A Tool of Last Resort

My gun is a tool of last resort. I have a legal and ethical obligation to meet force with like force. I can’t justify shooting someone who is my size and attacking me with a rolled up newspaper, no matter how angry I might be.

I carry lots of different tools to help defend myself. I have also taken personal defense training so I have some idea what to expect if I get hit and how to hit back. I encourage women to train for personal defense, armed and unarmed. Martial Arts are great exercise, but modern Martial Arts are more choreography than defense. Look for a program the focuses on Personal Defense Readiness. I have physical limitations so I opted for private coaching rather than classes so I could work at my pace and within my limitations.

I took a class on how to use Pepper Spray. I was shocked at how difficult it was to draw, unlock and deploy the spray with any accuracy. I learned so much I later became an instructor. Of course, this was after embarrassing myself in class by dropping my training canister at the feet of my instructor. Pepper Spray takes practice…outdoors and not on a windy day!

Recent crime statistics depict parking lots as one of the most dangerous places for women. Anyone surprised? But you can minimize your risks. Be alert, look around, make eye contact, don’t be afraid to tell someone to stay back if they get too close. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Don’t be afraid to ask a co-worker or security guard to walk you to your car. Use what is handy to but a barrier between you and the aggressor. A shopping cart, a car, a trash can…

In the dark, or low light, a flashlight can temporarily blind your assailant giving you time to get away.

Consider carrying your cash in a separate place than your id cards. Then, if someone is trying to rob you, you have the option to throw the cash in one direction and run the other. If he, or she, wants your money, it will be an easy decision.

I carry a personal alarm. In an emergency I can pull the pin and toss it away from me. The noise is piercing and it doesn’t sound like a car alarm.

I have a whistle on my key chain. When is the last time you heard someone blow a whistle? It isn’t that common so I would look.

My voice is with me everywhere I go. I can yell “STRANGER”. We teach our children to scream stranger, why not an adult?

It is rare to find me without a coffee in my hand. It may seem like a waste of good coffee but…I can throw it in an attackers face.

High Heels are great defensive weapons and can be quite dangerous. Plus, it is easier to run if you take them off.

Whatever you have near can be used to buy time to attract attention, convey that you are not an easy target, or to get away.

Lethal ForceYour gun may save your life, but you need to be in fear of imminent death or severe bodily harm before you can draw it. Plan ahead, think about what you can use as you are walking, look around, visualize yourself escaping to safety. Be in control and be safe.

ALWAYS call the police as soon as you get to safety after an encounter. You want them looking for the bad guy, not for the “crazy lady screaming in the parking lot”.

Be safe!

Lynne Finch-Charlesworth

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