotel in Waynesboro that night off trail. I am a very early riser, so I washed all of our clothes at 5 AM the next morning as my boys slept. While waiting for the laundry I told the front desk lady about my harrowing experience and how I was so afraid for 12 hours. She then told me her hotel had taken care of girls who had no money, who had come off the trial from hiking solo, after being beaten, robbed and raped, begging for them to put them in a room. She told me one such lady had come in that way the month before. She said the girl waited for her parents to arrive, pay the bill and take her home. The victim did not report it. She just wanted to go home and forget all about the AT. The night clerk also told me of another girl who had been tied up to four trees and gang raped and left to die, but survived after being found by other hikers. That girl also did not report the crime. She told me this happened every summer, not uncommon. I have studied crime incidents on the AT for years, as I almost always hike alone, which makes me a target. Virginia appears to be the most dangerous section of the entire trail, and Shenandoah National Park definitely stands out as the section where bad things are more likely to happen (close to such to large population centers). But..... crime is very low on the trail considering over 2 million people per year hike some section of it. Relative to any big city, the AT is a far safer place to be. However in terms of relative risk, the AT is head and shoulders a much more dangerous trail than any of the other national trails. This is not an opinion - the numbers are there for anyone who wants to dig into the data. But the data also shows some very useful tips. The statistics show that groups of three or more are never attacked. So hike with two buddies. Also, dogs are not a deterrent to an attacker. However, there is no information on crimes occurring in the presence of "dangerous, protective breeds of dogs", so I wouldn't rule out a big Doberman or German Shepard or Rottweiler as unable to provide some level of deterrence or protection (but that IS an opinion). Also, nearly all crimes occur at shelters that are within a mile or so of a road. Some shelters with easy access to roads are used as weekend party zones for the local BillyBob and Bubba set, as they can't carry a beer cooler that far. So NEVER camp at or near a shelter within a mile of any road - ever. I never stay at ANY shelters because shelters are full of field mice, and the typical field mice has on average, 140 ticks clinging to its skin, per the Wall Street Journal. More ticks means a greater probability of Lyme disease (and venomous snakes to eat the mice). I sleep in a hammock, off trail, with no fire, away from other people, in stealth mode. A properly set up hammock will keep you high and dry even in a howling thunder storm. Shelters leak, some really bad. I was an infantryman, 6 man long range patrols, in the Army, so I have no small amount of knowledge of how to disappear in the woods. I also am an expert with weapons and carry one, but I do not advocate this for anyone unless they are a combat veteran - someone who has been shot at and shot back better, not a pistol range warrior. In spite of all the male bravado and testosterone poisoning and fantasy heroics, nearly everyone with a gun will hesitate when the time comes to not hesitate, ending badly for the gun owner. Speed wins over accuracy. Even in the Army, green troops often freeze when encountering their first firefight. Bear spray is a better option than a pistol for most. Wasp spray is even better - the can squirts further, delivers a truckload of liquid, and the spray will immediately temporarily blind an assailant and permanently blind them if they don't get to an ER. There are no restrictions on wasp spray. I also set up an alarm system to wake me if a bear or person becomes too curious while I sleep. In short, I am careful. For all those folks who think they can rely on their "instincts" to protect them? That's pure rubbish. The FBI profile team says if they can't pick out serial killers from ordinary people, with all of their PhDs in criminal psychology and decades of experience, it's beyond ludicrous for you or anyone else to walk around thinking their instincts will protect them. Hogwash. All of Ted Bundy's victims went willingly with him. Criminals who are highly successful at their craft are really good at putting their victims at ease. They're good talkers and charming and pleasant. So, to summarize, here are my rules for any hiker, male or female: 1. hike with 3 or more people 2. avoid shelters close to roads, 3. don't let strangers get within 20 feet of you, 4. and if you are solo or two people, don't light a fire - disappear into the night. A fire can be seen for miles and miles at night, and for much further if you are up on a ridge. If someone saw you during the day, and wants to do you harm while you are asleep in camp, they will know exactly where you are by the light of your fire. Also, the national forests have lots of meth cooks hiding out and pot farms, so a fire might make them nervous enough to investigate the source. "Common sense is not that common" - get some and stay safe.

