Everyone Should Acknowledge Their Limitations

I was recently approached by a woman who was, shall we say, in less than ideal physical condition.

obese woman

It was obvious that the extra weight she carried was a significant problem, as it also caused some very serious medical conditions.  She had trouble moving about, forced to shuffle along with very short steps because the lack of blood flow to her extremities resulted in swollen, bruised feet.

bruised and injured foot

What did this poor creature want with me?  It seems that there had been some burglaries and thefts in her neighborhood.   Concerned about her safety, she wanted advice on purchasing defensive chemical spray and a baton.  It seems that she actually believed that these two items would give her a chance to fight off a gang of home invaders!

a selection of expanding batons

defensive chemical spray

It should be incredibly obvious to anyone who has ever been involved in a hand-to-hand training program that this lady was a victim in search of a criminal.  She was too unsteady to handle a baton effectively, too weak to retain control of any defensive weapons, and far too slow to run away.

I suggested a firearm, but she adamantly rejected the very idea.  There were to be no guns!  She said her major fear was that any gun she wielded would be taken away by the criminal, and used against her.  This was the precise reason why I though she should stay far away from HtH weapons!

And so we come to the awkward decision that is all too familiar to me.  How much do I tell this woman?  Where do my responsibilities lie when it comes to a random stranger?  After all, it seems as though there is no hope for her if violent criminals ever crossed her path.  Shouldn’t it be better to tell her where she could purchase the defensive devices she was considering, so that her fears would be eased?  If she rejected all measures that would bring her any physical security, wouldn’t even a false sense of security make her life easier?

False Sense of Security

My policy is that I do no one any favors by softening the blow.  If asked for my professional opinion, then that is exactly what I deliver.  And I must do so in a manner so my meaning cannot be misunderstood.

I told the woman that her physical condition was far too deteriorated to fend off a violent criminal attack, even with a baton and pepper spray.  Her only hope was to be trained in the use of a firearm, and to carry one with her everywhere it was legal to do so.

vintage photo of a oman with snub nosed revolver

I was careful to point out that defensive chemical spray was very useful in deterring attacks by vicious dogs.

vicious and snarling small dog

Why wouldn’t it be useful to send a criminal on his way?  Because dogs have enough sense to break off their attack when given a faceful of burning liquid, while human predators usually just get extremely angry.  Using mace or pepper spray usually causes a dog to run away, while the same spray is less than useless unless you are able to run away from a violent criminal.  It will impair their vision and restrict their breathing, which makes it tough for the attacker to run after you, but usually doesn’t convince an enraged human being to stop trying to hurt anyone.

How did she react?  Let us say that she was less than welcoming of my advice.  But I did point out that I am not in this business for profit, and so she should consider me to be more honest than anyone else she might ask.

11 thoughts on “Everyone Should Acknowledge Their Limitations

  1. Pepper spray is useless against vicious dogs. The only dogs it works against are those who are only faking and aren’t really going to attack. Large dogs that are notorious for attacking almost always have a high pain threshold, and even if you can hit them in the right place with the spray, it’s going to take long enough for them to feel it that they will still have plenty of time to rip your throat out.

    The dog will kill you, wipe its face on the grass for a minute or so to get rid of the worst of the spray, then go back to mauling your dead body.

    Furthermore, any weapon that requires you to check which way the wind is blowing before you use it is not a weapon anyone should want to rely on. I guarantee you will feel it faster and worse than the dog ever will, and it takes only a slight breeze in the wrong direction to send it right back to you.

    • I would differ on that. I have used pepper spray on a large, aggressive, ready-to-bite dog, and it changed his thinking instantly.

      Like James, I think that a dog just reacts to the pain in his nasal passages and does not think past that, giving you time to get away.

      But yes, wind is a factor!

  2. What should you have told her that you did not? Possibly that she needs to sign a release holding you harmless for any injury she may suffer as the result of any assault she may incur.

    You told her the truth as you saw it, and recommended a course of action based on your best assessment of the situation. She is rejeting your recommendations. But the way our society seems to work is to look for anyone else to blame when our life crashes and burns in front of our eyes.

    CYA. It’s not just an acronym.

    stay safe.

  3. OT: The EPA has banned ammunition made out of lead, effective a few years from now. It’s claimed that bullets made of copper will serve as well; but I have my doubts.

    In particular, can you make hollow points out of copper, and will they spread correctly on impact?

  4. Hmmm . . .

    Observations in no particular order of importance:

    1. James – she asked for your honest opinion and you gave it.

    2. I don’t think that not wanting to kill another human being is a character flaw.

    3. Does whacking someone on the head with a ASP really count as non-lethal force? (Btw, ASP in this context refers to an expandable baton and not an Adult Service Provider. (Sorry) )

    4. Steven DB – Not my area of expertise, but I do recall a while back seeing all-copper hollow points being advertised for “superior stopping power.”

    5. Better than nothing? She, and indeed anyone, has a much better chance of defending themselves with pepper-spray and/or a baton than just with their bare hands.

    6. The risk of having a weapon taken away from you and then used against has always struck me as being a weak argument against carrying a weapon for self-defence.

    7. James – she asked for your honest opinion and you gave it. I know I’ve mentioned this already, but its worth mentioning twice. You wouldn’t be doing anyone any favours by giving anything else other than honest, forthright advice, based on experience. Okay the lady might not have liked your advice etc, but you gave her the courtesy of honesty.

  5. Check out Barnes Bullets for excellent self-defense copper bullets. They are excellent. Corbon loads a Barnes Copper bullet. There are videos on the web that show expansion tests. Check out the bullet makers websites.Federal just came out with an excellent self defense bullet, the HST. Passed all the FBI testing. Although not an all copper bullet. It will be awhile before all copper bullets will be forced off on us.

  6. Hi James someone at a workplace has used the exact same picture of the foot you have claiming it’s their foot after a fall at work would you like more details?

    • I just found the unsourced picture while browsing through Tumblr, so I’d say there is a pretty good chance it really is the injured foot of your coworker.

      If they have a blog or other social media account where they talk about their painful pedi, then please let me know. I’m always happy to reveal origins and provide links if at all possible.

      And thank you for the heads up! Much appreciated!

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