Protect Yourself

"When seconds count, police are only minutes away"

We’ve heard this saying and its true. Now, for most of us law-abiding citizens who live in cushy suburbia, this doesn’t mean as much. But for people who live on an island in a sea of lawlessness, it means a lot. Some people are broken in to on a regular basis. For these people, they know what it means.

I am still horrified by movies and shows I’ve seen of a young person who comes home alone after school to a distantly, remote farm house. A vehicle pulls up the drive and two men come knocking at the front door. To be safe, the young person doesn’t answer the door. One man pulls open the screen door and jiggles the door handle. The other begins peering into the window. If this young resident called the police, it may take 20 minutes for them to arrive. They could call a neighbor, if they are home, and maybe it would take 5 minutes. But then you’re putting your neighbor in danger too.

I’ve been to places where rules aren’t followed. Traffic lights mean nothing. Stop signs are just street decorations. I’ve accidentally stopped at hotels that turned out to be brothels. I put towels under my hotel room door to cut down the noise and cigarette smoke. I once rented a room that was on the ground floor and had a window that wouldn’t lock shut. It was my only option at the time. So I called the front desk, and the front desk person came with a screwdriver and a screw to keep it shut. Huh? I’ve had people bang on my car window asking for money. What do you do when seconds count? Do you cower in the closet and hope for the best? Do you think about hiding under the bed and hope that nobody finds you?

When I do Ashtanga yoga, I know once I get past the standing poses, my body will get to relax a little bit. I’ve run trail races where I know the last few hundred yards of the final stretch are easy, I just have to get there first. I’ve seen MMA fights where a fighter is getting beaten badly, but knows if he can make it to the 3rd round, he has the advantage with endurance. But you have to get there first. How much do you think you can take before the police arrive? Because that’s what you have to do if you don’t have a means to protect yourself. You have to outlast your offender until the Calvary rides in to save the day. Do you think you can make it?

Even worse, what if you are protecting someone you love. Maybe its your wife or husband. Maybe its your kids or pets. Maybe its a family heirloom, the last remembrance of a loved one. But instead of being a protector, you are one of the sheep. You are huddling under the desk with your loved ones with no recourse whatsoever. All you can do is hope to not be found.

Everyone has a right to protect themselves. Everyone should learn basic aspects of self defense. But remember, criminals don’t fight fair. They want to overwhelm with the least resistance possible. So whatever means you have for defense, it better be substantial.

Short story– I’ve carried bear spray as a repellent against anything or anyone that might hurt me while camping, backpacking, and backcountry fishing. I’ve even flown into places and found the nearest outfitter to pick up a new can of spray since I couldn’t carry it on the plane. And when I don’t end up using it, I sit it open at a campground for someone else to use since I can’t take it with me. Then one day, a family of raccoons brazenly started to raid the back of my open pickup truck while I was sitting around a fire. I tried to shoe them away, but they were determined. So I broke out my bear spray. I pulled off the safety cap, pointed it at them, and pressed the trigger. Haha! It shot out a weak trickle of fluid about 2 feet. If it was an attacking bear, I would have been dead. And even if I did blow the whole can on a bear successfully, what would I do about the next bear on that trip? I can’t carry a half dozen cans of bear spray.

When seconds count, help is minutes away. Sometimes more than a few minutes. What are you going to do? Answer, not from the seat of your cushy home in Pleasantville, but from some place where danger lives. It actually lives everywhere. Some day, someone high on drugs is going to break the rules. They’ll do something unconventional. They’ll be someplace where you didn’t expect them. Then what do you do? Do you rationalize with them? Do you use deflecting language to deter them? Hmmm, I hope that works for you. Intellectuals always think you can rationalize with irrational people. That’s usually not the case.

Be safe my friends.

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