English Stu
12-22-2020, 08:42
I recall advice about having some self defence skills. If a female solo - give your hiking pole, or jacket, a trail name so there is always two of you. Neutral trail names for females, especially two together.
I rarely slept in a shelter. If alone in one don`t unpack till late; know a tent pitch nearby and be able to pitch in the dark; then if someone turns up who you are not happy with you can say `I am off to camp` without causing offence. I did that when a guy came in and first thing he did was to open the biggest ziplock bag of multi-coloured pills I had ever seen. He might have been on medication but how was I to know. If stealth camping have a headlamp curfew; they can be seen for miles.

PennyPincher
12-22-2020, 17:09
here's my advice to women. follow your gut. if someone or some thing/situation seems "hinky" trust your instinct. get out of the situation/place or away from the person if you can. also trust your gut with who you CAN trust. really. (FYI, I'm a woman)

I read the book Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker years ago. I gave a copy to my niece when she was about 14/15 years old. It talks about how women are "programmed" by our society from birth to be "nice" and ignore their gut instinct especially about men. But our instinct is there to protect us. Better to "hurt someone's feelings" because you misread their intentions than for you to be physically or mentally damaged by a person who intends you harm.

JNI64
12-22-2020, 17:58
The thing is some of these sick individuals are very convincing/"trustworthy " . Of course separate yourself if something is "off" . And yes unfortunately most of the time it's men . FWIW, I'm man!

But for some reason say you drop your guard for a moment for some reason, this person escaped your danger radar, raining stayed in the shelter, I'll be ok, sorry can't think of anymore for instances you get my point.


Again my best advice for man or woman self defense is your best defense, learn what works and what doesn't.

FlyPaper
12-22-2020, 18:27
Every one of the 7 thru hikers (yes, thru hikers) murdered on the AT in the middle of their thru hikes were either women, or men hiking with women.

While the AT can feel and be safe for all thru hikers, the author’s comment (copied from elsewhere?) that risk of getting murdered at home is 1000 times greater than on the trail does not hold water — at least for folks on a thru hike.

Totally true. Those that say that the AT is far safer than a big city are generally not good at comparing things. I would concede that if you spend 10 minutes day-hiking on the AT, you are less likely in that 10 minutes of being murdered than if you live for 1 whole year in Chicago. However, that's a horrible way to compare relative safety. I'd also contend that if you spend 10 minutes in downtown Chicago, then you're less likely in that 10 minutes to be murdered than during a complete thru-hike of the AT. I only bring this up because I am someone who who is a stickler for accuracy, not someone who is fearful on the trail nor encouraging others to be fearful.

