Is Lock Picking One of Your Survival Skills?

  1. GPS1504
    I read an article recently about lock picking and feel it worthy of sharing. I guess you could say it hit close to home, and therefore resonated deeply within me. The article can be read here, but my story is below.


    In 2006, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Not just a little bit of cancer, but cancer everywhere. The prognosis was pretty bad, as in a total no hope scenario. Brain cancer especially has a way of cementing your doom.

    At the time I lived across the country from my father but I knew a trip spanning that distance was coming. I packed my bags and my dog and left, driving over the course of two days to make it do dear ol\' dad. At some point in this journey, he became unresponsive and stopped answering the phone. With no other family near enough to his residence to check on him, all I could do was keep driving and see what the end of the road would ultimately reveal.

    This is where the story turns sketchy and I apologize for that, but I did what I felt I had to do. The area my dad lived in was unfamiliar to me. He was living in a house that was converted into apartments and none of them were marked. I knew his apartment number but it did me no good without a name being on the apartment doors. I knocked on every door in the building and no one answered at any of them. I then tried beating on some windows. As the fear built within me, I guess you could say I took matters into my own hands. I picked an apartment and forced the lock.

    Once inside what was hopefully my dad\'s apartment, I intended to take a quick look for some clue to whether or not I had the right place. Near to the door was an open closet. Inside was a box of VHS tapes. On each one was a label with writing on it to tell what was on the tape. The handwriting was my mother\'s. Sweet relief was mine. Well, almost. I still had to find my father.

    All doors inside were open except one, which was his bedroom. That door was actually harder to force than the exterior door, or maybe I did not try as hard because I was scared of what was on the other side...and I do mean terrified. I did, however, beat the ever living crap out of that door and scream at the top of my lungs. That is what it took for him to hear me and get up. He had been asleep for who knows how long, or for who knows why. This shadow of the man I once knew, who was now riddled with cancer, opened the door and everything was okay...or as okay as possible when a death sentence is looming.

    Lock picking might have saved me some trouble on this day. I could have gotten into that apartment more quietly and without having to use so much force. I also could have gotten arrested regardless of the method with which I broke into what was thankfully my dad\'s place. Those things become minor details, however, when your own personal S hits your own personal F.


    I did not then and do not now know how to pick locks, but I can certainly see some reasons to learn, not for the purpose of doing anything illegal but for the purpose of safety and survival. I will never again run into a situation like this with my father, but there is no telling what other situation might exist, both for me or for any of you. There could come a time when your situation becomes dire and you need to shelter somewhere to which you do not have a key. Something could occur that caused you to lose the key to your own home and you might have to pick your way back inside. Perhaps you will have gravely ill family on the other side of a locked door that needs your help.

    Things happen, all sorts of things--unexpected, messed up things. Being prepared for such things is key, whether or not you have an actual key, so adding lock picking to the list of new skills you wish you acquire could be very worthwhile. Investing in a lock picking set and spending some time practicing and watching video tutorials could mean saving the life of yourself or someone else. Survival is not always about the end of the world; it could pertain to the things our everyday lives might throw at us. Whatever the case may be, we will need a wide range of skills to make it through and lock picking could very well be one of those skills.

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