During Winter Storm Leon, Jim Cantore — the famous weatherman most of us recognize — had an additional 5 seconds of fame when a rambunctious spectator dive-bombed Cantore while he was on camera. What the spectator did not anticipate was the quick and effective physical response from Mr. Cantore, which included a knee to the groin. Days after the event and during Groundhog Day festivities, Mr. Cantore was asked how he felt about the attack. His response was quite simple: No one has the right to touch another person without permission. End of story.
When customers come into the shop and ask about something for self-defense there are several questions we ask. During this process we work with the customer to determine if they need a firearm or something less lethal, like pepper spray, stun gun or a Taser. Not everyone needs a firearm.
Pepper sprays come in all different colors and shapes and are designed to be handheld. To make sure this is effective it must be easily accessible and preferably on a key chain or have finger grooves (for joggers). Pepper spray containers usually have 15-40 sprays (not just one) and should be practiced with. Practice only in a spacious outdoor area where the wind is blowing away from you (and those with you). Look for a spray with staining qualities. This will turn your attackers face orange or blue and is difficult to remove. Good for catching someone who has gotten away. Prices are $5.95 and up.
Stun guns are for close contact and are very loud. Visually this appears to be a bolt of lightning between two metal posts. The shock factor is designed to deter an attacker (human or animal). My suggestions is that during an emergency you apply this to soft, bare flesh, such as the throat to get the most effect. Practice and make yourself comfortable with the loud crackling noise. Prices are $24.95 and up. Flashlight combos are available.
Taser prongs project outward but remain connected to the handheld transmitter (which has a button you hold down) and must contact the attacker but usually will drop an assailant faster than the two above. Several local police and sheriff departments require their officers to be tased before they can carry these to understand the effect. I don’t suggest you try this for fun. Prices are $199 and up.
Simple things to add: If you are going walking or jogging out of sight of others, carry a whistle. In an emergency, people respond more often when someone screams “fire.” A can of wasp spray (25-foot stream) located inside your front door can prevent an attack by an unwanted intruder. Listen to barking dogs; they are not always just making noise. Always be wary of someone who won’t look you in the eye or who looks uncomfortable. Write down license plates or take a picture with your phone.
Remember, knowledge is power and you are the first line of defense in any situation.
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.