Knock, Knock. Who’s There?

We’ve got quite a full mailbag this week. I’d like to kick off the first Weekly Drop of 2017 with a great suggestion from one of my readers.

Take it away, John.

Regarding strangers knocking on your door… I recommend a device called Ring. It replaces your doorbell button. It will work off a battery or your doorbell wires. It allows you to see who is at the door and allows you to talk to them without opening the door. It’s paired to your mobile phone — you don’t even have to be at home to use the device.

—John T.

This sounds like a great way to make sure you never open your door to a stranger. Thank you for sharing.

How do you recommend carrying the tactical pen through a secure area?

—Bill K.

First, I place the cap on what I like to call the business end so you can only see the writing end of the pen. Then I simply put the pen in my laptop bag. I’ve flown all over the world with my tactical pen and have never had a problem getting through airport security this way.

I like the duct tape escape. What if you’re completely taped to a chair?

—Paula L.

You can escape being taped to a chair by throwing your body forward as if you were trying to put your head between your knees. This will cause the tape to tear around the chair.

I have a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old and want them to become familiar with firearms. How do you recommend doing this?

—Donald S.

What a great idea, Donald! I suggest going to a local gun range and asking if they offer personal lessons with an instructor. I would take multiple lessons with an instructor and slowly build up the knowledge and skills needed for your kids to become more comfortable with firearms.

I recommend starting them out with a .22, so that they’re not scared off by the recoil. Also, I would continually emphasize that a gun is a tool to be respected. And I would have them memorize the “Four Rules of firearms safety.”

Your recommendations for defending him or herself are good; however, do you not consider the use of pepper spray or other sprays as alternative means for fending off criminals — or a Taser? I am not against the use of force to deter an attacker. However, I can understand when some people do not want to use deadly force, i.e., a gun, knife, etc. Let me know your thoughts on this comment.

—Bill C.

Here’s my very blunt thought, Bill. If someone smashes in my front door and invades my house, they are not there to play charades or sing Christmas carols. They’re probably there to kill my family. Which means I want the best tool to stop them in their tracks.

And I personally believe that tool is a firearm. I don’t like pepper spray, because it doesn’t work on a lot of people. Or if someone attacks you outside and the wind is blowing, you could easily deploy it in your own face.

And again, if someone breaks down my front door at 2 a.m., I don’t want to take any chances.

How do you protect your electronics from an EMP strike? How do you build your own Faraday cage?

—Barry B.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strike would be one of the most catastrophic attacks to hit us. It would cause massive damage to multiple infrastructures and send us back to the Stone Age.

One of the simplest ways you can protect your devices is with a Faraday cage, which is basically just a metal box that will shield your devices from the EMP. A great example of one you can make yourself uses an ammo can — which are pretty easy to get ahold of, even if you don’t keep firearms (although I highly recommend you do).

Line the can with cardboard and then remove the batteries from your devices and wrap them in newspaper. Then wrap them in aluminum foil and finally another layer of newspaper. After each of your devices is wrapped, put them in a plastic bag inside the ammo can. Add another layer of newspaper to the top of the can and seal it shut. The last thing you’ll do is wrap the entire can in HVAC tape.

If you go the DIY route, you’ll want to have your Faraday cages premade. In the event of an EMP strike, you won’t be able to throw all this together in time to save your devices.

My “one thing” is really the one thing I wish I could convince my spouse of 52-plus years to consider to be far more important than she does — awareness! She is a trusting person who believes that mankind is basically good and, unless provoked, will not do you harm. Whether you want to call this “normalcy bias” (nothing has happened to me before, so it won’t now), or faith in her fellow man, it, frankly, scares me. As a former federal agent, I’ve tried everything I can think of to convince her of its importance. My successes have been minimal (keep the car doors locked, windows up, and your purse on the floor while driving, and try to notice unfamiliar vehicles in our neighborhood). 

I suspect that I have a lot of company in this respect — without any intention toward gender bias, I believe more women are trusting by nature than men. Now that we are both in our 70s, it does make me nervous.

—Arthur S.

The fact is many people in society are like your wife — very trusting of others. And honestly, I also believe most people are good and honest, but that doesn’t negate the bad apples in the bunch.

With all that being said, one thing you can do when you are out with your wife is to verbalize what you see around you — the kinds of things you look out for and your thought process as you move through public spaces. As an example, let’s say you two are out to dinner and you notice someone following you or acting suspicious. You should tell your wife — and be specific about what you observe.

By making a habit of this, your wife should start to pick up on potential threats on her own. At least she will start thinking about the things you two talk about, and hopefully, this will cause her to be more aware of her surroundings.

I have a tactical pen, and it brings up a question: Where do you carry the pen so that it’s instantly available? I am a woman, a farmer, 89 years old (most people take me for 60–70), alone most of the time. I carry a shoulder-strap purse when shopping, and it’s usually pretty full. All three pockets of this purse have zippers. How do I get the pen into my hand in time to do me some good?

I have considered always wearing a shirt with a pocket, but now that we’re in the cold season, I wear a heavy, zippered jacket, so that doesn’t work.

I tried attaching it to my wrist with an elastic band, but it’s heavy enough to require one at each end of the pen, so I can’t just shake it into my hand. I even tried wearing it inside my glove, but that makes driving and handshaking difficult. I solved that by laying the glove on the shotgun seat while driving and wearing the pen in my left glove when likely to meet people. However, I am totally right-handed and feel awkward doing it.

I’ve had five years of training in taking down an attacker (Safety for Seniors), and I’m fairly strong and alert. I don’t flinch at the thought of putting my pen through somebody’s eye. I figure I’m most vulnerable in the parking lot of the supermarket or the strip mall. 

Do you always carry your pen in your hand in dangerous venues? 

—Jean N.

Great question, Jean. When walking through a dangerous area, I always carry my tactical pen in my hand. I can easily carry it without anyone noticing, and it’s always ready to use if needed.

Some people will clip the pen to their shirt collar so it’s easy to grab, but you’re right, this may not work, especially if you are wearing layers. Since you wear a purse, you may want to try clipping the pen to the purse strap — but make sure it’s at a spot you can easily access if needed.

Some people even wear a lanyard around their neck and clip the pen to the end. This would be a great way to keep the pen on you, as long as you can quickly access it to defend yourself. You should also check out a belly band if you want something a little more discreet. It’s essentially an elastic band you wear under your shirt, and you could easily clip a pen to that.

I have your book and videos. I am 73 years old, and I appreciate the knowledge you share with us sheep. I also have the books by Tim Larkin and have shared several copies with female family members and friends. Take care, and thank you.

—Larry S.

I truly appreciate your support. Thank you for sharing with others.

I read your excellent book a little while ago and decided to try to learn lock picking — it’s a skill I have always rather admired… Last week while taking my mother to France for Christmas, she accidentally padlocked her suitcase with the keys inside. I told her I would pick the lock, thinking an attempt was better than nothing, and she was really despondent. Anyway, I had a go and remembered a video of yours… I tensioned the lock, raked the pins and then jiggled them. “Snick!” The lock came open, and my mother was VERY happy! Thank you for your help and for making my mum not only happy, but a little bit proud of me too!

—Matt R.

Nice job picking the lock! I’m glad you were able to enjoy your vacation and make your mom’s day.

That’s all for this week…

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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