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:
Just because it looks cool doesn’t mean it will work
When we speak of defensive shooting with a handgun, there are two likely ranges: within arm’s reach (yours plus your attacker’s), and everything else.
Most handgun training focuses on the “everything else” category, or that which is beyond arm’s reach. It’s the easiest to teach, and (thankfully) it’s also the most common, by far. A problem occurs, however, when someone who is competent at “everything else” tries to teach what to do at very close distances — the range where the bad guy can simply grab your gun, knock it off target, or even prevent you from getting to it in the first place.
There are lots of bad ideas being taught for that range, and one of the worst is the contact shot. The idea is to draw your gun and press it into the attacker’s body to fire a shot. There are lots of issues with this notion, and Cecil Burch — who I consider to be one of the very few true experts in this area — explains some of the reasons why.
(This is stuff you can’t learn from a YouTube video. You really need to get hands-on, in a class like Cecil’s, to understand the issues with close-range defensive handgunning. I don’t teach this because I’m not competent to do so, which is why I recommend his class so highly.)
This week in Security:
Starting your kids off right
We spend a lot of time talking about our own safety and security, but how many parents spend the same amount of time and effort preparing their kids to stay safe when Mom or Dad aren’t around? My experience says “not many” — or, more accurately, “not enough”.
This article lays out some broad ideas for talking to your kids and preparing them to stay safe. I’ll add that there is always a fine line to be walked with children; you want them to be aware that bad things can happen, but at the same time you don’t want to scare them. (I worked search and rescue for a number of years, and the kids who had been frightened into never talking to a stranger would often hide and stay silent when search crews were out looking for them. We don’t want kids to be so scared of things around them that they won’t assist in their own rescue!)
Keep the discussion positive and proactive. Make the information and responses age-appropriate, and revisit the topic regularly to make sure that the subjects you cover and the options you recommend are keeping pace with their development. By the time they get to college age, you should have well-prepared sons or daughters who understand how to take care of themselves.
This week in Preparedness:
Keeping the lines of communication open
Being able to communicate with others during an incident is critical. Summoning help, of course, is a necessity, but being able to communicate with loved ones is also important. You might need to guide them, they might need to guide you, or you might just need to know that they’re okay — and they might need to know the same about you.
In today’s world we rely on our cellphones for almost all of our communication, but what happens when they don’t work (for whatever reason)? There are alternatives, but they don’t work without a plan. That plan needs to be in place before you need it, and it requires some practice.
This article covers the need for a communications plan and some very basic ideas about working around a cell phone outage. The section on predetermined meeting places is actually better than most I’ve seen.
That being said, this article isn’t close to being comprehensive about all of the communication alternatives you might be able to use in an emergency. Consider it a springboard for further study.
– Grant Cunningham