Friday, February 2, 2007

Fainting May Work Best

Okay. Here's the setup: there are these two good ol' boys -- one's a farmer, one's a lawyer -- and they both score on alleged culprits. The farmer uses an empty shotgun, the lawyer uses an empty fry pan. The lawyer gets patted on the back and praised. The farmer gets patted down and arrested.

In spite of the obvious openings for jokes, the two situations aren't as ridiculous as they sound. The lawyer is on safer ground because he wielded the fry pan after the culprit burst into the lawyer's kitchen. A nice, hefty cast iron skillet would have packed a better wallop. As it was, the intruder was only momentarily startled, before dashing into the basement.

The farmer, on the other hand, was not really defending himself or even his own property. He was chasing, and holding for arrest, the occupants of a car he'd seen the previous day on his neighbor's vacant property, folks he believed had committed a theft there. He had 911 on the phone as he chased down the suspects. 911 knew he had the gun and knew the gun was empty. That didn't prevent him being arrested for what was perceived as vigilante tactics. Maybe if he'd used a fry pan instead of the shotgun, he'd have been hailed as a hero...while recovering in the hospital. Let's face it -- a desperate person is more likely to call a fry pan bluff than a shotgun bluff.

As for the other story, the newspaper account didn't explain this well and I'm confused. As I understand it, the lawyer had his wife hold the basement door shut so the invader couldn't come back out. Then he unlocked the front door and told his wife to leave the back way. Excuse me? Why didn't they both just run out the back door?

Okay, I know we aren't always thinking as clearly when under stress as we think we're thinking, but I'll tell you what -- when the dust settles, I'll bet the lawyer's wife is going to wonder why she was the one designated to maintain the barricade against the enemy. Unless she's built like the Chicago Bears linebacker, Brian Urlacher, and owns several kick boxing trophies.

All of this makes me contemplate the often confusing legal minefields of personal safety and self-defense. All too often one reads of criminals filing -- and winning -- lawsuits against the people they victimized, depending on how the victims defended themselves.

But never mind the legalities after the fact. Let's ponder the legalities -- and worth -- of assorted defensive weapons at the point of need. Guns are pretty decisive but how often are they readily handy and functional if you're storing them safely? That's in your home. If you're being mugged or carjacked, do you have a carry permit? A concealed weapon permit? Can you pull the damned thing without shooting yourself in some vital portion of your own anatomy?

Okay, let's try tasers or stun guns. Gee, I dunno. They're not legal everywhere and, even where they are legal, what if you're not close enough to use them effectively? Pepper sprays? Same thing.

Martial arts? Okay-swell. How many folks have access to that kind of training -- or the physical condition to utilize it?

Nor is the average person privy to the skills employed by certain soldiers who, according to legend, can be stark bare nekkid nude and still know seventy-eleven ways to kill you. The average person, if threatened while stark bare nekkid nude, will simply -- and wisely -- faint. If threatened while fully clothed, fainting sounds like a pretty good idea anyway.

I'm trying to figure out what I could use as a defensive weapon if suddenly faced with threat from another individual. The only thing likely to be handy is a cup of hot coffee, which could be flung in the face of the aggressor. Then, of course, I'd better be able to run like hell. And hope I don't get sued because the coffee is too hot.


bb said...

For my daily walks I carry a camera and a cell phone. I hope I should have the sense to use the phone and not the camera.

Wendy, NC said...

Dee, the idea of flinging coffee in the face of a home intruder and then running like hell is not a bad one at all. If the bad guy (or gal) is actually in your house, uninvited, it's a whole different ball game. Furthermore, if they're close enough for you to score with the coffee, they're close enough to present an immediate danger. Actually, I like the idea quite well.