April 11, 2009

More on Pirates of Somalia

Posted in Safety tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:15 am by ledefensetech

Unarmed sailors take back their ship. This is incredible for several reasons. The only downside is that their captain, as fitting a man of his station, ransomed his safety for that of his crew.  It’s telling that he tried to escape, unfortunately he failed. Somali pirates might think twice before attacking a US flagged merchant ship.

What I have a problem with is the assertion that ships have little recourse against pirates. There’s plenty of options a crew has to secure their ship. It may take some retrofitting, but there are many things a crew can do. First is making it harder for pirates to board the ship. I’ve heard of electrified rails, barbed wire or water cannons washing pirates off the ship like vermin. Second would be covering the superstructure with cameras, probably hidden. In conjunction with this, a secure room to which the crew can view the cameras and the crew can take refuge in. While retreating to the panic room, the crew can lay booby traps with pepper discharge, irritants and other disabling methods.

It only makes sense to make things harder for these scumbags. The only reason the engage in piracy is because it’s easier than anything else they could do. Plus the rewards are amazing for people who live in Somalia. With millions being paid in ransom, one successful hijacking can set a Somali up for life. The international community has shown that they are unable or unwilling to do anything about the pirates, so it falls to the sailors and captains who ply the trade lanes to take measures to protect themselves, their ships and their cargo.

Again while criminals might have the advantage concerning initiative, a prepared defender can suck them in and drop them at a time and place of their choosing. All it takes is determination and action when something like this happens.

April 4, 2009

Self Defense Synergy

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:27 pm by ledefensetech

One of the thoughts I’ve been having recently is how in a life or death situation you really need to trade space for time.  More so than a gun; alarms, sprays and stun guns can give you the time you need for help to arrive.  My apartment, for instance, doesn’t have much space in it, so I have to be quick when it comes to defending against a burglar or attacker.  The same thing also applies if I’m assaulted or mugged outdoors or in a public place.

Home/Personal Alarms

Door stop alarms are great for home defense or protection on the go.

Alarms are the first line of defense.  Whether alarms on the doors and windows of a home, motion detector alarms in rooms and/or doorstop alarms in the home or personal alarms on your person when outside, a good alarm is critical.  This will either scare your assailant away or tell them that you are serious about protecting yourself.  This should take care of most of the criminals who just want a smash and grab anyway.

One of the things that I like about a doorstop alarm is that you can use it not only to sound an alarm, but also can use it to create a barricade. Remember you’re trading space for time.  Plus the fact that a criminal won’t let something like this deter them from coming into your home or assaulting you tells you something about their intentions.  At this point in time you can pretty much rule out burglary and robbery as motives.  What’s left are physical injury and/or rape.  Which lends itself to a whole different level of threat.

That’s where the next deterrent comes into play.  Since we’re trading space for time, anything which delays an attacker from reaching you or enables you to get away from them is a good thing.  That’s where we come to the second piece of defensive synergy.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is great for denying a person access to rooms in your home or breaking away from an attacker.  Space for time.  As I’ve said <a href=https://ledefensetech.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/lets-talk-aboutpepper-spray>here</a> and <a href=https://ledefensetech.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/more-on-pepper-spray>here</a>, pepper spray is a great deterrent against an attacker and gives you plenty of time to get away.  In addition, many pepper sprays come with UV dye incorporated in them so you can avoid the hassle of a lineup.  A simple black-light is all that’s needed to determine who the perpetrator really is.

Fooger type sprays are great for area denial applications.

Fooger type sprays are great for area denial applications.

A large spray like this is p3rfect for home defense and area denial purposes.

A small spray which is concealable can come as a great surprise.

A small spray which is concealable can come as a great surprise.

This should be sufficient to deter all but the most fanatical of attackers.  I can’t believe that anyone would be able to continue an assault after getting a face full of pepper spray.  Still defense it not about I can’t believe or I don’t think.  You have to be sure.  An attacker only has to succeed once in an attack, you have to succeed every time if you want to keep yourself safe.  So now we come to the final tool in the synergy of defense.

