And They Ask Me Why I Carry?

By Linda Walker

  • Albuquerque, NM - 74 year old Garland Taylor slain while showing a $900,000 home to a well groomed, professionally dressed man.
  • McKinney, TX - Sarah Ann Walker stabbed 27 times while holding an open house at a new housing development. Her body was found on the kitchen floor by a couple house hunting.
  • St. Petersburg, FL - A neatly dressed man posing as a DEA agent attacks a real estate agent, taking her purse and car keys while threatening her with a gun that he will kill her.
  • DeKalb County, GA - Within an 11 day period, 3 female real estate agents report being robbed at gunpoint by a man and a woman.
  • Baltimore, MD - Maryland police warn Realtors of a man stalking female agents. One agent was assaulted during an open house when the stalker hit her over the head with an object. The agent was able to fend off her attacker, but police believe it was an intended sexual assault.

    It's September and that means that once again it's "Realtor Safety Month". The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR) and every other regional Board of Realtors will once again hold their annual "Safety Seminar and Self Defense Tactics" classes and give tips on how to stay safe. Once again real estate agents will hear the benefits of carrying pepper spray. We will hear how to stomp on the top of your attackers foot causing the breakage of the tiny bones, while placing a well aimed knee to the attacker's groin area. We will be shown how to grab the arm of the attacker while it's wrapped around our throat, and gouge at the eyes of the attacker with our free hand. It all sounds theory.

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    The reality is, that as a female real estate agent, it is a fallacy that I will be able to loosen the grip of the choking arm around my throat. I will not have the opportunity to place that well aimed kick to the groin area, let alone be able to stomp hard enough on someone's foot to break the bones and run away. I can not be drug into the false security that carrying pepper spray will be my savior. It is reality that I could incapacitate myself with my own pepper spray.

    As a Realtor, we put ourselves in harms way every time we show a house. Many a time the hairs on the back of my neck have gone up when I arrived at a vacant house, in a less than desirable part of town, and two men who are strangers to me, are waiting. As much as I try to keep myself between them and the door, that is not a fail safe plan.

    Open houses are another situation that I try to avoid. Advertising that as a female I will be sitting in a house for 2 hours with no one else at home seems like a really dumb idea to me, and I let my sellers know that. Any serious buyer will view that home with their agent. Rarely is a home sold because of an open house.

    I vowed on that August '78 day, the day my Mom was raped in the privacy of her own rural Fulton County home, that I would never be a willing victim!! Unfortunately, I had to wait another 26 years to be able to do anything about it. The moment that concealed carry passed Ohio legislature in January 2004, I took the necessary steps in my own self protection and signed up for CCW classes. Although not a 100% fail safe stop all, I can go about my real estate business knowing that at least I can even out the playing field if God forbid that day ever happened that someone has evil intentions towards me.

    As time goes by, I meet more and more real estate agents who have also gone the extra steps of getting their concealed handgun licenses (CHL), and taking responsibility for their own self protection. I have taken my steps even further, that now; I will instruct those agents who are ready to take responsibility for their own self protection, not on how to stomp someone's foot, but how to protect themselves with a firearm.

    Linda Walker is the Central Ohio Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association, the NRA's 2009 "Sybil Ludington Women's Freedom Award" recipient, a licensed real estate agent in the State of Ohio, and a certified NRA Basic Pistol Instructor instructing Ohio concealed carry.

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