OSEA Safety Blog

Personal Security

Monday, August 23, 2021 Joseph Coniglio

Personal security is a topic garnering a ton of attention these days. In my opinion, the media makes it seem as if the only personal security that works is a gun, most notably a pistol. After serving in the military where we trained on self-defense as well as weapon proficiency, I can honestly say the best training we received was how to identify and stop a threat before it's too late and you’re forced to make a life or death decision. In doing research on the topic, it was evident that this is a "for or against" situation when it comes to private citizens owning handguns. Statistics show that legal gun owners’ thwart crime in the United States an average of 1,000 a day. Yet another statistic shows us there are an average of 500 accidental deaths per year by lawfully owned firearms.

​ So, for the purpose of this article, I will steer clear of firearms for personal safety. A firearm is really one of the last defensive tactics I would employ as a citizen who lives in New York. Firstly, for anyone who has a concealed pistol permit, you can attest to the fact that it's not at all easy to wear business professional clothes and securely carry. Secondly, securing our firearm at all times is of utmost importance. That means we can't leave it on our desk, in a backpack or anywhere else not on our person because someone might find it and that someone might be your child.

​If not a firearm, what else can protect us in a personal defense situation? There are several tools developed specifically to ward off attackers, such as a pocketknife or even pepper spray. However, there are many items that we might have laying around the house that can double as defensive weapons, such as; a metal or hard plastic pen, a little league baseball bat, a glass bottle, rope, hot liquids, over the counter chemical sprays such as bleach, and even gym weights can work. The idea in these situations is to inflict as much damage as possible, in the shortest amount of time, in order to retreat to a safe place. Most people have a hard time getting violent, even when it’s to protect themselves, it's just not an inherent trait. Second, and most important fact to understand is the attacker has the upper hand. They have planned this and are mentally prepared to do you harm. On the other hand, you’re just getting out of zumba class or work or the movies and are attacked with no advanced warning. Statistics also show us that attackers are not prepared for a counterattack, they simply want you to give in. Therefore, when it comes to getting your mind and body to the "fight" stage quickly, the US Army taught us to match violence with violence which starts by screaming and yelling as loud as you can. Use anything you can find or that you've prepared (pepper spray, baton etc.) to defend yourself and don't stop until the attacker is dead, unconscious, or retreating.

​One item to remember when it comes to defending yourself and wondering if you will get arrested yourself is; it's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

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