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Old 03-08-2008, 10:16 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by ESCAPE POD
OK, I think we need some clarification on the subject of sheep and sheepdogs: Can one be a "sheepdog" without thinking it necessary to be armed with a gun? Conversely, does possessing a gun while camping make that person a "sheepdog"?

Jerry
Sure, you can be your own sheepdog and not be armed. Having the alert mentality is one way to start. Having a gun and not knowing how to use it does not make you a sheepdog. It might just make you dangerous to yourself and others. In my profession, you learn not to take a baton to a knife fight. With proper training and the right equipment, you can neutralize many of the threats you might encounter. With proper training and no equipment you can still put the odds in your favor.

Do I camp and sometimes not carry? Sure. I always have a telescoping baton in the door of my truck and a folding knife in my back pocket. I've never had to pull the pistol, baton or knife out to use them on anyone in the civilian population but it is nice to know that they were there should I ever need them. I do want to make you aware that I am a certified police firearms instructor who is also certified in baton usage, straight baton as well as Monodnock telescoping baton. I use to be a Taser Instructor but now only teach Nova electronic handheld and shield training. I have been trained in the equipment and feel comfortable with their use in the right situations.

Will you find me packing while at a potluck dinner or when there are a bunch of kids around? Not likely. It is usually traveling between here and my destination. Once I am comfortable with my surroundings then it goes into secure hiding, secure enough that an open house (trailer) exam would not detect it. I believe I owe this to those I camp with.

In closing, if you don't feel comfortable carrying a gun legally or keeping one in your vehicle legally, then by all means look at other equipment available. Taser does sell some handheld units to the civilian population but even Taser is not 100% effective. Same with oleoresin capsaician (pepper spray). Again, being prepared for something that may never happen makes you a smart cookie should it ever happen. I'd hate to be in a worse case senario and think "Gee, I wish I had something else besides my hands to defend myself from that _________________ (fill in the blank here with the type of threat)."
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:48 PM   #82
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Me I aint nothing but a hound dog. Actually I am a sheep within the context of the linked analogy which I thought was quite good. I did wonder about wolves in sheep's clothing too.

I would not carry a gun because I would not want to use it but I don't have a big problem with others carrying guns. I do prefer not to know who has them or to see a gun outside of a hunting environment. And that's just my choice.

I have spent the night on the road or camped in isolated and empty campgrounds and not felt uneasy. I have camped in populated campgrounds and felt uneasy or passed by a stop or campground I felt uneasy about. I think traveling and camping isn't much different than other circumstances and situations we encounter from time to time when we are not traveling or camping. We had the opportunity to boondock and be off road down a very long narrow single lane road quite remote and densely overgrown with no visibility beyond our immediate location and passed several people at a site and made a judgment call based on purely bias and imagination and decided we would take a pass to feel secure. Would we boondock in another area sometime, I hope so.

Perception is subjective and safety can be an elusion. But people are people where ever they go. I am a sheep.

So besides the option of being armed, for the meek sheep here, has anyone employed tactical applications and or carried any deterrents or any other devices of defense? I'd especially be interested in hearing from more women.
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:05 PM   #83
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made a judgment call based on purely bias and imagination and decided we would take a pass to feel secure.
You may have been making a judgement based on unconsious cues that you observed. This has been a well documented ability that we have. Sometimes it's called sixth sense, etc.
A great read on the subject is "The gift of fear" by Gavin DeBecker.

As to your question - I sometimes carry O.C. pepper spray if I don't feel that it's appropriate to carry a firearm.
I have never had to use force of any type in the civilian setting.

