Your Hump Day Reading List for August 31, 2016

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Wednesday is school day here on the blog! This week: how predators choose who to attack; window stickers might give you away; Cecil Burch says it’s okay to stay in your own lane; Greg Ellifritz has an important look at cultural norms and why you need to be aware of them; Rob Pincus talks about response planning for mass casualty attacks; parallax in non-technical terms; a story about a guy who understands the proper role of the defensive firearm; and how you should approach any defensive preparations.


How predators select targets

Predators look for targets whose risk/reward ratio are in the criminal’s favor. I’ve said before that they may not be able to articulate that process, but they’re doing it whenever they’re considering committing a crime. This is a superb article about how the predator sees us — how he factors in all the variables in making his attack decision, and how we can tip the risk/reward ratio in our favor. This is an important article to read and understand.


Be careful with those window stickers

Part of staying safe is not giving yourself away. As this article discusses, those gun industry stickers on your bumper or in your window tell a thief that you have very valuable items available. If they’re not in the vehicle proper, they’re definitely in your house — and if you make the mistake of keeping your registration, complete with home address, in your vehicle the car prowler now knows where to go to score. Keep a low profile; don’t advertise what you have. It’ll keep you safer and keep your possessions in your possession. (Oh, and for those who think they shouldn’t need to do this, re-read my article on the topic of denial.)


It’s okay to be an expert in your field, just don’t pretend it makes you an expert in all fields

Cecil Burch has a way of cutting to the chase. In a recent post on his blog he talks about how it’s okay to stay in your own lane and be an expert there. That’s why I don’t opine on empty hand (combatives) defense, because I’m not knowledgable in that field (a little Krav Maga exposure does not an expert make!) I also don’t really know much about knife defense, so I go to my buddy Alessandro Padovani for that. When I need to know about medical skills, I go to Caleb Causey and listen to what he says. I don’t pretend to know it all, and I’m secure enough in what I DO know to keep my ego in check.


Violence as a problem-solving tool

This is one of the more profound articles that Greg Ellifritz has written. Titled The Educational Beatdown, it looks at how violence is used in some American subcultures to enforce societal norms. Now I know that some people will start reading it and quickly leave, thinking that there’s nothing to learn, but read to the end. As Greg points out, understanding how cultural norms shift is important to staying safe when you’re away from your own environment — whether you’re halfway around the world, or just on the other end of our own country. Definitely worth reading — and thinking about.


What would you do in a terrorist attack?

While I don’t think you need to spend a lot of time worrying specifically about terrorist attacks, the incident response plan for one looks quite a bit like the plan you’d use for a run-of-the-mill spree killer. What are some of the things you should consider in a response plan to any kind of attack in a public space? This Personal Defense Network video lays out some of the considerations you should take into account when out in public.


Parallax, rifle optics, and you

Lots of people (including me) have optics on their defensive rifles these days, and parallax in your optic is something you need to know about. This is an easy-to-understand article about what parallax is and how it affects your use of the sighting system on your rifle. It’s one of those articles I’m glad someone else wrote so I don’t have to!


Can you, or should you?

You may be tired of hearing me say this, but not every problem is a shooting problem, and this article from Tiger McKee illustrates that concept perfectly. Instead of focusing on whether you CAN shoot, his friend thought more in terms of “do I need to shoot?” There are important lessons to be learned about response and control in his short article. Would I have reacted the same way in the same circumstance? I don’t know, but I do know that not every problem requires the use of the gun!


The correct order for preparing

I mentioned Caleb Causey above, and as it happens I had an article from him queued up for today! In it, Caleb talks about how you should approach any aspect of your preparedness: first understand why you need to prepare, then get the education you need on the topic, and only then go out and acquire the tools you need. Most people do this exactly backwards; for instance, they’ll buy the gun and only after that get the education and develop the mental preparation they need to be able to use it efficiently and properly.

– Grant Cunningham

Opening photo: “Camelus dromedarius at Tierpark Berlin” by Agadez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons


About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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