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Old 06-02-2009, 09:27 PM   #1
hapkidoike
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Advice on Carrying a Weapon

I am currently in the planning stages of a fairly long unsupported bicycle tour, which will probably start in April of 2010. I am torn on whether or not I ought to carry a weapon of some sort (tazer, mace type substance, or something similar, NOT a pistol given state laws vary greatly). If I were going with even one other person I would not even think about it, but given that I am going solo I kind of feel like it might be appropriate. I have also brought this up on bike touring forums and gotten some response, but you folks may also have information and opinions that are relevant given your experience as students of martial arts. Thanks in advance for any time you give this.
Peace,
Bettis.

Ich glaube dass mein Schwein pfeifen.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

It's a great idea to take a weapon, or two. You never know what kind of situation you'll end up in, and protecting yourself should always be a concern.

Pepper spray is great, and if you run into some angry dogs it will come in handy. Some form of club is also a great idea. It gives you range and is effective yet not necessarily lethal. You can carry many things that will serve this function and not be odd. Even a jo cut down to size would work nicely and not cause much concern. A good tactical folder is always a good tool to have as well.

A powerful flashlight can be a good friend as well. At night using it to blind an attacker may give you enough time to bike away safely. If you go with a large maglite that will serve as your club as well. What ever you decide to take, spend some time training with it, a tool you're not comfortable using is useless to you.

I personally would take the time to find out the CCW laws in the states you'll be going through. It might not be as hard as you think to take a pistol with you, and it just might save your life.

Best of luck to you, sounds like a fun adventure!!

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Old 06-03-2009, 07:35 AM   #3
Hogan
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
...I personally would take the time to find out the CCW laws in the states you'll be going through. It might not be as hard as you think to take a pistol with you, and it just might save your life...
That's true - 48 of 50 states allow some sort of concealed carry. And depending on where he is biking, only a couple/few CCW permits may even allow him to carry where ever he is traveling, even if it is a whole bunch of states.
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:47 AM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

I knew someone who hiked across Africa carrying a bowie knife (ok, a BIG @$$ bowie knife) and a bull whip. He made it ok. I tthink he had a pretty good staff as well.

Personally, I wouldn't have had the guts to do what he did...even then, when things were quite a bit calmer than they are now.

Best,
Ron (good luck on the trip!)

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:51 AM   #5
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Pepper spray is a good alternative, especially for a biker, since you'll be concerned about the amount of weight you're carrying.

A friend of mine used to carry a gun. He stopped a few years ago, and when I asked him why he said "Two reasons. The first is that whatever weapon you carry you better be ready to use with absolutely no hesitation. The second is that with a weapon present, situations are more likely to escalate to the point where you'll have to use the weapon in the first place." Pepper spray/stun guns are fairly discreet and, more importantly from a legal perspective, nonlethal.

Good luck on your ride!
Nick

---
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"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:11 AM   #6
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

I believe you may find that there are local restrictions on sprays and tasers as well.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:27 AM   #7
Nick
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I believe you may find that there are local restrictions on sprays and tasers as well.
Possibly, yes... but they're still a nonlethal alternative to knives/batons/pistols, and, as my lawyer told me, "Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6."

---
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"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:54 AM   #8
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

One of the conccerns with carrying a weapon that I've always had is the exteme amount of awareness and responsibility that goes along with it.

A teacher of mine was a competitive shooter, and has a CCW permit. Whenever he carried, he spoke of the need to be "on", in the sense that he had to protect the weapon from others as much as himself. If you are carrying a gun, you can't afford to let someone into a position where they can take if from you...any physical interaction has become life and death simply because of the presense of that gun.

It also means that you MUST be in control at absolutely every minute that you are armed. Any loss of control can put someone's life on the line.

These can actually be good things, and some might make the case that we should be like this at all times anyway (I may even agree with this sometimes). I dunno...personally I think I would find that draining if I was going armed all the time. But since I don't own a gun, I am not a good example in that regard.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:08 AM   #9
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Nick Porter wrote: View Post
as my lawyer told me, "Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6."
This quote is speaking to the reasonable option of using deadly force, correct. Saying that it's better to defend yourself and go to trial then it is to die and have the pallbearers carry you. This is something often said by people in favor of the lethal force option.

I think it's a deeply personal question to ask yourself. If the answer is that you are going to use lethal force that is your choice. Hopefully it's a choice none of us will have to make.

One shouldn't rely on pepper spray alone however. It's effect varies greatly, and in windy conditions it can prove useless. If I could choose only 1 weapon (other then a firearm) in a biking type situation. I would choose a short club. It's use doesn't have to be lethal, It give you range over someone else using a short weapon like a knife. You can train very hard with the club meaning you'll be comfortable with it in a pressure situation. It's simple, effective, and raises little suspicion.

