Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Swing and a Miss

In the local paper there was an article entitled "Police Officer Safety Advice."

It starts out by reporting some short, balding, heavy-set guy in his 50's has been exposing himself to women walking on the W&OD trail around 2:30 p.m. Then it goes on to state, "In light of these incidents, the Loudoun Sheriff's Office reminds residents to take the following steps to protect themselves when using the paths and trails:"

They offer this bulletized list of steps to PROTECT yourself from these incidents:
  • Always stay alert and be aware of surroundings...
...because you don't want to miss the short, balding, heavy-set guy exposing himself to you?
  • Don't wear headphones.
...because NOT wearing headphones will somehow shield your eyes from the traumatic vision of the short, balding, heavy-set guy exposing himself to you?
  • Walk, run or bike with a partner or group.
...because you definitely want to share with your friends the traumatizing experience of having a short, balding, heavy-set guy exposing himself to you.
  • Let someone know when you are on the trail, your route and when you expect to return.
...because that will somehow prevent the short, balding, heavy-set guy from exposing himself to you.
  • Walk, run or bike when the path or trail is likely to have a higher volume of foot traffic.
...because then the short, balding, heavy-set guy has more targets to choose from, so he might not decide to traumatize YOU.
  • Avoid using paths or trails when it is dark outside.
...because then you won't be able to SEE the short, balding, heavy-set guy exposing himself to you? Actually, DO use the paths when it's dark out so you DON'T see him!
  • Carry a cell phone.
...Okay, so this is the ONE thing on the list that actually makes a LITTLE bit of sense. Not because the cell phone will PROTECT you from the short, balding, heavy-set guy exposing himself to you as the article states. However (comma), you can (a) use the camera in your cell phone to take a picture of the guy that the police can use to identify him, and (b) you can call the police right then and there, reducing their response time and giving them a better chance of catching the guy than if you had waited until you finished your walk and got home to call.

Anyway, sorry, I couldn't resist. The article just struck me as really odd and humorous.

I'm not saying it's okay for short, balding, heavy-set men in their 50's to go exposing themselves to women on the trail (or for anybody to expose themselves to anybody else on the trail for that matter). I'm also not trying to say that those safety tips offered by the Loudoun County Sheriff's office aren't good general rules for safety. It's just the incongruity between the crime committed and the "steps to protect themselves" from this specific crime.

I hope the ladies that were the victims of this crime weren't traumatized by it and that they find the LCSO's tips to "protect" themselves as humorous as I did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, the humor will likely make the "must do's" stand out in more minds than the same old things re-iterated. I guess there are pluses to running in the base gym family room on the treadmill! ;)