I have no social media accounts; all purported ones are fake.

Staying safe while traveling, Part 2: your concept of safety is important!

Staying safe while traveling, Part 2: your concept of safety is important!


This isn’t rocket science: it doesn’t do you much good to plan for your safety on the road if you don’t really know what safety is! In this article I share a concept of safety that, I think, will put this whole series into better perspective for you.

I’ve just returned (quite literally) from a teaching trip to the Bay Area of California. I was invited down for a return engagement at a nice private shooting club, whose members appreciate a realistic approach to defensive shooting training. Little did I realize that what I taught them has direct application for our discussion about travel safety!

During that class I held a safety briefing, which of course I always do, a briefing which includes a discussion of range safety from both conceptual and applied standpoints. The application includes things like safety rules and emergency plans, but the conceptual standpoint deals with how we look at the very notion of safety. It wasn’t until I’d given that briefing for the second time during the several days I was there did I realize that the same approach applies to the topic of travel safety.

You may have read articles about the conceptual basis of range safety: the value of a drill or exercise must outweigh the known (or perceived) risks of that activity. If it doesn’t, we don’t do it. If we can reduce the risk to the extent that it becomes significantly less than the benefit, we do. Using hearing protection, for example, reduces the risk of hearing damage to such a degree that even the benefit of simple recreational shooting (be it for relaxation or camaraderie) greatly exceeds that risk. It is now conceptually safe to do.

The same approach can be used when we talk about travel safety.

Before I left I was asked by several people, all of whom are in the training industry to one degree or another, why I was going someplace where I couldn’t carry a firearm — the implication, of course, being that I couldn’t possibly be safe without a handgun. The unasked question was “won’t you be scared?”

My answer was simple, and though I didn’t realize it at the time it contained the germ of this conceptual approach to travel safety: I was going because had an opportunity to do some good and to have a great experience, and by managing my risk exposure I’d be able to achieve both.

In other words, the value of that activity (teaching life-saving skills to a bunch of great people) greatly exceeded (because I took precautions appropriate to the situation) the known or perceived risks I faced (traveling in an area where I couldn’t be armed with a lethal weapon). That’s how I actually look at “being unarmed”; I’m not, really, because a good part of my armament is the way I manage this risk/benefit equation, as it should be for everyone.

Next Tuesday we’ll get back to the application of this idea by talking some more about how we can manage risk when we can’t carry our preferred weapons.

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On May 13, 2014

Leave Reply