Schneier on Security
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August 21, 2007
"Safe Bedside Table"
More security furniture: yikes!
Posted on August 21, 2007 at 1:55 PM
• 57 Comments
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That table doesn't provide security. It provides a bit of self-defense.
It's not security furniture. It's self-defense furniture.
Good thing I'm not in the UK, my beside table has a more reasonable .357Magnum stored in a handgun safe.
Great, something else for my attacker to take off me and beat me with....
Mind you, getting their hands on that assumes they made it past the crocodile pit, the electrified fence and my mother-in-law...
Realistically the odds of this being used (other than to amuse your friends) are probably pretty slim. That being said, as someone who just spent two weeks beating his friends with sticks, that shield grip looks uncomfortable, hard to keep hold of and, should the bad guy get a hold of the leading edge, like a lever to break your arm with.
I'd rather have two clubs.
What on earth is wrong with a trusty sword stick.
i love the look on that guys face...
England should implement tablecontrol immediately! Your government protects you, you dont have any need for this crap! Just raise your taxes some more and crime will go away!
Wouldn't a table with a slot underneath for a gun be much more effective?
Why bother with the fence and the crocodiles when you have the mother-in-law? I know mine is just as effective by herself without the aid of the other devices. :)
Looks quite effective to me. You threaten the intruder with a martial furniture attack, wait for him to fall down laughing, and kick him in the nuts.
I'd rather have a reverse gun on my bedside table. As a gun int he house will most likely be used against you rather than for you I'd like to include that in the design. Looks like a regular gun, but bullets go the opposite direction.
Murder breaks in, decides to use my gun kills himself trying to kill me.
Interesting idea, with one fairly large flaw.
In order to be effective, the table would either have to have nothing on it or be capable of being cleared quietly in the middle of the night.
Neither option seems particularly practical to me.
Am I the only one who actually keeps stuff on my bedside table? If I tried to actually use such a thing, I probably wouldn't make it out of the bedroom, what with tripping over my lamp cord, slipping on a novel or two, getting shards of a broken water glass in my leg, and somehow turned the radio alarm clock on to a country station.
As for the (doubtless to be frequently repeated, since this site has many American visitors) suggestion of keeping a loaded pistol unlocked on the night table - do you really think that's a good idea? I'm barely coordinated enough to pour coffee in the morning. I'd be likely to blow my head off trying to turn off the alarm clock.
At least with a bat, in the far more likely event that a putative "intruder" was your houseguest padding around the kitchen after a snack, the worst that'll happen is some bruised ribs and an angry search for a motel room...
@ Cam Soper,
sorry, I should have been more clear....
The mother-in-law lives on the other side of the crocks and fence... they're there to keep HER out...
dragonfrog: I entirely agree :) The good thing about that though is, a potential intruder is just as likely to bump into tons of things underway, and you know your apartement. So even without a secure bedside table (let's just assume it's empty for the moment, to make it any use in the first place), if he doesn't have a gun you're better off than he is.
If he does have a gun, you're providing more danger to yourself than him if you arm yourself with this thing, as you do look threatening and he's better off just killing you.
Frankly, this sort of thing would be far more worthwhile if it also came with a coupon for a few weeks' worth of training. The average person doesn't know how to wield a club against a trained attacker, and doesn't have a foggiest clue of how to use a shield properly. (Mind you, as pointed out above, neither of these appear to be particularly good self-defense items either - I'd prefer a han-bo, or a brace of throwing knives.)
At least within a few weeks, the trainees would learn how to stand, have a clue as to how to move, and get some vague idea how not to attack.
To a cat, that's a scratching post.
So how do I get the table into the stadium to watch the football (aka soccer) match?
Don't bring a bat to a gunfight.
Don't expect this to save you when attempting to defend yourself from SWAT mistakenly breaking down your door at 3AM.
Am I the only one bothered by the nice spike on the *inside* of the shield?
The Americans on this thread seem to be making the possibly incorrect assumption that British burglars are likely to be carrying guns.
As I understand it, while illegal handguns are a problem there, it's not sufficiently widespread that run-of-the-mill crooks typically have them when housebreaking.
I can't say that anyone who would want such a table around would be getting a good night's sleep anyways....
Wot Dragonfrog sed. There's no way any table next to *my* bed would be clear. Where would my books, lamp, clock radio, pen, flashlight, snackplate, beverage, glasses,... go?
Prior art - "The Judas Pair" by Jonathan Gash.
> attempting to defend yourself from
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying we should all be equipped to defend ourselves against a home invasion from the local elite law enforcement squad?
How could violently repelling a SWAT team possibly have a favorable outcome?
