The Placebo Effect

My sister sent me a text the other day with the following image she took of a magazine article. The article is marketing certain products to consumers based on the fact that “Fatal assaults on female joggers made heartbreaking news in 2016.” Along with the image her text simply said “interesting.”

That’s a pretty good way to say it. These days everyone wants fast and simple with little effort. Unfortunately for them, the bad guys don’t care about your feelings. Assaults on female joggers are not new by any standpoint. Fatal assaults on joggers are also not a new phenomenon. I remember seeing a picture on my friend Ryan Hoover’s Facebook page that essentially said “The only way to guarantee you don’t get attack while running is to not go running.”

Violence can happen anywhere, at anytime and you certainly should be prepared for it. Not paranoid, simply prepared. That involves training, not just purchasing a bunch of random technical “solutions” that do nothing but create a false sense of security.

Let’s take a brief look at the items listed below.

WEAR SAFE Tag: You put it on your keychain or waistband. If things get sketchy, click the button and it sends live audio and location to “preselected friends and family.”

If the immediate attack is an ambush, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to reach and activate the tag. If you are able to do so, it can certainly help to give information on where you are and what is going on but how quickly that happens depends on whether your preselected friends and family are near their phone. AND does absolutely nothing for the immediate danger. The time it would take for your friends and family to receive the information, contact police and find you is WAY more than enough time for an attacker to do the damage or kill you and get away. It will certainly help the police efficiently find your body after the fact, but you’ll need to do a little more than carry this gadget to stay alive.

Sabre Running Personal Alarm: Wear the band around your waist and pull the ring to sound the alarm. It travels approx 10,000ft which is farther than your voice can travel.

Is there a chance that a loud alarm will make the attacker nervous and worried that others may hear? Sure. The reality though is that these attackers aren’t going after people in populated areas. They are purposely looking for isolation. So in the event, again, that you’re even able to pull the alarm there isn’t much physically stopping the attacker from harming or killing you. Not too mention, unless it’s made of the same material as the chastity belt Made Marian wore in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, there isn’t much stopping him from ripping the belt off of you and dragging you away. There’s also the assumption that people are going to hear it , know that it is a distress signal and automatically come running. Most people will have no idea what the noise even is or means and even if they did, they do not want to get involved in things like this. I can show you countless videos of people being beaten and stabbed while people walk by or watch. Let’s also consider that most people that run listen to music and the use of headphones will drown out their ability to hear or pay attention to that noise. Again, a decent tool to help people locate you, if they know you’re in trouble, but WAY too long after the fact.

TomTom Spark 3 Cardio+Music: The “breadcrumbing” feature let’s you leave a GPS trail so you don’t get lost.

Literally does nothing for you in a self defense situation… unless of course you’re sneaking into the wrong area and don’t want to get lost on your way back out.

Sabres Pepper Gel Duathlete: Gel form for runners so you avoid blowback in the wind. Fits in an armband to carry with you.

The fact that they consider the blowback from wind is good. That can be a huge issue for people carrying standard pepper spray. Here’s a few things to consider with any defensive tool, including pepper spray. 1) You have to be able to access it. If the fight starts before it is in your hand and pointed the right direction, then you are going to need the unarmed skill sets to be able to fight long enough to eventually access it and point it the right direction. 2) If you buy it and don’t train with it than it’s no better than a designer accessory when it comes to protecting you. 3) It might not work, you have to have a back up plan. Again I can show you countless videos of people fighting through pepper spray virtually unaffected.

Look, I’m all for easy. I’m all for the use of tools to help make things a bit easier. But at the end of the day some things in life require hard work, training and a little grit. Self defense is one of those things. It’s not going to be pretty and it sure as hell will not be easy. Don’t fall into buying a silly tool as a placebo.

Train. A lot. Train hard. Accept that violence can happen to you and learn to face it.

Be good, train hard, stay safe,

      -aaron