A couple days ago something happened to me that in my opinion perfectly illustrates what EDC is all about.
My wife needed something from the grocery store down the street, just a couple blocks away. Its pretty close but I like going with her so that she doesn’t have to carry heave stuff. I was wearing just underwear and a tshirt. It’s pretty hot around here in Costa del Sol this time of the year. So I quickly put on my 5.11 taclite shorts and head out with her. Since it was just a couple blocks I didn’t bother checking my EDC much, it was just what I had in my pant’s pockets.
As we approached the store, we saw these two cars parked, several people were screaming and a baby crying.
Some bystanders were staring but didn’t want to get involved in what seemed to be a family dispute, but there was a lot of shouting and crying, mostly around the baby which the woman kept pressed against her chest.
My wife told me not to get involved, and usually I wouldn’t but the baby crying was a bit too much. It crossed my mind that if that was my wife and that was one of my kids, I would want people to help and not just stand there.
I approached them and asked what’s going on but I already saw that the baby’s ear was somehow stuck to its mother chest.
“Scissors! Scissors!” they all started shouting when they notice me. I had my Leatherman Charge with me so I brought it out.
Somehow the baby got its earring stuck awfully bad in its mother’s bunched up top, pulling at the ear almost to the point of tearing the baby’s ear off, which looked like an elastic band about to snap.
The Leatherman Charge has a hook for cutting belts but push cutting was not an option. The baby’s ear was pulling extremely tight and I saw no chance of using the hook without ripping the baby’s ear. Even the serrated emergency blade seemed like a poor option, so I used the main blade which out of pure coincidence I had sharpened razor sharp a few days ago. All this went through my mind in a fraction of a second.
So the baby was desperately crying, the mother was crying, what I assume was the grandma was pulling and holding the clothes for me to cut and the idiot husband and some other guy were shouting and pushing at the mother for her to stay still and none of them would stop moving. And I had like 1/4 of an inch of room to put the tip of the knife through and cut, which I did. As soon as I touched the fabric it cut through it like a hot knife through butter. The baby was free with a piece of cloth still attached to her earing and the mom had a big hole on her top.
Anyway, never thought I’d end up using my Leatherman for that in a million years. It was as these things usually are, completely unexpected.
After a decade of continuous use, I can say my Leatherman Charge has been the tool that I have used the most, the one that has been more critical when needed and the last one I would want to part with. I just cant recommend it enough. If its too pricy, the Leatherman Wave is every bit as functional, just make sure you get the pocket clip for it and carry the thing every day.
A few lessons learned:
1)Carry your edc. You never know when it may come in handy. Even more critical, you never know when it can prevent serious injury or even death. This time it was a baby’s ear. Sometimes it’s a rope or cord, or wire around someone’s neck. Or clothes or hair caught in machinery. A couple years ago I remember a kid dying when accidentally tangling cord around his neck and slipping in a slide in a playground. You just never know, but having a cutting tool, wire cutters and saw to break someone free may be critical when seconds count.
2) Layers work. That day I left home without my wallet, which I take with me 99% of the time when I walk out the door. I could have easily left behind the tools I ended up needed. My point is that you need to plan on screwing up, and here is where layers of tools make a big different. My keys are that core layer. There I have my trusty Minichamp and a spare AAA flashlight. If nothing else, I have those. Since I need the keys to open the door and get back into my house, chances are very slim that I’ll leave home without them.
3)Keep your EDC in top notch condition. Your tools need to be checked and serviced. Your CCW needs to be fired often, your ammo replaced, magazines checked. Your flashlight needs to have working batteries, and your knife should be as sharp as realistically possible. Some people that carry knives carry DULL blades. This simply isn’t acceptable. I’ve used the blade in my Leatherman Charge more than any other knife in recent years. It’s visibly worn but it is razor sharp and I touch it up when I notice it isn’t biting as much. In this case, like when a baby’s ear is stuck and you need to cut with as little effort as possible, then it’s crucial for that blade to be like a scalpel.
Take care people, and don’t leave your EDC behind!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”