Jan 3, 2008 at 3:15 pm #1226576Jan 3, 2008 at 3:19 pm #1414747
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
Already postedJan 4, 2008 at 1:05 pm #1414835
thats spooky. my girlfriend and I did the Vogel to Blood Mt. thing the 29th and 30th.Jan 4, 2008 at 7:13 pm #1414889
The story is not sounding good. They have found a 'person of interest' and her dog (miles from each other, but both found recently). Not good at all.Jan 5, 2008 at 10:25 am #1414939
@trlhikerLocale: Eastern NC
Could not find other post but it looks very bad for the young woman. There are big discusions about this over on whiteblaze and trailtalk. Looks like the guy they picked up appears to possible be the guilty party.Jan 5, 2008 at 10:43 am #1414944Jan 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm #1414980Jan 5, 2008 at 11:33 pm #1415004
The authorities have now arrested Gary Michael Hilton and charged him with kidnapping with intent to do bodily harm.
Her wallet, driver's license, and bloody clothing believed to be hers were found in a dumpster.
It is believed she is no longer alive. Link to details:Jan 7, 2008 at 4:11 pm #1415198
@hellbillylarryLocale: southern appalachians
I have been following this story from the start since I live in GA and hike at Vogel all the time. I keep thinking maybe if she were carrying a firearm we would be reading about a dead MAN and not about a missing female hiker. I may get flamed for this but maybe women should really consider wether it is safe for them to hike solo. I mean there were lots of people on the trail it was new years day on what is probably the most overused section of trail in georgia and this still happened.Jan 7, 2008 at 5:01 pm #1415206
I am flamming you…
I have hiked pretty extensively and I have done quite a bit of it solo and I have to tell you that I can't imagine carrying a gun unless I was actually going hunting (which I"ve never done…but that's a whole other thread). I am in no way trying to tell others to either carry a gun or to not carry a gun…do what you think is necessary and obey local rules and ordinances (ie. don't carry one in a national park).
When watching the news that past few evening (something I've stopped doing since there is hardly ever any good news) I've noticed lots of violence stories in cities and suburbs every night but lately only one violence against hiker story. Most of these violence stories deal with gun violence so again, I don't think having a gun would have necessarily helped her.
If we unfortunately find that she has met an untimely demise, I think that best thing that we can do is catch the person who did it (ok, I'll leave that for the police) and learn from it, take stock about what we do carry that we can use as weapons for self defense, constantly stay alert to the things going on around you and go with your gut instinct about a person or situation. I also think that it is important to make a game plan with the hopes that you never have to use it. I do this all of the time when I hitch into a town to resupply. I have a system of what I have to have on my person in the event that I need to open the door of the car and bail out while my pack is in the trunk. I've never had to use that game plan but I've come close, once.
In closing, the entire scenario is unfortunate but I don't think carrying a gun is a good or necessary fix. Both men and women hikers should carry what makes them feel comfortable being out there. I don't think I flammed you too bad did I?
NITRO/AnitraJan 7, 2008 at 5:59 pm #1415216
Well said Anitra.
During my solo trek in Joshua Tree over the holidays, I met a young woman who was camping solo at an established, albiet small, site. I shared her fire for one night (that's not a double entendre) and we talked at length about this topic.
I think anyone, especially a solo woman, would be better armed with:
A self-protective sense of surroundings/strangers and clear intentions for the trip/trail.
Practical self-defense classes.
Honestly, I don't trust people to carry a firearm intended for self-defense. I don't believe the average training with such weapons provides sufficient psychological preparation in the "real world" scenarios they are taking responsibility for. Go ahead and flame me. Hehe.
-MichaelJan 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm #1415220
I agree with Jesse, and this is related to the earlier and popular thread about carrying a self-defence firearm in the backcountry. If she was trained and packing we might be reading about a hiker who killed a guy in self defense instead of this terrible outcome.
The weapon I personally chose, a Beretta Vertec, has a small enough trigger reach to easily be used by me or my female hiking companion.Jan 7, 2008 at 6:36 pm #1415223
Body of missing Buford hiker found….R.I.P. Meredith EmersonJan 7, 2008 at 6:38 pm #1415225
I've never hiked with a hiker who carried a gun. I am curious as to where you carry it and in what kind of holster? Do you both carry your own fire arms or do you share one? Do you carry it when you hike solo or only with your female hiking partner? Thanks (I'm not flamming you yet, I really am curious).
NITRO/AnitraJan 7, 2008 at 6:42 pm #1415227
Hilton will likely go with an insanity defense since he has a history of mental illness. I don't think it will work in this case. At any rate, he will spend the rest of his pathetic life in prison >: (Jan 7, 2008 at 7:08 pm #1415231
The young lady's body was found tonight … a sad endingJan 7, 2008 at 8:25 pm #1415239
At the risk of dredging up the Guns thread…
How, exactly, do you imagine an encouter with a psycho in the wilderness to play out?
