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  1. #21
    Registered User Mikerfixit's Avatar
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    A rock.

    A stout stick.

    A pointy stick.

    Rock in a sock or stuff sack with rocks

    The weight that is used to toss a bear line.

    The weight still attached to the bear line.

    Stove fuel.

    Poop trowel


    Many things can be used as a weapon

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    First in to say "nothing", or nothing more than you would have walking down the street. Yes, someone was just killed by a machete-wielding wacko, but it's such a rarity. You're much more likely to be killed by said machete-wielding wacko on the street, but do you carry anything in your hometown? If you do, carry it on the trail if you like.
    That's why I got rid of all the fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in my house. Its just so unlikely the cost of batteries adds up over time.

  3. #23

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    12 people murdered in 45 yrs
    1 every 4 yrs on avg, somewhere

    2 people died in last 4 yrs from falling trees. To put that in perspective

    2-3 deaths per year occur on trail. You are 10x more likely to die from something else, than be murdered.

    But you can focus on the most horrific only if you like

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffordbarnabus View Post
    we all die. everything does. nothing is forever, including those carbon to carbon bonds in a diamond.

    give me a machete death on the AT versus cancer under hospital sheets.

    not seeking death at all, just not wanting to worry about what - statistically - one should worry about more when getting into a car. or....even just waking up.
    I would prefer to have some say so in my death if dealing with a crazy dude with a knife.

    As for the topic, I carry spray, at all times. I've been the victim of a violent carjacking attempt so I take nothing for granted. Also, most states on the AT have some type of reciprocity for concealed carry. NY, NJ, and MD do not.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    12 people murdered in 45 yrs
    1 every 4 yrs on avg, somewhere

    2 people died in last 4 yrs from falling trees. To put that in perspective

    2-3 deaths per year occur on trail. You are 10x more likely to die from something else, than be murdered.
    And plane crashes are extremely rare and represent an extremely small portion of the overall amount of flights taken...yet every flight they're sure to demo the emergency exits, where the lifevests are located, and how to affix an oxygen mask. Just because it doesnt happen very often doesnt mean you should write it off or never discuss preparations. We don't rise to the occasion, we fall back on training and education.

    I get what you're saying and all; letting stuff like this eat you up or allowing your fears drive your decisions all the time is unreasonable, but I dont think OPs discussion is the most mundane or unreasonable thing I've seen in an online forum.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    12 people murdered in 45 yrs
    1 every 4 yrs on avg, somewhere

    2 people died in last 4 yrs from falling trees. To put that in perspective

    2-3 deaths per year occur on trail. You are 10x more likely to die from something else, than be murdered.

    But you can focus on the most horrific only if you like
    I think death by fallen tree is a good comparison in risk and preparedness. You can't fight a tree off, but you can observe your surroundings and leave if the area is not safe.

    Sometimes, the unexpected happens and gear, weapons, or training don't come into play.

    Please don't pepper spray people or animals unless it's the least violent option left to you.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  7. #27
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    I carried bear spray on my entire thru hike and I always will anywhere. Like someone on trail asked, no I haven't had to use it yet but I won't be upset if I never have to...

    At the least, the bear spray could temporarily shock and blind an attacker giving you a chance to take greater action, like pull out a knife or use your sharp trekking poles as a weapon, or run like hell if that seems to be a better option.

    I always said its not just for bears, if its going to help keep a bear from attacking I'm pretty sure it will make most other animals run the other way to... Of course its a worst case scenario to use it but its also a huge piece of mind having it.
    Last edited by Alligator; 05-14-2019 at 13:00. Reason: TOS #4, Keep discussions legal
    NoDoz
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  8. #28
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    I do not advocate a firearm on the AT

    Most people even ones who have some training are grossly under-prepared and under-trained to use a firearm especially under stress.
    Last edited by wordstew; 05-14-2019 at 15:02.

  9. #29

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    Awareness and then listening to your gut.

    Good read for every person is "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin De Becker.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eigerhiker View Post
    Self defense can be a pretty straight forward idea. First, do whatever feels the most natural and logical for you. Second, train in that methodology. Third, understand that violence can be swift, it can be shocking and it usually hurts. Learn to manage those sensations and bring the fight to your attacker.

    If you can run, run as fast and far away as you can. Don’t always trust your instincts. While they may serve you well with the average criminal element, the true predators of society have polished their image enough to be very friendly and welcoming up to the point of assault.

