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JL: We call it "situational awareness" and you are spot-on. We all should be able to leave our cars and homes unlocked because, after all, it is against the law to steal things and no one has a right to our stuff. But of course, that is not how it works in real life.

There is the theory about "hardening the target" which has always been preached by local crime-control specialists. Whaler's chaining his bari to a large object is an example of that. While that wouldn't prevent a dedicated criminal from breaking the chain, it would surely stop an opportunist from seeing the horn, then quickly deciding to take it. That was the whole issue behind this thread.

Guns are not a deterrent. We can't just shoot someone for what is now probably a petty theft in California and a low-grade felony elsewhere (and I wont get into what constitutes petty vs. grand theft) committed behind our backs (or even in our presence) . . . even though some of us would probably want to do that when it involves our precious saxophone. Guns can't be used unless there is an immediate threat of great bodily injury. I think we all know that. DAVE
Spot on Dave. Of course no sane human being would draw a weapon on someone stealing a saxophone, but I'd bet they'd stop in their tracks if they simply saw that deterrent. That was my simple point.
 

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Yeah, I've had some close calls. Had to jump out of the way a few times. And I did watch a fellow sax player right next to me get his horn pushed into his teeth. Luckily he only suffered a cut lip and the horn was ok, but it could have turned out much worse.
Big girls jumping on the stage and standing behind me almost did that. One of them put her fat clammy arm around me trying to hug me.
Security bum rushed them right out the door.
 

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In Berkeley (where I came of age & started playing professionally), situational awareness became instinctual. People trying to raise cash to score drugs... folks who felt entitled to the possessions of others... you had to assume that anything out of your sight & not locked down would disappear in less than a minute.

Incessant vigilance was the price of living in an exciting, beautiful, forward-looking, creatively & culturally stimulating city.
 

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Incessant vigilance was the price of living in an exciting, beautiful, forward-looking, creatively & culturally stimulating city.
I was also (extremely) lucky to grow up in Berkeley/Oakland (lived in both cities & of course they are basically merged into one). But the need for vigilance or awareness is not limited to any one city or location. Over the years, like a lot us, I did a fair amount of traveling and I can tell you there are much more dangerous places than the Bay Area! But, as someone pointed out about thieves earlier in this thread, all it takes is one. And it's really not a matter of being paranoid. Awareness (the term I prefer) is a good thing overall, which can enrich your life as well as help prevent you being victimized.
 

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Back in 1999 in Albuquerque NM, my professional 1971 Yamaha YAS-61 alto saxophone was stolen from me. After rehearsal, I was at the restaurant for less than 10 minutes because one of the band members forgot his set of keys there during lunch and I was giving him a ride home. Thieves broke into my pickup truck camper, broke the locking latch to get in. All parking to the restaurant was in back. This restaurant building was constructed without any windows looking out back, the security camera quality was of such poor resolution you could not make out details on the thieves. At the time, I did not know my sax was worth $3,000. They also stole my GEM PK-7 keyboard. I bought it for $800 the year prior, it was not as much of a loss, but still a loss.

Since, I have bought gigging instruments, used intermediate quality, some beginner instruments and a few new imports. To the public, I sound as good as I do with better instruments, but if stolen would not feel as great of a loss.

One example, at the church, I use my 1999 GEM WK-2 hard disk midi arranger connected via midi to their vintage 1996 Yamaha QS-300 keyboard as my keyboard setup. These were considered as toward the upper end 20 years ago and still produce decent sufficient results in spite of their age.

Got my Venus soprano sax about 5 years ago for $230 shipping included. At the time, this brand had decent reviews unlike other saxes, so I took a chance on it and was glad I did. It plays like an intermediate instrument, plays well in tune, is easy blowing throughout its range, metallurgy is sufficiently stout and I have not had to rebend any keys. Since, have lost several bumper corks but that I can replace.

I'm using a relatively inexpensive Rico Graphtonite B5 mouthpiece. Yes, it is not one of the legacy Berg Larsens I used back in the 1970s, but it has really nice mellow timbre. So, one doesn't have to go expensive for good sound and good time. It all depends on the venue and circumstances, but if stolen would not be a big loss to me as was my 1971 alto.

Besides, one needs to have a sense of humor. I get a kick out of people discovering that the nice alto sound was from my rustic looking Selmer Bundy II alto sax. :mrgreen:
 

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I have never had a sax stolen. Been very fortunate. I had a tenor and bari damaged by a drunk mom who slid on the slick dance floor into the stage area past my monitor. The tenor neck was bent down and a dent in the bari bell. We were playing for a frat party for the students and their parents.

But I did have a nice expensive stand mic stolen at an Atlanta hotel years ago. We were playing for a convention and had left the ballroom to eat at the restaurant that was on the same floor. When I returned the mic was gone. I asked a couple of the waiters if they had seen the person. Of course they had not seen anything. I now use a cheaper mic in those situations.
 

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John Greiner: I understand that you never intended to use lethal force over a stolen saxophone (well, at least as a theft and not a robbery, which would probably justify lethal force), but in this day and age, even displaying a concealed firearm (which then would mean it was no longer concealed) could get the locals all stirred up and lead to the filing of a criminal charge against you. The whole gun-thing is a sensitive issue and it seems that rational thinking goes out the window when discussions about it comes up. I only mention this for the benefit of other readers who may not fully grasp the nuances of life with a gun.

