One inescapable fact of life is that many people are terrified of self-responsibility. Many, if not most, are especially terrified of that most critical of responsibilities, the defense of themselves and those whom they love.

People in this position are capable of an incredible degree of self-deception, convincing themselves that bad things will never happen to them, that crime is something that only happens to others, or that a mythical and benevolent “someone else”—a superhero perhaps—will step in at the last moment to save them.

Others tacitly come to grips with the fact that bad things may happen and that “someone else” may not step in, but still refuse to deal with the reality that they must be prepared to do whatever it takes to preserve their lives, and the lives of those around them.

They aren’t willing to prepare for the possibility of having to distribute violence in order to survive.

The sad result of this self-deception and intellectual cowardice is the creation of delusional placebos, such as “bulletproof” shields, rape whistles, and an app for your phone, Stop-Attack, with the hopeful tagline, “tap … record, get help, take control!” is an assault-response application (app) and service for IOS and Android mobile devices. When activated it becomes a virtual witness to assaults (verbal or physical) capturing moment-by-moment details via video and audio recordings, which are sent directly to a secured cloud storage location in real time. Even if you only capture a few moments of footage before you drop your device or it is broken, those precious recordings can be accessed later and used as evidence. You have privacy and access to manage your recording in the members section of the STOP-ATTACK website.

Stop-Attack even has an idealized cartoon of how they think they their product would deter an attack.

It would be amusing, if they weren’t so cluelessly and dangerously earnest.

Here in the real world, smart phone apps don’t stop attacks, much less help a victim take control of a crime in progress.

Stop-Attack is a simple technological placebo that might help law enforcement identify your assailant long after the crime is over, if you have forewarning of the attack and can activate it before you are assaulted, raped, or murdered.

Of course, in real life assailants don’t present themselves as threats, and instead almost always attack without warning, aggressively overwhelming the victim if the victim doesn’t immediately counter the attacker with an even greater disparity of force to take control of the situation.

Fortunately, there’s already an app for that.

It doesn’t require batteries, and has a long track record of working against even the most determined of assailants when applied properly, even when you have no warning of an impending attack.

In the real world, placebos like Stop-Attack provide people who refuse to take their self-defense seriously a sense of false confidence that may actually cause them to take risks that they may not otherwise take.

The cartoon woman in the video, “Karen,” continued the obviously risky behavior of parking far away from her gym late at night, operating under the theory that the software on her phone would stop a determined attacker instead of finding another gym or finding an alternate workout time that would reduce her risk of becoming a victim to an opportunistic predator.

In the cartoon, her app scared off her attacker. It’s cute, but unrealistic. A rapist expects resistance, and prison interviews reveal that many actually relish in it. In the real world, they’d likely recover Karen’s battered and abused body behind a dumpster, with heart-rending audio of her final moments preserved for police.

Stop-Attack can’t and won’t stop attacks, but they’ll be happy to take $3.99/year from anyone who isn’t serious about their personal defense.

Caveat emptor.