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  1. #41
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    Default Self-defense options and pepper spray

    If hikers start carrying guns in large numbers, I have no doubt that we'll be discussing more deaths on trails.

    In a violent world we can still lead non-violent lives.

    Please don't give in to fear.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  2. #42

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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
    Statistics are kind of meaningless as you watch your partner get stabbed in the chest with a 17" knife at 3am 6miles from the nearest road.

    That aside, looking at crimes which literally happen *on* the trail is probably not the best metric for how safe the AT corridor is.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    If hikers start carrying guns in large numbers, I have no doubt that we'll be discussing more deaths on trails.

    In a violent world we can still lead non-violent lives.

    Please don't give in to fear.
    Why? Lawful gun owners are, necessarily, more law-abiding than the population as a whole. If you see a person with a concealed firearm, you can be reasonably sure that they've never committed a felony, never committed a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of more than two years, never committed an act of domestic violence, is not a habitual drug user, has never been involuntarily committed, dishonorably discharged....the list goes on.

  4. #44

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    To answer the OP's question...

    I think the effectiveness of pepper spray in a situation like we had here is dubious. You're inside a tent and likely to catch as much as the attacker for one. Second, the enraged whacko must be within the danger zone for a knife (~7 yards) for you to use pepper spray. Third, pepper spray will further enrage the whacko, yet not really inhibit him slashing and stabbing away at you.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by SC_Forester View Post
    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.
    I was thinking about this last night. Say you were at a shelter where this guy was and he was screaming and yelling and generally making you very uncomfortable. You then decide you want to bounce...but maybe it's dark...maybe raining. How far do you walk? To the next point of civilization? How do you know this guy won't keep walking to and do something if you're still on the trail. It would be very unsettling for me if I saw this guy and decided to move on. Would he come around the next night? Two nights later...three...four...seven. Sleeping would not be very relaxing.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by spfleisig View Post
    I was thinking about this last night. Say you were at a shelter where this guy was and he was screaming and yelling and generally making you very uncomfortable. You then decide you want to bounce...but maybe it's dark...maybe raining. How far do you walk? To the next point of civilization? How do you know this guy won't keep walking to and do something if you're still on the trail. It would be very unsettling for me if I saw this guy and decided to move on. Would he come around the next night? Two nights later...three...four...seven. Sleeping would not be very relaxing.
    Honestly I think this incident makes a great argument for stealth camping, or at least staying away from shelters. Shelters will always attract the less serious/less prepared/party and drugs types.

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWODaddy View Post
    Statistics are kind of meaningless as you watch your partner get stabbed in the chest with a 17" knife at 3am 6miles from the nearest road.

    That aside, looking at crimes which literally happen *on* the trail is probably not the best metric for how safe the AT corridor is.
    Always bad to be the 1/1,000,000
    Unless its winning the lottery
    But someone always will be.
    But thats life. Very remote chances of just about anything you can think of is possible.

    In this instance, this persons actions reported suggests to me he was intent on eventually hurting people, he just needed to reach that point, and finally did. He was going to hurt ...kill...someone. didnt matter who to him... Eventually.

    Life isnt risk free
    Driving to trailhead entails risk
    Its never totally eliminated, no matter what
    Only reduced

    You have to accept some risk to do most anything
    But most people actually dont.....they pretend there is none. Everytime you step into woods any number of ways to die are possible. This is one.

    Look at events logically, not with emotion, is all i suggest.

    Risk on AT has not changed due to one nut case. Only perception of it .

    If anything, multiple such episodes close together would be astronomically rare....but instead of realizing this, people are now scared.

    If you want to carry a gun, by all means do so. I believe law abiding people have the right. But it shouldnt be because of this one event. No other event like this, with clear warning signs to victims has occurred before in trail history. Its not the standard m.o..This deranged nut was on a mission to hurt hikers, up close, with big knife.

    This is peoples worst fear...like.things haunted houses are built to provoke....remorseless, senseless, deranged killer in the night, with no motive, or concern of capture, or consequences. Exceedingly rare.