There was one situation at night at the beach in Ventura, CA. In hindsite, I feel that my instincts kept me out of trouble when a group of males I noticed began following me; I was carrying an expensive camera. I changed my direction to a more exposed and better lighted area and they turned away.
NEVER discount an uneasy feeling unless you have proof that the feeling is unfounded.
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:35 AM   #84
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Being a "sheepdog" is a mindset. Like the cop on the commuter train described by Grossman, knowing what your assets are and knowing how they can be used to gain tactical advantage in a crisis is being a sheepdog:

Quote:
There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory acts of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

However, when there were cues given by potential victims that indicated they would not go easily, the cons said that they would walk away. If the cons sensed that the target was a "counter-predator," that is, a sheepdog, they would leave him alone unless there was no other choice but to engage.

One police officer told me that he rode a commuter train to work each day. One day, as was his usual, he was standing in the crowded car, dressed in blue jeans, T-shirt and jacket, holding onto a pole and reading a paperback. At one of the stops, two street toughs boarded, shouting and cursing and doing every obnoxious thing possible to intimidate the other riders. The officer continued to read his book, though he kept a watchful eye on the two punks as they strolled along the aisle making comments to female passengers, and banging shoulders with men as they passed.

As they approached the officer, he lowered his novel and made eye contact with them. “You got a problem, man?” one of the IQ-challenged punks asked. “You think you’re tough, or somethin’?” the other asked, obviously offended that this one was not shirking away from them.

“As a matter of fact, I am tough,” the officer said, calmly and with a steady gaze.

The two looked at him for a long moment, and then without saying a word, turned and moved back down the aisle to continue their taunting of the other passengers, the sheep.
I have had many such moments in my career, all of them ending with the wolves wandering off without engaging me; the desired result. I am a counter-predator. I will not be intimidated, nor harmed. I am not boasting, it is a choice I have made. I also take great pride in not appearing as a counter-predator to my friends or when I'm in social situations. It's not likely you'd pick me out of a crowd as a sheepdog on any given day, and I'd doubt many of the folks here who have met me socially would identify me that way. That anonymity is a consciously honed skill that allows me to get closer to the wolf who also can't identify me as a counter-predator until I choose to be identified, another survival skill.

Attitude, confidence in one's skills, and the desire to go
Quote:
sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night
is what differentiates the sheepdog from the sheep; whether he is armed is almost irrelevent, and certainly a firearm isn't necessarily always the tool of choice. In fact in most instances improvised weapons from the environment will work just as effectively as something designed as a weapon.

Heavy, expensive cameras make an excellent improvised "mace" when slung around on the end of a heavy camera strap. For you ladies, any of the aerosols you carry in your purse, especially spray perfumes, in the eyes of an attacker, are a great distraction. One of the most effective improvised defensive/offensive impact weapons available is the end of a thin magazine (like Time or Newsweek) rolled into a tube. Used as an impact weapon, the magazine is stiff, durable, and is quite debilitating when jabbed forcefully into the right parts of the body. Pens and pencils make effective improvised weapons. A hot cup of coffee can be a very effective distraction tool. (All, by the way, are readily available on commercial airliners.) And distraction as a tactic is one of the best defensive tools that can ensure that whatever offense you plan immediately after has a better chance of succeeding. Likewise, recognizing a distraction for what it is immediately preceeding an offensive attack is equally important so you can be prepared for the attack.

The common theme continues to be an awareness of your environment, and a constant assessment of your options, and HAVING A PLAN.

Those are the kinds of skills that sheepdog learn and hone that allows them to survive in what Grossman terms that "toxic, corrosive moment".

Roger
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:52 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested
...
So besides the option of being armed, for the meek sheep here, has anyone employed tactical applications and or carried any deterrents or any other devices of defense? I'd especially be interested in hearing from more women.
Carol, this is Phil. Thanks for asking. Maybe some other members will also answer. This is a good question.

In Roam Sweet Home, there is a segment on a women's rally that the leader talks about this. She suggests several things I thought were excellent.
1. Get a pair of LARGE men's boots (like mudders, or something that wouldn't be used inside), and leave them outside the door of your RV when camping/boondocking.
2. Anytime you leave the trailer/motorhome, lean back inside and scream out (even when traveling alone) "Next time you can do this!" (someone in the peanut gallery added "ya big lug")
3. Get an oversized dog bowl (or set) and place them just outside your door.
4. Place a man's hat on the dashboard.
These were suggested so that observers might be fooled into believing that there are others in your party.

