Late one night last week, I was walking home from being out - it was around 12:30 AM or so.
I tend to be pretty aware of my surroundings at night. For years I merely accepted the fact that I am a big man, so my personal safety seemed somewhat assured. But in these days where the economy is tougher and you never know who's packing a glock, I think it's better to err on the side of caution and be aware of what's around me - especially later at night when foot traffic is more sparse.
Anyway, on my walk home, I ended up passing two different women, both walking with earphones in. And I became so distracted by them I almost couldn't think of anything else. How could any woman, walking alone on a dimly lit street after midnight, think she is in complete safety given the fact that she is blocking out all the sounds around her?
When the sun goes down, the earphones should be put away. Sure, music helps make time pass more quickly, but only in situations where you may want to dim out the crowd. At 12:30 AM, there is no crowd -- there's barely a group. And even if the volume is on low, an attacker can be pretty stealthy before he's on you.
Several weeks ago, a man was traveling through my Lakeview neighborhood assaulting women, possibly women who were walking at night listening to their iPods with earphones. I hope that's not the case, and I hope women take more responsibility for their safety.