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Average guy...above average toys

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OK, so I am a pretty average guy. I am a father and husband, I work at a typical job and drive a typical 8 year old vehicle. I love life, and a big part of loving life (for me) has everything to do with having what I need when it is needed...and you never know what that might be....

Some guys carry a pack or man-purse packed with all sorts of necessities...and truth told, I have a pack that stays in my truck that has all sorts of stuff that I probably would never think of in a real time of need...but its there in case something happens and I need something (and have the clarity of mind to remember it is there).

Because I am an average guy, in a typical job, I cannot carry everything imaginable on my person at all times. If I showed up to work with a duty belt stocked with all the goodies some of us enjoy on the weekends, people would probably look at me sideways...perhaps they already do, but I doubt having a few odds and ends stuck in my pockets alarms many...especially when something is needed and for whatever reason I am the only one that has what is needed to get it done.

In case you are wondering, I generally carry a knife, a flashlight, some zip ties, a lighter (though I do not smoke), and 3 band-aids. Nothing too eccentric there, but I find these items to be VERY helpful once in a while.

We often read threads on this forum about what to carry for when the SHTF, and I (lately)feel as if the SHTF threads have been partially replaced with Zombie Apocalypse threads (which are generally contain about as much fantasy talk as the SHTF threads I used to see so frequently). I digress...My point is, life can throw you a curve ball at any given moment, and I was recently tossed one. This particular curve ball was tossed into a corner pretty far from my truck and I was limited to what I had in my pockets.

Now, perhaps no one reading will ever have to deal with such a situation, but my point is...and this surprises me a bit...that it is nice to have tools tougher than you need. That said, all of my "tools" were selected for their primary function first. For example, I have no use for a knife that can stab through a car door, if it compromises cutting and slicing tasks even the slightest. Why compromise the tasks you will perform 99.99% of the time so that a tool will be able to perform a fantasy task that you will never need to perform?

So to the story.

I was sitting at my desk early, before work and I heard a sound like a speeding snow plow just dropped the blade in front of my building. I stood up and walked to the window to see a Honda Element on its roof out front. I told a co-worker to call the authorities and then ran outside to see if anyone was hurt, but no one was around. The windows were still intact, and the doors were all locked.

I yelled into the vehicle and to my dismay, got no response. What do I do?!? I yelled again, and again perhaps hoping that someone would shout back, "I am fine, go back to work...I do this all the time".

On perhaps the 4th attempt I heard a muffled groan come back from a person inside the SUV. At this point I had already determined that I was going to have to break a window to get inside and figure out what needed to be done.

I contemplated what to do...."quick, dummy, what do you have that can break this window...remember that episode of Tosh.0 where that reporter could not break that window with a claw hammer...this is not going to be easy!" I took personal inventory:
1. My fist...nope, I will break my hand and be useless to all,
2. My small fixed blade...I do not want to have an exposed edge anywhere near an injured person...especially with enough force behind it to break a window.
3. My flashlight...Hey, this thing was expensive, but that does not matter now.

I grasped it tight in a hammer grip with the light bezel extended from the bottom of my fist and struck the window hard near the corner by the door handle. The light bounced off like a pool ball in a game of billiards. I brought the light up higher and struck again...with the same effect. Now I am determined..."I will get in to help this person!!"

I brought the light up higher and struck again with success. In an instant my hand and wrist went careening through the broken glass, and just as quickly I realized I made a not-so-minor mistake. I really should have pulled off my shirt and wrapped my hand to protect it. Here is what you can expect if you do this:

I now have communication with the man in the vehicle. He is complaining of pain everywhere. He was not wearing a seat belt, but every air bag in the vehicle deployed including the side curtains (thus I could not see into the vehicle prior to breaking the window). The guy must have rattled around there like the cue ball I was talking about earlier.

I did not have to cut any air bags out of the way or anything silly like that. I just needed to talk to the guy and tell him that help was on its way, stay still, don't move, you are not in any danger now (no fire, fuel spilling, etc). Some guy runs up at about this time and insists on pulling the guy out of the vehicle. I reacted sternly telling him NOT to move this man. As I pushed the man back to keep him away, another person (who I did not previously notice) started moving into the vehicle to get to the guy. Luckily he was an off duty (or perhaps undercover) cop.

