Devices for Self-Protection
In the United States crime prevention became a big industry due to increasing crime rates since the 1960’s. Some people insist that if they buy a “gismo or gadget,” they will be safe from an assailant. This is what we call the “quick fix” myth that is similar to obtaining “fast food” satisfaction. “Fast food” is very popular around the world because people generally want an immediate solution to their needs or problems. This accounts for the continuous creativity and the numerous gadgets sold on the open market. These self-defense gadgets are commonly advertised as the “cure all” for self-protection.
A major problem with any of the self-protection gadgets or weapons is that they cannot substitute for personal empowerment and internal self-confidence. You are unlikely to have it when you need it, and most people would not use the weapon or gadget unless they really felt threatened; by then it is too late. Carrying protective devices such as knives, guns, or other weapons may also be considered a symbol of one’s willingness to participate in violence, to expect violence, and be ready for its retaliation (Wolfgang, 1966). But worse of all these items become a crutch” that the carrier depends on. If the crutch is kicked out from the user, she falls. Likewise, a protective gismo or gadget that is not in one’s hand at the time or assault or is dropped creates mental and physical weakness that the victim may be incapable of recovering.
Personal safety requires much more effort than buying some device and then sticking it at the bottom of your purse, under a seat, or on a back shelf within a home or business. However, learning to use your mind and body effectively by practicing physical fighting skills is not a guarantee that you will be safe from rape aggression or able to successfully stop an attack. Conversely, you become the weapon. Nothing can keep us from being attacked when targeted by criminal intent. Crime prevention will come through a combination of awareness, prevention strategies, proper fighting techniques, and general wellness.
When you are in a life-threatening situation, you are scared. You must deal with the feelings of fear before you can defend yourself most effectively. You will not be very effective if you are struggling to use the device when under stress, and while trying to overcome your internal feelings of fear and fighting the assailant all at the same time. The mind and body must work as one. Unless you practice and train while under those conditions, you will have difficulty and the assailant will have the advantage. The items do not work by themselves and are not permanently attached to your body. Most items take valuable seconds to bring to the “ready” position for deployment and can become a mental distraction inhibiting effective fighting. Any weapon or item is only as good as your ability to apply it in the given situation. Unless you continuously train, you must think more consciously about how to position and operate the device.
Not all purchased items and weapons for self-protection are bad. If used properly and under favorable conditions, their use could successfully thwart an assailant with a threat display or physically applied to stop an attack; and there are plenty of success stories to demonstrate their benefit.
Self-protection tools fall into three categories:
- Chemical Agents: Hair Spray, Mace, Chemical Identifier, and Pepper Spray.
- Electronic Devices: Stun Gun or Zapper, Electronic Control Devices (such as a Taser), Personal Alarms or Noise Makers.
- Devices & Weapons: Whistle, Kubaton, Flashlight, Knife, and Firearms.
There are many creative self-defense gadgets sold on the market. Before making a purchase, assess the realistic application for your lifestyle, or a loved one. If you purchase any of these items, you must be aware of local, state and federal laws regarding the item you chose to carry. Laws may vary greatly and ignorance of the law will not prevent you from receiving a citation or being arrested for possession.
Self-protection items can help you ward off an assailant:
- If you have the proper training and practice on how to use it.
- If they are within your reach.
- If the item works when it is suppose to work.
- If you don’t freeze up at the moment of attacked and forget how to properly use the item.
- If the assailant lacks the commitment to the assault.
Any piece of equipment is only as good as the user.
- What if you are in bed sound asleep when you are attacked?
- What if you dropped it?
- What if it didn’t work?
- What if it was taken away from you?
- What if he uses it on you?
- Now what do you have to fall back on?
After purchasing any of these items, none of them can help you deal with the fear you will experience when in a real life-threatening situation. Instead, they give you a false sense of confidence. Model Mugging self-defense courses provide students the opportunity to learn how to channel fear into fighting energy in reality based self-defense training scenarios.
Additionally, after taking a Model Mugging Self-Defense Course, any “quick fix” item or improvised weapon may enhance your self-defense training because you know you are not relying solely on any device. If you did not have the selected device in your hand, you can still effectively protect yourself. If it did not work right, or it was taken away, there are other ways to protect yourself and stop an assailant.
The Basic self-defense course fighting experience in realistic scenarios.
In the Model Mugging Advanced Course, students learn the psychology of armed assailants and how to deal with various weapons that are being used by the assailant. Other links to assist in considering what to look for in a self-defense program: