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#14492 - 04/03/03 02:11 PM Re: A Fundamental Question
Craig Offline

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 1784
Loc: Collegeville, PA, USA
These days, your "right" is to do exactly what the big, serious-looking security guards tell you to.

#14493 - 04/03/03 02:30 PM Re: A Fundamental Question

I think that we might just be getting caught in the teminology on this one. A Personal Survival Kit (PSK) or a Pocket Survival Kit (PSK) is useful for getting you through what you might need to get through. For a parent with a <2 yr. old child a PSK must include diapers and wipes - certainly doesn't fit into an altoids kit! For an urban environment you most likely won't need any game harvesting equipment such as snares and fishing kit but you might have expanded needs for clothing maintenance. For example if you white shirt loses a button right before an important meeting or interview you want to fix it with matching color thread and matching button not a safety pin. Are these survival questions? I would say so. Having had a long unemployment and the financial consequences on my family recently I wouldn't want to lose a job opportunity due to something as small as a lost button or unfortunate coffee stain. OTOH, a stain removal stick or matching button kit wouldn't be necessary or helpful during a off-road 4X4 trip through the arizona desert.

The idea of staged supplies where the appropriate gear is appropriately available is a good one but leads to some redundancy. If you carry your gas mask and NBC suit with you then you don't need one at your desk, one in your car and another at home. Having a bunch of gear in your car in the parking garage next to the office building where you have a good gear set under your desk will do you no good if you are at a local dinner having lunch when both building collapse after a U-Haul filled with manure and Kerosene blows up in the alley between your office and the car-park. Even if your car isn't crushed you will be prevented from getting to it by the officials guarding the crime scene. If you think that such an event is possible and something that you want to prepare for then you will need a certain amount of stuff that is actually in your pocket with you in the dinner. The question then becomes, what do you want in your pockets in such an environment. This question is a valid one phrased as "Shirt and Tie PSK?" or "Urban PSK?" or "Office PSK?" or "Urban EDC? All of which have been asked repeatedly here and there are many good suggestions as to what to carry (liberally interspersed with grumbling about what the security officials will not permit).

This is a fruitful topic and I enjoy hearing others opinions. I am one who chooses to carry quite a lot of EDC, I commute for more than 1 hour through rural / suburban areas and work in IT so I don't need to wear a suit. BTW I also always park at the top of any car-park so that there is nothing to collapse onto my car and If possible I park in an open lot; habits such as this allow me a bit of security without requiring me to carry as much. My car-kit will not be crushed so I count on it being available at some point. Still vulnerable to a security lock-down around a crime scene.

I always find it more useful to pose a question such as this in terms of a specific scenario. That always focuses peoples attention. Once you have figured answers to many scenarios you will see the common tools which help with the most scenarios and be sure which you want to carry. Carrying something such as and Evacu-8 hood which is specific for fire situations with you all the time says something about your view of the relative likelyhood of such an event as opposed to some other event for which you have not chosen to carry equippement.

#14494 - 04/03/03 02:51 PM Re: A Fundamental Question

Wherever possible, I did. Naturally, there were restrictions - one can't carry a Leatherman into a Congressional Office Building or the Library of Congress, so I had to plan ahead. It is irritating to have to leave a useful tool behind, but look at it from the other side - I would wonder about a policy that admits sharp instruments into the LoC with its paintings and artwork. I believe I did carry my little SAK into these places.

I come from a generation in which every schoolboy carried a folding knife to school routinely - imagine that now! And I have flown on airlines with pistols in my carry on luggage - but don't get me started about the good old days...But one must remember, these aren't the good old days, this is now, and you have to adapt to, influence, change, and work with the present.

#14495 - 04/03/03 04:19 PM Re: A Fundamental Question

Yes, but its more than pining for the good ol' days. It about logic!

