WILLISTON, N.D. – I signed up to take a self-defense class this weekend, but I was the only one and the class was canceled.
I actually thought the class offered through Williston State College’s community education program might fill up so I registered as soon as I learned about it.
When I moved to Williston in February, it was during the aftermath of the Sherry Arnold abduction and concerns about personal safety in the Oil Patch were high. Fourteen people took the college’s self-defense class that spring. My colleagues at the Dickinson Press and other media outlets reported on pepper spray and personal protection items flying off of store shelves.
So why the lack of interest in this class now? Are people feeling safer than they did a few months ago? Or did the cost of the class ($95) discourage people from signing up? (The instructor is coming from Bismarck, which is why the price is high.)
I’ve reported before that I don’t feel any less safe in Williston than I did in Fargo. That’s still true for me after about seven months here. However, I do think you have to be smart and aware of your surroundings, just as you would in any city.
The reason I signed up for the self-defense class has more to do with my current job assignment than the fact that I live in Williston. In Fargo, I often went on interviews with a photographer. I also had many colleagues in the newsroom who would notice if I didn’t return from an assignment.
Now I’m a correspondent and I work all alone. I primarily interview men, just because of the demographics out here, and I often do interviews in remote areas. So I decided having some self-defense skills would be a good idea. I hope the class gets offered again.
But for now, I’m $95 richer and that’s more than enough money to sign up for the other classes I was eyeing: wine tasting.