Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rant about having the RIGHT to protect myself

Today I attended a Carolina Baseball game. Something I've done for many years. Last year we got a brand new stadium along with a lot of new rules. One rule being a bag check before entering the stadium. I do it and move along. However today they requested I unzip the zippers inside my purse so they could look in them. I question the legality of the "security" requiring me to do that. I am unsure if I'm aloud to refuse etc. As it is hard to find information on that.

Anyhow. I carry pepper spray in my purse as a means of protection. I'm 97 lbs. and 5 foot 3. Obviously I find it a necessary means of protection/self defense. I have never had a problem carrying this in the stadium before. (Maybe they just never noticed it.) Today, however the woman said I needed to take it back to my car or I couldn't go in. I said I've never had this problem and stadium parking is about a half a mile away. (You must take shuttles to get to and from or walk.) I questioned her and she got her "manager." I got into a minor argument with manager. I told her she knew very well parking was too far away to just take it back. I also question why as a small young woman I don't have the right to keep this on my person. She told me it was USC's rules, and they consider pepper spray a weapon. More arguing of course ensued. She said she would hold it for me until after the game and I could FIND her to get it back. BULL CRAP! My father had already entered the stadium so I had to get him to come back and tell him the situation. Again he questioned why I could just go in like have many times before because it's not like I was going to have it out using it willy nilly. My dad gave in and just said he would take it back to the car. We had to switch tickets and it was over.

I was extremely upset once I got into the stadium. I had so much anger built up I just burst into tears. How is it fair that I'm not allowed to carry something to protect myself that can't kill you? How is it fair that I have to have my things searched, but men don't?

USC lists prohibited items as such:
Prohibited Items
The following items are prohibited at Carolina Stadium: alcoholic beverages, food of any kind, illegal drugs, pets, weapons, umbrellas, strollers, coolers, backpacks, thermoses, laser pointers, artificial noisemakers, video cameras, recording devices, or strobe lights. All persons are subject to search. One bottled water per person is allowed in Carolina Stadium.

They generalize and say weapons. Not pepper spray specifically. Some things you read say it is a non-lethal self defense weapon, others say it's a self defense product. Thus there is some gray area. However I do know that in the state of South Carolina it is legal to carry pepper spray that is 50cc's or less. (which mine is.) So if its legal can that override a University rule?

I get so upset over this because I feel as a woman I am more susceptible to harm. I feel I should be able to carry my pepper spray to protect myself no matter what. I mean think about how many college women frequent sporting events. Are you telling us we can't have a means to protect ourselves to and from the stadiums? (All stadiums are removed from campus except the basketball arena.) This is a city where crime does occur. I feel the University of South Carolina should revise this rule about carrying pepper spray when it comes to women. Lets face it more times than not men are less susceptible to being kidnapped or raped/attacked.

I'm full of a lot of questions about all of this. I'm grateful my father and boyfriend were with me today, but there have been times I have gone to games by myself. (And yes I had my pepper spray, and no one said anything.) I have been to plenty of other events that were higher in security and my pepper spray was not questioned.

I don't know how much of this makes sense, but I really needed to get it out. I will be doing more research on this, and writing the University. In any case if they are going to search females bags they should start searching males pockets. Same difference in my opinion.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent points about women being able to protect themselves. If pepper spray an issue, what about stun guns?