| Sunday May 29th 2016

Survival School.Why more Americans are learning to pick locks, bust out of handcuffs, and avoid surveillance.

It’s a sticky Saturday morning and I’m handcuffed in the back seat of a Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on the side of a Philadelphia street. On one side of me is my boyfriend, Bruce, and on the other his best friend, Nick. Both of them are also cuffed—and like me, sweating like pigs. I reach into my hair and pull out a bobby pin that within seconds I’ve fashioned into a simple device I use to jimmy open my handcuff locks. Our assignment now is to evade 12 professionally trained trackers in a 25-square-block area for the next eight hours.

It may be hard to believe, but we asked for this. Actually, we paid for it: $550 apiece.

Today is the final day of a three-day “Urban Escape and Evade” course offered by onPoint Tactical LLC, a New Jersey-based company that teaches soldiers, police officers, and, increasingly, civilians urban survival skills.


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