Ancient Diver
12-23-2020, 11:49
The article in the link is well written and does a great job of shedding light on how easy us men can make a lady feel uncomfortable. However, the article has one horrible piece of advice, that when followed, has often led to a tragic end for a woman, and that is in the misguided conclusion of "trust your instincts". While this saying is as "common as dirt", with everyone repeating it like it's some unalienable truth, it is 100% horse bunky. Rather it is a formula for becoming a crime victim. A retired FBI profiler wrote a book on what people, and women in particular, need to do to keep themselves safe from predators and serial killers. Her name is Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, and her book is Dangerous Instincts: Use an FBI Profiler's Tactics to Avoid Unsafe Situations. In her book she states "trust your instincts" is the worst possible advice a person can follow. She points out that if she - a person with decades of experience interviewing and dealing with the nation's "worst of the worst serial killers", with all the resources of one of the world's top crime fighting organizations, assisted by having a PhD in criminal psychology from a top university, that if SHE can not identify who is a monster and who is not, based on casual conversations and day-to-day interactions, with all of her training and experience backing her up, then it is absurd - stunningly ludicrous - for a lay person to think that they can rely on their instincts - because they can not. She points out all the women who were murdered by these sickos, all the ladies who got into a car with Ted Bundy, and oh so many others, how ALL of them were trusting their instincts - instincts that told them they were safe, until it was too late and found out their instincts were wrong - dead wrong. O'Toole explains to the reader all the things they can do to take preventative measures, avoiding getting into situations that make the person highly vulnerable to these sickos. Her advice is not only for women - many men have been killed by such predators also. Hiking solo is setting yourself up for a predator, as O'Toole describes in her book. My recommendation is anyone - woman or man - thinking about hiking any part of the A.T., solo, should read her book. I am a 70 year old white male with dual titanium hips, meaning I hike too slow for nearly everyone, which in turn means I have no choice but to hike solo or stay home. I wish I had a hiking partner but I don't, so I work around it. I take precautions - a lot of them. I never sleep in a shelter - nearly all crime on the A.T. has been at shelters (and as we all know, shelters are full of field mice, but few of us seem to know that the average field mouse has 140 ticks embedded in its skin, so shelters and Lyme disease go hand in hand). I camp off trail, hidden, out of sight from someone walking by. I use a camoflauge rain fly and hammock. I never build a fire - they can be seen for miles. Before I set up camp I stop and wait, hidden, resting a bit before I set up my hammock, to see if someone or something is stalking me, a trick that saved my skin more than once in Viet Nam. I am a former combat veteran, expert with firearms, expert at picking out night defensive positions, and I have a weapon ready at all times, awake or asleep. I also set up an early warning system of trip wires tied to noise makers. Few people possess real expertise with firearms - shooting paper targets, no matter how good you are, is a far, far, far cry from combat shooting, and nearly all "pistol range heros" will hesitate when confronted with the decision of using deadly force. Such hesitation is often fatal for the person doing the hesitating. Pepper spray or a can of wasp spray (which will temporarily blind a person when sprayed in the eyes) is a far better defensive weapon than a firearm for nearly everyone. A firearm has the burdensome requirements of getting a concealed carry permit, and New York and New Jersey don't allow hand guns at all, so it is a poor choice for through hikers. There is no license required for a can of wasp spray and it will shoot 30 feet - easy-peasy. The best advice I can give to anyone is to hike with 3 or more people. There has been only one attack on a group on the A.T. - all the rest have been on solo hikers or couples. If you must hike solo, then learn how to disappear into the woods - be sneaky like a sniper.

JNI64
12-23-2020, 12:07
All great advice. And thank you for your service sir!

That last sentence isn't a correct statement. The stabbing last year happened with 4 people there.

Five Tango
12-23-2020, 12:34
All great advice. And thank you for your service sir!

That last sentence isn't a correct statement. The stabbing last year happened with 4 people there.

I remember having read that there was a mentally unstable individual making threats on the trail before the murder happened.It came as no huge surprise when it actually happened.The Boy Scouts have the right idea btw....

It's my understanding the 4 people split into two groups of two and the perp attacked each separately,killing one and severely injuring the lady who escaped after playing dead.

Dropdeadfred
12-23-2020, 14:19
Situational awareness. Most civilians , and ESPECIALLY women have ZERO !
Watch them,,,, redlight ? pull your car right up to the bumper of car in front of you,
Exiting a store ? face planted in phone blasting out door without a care in the world.
Rounding a corner ? lets hug the wall, vs swing wide so you can see around.
Short cut through a dark alley ? sure no problem.
Go with your gut ? PULEASE,,, folks dont have a gut.
Most would be way better off focusing first on training in situational awareness. Vs buying a gun, buying pepper spray, yadda yadda, training with that,, but still no situational awareness.
All the firepower in the world wont help you if your face is planted in your Iphone.
Case in point,,, guy walks up to you,,, "Hey you got the time" ?
You pull out your swipe swipe or watch the guy and make sure he maintains 3 feet or you step away to maintain 3 feet ?
Bet 99% of civilians will pull out there swipe swipe gadget.

JNI64
12-23-2020, 14:55
Wow, I came to respond to five Tango and seen this last response. So out of bounds on so many levels I'm not going to break down. I will say I've known some pretty skilled women that any man would have a hard time dealing with.

Now we've been through all the would've, should've, could've.
What i want to do is praise that young lady for surviving. After being stabbed, cut she was smart enough to play dead and survive. And then walked 6 miles barefoot in the dark no light at all ,bleeding and finds help...

rickb
12-23-2020, 15:23
I remember having read that there was a mentally unstable individual making threats on the trail before the murder happened.It came as no huge surprise when it actually happened.

If you were to have believed that your risk of murder on the AT is less than 1 in a 3 million (in Bayesian terms had a “prior probability” of near zero), then it would have been somewhat reasonable for hikers discount what they were hearing and seeing first hand.

The ATC and others do a disservice in perpetuating such nonsense.

JNI64
12-23-2020, 17:50
If you were to have believed that your risk of murder on the AT is less than 1 in a 3 million (in Bayesian terms had a “prior probability” of near zero), then it would have been somewhat reasonable for hikers discount what they were hearing and seeing first hand.

The ATC and others do a disservice in perpetuating such nonsense.

Yes, statically speaking...
But first hand knowledge of this individual with the weapons, violence, shovel incidence chasing people out of shelters with, trying to start fights, etc.

Really should have and I I think it did put everyone on a higher alert!! Not enough I reckon :mad: !!

wishbone
12-23-2020, 22:07
Bear Spray!

Five Tango
12-24-2020, 08:59
redacted the post

Five Tango
12-24-2020, 09:15
I would agree the average person's situational awareness needs improvement.Also,we need to be cognizant of society's ingraining of people to "be polite and cooperate".People need to remember they are under no obligation to give anyone the time of day,change for a twenty,light for a cigarette etc, and if you encounter someone with those questions you had better not take your eyes off of them.

However,in this situation the event started when the victims were awakened by the perp when he was outside their tent threatening to set it on fire.It was a mistake to split up but at the time everyone may have figured a good run would beat a poor stand as they had nothing with which to defend themselves.

JNI64
12-24-2020, 09:18
I don't know how you women get to be old ladies with zero self awareness. And especially the way y'all drive its a wonder you make it past 40.

And none of stand a chance with one of those swipey things!!

TwoSpirits
12-24-2020, 09:50
This --


A retired FBI profiler wrote a book on what people, and women in particular, need to do to keep themselves safe from predators and serial killers. Her name is Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, and her book is Dangerous Instincts: Use an FBI Profiler's Tactics to Avoid Unsafe Situations. In her book she states "trust your instincts" is the worst possible advice a person can follow. She points out that if she - a person with decades of experience interviewing and dealing with the nation's "worst of the worst serial killers", with all the resources of one of the world's top crime fighting organizations, assisted by having a PhD in criminal psychology from a top university, that if SHE can not identify who is a monster and who is not, based on casual conversations and day-to-day interactions, with all of her training and experience backing her up, then it is absurd - stunningly ludicrous - for a lay person to think that they can rely on their instincts - because they can not.

Armed with all sorts of fancy psych education and training, I spent a career in criminal justice and corrections, and I have never ceased to be surprised -- some of the "nicest" people I've ever met have done truly monsterous things.

Even so, I guard against spending my life being suspicious of everyone and afraid of what they might do -- because it has also been my experience that "angels are everywhere."

The world is full of danger as well as beauty; I don't want to miss out on the latter because I'm too afraid of the former.

So it's a challenge. Just relying on "trusting your gut" is naive, and akin to "getting by on the cheap" -- you really do have to put some work into protecting yourself. Some people will want to carry a weapon, and some people will rely on physical self-defense skills, but everyone can learn good situational awareness skills. Are there courses or workshops for this? Probably. You can probably find useful tips and exercises on the internet -- but just like long-distance hiking, the basic concept may be simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It's a skill that takes practice and constant mindfulness.