    Pepper spray is not a great defensive tool, several factors (I.e. wind, rain, glasses or contacts as well as physiology) affect its ability to stop an aggressor. You can also be affected by it if the wind brings it in your direction. What was meant as a force multiplier to protect yourself has now interrupted your self defense strategy.

    Hiking poles can be useful but you have to fully commit to that first strike because you may lose a second strike capability once they know your intent.

    Encountering someone with an edged weapon can be terrifying. They can cause horrible injuries and rapid blood loss. A three inch blade can sever, puncture or lacerate every major artery in the human body. Never underestimate how dangerous a knife can be.

    Stay focused on the point of threat (usually the hands), their eyes, waist and feet don’t matter, what matters is the action of their threat delivery. If they have a knife, stick or rock, or are punching at you, watch the hands. If they are kicking you watch the knees and feet. Move as much as possible offline from the direction of attack.

    What I choose to protect myself is my business. Being trained, confident and capable in your abilities takes time, practice and commitment. Choose one or two and become an expert. Personally, having this confidence allows me to enjoy my experiences without thinking about bad people. Most people are good and I love interacting with them. If bad crosses my path, I will do whatever it take to avoid it. If it can’t be avoided or they are threatening someone I love or someone more vulnerable, then for me the choice is clear.
    Yeah same hear I spent years in training . Sounds like good advice, there's also strength in numbers, backpack may make a good shield for protection. Very temporary of course. So so sad this has happened.

  11. #31
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    2-3 deaths per year occur on trail. You are 10x more likely to die from something else, than be murdered.
    There have been 7 thru hikers and one 1 long distance section hiker murdered on the AT.

    To the best of my knowledges all 8 were healthy and in the prime of their lives.

    If you are saying that 70 or 80 thru hikers have perished while on their way to Katahdin or Springer (you did say 10x, right?), that would be shocking indeed.

    But you cannot.

    Because the number one killer of thru hikers under the age of 55 is not falls, or bears, or heart attacks, or exposure, or falling trees, or snakes, or bees, or exploding stoves, or drowning or even the combination of all these things, but rather other people.

    If 7 thru hikers had been killed by bears you can bet your bottom dollar that we would be discussing best practices for keeping yourself from being hurt by them at every turn.

    But since we want to live in fairytale land, discussing how to deal with dangerous people will continue to be taboo in polite (I never had a problem!) circles.

    Too bad.

  12. #32
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Yeah same hear I spent years in training . Sounds like good advice, there's also strength in numbers, backpack may make a good shield for protection. Very temporary of course. So so sad this has happened.
    Until this most recent tragedy, all the murders on the Trail were perpetrated against either a solo hike or a couple.

  13. #33

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    Threatening wackos in the outdoors is so out of what is expected; much of self-defense tries to prepare us for what is so unexpected, as normally people look for the good in others, make allowances for other people's deficiencies. In this case the sicko was given a tremendous amount of misplaced and falsely placed forgiveness. He should have been dealt with by law enforcement or given a sound beating for his evil actions. So many opportunities missed.

    I grew up being taught to let stuff go, I never reported abuses to my parents in school. Boy Scouts, even when the Scoutmaster ordered other scouts to throw me off a cliff the day after I confronted when he was getting drunk as usual. That issue should have been reported and taken seriously.


  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    There have been 7 thru hikers and one 1 long distance section hiker murdered on the AT.

    To the best of my knowledges all 8 were healthy and in the prime of their lives.

    If you are saying that 70 or 80 thru hikers have perished while on their way to Katahdin or Springer (you did say 10x, right?), that would be shocking indeed.

    But you cannot.

    Because the number one killer of thru hikers under the age of 55 is not falls, or bears, or heart attacks, or exposure, or falling trees, or snakes, or bees, or exploding stoves, or drowning or even the combination of all these things, but rather other people.

    If 7 thru hikers had been killed by bears you can bet your bottom dollar that we would be discussing best practices for keeping yourself from being hurt by them at every turn.

    But since we want to live in fairytale land, discussing how to deal with dangerous people will continue to be taboo in polite (I never had a problem!) circles.

    Too bad.
    Im not talking just thru hikers
    They represent a smaller part of trail users

    2.5 deaths per year, over 4 years is 10.
    In same time frame we average 1 murder on trail

    What part of math dont you understand?

