Welcome to your Hump Day Reading List!
This is your refuge from the impersonal Google and FaceBook algorithms that seem to run our lives these days. Instead of a machine deciding what you’ll see, I personally go out and look for great articles that have value to the quest for greater personal and family safety.
From all of the articles that I find, I weed out the “fake news” and those that don’t have direct application to some aspect of preparedness. Then, to fight the growing scourge of information overload, I distill everything down to what I believe to be the three most useful articles you can read right now, explain the context of those articles, and identify any bias so you can trust what you read.
It’s a more personal, more targeted, and more efficient way to get the information you need!
Here’s what I’ve found for you this week:
This week in Defense and Training:
How’s your legal knowledge?
In my work I read a lot self-defense stories. In cases where the defender ended up on the wrong side of the law, or there was a “negative outcome” (I.e., the wrong person got shot), the cause is rarely a lack of shooting ability. In most cases, the problem arises from a lack of knowledge about the legal side of lethal force.
In the training world everything is about shooting; very little is about NOT shooting, or — if you prefer — when it’s appropriate (and when it’s not) to introduce your firearm into an incident. It’s an area of defensive training that is woefully under-served.
Knowing the law, regarding both general firearms possession and the separate topic of their use in self defense, is really critical. (Some people brush this off with the statement that you won’t have time to analyze the law when the bad guy jumps out at you with a knife. Very true, but in such cases the need and legality for the use of lethal force is pretty well established. It’s every OTHER scenario that the legal knowledge is important — and that’s the majority of the time you’ll be carrying your gun!)
This article looks at the deficiencies and gives some generalized thoughts on how and where to obtain the necessary training. (I will also put in a plug for Massad Ayoob’s MAG-20 course, which is the gold standard for this kind of education. In fact, I consider it a requirement for anyone who has a firearm for self defense.)
This week in Safety and Security:
Stories like this are preventable, which is what makes them so sad
When I talk about “safety and security”, that means not only you — but everyone around you, and those you have responsibility for. I’m sharing this tragic story because it illustrates a failure that afflicts a lot of gun owners.
A 6-year-old girl was accidentally killed when her 12-year-old brother found their parent’s pistol in a dresser drawer. I’m sure their parents, like most parents, thought that they were perfectly safe “hiding” a gun in a dresser. They were, like so many other parents before them, very wrong.
At the risk of losing some subscribers, I’ll be very blunt: there are only two responsible places for a firearm — on your person, or locked up. People send nasty emails accusing me of being “against self defense” for that statement, but in this day and age there is no reason to choose between safety and defense. You can have both.
Today we have rapid-access gun safes that can be mounted securely in an appropriate place that are plenty fast for the job of defense inside the home. We have affordable security systems that will give plenty of advance notice of an intruder. There is no need to hide or “stage” unsecured firearms. If someone feels that they just need instant access to a gun all the time, we’re back to the first option: on one’s person.
I’m tired of reading these stories. I’m tired of kids being killed because their parents were irresponsible. If you’re not carrying it, lock it up. And pass the message on to other gun owners. Let’s see if we can reduce these tragedies.
This week in Preparedness and Health:
That first step is all in your head
Once you get past the click-baity title, this is actually a pretty good article on the necessity of mental preparation.
If you don’t really accept the possibility of disaster, criminal attack, or even job loss, you simply won’t be able to plan to handle them. Everyone has a slightly different range of plausible dangers to their life, but all of us need to accept the reality that something could happen.
This idea of acceptance has, I think, two separate but related components. First is in the planning stage; you have to accept that certain things could believably happen to you. Preparations can’t begin until that acceptance has occurred.
Second is in the response phase; you have to accept that it’s happening NOW, and that it’s time to put those plans into action. This is greatly aided by establishing “tripwires” in your planning: those specific things that, when they happen, serve to automatically initiate your response.
I do have one disagreement with the author: a “bugout bag” probably isn’t the first thing that needs to be done. For some people it may be, but for many others the “get home” bag will be more important. For still others, the “stay home” bag (which isn’t really a bag, but you get the idea) takes the top spot.
Other than that small criticism, I think it’s a good article and well worth reading.
– Grant Cunningham
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