I hope this finds you well. The new year is well and truly into gear now and all the great ideas you had over the holiday period have retreated back to where they belong and you're back in your reassuringly familiar groove. We make changes when we have to, not when we want to - it makes more sense that way anyway. I'm obviously back to work. Not that I ever stopped. I went on holiday, but with modern communications it would have almost been rude not to work. There I was on a beach in Thailand, my lady friend on a towel next to me as the waves lapped against the fine, white, grainy sand and the sun, too hot really, wonderfully too hot, heated everything in sight to too hot to touch - and the phone rings. And it's the accountant. It;s the dispatch man. It's the bank manager. It's the people who do the app for the emails on the shop. It's a USA Supplier wanting to talk about a manufacturing project. It's my bank manager. It rings and rings and rings. And there's emails to do, there's stock to order, there's people to negotiate prices with. There's landing page analysis people to laugh at. Work continues. Another pina colada sir? Yes, I'll have 10.
So not all bad, but back to work. And this year I enter my second decade in this trade. A decade ago we started selling bump keys, which I made by hand. Now we sell a lot more, the shop has changed (I think) 7 times, there's more staff, more consultants, more suppliers, more customers, more to do. But some stuff, some stuff hasn't changed at all. I guess it hasn't needed to? And thus we reach the theme of this blog, something that has stayed the same. In 10 years in the lock picking trade one thing has remained constant:
People telling me that selling lock picks is really, really, really, really, REALLY,awful.
Right from the start, before I'd laid hands on a little Curtis manual key-cutter and was filing my bump keys by hand, people have decided - no CHOSEN - to enlighten me to the stark, evil reality of my situation. Via that passive/aggressive medium of the 'Angry Email', somehow digitally detached and sanitized I am reminded of this witchery of which I am part. It appears that somehow I contribute to the slow decay of our beautiful land. Criminals use lock picks don't you know! And I sell the damn things. Am I stupid? Am I mad? I get these emails ALL DAY LONG, every day. The funny thing about them - in their many forms, their many angles and approaches to essentially the same point - criminals use lock picks and I shouldn't sell them - is how they assume I haven't thought about it. That's the only option. They TELL ME what I'm doing, they tell me that I must be either stupid or heartless. They tell me as if somehow they are going to spark something in my silly head that will wake me up and I'll be like 'Oh, shit! Sorry!'. There is never a chance that I might have considered this at length. There's no idea that I might have information - being in the field and all - that suggests things might be different to what they have wrongly assumed. My concept is based on education, experience and knowledge. There concepts are based on that least reliable of all human attributes, 'intuition'. Yet as anyone older than 20 will know, life, perhaps unfairly, is frequently counter intuitive. I have spoken to many crime professionals in my time around lock picking. I've advised them, sold to them, spoken to them and on their behalf. As much as people like to indulge the 6 o'clock news fear that would suggest there are people kneeling down on their doorstep with a set of lock picks, desperate to get inside and kill everyone, the truth is, it's rare. It's super rare. I know of more cases of death by Coffee machine. One police officer I spoke to told me in 15 years of active duty he had never, NEVER encountered a crime where lock picks were in any way used. They are the wrong tools for the job when a hammer or a foot will often gain access far more efficiently. We sell non-destructive entry tools, not entry tools. And on that distinction is where the whole thing turns. Non destructive entry actually hampers entry, actually puts ANOTHER obstacle in the path of the wannabe entrant. The act of 'not damaging' is another thing to consider and adds the one thing criminals want to minimize - time - to the equation. Sometimes lots of time. Sure there's videos of locks being picked, bumped, raked or bypassed in seconds, but there are 10's of thousands of people out there right now picking a lock that has taken over 20 minutes and there's still no sign of the damn thing opening. The idea of a criminal using lock picks is ridiculous as they're the wrong tool for the job. This is not Mission Impossible, this is the real world. Often, during such an interrogation, I'll be questioned about 'Professional car thieves, syndicates' (from the telly I'm guessing) who would use auto lock picks to steal cars. Apart from the fact we sell nothing that would start a car, any 'Professional Car thieving syndicates' doesn't need UK Bump Keys to tell them a flat bit of metal or an airbag and grabber can be used to get into a car. They invented the damn things! In the same way murder hasn't increased with the sale of kitchen knives, so crime hasn't got any better or worse with the availability of lock picking tools. Why on earth would it have had? I tell the people I have a little more faith in society, that I believe you can sell lock picks without turning otherwise normal people into criminals. They don't! They don't trust YOU - they think you are stupid and that the moment a lock pick enters your possession you'll rob everything in site. These people think they are cleverer than you. Odd really, since their point is so scant and their flimsy veil of an 'argument' is really just some Mary Whitehouse gene, picked up on an odorous wind that thrives in the petrified, communal heart of Daily Mail readers everywhere. Here's to 10 more years of such emails. I have a draft response that comes in four pieces with illustrations of frogs in spaceships at the ready to effortlessly reply to these emails. Not really. I ask for evidence and hear nothing again.
So it goes.
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