This is however hypothetical. He can carry several weapons, which would be my choice. Look into the laws, don't take anything that will get you in lots of trouble if you use it. Train with it, use your head, and all will be well.

Last edited by ChrisHein : 06-03-2009 at 10:11 AM.

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Old 06-03-2009, 10:12 AM   #10
James Davis
 
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Personally, I am more likely to carry a weapon when I'm not alone. Being a (kinda) skilled martial artist, my technique and my wits can get me out of some situations. It's when I'm with someone who can't fight and can't run as fast as I can that I have to look at protecting them too.

In my personal experience, attackers sought to overwhelm me with numbers; this was true with dogs and with people.

If you have a concealed carry permit, utilize it and be safer. Many states have a policy of reciprocity and will honor your permit. If you don't have a permit, then follow the laws of the land you're in.

My personal policy is to be as prepared as I can, though I doubt that any people will give you trouble in the light of day. I would, however, bet dollars to doughnuts that you will encounter at least one dog that has an irresponsible owner.

Best of luck to you. Have fun.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:43 AM   #11
Mark Kruger
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Isaac Bettis wrote: View Post
I am currently in the planning stages of a fairly long unsupported bicycle tour, which will probably start in April of 2010. I am torn on whether or not I ought to carry a weapon of some sort (tazer, mace type substance, or something similar, NOT a pistol given state laws vary greatly). If I were going with even one other person I would not even think about it, but given that I am going solo I kind of feel like it might be appropriate. I have also brought this up on bike touring forums and gotten some response, but you folks may also have information and opinions that are relevant given your experience as students of martial arts. Thanks in advance for any time you give this.
Peace,
Bettis.
You are right, state laws vary. So, to provide meaningful opinions and information, we need to know which states you will be in.

In general:

Mace/pepper spray is good to carry because it allows you to deal with most situations with a minimum of force. In some jurisdictions pepper spray is considered less force than physical contact. One down side is that it only discourages the "less motivated". A serious assailant will ignore the discomfort and continue, or escalate, their attack. If this happens, you will at least be able to articulate why you had to use other forms of force. "He started yelling at me. I apologized and tried to leave, but he blocked my way. I felt threatened, so I pepper sprayed him and tried to get out. He tried to grab me and hit me so I..."

Tazers. Just like pepper spray they only stop the unmotivated. Unlike pepper spray, they are a contact distance weapon so the margin of error is smaller and they cost more. I'm not a big fan.

Flashlights. Most folks don't think of them as a weapon. This is good. Aside from the utilitarian uses of illumination, they are usually decent batons or yawara sticks. I carry a surefire flashlight in my pocket all the time.

Knives and guns. The discussion on their best use is worthy of it's own thread. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there being disseminated as the truth. There are lots of folks with agendas pushing their favorite techniques, equipment, or political attitudes.

On the subject of truth, avoid anecdotal evidence. Just because someone did something somewhere once doesn't mean that it is the wisest thing to do.

Respectfully,
Mark Kruger
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:54 AM   #12
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

I would definetely take a weapon of some sort. As others have mentioned, some states have have an agreement that their CCW license will work in eac others state. So, you may want to look into that. Other then that, mace and maybe something like a baton/escrima would be nice. The flashlight idea is actually a great one as well. You get two things out of one. And I have been blinded by flashlights in the past and it is actually quite painful when they are bright!

Keep in mind though that mace and tazers will not always work. Especially if the person is on drugs or drunk. I have seen videos with police officers constantly tazering someone and they keep on coming once they are able to get up.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:01 AM   #13
Nick
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Failing that, a telescopic baton is compact and packs quite a punch if you want something a little tougher than pepper spray, but as it is essentially a steel pipe when expanded, ensure that, as Ron said, you are in control both of the weapon and yourself at all times.

---
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"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:16 AM   #14
Mark Kruger
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Expandable batons are illegal in several states. Again, we need to know where you plan on going before we can give you good advice.

Respectfully,
Mark Kruger
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Old 06-03-2009, 03:54 PM   #15
Mike Sigman
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

You can always carry a small bottle of ammonia and water in a plastic squirt-bottle. Even an emptied nasal-spray bottle is good and it's a good disguise. Ammonia in the eyes is usually a fairly good deterrent.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:10 PM   #16
Mark Kruger
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
You can always carry a small bottle of ammonia and water in a plastic squirt-bottle. Even an emptied nasal-spray bottle is good and it's a good disguise. Ammonia in the eyes is usually a fairly good deterrent.

FWIW

Mike
Pepper spray is recognized in the law enforcement and legal circles as non-lethal. Aqueous ammonia...

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/pr...2/icsc0215.htm

"Severe deep burns" of the eye. Perhaps not the best option out there.

