Elderly paper carrier for ''no-guns'' Toledo Blade savagely beaten

Just months after a Toledo Blade news carrier was raped while doing her paper route, WTOL.com (Toledo's CBS affiliate, News 11) is reporting that an elderly Toledo Blade paper carrier was savagely beaten in an attempted robbery last Friday morning.

The Blade didn't cover the news of this employee's victimization on its website, just as it did not cover news that two of the paper's night employees were robbed in the Blade parking lot just a few months ago, within view of the "No Guns" signs on all of the doors of the Blade building in downtown Toledo.

From the story:

    Phyllis Rhoton, 71, won't forget the mugging that put her in the hospital. "I have a couple broken bones in my cheek," said Rhoton.

    Every day before dawn, Phyllis and friend Peggy Harestad work together delivering The Toledo Blade on some of Toledo's meanest streets including: Noble, Yates, Moore, Page, Peck, Sherman, Baker and Bancroft.

    Peggy bags and rolls the papers -- Phyllis drives and delivers them. But Friday morning just after 6:00, Phyllis says something unspeakable happened. "I came to the car and was about to get in. All of the sudden from nowhere this guy came up and started hitting me in the face ... then he knocked me on the ground, hit me in the chest, kicked me in the leg."

    Phyllis recalls how the suspect kept demanding money and searching her clothes. "I kept telling him I don't have it. I don't carry any when I work on the route," said Rhoton.

    The suspect then focused on the car where friend Peggy watched the attack from inside. "He said 'I advise you, you better step out of your car.' I said there ain't no damn way I'm stepping out of my car. I closed the window, it was opened a crack and pushed the buttons to lock the car," said Harestad.

    Peggy imagined Phyllis lying helpless in the street. "She got up herself and came to the car to get in the driver's seat. I said no, no, I'll take over the steering wheel," said Harestad. The women found help at a nearby gas station.

    Peggy and Phyllis deliver papers to supplement their fixed incomes. "I think it's terrible. We've paid our debt to society by working hard. I've worked since I was 13," said Rhoton. "It needs to stop and it needs to stop quick," said Harestad.

But in a city where gun control laws have disarmed all but the criminals, and with an employer that enforces a ban against concealed carry on all of its employees (even those who travel into dangerous areas in the dark of night), victimizations like these are not at all likely to "stop quick".

A Blade spokesperson told News 11 that the newspaper is "saddened" by the attack and will make sure Phyllis gets paid while she's recovering. The spokesperson also said carriers receive safety training and advisories, and that its carriers are allowed to buy and carry mace in neighborhoods with safety issues.

After recalling the recent experience of a defenseless OSU college student who used pepper spray on his attacker, we can't help but imagine how much worse Phyllis' beating could have been had she enraged her attacker by trying to exercise "self-defense" the Toledo Blade way.

According to an analysis of past crimes, the Southwick Journal of Criminal Justice, 2000, women who resist [rapists] with a gun were 2.5 times more likely to escape without injury than those who did not resist, and 4 times more likely to escape uninjured than those who resisted with any means other than a gun. In other words, by endorsing non-lethal self-defense, the Blade has actually increased the likelihood that their employees will be hurt in an attack.

A 1986 Dept. of Justice survey found that 40% of felons chose not to commit at least some crimes for fear their victims were armed, and 34% admitted having been scared off or shot at by armed victims. As concealed carry laws have become more common, no doubt these numbers will have gone up (and crime rates have most certainly come down). But thanks to Toledo Blade policy, criminals know there's no fearing that these newspaper employees may be able to defend themselves.

Why does the Toledo Blade continue to enforce an insensitive ban on armed self-defense for its employees and contract carriers? These people should be ashamed for a company policy which mandates that Blade personnel with concealed handgun licenses (who are trained, who have passed FBI background checks, and who have never had a drug conviction) disarm themselves, even as it sends them into harms' way each day.

Ohio law may give the corporation immunity from civil liability for enforcing a policy which renders workers like this poor woman defenseless, but they can never, ever escape their moral responsibility.

Related Stories:
Newspaper carrier raped on the job; her employer bans self-defense

Guilty conscience? Blade offers reward for information in rape

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