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Preparing Yourself for Something Wicked


If you are not preparing, even in some small way, for a disastrous event or wicked encounter that can affect or involve you, you’re setting yourself up for tragedy.

Just this month, my lovely wife reflected that she wanted a can of wasp and hornet spray to keep by the door. If someone threatening came to the door, she said, she could use it as a non-lethal option.

I have attempted to convince her that her .38 Special would be a better option. Also, opening the door to someone she does not know, even to help an individual locate his or her “lost puppy,” might result in misery and injury. It is difficult, however, to get through to people whose primary interest is being nice.

20 oz. can of Spectracide brand Wasp and Hornet Killer pesticide spray in a green can with a yellow band and black cap. The label features a large wasp graphic.

Would a criminal wait for you to locate your can of wasp spray, shake it, remove the top and aim? Or would he simply move quickly to his goal of mayhem and destruction? (Photo by Rick Sapp)

Something Wicked…

The unfortunate fact is that not all of the mayhem on America’s streets and in America’s homes and neighborhoods is caused by impulsive local knuckleheads. Sometimes, death and misery are the result of planned, calculated acts.


A 64-year-old man is living in a retirement community. He has a girlfriend but no children. He was named for a saint and has had no trouble with the law. This man drinks a bit and loves to gamble — video poker is his losing specialty. He seems to be a “regular guy.” His part-time addiction, however, is studying crowded events; “casing them,” his girlfriend later admits. Overlooking the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago and the Boston Marathon route. In Las Vegas, overlooking the Harvest Music Festival. He gathers “an arsenal of weapons” and ammunition, develops ballistics charts, waits for the venue to fill and become noisy … and opens fire. Fifty-eight people die, and 422 are injured.


Teenagers have “free time” and, for fun, plan an attack on their school. They are addicted to first-person-shooter video games but find English literature and the expanding universe boring. They study internet sites on how to build a bomb and successfully detonate several. Police are alerted to their violent threats but drop the ball since “they’re just kids!” In their journals, the teens detail plans for a massacre — planning to hijack an airplane and crash it into New York City. With a variety of rifles, shotguns (several purchased by adult friends), knives and explosives, the teens kill 13 people and injure another 24.

…This Way Comes

The unfortunate reality is that a good many people are planning — at this very moment — to commit murder. They are planning to turn their images of mayhem into reality. Some have grudges, while others are motivated by perverted philosophy. A few want their names on a list of mass shootings with the highest body count. They will do anything within their power to bring this about. I know this because history shows us that the results of such planning are repetitive. And even though law enforcement is alerted and attempts to intervene, the efforts are often unremarkable.

So, knowing that someone out there is planning murder and mayhem — perhaps, though hopefully not, in your community — what are you doing about it? Are you going to the shooting range or taking a self-defense course? Installing exterior home lighting or checking for exits at church and school? Or are you buying wasp spray on the mistaken belief that “it” can’t happen to you?


About Rick Sapp

Rick Sapp earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology after his time in the U.S. Army working for the 66th Military Intelligence Group, USAREUR, during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Following his time in Paris, France, he worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing. Along with being published in several newspapers and magazines, Rick has authored more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.

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