Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
This edition of the Weekly Drop covers a wide variety of questions. In it, you’ll discover:
- The best multitool for people on a limited budget
- Whether plants are a sufficient deterrent to home invasions
- Alternative home defense weapons if you’ve been stripped of your right to bear arms
- And how to mentally prepare yourself for a life-or-death situation.
Let’s get started.
But first — remember to send your spy and survival inquiries to SPYfeedback@LFB.org.
You’ve got me, former Navy SEAL sniper Cade Courtley and special operations physician Omar Hamada at your disposal. We’re here to help you, so don’t pass up the opportunity to get your questions answered by the experts.
Many years ago, I lived in an area where I was physically attacked on a number of occasions. I took a few beatings, but ultimately walked or staggered away and lived to tell about it... However, my question is: When being attacked, I never assumed that I would lose my life in the process. Being older now, I think this is foolhardy, but is there a way to mentally condition yourself to be prepared to fight like your life depends on it from the beginning?
— Richard H.
There’s a saying that goes, “Stay in the fight.” I first heard this from a friend who was a police officer, but the reality is that police officers undergo mental conditioning while in the police academy. First responders often encounter situations where their lives are in danger and they have to be trained to keep fighting and never give up.
The natural human reaction to a dangerous situation is referred to as “fight or flight.” Police officers train to fight but the average citizen would probably react with flight.
It’s important to remember that whether you are hurt, stabbed or shot in a fight, it doesn’t mean you are dead. The majority of people survive gunshot wounds, so even if you’re shot, you’ve got to keep fighting.
I am always prepared to act like my life depends on it. One of the things I do is visualize what I would do if attacked. This exercise mentally prepares me so I won’t freeze if an attack does occur.
I am looking for a multitool for everyday carry. I know it’s important to invest in good tools, but I don’t have a very big budget. Is there one you can recommend for around $30?
— Mary B.
When it comes to multitools, there are many options at a variety of price points. Personally, I like the Leatherman brand. Leatherman makes quality tools that last a long time.
In response to your question, Mary, they make a multitool called the Squirt, which is on the smaller side, but it contains nine different tools, including wire cutters, spring-action scissors, a knife and two sets of pliers (regular and needle-nose) — and it only costs $32.95.
If a person is considered a felon for cashing a check received by mail that turns out was scam — a nonviolent crime, bogus in my opinion, but oh, well — does that mean that person doesn’t or shouldn’t have the right to protect or defend their family with a weapon? If said person were getting threats by phone and needed protection and police laugh instead of helping, can said person purchase a firearm for protection-use only?
— Falah L.
Now, I’m not a lawyer, Falah, but convicted felons are banned from owning firearms in the U.S. That being said, a convicted felon can petition the court to have their right to own firearms reinstated. These requests are decided on a case-by-case basis by individual judges. Many felons who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes have had the right to bear arms restored to them.
For the person you mentioned, I recommend documenting all of the threats they receive and calling the police. I understand you said the police aren’t doing much, but it’s still important to notify them. In addition, if owning a gun isn’t an option, consider another weapon such as a combo flashlight/stun gun, a knife, a baseball bat or a golf club, etc.
Which Baofeng radio should I order? There are a bunch of options. Also, what is a programming cable and do I need to get extra cables? Is there any way to hook one of these to a taller antenna?
— Maurice P.
The Baofeng radio I own is the UV-5R. I have the second-generation model (V2+), but they do have a new third-generation model (the Baofeng BF-F8HP) that is worth checking out — although it is a bit more expensive.
A programming cable is a USB cable used to connect your radio to your computer so you can program all the frequencies into the radio instead of inputting each one manually. It’s a good idea to purchase one if you plan on using the Baofeng as a ham radio.
In a survival scenario, having a longer antenna will give your radio a wider operating range. This one is highly rated — and at 15.6 inches, it’s much longer than the one that comes with the radio.
What do you think of plants as a way to deter criminals? I love roses and cacti of many kinds. I have put potted cacti that grow tall and have long and short spines. They do not hinder my view and flower beautifully. I also have a window box filled with spiny cacti. In the area around the bottom on ground level, I’ve planted roses of all colors with plenty of thorns.
— Olivia W.
Criminals often use windows to enter homes, which means having these sorts of plants underneath or in front of your windows is certainly a good deterrent if the plants are large enough. Check out this article by 4Patriots we published last month for some truly vicious examples.
But remember, some criminals are so desperate, they couldn’t care less about the pain of falling into a cactus, so make sure you have plenty of other security measures in place as well. Things like cameras, motion sensor lights, alarm signs in your front yard and a dog bowl by your back door.