Tag Archives: random violence

Is It Safe Out There?

imageSince my recent post referencing this story about the brutal stabbing death of a young female runner on my local trails, I haven’t stopped thinking about the victim, her family, and what this means for the future of our running community here in San Antonio.  I’ve been hooked on the news sites, trying to find out as much information as possible about the circumstances.  Sadly though, there is not much information being released.  We’ve gotten more information from friends who are first responders and from perusing running/biking forums than from the mainstream media.  They have no idea who did it.  Our police chief was on the news last night and the first thing he was quoted as saying was “The trails are very safe.”  Well, except for this unsolved murder 3 nights ago…

The public needs to be made aware.

My husband, my friends, and I run those trails.  My dad bikes those trails.  The trail system backs up to neighborhoods.  What does this mean for us?  The police have not offered up any precautions that park-goers should be taking because they are insisting it is safe – and advising people take precautions would imply the parks are not safe.  The same park where this murder occurred was open the VERY NEXT DAY.  They had greater police presence, but the news interviewed people playing there with their children who had no idea this had just happened.  My husband and I keep saying “Shouldn’t there be a huge sign there at the park saying ‘A woman was just murdered here – these are some tips for your safety!'” But that’s obviously not how the City operates.

There has been an outpouring of collective worry and compassion in our community.  It seems that everyone (at least those who are even aware of this story) is asking the same thing – “Is it safe to go back out on the trails?”  There is a fundraiser being set up for her family.  Also, a local running/training group We Run San Antonio (which I am not a part of) is planning a tribute to the victim, Lauren Michelle Bump, by dedicating the first mile of their long run to her as a “silent mile.”  They encouraged the community on their Facebook page to do the same, wherever they are running this weekend.  My husband and I are planning to do that.

But where will we run?

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My dilemma is this – I run for the physical and mental benefits nature has to offer – the challenge of the terrain, fresh air, and a peaceful environment.  My friends have told me I should stick to the treadmill (also known as the “dreadmill” by some outdoor runners).  Reluctantly, I went to the gym last night.  I carried my Mace through the parking lot because I am determined to make it a habit now everywhere I go.  There was a police car parked off to the side (my gym is 2.5 miles from the scene of the crime – I don’t know if that has anything to do with it or if it’s just my paranoid imagination right now).  I walked into the musty gym, looked around at all the beefcakes, and hopped on a ‘mill.  My 3 miles seemed like work.  It was suffocating, boring (even though I had music), and monotonous.  I got it done but I did NOT enjoy it.  A friend who loves working out in the gym suggested I try to make it “fun” by embracing the gym and the treadmill, varying my speeds and inclines etc, then going to do weights.  But I told her “I don’t work out – I run.”

I just want to run.

Any thoughts my friends?

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Too Close to Home

This story has the makings of a horrific fiction novel, but it’s true.  The unthinkable has happened right on the trails where I run – a woman was stabbed to death on New Year’s Eve.  It is confirmed that it was a random act of violence and her family is offering a reward for the capture of her killer.  It is rumored that she was running with earbuds.  Apparently, police received a call just prior to her death of a suspicious man on the trails.  He had approached another woman who had a cell phone and she called police.

I haven’t stopped thinking about this.  This is our neighborhood park and trail system.  There is a playground at the trail head.  On the day this happened, New Year’s Eve day, my husband took our kids there to play at 2:00pm, and I had planned to run when they came back, but I changed my mind – I wanted to have a “lazy” New Year’s Day. This was reported to have happened around 5:00pm.  I would have mostly likely been there at that time.  I can picture exactly where this happened because I’ve been there countless times – mostly by myself.  And I am ashamed to admit I have been leaving behind my pepper spray and whistle over the last few months.  I just became complacent.  This is a park.  There are always families here.  I do admit, though, that there have been MANY times where I have been running on a long stretch of trail where there are (seemingly) no other people at times and I was very nervous.  I have heard footsteps behind me and gotten my pepper spray ready.  But if I was attacked, am I really prepared? A friend of mine graciously invited me to a self-defense class for runners this weekend so I signed up.  Please review the many ways you can keep yourself safe while running .  I am considering what this means for my training runs.  I definitely won’t be returning to these trails.  I may end up running in the neighborhood.  Or the treadmill at the gym, as much as I don’t want to – but it is a much safer option.  I would love to hear all your feelings and opinions on this!

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