On September 6, 2013, several University of South Florida students fell victim to violent crimes at the hands of a 24-year-old. Charlie Christopher Bates, a gunman from another county, raped and battered four young women and bound four young men at a football watch party before fleeing the off-campus housing complex to inflict more harm on others. Bates continued his rampage at another nearby complex and forced a woman to undress, but he had a change of heart once the woman started to pray. He then went on to one of the other multiple off-campus student housing apartments and robbed two dozen students at gun-point during a birthday party.
When one student secretly tried to dial 911, Bates fired a shot into the floor. A county-wide manhunt ensued, and he carjacked a driver in the daylight hours and a high-speed chase began. Law enforcement officers and deputies chased the man down after shutting down local freeways. Bates died as a result of a shootout, but the experiences of the students victimized by this incident may never be alleviated.
In response to these unthinkable and brutal attacks that our campus community suffered, YAL at USF knew we had to do something to prepare students for unthinkable crimes that may present themselves at some point in time.
Coupled with a presentation on the non-aggression principle, our chapter was fortunate enough to bring in Brian Wang with one day’s notice to our September 10, 2013 meeting. Brian is a professional firearms trainer and a threat management expert, and he helped solidify the difference between non-aggression and self-defense.
The event attracted 10 new students alongside our 7 dedicated members with minimal advertising about Brian’s presentation because it was such short notice. During his presentation, Brian showed everyone the importance of learning self-defense and general preparedness for other events, such as a simple power outage. He explained that preparing to deal with violent criminals is the same as preparing for a hurricane: it may never happen to you, but if it does — you better be prepared and know how to respond. He also gave attendees something they can take with them: the Come-Along maneuver. It allows a prepared person to take along someone who may not have the knowledge to react in tense situations.
Brian’s demonstration only reiterated what most libertarians already know, but a lot of other sensible people don’t seem to understand that thorough firearms and preparedness training can be more effective in dire situations than merely dialing 911 and hoping for the best.
In order for us to utilize our weapons, or safety tools as I personally like to dub them, properly and able to defend our liberty, as well as the non-aggression philosophy, we cannot let our government disarm us by force. We must stand firm on our right to maintain the ability to protect ourselves and ones we care for in critical situations. Never be hesitant to defend your liberty; it’s what this country was founded on.
In addition, attendees shared their own personal experiences of violence and close-calls. Ashleigh, an upstanding member, shared her story of a date to the beach gone horribly wrong and how she was prepared through conviction and having cash on hand for a taxi to leave the situation. Another student shared his frightening story of being robbed twice at gunpoint. The second time, he explains, he was forced to shoot upon his assailant putting his concealed weapons training to good use.
This meeting was not only successful in the fact that we had more new faces than returning ones, but also we got kicked out of our meeting room because people stayed after the presentation to engage in discussions. The meeting room allotted us nearly 2 hours, and once the building personnel came to return the room to its normal setup you would think students would say their good-byes. NOT THIS TIME! The conversations, which ranged from economic affairs, non-aggression philosophy, libertarianism, government in science, health care and more, continued into the elevator lobby area for another 90 minutes! The meeting officially ran from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and I finally said my good-byes at 8:30 p.m. to start working on school assignments… who knows how long attendees kept their conversations going.
*Many thanks to Brian Wang for taking the time to speak with us. He has become a great friend to our chapter and extended a paid position to one of our members. We will be working with him in the future to offer more self-defense lessons to those interested on campus.