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Staying safe while traveling, Part 3: preplanning is a good start

Staying safe while traveling, Part 3: preplanning is a good start


Some people worry about traveling because they can’t carry their gun. I think that’s shortsighted!

Gun people (of which I am one) tend to view the handgun as the most important tool they carry. You’ve heard the old saw about “if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”? Well, too many of my fellow gun people look at the world as strewn with nails (often while simultaneously denying that they’re doing so!)

In the first article of this series I opened the discussion about personal security while traveling by pointing out that a weapon — any weapon — is really most useful at the Response phase of an incident. For all the other things that lead up to the Response (Detection, Avoidance, De-escalation, and Deterrence) the weapon plays little to no role in determining how safe you are.

Let’s say, though, that you are someone who carries a firearm frequently (if not constantly.) Can you really be safe if you’re somewhere that you can’t have that gun?

The answer, of course, is yes — millions of people do so every day. That’s not to say that there aren’t threats out there, of course, only that we either tend to over-estimate their frequency, or under-estimate our ability to deal with them without benefit of a lethal force instrument. Both are incomplete views of the world around us. (This is also not to say that you should choose not to carry the gun when it’s practical for you to do so. It’s certainly better to have it than not have it, but in this series we’re talking about situations where you can’t have your handgun and what to do to keep yourself safe in those circumstances.)

Safety away from home, as I alluded to in that first article, starts with your pre-trip planning. Begin by establishing firmly in your mind where you’re going, what you’re going to be doing, and who you’re going to be with. Remember that, to a large degree and even in a business setting, you have some control over those circumstances.

You might not be able to control the fact that you have to go to, say, Chicago — but can you control where in Chicago you stay? While self defense instructors are keen to point out that “violence can happen anywhere”, the fact is that it’s more common in some places than in others. In any large city there are places where personal crime happens far more often than others, and your planning should start with a) knowing where those are and b) not going there if you can avoid doing so.

Of course none of this precludes an attack from happening in even the “best” neighborhoods, and I’m not saying that it does; only that there are places you can go where you are statistically safer than others, and you’d be foolish not to pick one of those if you possibly can! Choosing an area where attacks are less common simply means you are less likely to face one, which is a big head start in your personal security.

Let’s say that you can’t pick the area in Chicago where you’re staying. Can you pick the individual hotel? As I mentioned last time, when I was in Indianapolis I picked my hotel specifically because it connected to the Convention Center via an enclosed skybridge. It was a pleasant walk from my room to the show floor, and I didn’t have to deal with the downpour of one day, any street thugs, or any protestors (if any should have shown up, which none did. I was prepared, however!) The room cost me rather substantially more than one in a less desirable location, but I felt the security would be worth the cost. I believe it was.

Okay, let’s say someone else has picked your hotel for you. On arrival you can almost always reject a room on the first or second floor (which are much easier for a window-based entry); get one closer to the elevator (where there is more traffic and less opportunity to clandestinely break in); and swap for one without an adjoining room accessible through a doorway (which gives you yet another entry point to cover.)

The key point is that planning allows you to proactively avoid potential trouble. If you take just a little time to scout out your destination, even from afar through the wonders of the ‘net, you’ll be able to make the little changes that might make a big difference in your safety.

-=[ Grant ]=-

  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On May 15, 2014

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