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:
The defensive value of imagination
In all the talk about guns and ammunition and shooting techniques for self defense that you can find on the ‘net, you’ll occasionally come across a reference to “wargaming”. That’s just the latest tactical hobbyist term for what we used to call visualization, and it’s an important thing for everyone to do — whether they carry a gun or not.
Sheriff Jim Wilson recently wrote an article on the practice, but any article really just scratches the surface. It’s important to use visualization to help you recognize an attack earlier in its gestation and make better decisions on how to respond. Or, if you’ll respond at all.
These visualizations need to be as real as you can make them, paying attention to the details to make them both realistic and authentic.
It’s also important to think about when you would and wouldn’t respond. Let me give you an example from a friend’s recent experience: let’s say you’re walking down the street at night, turn the corner and run into a fight. Do you intervene and try to break it up?
Let’s say there are two people throwing punches at each other. Would you step in? What if one person were substantially bigger than the other? What if it was two against one? What if one man was on the ground, and the other two were kicking his head?
Each of those is a different situation, requiring a different decision. The decisions also change if you’re armed with a firearm: would your intervention actually escalate the situation to the point that you needed to use your gun? Would you intervene with the gun? Would you do something different if you were with your family versus a couple of your buddies?
These are all situations that visualization can and should be used to simulate. Not only will it help you make decisions easier in real time, but can also help you with the nature and timing of your response. The value of visualization cannot be over-estimated.
This week in Safety and Security:
Dealing with “watering holes”
No, I don’t mean bars and taverns! In this case, a “watering hole” is a place that attracts regardless of socioeconomic status; it’s a place that everyone needs to visit, sooner or later. One such place is the gas station.
Whether you drive a beat up old Caprice or a new Maserati, you need fuel for the beast. The only place you can get fuel is at a place which sells it, which means you have to drive the car there. And, in just about every state other than my own, when you get there you’ll need to get out of your car and expose yourself to all the other visitors.
This story is about one guy’s experience at a gas station. He’s approached by someone who uses a variation of the “got a cigarette?” gambit favored by criminals everywhere. Pay attention to the way in which writer scouts out the station before pulling in, how he conducts himself while there, and his response to the question he’s asked. Everything he did contributed to the positive outcome.
This week in Preparedness and Health:
Morale during an extended emergency
Some years ago my wife and I were snowed in for a week. We live in a very rural area, and a record-breaking snowstorm not only left three feet of snow on your little-traveled road, it also took down dozens of trees that criss-crossed the only way to town. It would take days of hard work just to get rid of all the trees, let alone the downed power lines and the snow that started the whole mess. We were on our own, but were well prepared and suffered little trauma.
I must admit, though, that about four or five days in we both got a little stir-crazy. (Had we had children in the house, our week could have been excruciating!) The one thing we hadn’t thought about was how to maintain some sort of normalcy during such a protracted event, and how incredibly important it is to do so. In the years since, I’ve found very few people who make morale a part of their preparedness planning.
This article talks about normalcy, what it is, and how to maintain some semblance of it during an extended incident. I think this is important for all of us, but particularly for those who have children at home.
– Grant Cunningham
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