I'd far rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6, but as I understand things in the UK at the moment, juries look down on people defending themselves with anything more than a banana.
As to an intruder stripping me of my weapon? Studies show that most criminals are opportunistic, and risk-averse when it comes to their safety: any level of fighting back is much more likely to inspire the thug to turn tail than to rise up and meet the angry homeowner in combat. More to that point, if the homeowner gets any training at all in a self defence tool, he's oodles more likely to know what he's doing than the garden-variety thug and will present himself as a formidable opponent.
That being said, I'd rather a baseball/cricket bat by the bedside (assuming the gun was unavailable) than some contrivance such as that table. The spike protruding off the "shield" toward the user gives me pause, as does that spike coming off the baseplate. I'd hate to step on that in the dark.
Jesus. Someone gave Paul McCartney Sid Vicious's hair.
I´d rather have a live-size "weapons of Moroland" Shield above the bed. Much more choice, and looks better too.
Need to fasten that pretty well though, knives in bed is big no-no.
"As for the...suggestion of keeping a loaded pistol unlocked on the night table - do you really think that's a good idea? I'm barely coordinated enough to pour coffee in the morning. I'd be likely to blow my head off trying to turn off the alarm clock."
Then you definately shouldn't keep a handgun on your night table. As for me and 80 million or so U.S. gun owners yesterday, we managed to turn off the alarm clock without blowing our heads off.
I can only guess that that is the entire point of keeping a loaded gun on your bedside table: to make sure you're alert *before* you grope for the alarm clock. An armed society is a very, very wide-awake society, and slightly twitchy.
It's rather ironic that it mentions London as the reason for selling self-defence furniture. Defend yourself with that in the UK, and you're looking at a longer prison sentence than your attacker. The only good news over here is that your attacker won't have a gun (unless you're a 16 year old boy in a city gang).
After a friend's house was broken into, he asked the police what they would recommend. 'Off the record' a copper suggested that he choose to store some garden implements under the bed, since they are considered legitimate household items in the eyes of the law, and a gardening fork makes a very effective weapon of the 'pokey pokey' variety.
I personally keep a Surefire torch and a powder fire extinguisher handy - a winning combination against intruders and fires. I'd still prefer a .303 Lee Enfield but at least I know my assailant won't have one either.
With furniture that ugly, who'd break in?
"What on earth is wrong with a trusty sword stick."
They're illegal in the UK as are most self-defence weapons. I think we're still allowed to use harsh language, but I'm not certain.
@NE Patriot: THAT explains the Monty Python skit! (where John Cleese repeatedly shows people how to defend themselves from attackers wielding fruit).
@many: I would think the biggest threat would be shooting the alarm clock! I know I've been tempted...
Just to clear up a misunderstanding; ANYTHING more severe than a finger wagging and slightly raised voice is almost certain to be considered illegal in the UK, and even this may be considered as assault in some circumstances.
As for garden tools, a man was murdered recently by an intruder who picked up a spade (or is that a shovel in the US?) on his way into the house....
Sword sticks are a concealed weapon. The main reason they're illegal is that they are concealed. If you want a self defence weapon, technically (very, very, very technical, you will almost certainly not get away with it), carrying a sword in the open is quite legal.
I think a handful of Loganberries might do the trick.
The shield is pointless unless you assume the thief/assailant is engaging you with bare fists or a melee weapon.
And, yes, my nightstand has things like a lamp, clock radio, my eyeglasses, pager, and whatever book I'm reading on it. So if the thief is not in the room (and likely to have the drop on me), then he'll hear a commotion as everything falls on the floor and sensibly depart the premises.
But there won't be any "Hah! I beat the brigand back with my trusty truncheon!"
At least how I usually see the word in the use:
Spades have a flat edge where they first go in the dirt. Used for loose soil & cleanup.
Shovels are more round then flat to outright pointed where they go in the ground. They're for digging in hard ground, roots, etc.
Excepting Snow shovels, which are oversized spades ;)
That's the point isn't it? If you are a law abiding citizen, you have the right to defend yourself against criminals and expect that a warrant would be served via normal procedures. At 3am, you would also expect that someone crashing through your front door would be a criminal and that you can and should defend yourself. Despite the fact that they're breaking into the wrong house, you have no chance of surviving the encounter if you are holding a weapon or even a TV remote when SWAT swarms in.
Back when the USA was a free country and had a consitution the police had to a) have a warrant and b) present it to the accused before arresting him and seizing his property. And they had to have a conviction before they could keep/sell it.
I've got a dog. I don't miss a wink of sleep.
"If you want a self defence weapon, technically (very, very, very technical, you will almost certainly not get away with it), carrying a sword in the open is quite legal."
