If you have read parts I and II of this article series, you’ll now know how to secure the interior and exterior of your home from burglary and fire. In part III, we’ll look at ways to protect yourself and your personal space.
A warning. Before taking any of the advice in the following article, check very carefully your state and local laws. Some of the ideas I will put forth are not legal in all areas. Also, violent encounters are obviously very risky. If you make the decision to prepare for such an event, seek as much knowledge and training as possible.
With that said, its time to look around you. The news reports every day illustrate the need to safeguard yourself from attack. Violent robberies, home invasions, and countless other atrocities happen in our nation. The tools you need to reduce the risk of these incidents range from the simple to the complicated.
Next time you are out on a busy street, take a look around you. Notice that people generally go about their business, paying little attention to those around them. It is important to tune in to the events happening around you, simply by taking a quick glance around and taking notice of anything suspicious.
A person talking on a cell phone, text messaging, or listening to an iPod with their headphones on are prime targets for would-be attackers. These people are distracted and are easy to hit quickly and with little chance of fighting back or later identifying the perpetrator.
It is important to note that most violent attacks come from someone you know. If you are fearful of becoming the target of attack by someone close to you, seek help immediately.
There are plenty of items on the market that can help you protect yourself. A good thing to have with you if you are out late at night is a small LED flashlight attached to your key ring. This can keep you from fumbling with locks, exposing you at a very vulnerable time.
Personal alarms and whistles are also a good idea, they can make enough noise to alert people nearby and cause the attacker to get startled and cease the assault.
Some people make the choice to defend themselves in the event of an attack. Self defense has a long tradition in our legal system, just be sure that you research your rights under the law.
Pepper Spray, stun devices, and firearms are common tools employed in defense. Without getting into the tangled legalities of these, I will merely list the pro’s and con’s of each.
Pepper Spray, also known by various trade name, contains the active ingredient Oleoresin Capsicum, a hot pepper derivative. OC spray is an irritant that creates a burning sensation. It is available in various concentrations, and is available in a conical spray, stream, and foam varieties. Generally, these need to be sprayed directly in the face to be effective.
The good thing about pepper spray is that it is seldom lethal and often leaves the victim unharmed after decontamination. The downside of pepper spray is that it has a history of sketchy performance on people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Pepper Spray is legal in many areas, and is relatively inexpensive.
Stun devices come in a couple varieties, contact stun guns and devices that fire electrified leads. Contact stun devices work by emitting a nonlethal charge of electricity from one point to another, sending the charge through a person when placed on their skin and activated. These devices work on pain compliance, meaning that the pain of the shock is supposed to incapacitate or deter them.
Devices like the Taser fire two electrified wires into the target, sending the charge from one wire point to the other, creating pain and interrupting normal muscle function. These devices are more effective than contact devices, but have had a lot of publicity surrounding suspicious deaths linked to Tasered people.
These devices range from inexpensive for budget contact devices to nearly a thousand dollars for high end wire lead models. These are not legal in many areas. Remember, with a wire lead model, you only get one shot before you must reload, something that takes a bit of time.
Firearms are a topic in and of themselves, and have been written about many many times before in greater detail. They are effective and are often lethal. If you choose to carry a firearm for self defense, check your local laws, obtain the proper licenses, seek advice on choosing a firearm, and get as much training as possible.
Other Self Defense Tools
People have carried weapons for self defense since the dawn of history, in various forms. Nowadays, knives, clubs, brass knuckles and other such items are strictly controlled and may be illegal. Folding knives are usually legal, sometimes based on the length or if it is concealed. Other options are available, its up to you to find the one that works the best for you.
Martial arts and Physical Self Defense
Most martial arts schools offer basic self defense tactics. These can be very helpful especially if there is person to person contract, it can give you an idea of how fast an attack can happen and show you how to respond quickly.
Now that you have a basic understanding of personal defensive measures, we will look in the last section at reactive measures, or ways to safeguard you if a burglary, robbery, or fire happens to you or your property.