Respectfully,
Mark Kruger
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:55 PM   #17
Mike Sigman
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

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Mark Kruger wrote: View Post
"Severe deep burns" of the eye. Perhaps not the best option out there.
Depends on if I'm worried about him or worried about me.

Mike
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:19 AM   #18
chuunen baka
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Might I intrude in what appears to be a USA-based thread to say how totally bizarre this appears to a European? Choosing a weapon for a bike trip? The mind boggles.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:50 AM   #19
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Alastair Rae wrote: View Post
Might I intrude in what appears to be a USA-based thread to say how totally bizarre this appears to a European? Choosing a weapon for a bike trip? The mind boggles.
Meh. Don't be so quick to assume that opinions break down on a "US vs. not" line here. There have been plenty of threads in the past from Europeans all about their need for "self-defense"; what does it matter if a weapon is involved or not? The real question is when and why are people perceiving threats, and how much that perception has to do with reality, and as far as I can tell that does not break down on "US vs. not" lines.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:52 AM   #20
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Alastair Rae wrote: View Post
Might I intrude in what appears to be a USA-based thread to say how totally bizarre this appears to a European? Choosing a weapon for a bike trip? The mind boggles.
Hmmm ...

New age of rebellion and riot stalks Europe
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5563020.ece

Greek riots spark fear of Europe in flames
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5337633.ece

Riots in Eastern Europe as Crisis Bites
http://www.businessweek.com/globalbi...121_794144.htm

Riots scare Europe
France's immigrant rage could spill over
http://www.oxfordpress.com/hp/conten...108a_5REP.html

Economic Crisis: Riots Across Europe
http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/0...across-europe/

German trucker suspected of 19 murders in Europe
http://www.eubusiness.com/news_live/1174338001.47

Scotland has second highest murder rate in Europe
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/se...crime.scotland

Homicide in the World
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Homicide-world.png
(Note that some European countries are worse than some US states)

Violent crime-infested . . . Europe
http://hillbillywhitetrash.blogspot....ed-europe.html

Britain tops European crime league
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...me-league.html
"Overall, nearly one third of EU citizens said they were afraid of burglary and did not feel safe on the streets."

Portugal: Violent Crime Increasing
http://www.worldtravelwatch.com/08/0...ncreasing.html
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:53 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Heh, when I was in Germany I was more afraid of the police than the thugs. I got to see first hand how some were quick with their nightsticks. And that was in West Germany...don't even get me started on the old East Berlin cops, soldiers, etc.

You want real crime? Try South Africa today. Crime in Kenya wasn't a picnic either. I personally saved one idiot from getting stripped naked and cut with pangas (machettes). If you were lucky they just took your clothes and let you walk home naked.

It's a tough world out there...be safe!

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-04-2009 at 08:55 AM.

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #22
Mark Kruger
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Alastair Rae wrote: View Post
Might I intrude in what appears to be a USA-based thread to say how totally bizarre this appears to a European? Choosing a weapon for a bike trip? The mind boggles.
Why do you find it mind boggling?

I recently ran across this quote, I think it is quite valuable as an object lesson is risk management:
"But in all my experience, I have never been in any accident... of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort." -E.J. Smith, Captain, RMS Titanic

Respectfully,
Mark Kruger
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:58 AM   #23
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Being aware of a possible threat is always a good thing, and VERY "Aiki".

Trivializing others concerns is not part of being a good community member. Teaching and discussing safe practice's. Understanding the potential lethal nature of weapons. And not glorifying or demonizing a tool. Making sure that the user understands what, and why they would need to or not need to use a weapon is the best thing to do.

The US is very large. There are many arias of the US that one should not enter lightly. If you are not from these arias, you can not knowingly enter them.

Not to say that everyone is out to get you, simply that show up in the wrong part of town, wearing funny cloths, and riding an expensive machine, bad things can happen. Or being alone in a place where some one(s) may choose to take advantage of your vulnerability.

This aside from the many animals or other pitfalls one may encounter on a long trip.

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Old 06-04-2009, 09:59 AM   #24
Mike Sigman
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
If you were lucky they just took your clothes and let you walk home naked.
Oh, c'mon, Ron.... you *enjoy* walking home naked.

Mike
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:20 AM   #25
Mark Kruger
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Re: Advice on Carrying a Weapon

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Depends on if I'm worried about him or worried about me.

Mike
Even if you are worried about yourself, aqueous ammonia would be a poor choice.

Not only do you have to worry about the physical altercation, you have to worry about the legal battle afterward. While providing similar immediate effects as pepper spray, aqueous ammonia would expose you to far more legal risk due to it's greater likelihood of causing long term damage.

Respectfully,
Mark Kruger
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