Newmann: The perfect weapon for home defense |

Newmann: The perfect weapon for home defense

Tom Newmann
Valley Voices

If you have any qualms about protecting your home and hearth from the forces of evil, don’t worry about trying to buy a bazooka, a howitzer or a machine gun. They’re all way too expensive — and also may be pretty hard to acquire.

Tom Newmann

Instead, just wander down to your local outdoor store and purchase a Swiss Army knife. It’s a much cheaper option for securing your home. And, happily, it has been recently endorsed by a federal judge in California as “a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment.”

The judge’s comments came as he struck down California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, which he called a “failed experiment.” In the same decision, he made the equation between the Swiss Army knife and assault weapons in matters of home defense.

Fortunately, all of this is happening in California, so we can all take a deep breath, relax … and, to beat the coming trend (since many trends start in California), immediately head to the nearest purveyor of Swiss Army knives.

Fortunately, we have, at last count, about five of these gems scattered around the house. Some are quite tiny and others, well, quite imposing. The little ones, if and when we can find them, are great for opening envelopes. They wouldn’t work so well in the protection category. Maybe the judge was not referring to them.

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The bigger ones … that’s another story. Not only could one use them to do serious damage to a would-be perp; one could also do some serious damage to oneself. Very easy to split a nail trying to open the self-defense dowel; it seems to be constantly locked down tighter than a drum, and it takes lots of nail effort to get it battle ready.

The knife blades tend to snap shut very quickly if, when opening, they’re not fully extended. So, if a blade suddenly closes on your finger, you may need a time out during the fray to run off to get a band-aid.

Speaking of blades, it’s also very easy, in the heat of the moment, to mistake the can opener for one of the blades. Certainly not an imposing look if that happens. Unless you’re being attacked by a can of soup.

There is a saw, which looks rather lethal if anyone is coming at you with small sticks, and a toothpick for very close-in fighting (it can be used to poke out detritus from an assailant’s teeth).

The tweezers are pretty worthless but not to worry … they generally get lost immediately after purchase (which makes them even more worthless).

And then there are the scissors. They’re a wonderful defense weapon to help you cut your way out of trouble … until the spring that separates the two blades gives out (which usually happens sooner than later since the spring has been compressed forever and gives out almost immediately).

The saving grace could be the corkscrew. It’s not an optimal weapon. In fact, it isn’t a weapon at all. There are no records of anyone being lethally corkscrewed. However, it can, with a bit of effort, be used to open a bottle of wine. This act, in itself, might lower the volume of the situation — and create détente over a drink.

But if none of these options work for your home defense system, you can always wait for the next iterations of the Swiss Army knife: They’re rumored to be the automatic versions.

Tom Newmann splits his time between Edwards and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at

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