Welcome to the Hump Day Reading List! Here are what I believe to be the three most important articles to read this week.
This week in Defense and Training:
Self defense isn’t always about bad guys
Sometimes it’s about bad animals! This news story out of Georgia shows us that dangers don’t always look like our preconceived notions, and sometimes your defensive firearm gets used for something that you didn’t anticipate (or perhaps trained for.)
We all go to the range, or to shooting classes, and train on targets that simulate human threats at human heights. When was the last time you shot at a raccoon-sized target at raccoon height? Admittedly this isn’t easy to do on most ranges because of safety issues, but if your range is suitable it might be a good idea to get in a little bit of time doing so. (Even if it can’t be at raccoon height, you can certainly find a target of raccoon size!)
Some years ago I ran “tactical” matches at our local gun club. We always had a surprise stage, one which the competitors couldn’t see ahead of time. More than once I simulated a dog or other animal by using a smaller target placed horizontally on the ground. It’s amazing how many people — good shooters, all — simply couldn’t place accurate shots into the vital area of such a target. They weren’t accustomed to seeing targets like that and it definitely affected their application of skill.
Remember: a threat to your life, or the lives of your loved ones, may not look like a “tango”. It may come dressed in a small furry suit and armed with nasty teeth. With only one exception, all of my defensive gun uses have been against animals. Keep that in mind for your next range outing.
This week in Security:
Thieves love to brag. Here’s how to take advantage of that.
I took a look at the source of this story (Reader’s Digest) and thought it wouldn’t be worth reading. It actually is, though, because they interviewed a bunch of convicted identity thieves (in more than one state) and found out how those people work. Why would they open up? Because thieves are human, and humans love to brag about their abilities and accomplishments!
Some of these things will seem elementary (and they are). Some, however, are more surprising, and some — like taking a new credit card out of your mailbox, writing down the number, and waiting for you to activate it — are new to me. I wouldn’t have thought about doing that to circumvent activation security.
(And seriously: people actually keep their PINs in the same wallet with their debit cards? Isn’t that like putting a Post-It note on your safe with the combination?)
It’s definitely an interesting article, and I suspect everyone will come away with at least one new way to make their information a little more secure. If that happens, it will have been worth the effort to read!
This week in Preparedness:
Testing to failure
One of the aspects of preparedness that a lot of people want to ignore is that not everything works as planned. Things fail; our efforts turn out to be ineffectual or even useless. This article is about how to handle those failures and get back on track. (Note: includes podcast audio)
We’ve had fruit trees fail on our homestead, more than once, until we found and corrected the issue. We’ve tested certain preparedness items and procedures and found that they didn’t work (or at least work as well as we thought they would.) That allowed us a “redo” to fix the problems.
Sometimes, as with trees, the problems will just show up. Other times, though, you need to test your preparations to make sure they’ll work when you need them to. For some things, such as mechanical equipment, such testing needs to happen on a regular basis. Other times you just need to simulate a situation where that thing or plan needs to be used and see if it works out as you anticipated.
Don’t let the inevitable failures derail your preparedness. Test (and fix) where you can, and adopt an attitude of continuous improvement and flexibility for those things you can’t.
– Grant Cunningham
P.S.: Speaking of defending yourself from animal threats, I cover the topic extensively in my book Protecting Your Homestead: Using a rifle to defend life on your property. When you live on a homestead, or just on acreage on the edge of suburbia, animals can be a significant threat. I’ve used a rifle more than once against a dangerous animal, and my book will help you understand how to use a rifle to do the same thing — as well as protect yourself from the two-legged variety. You can get your copy in paperback, Kindle, or iBooks formats.