Is there really any harm to preparing for things that don’t really happen?
Last week I broached the subject of preparing for the likely and plausible defensive scenarios. At the end, I asked a rhetorical question: Is there anything wrong with going beyond the plausible?
Yes, I think there is.
At the heart of the answer is the fact that none of us have unlimited resources for training, preparation, practice, and maintenance of all the skills and equipment we’d need to be prepared for everything. It’s just not possible; even if money were not an issue, your time and energy are both finite resources.
If the skills needed for the North Korean paratrooper attack were the same as the far more common mugging, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue. The problem, of course, is that they’re not (as I illustrated in last week’s article.)
In fact, the skills and gear needed to respond to a surprise attack (which is usually what happens in private sector self defense incidents) are different than even law enforcement skills, let alone military training.
If you spend precious training and practice resources on skills that only work when you have a platoon of similarly armed and motivated protectors (as well as the presence of close air cover), those are resources you can’t spend on developing and honing the skills you need to respond the guy with the knife in the convenience store parking lot.
The same is true for the gear you carry: if you’re preparing for Armageddon by carrying a whole bunch of magazines on your belt (and have more in your trunk), despite the fact that it’s darned hard to find private sector defensive shootings where reloading even one time was a necessity, that’s energy, space (and money) which may be better used for other things.
This is because incidents to which shooting is the correct response are not the only ones which threaten your safety. In fact, unless you live in a literal war zone, those incidents aren’t even the most common. Accidents of all kinds, for instance, claim orders of magnitude more victims every year than lethal violence. Preventable health issues claim many more.
In short, there are a lot of things that can kill you besides the thug with the knife, and it might be a good idea to spend some of your limited resources to prepare for them! For instance, do you have a good fire extinguisher in every room of your house? Do you understand the need for a good trauma kit, have the verified skills to use it, and carry it with you? Are you fully prepared for a multi-day incident where your city has no electricity? How are your defensive driving skills? Do you have some food stored? Are you reliant on the presence of cellular signals? Do you have an early warning system around your house? Have you planned and practiced a fire evacuation?
These are just some of the things that pose the risk of grave bodily harm to you and your loved ones. I look at it this way: you can (as too many in the shooting community do) prepare very deeply for a few kinds of dangerous incidents, as you see in the graph at the top of this article.
Or, you can prepare less deeply but very broadly (and more intelligently) for a wide variety of similarly high-consequence events:
The latter option is, I think, a better way of looking at your own security and will protect you against a wider variety of threats. Yes, learn how to use a firearm to defend your life; attacks do happen with unfortunate frequency, and have very high consequence should you not be able to respond appropriately. However, carrying five spare magazines might mean you can’t carry a trauma kit, which has a nearly infinitely greater likelihood of need than reloading your gun several times in a self-defense shooting.
Just make sure that the skills you’re learning (and the gear you’re buying and carrying) really reflect the reality of where you live and work, and don’t neglect the other dangers to your life by spending too much time, energy, and money on stuff that isn’t plausible.
-=[ Grant ]=-
- Posted by Grant Cunningham
- On July 17, 2014