Just for the sake of argument, IF I decided to assasinate a senator in his office and IF I had managed to get an appointment, then I would go into the building with a plastic knife hidden in my underwear. I would go to the restroom and pull said knife and palm it. If I wanted to kill several senators, I would take out a cop or guard first and then use his sidearm. If someone were to outlaw plastic knives, I would buy any object made out of hard plastic I could find and a Dremel tool, them I would make my own. None of this requires any special training, and no security system could detect and stop it before hand. Intelligence/monitoring couldn't even stop it as long as I kept my mouth shut and didn't tell anyone what I was planning to do.

That's just one way, others have pointed out that any glass item of sufficient size (e.g. a bottle, a picture in a glass frame) could be used in the same way.

Taking knitting needles from old ladies ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING!

Edited by benman (04/03/03 06:01 PM)

#14496 - 04/03/03 04:33 PM Re: A Fundamental Question

The idea of protective services is to reduce and manage risk. The thought that you could eliminate risk through any security system or any amount of training and personel armament is absurd. The attempt to remove weapons from a building is an attempt to make it more difficult for an "evil-doer" to accomplish his aims. If every potential political target were required to be prepared to defend themselves we wouldn't have need for a secret service man to gard senators, congressmen, cabinet members etc. because they would all be wearing side arms as would everyone else who worked for them. In this situation you might be allowed to enter the capitol buildings with whatever was in your pockets and it is reasonably certain that in such a situation there would be fewer individuals who would be silly enough to try something. OTOH, President Lincoln had training, and fire-power and security guards - look how well it protected him - in the good old days.

The issue here is not relative effectiveness of either scenario but rather the abridgement or perceived abridgement of our (americans) rights to walk about armed to the teeth. (something that few if any other countries see as reasonable or legal)

If you are attempting to reduce risk by disarming individuals who you don't trust then you will move in that direction until you are satisfied with the level of risk achieved. This may include body-cavity searches for potential C4 caches at some point. Currently it involves examining whatever makes the metal detector go beep, x-raying things that you don't and occasionally patting down "suspiscious individuals"

Given the intelligence of some of our elected officials I am not sure that I want them carrying handguns into the capitol buildings or anywhere else in an effort to secure themselves from attack. Rather have trained individuals who have no political clout simply keeping the peace. Odd how anti-gun activists are happy to have gun toting individuals protect them. That particular pathology cuts accross all political and geographical and time boundaries. Pacifists have always lived peacefully only where others are willing to take up arms to enforce the peace.

#14497 - 04/03/03 06:29 PM Re: A Fundamental Question

The issue here is not relative effectiveness of either scenario but rather the abridgement or perceived abridgement of our (americans) rights to walk about armed to the teeth. (something that few if any other countries see as reasonable or legal)

I agree, this is indeed the issue, but:

- Is carrying a leatherman or a Swiss army knife being "armed to the teeth"?

- Does it matter what other countries think about this issue? Our country/culture has been very successful historically, whether that does or doesn't have anything to do with the right to keep and bear arms, I don't know. But curtailing my personal rights because thats the way others do it, is not a valid argument in my mind. Others take 60% of your income in taxes, torture you and your family if you disagree with them, or sell you into slavery if you break any of their myriad laws. I'm not going for any of those options either.

- Its not a "perceived" abridgement, its a real abridgement. Anything that restricts what you can do is an abridgement by definition.

- Finally, I understand that people shouldn't be allowed to carry sniper rifles into the viewing gallery of the Senate floor. I understand why you might not want sharp objects, or even food and drink for that matter, around antique books and paintings. I just think we're going a little crazy with all this "homeland security" business. If a senator that wants to be "in touch with the people" is willing to shake my hand, then I will be able to kill him whether he is packing or has a Secret Service agent standing right beside him. My life may also be forfeit, but I could do it. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out a way.

I think we're dealing with terrorism the right way over in Iraq right now. But this other stuff is just taking away our rights and accomplishing nothing... except maybe to make certain uninformed people feel better about the situation.

If we give up our rights and change our cultural norms because of a few terrorist, haven't we capitulated to them on some level? And THAT's what bothers me more than removing my pocket knife when I go to the courthouse.

#14498 - 04/03/03 07:33 PM Re: Exactly. . . .


