September 29, 2010

Blame the Victim?

This has been making the rounds on facebook and the blogs and I just want to throw in my two cents, and you can take it or leave it. I am honestly not trying to rub anyone the wrong way with this, I just really think there may be another side to the story.

Y'all who have been following me any length of time or who have clicked on some of those links on the top right know that I'm a big believer in PERSEC (or, Personal Security practices). It is absolutely important to practice good PERSEC. (Not to be confused with OPSEC. They are similar, but different.)

When face-to-face with someone, I have no problem lying and saying my husband will be home any minute, even if he's actually in the field.

I abide by the "10-foot rule" - always have a tool of personal defense within 10 feet (in my case, a loaded Glock 9 mil.).

I have a concealed carry permit and I am very open about that fact, and anyone reading my blog or facebook can just always assume I have a gun on me and I know how to use it and I have absolutely no qualms about pulling the trigger. None.

I plan to never get a "half of my heart is in another country" bumper sticker or putting a yellow ribbon on my door (aka "Rob Me!" signs). And yes, SoldierMan is fine with that.

And even though you may not believe me, I really do deliberate over what I do and do not put on the internet - if you don't want the world to know, don't put it online.

I'm just prefacing what I'm about to say so that you know, I don't take PERSEC lightly. I would be the first person to advise you all to "get thee to a gun range" and take the course and carry a gun (if your state allows, of course), which to a lot of people sounds like the epitome of paranoia. But I'm also a big believer in keeping things in perspective and not living in fear.

Recently the milspouse community suffered a horrible tragedy. Shana Hight, a Navy wife and blogger, was found murdered in her own home while her husband was deployed. No one knows who the murderer is or why they chose to kill her. All we know is that her brave sailor is now a widower, and that she died alone and screaming for help, heard by neighbors who hesitated to dial 911. (Which reminds me - always, always, always dial 911, even if you think it's someone "crying wolf." You'd want them to do it for you.)

This blog has been posted all over the ethernet, and spawned many similar opinions. We'll ignore that the author doesn't know the difference between OPSEC and PERSEC. What I find bizarre is that the author clearly states that police have no clue as to the motive behind the killing, or even how many people were involved. (If you click the links within that blog to the news stories, that is what they say.) Yet she still somehow decides to connect the killing to Shana's blog and facebook posts - while still saying they don't know whether or not they are related. That, my friends, is not being conscientious. That's being a scare-monger.

I compare it to a scenario here locally. A local Christian radio host came home and interrupted a home invasion in progress. In the process, he was killed. Now, this is a fairly public figure. It's entirely possible that the vandal knew from his show schedule when he was and was not likely to be home, or perhaps he mentioned attending an event that had a specific timeframe, and the vandal heard and chose to break in at that time. Does that mean that he somehow brought it on himself?

It's exactly the same situation. Now people are talking about this poor woman (who, conveniently, can't defend herself) by "accusing" her of referencing her husband's deployment on her blog and on facebook, and making not so veiled references as to that being the cause behind her murder. "Well, that's too bad she was killed, but she shouldn't have said her husband was deployed on facebook." I'd just like a show of hands: how many of you who have been through a deployment made it through an entire deployment without mentioning it once electronically? Whether it's for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months....could you really keep it a "secret" for long?

What if they catch the guy and it turns out he's just a freak who followed her home from the grocery store? What if it was someone posing as a service repairman she had called? What if it was a woman pretending to need help who was actually trying to steal stuff for drug money? What if she had been stalked for months by this person in real life, not online? What if it was a group of people on a gang initiation? At this point - with no evidence one way or the other - any or all of these situations are as likely as another.

Shouldn't we assume someone is innocent until they are proven guilty - especially a victim?

Yes, we absolutely need to be wise about what we post online or say in public. Yes, we should be responsible for our own safety. Yes, we should never, ever volunteer information that could put us in danger.

But spreading the idea that Shana Hight caused her own murder - without evidence to back it up, like the killer's testimony - is not fair. We don't know that. So we shouldn't suggest it, even vaguely. No one deserves what she got, regardless of what she put online.

And yes, we should all absolutely be careful and not be stupid take unnecessary risks. (Seriously, people, lock your doors! It's not "just stuff" - it's your family!) I'm not saying don't be careful. But don't let someone scare you, either. It's not worth it.


  1. Thank you! How many people can watch and notice your husband not coming and going? It's not just on-line! People know- especially in high military areas- people know the comings and going of the ships or groups of soldiers. We have to be sure to guard ourselves, but I would hope if someone viciously attacked me- people wouldn't blame me for it. When did this become "acceptable"?

  2. I could not agree more! Perfectly put.

  3. I completely agree with you and I think it's so cool you have your concealed. I cannot wait to get mine!

  4. *Standing Ovation*

    Thank you!! Seriously!!! Every time someone posts something like "she shouldn't have posted that her husband was deployed on facebook" it just infuriates me!

