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Old 04-07-04, 09:59 PM   #1
schwinnbikelove
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Self protection, ghetto stories, and pics.

How many of you commuters, or anybody, really, live in what you consider to be a bad/dangerous neighborhood? How do you protect yourself, or what do you do about it? I'm a female in her early 20's(who likes to think she's a bad-ass...but even so), and I've never been able to go out on my bike without something happening. I'm really living in the ghetto here. So, I stopped going out as much, rode only when someone else could go with me, etc. That got pretty inconvenient, though. Good news though, is that I'm moving here in a few weeks, to a more safe area.

About a month ago, on one of roads I take very frequently by bike (about three blocks from my house), I was riding with someone, single file, me following, at night. Both of us have reflectors/reflective straps, lights, etc. Someone floored it reverse out of their "driveway", as we were passing by. My partner slammed on his brakes to avoid getting hit, and vocally warned me, but I couldn't stop in time on my fixed gear. Well, I could've, but my brain didn't work fast enough to process everything. So, I slammed into him (my riding partner) around 12 mph. I got up and immediately kicked in the side of the minivan, cussing. I know this definitely wasn't smart, but he must've thought the thump from that was him hitting me. My bike was laying in the road, I'm yelling, he's yelling back, saying we should've been on the sidewalk. This is the ghetto. Then, he starts coming around, apologizing, when the passenger gets out, "Midnight", we find out. He's making threats, this is in front of either his house, or someone they know, again, not smart of me. "How the F-word are we supposed to see you, I'm gonna kick your butt (well, you know) man." Get the f-word out of the road". It's under the street light, I must've off the top of my pissed-off cussing head given him about 15 reasons all right in a row why I was right, he was wrong. So was my riding partner. He was approaching closer from the other side of the road, when the driver reversed it between us and him and yelled "Get the F-word in the van, Midnight." Anyone could've come out of that house, or any for that matter, and probably wouldn't have taken my side, for sure.

What would be the best thing for me to do as self protection? I mean, physically, "weapon" wise, etc. I'm in pretty good shape, pretty strong, and am excellent and the verbal/middle finger part... he he he, I'm going to let someone know when they're wrong.

These pictures are within one or two block radius of my house.
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Old 04-07-04, 10:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
I got up and immediately kicked in the side of the minivan, cussing.

Thats what i'm talkin about!!!!
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Old 04-07-04, 10:22 PM   #3
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Hey it can't be that bad! There's the nose of a Caddy sticking out the bottom left of the second picture!
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Old 04-07-04, 10:29 PM   #4
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Depending on how violent the local "thugs" are in your neighborhood I would just carry something like a taser. Non-lethal and I can tell you from experience that it does NOT fell good to get a jolt from one.

http://www.personalarms.com/tasers.htm
^^^ thats what I got hit with.

I have also gotten sprayed with pepper spray and it was very affective.

http://www.peppersprayinc.com/mace_triple_action.htm
^^^pepper spray infused with CN tear gas. Seems like nasty stuff.
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Old 04-07-04, 10:34 PM   #5
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I have to ask. Why do people continually hit you with these protection devices?
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Old 04-07-04, 10:39 PM   #6
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I have to ask. Why do people continually hit you with these protection devices?
Damn, beat me to it!
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Old 04-07-04, 10:43 PM   #7
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schwinnbikelove, You can always go to a Mountain sporting good store and purchase "Bear Spray." Out here, I only carry it when I am on the MTB in the back country. Actually carry it in case I run into a bear or other preditor like Mountain Lion, Wolf, or Moose.

Otherwise, move on out here where you don't have to live in fear. Life is way to short for that kind of hassle!

