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:
Before it goes too far…
A large percentage of violent incidents start as ordinary interpersonal encounters gone horribly wrong. The term for this is social violence (as opposed to resource violence, which is a person or a group preying on another for gain of some sort.)
The bar fight is a classic example of social violence; one intoxicated individual takes exception to something another did (or didn’t do), threatens to beat the other to a pulp, and the second person — not wanting to seem like a “wimp” — makes a rude remark. The fight is on!
That’s just one example. There are many instances where the “monkey dance” of machismo one-upsmanship results in physical altercation. There are many cases of supposed self defense which were, on closer examination, actually mutual social violence where one of the parties suddenly realized he was in over his head.
Learning how to de-escalate these kinds of situations is an important part of self defense. It starts with keeping one’s mouth under control, but beyond that there are some specific tactics that can be used to defuse a tense situation. This article has a good overview of the process and the specific things you need to keep in mind when the words start to turn ugly.
This week in Security:
Apps, your data, and the companies who control them
Your personal data is being harvested right now, while you read this sentence. Not by me, but by the large technology companies which make the apps, supply the services, and give you search results. How are they using that data — and to what end? This is a great TED Talk by Finnish researcher Lützow-Holm Myrstad which looks at what the companies are collecting and what they’re doing with it. (And remember: they’ve tricked you into letting them do it!)
This week in Preparedness:
Family communications in an emergency
Very rarely do I find an article I can share without caveats or reservations — and, sadly, this is not one of them! I have issues with the products the author links to in the article (particularly the book), but the overall message and the procedures are valid and important enough to share.
Communicating with other family members during an emergency, particularly a widespread disaster, is vitally important. Cell phones routinely fail during disasters, for a number of reasons, but text messages often get through. (I recommend everyone in the family turn on the options for “read receipts” so that everyone knows if their message actually got through.)
Beyond that, using all other means in a specific way and in a predictable order is key. If the phone systems are down, you may be reduced to leaving messages in predetermined places. (Having a couple of predetermined meeting points is also important in this process.) The author’s idea of a codeword or phrase to authenticate the messages is a good one.
Radio communications can be an important part of the family communications plan, but they need to be put into place ahead of time and used regularly so that everyone knows their limitations (and there are LOTS of them where radios are concerned!) Becoming a licensed amateur radio operator is a big help; not only does it give you access to far more capable equipment, it also provides a helpful community to help you learn how it all works. That community also gives you good motivation to use the radios on a regular basis and really learn what they can and can’t do. (DO NOT buy a “ham” radio without a license and just assume that you’ll be able to use it when the time comes. The system doesn’t work that way.)
There’s more in the article, and it’s worth reading (with the caveats already mentioned.)
– Grant Cunningham
P.S.: Reservations are starting to roll in for my Threat-Centered Revolver course in Indiana, scheduled for the first weekend of May. If you’re interested, I’d suggest not putting it off any longer! You can get more information, and sign up, at this link. My Praying Safe Workshop with co-author Joshua Gideon, two days that will lead you through the process of developing a comprehensive security plan for your house of worship, is also starting to fill up. Sign up for the Praying Safe Workshop at this link.