Anyone who knows me knows I love my weapons! I love the feel of the gun nestled against the small of my back. I love the crackling zap of a stun gun. I love the sturdy feel of the kubaton in my hand as I'm walking to my car. And don't forget about hidden weapons! A standard writing pen that pulls apart to reveal a knife inside? I'm in heaven! A cane that's really a sword?! I'm practically swooning!
Weapons can go a long way toward leveling the playing field. As women in particular, any attacker we face is likely to be bigger and stronger than we are, and committed to his attack. Many of us have disabilities that make a physical fight incredibly difficult, if not impossible, and a weapon can help mitigate that. Anything that will help us be safer is worth considering!
But there are also problems with weapons, and we need to be cognizant of that. I think the number one issue is complacency. People think they're somehow automatically "safe" because they're carrying a weapon, so all the other basics go out the window. No attention to situational awareness, no thoughtful caution about the route you take or where you park, no attempts to first de-escalate a situation that hasn't gotten completely out of hand yet. Weapons do not magically render you invincible! The only fight that you are guaranteed to win is the fight that you aren't in. Being able to see the potential attack and avoid it, being the hard target that the predator doesn't choose, calming an angry person down without having to mace him....all are preferable to needing to defend yourself physically!
Consider where your weapon is located. If you carry a stun gun, for example, but it's stuck somewhere at the bottom of your purse with the loose change and wadded up gum wrappers, you likely won't be able to get to it when you need it. I carry a gun, but I have never yet walked to my car in the parking lot with my gun drawn and at the ready. If someone were to grab me from behind (what was I saying about situational awareness?!!), I could probably get to it. But I don't want any of us risking our lives on a "probably". For a weapon to be effective, you need to be able to access it.
That's one of the reasons we talk about "layers of protection" when it comes to weapons. A stun gun next to your bed that's quick and easy to grab if you hear a noise in the night; a pepper spray next to the front door in case you forgot to check the delivery man's ID before you flung the door open and he WASN'T a delivery man; a kubaton attached to the keys you're supposed to have in hand when walking to your car anyway. You're providing yourself with a variety of options, and that's important because we never know for sure exactly what kind of dangerous situation we might find ourselves facing.
Maybe you have all kinds of weapons, stashed all over the place, totally ready to go. If you wake up in the middle of the night and your attacker is already on top of you...none of those weapons are going to do you a bit of good. While I totally groove on weapons, you need to be prepared for what you're going to do if you can't access them. Take a self-defense class! Build your knowledge base on all the awesome things you can do with your own body. Your number-one weapon will always be your brain.
So here's the basics on carrying a weapon:
1. If you're going to carry a weapon, it needs to be something that you are prepared to use. This means if you feel like, deep down, there's just no way you could really shoot someone, then a gun is not the weapon for you. And that's totally okay! There are all kinds of options to choose from. But you will not bluff an assailant. If you a pull a weapon on someone, you need to be 100% committed to using it.
2. Know how to use it. Just because you can get your conceal carry permit online without ever actually laying a finger on a real gun doesn't mean it's a good idea. Whatever weapon(s) you choose, you need to practice with it. When you are in an adrenalized state (such as an attack situation), your fine motor skills go kaput. You will be relying a great deal on muscle memory, and that doesn't come without practice.
3. Be aware of the laws regarding the weapon(s) you've chosen. Laws vary widely from state to state, and even locally. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.
4. Understand that you still need to take other basic safety precautions. Lock your doors. Park in a well-lit area. Be aware of your surroundings. Carry yourself with confidence. Draw appropriate boundaries and expect them to be respected; an assertive attitude will prevent around 80% of potential assaults. A good self-defense class will cover topics like this.
5. Be prepared in case your weapon is not readily accessible. Take a basic self-defense class so you know how to use your body most effectively and efficiently. It's better to be a weapon that just have a weapon!
As always, if you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear from you. I value your input. Stay safe!