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Old 04-07-04, 11:25 PM   #8
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OK I must interject here. One I have never and I emphasize never met a woman of any age size or description who posed a physical threat to me at any time. I also will add the use of a tazer, stungun etc requires the user to be in real close range to your target.
Reason I mention this is I am real confident, (and this is me) based on my experience and training that if anyone was to break out a tazer, stungun etc. that unless they were alot faster and accurate than myself then you can forget about using it correctly.
Most people once brandishing a weapon concentrate on that weapon, rendering the rest of their bodies weapons useless. This of course gives me or anyone else likeminded the descisive advantage.
Schwinnbikelove,
I do not want to pick on you or sound mean but in all the people I have trained whether with inlated ego's, overconfident, or highly skilled, the least threat imposing has been women. I have seen numerous "black belt" women who were totaly incapable of real world street scenario success. You have confidence and this is good, however most men will not react to your slander, or vulgar insults the way we would to other men. I would use caution if you are looking for confrontations.
Now as far as self protection goes you must understand that you are weaker than most men that is just life. if you were to learn the points in which everyone has that are vulnerable, the most efficent way to attack them, and do it with little to no remorse, and become very good at it you at least give yourself a chance. However a clear and decise understanding of the physical differences between you and men is imperative, and devise your skills around that. This will make you a threat to both genders at any given time.
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Old 04-07-04, 11:33 PM   #9
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I'm going to step in here for a minute- if I were in a bad neighborhood and had that type of incident occur to me, I would not put myself in harm's way by verbally assulting another person, even if they deserved it. I just don't see how it's good to put yourself in danger by lashing out at someone who clearly has the upper hand- it's their neighborhood, not yours, plus they have a weapon they can use (a van), and they are bigger than you. I don't think it's intimidation if you back down from a fight- it's self-preservation.

Had I gotten into an accident because of some idiot in a van, I would definitely try to get their attention, but if they seemed to be "sketchy" or hostile, I would be sure to let things go and just go about getting through the rest of my ride. I'm not a tall woman (only 5' 1 1/2"), and I often ride alone, so the last thing I would do would be to provoke someone and end up in a situation I couldn't safely get out of.

The best thing you can do for self-protection is walk away. It's simply not worth the danger you could be putting yourself in.

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Old 04-08-04, 01:08 AM   #10
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Schwinnbikelove......... very nice photos. Nice lighting and composition.
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Old 04-08-04, 04:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
What would be the best thing for me to do as self protection? I mean, physically, "weapon" wise, etc. I'm in pretty good shape, pretty strong, and am excellent and the verbal/middle finger part... he he he, I'm going to let someone know when they're wrong.
Well, "he he he" you're going to be a statistic. What is it about a bicycle seat under the seat of my fellow riders that shuts down their brain? Think about it. You live (per your post and pictures) in an awful neighborhood. These people you deal will are not nice people. Go ahead and posture and have a hissy fit, but don't be surprised when you get raped/shot/murdered.

Just let it go and move somewhere safer.

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Old 04-08-04, 04:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
I'm going to step in here for a minute- if I were in a bad neighborhood and had that type of incident occur to me, I would not put myself in harm's way by verbally assulting another person, even if they deserved it. I just don't see how it's good to put yourself in danger by lashing out at someone who clearly has the upper hand- it's their neighborhood, not yours, plus they have a weapon they can use (a van), and they are bigger than you. I don't think it's intimidation if you back down from a fight- it's self-preservation.
I agree 100% with this. Only a few weeks ago I had to deal with a punch-throwing yobbo while I was stuck at a red light. I steadfastly refused to take the bait, and you know what? I got out of it in one piece. More to the point, do you really want to waste your own time on someone like that, and ruin a perfectly good ride in the process? On my ride home from work yesterday I was "challenged" on four occasions. Guess what? I have better things to do than waste my time on that sort of scum. I ignored them all, kept riding (they were never going to catch me in traffic) and had a great ride while they all got totally stressed out, and made all of Surfers Paradise aware of what morons they really are.

