“When you learn to pick locks, the first and most important thing you steal is your own sense of security,” writes Erica X. Eisen in this fun and insightful piece on competitive locksmithing for Hazlitt.
When LPL first started his channel, he focused his time and energy on niche, challenging pieces, the kinds that real locksports devotees might labour on for months before they hit upon the right line of attack. Solving the puzzles these locks presented was a real feat of ingenuity and skill—but one that few outside of the covert entry community could really appreciate. Eventually, however, LPL discovered a new avenue for his efforts, one with potential for broader appeal: leveraging YouTube to get the word out about flimsy consumer locks with the goal of shaming their producers into making something better. It was a romantic notion, one that positioned his channel as the catalyst for change in a global industry. As he told his listeners in Utah, “People tend to notice when you say, ‘I can open your front door in thirty seconds.’”
Millions of people did indeed take notice, as LPL’s soaring viewership numbers attest. And so did the makers of these locks—but not necessarily in the way LPL had originally hoped. When he exposed a major design issue with one of Key Kop’s products, the company responded not by fixing the issue but by demanding he take the video down. It was a disheartening blow, one that struck at the fundamental assumption underpinning his strategy: that these brands simply hadn’t known how bad their products are. “How do you fix a mistake,” LockPickingLawyer asked the crowd of security experts at SAINTCON, “when they know about it and just keep making the same mistakes over and over?”
If you watch enough of LPL’s videos—if you see the same mistakes by the same big-name manufacturers year after year, product after product, and if you then start to notice these locks in your real life on door after door, building after building—it’s hard not to come away with a vision of the world that’s a little wobblier and worse for wear.