I was most sorry to read about editor Dan Evans' horrible experience being mugged (“Recovering from a wrenching experience,” Start the Presses, Jan. 27). As someone who likes to walk, and also takes the bus, I have been assaulted several times on the street. It's always pretty awful.
The first time I got assaulted, I was punched at a bus stop. The next day I went to the library and checked out the book “Street Smart: The Guardian Angel Guide to Safe Living,” a book of tips written by Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels. I thought the tips were excellent, and I still use them today.
One thing he said is when you're walking, occasionally do a 180-degree turn to see what's going on behind you. I don't know if doing this would have prevented Dan getting bopped from behind, but he might have seen it coming and at least wouldn't have had the additional trauma of being surprised. Maybe he would have glimpsed these guys from a distance, had a bad feeling about them, and ducked into a restaurant or such. On the other hand, if they'd already been near him and he'd seen their faces, maybe they would have killed him, so maybe it's better if he didn't see them.
I suppose people shouldn't go out at night any more than necessary. I lived by MacArthur Park for 10 years, but was never assaulted. I never went out at night for recreation or shopping. However, I did sometimes walk through the neighborhood at night to get to my graveyard shift job, so maybe I just got lucky.
There may be no perfect answer. Maybe all you can do is be as aware and intelligent as possible, but accept that life still has some risks. I'm glad Dan's still alive to tell the tale.