The following link takes you to a non-classified 'Active Shooter Defense' site: www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness
The female Canadian border cop asks, “Do you have any weapons on board such as guns, knives, pepper spray or mace? As usual I say, “No” and most times that ends questions. But then she says, “Do you regularly carry any such weapons when driving in the States?” I’m thinking, “Hey wait a minute lady, that’s none of your damn business.” What I almost said was, “Officer, we make it a point of being totally defenseless when entering Canada, and we drive around the States like a bunch of wimpy, bleating, sheep just waiting to be somebody’s victim.” Ya right.
The freight security thing gets kind of weird, or rather the driver security thing. We now regularly carry cargo that an assortment of bad guys, criminal cartels, and terrorists would love to get their hands on. And when placarded with explosives, we are required to advertise what kind of explosives we have on board. However, we are trained not to resist a criminal attempt on the taking of the truck. We have good training and protection from an assortment of passive measures. We also have an extra layer of satellite monitoring and more friendly eyes are watching our truck than normal when carrying special cargo. To check if your being followed, pull into a rest stop and keep driving thru. If the suspect car continues to follow, hammer down onto the interstate and call The Bears. Stay on the interstate and don’t stop until Smokey shows.
The strange thing about driver security is that we are not allowed to carry any form of weapons to defend ourselves. I would love to have a sign painted on our truck door: Protective Services; Provided By Smith & Wesson, “Do ya feel lucky,punk?” I don’t do guns, and wouldn’t carry one if allowed because, actually, I feel more at risk having a gun than not. But, I do feel I have the right to defend myself and family. A bad guy that wants the freight can have it, but one would have to assume the bad guy is going to do bad things to the drivers in the process. Cargo theft is a serious issue and happens more than most think. But, for the record, I personally don’t know of any hijacking of high value or DOD expedited freight and a lot of passive and active security measures keep that from happening. Lesson: If a customer doesn’t want their freight stolen, have a qualified “expediting” carrier haul it.
When the Bill Of Lading says, “Drivers required to have secret security clearance”, we know we’ll have armed guards going through our bedroom drawers. Every time we pick up or deliver at a extra secure government facility or cross the Canadian border, we are asked if we have any weapons on board such as guns, knives, or pepper spray. Basically they are saying, we’ll load you with this secret/dangerous/expensive stuff only if you are totally unable to defend yourself. Our cab is routinely stripped searched for weapons and contraband before we can cross the border or enter a secured facility, and now even X-Rayed. I would love to say to the armed guard who is searching our sleeper, “Would you carry what we do unarmed?” I know the response, “There’s no freaking way man.”
But, we are not without our own means that will withstand a strip search. Regarding contraband, about the only thing we carry that would be suspect is that Tums bottle with filled with those blue diamond shaped pills. If discovered, they would ask me for the prescription, so we keep the Tums in the dirty laundry. There is not a cop on the planet who will stick his hands in a pile of a woman’s dirty underwear without a hazmat suit. Well now thinking about that a bit, you’d probably need a chock chain to keep those TSA crazies from rooting around in women’s soiled undergarments, but we’ve not encountered those folks yet.
Actually, our real safety concern is not hauling high value or DOD loads, but it’s when we are delivering ordinary freight to industrial areas such as Newark, LA, or Detroit. For our own personal safety, we carry, in the sleeper, a can of Raid aerosol wasp killer, amazing stuff. This can will shoot a solid stream of slimy highly toxic goo almost twenty feet. Actually we have a better chance of hitting our target with wasp killer than a shaky handgun. We also keep an aerosol can of extra loud marine air horn near our sleeping area. The blast of a marine air horn in the face is very effective in changing one’s consciousness and summoning the curious. And finally, for close quarter work, we carry a short handled crowbar under the driver’s seat. All tools for work, but can also be used for defensive purposes. Though none of these measures will stop a sucking chest wound, they display attitudes that will give a bad guy pause. There is something about a woman’s firm grip around a crowbar that sends a clear message, “I don’t intend to be your victim today ass…..”