Quote:
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Had I gotten into an accident because of some idiot in a van, I would definitely try to get their attention,
I wouldn't. I wouldn't waste my time on them. I'd simply write down their details, and pay a visit to my friendly local police officer. Hey, they get paid to deal with these yobbos, I say let them earn their money, and save me the time and stress too.
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Old 04-08-04, 05:19 AM   #13
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I'd have to say avoid getting a bad rep where you live. I mean if they're THAT close to you, you'd want neighbors to at least be swiss with you so they don't like come back and slit your throat in the middle of the night or torch your house.
And if you think I'm kidding, I'm not. I rode through some bad neighborhoods in NYC which I can tell you are definitely much worse. I'm talking places were high schools have multiple metal detectors and actual armed 2-3 police patrols in school. Places where my old high school had some student suspended for bringing a SMG automatic machine gun into school.
In a lot of places like that where no one follows road rules, a little common courtesy on the road goes a long way. I know people respect me a lot more just for letting them go at an all way stop or at an intersection and just plain obeying traffic regulations. Or waiting for them to pull out of driveways if I see em backing out. Or moving aside for them if there's room (I always ride farther to the right than necessary to avoid being doored).
The last thing you want to do is piss off your neighbors and people along your daily commuting route. If they don't get you this time, they'll get you next time. Stay safe and just bike away.
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Old 04-08-04, 05:59 AM   #14
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I would have to agree with the just walk away. But if you do find yourself in a confrontation a knife works well. Ive gotten out of a few sticky situations by just pulling it out (some thugs thought they were gonna steal my bike while i was puting it on my car rack). I just pulled it out flipped it and they shut up and walked away. But had they pulled out something i would have backed down because id rather have no bike and be alive then be dead and have a bike i cant ride.
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Old 04-08-04, 06:21 AM   #15
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I would have to agree with the just walk away. But if you do find yourself in a confrontation a knife works well. Ive gotten out of a few sticky situations by just pulling it out (some thugs thought they were gonna steal my bike while i was puting it on my car rack). I just pulled it out flipped it and they shut up and walked away. But had they pulled out something i would have backed down because id rather have no bike and be alive then be dead and have a bike i cant ride.
The Marines taught me a very important lesson: Never display a weapon unless you are willing to use it. What are you going do when those folk you're trying to scare simply shoot you or take you knife from you and shove it up your...well, you get the idea.

A knife is a lethal weapon and unless you are fully ready to kill someone over taking your bike, I'd suggest leaving it at home.

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Old 04-08-04, 08:17 AM   #16
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The Marines taught me a very important lesson: Never display a weapon unless you are willing to use it. What are you going do when those folk you're trying to scare simply shoot you or take you knife from you and shove it up your...well, you get the idea.

A knife is a lethal weapon and unless you are fully ready to kill someone over taking your bike, I'd suggest leaving it at home.

Paul
In summation, get some training in self defense and the law. Its cheap and effective. Criminals and the typical motorist usually don't have any training which puts them at a great disadvantage when confronted with a trained armed or un-armed victim. Hand to hand, sticks, knives, guns....whatever your comfort level there are methods to preserving life and property.

Good luck at you new place,

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Old 04-08-04, 08:36 AM   #17
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Damn, beat me to it!
The taser was for a volunteer presentation to the local Police station. They(the company) was doing a presentation for how effective the taser was. There were a few skeptics(me being one of them) so they asked for a volunteer. I raised my hand and was brough up on stage where I was then shot with the taser. I can tell you, it hurts VERY bad. Its like having very pain ful cramps throughout your whole body.

As for the pepper spray my sister was looking at my moms and pretending to spray it around. When I asked her what it was she turned around and sprayed me in the eyes.
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Old 04-08-04, 08:48 AM   #18
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There are instances for those who posted the walk away solution, in which that option will not work. Trust me been there dne that. In that predicament, if you are not ready and prepared for it, then what will you do? To stand there and get torn up is stupid.
Everyone should learn at least the minimum amount of street offense.
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Old 04-08-04, 11:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove

I got up and immediately kicked in the side of the minivan, cussing.

Anyone could've come out of that house, or any for that matter, and probably wouldn't have taken my side, for sure.

What would be the best thing for me to do as self protection? I mean, physically, "weapon" wise, etc. I'm in pretty good shape, pretty strong, and am excellent and the verbal/middle finger part... he he he, I'm going to let someone know when they're wrong.

These pictures are within one or two block radius of my house.
I'd say first, you don't go kicking in the side of someone's van. Anywhere. Because, as noted, that's a 5000# weapon in and of itself, and compared to your ~20# bike, the law of gross tonnage says you lose. I doubt they backed into the street on purpose to cut you off - it sounds like they had somewhere to be (they didn't stick around to kick your ass...). So, you kicked in their van out of rage. What's worse here, your reaction or their inattention? I'd say it's a toss up. We're at a disadvantage (reference the law of gross tonnage above), so we have to be the defensive drivers and be ready to stop or swerve at any time. Assume every car, truck or motorcycle - whether parked in a driveway, along the street or moving on the road - is out to kill you and ride accordingly. Given your statement that you couldn't process what was happening fast enough to stop (which by your own words, you could have), you were going too fast for the conditions present.

Second, pick your fights wisely - be it verbal, middle finger part or physical. That was a battle you could never, ever have one. It sounds to me like you were very lucky to have gotten away with just a bit of road rash from the fall. Had they not had someplace better to be or been really bad people, you would most likely have had a life altering experience that night. And, harsh as it sounds, it would have been largely your own fault for provoking it. If you can't win the battle, walk away so you can return to fight another day and win the war.

