SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Road Rage/Intimidation/Women
By Carol Christoffel


January 14, 2008

I have read Mr. Hansen's concerns and I am quite sure that he is not among the macho drivers that I referred to. However, may I remind Mr. Hansen that the original Lady described having a hard time in a very difficult snow storm managing her car while being tailgated by a truck, who then gave her a vulgar gesture after forcing her to the side of the road.

Others have written how we should all be prepared with snow tires, etc. and not hold up traffic. Fine. But regardless of whether she had snow tires, or simple mechanical failure, someone in a truck decided to harass her and then gave her vulgar threats as they went by. He was not much of a gentleman in my opinion, and a bit of a coward, as I am betting if she had her man with her, the scene might have been a bit different.

As far as gender had nothing to do with it. I beg to remind you of the very high domestic violence stats all over including in Alaska. You don't think some of that disrespect carries over on the road?

Mr. Hansen sounds like a fine person to me, and one of Ketchikan's strongest assets is its people. I found the vast majority of people in Alaska to be some of the most loving, generous, hard working people that I have ever met. So I can understand how decent people might underestimate the amount of intimidation that is directed at women.

For many years I worked as a nurse, sometimes taking a p.m. or night duty shift. This meant I traveled late Friday and Saturday nights, sometimes in the wee hours. On about three occasions I was stalked and harassed by MALE drivers, who attempted to force my car off the road. In one case, the driver had hidden his truck behind some large construction machinery in an area that was all torn up and very confusing. Most people tried to turn around or cut through a small isolated development that hooked up to the main road. The driver pulled out from behind his concealed spot and followed me as I struggled to find the correct connecting road. He tailgated with his brights on. Fortunately I found my way out of the maze and not into several dead ends that were there. Later when discussing this with other late night nurses I discovered a number of them had similar experiences. Seems our white uniforms, earrings and hair in the dark let the predators know who we are. One nurse had been forced over and as the stalker approached her window, the glint of a broken, jagged beer bottle, that she kept with her for defense, caught his eye. Panicked, he shouted out, "You ____! You've got a gun!", as he ran back to his car. Incidents like these are more commonplace than you realize. Some traveling lady executives take a life-size "doll" with a hat and male features propped up on the passenger side. Keeps the creeps away when you've got to do long distance driving alone.

Gender does make a difference. Women are much more likely to get targeted than males.

Thanks to our beloved Librarians for explaining the process and history of the library situation. K-City librarians will be up for Sainthood sometime soon. I have seen what they deal with and the tourists can get mighty ugly also when they can't use the computers!

My apologies to all the men who are still gentlemen, and to those who aren't ... you know who you are. Thank God, most people that I met were great in Ketchikan.

Carol Christoffel
Chicago, IL

About: Former resident of Ketchikan.

Received January 12, 2008 - Published January 14, 2008


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letter Road rage, intimidation By Cody Hansen

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