Stun Guns

A stun gun will pretty much end any confrontation right there.  I’ve discussed stun guns <a href=https://ledefensetech.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/lets-talk-aboutstun-guns>before</a>.  Depending on the type you get, you’ll either have to get within arms length of your attacker or you’ll have up to 15 feet of distance to play with.  In the end, that’s why an advanced Taser (similar to the ones  cops use) and C2 Tasers are usually the way to go.  Not only do they give you stand-off capability and the ability to control the situation from a distance, in a pinch they can be used as a regular stun gun.

Now as part of the Defense Synergy concept, if you disable someone using pepper spray and want to take them down for the count, now is the time to use the stun gun.  While it would be more prudent to call the police, by this point in time many people would be filled with indignation, anger and, well, how-dare-you-attack-me!  So it’s understandable that someone will feel a desire to strike back against thier would-be attacker.

With a regular stun gun, the effects last for several minutes, giving you time to get away.  With a Taser style stun gun the effects can take much longer to wear off.  That’s due to the nature of the effects a Taser stun gun has over regular stun guns.  Plus with the Advanced Tasers and C2 Tasers, you can pull the trigger three times and set up a cycle in which the perpetrator is actively stunned for 30 seconds.  Then they have to recover from the effects of that, which can take quite a bit of time.  Possibly long enough for you to return with the cops.  Even if the perpetrator is not there when you return, all you have to do is get the police report and send it to Taser and they’ll replace your stun gun <a href=http://www.taser.com/research/Pages/ConsumerFAQs.aspx>free of charge</a>.  Your life is worth more than any tool.  As an added bonus the stun gun will now be ineffective because the Taser is keyed to you by information you provide to Taser when they do a background check on you.  They won’t even be able to buy new cartriges and it will be useless to them.  So by all means, pull the trigger three times and leave it.

The M 18-L is the civilian version of the Advanced Taser M26 used by Law Enforcement.

The M 18-L is the civilian version of the Advanced Taser M26 used by Law Enforcement.

Stun Guns can be useful against surpirse attacks, like when youre grabbed from behind.

Stun Guns can be useful against surpirse attacks, like when you're grabbed from behind.

The C2 is the next generation Taser.

The C2 is the next generation civilian Taser.

Now many might argue that a gun doesn’t require all of these plans and convolutions, but those advocates don’t take several things into account.  First is that anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone in civil court.  Even if the plaintiff doesn’t win, the time, money and effort by the defendant is still lost and the opportunities that otherwise might have been realized are now gone forever.  Second, there is a political movement in this country to reserve all force to the government.  And finally, most people when faced with a live or die situation will, even at the cost of their own life, hesitate.  Due to their natures, less than lethal technology can overcome that natural inclination to do no harm.  Also, in many cases of assault, you may not have time to draw a firearm.  Also when you draw a firearm, that automatically raises the stakes between you and an attacker.  Due to the innocuous nature of many of these tools, they can be brought into play before an attacker realizes what the tool is.  Surprise can be a useful tool in and of itself.  Besides you just can’t beat the 30 second incapacitation that a stun gun brings.  With a gun, it’s always a gamble if you can do enough damage to stop someone before they get to you.

On a final note, you can’t predict crazy so it’s best to have many avenues of defense to give youself the greatest chance of turning the tables on your attacker.

March 29, 2009

More on pepper spray

Posted in Safety tagged , , , , at 12:29 am by ledefensetech

I did forget one other type of pepper spray.  There’s a foam type of spray that can be used in certain situations.  One of the benefits is that it can be used in windy/rainy weather and still maintain it’s effectiveness.  The main benefit, however is the fact that in order to get the foam off, the criminal has to wipe it off the affected area.  In essence this forces someone to grind the foam deeper into the mouth, nose and eyes.

