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An old stick.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Carl Levitian, Jun 26, 2008.

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  1. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    Being retired gives one alot of time on your hands, sometimes. That is if you can find spare time in between range trips, canoeing out on the nearby lake, fishing, reading a good book or two from the library, and general screwing off. Hey, I worked for it, I'm takin advantage of it.

    The other day I had some time, and being as thunderstorms were comming, I deceided to stay off the water and tinker around the house. I ended up doing some maintanence on my walking stick collection.

    Being a bit disabled in the walking department from some arthritis issues, I take my sticks seriously. A few are oil finished and need a rub down with some linseed oil now and then, while others have a spar urathane finish. I have a few Irish Blackthorns, two hornbeam's with root knob handles I made myself, and a couple longer hiking sticks. One is a hefty hornbeam staff. I like that old staff, I made it from a stout hornbeam tree, aged it down my basement for almost a year before I finished it. But what make it special to me, is it has saved a life, and taken one in defence.

    Okay, nothing human, don't worry. The life it took was a pit bull. The life it saved was our little pet welsh corgi, and maybe my own when the pit bulls owner went beserk.

    Years ago, we were for a woods walk in a place called Meadowside Nature center in Montgomery county Maryland where we live. The 'ol lady and myself were walking in the woods having a nice day, and as we came out of the woods to the parking lot of the nature center with our welsh corgi on her leash as per the leash law, a white pit bull who was off leash saw us and attacked. At the first the pit and his owner was about 50 yards away, and the pit made a beeline for us, with the owner yelling at his dog to stay, come back and so on. The pit was in his own world, intent on our dog. I tried to place myself in the way and fend him off with the stick I had, but he was fast and strong, and shoved by me and got a hold of our little corgi. My wife was yelling, the pits owner was running our way, and our dog was yelping and screaming in pain, and I'm not real sure of what happened. There was some collidiscope fleeting images like a high speed slide show in my memory of the incident, and I do remember grabbing my hiking staff with both hands and doing a sledge hammer overhead swing down on the pit bull. I think with all the fear for my dog and stuff pumping in my system, it must have been a "John Henry working on the railroad" effort in that swing.

    It came down on the pits head and he dropped to the ground not moving at all. I was flooded with mixed feelings, fear, anger, being most of it. Our dog was bleeding from a torn shoulder, and the big young guy who was the pit bulls owner was charging at me shouting all kinds of threats of doom. How he was going to tear my MF'ing head off for hittinghis dog, how he was going to beat my grey bearded old a-- into the ground.

    I don't make any illusions to understanding the younger generation. I don't understand the shaved head goatee thing with barb wire tatoo's. But I do understand when somebody is a threat. I still had a good hold of the staff, and in that jumbled up collection of images that is my memory of that afternoon, I remember I just kept swinging. Like a fury that was fed by rage. Rage that this idiot let his dog attack a member of our family, like our dog is. Rage that he was being such an a$$.

    When we lived in the city, before daddy moved us out to the more countryfied outer suburbs, there was this alley in back of our apartment building. We, the nieghborhood kids, would have big stickball games in that alley. I was really good at stickball. That day in the park, I kept swinging with my best alley stickball swing, and when it was over, the shaved head guy was down on the asphault, and I had people telling me it was okay, calm down, the police are here, take it easy.

    With 2 park police and a couple county police officers there for good measure, order was restored, and it was only then it was discoverd the pit bull was dead. This did little to improve the temper of the pit bulls owner, but he needing an ambulance could do little about it exept yell at the police that he demanded I be arrested. This being a saturday afternoon at Meadowside Nature Center, there had been alot of people in the parking lot, arriving and getting out of thier cars, or leaving and walking to thier cars. Over a dozen people gave first hand accounts to the police of what happened, and the young guy was arrested for attempted assault, and having a vicious dog out of control in public, and being wanted on a failure to appear charge. He was loaded into the ambulance and taken away with a broken left arm, some rib cage damage and some head injuries. Our dog went strait to the vet for emergency care, and sticthes to close the wound in her shoulder where the pit bull had grabbed.

    Doing my stick maintance the other day, I looked over my hornbeam staff, and gently gave it a buffing with 0000 steel wool, and a fresh coat of Helmsman Spar Urathane. It's been a good woodswalking companion, and it deserves good care, as does my blackthorn sticks.

    Sometimes theres nothing like a good sturdy piece of wood.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2008
  2. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  3. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    I'm glad your dog is okay.

    Being flamed or not, I believe that the day for dangerous pit bulls should come to an end. For many simple reasons.

    If you truly love the breed of Staffordshire Terriers, then breed them as the rest of us dog owners do. Breed them as pets and companions, not land sharks.

    And for all of you guys who proffer the need the safety and security, my advice is to go to a dojo and learn to do your own fighting. I would be embarrassed to ever show my face at a Harley shop with the reputation that I needed a dog for a spine.

