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The Wrong Side of the Tracks

Man is jacking up broken car, wheel replacement. Tire replacement concept

 

Flat Tire in the Wrong Part of Town

 

So much about personal safety revolves around being aware of your environment and knowing what is happening around you. But how do you keep yourself safe when you stumble into a situation outside of your control?

 

Take, for example, Richard. Though Richard is fictional, he finds himself in a situation that causes worry for thousands of people around the world. Richard is driving late at night when he realizes he’s taken a wrong turn and finds himself in an unfamiliar city. He drives for a few blocks, trying to find his way back to the highway. He notices that the city is less than ideal, with buildings covered in graffiti and trash littering the sidewalk. 

 

Just as he’s about to turn down a side street, he feels the steering wheel pulling, and a whump whump whump echoes outside his car.

 

“Crap,” he mutters to himself, pulling the car up to the curb. He shuts off the engine, climbs out, and investigates the flat tire. He shuffles to the rear of the car and opens the trunk, pulling out a spare tire and jack. 

 

He steps next to the flat tire, sliding the jack under the front axle of the car. A jingling noise catches his attention and he looks up to spot a man coming out of a convenience store. An orange light flares as the man lights the cigarette in his mouth. Richard watches as the man blows a thick stream of smoke into the night air and looks around him. Richard’s heart begins to beat faster as the man makes eye contact with him.

 

Know Where The Danger Is Approaching From

 

Turning back to his task, Richard hurriedly jacks the car up off the pavement. As he loosens the flat tire and pulls it off the axle, his eyes drift back to the man in front of the convenience store. The man is still there, taking long, solemn puffs of his cigarette, occasionally stealing glances in Richard’s direction.

 

Richard forces himself to ignore the man and places the spare tire onto the axle. He tightens the wheel’s lugnuts and lowers the jack, the front end of the car dipping as the weight of the engine presses against the tire. 

 

He picks up the flat tire and jack, struggling with the heavy items as he waddles back to the trunk and throws everything back in. He peeks around the open trunk door toward the convenience store, noticing that the man is gone. He lets out a long sigh.

 

Sometimes Running Away Is Not An Option

 

Richard slams the trunk, the thud echoing through the night. He takes a step toward the driver’s side door when he hears a voice behind him.

 

“Gimme your wallet and cell phone. Now.”

 

Richard wheels around to see the man from the convenience store standing in front of him. The cigarette is gone, but something in his hand reflects the glow of the streetlight over them. Richard’s eyes flick to the light, spotting the four-inch stiletto switchblade in his grip.

 

Richard’s eyes go wide, and he raises his hands. “Look, man. I don’t want any trouble.”

 

“Then you’ll give me your wallet and cell phone.” The man jutted the blade in Richard’s direction a few times, forcing Richard to step back away from the attack.

 

“Take it easy…” Richard says calmly. He lowers his hands slowly, grabbing the flap of his jacket with one hand. He slips his other hand into the inside pocket of his jacket, grabbing his wallet. But the wallet isn’t the only thing Richard keeps in that pocket.

 

Richard’s hand slowly slides out from his jacket, revealing the brown leather wallet in his grasp. The man reaches for the wallet, allowing Richard to move close to the man, shoving the high powered stun gun he kept in his jacket into the man’s armpit. 

 

Richard watched the man convulse as thousands of volts of electricity flooded through him. His hand contracted, and his arms grew stiff at his sides. After three seconds, Richard pulled the stun gun away, and the man stepped backward and fell to the ground. Without hesitation, Richard climbed into his car and started the engine, leaving the man lying on the ground as he drove away into the night.

 

Richard knew how best to keep himself safe. He noticed the suspicious behavior of the man. But due to his circumstances, he was unable to escape without a confrontation. Sometimes, having tools, like Richard’s pocket-sized stun gun, to ward off attackers is the best defense in certain situations.

 

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