The main drawback is the limited range of the product.  You pretty much have to be in hand to hand range, “decicively engaged” as our military likes to call it, but as an “at all costs” measure, it’s very effective.

To recap, pepper sprays are great for delaying an attacker and giving you time to summon help.  Pepper sprays are inflammatory agents that affect the eyes, nose and mouth of the attacker.  Remember, they stop focusing on hurting you and focus all of their attention on the fact that they have to think about breathing.

Pepper spray effectiveness is measured by the percentage content of OC agent and SHU which is a measure of the “hotness” of the spray.  Pepper sprays come in several types of dispensers.  Stream sprays like the cops use, cone sprays and fogger sprays which can be used as area denial tools and foam, which can be the most devastating type of delivery, but has the drawback of being very limited in range.

A final note concerns bear sprays.  They are usually fogger type sprays which are ideal because you don’t want to engage a bear up close and personal.  So you’ll use them on a bear at the range of 15-20 feet.  The formulation is about 2 percent OC which makes it legal in places like Michigan and Wisconsin.  So yes, you can also use bear spray against humans, dogs, other animals, etc.  Also not only do the several states have differing laws about the use, formulation and who can sell pepper spray, so too do certain cities have laws regarding the sale, posession and use of pepper spray.  Protect yourself from lawsuits and/or criminal charges and get to know your state and local laws concerning pepper sprays.  You’ll save yourself a lot of grief in the future.

March 26, 2009

Let’s Talk About…Pepper Spray

Posted in Safety tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:21 pm by ledefensetech

First off we need a few definitions.  There are three types of agents used in defensive sprays.  CS (orthoclorobenzalmalonitrile), CN (alphachloroacetaphenone); both of which are commonly known as tear as or Mace; and OC (Oleoresin Capsicum); commonly known as pepper spray.  All three work about the same, they irritate the lining of they eyes, nose and throat causing a person to tear up, begin coughing and forcing they body to try to flush the irritants from the body.  This is the basis of the stopping power or pepper spray. Now some things you should know about CS and CN spray.  They, like OC spray, irritate the membranes and cause pain as one of their effects.  Now pain can be an inducement to stop whatever it is a criminal is doing, but you don’t want to rely on that solely for protection.  People, after all, can block out pain, some people are also immune to CS and CN spray.  You don’t want to find that out after spraying someone who’s attacking you, only to discover that it doesn’t work. Another pitfall is the length for the spray to take place.  Not only have field tests by police officers documented the failure of CS and CN spray, especially when the target is drunk or high, but the effects can take anywhere from 5 seconds to 30 second to manifest themselves.  In a combat situation 5 seconds can seem 5 years and 30 seconds an eternity.

OC is different in many ways.  Rather than irritate, it inflames.  This is critical when you think about how a small man, woman or teen can protect themselves against a large man or woman.  Rather than use pain, OC disables a person by making it hard to see and breathe.  The swelling won’t completely close off they windpipe, so the attacker won’t suffocate from somebody using pepper spray on them. There are two pieces of information that you need to look for when deciding on a pepper spray to buy.  The first is the percentage of OC in the product, relative to gas, dyes, etc. and SHU or Scoville Heat Units.  To give you an example the SHU of a habenero pepper is about 200,000 to 300,000 SHU.

Now in my younger years I ate a habenero pepper whole.  Once.  The pain could be best described as if you had put a porcupine in your mouth and held it there for about 30 minutes.  It was excruciating.  Most pepper sprays have SHU up to 2,000,000 SHU, 9 to 10 times the heat of a habenero pepper.  The effects of pepper spray will wear off in about 30 minutes, much less time than CS or CN spray, which still gives you plenty of time to leave the area. That’s the most important safety tip I can give you.  After spraying your assailant, leave, run, yell and scream for help.  Call the police if you have a cell phone that works.  Many defense sprays come with a dye that shows up by UV light, making it easier for law enforcement to identify your attacker.