    We've had idiots in my town who turn their pits loose all day. One guy smirked about. No one, repeat no one, thinks you're a dangerous customer just because your dog is.
     
  4. CWL

    CWL Member

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    Goes to show a gun or knife is not always the solution.

    Good work!
     
  5. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    It's part of the tough guy starter kit, as is the big tough dog.


    Glad you came out of it alright.
     
  6. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    "Dangerous" Dogs

    A dog raised to exhibit aggression and permitted to roam unrestrained is irresponsible (of the owner) to the point of "depraved indifference."

    A dog raised to protect his family and guard the home while Daddy is away earning the bread and meat is responsible and prudent.

    A dog will hear what you don't, will smell what you can't, and will stand in the breach to the end. A dog will not complain that it's the middle of the night and that it's too tired to go see what that noise is.

    And a dog -- a family dog -- will sit with you and walk with you at the end of a harsh and brutal day without judgment or comment, only affection and acceptance.

    I agree: the hounds of depraved indifference should be extinguished, as with any uncontrolled predatory animal.

    It should be said, though, that a dog's color and face, it's shoulder and withers, it's tail and feet do not define or reveal its spirit.

    I have little patience with aggressive four-footed accessories.

    I have nothing but love and admiration for real dawgs.

    Long live dawgs.
     
  7. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    plus one for us arthritic graybeards
     
  8. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Amen

    As one of the beardless "greybeards" I see that I must rectify the deplorable absence of a good sturdy piece of wood in my daily life.

    That, and I must learn to speak softly.
     
  9. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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  10. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    All hail the hornbeam.



    "knock, Knock"

    "Who is it?"

    "Landshark."
     
  11. Onesiphorus

    Onesiphorus Member

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    I might just get a better cane to go with my 9mm. Thanks for sharing you traumatic experience.
     
  12. jparham

    jparham Member

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    Pits can be great dogs. However, if raised by idiots like the person described in the story, they can be really vicious. Although pits do have some fighting blood, this is one case where it is more of the owners fault than anyone else's.
    I've never doubted the effectiveness of the stick as a weapon.
     
  13. James T Thomas

    James T Thomas Member

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    A stick in time saves mine

    I was interested in your post; as I walk my "family" dog through our neighborhood myself, and have encountered a loose roaming pit bull -though never had an attack like you did. I too carry a walking stick. I prod my little pup with it to give her direction or restrain her. She is intelligent enough, but has no sense as to how dangerous the cars are that go by us. Often too close for comfort.

    My favorite is a "hickory stick" that has the bark on. Rustic. And it is dense wood too. Approximately one and one half inches in diameter. I only oil;
    Scandanavian Oil, or wax the ones I'm preserving several times a year.
    I have quite a few Japanese boken; wooden practice swords that get the same care. One is a "Kashimashindo." It is supposed to have the weight of the steel blade "Katana." And to practice with it is demanding exercize.

    You must have struck a blow sufficient to send the bell to the gong on that dog because the ones I've encountered had heads, harder than Culy Joe of the Three Stooges! Give some large and muscular dog a whack, and they will look at you. You have their attention, and maybe now you don't want it.

    I only have had to point the end of the stick at an aggressive dog and they're smart enough to know the gesture. I swung the stick around -it was a "Jo," smaller sword defense stick, and the owner of the uncontrolled dog began to yell that I was trying to strike his circling dog. He did reach him; the dog stayed at bay, and we walked away with the man crying out to the neighbors that I didn't need to hit his dog. I never touched the animal, and was glad I didn't need to. I like dogs, animals, and so forth, though this guy was removed from the list.

    Should the Lord have me live long enough to enjoy it, I intend to aquire a Blackthorn like you mention. I don't need one more "stick," my wife calls them, but the wood handstave are fascinating.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  14. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    The real problem here is less about the breed (although I will admit to being no particular fan of Pit Bulls) but more the ignorance of leash laws. When I worked at the humane society, a fairly high percentage of "lost" dogs that were picked up were, according to the owners who found them, "usually good off the leash". I will grant that there are a few very, very well trained dogs that can be trusted off leash. Very few. Very, very few.

    Leash laws protect the owner, they protect the dog, and they protect other people and their animals. I wouldn't want to have to strike or shoot someone's dog, but if I had to (and in fact recently I have) I would. Frankly, the guy can cry all he wants, but ultimately it's the owners fault, and I don't think there is a whole lot legally that he or she could do if they are ignoring the law.
     
  15. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Mr. Levitian,

    Thanks for sharing the story. That must have been a hard wallop indeed, to fell a bull with one blow. I'm a big believer in sticks, and I've probably practiced more with 6-7" staves than any other weapon. I personally prefer Tung oil.

    Speaking of bulldogs, yesterday as I drove to school, I saw a pit standing in the road, with a large SUV waiting to drive by.

