Yesterday afternoon a woman was attacked with a knife and sexually assaulted in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park near Knoxville. Local news* outlets thus far have no information on the attacker, who remains at large as of this writing.
The Park's Supervising Ranger, Kent Cave, had this to say to WVLT-TV**
"It is extremely uncommon. However, it is important to point out bad things can happen in national parks."
Bad things, indeed . . . that seems the understatement of the season, and small comfort to the victim of the assault.
While we sympathize with the victim of this crime, and assign culpability solely to the perpetrator, we must discuss the idea of going into the wilderness without any sort of defensive weapon or plan. Although rare, as the ranger points out, assaults and bear attacks do occur. So how should one prepare?
First, prepare your mind for the possibility of an attack. Don't think for a moment that you can depend on the rangers. Remember, you are going into the wilderness.
Second, get training and arm yourself. Carrying a defensive firearm is legal in the Smokies.
Third, take bear spray and keep your distance from the bears. A bear may look sort of like an oversized labrador retreiver, but it is a wild omnivore. It not only likes berries, it might also like you.
Remember, when the chips are down, only you can be your first responder. Depending on anyone else is simply Pollyannaish.
Disclaimer: The information and ideas presented in this column are provided for informational purposes only. Firearms, like cars, kitchen knives and life itself all can be dangerous. You should get professional training as part of any plan to use firearms for any purpose. I have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to assure that the content of this column is accurate. I have no control over what you do, and specifically accept no responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading my columns. Any action or lack of action on your part is strictly your responsibility.