    Why are disproportionate % of murders thruhikers?
    Beats me. But im looking at a larger data population. There is no reason for thru hikers to be disproportionately targeted, just coincidence.

    Falls, hypothermia, lightning, drowning, falling trees, getting lost, all occur .

    What is interesting about this happening, is a crazy person succeeded against a group of 4. Because they divided. Only becsuse they divided. if they had stayed together one person might have taken one cut before they subdued him.

    Note that I am not pointing out any kind of blame only that people realize this possibly for the future. One-on-one allowed the person with the knife to win.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-14-2019 at 17:43.

  15. #35

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    Pepper spray is legal in all 14 AT states. NC requires the container be no more than 5 oz. I carry pepper spray on a carabiner on my pack. I also have a body alarm. You have to replace the pepper spray since the potency decreases over time...read instruction first. I would not use Bear spray which is more potent and can get you in legal hot waters in some states. Trust your instinct. If there is a hiker/camper talking to himself/herself and acting erratic, leave the area immediately and walk into town. Send communications through Guthooks or other Apps, FB etc letting others know (1) where the incident took place (2) time of incident (3) full description of the person. Take a picture of person discreetly on smartphone (turn volume down and flash off), IF possible...but safety first. People who act erratic are a danger to themselves and to others. They cannot be reasoned with either. We all like to be helpful as we are all part of the hiking community, but the reality is they don't think they have a problem. There were many troubling signs, "red flags" with the first reports in April and I am not going to speculate or play armchair quarterback. For future reference however, if your "gut" tells you something doesn't feel right...trust it and get out of the situation immediately. Guns are not the solution and NOT legal to carry concealed in all states. I love weapons, but it is relevant to know the laws of each state too. Personally, even knowing self defense is no guarantee. Your best plan of action is "extricating" yourself from the situation. This guy had a tac assault bowie knife with a clipped point, not a machete, which is a broad blade for axing, BUT why the heck was he carrying it? What the heck was he hunting? Hunters use them for skinning and cleaning. What if he had a gun? You cannot outrun a gun. In most instances, even if you had a gun as self defense, your adrenaline will be pumping and heart rate escalating, which impacts mental judgement and site. this is not a good combination.

  16. #36
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    The only problem with reporting shady people and instances to social media, or anywhere, is your always going to have some clowns try to beat around the bush and accuse you of "profiling", trying to turn things against you and make you look wrong for saying anything.

    of course we shouldn't listen to any of this non sense, I sure don't, but a lot of people do, unfortunately...
    NoDoz
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  17. #37
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    Do consider that if you choose to use pepper spray you will more than likely be exposed to it yourself; as will everyone else in close proximity. Like a firearm, it requires training and an appreciation for the risks. Also recognize that upwards of 10% of the population is immune to it; just like tasers.

    But I would love to see someone get hosed with bear spray right in the face. That would be something....
    Be Prepared

  18. #38
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    10% of the population is immune to tasers and pepper spray? …. any source to back that up?

    you see people on drugs get tased (on tv) ever once in a while that could stand up and look like there "immune" for about 2-3 seconds, but even the most Methed out people are still going down with the taser eventually.

    I've taken several practice shots of bear spray with old cans without coming close to being exposed to it myself. If your wrestling with somebody and try to use pepper spray the outcome wont be to good. It's not the definitive answer to any encounter your going to have but there's a damn good chance of it keeping someone or something at bay, even if it's temporary and allows you to take further action.
    NoDoz
    nobo 2018 March 10th - October 19th

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  19. #39

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    I'm not advocating carrying a gun but if your going to please do it wisely. https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/manag...arks2-2010.pdf
    Also this was a night time attack (at least from what I can tell) and no amount of self defense would have prevented an attack while you're in a sleeping bag in a tent. Prevention is the pest course of action. Be mindful of your surrounding. Keep hiking if you feel unsafe. Will this change my course of action; no. Will I start carrying while backpacking? very unlikely, even though I can legally. The trail is still statistically safer then the towns you visit along the way.

  20. #40
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    Monday morning an article about the Virginia attack was left at my desk by a coworker.
    Tuesday he brought a small gun to show me.

    At a music lesson Tuesday evening another person brought out a small gun to show me.

    I had never considered carrying a gun and don't currently own one, but this incident is making me think about it, not just for the trail.

    No question that a weapon of some kind, appropriately and judiciously utilized, could have stopped the perp's actions. I'd much rather we were discussing a death by self-defense.

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