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Body language works! You have no idea how many times a day a person sees you walk by and they see that your eyes are scanning around and you’re walking straight out and they look at you and think, “No, I don’t think so.” You don’t know how often that happens. Body language works great. If somebody comes and confronts you and you talk your way out of it, you know it worked, because you are able to walk away or they walk away.

If it works, you stop. It is when it starts to get into a fight that it becomes troublesome. Let’s say I was oblivious and a guy comes up and punches me. Now we’re in a fight. I’m going to use open hands until it’s not working and if its not working, I need to be immediately prepared to use something else. I need to have my mind open and flexible. If all of a sudden I find myself smashed up against the curb and there are five guys kicking me and they are raining down blows on me, this is not going to get better unless I draw on them because I am losing. That is when you go from one level to the next—when you are losing.

The bad thing with the highest level of force is that you can never undo it. If you pull the trigger, once the bullet leaves your gun, you can’t call it back. Marc MacYoung had an interesting way of saying it: “It is all a negotiation until I pull the trigger.” Before that, you can stop at any point. If I’m going to punch somebody, I can change my point of aim pretty quickly before the blow lands. If it is really tied up and tangled and I can’t see what is going on and I’m just throwing elbows or what ever I can try to get somebody off me, I can’t target as well, but I can still choose how hard I’m going to hit, I can pull a blow.

As soon as I draw a weapon, though, I am going to have to justify possibly killing the guy.

When you are getting into those higher levels of force, you have got to know what your goal is.

eJournal: Hoping to solve problems at lower force levels, many armed citizens carry a Kubotan or pepper spray. Do you think carrying an intermediate defense device heightens the risks that we’ll cause more harm than is justifiable?

Kane: If I have to hose somebody down with pepper spray and it works and I don’t have to shoot them, great! Now, the problem with pepper spray and the reason I don’t actually carry it anymore because A) it doesn’t work on everybody or in wind or heavy rain, and B) it is slippier than hell and nasty if it doesn’t work and you have to continue the altercation, you get it all over yourself, too.

Kubotans are called out specifically in a lot of laws and frankly I’d rather use a pen or a flashlight or something that is not called out as a weapon because they are equally effective and I don’t want to be explaining a weapon in court.

eJournal: Tell us more about improvised weapons if you prefer a pen or a flashlight over a Kubotan.

Kane: When I travel on an airplane or travel somewhere else where I can’t carry a gun, I always have a flashlight and a pen with me. I have five or six cigar style pens of different types. They are pretty sturdy, they look good, and they actually make great pens, and oh, by the way, I could also do some pretty good damage to somebody with one of them but you know what? They’re not designed as weapons. You could take a 59-cent Bic pen, if you wanted to, and use that as a weapon.