During my playing career, it was generally known that I was an officer (or, as time moved on, a retired officer) and that I was armed. I don't know what effect, if any, that had on those who may have contemplated stealing something from me, but I never experienced a theft while gigging. And, I never displayed a weapon, it was just accepted that I had one.

There is a lot to be said about not acting or looking like a victim. Of course, when one is not paying attention or is distracted, it becomes easier for a thief to make off with your stuff.
 

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There is a lot to be said about not acting or looking like a victim. Of course, when one is not paying attention or is distracted, it becomes easier for a thief to make off with your stuff.
+1. Yeah, that was my point also, Dave. FWIW, I've never carried or felt any need for a gun*, but I wasn't in your line of work!

*But, hey wait a minute, with one exception; I did have to carry a rifle when I worked as a geologist in Alaska, due to the potential threat of Grizzly Bears. I still hated carrying the damn thing, not because it was a gun, but it was heavy and awkward when climbing around in the mountains. My first couple of weeks I would leave it at the start of my traverse and pick it up later when the helicopter picked me up at the end of the day.... then one day a saw a bear nearby. I had the rifle with me at all times after that. (sorry for the diversion, but I did have to admit to carrying a gun at one time)
 

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I don't see a problem with the diversion . . . it is a subject that many find interesting and/or controversial, even though we ARE a bit off the original topic.

A gun is something that many folks abhor, yet if you ever needed one, it is hard to argue against it. It is simple reality . . . in the woods with dangerous animals, sitting in your car at a traffic light when someone else forces their way in, unprovoked road-rage incidents with armed crazies, home-invasions, etc., etc. While it may never happen to one of us, it sure has happened to others.

Like has been said before, when seconds count, help is only minutes away. I think it all boils down to an individual protecting himself from serious bodily injury any way he can. Being vigilant helps. DAVE
 

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned hiring security, like maybe the Hell's Angels.

And the story of the player who left his new Cecilio Mendini in plain view in the back seat of his car when he stopped at a store. Sure enough, he returned to his car to find the rear window broken and ..... two Cecilio Mendinis.
 

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I used to play 100+ hard core blues gigs a year. Those found me at the back door of many inner city bars after 1:00 (or 2:00) am. Often alone carrying a $3,000+ instrument. I am not that imposing an individual. I carried those nights - not so much to protect the instrument as to protect myself. Murder and strong arm robbery was not that unusual in the ?hood?. Back alleys and dark parking lots being the least safe areas around... I have never had to wield it but I suspect my hand in the pocket of my gig bag saved me a few times. Junkies, thugs, and miscreants in general we?re not uncommon sights. (Or smells) Hell - I?d hang out with some of them for a smoke, but i suspect it was clear that I was alert and ready for trouble... the thing is....I kinda miss that band. We never practiced, some of the members changed constantly, but they were all good players who knew the language and audiences loved it...something about the magic between the front man and I made it all worth it..... ah well.... no such problems with my current band, but old habits die hard... even in those rooms, I left my sax on stage during breaks, but I did keep an eye on it...
 

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Speaking of deterrents... back in the day I read somewhere that robbers tended not to mess with crazy people. So when my saxes & I had to walk lonely city streets or ride subway trains in the midnight hours, I cultivated an intense wild-eyed gleefully manic demonic demeanor. Dunno how it looked to potential villains but it seems to have worked 'coz nobody ever came near me -- even in NYC & Miami during the coke era. One time in Chicago after I took an ill-advised shortcut through an unlit alleyway, a couple of sketchy guys came up from behind & started hassling me. No way could I outrun them, so I revealed my devil face & they scattered. (Plan B was to speak in tongues, but it never came to that.) Selfies didn't exist then; wish I had one!
 

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I saw Kenny Garrett here in Denver last week, and he walked on-stage with his sax on, carrying his case. He set the case down next to the piano and played. Later in the set they went off-stage for one of those pauses that encourage applause, and he kept his sax on and grabbed his case when he went off. He brought it back when he returned for the encore. As soon as the set was done, he put the sax in the case and walked out the front door of the club with it. His approach to security extends to the case as well as the sax!
 

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I saw Kenny Garrett here in Denver last week, and he walked on-stage with his sax on, carrying his case. He set the case down next to the piano and played. Later in the set they went off-stage for one of those pauses that encourage applause, and he kept his sax on and grabbed his case when he went off. He brought it back when he returned for the encore. As soon as the set was done, he put the sax in the case and walked out the front door of the club with it. His approach to security extends to the case as well as the sax!
... and whatever is in the case.
 

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Yeah, it's threads like this that make me wary of people that want to talk about my gear at a gig. It's a pity that the thought of being ripped off even exists.
 

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Someone walked over my clarinet this afternoon ... I'll have it checked next week :-( Looks like there is no serious damage, but still ...

As real as the risk of theft is, I am more worried about careless people around me.
 

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So... you asserted your right to arm for bears.
Yeah, 'loaded for bear.' That was back in the '80s-early '90s and I haven't had the need to arm myself with a gun since, thankfully. I carried a 30-06 bolt action rifle because in the bear-shooting class they had us take, I found I could get off several shots using the bolt, and 'kill' the cardboard bear attacking me while it was being pulled forward on a clothesline! Whether or not it would have worked in a real situation, I don't know and luckily never had to find out. (Of course the survivalist guy teaching the course told us what we really needed was a fully automatic assault weapon, but the USGS was wise enough not to issue those to us.)

No Grizzly bears on the gigs I play. A drunken stumble bum can probably do as much damage to your horn, though, so stay alert...
 
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