Friday, March 1, 2013

Locksport F.U.D.

Below is an email I sent to a "journalist" named Chip Johnson and the editor of his paper, about the recent hatchet job he posted in SFGate about locksport.

I quote the words Journalist, because Mr. Johnson, in my opinion  did not stand up to the journalistic qualities I learned while writing for a college news paper. I actually think that this article wouldn't even have been accepted by said college news paper. The article Mr. Johnson wrote was filled with senstionalist quotes, and a lack of understanding that is the core of  Locksport and the value it brings.

Read the article here:

--- begin email ---

From: Chris J
Subject: recent lock picking article
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2013 23:32:33 -0500

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I recently read your article on SFGate Chronical's site about Quan's
news letter containing lock picking. I found the article poorly
researched, and borderline libelous.

I teach lock picking, along with other forms of physical security. While
I run a lock sport group, I am not speaking for any organization.

The poorly researched aspect:

The lock on the door to your home, is based on a design that dates back
to the ancient Egyptians. The current style of lock most people are
familiar with, is the Yale style lock. It's design dates back to the the
1800s. Created in the 1840s by Linus Yale Senior, and patented in 1861
by his son Linus Yale Junior.

If you were to look deeper, you'll see that most of the features that
have improved locks in the last several years are because of groups like
TOOOL, Locksport International, The Fraternal Order Of Lockpickers, and
others. By showing people how weak the security really is, consumers
have started to demand better quality products.

Did you know you can either bounce most safes, or hit them with a hammer
and open them? These include gun safes. The groups you link to criminals
do, and they share that information with the world.

At Maker Faire (, a huge event held in the Bay
Area, you'll find they have a Lockpick Village there as well. It is
usually staffed by lock sport enthusiasts sharing the skills and

The Borderline Libelous aspect.

In your article, you have associated lock picking with crime and
terrorism, and did little to argue against that.

Picking locks takes time, and skill. It is much faster to do a smash and
grab. Was any research done, looking in to how many homes in your area
were burglarized that had the locks picked?

Is picking a lock you own illegal?

' "Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan was not pleased.

"I'm in shock that people would provide a class to teach people a skill
to violate the law," Jordan said. "It's unconscionable."'

One thing that is stressed is to only pick locks one has permission to

Picking a lock, is not like building an IED. But your article associates
lock picking to terrorism, and terrorist acts.
' "Given the uncontrollable crime in Oakland, we are beyond ourselves
that Oakland can advertise an event on lock-picking. It's akin to
teaching a class on making IEDs in Iraq." '

The call a locksmith comment by the Chief of Police also does your
readers a dis-service.

'Jordan has a more conventional solution to that problem: "Call a

There are plenty of cases where people have created fraudulent locksmith
companies, and are preying on people.

By learning the skills of lock picking, it helps to protect people from
being preyed upon.

The truth is, locksport is one of the ways to improve security for
everyone. It gives people a better understanding of the things securing
their lives, instead of them taking "you're secure" on blind faith. It
prevents them from being taken advantage of. Kids learning how to pick
locks today, are given an opportunity to learn a recession proof skill,
that can lead to a decent living as a Locksmith, or in personal

Christopher Jenks