Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Five Self Defense Tips for Drivers

Self defense is something you should not just imagine happening in a proverbial dark alley. Not all assaults are premeditated. It just takes a moment of desperation or anger to turn your daily routine into a dangerous situation. Cars are often silent witnesses to assaults as drivers enter and leave, or tempers get heated on the road. Here are five tips to help you effectively protect yourself in or near your car.

1) Drive Safely: This one seems like a real no-brainer, but a substantial number of assaults happen as the result of a fender bender, close call or other instance of dangerous driving. The other driver gets angry enough to attack or worse yet, is a criminal who has something to hide from the police. He doesn’t want to stick around – and he doesn’t want witnesses either. Drive safely, keep your distance from other vehicles and never drive to harass someone, no matter how angry you are – or how bad a driver the other guy is.

2) Call the Police First: If you get into any accident, call the police before you talk to the other driver and tell him you’ve done it. This takes any convoluted talk about keeping insurance out of it (a popular trick for fraudsters and the source of violent arguments) off the table right away. If the other guy has something to hide he might just get in his vehicle and take off. Fine – let him. Explain what happened as soon as the police arrive.

3) Don’t Leave Your Car to Confront an Angry Driver: If someone gets out of his car looking for a fight do not get out to try to calm them down or confront them. It’s not worth it. If you feel more threatened and your car works, drive away. Call the police, even if you’ve already called them before. In this case, the second call informs them of the angry driver and in the even of an accident, tells them that you’re not abandoning the scene.

4) Keep Pepper Spray or Other Self Defense Products in Arm’s Reach: If you own a cell phone stun gun, pepper spray or a similar self defense product you should be able to use it from your driver’s seat at a second’s notice. Your weapon should be securely attached to your person so it won’t fall anywhere it isn’t supposed to, and should not be in your glove compartment, where you’ll waste time grabbing it. If you go this route, make sure you have all the paperwork required by law in your jurisdiction, are legally entitled to carry the weapon, and when the police arrive, inform them that you are legally armed and wish to follow their instructions.

5) Never Let Anyone Force You Into a Car or Force You to Go Anywhere: Carjackings and attempts to force you into a car are always extremely dangerous situations, and you should consider them life threatening events to resist with any amount of force. Crimes where the perpetrator takes the victim to another location generally rank among the most dangerous, so you should consider escape your top priority, and even be willing to take risks you wouldn’t consider in other self defense scenarios.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Tips to Use a Taser Gun Safely

On Friday May 1st, Cobb County decided to arm its officers with Tasers, reopening a longstanding debate about how they fit into the police’s use of force continuum, and how good an idea they are – period. There are a broad range of opinions about them, ranging from strong, unconditional support to serious concerns about their safety. Now you can buy Taser guns from us so obviously, you know that we approve of them – but we support proper Taser use. Here are three guiding principles to pay attention if you choose to purchase a C2 Taser.

Appropriate Use: Most controversies involving Tasers ultimately boil down to inappropriate use. In law enforcement this happens because of a combination of officer stress and poor training, explaining why there are so many differences between Taser statistics in different jurisdictions. For example in Phoenix, AZ, police shooting incidents declined by a third while Taser use increased between 2001 and 2003 – an indication that proper training helped these officers save lives. In Houston however, the introduction of Tasers didn’t reduce shooting deaths at all. (Source: Wikipedia)

A Taser is one of the best nonlethal alternatives to injurious or deadly force out there – but it is an alternative to those situations, instead of something to use when you’re angry or frustrated. Just like a firearm, they’re dangerous based on what the user does. Tasers are serious self-defense tools to be employed in extreme situations – you’re not just “setting phasers on stun.” But in that role, they’re one of the very best options available.

Avoid Multiple Shocks: One characteristic of high profile Taser incidents is the use of multiple shocks over a brief period of time. A Taser is one of the safest self defense products for what it does . . . once. Evidence for Tasers contributing to serious injury and death is often controversial, but rest assured that these situations are also very, very rare and in many of them, the target was hit with multiple consecutive bursts.

Fortunately, the C2 Taser and other civilian models are designed to take this into account by automatically limiting the operating cycle to a maximum of 30 seconds. (Law enforcement models provide unlimited consecutive 5 second bursts for as long as the operator pulls the trigger). The C2 is programmed so that you will use it properly by default, giving you a chance to escape. So in most cases, this concern is not even an issue for civilian users.

One Solution Among Many: Like any self defense product a Taser has an appropriate time and place – in this case, it should be used when you feel someone represents a serious threat to your well-being. Don’t buy one for the same reason you’d buy pepper spray, for example. Pepper spray can be reasonably used when you want to deescalate a threat before it reaches its peak; Tasers fill the role of putting someone down when they need to go down right now. It won’t just scare them off, and you must be prepared for the responsibilities that come with all of a Taser’s possible consequences. Ultimately, it’s a powerful self defense asset when it’s used as part of a total strategy that includes personal awareness, health and a focus on avoidance and escape. A Taser will help you prevail in the most extreme situations.