Sorry this turned into a ramble. [emoji849]

JNI64
12-24-2020, 14:02
Have you ever seen a highly skilled female crossfit or highly skilled female ufc fighter in the fight for their life? It'll give you a new appreciation for the "weaker sex" .

Around these parts child abduction is a big problem, I guess easy access to 3 different airports, I-81 interstate i don't know but.
I know alot of women who carry firearm they practice in the backyard and will protect themselves or family.

A buddy of mines wife takes their granddaughters 3 of them to the Walmart and and she has been followed a couple of times, just recently someone followed her and the kids all the way out to the car ,so she lifted her shirt up so he could see she was carrying. He walked away....

For those interested there is a few YouTube videos that I like.
One is "Active self protection " they use video camera footage to breakdown self protection moments. They cover all bases very professionally done.


Another is more hands on type stuff, but knowing what works it doesn't take alot of strength. It's Master Wong don't laugh this guy's legit and covers all kinds of situations. His videos receive millions of views for a reason.

And the last one is the history Channel did a series titled the human weapon. Each week they took a different style martial arts and examined there strengths.

But of course nothing beats going down to local self defense center and learning some stuff.

After all every shopping center has one nowadays, usually next to the Chinese restaurant and dunken D's.

BlackCloud
12-24-2020, 14:16
A "sixth sense" instinct / gut feeling is vital in many facets of life. While not a panacea for anything, to discount its existence is the real bunk whatever some ivory-tower FBI bureaucrat claims notwithstanding. What I put no stock in is the FBI's ability to "profile" criminals - that is to say predict who did it w/o evidence. The law enforcement community largely scoffs at these FBI claims.

Child abduction is not a major problem anywhere in the USA. Most child abductions are parental.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wisconsin-missinggirl-data/kidnapped-children-make-headlines-but-abduction-is-rare-in-u-s-idUSKCN1P52BJ

JNI64
12-24-2020, 16:26
That depends upon ones idea of a major problem. To me it's a major problem, according to that link there's 350 chid abducted a year so that's about 1 a day, that's major to me. They just recently had 3 big child abduction cases on the east coast.
Somewhere close to 100 kids were found in each case. 100's people arrested so that's major to me.

Sorry for the drift folks it's just something I feel very strongly about.

Let's all learn from these attacks on the trail. It's a shame we have to be so cautious of other, but you really don't know who has bad intentions.....

Like BlackCloud says " Be Prepared " !!

rickb
12-24-2020, 16:37
Have you ever seen a highly skilled female crossfit or highly skilled female ufc fighter in the fight for their life? It'll give you a new appreciation for the "weaker sex" .


I am 6 foot 3 and was in great shape at age 25 — not to mention over 200 pounds — when I was was put in the hospital (broken leg) by a scrawny guy in a parking garage who seemed half my size.

While I had already lived in one of the most dangerous places in the world by that time, my lack of appreciation for bad guys in a small midwestern city practically guaranteed that I would come out on the short end of the stick.

Good people start at a significant disadvantage that eclipses their physicality.

Best to put distance between you and whatever makes you feel uncomfortable without delay — even if, or perhaps especially if, you have adopted ownership of a shelter or Trail or your small section of a so-called “safe” area. I paid the price for not doing so, as I suspect many victims on the Trail did as well.

Especially when the circumstance in which you finds yourself are not all that different from those of tragic events of the past.

Or not. You will probably be just fine.

Five Tango
12-24-2020, 18:13
I forget who posted it but I did see some martial arts instructor on YT demonstrate what one can do with a hiking stick used as a weapon.It was impressive.However,when I say hiking stick I do mean a wooden staff,not an aluminum or carbon fiber pole.If bets were being taken between a knife wielding assailant vs a knowledgeable person with a good stick,my money would be on "stick man".

PennyPincher
12-24-2020, 19:05
That depends upon ones idea of a major problem. To me it's a major problem, according to that link there's 350 chid abducted a year so that's about 1 a day, that's major to me. They just recently had 3 big child abduction cases on the east coast.
Somewhere close to 100 kids were found in each case. 100's people arrested so that's major to me.

