(Animation by Becky Clacey)
There are an innumerable amount of items that can change the outcome of an equal amount of situations. Someone carrying an Epinephrine auto-injector might save a child’s life during an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Someone carrying a comb might be able to help you look more presentable after a moped ride to a job interview. The point is, we live in a world riddled with gadgets, devices, implements and tools that can help us in a variety of ways. However, for whatever reason, I decided to talk about 9 items from my personal arsenal of accessories, that I believe could be of use to someone else out there, whoever they happen to be. I say ‘arsenal’ but nothing listed here is definitively considered a weapon, there are often unexplored options to resort to before violence, even in self-defense. The inspiration for this topic came about recently, when speaking with an individual who after being mugged several times stopped wanting to leave his home. I wanted to share some of my suggestions with him, as I’m sharing with you now. Being prepared for the unknown isn’t about living in fear, it’s about regaining even just a little bit of control in all the chaos of uncertainty.
All advice intended for educational purposes only, I can’t definitively guarantee the outcome of the situations spoken about here, and I take no responsibility for what an individual does with the information provided.
Item 1. ᵀᴴᴱ Decoy Phone/Wallet
When venturing areas (often alone) where crime/theft is a possibility we find ourselves having to make certain gambles. We gamble with the possibility that one (or more) unsavory types given the opportunity may attempt to rob us of our valuables. This practice of burglary has been going on throughout the entirety of human civilization and it isn’t likely to cease any time soon. One option, that many wish they had of looked into, usually after being mugged, is if only they could have plucked some wallet/phone/jewellery from thin air to give their mugger, instead of losing their own valuables. Thus, the concept of decoy items. An individual needs only carry an old phone, a false wallet with possibly fake or expired cards, or even cards that trigger a response from certain authorities. You part with the decoy, you part ways with the mugger, and assuming the ruse works as intended, you keep all of your valuables.
Item 2. ᵀᴴᴱ Personal Alarm System – Pull Cord
Small relatively cheap devices (usually under $20), activated by pulling a cord triggering the mechanism, setting off an alarm (many products audible siren sounding at around 120 decibels). The possibility for use with this item is extremely underrated. The product is intended to draw attention to you so that others may come to your aid, but it has many other uses. Essentially an ear piercing grenade, this device can act as the mother of all distractions and misdirection. You see something going on that you know is wrong, perhaps a crime in the making, an assault, but you know you put yourself in danger by approaching. Pull the cord and throw, mark the location with an audible spotlight. In some instances, if an individual believes they have set off some kind of alarm/siren, it will trigger panic and pandemonium to ensue and may result in the assailant(s) retreating. Of course, there’s always the possibility that it doesn’t go as planned so weigh up the concerns before hurling 120 decibel sirens about willy-nilly. (Additional use for pull cord alarm systems – tack cord to the bottom of a door, tack speaker to the door frame. Acts as a makeshift ‘break and enter’ alarm, can be applied to hotel rooms/temporary stay, tents/camping etc.)
Item 3. ᵀᴴᴱ UV Flashlight
Have you ever wanted to know the story behind the story? Keeping an ultraviolet flashlight upon your person is like gaining an insight into what’s really been going on everywhere around you, in some instances giving you too much information. Not only can a UV light reveal what has recently been touched (along with the fingerprints), you can discover foot prints and see where spills have occurred, even after being wiped clean, otherwise invisible to the naked eye. If you find yourself in what feels like a serial killer’s home and there is a moment of opportunity when the suspicious party leaves you alone, should you turn on your UV light and observe what appears to be a blood spattered crime-scene, vacating said domicile may be a prudent decision.
Item 4. ᵀᴴᴱ Grappling Hook
Ideally the collapsible stainless steel climbing grappling hook for packing convenience. Having the grappling hook securely tied to however many ft of rope you’re prepared to carry. You might be thinking, “good god, how detached from reality is this person to suggest carrying a grappling hook around publicly,” and your concerns are entirely justified. It’s highly unlikely you’ll come across a situation where you will be able to put a grappling hook to use. But in the event that there is a need for some descent, or some bold escape, your friends, your loved ones and/or any onlookers will bear witness to someone unpacking a grappling hook and hurling it to anchor before scaling down or up the rope to safety. Forgive me, but that’s the sort of the world I want to live in, where batman-esque escapes occur because ordinary individuals happened to be carrying grappling hooks.
Item 5. ᵀᴴᴱ Cable Tie
The humble cable tie (sometimes known as zip ties) is possibly one of the most useful items in existence. In isolated areas, stranded on seldom driven country roads, faced with a multitude of mechanical hurdles, cable ties were the only thing I had in ample supply. Time after time they could be used to solve so many of the problems that would arise. A cable tie provides an extremely quick way to bond things together, using multiple cable ties of appropriate sizes can achieve extremely strong bonds. Cable ties are also sometimes used as an alternative to handcuffs. To this day, I regularly find uses for cable ties.
Item 6. ᵀᴴᴱ Most Powerful Flashlight
As it stands, the most powerful flashlights produce around about 12000 lumens. It’s said that around 1000 lumens, especially at night shined directly into a persons eyes can cause temporary blindness. An extremely powerful flashlight can disorientate an assailant providing a means to evade further confrontation. Aside from a means of self-defense, an intense beam of light can act as a long distance visual signal. 12000 lumens in the wilderness can reunite lost members of your group, even in extremely dense bush land, in some instances visual from afar, illuminating the tops of trees if the flashlight is aimed directly up.
Item 7. ᵀᴴᴱ Radio Frequency Detection Device
Often referred to as bug detectors, these devices are designed to detect most forms of radio frequency transmissions. Primarily used to detect if there are listening or monitoring devices in use, but hidden and transmitting a frequency elsewhere. They won’t work if the devices are sending information via a cable connection. Frequency detection devices can locate portable microphones and cameras, wi-fi devices, devices accessing wireless signal, mobile devices, phones/tablets. I’ve heard of individuals to have discovered their spouse/partner had planted a tracking device in their vehicle, via the use of a radio frequency detection device. Also, makes the locating of a misplaced phone more enjoyable.
Item 8. ᵀᴴᴱ Blood Capsule
Blood capsules, very cheap capsules you bite down onto, powder/liquid released from capsule mixes with saliva, produces what appears to be dark crimson blood. Usually sold as accessories to vampire costumes or in practical joke stores. Now we’re getting into unusual territory. This may come across as dishonest, deceitful and misleading, but there are certain circumstances where leading someone to believe that you are coughing up blood, may be beneficial to you or even ensure your safety. We all know that claiming to be suffering from diarrhea is the golden ticket out of any situation in this world without question, we know that. But ‘some’ would-be attackers/harassers/muggers can be bewildered/panicked at the sight of someone coughing up blood. The reaction would vary depending on assailant to assailant, many may not care in the slightest. Alternatively, an individual coughing/spitting up copious amounts of blood could also serve as an effective distraction/diversion. At the very least, it’s an escape plan for a very bad date, “would you excuse me, I was stabbed earlier and need to seek medical attention immediately”.
Item 9. ᵀᴴᴱ Unbreakable Umbrella
I did mention nothing listed would be definitively considered a weapon, and that is essentially true. For all intents and purposes, The Unbreakable Umbrella is just an umbrella, but when it comes to self-defense, an unusually durable umbrella is more than meets the eye. You likely won’t find a more civilized looking weapon, that is entirely legal to carry (as far as I’m aware) pretty much anywhere on the planet. If it comes down to it, and violence is the final resort, you might as well be equipped with a baton to strike back at your assailant(s). Also, if it happens to rain afterwards, I imagine the umbrella could be useful for that occasion also.