The Truth is out There

As a member of the tech community, I like to see novel applications to practical life. Today I am focusing on self defense because a friend of mine just got mugged and felt completely helpless. I want to help him feel more secure so that he will leave the house at night once again. I know there is much to fear, but dire situations don’t happen to most of us. He felt that his was potentially life-threatening and he wants a legal way to defend himself next time. I volunteered to research his options. I wondered what was allowed locally even though it might be banned in other areas. I’d read a guide at https://www.selfdefenseguide.org/defending-yourself-legally/, but I needed to know more about what laws applied locally.

I called the Chamber of Commerce and was referred to City Hall. After going through a lot of ignorant people, I decided that my best bet would be the police department. I didn’t want to pay to consult an attorney. As it turns out, the clerk at the other end of the line was quite knowledgeable. While it is unlawful to carry an unregistered weapon, most other protective measures are allowed such as pepper spray, a knife, a stun gun or Taser, and a modern form of the old brass knuckles. Some of these items are technologically advanced. I even know of an incredible pop-open baton that is sturdy enough to knockout an assailant. The clerk thanked me for my inquiry and said it was an example of good citizenship to check first and not go off half-cocked and crazy. She mentioned that the victim must feel a need to fight back in the case of a mugging or other assault. You don’t want to be more aggressive than necessary, however, should you provoke more violence in retaliation.

She said that the police department holds community classes at the local high school to train people in basic maneuvers and how to use various implements, and you can find details of the events on Facebook. You have rights in many cases but the case of a “legal” shooting may draw criticism and would be carefully scrutinized. The victim must prove the need for drastic measures of self defense. The wrong actions can lead to your arrest and enormous legal fees. Plus, you may be subject to a civil lawsuit. You may be innocent in the eyes of the law but you have to convince a jury. Don’t feel that you can pull a trigger at the drop of a hat. In any case, the shooter’s gun will be confiscated and not returned until after an investigation. Decisions on this subject are not automatic.

Given this information and the words of caution, my friend decided not to carry a concealed weapon. He would be loath to use it and feel guilty if he killed someone, even a mugger. Many criminals are high on drugs and not conscious of their actions. Of course, they are not model citizens. This doesn’t mean you want to take drastic measures because you are angry.

Home Automation

Sometimes I look around and the world seems to be the same as always. In fact, if you told me I had woken up and it was now 1970, I would believe you. Other than automobile styles, homes and buildings are absolutely the same. Planes and ships look the way they always did, and people dress pretty much in an androgynous universal style—jeans and tees.

I want things to be 21st century, more advanced and technologically challenging. They are, of course, in invisible ways. It’s all about how we use a television, phone, digital apparatus, and employ software more than ever. It’s also about how we store information and get it through online research. The medical world has been revolutionized as are many industries in terms of manufacturing processes. We have reduced toxins and emissions, controlled waste, and utilized synthetic fuels.

But guess what. Our kitchens and bathrooms are low tech. Many people have the same faucets as they did 70 years ago. They might be a tad rusty, but they work. How can this be? How did hygiene and food preparation get left so far behind?

There are “smart homes” nowadays and ways to control one’s environment with just a touch. We just don’t do it. We think it’s for the distant future. Well, the future is now. Your lights go on as you drive up the street with your handy iPhone. Later, when you get inside the house you can turn on music, the coffee maker, or whatever else you like.

Now you can also flush your toilet without moving a muscle, just hovering over the right spot. You can turn on a faucet without straining yourself with one little tap. Ah! Technology is all about laziness and ease. It may seem like it’s time saving, but when you are dealing in milliseconds, it really isn’t. Even though they are still selling new versions of older models, you can buy new appliances and fixtures in keeping with a more modern world. You wouldn’t ever think of using a ten-year-old TV or giant cell phone with an antenna. You would dream of buying a used 15-year old computer with a separate screen and hard drive. You went for a Kindle Fire and a tablet, so why not new modern faucets?

We all draw the line somewhere I guess. And yet we use faucets more than keyboards. Automation should be routine by now and yet how rare it is in residential and commercial spaces. Sure, timers have always turned on the sprinklers and nightlights. They have started the toaster as you arise. But this is small stuff. Updating kitchens and baths seems so obvious. Perhaps that’s why it hasn’t been done.

It’s not as expensive as you think. A good regular non-touch faucet is pricy anyway. Maybe you like the look and feel of the levers and pulls. So much décor is retro these days. I, myself, like the idea of progress and hands-free water fills the bill. Maybe a little more publicity is warranted and I am now trying to do my part!