1) Crazy-eyed, long-haired man steps out of the bush 100 yards down the trail and stares you down. You tell him firmly not to attack you while simultaneously unsnapping the holster of your Peacemaker out of view. He ignores your commands, and starts walking towards you at a steady pace. You draw your Colt, raise it with both hands, and again command him to stop and not threaten your constitutional right to personal safety. He continues, unfazed by the sight of the hardened-steel double-action Equalizer that is clasped in your hands. You command him to stop a third time, but by this time he is 20 yards from you and you know in your heart that it is time to act. You take aim at his left knee, squeeze-rather-than-pull the trigger, and there is a deafening crack as the gun leaps in the air and you are jolted by the recoil. When you regain your senses, you realize that this maniac is still limping towards you, his left knee shattered by your miraculous marksmanship. No you know it's serious, and that this man is seriously deranged. He will probably hurt you or worse. You steel yourself, think of your family, and aim your Hand Cannon directly at center mass. Another even squeeze on the trigger, another jolt of recoil, and as the gun comes back down you realize that your attacker is stone cold dead. It was you or him; you had to act.
2) Lunatic understands that most successful crimes are committed by people we know and/or trust. He's neatly dressed, tells jokes, and has a slice of upside-down cake ready to share with you when you roll into camp. Because being insane does not automatically make you into a bumbling cartoon villain.
3) Lunatic understands that he is in America, and if he gives you advanced warning of his lunacy he might end up with a severe case of lead poisoning. So instead he hides and waits (he is in the forest after all). Because being insane does not automatically make you into a cowboy film villain, sidling into the town square at noon for a showdown.
I would also suggest two other scenarios, for your review and consideration:
4) The villain really does give you time to reach for a weapon with shaky hands, (because they will shake; even marines shake,) unsnap it, draw it, make it ready to fire, level it on your enemy, close your left eye, find the front and rear sights, estimate range, aim at center mass, then squeeze the trigger *evenly* without disrupting your aim. What happens next? He dies, right? No: he happened to be moving at the time, and your shot didn't even come close to the very small human center mass. Neither did your 4 panicking followup shots, because your aim does not improve with increasing panic.
5) Some angry, drunk misogynistic men come upon your camp in the evening.
a) you gun is visible: they become angrier. You either shoot them for the crime of being drunk, or wait until they grab you and it's too late
b) you gun is hidden: you have to produce it because it will be too late if they try to grab you. They become angrier. You either shoot them for the crime of being drunk, or wait until they grab you and it's too late
c) you gun is in your pack or tent: all your mentally-rehearsed self-protection strategies have suddenly been negated because you don't wear a holster around camp
What if you just left your artillery at home and thought about reading situations, judging strangers' characters, and wearing pepper spray if you're really afraid? After all, if you fail at those tasks, it's unlikely that you have the wits to save the day with a Six Shooter. Guns are hard to use at the best of times.
I was really looking forward to exploring the Wonderland trail in Washington, but thanks to this thread and the Guns thread I'm scared out of my mind to talk to an American woman who is alone.
What if I reach to shake hands and I wind up spending the last seconds of my life breathing through my sternum?
After all, can you gun-toters ever trust a smiling man who is reaching towards you?Jan 7, 2008 at 8:39 pm #1415242
PS I do not mean to minimize or trivialize the fear that women (and men) feel when alone in a strange place. Real, bad things do happen to good people.
Further, if you lined every man who had ever raised a hand to a woman up against a brick wall, I'd gladly shoot each one in the crotch. Just tell me the time and the place.
But strutting around the forest with a loaded gun and thinking you're somehow safer is a recipe for terrible things to happen.Jan 7, 2008 at 8:49 pm #1415246
In Arizona it is legal to carry unconcealed (with provisos). If hiking with a female partner, I carried a Beretta Vertec, strong arm side(RHS), in a nylon quick release belt holster. I carried 15x9mm plus one in the chamber; condition 1 (Magazine inserted, round in chamber, slide forward, and safety on). With the Vertec, it is physically impossible for the weapon to fire with the safety engaged, thus safe to carry in this condition.
It is not unusual to see civilians with guns in Arizona; although native Arizonans carry much more frequently than people who moved there from other states.
In the S.E. US I had a concealed carry permit. But that was before I started hiking; it was just for urban conflict resolution management.
I wish I did not feel the need to carry, but in the US I knew three people who have been shot, including a friend shot dead in his driveway in front of his wife and baby. I feel so terrible for Ms. Emerson and her surviving family members.
