Welcome to the Hump Day Reading List! Here are what I believe to be the three most important articles you can read this week to enhance your personal and family safety:
This week in Defense and Training:
Not everything is a shooting problem
A while back I said that the lawfully carried firearm is a defensive tool with an extremely narrow range of application. I mean that in both the practical and legal sense; if the circumstances don’t warrant the use of lethal force, the gun isn’t the tool that should be grabbed.
There are two problems addressed by that statement. First, most interpersonal conflicts do not rise to the level of lethal force — and many of the those that do are under the control of the participants. If one of the participants simply chooses not to play the game, there is little to escalate. As Claude Werner as repeatedly said, a Dale Carnegie course is probably more important to personal safety than a gun course because it teaches you how to not be a jerk.
The second problem is that most gun carriers don’t have any tool between harsh words and lethal force (the knife, like the gun, is lethal force). So for the majority of likely encounters, they have nothing other than yelling to help them. This is when we see the inappropriate use of a firearm, and that’s also when we see the Negative Outcomes start to occur.
This is why intermediate-force options are so important. For those situations where words aren’t doing the job, but the circumstances have not risen to the level that lethal force is justified, intermediate-force tools are the right answer. They can include small impact or distraction weapons, such as a high-intensity flashlight, an electrical device, or a chemical spray.
This article at RevolverGuy looks at pepper spray as an intermediate force option. Justin looks at some of the options, considers how to carry and deploy the spray, and the legalities of use.
(If you’re tempted to compare the efficacy of pepper spray with that of a firearm, the point has been missed. Pepper spray doesn’t replace the firearm for those cases where life is in immediate danger; it’s for those cases where someone is being belligerent or even physically violent, but doesn’t pose an actual threat to life.)
This week in Security:
How valuable is your “guard dog”?
I’m a proponent of having a dog as an early warning device, one that alerts you to the presence of a possible threat as far in advance as possible. This gives time to formulate a response and notify authorities. I remain convinced that they’re one of the best tools for that job.
Many people, however, believe their beloved pet will go beyond that role and actually scare off criminals through their vicious appearance. Some have told me they expect their untrained pet to physically protect them from harm by attacking the attacker.
The reality is, however, that some criminals won’t be deterred at all by a dog, and the chances are pretty good that the dog won’t really protect its owner as much as it will protect itself by running away. Greg Ellifritz looks at some actual cases that should be sobering to those with an overly optimistic opinion of their pet’s ability to actually protect them.
Again, I think dogs are great security tools. But, like any other security tool, it’s important to understand their weaknesses and limitations.
This week in Preparedness:
What is a threat map, and why do you need one?
Understanding what threats are, where they come from, and what threats are active in a given location or region is really key to efficient preparedness. Because everyone’s preparedness resources (time, money, energy, interest, and sometimes space) is limited, its important to use them wisely. A threat map is one way to build preparedness and properly allocate those resources.
A threat map is nothing more than a visual representation of things that might affect security, travel, and safety in a given area. It might include traffic hazards, bridges susceptible to seismic events, high crime areas, flood plains, slide risks, possible shelters, or evacuation routes.
This article goes into some detail about threat maps and how they can be used. It’s one of the more readable introductions to the topic that I’ve found. I recommend everyone develop a threat map for their area!
– Grant Cunningham
P.S.: My classes in Indiana are rapidly approaching! On Monday & Tuesday, April 29 & 30, I’ll be teaching a Praying Safe Workshop with my co-author Joshua Gideon in New Castle, IN. This hands-on workshop will teach you how to develop a comprehensive security plan for your house of worship. We’ll be using an actual church for part of the class, giving students a chance to see how things work out “in real life”. Josh tells me we still have a few openings available, and you can sign up for the Praying Safe Workshop at this link.
On May 5 & 6, I’ll be teaching my Threat-Centered Revolver course in New Castle. This is THE class to learn how to use a revolver efficiently, with an emphasis on self defense. You can get more information, and sign up, at this link.
Also, if you’re attending the NRA Annual Meetings on April 26-28 in Indianapolis, I hope you’ll stop by and see us! We’ll be doing book signings at:
Friday, April 26:
- 2:pm at Evolve Range Solutions (Booth 2707)
Saturday, April 27:
- 10:am — iMarksman (Booth 3605)
- 2:pm — Evolve Range Solutions (Booth 2707)
(New Castle is just a 45-minute drive from Indianapolis. If you’re coming for the show, it’s an easy trip to take one of our courses!)