I've read this thread with great interest ("urban" or "suburban" survival kits always evoke some interest on my part), and the (long) digressions are also interesting... and maybe I'm missing the point, but...

It seems to me that with the *original* question ("do I HAVE to carry...") you're asking people to make a value judgement for you. Of course you don't HAVE to carry anything at all, it's a free country... and I'm not at all sure that the question of whether or not you should WANT to carry any specific item or items is something that anyone else can answer for you, no matter how good their intentions.

There are certain underlying values that prompt most of us to want to be more prepared than most people feel a need for, and that's why we're here. Not implying that you're not very welcome to be here with us, but if you feel no real desire to be more prepared than most people, why is that a problem... and what brings you here?

My occupation means that I work in the city, mostly, and that I sometimes spend a lot of time in government buildings. My personal values and interests mean that I chafe against the restrictions that this imposes. If your personal values don't do that... I guess I just fail to see the problem. Certainly no one is going to mandate that you're MORE prepared than you want to be. If you feel that's being imposed on you in some way, I'm sure that wasn't the intent.

#14499 - 04/03/03 07:40 PM Re: A Fundamental Question
Craig Offline

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 1784
Loc: Collegeville, PA, USA
When you say, "I believe I did carry my little SAK into these places," did you pass through metal detectors or physical searches? The next time I visit I'll downsize (drastically).

I'm a SAK addict so can you specify which "little SAK" you carried? The Executive is one of my favorites.

#14500 - 04/03/03 08:04 PM Re: A Fundamental Question

In reply to: If you are attempting to reduce risk by disarming individuals who you don't trust then you will move in that direction until you are satisfied with the level of risk achieved.

My question is Where does it stop? Short answer is it won't.
There will always be some event that occurs that requires a further tightening of our lapse of security.

About 5 or 6 years ago congress was trying to pass the Know Your Customer law that would have required banks and airlines to report any activity that was outside of your normal level of activity. For example, you normally fly coach one weekend a month and pay cash for your ticket. One week you decide to fly 1st class and pay with your Visa card. You would have been flagged. The intent of the law was to help ID drug dealers but it was not put into effect because of concerns of abuse and violations of our civil liberties.

The Dept of Homeland Security is currently "testing" a revamped version of this law at a "few" undisclosed airports with the intent of stopping terrorists. Only now there is a background check done on every person who buys a ticket and that customer is coded green (ok), yellow (might be allowed to fly after further investigation), or red (you don't fly for the next 30 years, no B.S.). You don't have the right to know what caused the flag and there are no provisions for appeal. Now I don't have anything in my background that should raise a flag but I don't want the feds rummaging through my background every year when I fly to Dallas to pick up my kids.

These types of laws, when left unchecked, only lead to more draconian laws in the future. They also set a dangerous precedent. Will the county sheriff be allowed into your house to check you out because you drive county road 42 on a daily basis?

No amount of lobby security is going to stop a terrorist attack on a building. Let's see...one clean cut, unarmed bandit passes security. He opens any fire door leadng to the outside and lets in 10 or 100 heavily armed fellow bandits and it's all over. How do you increase security to prevent that? Guards at the fire exits? Psychic readings for anyone entering the building? There's no such thing as foolproof security. The bad guys will ALWAYS find a way around. It's kind of like gun control. Only the law abiding are affected as they line up to register their guns. The bad guys won't bother.

In the end you haven't managed much risk at all. You've only put out the people you're trying to protect and redirected any real threat to a quarter you still haven't identified.

That's my 2 cents


#14501 - 04/03/03 08:19 PM Where does it end?

Where does it end? I can't find any natural limit to this "logic."

This discussion started out by talking about how we're limiting the hardware we can carry... now you've brought up the fact that they're trying to limit your actions, vis a vis your spending habits. Only one more step and they'll be limiting what we can say, we don't want to give terrorists any IDEAS, right?

I see this as a real problem that goes beyond gun control, or even freedom of movement. I'd hate for this country to become the thing it despises most, all in the name of "security". I think we're already in dangerous territory and few seem to even realize it.

Freedom comes with risks! Even so, I'll take freedom over the alternative.

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