Walking in the park today, was an older man walking with a metal collapsible baton, fully extended. As we closed the gap towards each other, he moved his baton (threateningly to me I thought) to face me. Really, I am part of this silly safety charade at a quiet park with lots of other people around in the middle of the afternoon? To anyone looking for trouble, the behavior this Man was displaying is notice he is a victim in the making. What was the real threat other than in his mind?
This older Man had an invisible sign that said "TARGET", floating above his head. If anyone feels threatened by walking or being in any location, such as the park, don't go there. Be smart, don't be a victim. Your body language doesn't lie.
If you, like the older Man, carries one of those metal collapsible batons, can you really use it? More than one telegraphed swing? If any situation escalates, that baton is going to be taken away and used on you. I don't know many people who could go toe to toe with an overly aggressive person. It is safer to risk being harassed or perhaps pushed around a bit, than beaten with the metal baton you were carrying.
As strange as it seems, a hockey stick is (or used to be) allowed as a carry-on in an airplane. A hockey stick, fighting cane, wooden cane, or a walking stick can formidable defensive weapons if needed, and you are well trained how to use it. Trained means continuous practice, not buying something and carrying it with you.
At the very least if you can not avoid a confrontation, you may be able to keep someone away from you for a precious few seconds. Sometimes the threat that the attacker may be hurt ends any thought of confrontation. The older Man at the park today thought this, but it was enough for him to hold his baton upright, let alone attempt to defend himself with it.
If you need to feel safer, Amazon (at least) sells a half glove with a permanently mounted pepper spray container in the palm. Buy a wooden cane or make yourself a walking stick from a think dowel from a big box store. There are numerous videos on YouTube on how to use each item for self defense. It is up to you to practice and gain competence with them or they will be useless for any kind of defense.
Finally, there are usually enough people walking afternoons in the park, I really doubt someone could be assaulted. While a few people might start to record, others will come to your assistance. There is safety in numbers.
If you feel threatened walking at a park, or wherever you walk, go to Lowe's, Home Depot, Costco or Sam's, any big store, and walk in the store. Do not go to the park and make yourself a target foolishly sporting a metal baton you can't really use.