Sorry for the drift folks it's just something I feel very strongly about.

Let's all learn from these attacks on the trail. It's a shame we have to be so cautious of other, but you really don't know who has bad intentions.....

Like BlackCloud says " Be Prepared " !!

800,000 children are reported missing every year. So yes, it's a big deal.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-missing-children/missing-children-in-u-s-nearly-always-make-it-home-alive-idUSBRE83P14020120426

Five Tango
12-24-2020, 19:22
Here's link to the martial arts instructor demonstrating a simple walking stick technique in case any of you ladies or gentlemen would like to see that a "big stick" is a pretty good weapon against someone not packing a firearm...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWgtJw-65aE

JNI64
12-24-2020, 21:18
Yes a trained " stick man " is going to win against a knife. Stick man has distance advantage ... unless of course he is a knife thrower....

The "staff" as a weapon originated from Japan. The Japanese army took all firearms away from the farmers so as a way for the farmers to protect themselves the staff was one way they developed into a weapon. They would have to practice in the dead of the night for years what would work and wouldn't.
And once they were proficient with it they would disguise there weapon as a water carrier, a 6' bo,stick on their shoulders carrying buckets of water. When they seen an adversary coming they would drop the buckets and use the staff as a weapon.

gpburdelljr
12-24-2020, 22:58
Yes a trained " stick man " is going to win against a knife. Stick man has distance advantage ... unless of course he is a knife thrower....

The "staff" as a weapon originated from Japan. The Japanese army took all firearms away from the farmers so as a way for the farmers to protect themselves the staff was one way they developed into a weapon. They would have to practice in the dead of the night for years what would work and wouldn't.
And once they were proficient with it they would disguise there weapon as a water carrier, a 6' bo,stick on their shoulders carrying buckets of water. When they seen an adversary coming they would drop the buckets and use the staff as a weapon.

The English developed the staff as a weapon, called a quarterstaff, independent of the Japanese.

Dropdeadfred
12-25-2020, 00:15
I suspect it didnt take much developing to pick up a stick and wack someone.
Interesting post about the profiling. Does seem to be hollywood and news show talking head nonsense. Anyone remember the DC sniper issue ?
guess really all we can do is reduce risk and make yourself a more difficult target, no way to completely eliminate it.

JNI64
12-25-2020, 04:25
It was actually pretty darn smart of the Japanese. And there is alot more to it than picking up a stick and whackin someone with it. Someone could hike with such a stick/staff and use it for self defense .

That's all they had was farm tools for defense.

Like nunchaku was a rice flair and they figured out a way to use these two sticks tied together with a rope as a weapon.

The sickle of coarse

The tonfa was a handle to bring up water , police used to use these .

And the sai actually came from other countries

All were simple farm tools

I remember the dc sniper all to well . The plumbing company I used to work for had white vans and at that time That's what they were looking for and a couple of us got stopped. It wasn't even a white van they were in.

And the truck stop where they finally got them off of I-70 was 5 miles up the road from us. A trucker called it in then they blocked the road out with their trucks.

JNI64
12-25-2020, 05:03
I tried YouTube for hiking self defense videos and only a couple came up mostly firearms. (One was "Dixie, homemade wonderlust").

Someone should do a video on trail safety meaning self protection and surviving a lethal situation. They could go over different scenarios and how to implement your environment.
Meaning ways to use what is around you as protection, just enough to hopefully get away . They could cover ways to use rocks, sticks, trekking poles, tent stakes, bear hanging rope, guy line, straps hammock or backpack, backpack as a shield for protection against a weapon etc ,etc. You know stuff we already have with us. Heck even your titanium spork can be a lethal weapon as most arteries are only 1/2" deep.
There's a company out there that makes kids book bags out of Kevlar if something goes down at least they'll have a chance against a gun or knife.