Now, for some thoughts that you made me think of: I am a "sheep" in this context, and depend on avoidance and opportunity-limitations (limit opportunities for wolves) to minimize conflict. For example, I feel that well-lit areas are less desirable for undesirables to do their work, and we almost always have dogs with us.

In reflecting on this, I am thinking about getting an air horn for us to carry, since attention is also a deterrent. I have seen what guns can do, and hope to never be involved with another weapons discharge. Unfortunately, that limits what I can do in response to a threat (real or perceived), but I can live with that much better than living with the results of a firearm either to the perp, or even worse, to an innocent bystander/friend/family member.

Also, since I do not have the training/mindset, and, in actuality, might not be able to use it (that is, dispense the grief and create the horrific end results), a firearm in my possession might turn into a weapon used against me. Bad guys do not usually care that grief and permanent memories are being forced upon their victims, but I do. Who knows, the perp might be a kid who has been steered the wrong way and has no bodily harm in mind; maybe just wants some money for drugs.

I am not against guns, but there is a responsibility with any action, and this is no different. There are also consequences that some heads-in-the-sand folk might ignore, but it's real. And the fact that bad people are out there is also real, but (as pointed out earlier) thankfully statistically small. Deterrents and avoidance seem to me to be one approach, and making yourself a more difficult target seems to be advantageous.

Hopefully, more ideas can be shared about your question too.
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:27 AM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil and/or Sue
Deterrents and avoidance seem to me to be one approach, and making yourself a more difficult target seems to be advantageous.
Phil, deterrents and avoidance are always good tactics. No intelligent person ever goes spoiling for a fight. To make yourself as small a target as possible is wise. To do "target hardening" such as the things you suggest in your post are also fine ideas, and may in fact lessen the odds of you being victimized if at that time, the person who wants to victimize you is intimidated by those things. When the wolf finds you, is not intimidated by the camoflage, and comes calling despite your best attempts at camoflage and avoidance, your best efforts there are no longer of value, and will not protect you.

Also, possession of the most devastating weapon in the world is also of no value if you are psychololgically unwilling or unable to deploy it. In fact, I can guarantee you that if you deployed any kind of weapon against me, and you hesitated using it for just an instant, it will become my weapon and I will use it against you. That was what Craig alluded to in his post.

This is an interesting society we have, and the judicial system is predicated on the premise that ten guilty should go free rather than one innocent be convicted. We (government) are Constitutionally prohibited from acting on behalf of the People until a crime has been committed. The government can't act on what it presumes a person might do, an act must be committed for the justice system to kick in. Further, government doesn't act on your behalf as a victim; it seeks to find the perpetrator to ensure the safety of the society, so that they may not victimize other individuals... hence all criminal indictments start out "State of xxxx vs. John Doe" rather than "You vs. John Doe."

What all this means is that in our society, you and you alone are responsible for your safety and the safety of your friends and family. Government will come along after the fact and pick up the pieces and see if we can find and prosecute the bad guys, but you still have to be a victim first.

Another key issue to remember if you're in a position to be victimized is that you didn't make the choices to put yourself there; the crook confronting you made those choices. If the choice he made is tragic for himself and his family, I truly empathize with them, but you shouldn't feel any less empathic toward yourself or your family. He may be some stupid kid looking for drug money, but if he's looking for drug money from me, he made a bad decision, and if he compounds that bad decision further that's his problem, not mine. Feel sorry for him, but not to the point that you allow him to hurt you.

So, past avoidance and camoflage as discussed, my counsel is that there is no "magic" system, weapon, trick, or tactic that will keep you safe from predators. There's no substitute for personal mental and physical preparation if the wolf comes calling.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:07 AM   #87
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WOW. Thanks, Dave, Phil and Roger, those are some wonderful posts! I am going to be thinking about those tips and try to get them down pat. All super ideas that I think I personally could realistically employ.