Brian, security considerations are different in some parts of the US than in the south of BC. If I told you the story of my friends demise it would seem much more bizzare and improbable than the imaginary scenarios you mentioned in your post, yet it happened.
For a female hiking alone who wants to carry, I would recommend an NRA couse, and frequent range-practice with a small caliber revolver. It is unfortunate we live in times like these, but nothing evens up the odds better than a pistol when your opponent is unarmed. Michael does have a good point; some people are not psychologically prepared to pull the trigger; such people should not carry.
I now live in Japan; happily, this country is so safe I have no need to carry a weapon.Jan 7, 2008 at 10:30 pm #1415253
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
nm.Jan 8, 2008 at 1:50 am #1415263
"Brian, security considerations are different in some parts of the US than in the south of BC. " -Brett
This is abundantly, shockingly clear to me.
But owning a gun doesn't make you safe any more than owning an exercise bike makes you a Tour De France contender. The two have some things in common, but *suprising few*.
In fact, the statistics speak to the opposite argument: owning a gun makes you less safe, period. You *are* more likely to be shot if they own a gun.
My post was meant to open the eyes of those who believe that just having a piece of iron on their hip automatically elevates their security level, whether through deterrence or perceived confidence or whatever. I say hogwash: it makes you more likely to be hurt, and it makes other hikers more likely to be hurt too.
Poor backcountry form.
EDIT: "nothing evens up the odds better than a pistol when your opponent is unarmed" – really? Not even pepper spray? Isn't pepper spray the equivalent of carrying a full-auto shotgun with a 50-round magazine, in terms of likelihood of disabling a target?
If you pepper spray someone, they're completely disabled. If it's truly important that you kill them, (as it seems to be,) you can just go do it with your pocketknife or else snare wire from your survival kit. I think that pepper spray + knife is more likely to be effective in the hands of more people than a gun.
Or is that a little too personal? A little too gory? Because killing is killing, and your reason for carrying a gun is to be able to kill as quickly and efficiently as possible. Why not switch to the more-effective pepper spray + knife method?
(Because since it not shown in tough-guy movies, we're able to see it for what it is: horrible)Jan 8, 2008 at 5:45 am #1415270
"I think that pepper spray + knife is more likely to be effective in the hands of more people than a gun."
You take your pepper spray and knife. Give me the shotgun. Now you face into the wind….
I've been hit with pepper spray. You can still keep on fighting. So much for your argument. You clearly have no sense of reality if you believe your own statement.
It amazes me that Canadians, who by their own admission have no experience with handguns, will chime in here with their "expert" opinions. You can quote your statistics from whatever group you desire all day long. With a bit of research I can find stats to refute this. It's a lot like arguing over which tent is better having never used one.
I've said it before. You're fear-mongering based on your personal beliefs. Those who choose to carry in a country where they are allowed to do so by the highest law in the land do so because of what they see around them.
I won't change your opinion. You won't change mine. But I had to respond to such outrageous, ridiculous statements, presented as if they were facts by an "expert".
Maybe we should get back to remembering the tragedy at hand and considering saying a prayer or two for this young woman's family.Jan 8, 2008 at 7:09 am #1415274
Shawn – I always stay out of these type of arguments, but that was a great response. The idea that guns don't work as well as knives/pepper spray is silly. If it were true that's what every army, militia or criminal would carry instead of guns. Whether it is appropriate for an individual on the trail is a personal decision and I wish we could just leave it at that.
RonJan 8, 2008 at 8:32 am #1415277
I said that most people have a better chance of disabling a target with pepper spray than with a handgun. Why? Handguns are hard enough for most people to aim and fire accurately at a range, let alone at a moving target during a personal attack. Ever see Unforgiven?
Just being American does not make you an expert on self defense. There's a reason why the Police, hunters, and forest rangers all reach for pepper spray in some situations, despite having a readily available gun. And soldiers don't use it because it was banned by the Geneva convention, if you were wondering.
Living in a country with a lot of gun crime doesn't make you or anyone else a good shot during a crisis. Nor an expert.
How many people have you killed as a civilian?
How many of the people you have killed were attacking you in the forest?
Okay I didn't think so. That means our experience level is equal, except that I know what it's like to *not* be a trained soldier. And non-soldiers do not become safer just because you attached a gun to their hip.Jan 8, 2008 at 9:48 am #1415283
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Far be it for me to tell anyone what to post… but this thread has morphed into a gun debate. Stating the obvious, we all know that we are not going to solve the debate or change anyone's mind here. And for this reason alone, maybe we should take a deep breath — and talk about something else?
Surely no one here wants to be the bore around the campfire who has to go on and on and on — just to have the last word?
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