Gosh, is it Wednesday already? This week renowned author Sam Harris expounds on self defense; we look at how people try to sell you fear, and how you can avoid it; Rob Pincus does his best to demystify the gun for non-shooters; how to keep your flashlight in perfect operating condition; a great article on the historical basis of self defense and why firearms are tied to that ideal; and Greg Ellifritz has some good advice about dealing with the sudden appearance of the police on your property. A great collection of great articles and videos here on the Hump Day Reading List!
Self defense as a set of principles, not skills.
Sam Harris isn’t someone you usually think of as a self-defense expert — and he’s not. He is, however, a highly intelligent human being who has the ability to look at things not for what they appear to be, but for what they are. In this superb essay, Harris lays out the concepts of self defense as he sees them — and, frankly, gets them pretty much spot-on. As I’ve repeatedly said, self defense and personal safety aren’t always about the gun, and “mindset” starts with a resolute decision that your life is worth protecting and that you’ll do anything to do so. This is a must-read for everyone, but especially those gun owners and concealed carriers who haven’t really thought much beyond the tools.
Things aren’t as bad as you’ve been told. Remember that.
This article over at the Breach-Bang-Clear blog is a nice companion to the one from Sam Harris. “Selling Fear” talks about how it’s easy to become trapped into a constant state of anxiety about your safety (or any major event, actually) if you listen to the fear-mongers and fail to engage your analytical brain. There will always be bad news somewhere, but focusing on that exclusively does nothing for your ability to deal with trauma in your own life. Take a step back, look at the motivations of the people who are trying to frighten you, and chart your own path. Rational plans beat panic buying any day.
The gun isn’t a magic wand. Here’s why.
There are misconceptions that a lot of people (even some gun owners) have about firearms. In this video, Rob Pincus does a great job of demystifying the gun by explaining what they do and even acknowledging that they can hurt and kill other people. Rob explains how firearms work in detail so that even the complete newbie will understand, even showing how simply controlling where it’s pointed can keep a bad guy from shooting an innocent person. Knowing both the good and bad that can come from the use of a firearm, just like one explains the good and bad of alcohol or sex, is the first step to gaining a clear understanding about why we embrace the firearm as a defensive tool. This is an important video that you can and should show to your loved ones, friends or co-workers who are apprehensive and ignorant about firearms.
How do you keep your defensive flashlight in good shape?
Another video, this time from the folks at Elzetta Tactical Lighting: how to maintain your flashlight! As I’ve said, I believe the high-intensity flashlight to be the most important defensive tool anyone can carry anytime. How do you keep it in good working order? This video, though focused on Elzetta products, has some good tips for any make or model of high-intensity LED lights.
The historical basis of the right to self defense — and to a firearm.
The United States was founded on the idea (some would argue a forgotten one) that the individual had primacy and inalienable rights which proceeded from that notion. The right of the individual to protect him or herself from anyone who would seek to abuse those rights, at whatever level, is the logical conclusion — and the personally owned firearm turned out to be the means by which that ideal could most easily be achieved. In this excellent article from the National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke looks at the long historical basis of the idea of self defense, why the gun is the perfect manifestation of the protection of that right, and why using social exigencies as an excuse to curtail liberties is both historically and ethically wrong. I don’t post many political articles on this blog, preferring to stay out of that minefield, but this one is different and definitely worth reading and sharing.
Someone is banging on your back door in the middle of the night. Is it an intruder or a cop?
What happens when the intruder in your home or on your property isn’t a bad guy, but a police officer? Situations like these happen with some frequency, but when guns are involved mistakes can have horrific consequences. In this article, Greg Ellifritz — a career police officer in Ohio — lays out the reasons you might encounter a cop when you expected a bad guy and how to handle the encounter. As he points out, there are a lot of legitimate reasons for the police to be on your property and understanding this ahead of time may save you — and some police officer — the exchange of gunfire.
– Grant Cunningham