Ferrari 458 Italia (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Ever seen the bumper sticker “He who dies with the most toys wins”? I’m not sure I ascribe to that philosophy. I can’t imagine St. Peter standing at the Golden Gate with an inventory list. Unless he works for the IRS. Or the IRS works for him. No they probably work for someone else. Anyway, what do you win if you’re all toyed-up when you shuffle off this mortal coil, exactly? An estate tax bill bigger than Rhode Island. Two Rhode Islands! What difference does it make? I mean to you, the dead person. Regardless of your religious/moral perspective on owning stuff, none of us wants to die at the hands of a violent attacker or attackers. So . . .

Keep a low profile.

Hypocrisy alert! I love me some Ferrari. I drive a fairly flash car. When open carry goes live in The Lone Star State an observant criminal will no doubt clock my Wilson Combat 1911. Other than that, I dress simply. I wear a Seiko. I confine contact with my stunning Israeli supermodel girlfriend to Facebook likes and the occasional pithy comment. I adhere to a simple rule: keep it on the DL.

As far as gun guys go, it’s a good idea not to stand out in a crowd. Predators (i.e. criminals) don’t just look for the weak members of a pack. They also look for the ones who offer the greatest reward. Victims with resources worth stealing; people whose fenceable stuff makes the risk of counter-attack, arrest and/or jail worth taking. We’re talking bling, baubles and ballistic implements: big houses, fancy cars, expensive watches, cash, guns, etc.

Yes, I know…you’ve got armed self-defense on your side. You’ve got a sidearm and a home defense shotgun and an AR and an alarm system and so much situational awareness people swear you have ESP. Besides, this is ‘Merica dammit! Land of the Free, Home of the One Percent! I worked hard for my toys. I’m not gonna live in fear! Come and get it you freeloading, crack-fueled sons o’ bitches!

You could say asking a rich person to tone it down toy-wise is like asking a beautiful woman not to dress “provocatively.” And you’d be right. Ish. There are places where putting it out front is, shall we say, inadvisable. Parking a Ferrari at the back end of an HEB parking lot at dusk in a bad part of town, for example may not be the safest choice. If personal safety’s a factor.

Would it be impolite of me to suggest that consumerist Americans might want to walk it down a little? Maybe not play the cock of the walk at the gun range, sharing high-priced firearms with all and sundry. Maybe saving fancy toys – whether it’s a Ferrari 458 Italia or Holland & Holland over-and-under – for suitably secure occasions. Perhaps amping-up your situational awareness when the fancy stuff comes out to play.

And one more thing I’ve mentioned before . . .

There are a lot of people who service well-to-do people who are far from rich themselves. I’m not just talking about prostitutes (the financial disparity there may not be a great as you might think). People who work at car washes, jewelry stores, fitness clubs, HEB (supermarkets), etc. They may associate with criminals to earn some extra money. Be careful about feeding your personal information and habits to anyone. Especially details about your gun collection. What was that about an ounce of prevention?

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55 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Bling Wisely

  1. I tend to subscribe to the “Never let them see you coming ” theory as preached by Al Pacino in the Devils Advocate.

    • Yeah, I always joke that anyone who breaks into my house is going to be sorely disappointed. At best they’re going to get away with my sweet 22″ flat screen TV.

  2. Pfft, I cant even afford to bling wisely. Unless rust somehow becomes rare in Wayne county Michigan.

    Seriously though. I simply dont advertise. Wealth or gun ownership or that I carry. Ever.

  3. I would think that most people who have enough cash to afford a Ferrari aren’t out there doing their own grocery shopping…

    Unless it’s double coupon day. I mean, they didn’t get rich by paying full price for things…

  4. Thus saith the super model dating, Ferrari driving gun guru. Bitter no, jealous yes, happy for you, defiantly. However your advice is solid.

  5. According to young people’s view of money and who is “rich” I should be living in a $500K home and driving a BMW. But alas, I have a fully realistic view of the value of money. The flashiest car in our driveway is a 2012 Veloster. Not even the turbo version.
    Not a flashy house either. Mortgage plus escrow is covered by about 2 says gross pay.
    And based on my Arizona jeans and Target brand shirts nobody would ever guess how much I earn. But that is the way I like it. I grew with with a modest practicality streak. My deviation from that shows occasionally but more on the recessive redneck side of “extravagance.” A Jeep 4 door project that I built, drove for a year then sold. I didn’t worry about driving it up to Boston because the project was purpose built. All added heavy metal was black, not Chrome. 🙂
    Runs in the family. My brother and his wife, both lawyers, are the only ones on their block that don’t have a BMW, Audi or Mercedes in the driveway. A couple Hondas and a Nissan Frontier truck 🙂
    But their wine cellar? And their kitchen remodel cost as much as all the cars in the driveway. Maybe more. Ha!
    I suspect the people that flash it the most are doing it to show off to others.
    I think about about what I would buy if I won a big lottery jackpot. First on my list for cars is not a flashy import. A Dodge Challenger SRT8. Maybe even a Hellcat. Stick, not auto.

  6. What is an HEB parking lot? If your talking about this picture he also has some sort of military sticker in the lower left corner of his/her windshield.

  7. Eh, I seriously doubt any hood rats are going to carjack an exotic. Or be able to drive it away if they did. Or have a place to fence it if they could drive it. They might very well try to relieve you of what you’re carrying, but most rich folks where I live never carry cash anyway so at the most you get a phone and maybe a decent watch. Plus, the cops won’t just blow off rich folk so the risk is higher. The folks who get jacked around here are immigrants who get paid in cash/don’t trust banks and don’t call the cops..

    • “Eh, I seriously doubt any hood rats are going to carjack an exotic. Or be able to drive it away if they did.”

