Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do"; Breaking In Can Be Very Difficult, Too

In this blog I strive to share and document my experiences, experiences that others most likely have not had or will ave the opportunity to experience for themselves.

Living back in America has not eliminated my experiences but the types of experiences has definitely changed.

Last Sunday was no exception.  In 1962, Neil Sedaka recorded a song, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", which became a big hit, a smash recording.  Last Sunday I had the opportunity to do something that I suspect that many people have not done too many times or done recently.  Last Sunday I got to break into a car.

Neil Sedaka sang about the difficulties of breaking up a personal relationship.  I am going to write about the unexpected difficulties in breaking into a car.

A young woman had locked her purse and car key in her car.  She was at work and miles from her home.  Her second set of keys were in Hawaii.  She had called and determined that it would cost $100 for a locksmith to come and unlock the car.  I asked her if she knew what it would cost to replace a window on the car.  I had a side window replaced in 2002 when I lived in Curitiba, Brasil for $35.  Well as the saying goes "That was then and this is now.  That was there, and this is here", she checked and the estimated cost to replace a side window was $200.

She asked me to break into her car.  I went out and checked the car.  The keys were laying face up on the driver's seat.  The "Unlock" button on the key was facing up so tantalizing close to us.  I inspected the window and door frame in search of a crack or seam where I could insert a wire coat hanger or flat piece of metal strapping.  It did not look very promising.  I had seen rubber wedges utilized on the top of car windows to create some access for a "Slim Jim" to be inserted to open the door.  For this car such a technique would not work.  Inserting a wedge would only press the window more tightly against the metal frame on the other side of the window.  That same metal frame extended well below the top of the window there by requiring a wire coat hanger or a Slim Jim to be bent 180 degrees to get inside of the car - something that I was not sure would be possible.  This was a moot point because we had neither a wire coat hanger or a Slim Jim.

I got a bright idea of perhaps disconnecting the battery in hopes that it would disarm the lock and security system.  It may or may not have been a great idea, I was not able to find out.  To open the front hood of the car, you had to first release it from inside of the car.

The car owner made an informed decision for me to break a side window of the car.  I was confident that I could do that.  I was given a small hammer with a metal shaft.  I struck the window with a strong blow.  The hammer bounced off window without leaving a mark on the glass.  I repeatedly struck the window with the hammer with ever increasing force.  Each blow had the same effect - bounced off the window and left no marks on the glass.  I ceased my efforts with the hammer when my last strike bent the hammer head 90 degrees on the shaft.  The hammer was broken but the glass was unblemished.

I next tried breaking into the car using a tire iron.  I was able to generate more force with the tire iron but the end result was the same; the window was unblemished and intact.

I did a little thinking, and decided that I needed a more pointed object to break the window.  I found a large pruning shear and plunged the sharp point three times into the glass.  The result of my efforts was to bend the tip of the shear 180 degrees with the window remaining just as I had found it at the start.

I was now getting angry as well as somewhat embarrassed.  I was determined to prevail.  My masculine pride demanded that I succeed.  I had an audience of three women, one of them being my wife who believes that I can do anything, expecting me to break into the car.  Failure was not an option.

I found a 5 foot long 18 pound steel digging bar that had a chiseled point.  I raised the bar and thrust it into the window.  The window deflected as the heavy bar bounced off of it.  The car window remained in tact.  I joked with the woman about was she sure that the window was not bullet proof glass.  I had noticed that there was a Marine Corps Base Hawaii sticker on the windshield so I decided to make a joke about the car being specially prepared. My joke had no effect upon her tears and distress.  I thrust bar once again with greater force but with the same result.  On my third attempt with some rage behind my thrust, the car window finally shattered.  Mission accomplished!

Finally succeeding in breaching the window, I reflected upon the difficulty of breaking automobile glass today.  My efforts of the day reinforced the need to use seat belts.  I remarked to the others how much force some one's head must exert on a windshield to break the glass.  It is a force that I would not want to experience or have any one else experience.

I also thought about being trapped underwater in a car.  I have seen movies where someone escaped from their submersed vehicle by kicking out the side window.  I am not going to say it is not possible but I do believe that if it is possible the person must of had some martial arts training and skills that the vast majority of people do not have.

I even had thoughts about coming upon the scene of a burning car with locked doors and unconscious victim.  How could the victim be rescued?

All that thinking and exertions of the afternoon, convinced me of the need to purchase and have readily available in our vehicle a rescue device for breaking car windows.  The device is a very small hammer like device with a special tip which allows a window to be broken with a relatively small blow.  Many of these devices also have a means for cutting seat belts.

The devices cost around $7 to 20 dollars and are available many places as well as through Amazon.

Breaking in can be difficult, but not if you have and use the appropriate safety device.

Be safe, but also always be prepared

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