In 2013, the Department of Public Safety at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) caused a stir when it suggested female students vomit or urinate on themselves if attacked.
Unfortunately for UCCS, on-campus conceal-and-carry bills were being debated in Colorado at the time, so its post catalyzed a great deal of interest, including that of conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, who criticized these tactics as ineffective, infantilizing, and condescending.
Given that feminist and left-leaning sources were also unenthusiastic about these unsavory pointers, UCCS promptly cut its losses removed the page.
In its defense, UCCS’s recommendations were not idiosyncratic. For instance, See Sally Kick Ass: A Woman’s Guide to Personal Safety suggests that attacked women, among other things, rub their vomit or feces all over their bodies, as does Fight Back!: Safety and Self-Defense Tips, which adds “barking like a dog.”
And this got me thinking: What if these books were titled Bark Like a Dog! or worse, See Sally Rub Vomit on Herself? What would such titles communicate? Why did the authors emphasize violent resistance in their titles, but not so much in their actual advice?
This post isn’t about campus rape. It is, rather, a criticism of an assumption we tend to make in our discussions of resistance generally, namely, that advocates of violent resistance must show that it’s more effective than non-violent forms of resistance. For reasons of dignity, I don’t think that’s true.
Application: gun control
I will use gun control to approach this widespread assumption, although we might have used state-on-state aggression just as easily. There are four main reasons given to permit citizens to have guns: Continue reading