Something seemed off about the man walking toward me on Anchorage’s Coastal Trail. He looked like a vagrant—and like he’d been drinking.
By the time he was a couple steps away, it was clear that he was agitated. He weaved along the trail, delirious, and I stepped to the side. He lurched toward me and groped clumsily through the air.
I dodged him with ease, and he slurred insults at me as I sprinted off into the dusk. I was safe, but had made a naive mistake: assuming the best and failing to anticipate the worst.
What if he had a knife or a gun? What if I’d had a weapon? How threatened would I need to be to take defensive action? Would carrying a weapon make me more cautious? Would it make me irresponsible?
These aren’t easy questions. But even if I’d been carrying my EDC (Every Day Carry: a term for a personal defense kit), I would have done well to improve my situational awareness. Carrying a weapon demands an attitude of utmost consideration and responsibility because a human life could be in your hands.
To obtain my concealed carry permit, I took a course that illuminated the nuance of the law and morality. It made me question whether or not carrying a gun in populated areas was a risk I wanted to take. Ultimately, I have chosen to carry at least some form of self defense on most of my outdoor adventures.
When and whether to carry self-defense tools is a personal choice, of course. But if you do choose to make your own EDC, odds are it will consist of one or all of these things:
My EDC on urban trails includes a Ruger LC 9 -9mm semi-automatic pistol, an Atac A1 5.11 flashlight, mace, and a knife. Sometimes that knife is a 4” fixed blade, other times it’s just a pocket knife. I keep my gun accessible concealed on my hip, chest or a shoulder harness—never on my back or in a bag.