All any self defense tool does is give you time to summon help.  Pepper spray is no different. There are three methods of dispersal when you’re talking about pepper spray.  Stream, mist and fog.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.

A stream, for example is good for distance (5-20 feet) and you have less of a chance of blowback when you use it.  Some disadvantages are that you must spray directly into the mouth, nose and eyes of the attacker and, like all sprays, effectiveness can be muted by wind, rain, fans, etc.

Mist sprays shoot out cones of spray which is good for “area denial” applications, say down hallways, up staircases etc.  The mist is more immediate than the stream sprays, but more vulnerable to wind and rain conditions.  Fogs emit the spray kind of like a fire extinguisher, which is considered the most effective and immediate when stopping an attacker.  They are also less vulnerable to wind and are excellent in “area denial” applications.

Fogger type sprays have a range of 15-20 feet, making them a valuable “stand off” tool.  The only drawback to these types of sprays are the limited number of shots compared to other sprays.

So when deciding on a spray to use, you need to think about how and where you’re going to use it.  Will you be best served by a personal keychain spray that shoots a stream?  Perhaps you need a fogger type spray for home defense.  Keep the advantages and disadvantages in mind when choosing a pepper spray and you’ll have a tool that will serve you well against any criminal.

March 25, 2009

Tools of the trade

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:26 am by ledefensetech

There are two schools of thought when it comes to protecting your person and your property.  One school devotes itself to disguise and hiding the fact that your person and possessions are warded against violence and theft.  The other school believes that a “show of force” is a good idea, or not hiding the fact that you have tools at your disposal to defend yourself.

In most cases, the second school carries the most weight in my opinion.  Why?  Because criminals are naturally lazy.  Rather than do honest work, they’d rather take what you’ve worked for.  Ironically, criminal behavior rarely leads to riches, plus you have to watch out for treachery.  Treachery from criminal “allies” or informants of law enforcement.  You can turn this to your advantage.

There are several tools that are useful when securing your person or property from crime.  At the top of the list are alarms.  Whether on your person or around the house, alarms lessen the amount of time a criminal has to perpetrate against you.  They can alert others to you predicament and/or summon authorities.  In many cases an alarm is all that’s needed to foil a mugging or burglary.

Assaults and rape are a different matter.  While alarms can be useful in summoning help, the fact that a person wishes to harm you changes the time needed to do so.  A stabbing or shooting takes much less time than snatching a purse or ransacking a house.  In cases like these, pepper spray and stun guns come into their own.  Many people may feel hesitant at causing pain to another person.  Don’t.  By their very actions, these people have forfeited their right to be safe in their person.

At this time peeper sprays and stun guns come into their own.  A sensible person should own both and know when to use them.  You don’t want to use a pepper spray when firing into the wind for example.  Also outdoor conditions like rain can have an effect.  Pepper spray is less effective in rain for example, whereas stun guns will work regardless of wind or rain conditions.

This shows an attacker that you’re willing to defend yourself and won’t be easy meat.  Using a pepper spray for stand off value can protect you and your stun gun can protect you in close quarter situations.

So these tools provide a circle of protection.  The alarm cuts down on the time a criminal has to perpetrate against you, while the pepper spray can be used as a stand off weapon or and area denial weapon.  The stun gun can be used as a last resort to incapacitate an attacker, while you run towards help.  Do not under any circumstances wait around to see the person taken into custody.  Most sprays come with a dye that shows up under UV light, so the police can make identify someone you’ve hit with pepper spray.

In reality you’ll probably only need one or two of these tools.  However you can’t predict crazy, so it’s best to be prepared to defend yourself and your home.  These tools have a benefit above and beyond the physical protection they provide.  In our litigious society you can be taken to court if you shoot and kill someone.  By using less than lethal force, you strip your attacker or their next of kin from any pretext they have to try to destroy you through lawyers.  In later posts, I’ll go into how and why you might want to use these various tools solo and in conjunction with other tools.