How to defend yourself in most cases, with nothing but your wits. I read this years ago. I recommend it.
I am not a large or strong man. I am not fit. I haven’t run in about 20 years because of my legs. My concealed carry permits are accepted in 34 US states where a permit is required. Numerous states I may want to visit or have reason to visit, like Pennsylvania or New York, do not accept my concealed carry permits. Check maps like these, and check local laws regarding transport and storage of weapons.
Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps – USA Carry
I had luggage, so I left my walking sticks at home. Philadelphia has laws against carrying knives without a legitimate purpose, so I left them at home. I planned on doing a lot of walking, so I left my heavy steel toed boots at home.
All I travelled with were my tactical pen and compact flashlight. Last ditch defense and a distraction, at best. They were allowed in my carry on. I was in town long enough to order pepper spray to arrive at my hotel. Now maybe I could reach threats out to 10 feet and have more room for escape. I kept all three on me. Sometimes I walked with something concealed in my hand. No one noticed, even police I often passed on the street. I didn’t need to use them.
Prior to taking my son to university, I did a little research online about places I may want to avoid like South Philly, no offense. I was relieved to see when I got there the situation was not as bad as I thought. I spent considerable time in run down looking parts of town, because I had to pass through to get to the WalMart stores located in the west and east parts of town. I had to get off buses and trolleys to make transfers, and walk for blocks at a time.
We stood out like sore thumbs because many times, everyone else was Black. No offense, but there are less than 300 Black people out of a population of 75,000 where I come from, and not school aged children, so I didn’t grow up with any. I believe people took no particular notice of us, and any interactions as when asking for directions, seemed normal. I had my eyes and ears open for suspicious behavior like people talking about us or moving closer to us. They weren’t. No problem.
I was surprised to see so many homeless and street people near the center of town. There were more street people on one section of street than entire encampments back home. Panhandling was not aggressive. People were polite if I did not give them what they asked for. Often I did give small amounts of money. Nobody followed us down the street.
We walked through long lonely underground passages and sometimes came upon areas closed for construction. I searched around and led my family out. I told them not to do what I was doing if they were alone because there would be no witnesses and no one to help them. All I had was my tactical pen, my light and my spray.
The biggest issue I had was Saturday night, the weekend before class started. Bars and clubs for blocks around was packed with loud young people drinking. It was the night of the Mayweather-MacGregor fight. It seemed there was also a game against the Cubs that weekend, because fans dressed in Cubs caps and attire were out. Outside one large raucous bar with standing room only and a crowd spilling out onto the sidewalks, a young Caucasian man was standing in the middle of the street eating out of a bag of chips while shouting a conversation with his friends on the crowded sidewalk. As I passed to look at this oddity, our eyes met. I was wearing a fedora. He yelled out to me, “Hey, don’t look at me, Mr. Top Hat Man!” Note he did not make anything of my race, which I would have expected if he were dangerous. I simply ignored him. He said something to his friends and laughed. The end. No problem.
A few blocks away I was walking north on a rather dark, deserted street. Not a good idea. I simply kept aware of places where people could hide around me. Philadelphia has many dark alleyways. Nothing. There was a young Caucasian man who appeared to be drunk sitting on the sidewalk, leaning up against the wall. As I passed, he called out “Jap! Jap!” as he kicked at my legs twice as if to punctuate his outburst. I was out of reach.
This was most peculiar. How did he know I was Japanese, in a college town of Chinese, Indians and Koreans? He was alone. He appeared impaired. He appeared smaller than myself (170 lbs), and I could have kicked or stomped the shit out of him where he sat. I should have given him more space as I approached him. I just kept walking.
I continued walking the streets of central Philadelphia for about five hours, including a pitch black historic area with streets so narrow, cars could not pass. No street lighting or exterior house lighting whatsoever. Most peculiar. An impaired looking African-American man who appeared to be in his 40s was also wandering the darkened streets. He approached me and asked the time. He thanked me and walked away. A while later on another street, he approached me again and asked if I was looking for something. I said I was just admiring the historic homes (I could see what I wanted in the dark). He walked away again. He approached me yet again and asked if we could walk together.
I was not fearful, but asking a strange man to keep company while walking in the darkness was most peculiar behavior. I demurred and left him. I was approaching the end of the street anyway. I took some photos of murals on better lit streets and went back to the hotel about 2 a.m. I can’t find that historic block of homes on a map. It was somewhere south on the way to Big Gay Ice Cream.
I survived my walking tours of Philadelphia and Manhattan just by taking precautions and being aware of my surroundings. If something really bad had happened like me walking into gang territory or someone tried to ambush me, I probably would have been a victim.
If there are about 16.3 million concealed carry permit holders, in those areas where permits are required, it means there are about 300 million other people in the US walking around without guns. I realized that as a man with a defensive mindset, I had the advantage over most women, and certainly most children, who did not. Even unarmed, I do not appear to be as easy a victim as they are. That is the way that most women have to live. I can do the same if I have to.