Having spent four years in Baltimore for undergrad, I’ve always considered myself lucky that I escaped relatively unscathed. I was never mugged; my car was never stolen (or damaged, in any way); no one ever broke into my apartment. You might think these things are a given, but when you see new notices every morning about muggings, break-ins, and students being pistol-whipped you start to reconsider.
Regardless, during those four years (and even now, occasionally, when I walk home alone in DC), I thought about how I would/should react to a threat. And, while it’s a lesser threat now due to the security in my building, I’ve also thought about what course of action to take should I encounter someone in my apartment.
A samurai sword is not the first thing that comes to mind – and not just because I don’t own one.
Confused? I understand. Here’s where that came from:
“A Johns Hopkins University student armed with a samurai sword killed a man who broke into the garage of his off-campus residence early Tuesday, a Baltimore police spokesman said.”
“The student told police that he heard a commotion in the house and went downstairs armed with a samurai sword, Guglielmi said. He saw the side door to the garage had been pried open and found a man inside, who lunged at the student.”
Now, I don’t want to make light of this at all. I would be terrified if someone entered my home. If I came into contact with them and had a weapon of some sort, I can’t say that I wouldn’t use it in self-defense.
But, two things jump out here:
1) You’re an undergrad living in Baltimore. And, if you’re living off campus, you’re an upperclassman – which means that you have experience with this city. So why investigate a suspicious noise on your own? I know the police were called, but I’m unclear on the time line. Maybe it’s just me, but my first instinct would be to get out.
2) Who has a sword? Or even, who has a sword that’s sharp enough to nearly sever a hand? It could be my own ignorance, but I always thought a) if you had a samurai sword (especially at this age), it was probably a collector’s item, and b) that those blades were fairly dull. Because who would ever have to actually use them?
In the end, like everyone else, I’m curious to see how this will turn out. How will the student be charged? Or will he?
Maybe it’s a clear case of self-defense. Maybe not.
But I’m still thrown by the sword.