Titanic: Not a Damsel in Defense

When the Titanic crashed, she was no damsel in defense.  I saw the movie recently, and while I love it, I couldn’t help but see the parallels to how we can all sink if we aren’t careful.  No way to save herself, sending off desperate flares, and sinking into the ocean without any way to minimize the tremendous loss of life that occurred.  But how did she get to that situation?  Primarily two things, if I lump all the smaller technical factors together.  And these are the same things that can sink a damsel in defense as well.

1.  Overconfidence (led to running the boat too fast, not getting binoculars for the iceberg lookouts, and not turning in time).

2.  Refusal to acknowledge unlikely but possible risk factors (led to not having adequate lifeboats or proper emergency planning).

Everyone thought Titanic was unsinkable.  Why would anyone think such a thing about a huge hunk of metal?  Less sinkable, unlikely to sink maybe, but can you ever say something is impossible?  Marketing, that’s all it was.  Great marketing to get people on a big boat.  And you’ll see the same marketing from self defense weapons sometimes.  They’ll promise you’ll be unsinkable.  But you never know what can happen, and you should plan for the worst while hoping for the best. A damsel in defense watches out to make sure that the doesn’t think she is unsinkable and lead herself into a bad situation.

Self defense training and weaponry should always be a way of helping you be aware that all ships are sinkable and that there are icebergs everywhere, so you should have lifeboats on board and you should be careful how you steer.

That’s why I take issue with companies that promise you that their products will make you unsinkable, when really, there’s a lot of things you need to do to ensure you have the proper “lifeboats” for your ship.  If you are going to carry a weapon, make sure you are good enough with it that you can use it better than it will be used on you, and make sure you are strong and fast enough.  If not, and you just pick up some plastic defense toy and think it makes it fine to jog in the park at night, you are just like the Titanic, heading out into iceberg laden waters with no lifeboats.

If you are going to let anything make you feel invincible to the dangers in the darkness (or even broad daylight) make sure you prepare lifeboats for possible catastrophes.  If you are going to assume you are safe enough to go risking a metaphorical crash, make sure you have rehearsed and prepared for that crash.

1.  Acknowledge that you can sink.  Actions under this category include avoiding dangerous situations, jogging with friends during the day (jogging alone during the day and with friends at night are both still somewhat dangerous), taking awareness classes, volunteering at rape crisis centers to be really aware of the reality of rape, and anything else that keeps you aware of the “icebergs” out there.

2.  Prepare based on that acknowledgement.  Actions under this category would include getting weapons and training with them.  Also taking self defense courses that teach you how to use weapons, how to grapple, how to get away, etc.  Getting a concealed carry permit is another one.

None of these suggestions mean that you live in constant fear.  But would anyone have called the Titanic makers and captain paranoid for just putting the right number of lifeboats on and doing a lifeboat drill?  Who cares?  It would have been a way of caring more about the passengers than their own egos and convenience.  You seeing yourself as a sinkable ship navigating icebergs is a way of caring for the people on your ship, you and your family and friends.

So learn from the Titanic.  Steer carefully, keep a good lookout, and be prepared for the worst just in case.

As usual, this blog just my opinions and not professional or legal advice.