Is it worth it to learn how to lockpick

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Not only is it useful, but it gives you a far greater appreciation for the things in your life that are meant to keep you safe.

Two stories to bring home the point:


First, about 5 years ago I decided, somewhat on a whim, to pack up all of my belongings, leave my girlfriend, job and life to move to Texas. I arrived in Austin, having slept on the couches of friends in the locksport community along the way. After 2 weeks, I decided I had made a mistake, repacked the car and began the drive back to Boston.


Just after 8 pm that night, on the outskirts of Dallas/Fort Worth, my alternator started to fail. I still had almost 2000 miles left to drive, and it was colder than you would expect. I didn’t have enough money for a tow, didn’t have a place to stay, and wasn’t sure I could sleep in the car overnight without heat. I managed to get into a parking lot of a strip mall before the battery was completely drained. The problem was that the bolt that kept the belt taut had snapped. I had my equipment, which included drills, so I was sure I could remove the sheared bolt, if only I could get my hands on a replacement bolt.


I wandered every store at the strip mall, but no one had anything close and the nearest hardware store was many miles away. I started to head back to my car, prepared to bundle up as much of my clothing as I could to stay warm that night when I heard a conversation nearby.


You don’t even have a coat hanger or something?

No, we don’t really do that sort of thing, actually.


I understood immediately that someone was locked out of their car. I swiveled around and saw a dejected man trying to get help from a police car. I ran over and volunteered to help. I retrieved my entry tools from my car, got him back into his a few minutes later, and then he tried to pay me. I put up my hand and said, I can’t charge you, but, would it be at all possible for you to give me a lift to the hardware store? And explained my situation.


Not only did the guy bring me to the hardware store, but stayed with me while I carried out the repair. It was about midnight before all was said and done and he stayed with me the whole time, even though he had to cancel dinner with his family. Without his help, I would have been in a miserable situation, and it was my ability to open locks that made that connection.


In East Germany, the Stasi introduced a program to engineer a flaw in every Lock Picking set in the country and created strict import guidelines to prevent any security lock from entering the country. The flaw allowed them to quietly and quickly enter anyone’s home at will. It completely subverted the private, personal space of everyone in the country.

That is to say, if you don’t understand the technology that keeps you safe, you can’t trust that you are actually secure.

Open your mind and some locks! Just do it ethically, legally and safely. Happy picking!

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