      Bait ’em and see what happens.

    • “Eh, I seriously doubt any hood rats are going to carjack an exotic.:

      And you would be wrong. Stolen exocits are often shipped overseas then sold to unscrupulous or unsuspecting buyers.

    • “Eh, I seriously doubt any hood rats are going to carjack an exotic.”

      And you would be wrong. Stolen exocits are often shipped overseas then sold to unscrupulous or unsuspecting buyers.

  8. “Anyway, what do you win if you’re all toyed-up when you shuffle off this mortal coil, exactly?”

    Well, before you ‘shuffle off’, a whole lotta love and affection from potential heirs…

  9. I’d bet 99% of bad guys don’t know a Seiko from an AP,PP or Rolex.

    Kinda like my Niece when she goes to the Caribbean she takes off her diamond ring and wears a fake one. One that’s bigger and everyone thinks is real……..

  10. If you have to justify to yourself having expense things, or have ever listed off the awesome stuff you own, you aren’t as wealth as you think you are…

    I know some folk with some old money, and I mean lots of it. And they don’t even understand the concept of not having nice things or not having whatever they desire, whenever they desire…

    I’ve no joke heard statements like this… “We have a home there (in another state), so we can attend football games when we want to” and “I’m tired of making the long commute, I think I will just buy an apt downtown.”

    These people talk about buying homes, cars, apartments, and, boats like I do pants.

  11. Save your “shoot me first” clothes for the range. Take the Sig, Glock (insert other brand here) stickers off your car/truck. The people you associate with at work really have no need to know what is in your collection. Shoot at a range, not your back yard (I know this is not an option for everybody).
    Taking your car/truck in for service? Don’t forget your registration/address is in the vehicle and evidence of shooting activity could be an invitation for an unwelcome visit.
    Get to know your neighbors, 99 out of 100 times if you look out for them, they will look out for you. My new neighbor thwarted 2 attempts by people wanting to carry off construction material when my house was being built.
    And “he who dies with the most toys is still dead.”

  12. “I dress simply. I wear a Seiko.”

    Whoa. For a second, I thought you wrote that you wear a Speedo. In which case, you’d deserve to get jacked.

  13. As I recall, the most stolen vehicles are Toyota Camrys, Honda Accords and F-150 Trucks, not exotics. Lots of people buy parts for the common vehicles, really hard to move the used parts for the high end / exotics whose owners want new OEM parts.

    If you fit in with who and where you hang out, you won’t have too many problems. But I don’t believe in not enjoying the fruits of your labors. If you want to wear nice clothes or drive a nice car, go for it. Look like prey and you will be preyed upon. Don’t look like prey, and you won’t.

  14. I used to live in Austin. I walked a lot. Gotta say. Your biggest issue is those “street people”. Or street hippies. A lot are not homeless and are involved in organized crime. I was a bus rider/walker and often had to try and act like I wasn’t paying attention when stuff was going down right in front of me. They have particular “begging” schedules and alternate so everyone gets a turn at earning some coin. Later on they often change out of their clothes into something nicer and go spend their money. The ones who did not have a home often would live in wooded lots in a tent. Police often go into those wooded lots and round everyone up.

    And when I say organized crime I mean prostitution rackets, heists, drug dealing, etc. Not nice people to get involved with. You’d think they were just drug addled bums but they’re not. They treated me with a little respect and stopped bothering me when they saw I walked everywhere most of the time.

  15. As far as gun guys go, it’s a good idea not to stand out in a crowd.

    I’m about the size of the average NFL offensive tackle. Any tips on how not to stand out, that isn’t “make friends with NFL offensive tackles”?

    Yeah.

    I pretty much figure that if #### goes down around me, the shooter is going to target me on general principles. :/

  16. The only thing I have that qualifies as bling is my beautiful wife. I’m actually surprised more women aren’t robbed -especially the dim bulbs with the jewelry and ear buds on…

  17. So what about a Lexus and a BMW (10 yrs old and 8 yrs old respectively) very nice cars but bought them used after 3 yr leases were up and could get for $0.50 on the dollar. Bought each for less than a new GMC pick up or Tahoe. Solid cars, have not had a bit of trouble from either. Point is that stereotypes abound and what seems to be is not always what is.

    • Yup – 2 years old, Certified Pre-Owned program and 60% of the new price. Since it was the last year BMW used hydraulic steering (vs electric) I plan to keep it for a good long while.

  18. “I’m not sure I ascribe to that philosophy.”

    I’m sure you don’t, because that’s not what “ascribe” means. The word you’re looking for is “subscribe”.

  19. Exotics are stolen mostly by professional car thieves, put in a container, and shipped overseas. In other words, by people who do not want to mess with you or get caught. You are more likely to get robbed getting into that car than having it jacked. That said, if I had the coin, there’d be an exotic or three in my garage. Since that will never happen, I’ll content myself with my 15 year old Miata, the most beautiful and satisfying car I’ve ever owned.

  20. I hate to burst your bubble but 7-12 year old cars, particularly Toyotas, and Hondas, are very hot commodities for car thieves. My wife’s former 2004 4Runner was targeted in our driveway. I took a car jacking case and prosecuted the gang member thief who took a 1997 Civic a few years ago.

    Look at the stats on stolen cars. Many of the older models are easier to steal. In some cases, it can be done with just a screwdriver. Steal a car that’s too old, and there isn’t much resale value in the grey / black market.

    • So your best strategy is to hang on to your car long enough for it to get too old to be worth stealing.

      Mine just passed 400,000 miles and is 23 years old. (Almost qualifies for a “classic” license plate here!) Unfortunately, it’s still popular with people who like to build street racers, though in this case it really does need a new engine for that.

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