It was the kind of afternoon camp counselors dread. The rain had been falling, heavy and steady, for two days. The leaden clouds hovered near the treetops and seemed to promise that the cold, penetrating downpour would continue for yet another day.

Inside the main lodge an epidemic of cabin fever had broken out. On the first day of rain, there were crafts to work on and a standby ration of wet-weather cartoon films to watch. The second day of rain was passed with group games and a rerun of the cartoons.

But when the rains continued unabated on the third day, the campers were in no mood for cartoons, or crafts, or games. They demanded fresh entertainments.

How relieved and pleased the counselors were when a camp visitor, a high-ranking officer in an elite law-enforcement agency, volunteered his services. He offered to give the campers a demonstration of weapons, police tactics, and some self-defense procedures. The assembled campers seemed spellbound as they learned how the nightstick and Mace are used. They took turns snapping handcuffs on one another. And they listened attentively to the lecture on the dangers of firearms. As a finale, this modern-day Elliott Ness showed the campers how best to deal with muggers and stickup men.

Calling a young camper to the platform, he described a fast self-defense action by which one could evade, disarm, and subdue any would-be stickup man who might poke a pistol into your back. The maneuver, he explained, consisted of a quick step to the left, accompanied by a rapid thrust of the right elbow backward and downward to knock away the assailant’s revolver. The gun, he promised, would be stripped from the gunman’s hand or, at worst, discharge harmlessly into the ground. It all seemed ...

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