April 24, 2007

What should you do if you're confronted with a gun-wielding madman?

Slate joins in the monday morning quarterbacking fray with their article Fight or Flight at Virginia Tech.

Usually articles like this in mainstream press, greenlit by an editor wanting to jump in on the media frenzy for topical content, are glaring in their lack of realistic tactical or martial arts awareness.

Luckily they consulted a couple of "knowledgeable sources", a Krav Maga instructor from the KM LA headquarters, representing the new hotness Israeli counter-terrorist doctrine, and the leader of EPI, representing the old school ex-cop-as-bodyguard faction.

The advice is as good as it can be, given the short article length given to Slate's "Explainer" column. I think it's more along the lines of the articles written after 9/11 about fighting back on a terrorist-commandeered aircraft. If you know you don't have much of a chance anyway, why not charge the bad guy with a carafe full of hot coffee? But in a terrestrial situation, you have the possibility of slipping out a window--and the article does cover that option, albeit in passing.

Interestingly enough, the article doesn't mention the first rule of a gunfight--to fight back armed with a gun. Don't know if this is a reflection of the magazine's editorial bent or an understanding that most Slate readers aren't CCW holders (which, after all, would drive a particular editorial bent).

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April 09, 2007

Dandux Coal Bag

Sometimes you need to haul around a lot of heavy crap. For me it's usually books, either to/from the library/booksale/used bookstore. One of the best containers for hauling heavy stuff is the classic Dandux Coal Bag:

Photo of CR Daniels Dandux Coal Bag

The L. L. Bean Boat and Tote bags are equally as classic, and more widely available, but just aren't as tough as the Dandux ones. Try carrying around 95 pounds of rocks or machine parts or coal in those preppy L. L. Bean bags. Don't drop it on your topsiders! The Dandux bags are more for real work and real people, official preppy handbook notwithstanding.

The L. L. Bean version does have the redeeming feature of slightly-longer handles, which lets you carry the bag over your shoulder rather than just grasping with your hands.

For really grubby hauling tasks, try to find one of the "tanker" canvas bags that were available on the military surplus market for a while, at places like Cheaper than Dirt or Major Surplus. These were practically indestructible--you could haul around an outboard motor with the prop still on. And at a surplus price, you could just buy a few spares for the price of one fancy preppy bag.

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