And finally, as the former Marine advised, if you do get a weapon, and brandish it, you had better be ready to use it. And be ready to answer the consequenses for doing so. You can't just shoot someone and walk away without lengthy conversations with the cops about it, even if it is self defense.
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Old 04-08-04, 11:25 AM   #20
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Its best to do your planning and thinking before any bad situation arises. I know my brain can do funny things when Ive had a shot of adrenaline.
The first priority is to avoid getting into situations.
Be alert. Expect cars to come out of driveways, so ride wide. Your best defense is speed. My local low-life have slow brains. They tend not to notice people on bikes, and if they do, you are well gone before a synapse fires.
Use the most puncture-proof tyres you can. You are really vulnerable with your bike in bits by the roadside, or pushing it home.
A dazzling front light can be used as a first line of defense.
The bike can be used as a barrier. Your Kryptonite U-lock can be used as a blunt instrument, but only if it is instanly accessible. I keep mine under an elastic chord on top of the rear rack, rather than the frame-mount holder. In the UK, its important to have a legitimate reason for carrying something. Self-defense is, unfortunately, not a reason.
If you plan on ever having to leave the bike and run, carry your keys and wallet on you, not the bike.
Can you fight or run in your footwear? Clipless shoes often have poor grip, and metal where you need the most grip. Road shoes are useless for fighting in. Practice yor moves in your riding gear.
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Old 04-08-04, 11:39 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
How many of you commuters, or anybody, really, live in what you consider to be a bad/dangerous neighborhood? How do you protect yourself, or what do you do about it? I'm a female in her early 20's(who likes to think she's a bad-ass...but even so), and I've never been able to go out on my bike without something happening. I'm really living in the ghetto here. So, I stopped going out as much, rode only when someone else could go with me, etc. That got pretty inconvenient, though. Good news though, is that I'm moving here in a few weeks, to a more safe area.

About a month ago, on one of roads I take very frequently by bike (about three blocks from my house), I was riding with someone, single file, me following, at night. Both of us have reflectors/reflective straps, lights, etc. Someone floored it reverse out of their "driveway", as we were passing by. My partner slammed on his brakes to avoid getting hit, and vocally warned me, but I couldn't stop in time on my fixed gear. Well, I could've, but my brain didn't work fast enough to process everything. So, I slammed into him (my riding partner) around 12 mph. I got up and immediately kicked in the side of the minivan, cussing. I know this definitely wasn't smart, but he must've thought the thump from that was him hitting me. My bike was laying in the road, I'm yelling, he's yelling back, saying we should've been on the sidewalk. This is the ghetto. Then, he starts coming around, apologizing, when the passenger gets out, "Midnight", we find out. He's making threats, this is in front of either his house, or someone they know, again, not smart of me. "How the F-word are we supposed to see you, I'm gonna kick your butt (well, you know) man." Get the f-word out of the road". It's under the street light, I must've off the top of my pissed-off cussing head given him about 15 reasons all right in a row why I was right, he was wrong. So was my riding partner. He was approaching closer from the other side of the road, when the driver reversed it between us and him and yelled "Get the F-word in the van, Midnight." Anyone could've come out of that house, or any for that matter, and probably wouldn't have taken my side, for sure.

What would be the best thing for me to do as self protection? I mean, physically, "weapon" wise, etc. I'm in pretty good shape, pretty strong, and am excellent and the verbal/middle finger part... he he he, I'm going to let someone know when they're wrong.

These pictures are within one or two block radius of my house.
I don't know seems like a nice neighborhood just kidding.
I used to live in a house that if I wanted to I could go downstairs and by crack. I was a Chemistry student at the time. One nite there were gun shots downstairs and about a month later fortunatly more students moved in. Anyhoo I used to ride my fixie all over the city to commute and for fun. I enjoyed riding at the midnite hours b/c it was peacefull and quite. I've never been threatened with my life before but I've never been in a situation like that either. I think like everyone else has said here to start a confrontation is not the way to go. Sure the guy was a jack ass but I doubt he saw you and at best it would be better to give hime the benifit of the doubt. And sure if you are cornered you have to fite back just go ape s-word on the dude.