The guy crawled back out of the vehicle, thanked me for breaking the window and then tried to open the door. I stood back and explained that the doors were locked and we needed to reach inside and unlock them, and then we could muscle the door open. An instant later the door was open...and the fire department arrived...along with about 6 cop cars. Several minutes later the ambulance arrived, and I decided to leave the scene and get out of everyone's way...after taking a couple pictures.

So, I am just an average guy that happened into one of these silly situations that get discussed on forums once in a while. The point (if there is one) is that I do not carry a bunch of gear, but what I carry is the best I can afford because you just never know.

My knife is a custom made utility blade that I designed, and my light is a carefully selected SureFire Fury. I like this light because it has no sharp edges that poke me during the day as I carry it...a sharp edge might make it a better striking tool, but this light was primarily selected for its comfort and extreme brightness (which really comes in handy). Sure I could probalby find a less expensive light, but now I understand what this thing can a real world situation.

It functions flawlessly, and has a very tiny scratch in the anodization on the bezel. Honestly, I am quite impressed by this. I never thought I would need to break a car window, but now I know that I can...even though I likely will never need to again.

For the record, I used to have a CRK Umnumzaan with a fairly refined glass breaker built in. I dismissed it as a joke, that played to the SHTF crowd, and eventually gave that knife away. I never liked the way that little point would occasionally dig into my thigh when I crouched down.

If there is anything to be learned here...I'd say its best to have above average toys to play with, because you never know what you might need to call on them to do.

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  1. pertinux's Avatar
    "I am fine, go back to work...I do this all the time."

    I'm glad you were able to do what was needed, within your realm of ability. In addition to your being able to assess the situation and comfort the guy, who knows what you might have spared the accident victim by refusing to let the other guy move ?! Whew.

    Great write-up, especially tying your title into your concluding paragraph.

    ~ P.
  2. unit's Avatar
    Thanks, man!

    It just seemed like too big of an experience for an average guy like me not to share in depth
  3. unit's Avatar
    As an update to the story.

    I live in a fairly small there are usually only 3 degrees of separation. In keeping with that, a coworker bumped into a friend that knows the driver of the vehicle that rolled over. He was not wearing a seat belt, and was injured fairly badly. They say he required some surgery and may end up paralyzed when its all over.

    While I would have loved to report that everything turned out dandy other than a few replaceable vehicles got cracked seems that a life may be forever changed.

    This vehicle seemed to have airbags everywhere. Those are some nifty tools, but perhaps the slightly more basic seat belt should be added to the EDC routine if you don't already?

    Take care friends!
  4. Trent Rock's Avatar
    Good on you!!

    I sometimes slack and don't put on my seatbealt when I am driving on some dirt road in the middle of nowhere
    About a month ago a teenage girl got killed by a car on one of those roads in the middle of no where
    She tried to avoid a car and went into the ditch
    It really shook me up, simply reading about it
    She was class president and had her whole life ahead of her

    Now, I ALWAYS wear my seatbelt, no matter what

    Outta curiosity
    Is there a seat belt law in your state?
  5. unit's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Rock
    Good on you!!

    Outta curiosity
    Is there a seat belt law in your state?
    Thanks pal!

    Yes, there is a seat belt law here in Missouri, but many still do not heed the warning. Many years ago, I decided that I would always try and wear one (even before I was old enough to drive).

    I may not be a gift to this world, but I feel like I have more to give, and I am not ready to go. Plus I have people counting on me. I wear a REAL helmet when I ride too...I have spent too many years putting things in my head to have them dashed away in a moment (this happened to a friend of mine when we were kids riding skateboards...he is now a greeter/floor sweeper at a fast food place, and is forever mentally about 3 years old)

    At first, I heard that this fellow would never walk again. More recently, I have learned that he broke 5 vertebra in his back, and they did major surgery on him, but expect that he will recover. (not sure if I shared that before).
  6. cziv's Avatar
    Bless you for putting aside the risk of possible injury (car exploding etc.) and going in after the victim.

    Just yesterday I tried to explain why I carry the best tools I can get (handguns, flashlights, knives, - folding & fixed), to my brother in law who thinks I'm crazy. You never know when your life or someone else's might depend on your level head and a few good tools.
  7. unit's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by cziv
    Bless you ....
    Thanks, man.

    I have no regrets on the situation, but I do wish I had somehow been able to do more for the guy. In the end, I am just some average guy that lacks the training to have done more...but at least I knew enough to do no harm