    Yes, we need to protect ourselves, but when does it become too much? I even saw someone post yesterday that we should be posting pics of ourselves and our husbands on facebook even when they're gone so people can see that you've been together. Honestly, if they're friends or family that I KNOW they already know that my husband is deployed. Putting it on facebook makes no difference. If you have put all the privacy settings to work for you, no one except people you know can see all of your info.

    I think it's too easy to blame the victim here. Even if she did post things online, it's not her fault someone killed her.

  5. Well said. This post really hit home when wou talked about the local that was killed, we went to church together for years. I am a strong believer in 'not living in fear'. Like you said, that doesn't mean not taking basic safety precautions and especially leaving doors unlocked, but I refuse to let fear consume my life. Bad things can happen, no matter what. A couple months ago I had a really good friend that was killed (as a passenger) in a car accident, and it really infuriated me when people were blaming him for all kinds of reasons. Don't get me wrong, I question myself frequently about whether I am being careful with the information that I put out, but that is a personal decision. I wish people would be more considerate and less quick to carelessly judge and throw blame.

    Well I definitely ranted too long. In short, I really liked this post.

  6. Well written, J! I try not to put too much stuff on there...but when he was deployed I just wanted to scream from the rooftops from time to time that I missed him.

    And besides that...You don't even really have to say anything on fb. Let's just say I tell one of my friends back home...then in passing she tells one of her friends. Word gets around regardless...

    AND...You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get a permit here in NY!

  7. very very well stated. poor woman and her family:O( i'll be praying for them.

  8. I appreciated this. You have such a way with putting things and what you said was so true. I'm learning I'm pretty naive, and my blog could probably use some help in the PERSEC department (and probably FB too) but I honestly just didn't realize some of these things until now. It just never occurred to me. I have some questions because I would like to be better! We should all get together for that photography walk or something and we could talk about it.

  9. Oooo, there's few things I love more (like microbrews), but, yes, EVERY woman should know how to accurately shoot a weapon. But some people aren't okay with Concealed (my dad was a cop, so we're cool with guns), but at least get something (Tazer, japanese kitana ;), etc.) that can help you.

    And not to boot, but I have better accuracy than a certain someone who I share a home with. :D

  10. This was perfect! I always count cars in the parking lot around me and how many people are walking near me. I can't get my concealed until next year but the husband and I have already talked about it and that is what I am doing on my birthday.
    Thank you for this post!

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!! It is disgusting that people would even begin to consider that this was her fault.

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!! It is disgusting that people would even begin to consider that this was her fault.

  13. This is the first I have ever heard of it. I don't have T.V. here so it's hard to keep up. It's really sad to me that someone would ever put blame on a victim but it happens all the time.
    No one deserves to have their life taken from them. It's like you said...we have NO IDEA what lead up to her getting killed. It could have been anyone for any reason. We just don't know.
    All we do know is that a young wife was taken from her deployed sailor when so often it's the other way around. It's really very sad.

  14. I wasn't sure where you were going with this at first, but I totally agree with what you said. Our politics are very different but I enjoy your blog. You're young and opinionated, but you make some good points.

    BTW, I found your blog by googling something for Disney ended up reading most of it and continue to come back. I'm former army (and for a short time until he got out, a military wife) and I definitely remember how annoying having someone I care about at Infantry OBC is. Good luck to you and your husband in his new duty station.

  15. I LOVE that you have a gun!!!

    I hope you didn't read my ways to keep yourself safe post as blaming the victim :-/ I tried to keep it general, because like you said, no one knows who did it or why so I did not automatically blame the internet ...but now I'm a little worried that I came off the wrong way!!! Oops.

    It is NEVER the victims fault, I hope I didn't make it sound that way!!

  16. It Infuriates me when they always blame the victim, and usually that victim seems to be a woman. How typical of them. Most of time people who kill others, are people that the victim knows.I understand they are trying to warn people about posting things online but like some of the other commenters you can make things private and you don't have to let people know where you live either. I think its awesome you have a gun, sometimes I wish I had one. I hope you never have to use yours though. My thoughts and prayers are now with this family, this is the first time I had heard this story too. I don't have a TV. I will try to keep updated online now. I hope they get some answers and figure out who murdered the saliors wife. Thank you for posting this story Jaci, I liked it! I want a gun too! I don't think I would do well with a knife. I think I would lose that fight.

  17. VERY WELL SAID! & I couldn't agree more!

  18. Thanks so much for this post. I'm a friend of Shana's family and many of them have read the hateful posts on-line about this possibly being her fault. You are right, Shana didn't deserve this. ~a friend

  19. I agree 100%! Very well said! I can't believe anyone would blame the victim in this case for what happened. Although in my opinion, it happens a lot with the liberal media. There are no shortage of excuses for criminals, and it's absolutely disgusting.

  20. The funniest thing about that article you linked to? She links to various news stories, one of which quotes the police as saying there are no signs of forced entry, so they are thinking it's likely someone she knew. HELLO! That makes it extremely unlikely that it had something to do with twitter/facebook/blogs. How annoying. I liked your thoughts! Very concise and clear.


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