Harvey Milk Day is celebrated every 22nd of May of each year. It commemorates the life and contributions to society of the late gay rights activist, who was assassinated on November 27, 1978 along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Milk was no stranger to death threats. His advocacy and sexuality did not sit well with many people in those days and it became normal for him to receive death threats from the anti-gay community.
“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet shatter every closet door,” Milk said in defiance to the death threats he received.
He was later shot five times, the last two with the gun pressed to his head, by Dan White, a former San Francisco Supervisor. White killed Moscone in his office after the mayor rejected his plea to be reappointed before he headed to Milk’s room to kill him. If you wish to know more about the LGBT icon, check out the 2008 film Milk starring Sean Penn, which is based on his life.
This is not the only death threat that ended with someone dead. A lot of celebrities say they receive death threats all the time. Scott Baio claims he was threatened after tweeting about Michelle Obama in 2010 and after showing support to Donald Trump in 2016. Ana Gunn, Skyler in the hit TV show Breaking Bad, was so effective in her role that some fans were upset with her in real life. It got so bad then that she would constantly receive death threats. The same thing happened with Josh McDermitt, Eugene in The Walking Dead. Die-hard fans were so angry at Eugene for joining Negan’s forces that the actor received numerous death threats on social media.
Some were not so lucky. The Beatles for example, used to receive death threats early in their career. Ringo Starr received a death threat, in which he was called him an “English Jew” even though he is not Jewish. It got really bad after John Lennon proclaimed that The Beatles was “more popular than Jesus now.” A Ku Klux Klan member was even seen and heard on TV threatening Lennon. We all know what happened to the music legend. He died in 1980 after being shot be a deranged fan.
Fortunately, many of these death threats don’t push through. However, once you receive a death threat, you should take it seriously and do what you can to protect yourself.
Evaluate the Situation
There are different ways that people can threaten someone. If an anonymous person spouts death threats online, the danger is not that immediate. But if you receive a letter threatening you, then the suspect knows something where you live which should be of concern to you. This also means the perpetrator is more likely to push through with the threat. The worst death threat is one that is being said right in front of you. This should give you a good idea of how much danger you are in.
In the first two cases, you should tell someone once you receive death threats. A death threat is not a joke and should be taken seriously. Always assume that the one sending you the horrific messages could possibly be sick enough to go through with their threats.
Try to figure out why you are being threatened. Is it because of work? Did you have a fight with someone recently? Did you tweet or post something other people found offensive? The more you know about the situation, the better you can prepare in case the death threat is true.
If you happen to know the person issuing the death threats and the threat doesn’t seem immediate, try to level with him or her. Some people just spew out threats without meaning to. Once the anger dissipates or when you get the chance, talk to the other person and find out how you can work things out without resulting to violence. You should be careful, though. If you interpret the situation wrongly or if you further anger the other person, things could end up bad for you both. The best way to deal with this is to apologize sincerely to defuse the tension immediately.
Make Your Home Intruder-Free
There’s no use being paranoid but it’s always a good idea to take the necessary precautions to make your home safe. Check the locks. See if they are enough or if they have to be replaced with better ones. Ideally, the hinges on the door and frame should be attached with 3-inch screws. These will make it harder to kick the door down.
Make sure the windows are secure, as well. Close and lock them always, especially at night and when you go out. Apply a film on the glass to keep it from breaking into pieces. You should also have a security alarm installed. For a more complete guide on fortifying your home, check this out.
Arrange for Someone to Go With You
You don’t need a bodyguard unless you’re a Kardashian who can keep up with the expenses of hiring one. Normal folks who can’t afford private security can just ask someone in the family or a close friend to accompany them when they go out or when they would be left alone at home. Even if you’re with someone, avoid walking in dark isolated places. Take the longer route if it means you and your friend will be safer.
Ask someone to pick you up after school or work, go with you to the grocery, or to put on their running shoes when you want to go out for some exercise. Before leaving the office or school, call the person who’s supposed to pick you up to make sure he or she is coming. If it’s your safety that’s on the line don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
Whether you receive death threats or not, you should always have your everyday carry (EDC) items with you, which is why they are called such. Your everyday carry should include a tactical flashlight, lighter, multi-tool, pocket knife, emergency whistle, signal mirror, window punch or car escape tool, compass, paracord, and a small first aid kit. You should also have a pen and paper, your wallet, phone, and a charger or power bank.
Aside from the essentials, you can also pack pepper spray or mace in your bag or pocket. This will more useful in fending off an attacker. You can also use your tactical flashlight to temporary blind and hit the person where it hurts most so you can make your escape. A whistle will help attract other people’s attention and scare off the attacker. A pocket knife and multi-tool can be used as weapons. You just need to learn how to use them properly. Know what each everyday carry item is for and how to use them.
Check out this more detailed list of everyday carry items by Happy Preppers.
Get Proper Training
You should be able to defend yourself. Enroll in classes that teach self defense techniques. Take it a step further and learn different martial arts styles. Aside from hand-to-hand combat, you can also learn how to properly handle knives and melee weapons.
The most popular form of self-defense remains having a firearm. Invest on a small firearm and get a permit to carry it anywhere you go. Make sure that your purchase your gun legally and you have complete papers so you won’t end up in trouble. Owning a gun is not enough. You should learn how to fire one. And remember, having a gun is no licence to bully other people around. Be responsible and use it only to defend yourself from those who threaten you and your loved ones.
Get A Restraining Order
If you’ve exhausted every possible way to diffuse the threat, go to the local police and report the perpetrator. For death threats issued by anonymously, you should immediately talk to your family and accompany you to the authorities to report what happened.
In case the person issuing the death threats have been identified, you can obtain a court order so he or she would stop bothering you. A restraining order will keep the other person from coming within 50 to 100 yards. The problem with a restraining order is that you still have to be on guard since those who are serious on hurting someone will not let some legal document stop them.
Threatening one’s life is nothing to scoff about. There’s nothing wrong with being extra careful in case you receive death threats. On the other hand, you should also be careful about what you say when emotions take the better of you. Never threaten someone else’s life. Not only are you making the other person uncomfortable and scared, you may also end up in jail since it’s a criminal offense in most jurisdictions.
Visit The Gentleman Pirate to know more ways of how to defend yourself. You’ll also find some helpful advice on what to do in case you are kidnapped or held against your will by the person who issued the death threats.
Just a disclaimer – We have partnered with these companies because we use their products and/or proudly trust and endorse them – so we do receive a commission if you make a purchase or sign up for services. Often, we are able to negotiate special discounts and/or bonuses, which we will pass on to you via our links. We often get short notice on sale items available for 24-48 hours as we will pass these savings onto you.