Monday, January 17, 2011

The East-Side Rapist: The White Elephant In The Room

The east-side of Detroit is currently gripped in a state of panic not seen here since the misogynistic reign of Glen Anthony during the summer of 2009.

Last week, Anthony, a prior prison parolee who was previously incarcerated 15 years for murder and drug dealing convictions, was sentenced to serve the rest of his life behind bars. His 2009 crime convictions included more than 30 offenses including multiple counts of kidnapping and rape, which spanned five separate cases.

Currently, there is another rapist running freely in the city who has wasted little time racking up gruesome rape statistics of his own. The Detroit Police Department (DPD) is attributing eight separate sexual assault attacks to a yet-to-be identified rapist. As of today, he has attacked eight different women since January 1rst.

In response to the attacks, DPD and the local Department of Transportation (DOT) have brokered an agreement whereby women can now wait for city buses inside of DPD precincts along the bus routes. DOT buses will make special stops to pick up these passengers. However, this arrangement offers little comfort, solace, or solutions for women at bus stops not near a DPD station.

Additionally, the "Detroit 300" has started nightly patrols in the east-side neighborhoods where the eight attacks occurred. They hope that their neighborhood canvassing with a composite sketch of the suspect will inform citizens that a rapist is on the prowl, will discourage young women from being on the streets after 9:00pm, and will ferret out a tip that will help DPD identify the rapist.

Moreover, DPD has issued some suggestions for women, who have a need to either be at bus stops or have a need to travel, during night-time hours. None of it is new and has been heard before this current round of rape attacks: don't wait or travel alone, be alert of your surroundings and strangers, and to travel to a police station if you are involved in an accident.

If the whole point of altering bus routes, establishing citizen patrols, and giving safety advice is to protect our women, why hasn't anyone publicly suggested an effective rape deterrent measure - a legally owned and carried firearm?

In the state of Michigan, it is lawful for a woman to use lethal force in self-defense when a predator is attempting to rape her.

One research paper by the Journal of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine reports the following results of women who were selected for rape victimization by predators:

- Women who responded by begging were raped 96% of the time.
- Women who responded by screaming were raped 50% of the time.
- Women who responded by attempting to flee were raped 15% of the time.
- Women who responded by using knives or firearms were raped 1% of the time.

The white elephant in the room, while the city's residents discuss ways to stop the east-side rapist, is why aren't we talking about women using firearms to protect themselves? After all, the last Detroit serial rapist - Glen Anthony - was only caught because a match of his DNA turned up in a sex offender database.

We may not have that luxury this time around. The end result may be that many more women will be unnecessarily debased and defiled until the rapist becomes so reckless that he commits a mistake that identifies him or we - the citizens of Detroit - have a frank conversation about firearms and their role in personal protection.

Our solution could be as simple as a brave young lady wielding a 9mm handgun.

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