    Its a shame all the anecdotal reports of suspects aberrant behavior history werent made known to leo at first arrest . Together they paint a picture that might have convinced a judge to order psych evaluation then. I assume they werent, they werent even here.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-15-2019 at 10:17.

  8. #48

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    If carrying pepper spray makes you feel safer then no harm in carrying it.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    If carrying pepper spray makes you feel safer then no harm in carrying it.
    That's my philosophy. There are a lot of arguments in previous posts why pepper/bear spray is not effective against a crazed person, but SOMETHING is better than NOTHING. Also, at minimum, the canister itself, which is metal made, can be used as a weapon or for protection. I hope i will never have to find out.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWODaddy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    If hikers start carrying guns in large numbers, I have no doubt that we'll be discussing more deaths on trails.

    In a violent world we can still lead non-violent lives.

    Please don't give in to fear.
    Why? Lawful gun owners are, necessarily, more law-abiding than the population as a whole. If you see a person with a concealed firearm, you can be reasonably sure that they've never committed a felony, never committed a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of more than two years, never committed an act of domestic violence, is not a habitual drug user, has never been involuntarily committed, dishonorably discharged....the list goes on.
    Carry a gun if you want to. Just please don't shoot anyone. Live a peaceful life. It is actually very rewarding.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  11. #51
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    Why? Lawful gun owners are, necessarily, more law-abiding than the population as a whole.


    do you have any facts that support this?

  12. #52
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    If you see a person with a concealed firearm, you can be reasonably sure that they've never committed a felony, never committed a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of more than two years, never committed an act of domestic violence, is not a habitual drug user, has never been involuntarily committed, dishonorably discharged....the list goes on.



    this is not correct....

    felons do carry guns...

    i see this on a weekly basis, if not almost a daily basis.....

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Always bad to be the 1/1,000,000
    About 20,000 thru hikers have completed the entire trail. Perhaps 100,000 have set off from Springer with the intent to do so.

    7 Thru hikers never got the chance because the were murdered by a stranger many miles into their hikes.

    Hardly a 1 in a million occurrence for members of the thru hiking fraternity.

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    this is not correct....

    felons do carry guns...

    i see this on a weekly basis, if not almost a daily basis.....
    how are you seeing felons with guns on an almost daily basis?

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmercury View Post
    how are you seeing felons with guns on an almost daily basis?
    People are certainly charged for being a felon in possession of a gun very frequently, which leads to the same conclusion.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  16. #56

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    the poster made it sound like they are actually seeing people face to face everyday who are felons with guns

  17. #57

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    This thread is about self-defense options on trail, not overall statistics. Let's keep it to that topic more strictly.
    Thank you.
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  18. #58
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    Deadeye's answer in the last part of his post are dead on. What is between our ears is the first line of defense.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

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    That being the case, I would add that bear spray is not inherently better than a quality OC spray sold for defense.

    If you get something marketed to law enforcement (Like Fox Labs) it may well be more powerful and certainly be spec’d to spray in a directed stream more than the fog that seems to concern some.

    Most importantly, they have sizes ranging from that of a Red Bull can something not much bigger than a lipstick. Easy to have at the ready — even in your hand in a packet during an uncomfortable hitch or elsewhere. Or if a dog comes bounding your way.

    I am sure the internet is a good resource but gun stores and police supply stores have people plugged into the options, too. Not sure why— but FGNs seem to know this stuff.

    The only down side I see is that one might be less inclined to separate themselves from danger if they have an increased sense of their ability to handle a bad situation— says a big guy who was hospitalized by a little wimp some 30 years ago for making exactly that kind poor judgement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    The only down side I see is that one might be less inclined to separate themselves from danger if they have an increased sense of their ability to handle a bad situation— says a big guy who was hospitalized by a little wimp some 30 years ago for making exactly that kind poor judgement.
    This is a very valid point. If you bring something for self-defense, regardless of what kind (if any), your first course of action should be to remove yourself from the situation ASAP and seek help. You should only be resorting to your self-defense tool if backed into a corner or being pursued to the point where you need to break contact. Good point rickb.

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