Stocking Up to Protect Yourself

When you leave your house, are you protected?  If you were walking down the street and someone attacked you, would you have any defense?
Although it is a crucial skill, most people do not have any self-defense training.  If you are among them, be aware that you are risking your safety every day.  Fortunately there are ways to protect yourself without having an express knowledge of fighting techniques.  While you might still want to sign up for a self-defense class, consider carrying items that will help protect you.
Precautions
Always carry your cell phone.  Program in the emergency numbers for your local and state police and commit the speed dial code to memory.  In the event of attack, your cell phone should be in easy reach so that you can dial the police.  Even if you are prevented from speaking, they will hear sounds of a struggle and be able to locate you.  Your cell phone will also prove enormously useful if you are injured and unable to walk.  A 9-1-1 call will dispatch an ambulance to you immediately.
Another crucial item is a flashlight.  Not only do flashlights come in handy, they can provide excellent precautionary protection for you.  Hold your flashlight in your hand while walking at night.  Leaving it on will make you more visible to approaching cars.  You can also shine the light out in front of you to scan for hidden people or animals.  You are at much greater risk if you are not able to see. 
Weapons
You don't want to be caught defenseless if you are attacked.  Carry a weapon and know how to use it.
Weapons come in every shape and size.  This doesn't have to be an actual weapon like a pistol; it could be as simple as a steaming cup of coffee.  One of the smallest and most effective weapons is pepper spray, or mace.  The can of mace is small and will fit in your purse or your pocket.  If you are attacked, simply spray it in your attacker's eyes.  This quick action will render them temporarily blind, giving you a chance to escape. 
For a high-level of protection, a stun-gun is an excellent tool.  Stun guns disrupt the signals that go from the brain to the muscles, causing your attacker to lose control of his body and drop to the ground.  Some states require that you have a license to carry one, so be sure to abide by the laws.
Other items that can be used as emergency weapons are keys, a Swiss Army knife, or even a pen.  When walking alone at night, it is always a good idea to carry your keys between your knuckles.  This provides an opportunity to do serious damage with nothing more than a punch.  Both a pocket knife and a sharp pen can be jabbed into any soft tissue in your attacker's body.  Consider the abdomen, the cheeks, and the back of the knee.
Carrying protective items will help you make a safe escape if you are attacked, but you should always use good judgment and pay attention to your surroundings. 
-- Bailey Stoler
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