Even Moraga Residents Need Self Defense


Nicole Kennedy, Opinion Editor

When we think of muggings, we may imagine a dark, urban alley where a masked man holds an old woman at knife point. Violent crimes are not as restricted to big cities or isolated, “sketchy” places however.

Some students naively think that being a minor makes them immune to certain perpetrators. Who would hurt a child, after all? But they may be the 1st to find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

According to the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, there are about 849,000 juvenile crime victims known to police each year. Overall, the rate of violent crime for adolescents ages 12 to 17 is 92 per 1,000, compared to 32 per 1,000 for adults.

The Odyssey Online further reported that 67% of all sexual assault victims are under the age of 18.

Students are vulnerable targets.

To protect students, our school should implement self defense related education beyond the meager handout we receive in Physical Education classes describing the “Eagle Claw” or the “Hammer Fist.” I concede that the district does offer a bit of self defense in its curriculum, but too many students don’t take it seriously, and most are in need of much more comprehensive education on the subject.

Physical Education teacher Alison Adams said that students “could take it more seriously,” but she agreed that the unit needs updating. Thus far, Adams has been unable to find suitable material to provide better self-defense instruction.

Today, guns and knives are accessible to just about anyone, so a more thoughtful, comprehensive self defense education is necessary, especially for those who have grown up in the relatively safe and uneventful Moraga community.  Most are ill prepared for the realities that lurk outside the bubble.

I know, Moraga does not seem like the type of “hood” where people are mugged, beaten, or kidnapped as they walk down the streets at night and alone. But, things do happen.

2 armed robberies have occurred in Lamorinda this fall: 1 on Halloween night, and the other on November 26.

In both instances, the residents suffered harm at the hands of violent criminals.

According to KRON 4, in the November 26 invasion, 4 masked men gained entry through an open garage door. While their house was robbed, the husband and wife were bound with zip ties and duct tape, blindfolded, and held in separate rooms.

The suspects were finally arrested just days ago.

While it is a miracle that these victims are still alive, it goes to show that anything can happen, even in the sunny suburbs.

I can’t help but feel uneasy when I think about what would happen if someone invaded my own home or threatened my family at gun point. It’s not like I could just “Leopard Fist” an armed robber in the jugular.

According to Education Dive, Hicksville High School in New York implemented a semester-long  self-defense course for juniors and seniors. Many students enjoyed it so much they took the class a 2nd time.

Having a legitimate self-defense seminar during Academy, P.E., or the sophomore health class is no hassle. Last year, students in my health class spent a block period running around wearing drunk goggles. Surely a self-defense seminar or hosting a self-defense speaker would be time better spent.

While the quality of our education is certainly top notch, we often fail the “street smarts” test. And, what’s the purpose of having such a high-quality education if we lack the skills and wisdom necessary for survival?

We have the privilege of being able to walk our dogs alone at night without a 2nd thought; we walk down the street on our phone without the faintest fear of being abducted. But, we will leave Lamorinda some day.  We need to be ready.

I don’t want to find myself in a dangerous situation like a mugging without being prepared.

Crazy things happen, and when they do, students need to be ready.