orthofingers
01-15-2021, 12:06
Here's link to the martial arts instructor demonstrating a simple walking stick technique in case any of you ladies or gentlemen would like to see that a "big stick" is a pretty good weapon against someone not packing a firearm...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWgtJw-65aE


that guy would be pretty devastating with that stick

Regarding the comments on “gut instinct”, I think if your gut tells you some individual isn’t quite normal, you should be wary. That emotion is probably biologically as well as culturally imprinted in all of us as a means of survival.
HOWEVER, just because a stranger is friendly, charming and witty, it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.
In other words, you should heed your gut instinct and maybe move along if you perceive a “bad” character but take it slow and always be somewhat on guard if you perceive a “good” person.
If that “good” person over time, turns out to be a psycho or a creep, then whack him with the stick as per the video.

TexasBob
01-15-2021, 13:40
........Regarding the comments on “gut instinct”, I think if your gut tells you some individual isn’t quite normal, you should be wary. That emotion is probably biologically as well as culturally imprinted in all of us as a means of survival.
HOWEVER, just because a stranger is friendly, charming and witty, it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.
In other words, you should heed your gut instinct and maybe move along if you perceive a “bad” character but take it slow and always be somewhat on guard if you perceive a “good” person..........

Well put. Always be wary of people you perceive as "not right" but creeps can seem normal too.

JNI64
01-15-2021, 15:25
Here's link to the martial arts instructor demonstrating a simple walking stick technique in case any of you ladies or gentlemen would like to see that a "big stick" is a pretty good weapon against someone not packing a firearm...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWgtJw-65aE

My 6' bo, staff,walking stick would have a rubber tip on one side and a 1/2" carbide tip on the other. For multi purpose use of course.

Dogwood
01-15-2021, 17:25
With increased hiking experience comes greater situational awareness so more experienced female hikers may have fewer issues. Unfamiliar males and females congregating in close camping/sleeping surrounds at AT shelters likely factor into it. If I recall at one AT shelter, there were actually two, two real nice ones, very well maintained, painted grey if I recall, one shelter had a sign over it Men and the other Women. That may be a helpful approach?

PennyPincher
01-15-2021, 17:39
that guy would be pretty devastating with that stick

Regarding the comments on “gut instinct”, I think if your gut tells you some individual isn’t quite normal, you should be wary. That emotion is probably biologically as well as culturally imprinted in all of us as a means of survival.
HOWEVER, just because a stranger is friendly, charming and witty, it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.
In other words, you should heed your gut instinct and maybe move along if you perceive a “bad” character but take it slow and always be somewhat on guard if you perceive a “good” person.
If that “good” person over time, turns out to be a psycho or a creep, then whack him with the stick as per the video.
very well said

PennyPincher
01-15-2021, 17:39
double post

Prov
01-15-2021, 18:38
I’m going to go back to the OP. First, thanks for being aware of your behavior. I think there are a lot of guys who are probably good people who wouldn’t hurt or harass anyone so they don’t think they could come off as creepy but they do. I would encourage guys to envision their daughter being on the trail alone and ask yourself how would you feel if you saw a strange man acting a certain way towards her. What would you tell your daughter to say if he asked her if she was out there by herself? Lie, right? So how about you stop asking women that question. Don’t be the guy you don’t want around your daughter.

I’ve been backpacking on my own for a long time and really feel the easiest way to avoid trouble is by not camping or hanging out anywhere near roads. I am not paranoid, but I pay attention to my surroundings. Some of the most on edge I have been on the trails is from men who just aren’t thinking before they act. First example that popped in my head is at a road crossing on the SHT a guy was standing outside his car. We exchange a hello and nice weather. When I stepped on the single track going into the woods he was immediately right on my heels. Is car guy probably harmless? Yeah. But now I went from listening to white throated sparrow and enjoying my hike to really upping my pace to get away from him, figuring out an out plan to get back to the road, and trying to be stealthy and remove my pepper spray because this dope couldn’t wait 60 seconds to enter the woods.

Don’t be that guy. Think of your words, think of your actions.