Uhmm.. that sounds quite optimistic to me. My understanding is that penknifes with blades less than three inches long without a locking mechanism are OK. Everything else is forbidden:
That said, it would not surprise me if the police did arrest you for carrying a penknife these days because they want to take your DNA etc.
According to a friend, swords have been quite popular in some parts of Glasgow for a while; presumaby because sword carrying is less harshly penalized than carrying a gun.
1. The furniture is art. Not serious home security. (At least, I don't _think_ it's meant to be serious!) Some of James' other products include, for example, a pillow with reverse embroidered words so that when you wake up your cheek shows a cheery message to your sweetheart!
2. The incidence of criminal use of firearms in the UK has doubled in the last 10 years. Just today we are hearing about another tragedy resulting from their now widespread availability even among teenage gangs. In 2006, there were 1,439 robberies at gunpoint in England and Wales, of which 645 were in the victims' homes. While England is still well behind the US for rate of firearms violence, it has now passed the US for total rate of violent crime. They now even have drive-by shootings in Nottingham.
3. And no, in the UK non-criminals are NOT allowed to use harsh language anymore:
by the way maybe a statue of Bruce Schneier would be a more effective self defense tool
I'm surprised no one has mentioned that under UK law, this table constitutes an "offensive weapon".
In other words, it's just as illegal as having a sword alongside your bed, or a cricket bat, unless you'd just thrown the bat there after returning from a match.
When bedside tables are outlawed, only outlaws will have bedside tables....
The Law is changing stance, a little, on handling burglars.
You need no longer wait to be attacked, to attack them, yourself, if you genuinely believe that your, or your family's safety / life / lives are at risk!
You are within your rights, using moderation in force (reasonable force) to use a nearby item to hand, including weaponry or items made or adapted for use as weapons.
Almost nobody gets prosecuted any longer for these encounters in which they use reasonable force against intruders in their homes.
When a case gets to Court (here's the best bit!) you have NOTHING TO PROVE, YOURSELF!
THE *PROSECUTION* MUST NOW *PROVE* BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT THAT WHAT YOU DID WAS *NOT* REASONABLE AND THAT YOU HAD LESS VIOLENT ALTERNATIVES AVAILABLE TO YOU, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES!
Proving those is almost impossible. The Police are very much, now, on the side of the citizens in their homes.
(And, Prosecution know that jury members have homes, too!)
"Does the law protect me? What is 'reasonable force'?
Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO MAKE FINE JUDGEMENTS OVER THE LEVEL OF FORCE YOU USE IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT as long as you only do what you instinctively believe is right at the time.
This may still include using something as A WEAPON.
As a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.
DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO BE ATTACKED?
If you are in your own home and in fear for yourself and others you DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT to be attacked first before using defensive force.
What if the intruder dies?
If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies you will still have acted lawfully.
However, the law does not cover you if, for example:
...having knocked someone unconscious, you then decided to further hurt or kill them to punish them;
...you knew of an intended intruder and set a trap to hurt or to kill them rather than involve the police. You CAN be prosecuted for this.
What if I chase them as they run off?
In this situation you are no longer acting in self-defence so the same degree of force is not reasonable. However, you are still allowed to use reasonable force to recover your property and make a citizen's arrest (e.g. a rugby tackle or a single blow would probably be reasonable). Acting out of malice and revenge with the intent of inflicting punishment through injury or death would not.
Will you believe the intruder rather than me?
The police weigh all the facts when investigating an incident. This includes the fact that the intruder caused the situation to arise in the first place.
How would the police and CPS handle the investigation and treat me?
Chief Constables and the Director of Public Prosecutions (Head of the CPS) are determined that they must be investigated and reviewed as swiftly and as sympathetically as possible. In cases where the facts are very clear, or where less serious injuries are involved, the investigation will be concluded very quickly, without any need for arrest. More detailed enquiries are needed where a death or serious injury occurs.
To ensure such cases are dealt with as swiftly and sympathetically as possible, the police and CPS will take special measures namely:
An experienced investigator will oversee the case.
If it goes as far as CPS considering the evidence, the case will be prioritised to ensure a senior lawyer makes a quick decision.
Last update: 08 February 2005"
Beside that...I am thinking of buying a highly trained attack kitten! You get a free backup Ninja bunny, which is great...except for the thousands of little throwing stars that I end up treading into the carpet!
I'd rather stick some high explosive in my ass, on the offchance someone might sneak past my apartment guards, defeat the keycard access in the elevator and pick the ridiculously expensive lock my wife insisted on buying for the front door and the less expensive lock on the bedroom door.
Then I will simply detonate myself.
It is a good thing I don't have to worry about this because where I come from we have the "Make My Day Law". A 357 works well.
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