Getting old is the proverbial female canine. The hard realization has finally hit me that as a senior citizen I am now firmly in the cross hairs of the predators. With htis realization comes the appreciation of the weapon in plain sight factor. As much as we work out, keep in shape as much as we can, the ugly truth is that we slow down a bit every year we manage to survive another birthday. If push comes to shove, every saved fraction of a second makes a difference in defending ourselves against a younger and faster attacker bent on taking waht's left of our social security check from our wallet. I guess I never thought about it much until recently, and the indecent in Key West, and how we are seen by the stalking wolves that are looking for the old deer at the back of the herd. When I was in my 30's, I never had a problem anywhere. When I was in my 40's I never ha a problem anywhere. Heck, I never had a problen in my 50's either. I did have a incident or two in my 60's. Late 60's. It seems like the probability of needing all these weapons and skill to use them while a young man, is unlikely. The predators aren't looking for a fight. They're looking for a cheap and easy meal that won't hurt them. Some young dark haired guy in his 30's is not on their menu. But the white haired old guy on a cane is maybe the blue plate special to them. I know that I always knew this on a lower level, but now it's come up in sight to me with a clarity that I never really had before. Now I really see the importance of a weapon that is not a weapon. The so called common everyday object that can be right in hand without looking suspicious. Being right there in hand it;s ready for instant use with no groping, pulling out, drawing. Just suddenly use. A cane, pen, AA minimag, whatever. I only have really been reflecting on this as one of my neighbors was tried by a would be mugger. Nicer little lady named Mary, all of five foot three or four, silver hair. A retired operating room nurse. She came out of safeway with her basket, pushing it to her car when a young would made his try. Kind of a "Hey lady," trying to get her attention while waling toward her. Mary kept walking and the guy walks faster to overtake her. Mary gets to her car, and instead of taking out her keys, she takes out her pen, making like to cross something off the list on her piece of paper. The guy goes to grab her arm, telling her to keep quiet and hand her the wallet. Instead, Mary jams the pen into the guys face with no warning. She nails him a few times, while screaming bloody murder, and the guy runs off. Talking with Mary afterward, she tells us that she knew it was going to be a attempted robbery from the way the guys was acting. Looking around, nervous, making sure nobody was that close. Mary had taken some defense classes, and was carrying an all metal pen recommend by the defense guy that was teaching the nurses when she was still working at the hospital. It was right there in her hand when the guy got to her, and as she saw him coming, it was natural to take out the pen and act like she was fiddling with her shopping list. Of course the police picked the guy up in 15 minutes. He was bleeding from some good torn wounds in his face, and one of Mary's strikes had almost taken out an eye. This is the second time some older woman in my neck of the woods has used a pen in self defense. A few years ago, a lady in her 70's was sitting in a church of all places, writing, and an attempted assault took place. In that instance, a plain plastic stick pen did the trick. Most of my neighbors are in the senior citizen age range. It's an older established neighborhood, with most of us being here for over 20 years. Lot's of empty nesters, and we all get together for BBQ's and socializing. The subject of defense has come up now and then, and most of the men all carry some sort of stout walking stick. Some of us men folk have got together down a basement and practiced with our sticks on an old duct taped up duffle bag. Being Maryland, guns aren't in the cards, so we make do. But the weapon in plain sight has become more appreciated now than when we were young. We're not as fast, so if something saves us a second, we'll take it. It just may give us a little jump on the wolf that thinks we're the deer at the back of the herd. If that's considered dirty and underhanded, so be it. We'll leave the fair fights to John Wayne. That stuff we trained in when young is of very little use now. I did the karate thing back in the 70's, but now with arthritis I couldn't begin to do those moves. Most of my friends are the same. We realize that we've got old somehow, and it's time to rethink the whole approach. Sneaky, and using some everyday object right in hand at the get-go is a good place to start.