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:
Context is everything. Still.
About a decade ago, I started talking publicly about the idea of context: the condition or environment in which something can be understood or applied. At the time I was talking about defensive shooting skills, how a military or law enforcement context of shooting is different than that of civilian or private sector self defense. Sometimes they overlap, but it takes someone who understands the contexts involved to be able to judge if and where that overlap occurs. As it turns out, there are precious few who can do that.
In the ensuing years people have started to talk about the idea of context in defensive training more and more, and I think that’s a good thing. (I’m not claiming credit for starting a trend, mind you, but it sure is a coincidence!)
Cecil Burch, one of the real thinkers in the world of blended self defense, has yet another view of the topic — that of situational context. In his view, even inside of our particular bubble context can change, and it’s foolhardy to assume there is something like a “universal” technique or a universal application of technique.
It’s a good article and worth contemplating.
This week in Security:
Who is “Informed Delivery” informing?
I have to admit that I didn’t know this service existed until I read this article — but the potential for abuse is incredibly high.
The US Postal Service (USPS) offers a service called “Informed Delivery”. It essentially alerts you to incoming mail by taking a picture of each envelope as it enters the USPS mail handling system, and sends you an email with the image of that envelope.
It didn’t take long for identity thieves to figure out how to use it to commit fraud: they sign up someone at a specific address for, say, a credit card. They also register their own email for Informed Delivery on that address. Then they wait for the credit card company to mail the card, and they get an email so they know when to check their victim’s mailbox.
The methods that the USPS uses to verify users are insufficient, and they apparently have issues with they systems which are supposed to allow people to opt-out of the service.
Read the article at Krebs On Security for more, and for some protection strategies.
This week in Preparedness:
Feeling burned out? Read this.
This is a different kind of article for the Reading List, but I think it’s an important one. I’m seeing signs of burnout in a lot of people, and frankly I fight those feelings myself these days. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the bad news in the world, and that can and will affect your proactive preparedness activities. It’s hard to work positively when all you see is negativity.
This article from ‘Daisy Luther’ has some great tips for fighting that burnout and keep you on track. One of her recommendations is one I’ve been promoting for years: Never Read The Comments. You’d be surprised how much the stupidity and negativity in comment threads affects your psyche. Just eliminating those brightened my world! That’s not all, though, and I recommend reading the whole article.
I’ll also suggest a new book by Cal Newport, “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World”. It’s about managing your information stream and how to cut out the distractions that most people are addicted to (because the systems which provide them are designed to create that addiction.)
– Grant Cunningham
P.S.: Boy, am I going to be busy in Indiana this spring! I’m teaching my Threat-Centered Revolver course in New Castle, Indiana, on May 5 & 6. There are still some openings for that class; you can get more information, and sign up, at this link.
On Monday & Tuesday, April 29 & 30, I’ll be teaching a Praying Safe Workshop with co-author Joshua Gideon. This workshop, also in New Castle, will lead you through the process of developing a comprehensive security plan for your house of worship. This class is filling quickly, but there are still openings. Don’t delay, though! Sign up for the Praying Safe Workshop at this link.
Finally, Joshua and I will be doing book signings at the NRA Annual Meetings & Show in Indianapolis on April 26 & 27. I’ll have booth numbers and exact times soon, so keep reading the blog!