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Over the past 10 years I have spent about 90% of my time outside of the U.S. ether for work, traveling to a gig or just exploring. Most of the countries I visit or pass through are relatively safe outside of random crime or getting hit by a taxi.
But many times I am traveling in countries that have a small minority who dislikes westerners – dislikes as in: “hates my guts and would love to kidnap and kill me over the internet” dislike. In most of these countries I am passing through on my way to a gig so I am only carrying what is allowed in a carry-on bag so flying with any type of “weapon” is not even an option.
Even when I am staying somewhere long enough where I can grab my checked luggage I don’t like to pack knives, impact weapons or anything resembling military or police equipment because it can draw unwanted attention when going through customs (I once spent 2 hours in Kuwait arguing with customs over a Ka-Bar in my checked luggage).
Not to mention I don’t want an expensive knife or flashlight “borrowed” from my bag (ask anyone who has flown through Amman about missing knives, lights and GPS’s).
So my only other option is to locally source “defensive tools” from whatever semi-legitimate store, souk or even the grocery store.