Sprays and horns, being cognizant and alert, improvised weapons such as the magazine and some forethought on quick actions in a bad situation or avoidance if possible are good to have in mind. This thread has been a great reminder to potential dangers and preparation, and mental preparedness. Having been fortunate in the past we might be prone to forget. Thank you for addressing these serious issues with practical wisdom and sharing this information.

I never would have thought that the heavy camera around my neck and the hot coffee which are usually my constants btw, could be employed to defend myself. I like the use of improvised defensive/offensive weapons and the tactics mentioned such as taking advantage of distraction. These kinds of things are better utilized by me because I wouldn't want to run the risk of esculating the situation with a visible weapon threat where I would be outmatched and hesitant and the worse for that particular tactic.

I am printing these up as a physical reminder so I don't get lulled into forgetting and not keeping ever vigilant. Perhaps I'll carry it and others right in my checklists and try becoming as small a target as possible and use my sixth sense.

Those Roam Sweet Roam ideas are fantastic as well. Thanks for sharing that. To add to those, one woman told me once that she carries a long empty gun case in the back of her vehicle and takes it out and replaces it in full view of her neighbors on occassion...(though I have never seen one) Another, before todays heavy usage of cell phones was to just pick up her non-working phone in a deliberate manner and hold it to her ear and talk as if calling for help when she felt she was attracting unwanted attention that could be a threat. I am definitely going to get the dog bigger dishes and find a hat or boots, easily done and effective. When I walk to my truck I walk purposefully and I carry my keys in hand, same for entering the the trailer and sometimes with a couple placed between my fingers.

Thanks all, and hope these ideas keep coming in. These ideas are too good and too important not to share. Good thread.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:46 AM   #88
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Getting back to what I believe was the original question, if I carry a firearm while boondocking, it would be a rifle, as I would tend to be in more danger from the wildlife, than vermin of the two legged variety. I do have other implements of destruction at my disposal, but find I would have more use for them in a more urban environment (aka campground).
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:51 AM   #89
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I also worked in the Federal sector. Although I wasn't an actual law enforcement officer, I carried a law enforcement ID (black book) because of the nature of my job. Whenever I flew for work, I had to show that ID when boarding a plane.

The first time I was asked if I was carrying I had a puzzled look on my face (what the heck would I be carrying, anyhow?) The gate agent looked at me again and said "sir, are you armed?" I looked at her and said, "yes, I have two of them." That was the wrong thing to say!
Yes, I know I carried something similar. After Katrina I worked in a temporary compound made up of tents known as ICE TOWN. Everyone was armed, including long guns. I was armed with a laptop. It just didn't seem fair.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:56 AM   #90
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I was armed with a laptop. It just didn't seem fair.
A laptop will make quite a dent in someone's head if deployed properly.
My last one made quite a dent in my foot when I dropped it...
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:01 PM   #91
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A laptop will make quite a dent in someone's head if deployed properly.
My last one made quite a dent in my foot when I dropped it...
It would be a lot better if I could throw it at 830 feet per second, I don't plan to let someone get close enough to hit them in the head with a laptop. But it could be plan B. Distance is your friend.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:54 PM   #92
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I like safety in numbers, six shots to be more precise.
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Old 08-14-2008, 09:32 PM   #93
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My wife has a 2 shot pepper spray that she carries... I thought about getting one of those signs that says "I shot first and ask questions later" I have a 2.5 and 5.5 year old so the guns have stayed at home so far. I always feel safe for some reason... I leave my front doors unlocked most of the time,, My wife locks them after me I think. Get locked out sometimes...

Guess I'm a little to trusting....

But I do have a dead bolt on the airstream...
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:39 AM   #94
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That may be the best advantage a MH has...
You don't have to get out during a boondocking.
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