In this world, self defense is always a prerequisite – whether the threat is a criminal, madman or a zealot bent on anything that may put you in immediate danger.
Some places (in fact, many,) from upon private citizens carrying their own weapons. Here is some advice for how you can handle these situations even if you don’t have a weapon:
At the most basic level of self-defense, situational awareness can keep you out of a lot of trouble. Israelis have been living under the very real threat of terrorism for decades and the Israelis I know have a sixth sense when it comes to noticing anything out of place — people, clothing, eye contact, movement. That has to become second nature and thankfully, it can be learned, and taught.
Being aware of surroundings is important, but there may come a time when you have no choice but to physically defend yourself. A single mom I know challenges her teenage daughter every so often, “Look around and tell me what you could use as a weapon RIGHT NOW.” I’ve played this game many times myself and look for not only weapons but exits, places to conceal or cover, in the case of gunfire.
Martial arts, such as jujitsu or taekwando, are other options that will train you to defend yourself and you’ll learn how to control your own fear and aggression. Some martial arts studios offer low cost self-defense classes for women.
Along those same lines, you just gotta be in the best physical condition as possible.
Remember that criminals and terrorists have watched and planned and played out in their minds over and over just how, when, and where they will attack. They’ll be looking for vulnerable people — those who are distracted (Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, for example) and if you’re in that segment of selected victims AND you can’t run or have the physical power to fight back, you may end up being another body covered with a sheet.
Tactical pens are another choice and one that I happen to know is used by many, many guys in my particular line of work. It’s a pen AND a weapon. If you have it in hand and know how to use it, it can be a handy weapon, and better than nothing. When you shop for a tactical pen, you’ll see a number of them that look like REAL weapons but if your intent is to have something handy for self-defense that doesn’t attract attention, then look for one that just looks like a very sturdy ink pen and not a pen on steroids.
Pepper spray is popular but can cause problems for asthmatics. Again, if you live outside the U.S. or are traveling to other countries, find out what is legal there before packing pepper spray, the tactical pen, a kubaton, etc.
Of all these suggestions, situational awareness is probably the best defense. Combine that with common sense with all scenarios and you have enough to give you a fighting chance at least.
Remember to adhere to all laws, however, as they pertain to what self-defense elements you can bring into certain venues.
You can learn more about non-firearm self-defense by visiting Preparedness Advice.