    Last night, as Jordy and I were riding home, we saw the same dog standing on a corner very close to where it had been standing earlier.

    We stopped, and I carefully investigated. The young, dark brindle pit was very sweet, as pits tend to be. I knocked on doors of several nearby houses, believing that this dog was the same I'd heard barking some night while out walking in the area. I found a couple at the third house, who explained that the dog had been kept by their neighbors, who they hadn't seen in about three days :fire:, and that the pit had been roaming (though not far- he hadn't gone more than 50 meters from where he had been kept). They said the neighbors were supposedly keeping the dog for a friend who was in jail. :rolleyes: They let me put the dog in a fenced yard they had, but he was out again this evening when I was driving back to school. :banghead:

    John
     
  16. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Member

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    Carl, good for you! I have no use for aggressive dogs of any bread and irresponsible owners REALLY irritate me!

    With that said I love the bull and terrier breads. These include the American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Bull Terrier. The APBT was AMERICA's dog back in the day! Ever watch the Little Rascals?

    Instead of vilifying a bread of dogs we need to hold the owners accountable for their dogs! Many aggressive dogs have been abused and this is another area of contention for me!!

    Tom
     
  17. John G

    John G Member

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    My late Grandfather gave me a blackthorn stick years ago, after one of his and Grandma's many trips to Ireland. This story makes me seriously consider carrying it on walks. Thank you.
     
  18. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    On the subject of dogs and walking, I often used to carry a hand trowel while walking my little girl. A wide 5-7" blade openly (and innocently) carried in the hand could be useful for self defense. The flat of the blade could be used to dissuade with less-lethal smacks to the arms, hands, and face, and if these proved insufficient, the defender probably bought distance to bring out the firepower.

    Oh, and they're useful for picking up the poo, too. :p

    John
     
  19. jparham

    jparham Member

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    I agree 100%!
     
  20. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    So do I. The problem is that many folks don't even see this as a crime. Hey, they're good ol' boys, and a little huntin' and fishin' and dog fightin' is just boys being boys.

    I don't even see major penalties in my area, other than euthanizing the dog.

    Like anything else in modern society, there really won't be anything of substance done until a celebrity gets bitten. Or holds a fund raiser.

    If Oprah was attacked by one of these show-off dogs then pit bulls would disappear faster than disco music.
     
  21. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Member

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    This is SAD, but probably true. It really isn't the dogs fault, its the owners!

    Tom
     
  22. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Member

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    It's a good story, thank you for relating it. I too carry a stick when I walk in our public parks here in NC, not only because of the possibility of attacks by uncontrolled pets, but also because of the prevelance of rabies in the area. I remember about ten years ago a woman being attacked by a rabid fox in the same area I usually hike, so it provided a cautionary reminder that even cute fuzzy forest creatures can sometimes be a menace.

    My own best staff is made of red cedar; when I first found it in the woods it had been strangled for its first foot of growth by a vine, and thus had a gnarled, twisted head. It has aged to a honey-and-wine color with age and lots of applications of boiled linseed oil.
     
  23. Eleven Mike

    Eleven Mike Member

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    In many ways, that's a sad story, but thanks for sharing. Young "tough" and his macho accessory dog get owned by older gent with good old-fashioned stick. I believe President Jackson was smiling down on you that day. :)

    Still a shame about the poor dogs, of course.

    And I think I'll start taking my rattan on my walks now.
     
  24. mossberg

    mossberg Member

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    All I can say is: My Shi Tzu doesn't hurt anybody, on leash or not.;)
     
  25. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    Living in the state of Maryland, a CCW is out of the question. Maryland is not a friendly state for gun owners, never has been, never will be. This leaves only a few choices.

    In my younger day, I carried a knife for that just in case thing. An outside chance of needing a weapon if I got cought by my own stupidity at the wrong place and wrong time.

    But things change as we get older, and if we're very lucky, we get a little smarter. By the time I got out of my 30's I had got rid of the big lockblade knife, and was carrying a walking stick. Or stout hiking stick if out in the woods.

    Over the years I've come to realize that we become a bigger target as we age. The young street criminal see's the grey hair, slower walk, as the signs of the older herd animal at the back of the herd. Preditors tend to seek out the very young and the old. Someplace along the trip I seem to have got old. A dangerous thing.

    The above incident would have been alot more dangerous and nasty for me if all I had was a 4 inch or smaller knife to deal with a attacking animal and a young man 30 years younger than me and at least 40 pounds heavier with several inches in hight advantage.

    But 4 feet of aged hornbeam already in hand gives a huge advantage. It's there, all the time, anyplace, even in a courthouse or airport parking lot where the other stuff is left home.

    Maybe Teddy knew what he was talking about. He was quoting an old Masai proverb, and the Masai travel in dangerous country with a big stick.
     
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