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:
Hiding in the bushes
This is another thought-provoking post from Greg Ellifritz. A 62-year-old woman is out walking her dog at 9:pm when she’s kidnapped, robbed, and held by two men. They eventually let her go, which is something of a miracle; usually these kinds of cases don’t end well.
Greg offers a good, rational analysis of her choices. He includes one that most people wouldn’t think of (and will probably cause the tactical hobbyists no end of consternation). I’ll let you read the article to find out what it is.
I’ll offer two more possible solutions: first, have a high-intensity flashlight and scan the bushes long before getting close enough to talk to the person who pops out of them. It’s quite possible (because I’ve experienced this myself) that the light alone will cause them to flee. Criminals really don’t like light, and the combination of being spotted and the momentary distraction from the bright beam is a much more powerful tool than most appreciate.
Second, how about not being there in the first place? Walking a dog after dark, no matter how “safe” the neighborhood, dramatically increases one’s risk. Avoiding danger by not frequenting places, times, or circumstances when it’s more common is a foundational part of risk management. She could have walked the dog in the daytime and taken him into the backyard at night to do his “business” and significantly increased her personal safety.
Read the article and see if you come up with any alternate solutions of your own.
This week in Security:
Well, heck — phishing sites have SSL too??
Many people have gotten into the habit of checking for the little padlock in their browser window to be sure that the connection to the website they’re using is secure. But that’s not enough!
A malicious website can display a little padlock too. As it happens, all it signifies is that the connection to the site is secure — encrypted so that malicious entities can’t read the information flowing between you and the site. It doesn’t mean the site itself is legitimate!
It seems that many phishing sites (designed to collect your personal information for identity theft purposes) have encrypted connections these days. It’s helping to fool users into being comfortable entering information they might otherwise not share.
This article from the Krebs on Security website has more information and the technical details.
This week in Preparedness:
I’ve shared quite a few articles over the years about self defense myths and misconceptions, but they exist in the preparedness world too!
In fact, I’ve actually heard several of the myths covered in this article myself. They’re usually uttered by people who are trying desperately to believe that their version of events is the right one, and that they haven’t in fact made some bad preparedness decisions along the way.
The one about living off the land is probably the one I hear most. Not going to happen! Living off the land is a strenuous activity in the best of times; when everyone gets out there and tries to do it, the available game will disappear in a hurry. And, with today’s monoculture forests, the prevalence of edible plant species has diminished dramatically even in my lifetime.
There are nine other prepper myths in the article, and it’s definitely worth reading (and sharing with your friends who are still in denial!)
– Grant Cunningham
P.S.: Thanks to everyone who stopped and said hello at the NRA Show last weekend. It was a pleasure meeting new people and getting back in touch with those I’ve known for a while!