Ok my weapon of choice which I never had to use was a big kryptonite u lock mounted on my seat tube. A chain with a lock attached to the end would be a great choice too provided you can get to it.
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Old 04-08-04, 11:55 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove

What would be the best thing for me to do as self protection? I mean, physically, "weapon" wise, etc. I'm in pretty good shape, pretty strong, and am excellent and the verbal/middle finger part... he he he, I'm going to let someone know when they're wrong.
Hi Schwinn,

Rough parts of Toledo: yikes.

I have offered, on other threads, my views about various weapons. The short of it is that I think, in the right hands, weapons up to and including guns are a good idea, and should be legally protected.

Having said that, I want to say that, in my opinion, you need to take a step back and assess your overall situation before you carry any weapons. The first, and most obvious thing, is that you should consider moving. I know, there must be good reasons you live where you do. It probably isn't easy to think about moving. Consider, though, the dangers you have articulated to us. What would the cost be to you of being attacked, with fists, a car, or weapons? Isn't moving cheaper than that? (Some people romanticize living in blighted inner cities. Let them live there.)

Secondly, using weapons in self-defense-- including pepper spray or a taser-- is serious business and should absoluely *not* be thought of as a level of response that follows your showing your middle finger, yelling obscenities at drivers, kicking cars, etc. You're asking for serious legal trouble that way. More importantly, that way of thinking simply doesn't recognize the real danger of a real physical fight, the danger that is ostensibly motivating your carrying the weapon in the first place. Trust me, a fight like that is something you want to avoid if possible, and certainly at the cost of not being able to tell someone who deserves it what you think of him.

Still, pepper spray is not a bad idea for thing for you to carry right away. If you carry it, though, you should think about taking *more* verbal crap without response than you're now inclined to do. (Anyone thinking about more serious weapons should plan on taking verbal crap and harassment without response in proportion to the power of the weapon she's carrying.)

(A taser's not a good idea. It's not going to be practical for you. Read more about them online if you want to know more.)

A self-defense course is also a good idea. But by "a self-defense course", I mean one aimed at practical defense against real attacks-- not kickboxing at the gym, and not tournament training in the martial arts. A course like that will be valuable not just because of the skills it teachings, but because of the attitudes it will instill. It's the latter that are often more important when it comes to real, last ditch physical combat.

But one thing any competent instructor will tell you is this. It's almost always better to *avoid* a fight in the first place than to use any defensive techniques in one. For a woman by herself, especially, physical fights with adult men are very dangerous. The first and most important rule is, don't get into them.

That means, turn the other cheek when it comes to nasty comments from dangerous looking guys. It means that if you turn the corner, and down the empty street is a pack of idle and menacing looking juveniles, you turn around and go back the way you came. Don't worry if something like that makes you look "afraid". You'd look plenty afraid anyway if you were threatened or attacked. Your neighborhood isn't the school playground, in which girls are trying to show boys they're not going to be bullied. It's a place you might deal with real violent criminals who aren't playing games.

Be careful, and please do what you need to do to look out for yourself.
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Old 04-08-04, 01:46 PM   #23
Stevet04II
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I had a situation a week or two ago. Two guys threw a Beer bottle at me. Then stopped a short distance up the street, yelling and cussing asking me "What did you say?" I said nothing I kept my cool, but I was ready if push come to shove. I always carry a Kel Tec P32 32acp handgun. Take a firearms safety course or some other safety course. It really help me. Hold back on the temper. ( If possible)
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Old 04-08-04, 02:22 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevet04II
I had a situation a week or two ago. Two guys threw a Beer bottle at me. Then stopped a short distance up the street, yelling and cussing asking me "What did you say?" I said nothing I kept my cool, but I was ready if push come to shove. I always carry a Kel Tec P32 32acp handgun. Take a firearms safety course or some other safety course. It really help me. Hold back on the temper. ( If possible)
What would Jesus do?
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Old 04-08-04, 02:49 PM   #25
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schwinnbikelove, perhaps buying a personal firearm may be in your best interest. I suggest you get yourself a 357 magnum, a holster, and someway of attaching it to the frame of your bike so that it's easily accessible and to let your local thugs see that you mean business. Also from the looks of your neighborhood, it might not be such a bad idea for you to join a gang, I mean, in extremely bad neighborhoods, gangs can be a source of protection, encouragement, and proved that extra confidence needed for you to not feel like a prisoner in your own neighborhood. Take back the streets!
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