The 13 Most Irresponsible Self Defense Gadgets Money Can Buy
We live in dangerous times. Well, not really. Actually, life in the 21st century is safer than ever before. This, however, doesn't stop people from selling and buying overpriced and often useless self-defense products.
While most of the stuff on the market will simply gather dust on your shelf/purse/man-bag that's not actually a purse, some of these real products seem a hell of a lot more dangerous to the owner than the mugger.
Cell Phone Stun Gun
Say you're yapping away on your cell at the mall, when that burly guy with a surfboard asks you to please kindly shut the fuck up. Little does he know, your "phone" is actually a 950,000 volt pacifier, your ex-wife is his current girlfriend, and "you" are actually a schizophrenic and a danger to society.
Granted, only a lunatic would own this thing. But you can see immediately the problem even a well-meaning person is going to have with "The Pretender" cell phone stun gun. She's driving at night, her real cell phone rings, she digs around in her purse and pulls out her "phone."
Of course, multiple fail-safes are in place to ensure you do not accidentally shock yourself in the head. 1) The device has to be on and 2) You have to push the button. Yes, that's it. Good luck not zapping yourself retarded.
Vending Machine Disguise
Yes, it's from Japan.
Most of us dismissed this as a silly Photoshop hoax when we saw it, but, no, it's a real product according to The New York Times.
There apparently is a certain class of inventor who sees something work in a cartoon, then scratches his chin and says, "Why not?" Well, how about the fact that in order for this thing to actually fool someone, they'd have to be so far away from it that you'd be safe from attack anyway? Or that it makes it impossible to run away? Or that you'd have to not only carry this bulky thing around, but also a case of Cokes in case somebody drops in some change while you're hiding?
Hey, this is a good idea. A briefcase with bulletproof plates embedded in it. If a firefight breaks out on your way to the office from Starbucks, you'll be safe. Or, more specifically, a three-foot-long rectangular area will be safe. Notice that in the demonstration, we are forced to choose whether we want to protect the head or the crotch:
Yep, this thing only gives you enough coverage to either protect your life, or your will to live. Not both. The best part is, your attackers get to watch you make this truly fateful choice in real time.
The Electrified "No-Contact" Jacket
Here's a fashionable jacket that will send 80,000 volts through anybody that touches your torso. Somehow the people at No-Contact have magically engineered this thing so that it won't shock you if, say, your own hand or face brushes the electrified sleeve during the struggle. They did do that, right? Because otherwise this would be one of the most retarded things ever invented.
Once they start mass marketing this thing (it doesn't say when that'll happen) it's just a matter of time until somebody with antisocial tendencies activates it and jumps into a crowded swimming pool.
We hope we're not degrading women when we wonder what exactly is the ratio of "successful mugger woundings" to "accidental mouth stabbings" with the lipstick knife.
Are we out of line when we speculate that it's the self defense industry that hates women? Let's see if we can find some more evidence ...
Ah, here it is. Gosh, what could go wrong with this imitation tampon container, that fires out tampons that are actually electrified darts? Nothing that our completely not-obscene minds can picture. Nothing at all.
Once again, this is not a cheap Photoshop prank. It's a real invention that was, unsurprisingly, designed by a man.
Here's what we can't figure out: what's the difference between having a Taser that's shaped like something else, and just having a Taser that's shaped like a Taser? It's dark, you've pulled an object out of your purse, and you're aiming it at your attacker menacingly while screaming, "EAT THIS FUCKER." The thing could be shaped like a rubber trout, the guy's still going to shoot you.
Now we're getting serious, gents. Forget about incapacitating your attackers with electricity or defending yourself until the cops arrive. This flashlight modified to fire a .410 shotgun shell is just what you need to blow a four-inch hole in your attacker's chest. Take that, crime!
Hey, it works as a flashlight, too! And the gun part of it points out the back! So every time you use your flashlight, you've got a goddamned shotgun pointing at your heart!
Romatron Personal Protection Keychain
Grab your keys and hit yourself in the face with them. Hurts, doesn't it? That is the awesome might of The Romatron. But wait, The Romatron comes with a Polymer Ball on a Steel Cable! Doesn't seem like much? Here's an excerpt from the FAQ:
"Won't using this against an attacker just make him mad?"
"No, hitting someone with a romatron will disable him, just as if you hit them with a baseball bat."
They also boast that, "Romatron is taught as part of Kuden Jutsu, a martial art recognized by the World Karate Organization," and we believe them. Jackie Chan could probably take out a whole bar full of guys armed with nothing but this thing. But let's face it, once you've grown bad-ass enough that you can take out a guy with your car keys and a rubber chew toy, you can pretty much use whatever happens to be laying around and don't need to make a special purchase.
Ninja Key Chain
So, the keychain self defense industry seems to have a lot of products that only work if you're already Steven Segal. Otherwise you'd better hope your enemy is only 12-inches tall, or that this thing comes covered with poison.
Actually, if you're a guy, you're not hoping that at all. If you keep your keys in your front pocket, you've got several punctured scrotums in your future.
The ad says the Blast Knuckles are "perfect for joggers." So, you'll be running by the lake when some mugger makes their move. You raise your fist and ...
Oh, hell yes! That picture is actual, unmodified promotional material from a catalog. Holy shit! When you start shooting lightning bolts from your hands, you're taking it to a whole new level. Just $120 and you're in the same realm as mutants, elementals and Jedi masters!
It totally does that, right? And it's not just a shitty stun gun that you punch people with?
The Sap Cap
The cap is, shall we say, rear heavy. Meaning, it has a lead weight stitched into the back, so you can grab the bill and then smack the shit out of your vict--uh, attacker.
Hats, traditionally, are meant to protect your head, not punch a hole in your Hypothalamus if you're too enthusiastic about putting it on. Note the distinct lack of human volunteers when it came time to photograph the thing up there.
We had assumed these personal alarms were meant to make the townspeople come running to your defense, but they seem to be selling this one as a Black Canary-style shriek that will actually incapacitate the attacker.
Note how neatly the wave of sonic doom moves in the bad guy's direction on the package. That kind of comic book science goes nicely with comic book psychology of hardcore criminals succumbing to a loud noise. Unless you happen to be fighting Daredevil, you'll be the one suffering from excruciating pain, as you're the one holding the screecher in your hand.
Pulse Wave Myotron
The Pulse Wave Myotron, a little cheap-looking device that the manufacturers loudly insist is not a stun gun, allegedly "neutralized brain waves," particularly those in the "hypothalamic region" that "trigger hostility."
The Myotron made the infomercials circuit in the late '90s (it was apparently one of the few infomercials that featured a gang rape) and their website has gone dormant. But you can still get one apparently.
Neutralizing brainwaves sounds like a blast, until you realize the thing actually NEUTRALIZES YOUR BRAINWAVES. Does a brainwave neutralizer seem like something you want around the house? Granted, certain career choices make this prospect more enticing, but unless you write dick jokes at an abandoned warehouse for a living, you will probably want to steer way clear of this particular instrument of doom.
Rodion Medvedev has a column at RottenTomatoes.com, which you can generally expect to be updated soon after an especially shitty movie comes out in Israel.
If you liked that, you'll probably enjoy reading about more irresponsible behavior in our article on The Drunkest Generation: 10 Reasons Your Grandpa Could Drink You Under the Table. Or, enjoy an ad for a product that would give that tampon taser a run for its money. And be sure to check out our reasoned and entirely too detailed evaluation of the most pressing question of our time: should teachers bang their students?