Welcome to your
Hump Tax 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 actually have value in 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 Defensive Training and Gear:
More on shotgun loads
Just after last week’s Hump Day List posted, a reader sent me this link to an article about shotgun performance at 25 and 50 yards. It graphically illustrates changes in center of impact and hit probability on a male torso for several tested loads.
It’s interesting information and shows how performance varies from load to load with the same gun. However, their conclusion warrants especially careful reading; it’s nothing you haven’t heard me say before, but they’re quite emphatic about it and state their case eloquently.
This week in Personal Safety and Security:
Not every incident is a shooting incident. But how do you tell?
This is a tragic story with a negative outcome: an innocent man was killed by his neighbor, who mistook his drunken behavior for criminal intent.
This story from the Honolulu Civil Beat describes the incident quite thoroughly. The occupant of the house shot through a door at an unidentified target, killing the man on the other side — who had, apparently, mistaken the house in question for his own a few doors down. The shooter is now on trial for manslaughter.
Generally speaking, the use of lethal force in self defense requires a reasonable belief that your life (or that of other innocents) is in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger. This trial will hinge on what was “reasonable”; is shooting through a door at someone who can’t be seen a reasonable act?
Could this have been prevented? The hard truth is that there were a lot of things the homeowner could have done before the fact. A reinforced front door would have largely eliminated the threat of easy break-in, giving him time to barricade in a pre-determined defensive space and to call for police response. A video doorbell would have given a view of what was happening, and one with audio capabilities might have alerted him that the person on the porch wasn’t a crazed killer, just a drunk looking for his own bed. He may have even recognized him as a neighbor.
He had to climb up a stairway, his foot in a cast, to get his gun. That’s a lot of time which could have been spent doing something like barricading in place; even if he simply called 911 and waited at the top of the stairs in case the victim actually made entry, he would have been far less likely to make the mistake he did.
If you’re concerned about safety in your home, the first thing to buy isn’t a gun; a firearm is a tool with a very limited range of application. Hardened doors, good outdoor lighting, video systems, defensible spaces, flashlights at every bed, staged phones, and remote indoor light controls are tools with a wider range of application and which go a long way to preventing this kind of negative outcome.
I’ll be blunt: if someone has a gun for “home defense” but haven’t yet done any of the above, I think they’re irresponsible. They are one bad decision away from this kind of scenario.
(It’s also worth noting that the defendant’s life has been irretrievably altered as a result of his hastiness. The incident happened in April 2018, and as of October 2019 — a year and a half later — he was still waiting for a trial date. In the meantime, he’s had to spend money on legal defense, gone through emotional and psychological turmoil, and is likely either unemployed or on unpaid leave as a result. Even if he wins the criminal trial, there may be a civil trial in his future which will be harder to win. He’s likely moved, or will eventually need to move, to escape the social stigma which comes from killing another human being. He may find future employment difficult to obtain. I daresay he’s wishing he’d done something different that day. Don’t let yourself get into the same situation; think about your defense beyond just the gun.)
This week in Preparedness and Health:
Can you see me now?
One area of preparedness a lot of people may overlook is maintaining healthy vision. Those of us who wear eyeglasses, or have contact lenses, need to think about what we’d do in an emergency. What happens if your glasses are damaged, or you can’t get supply of those disposable contacts?
One good tactic is to have a spare set — or multiple sets — of glasses staged in specific places. I carry a spare set of glasses with me everywhere, in case my regular pair is damaged or somehow lost.
With the cost of glasses these days, however, this can get expensive — but Blue Collar Prepping has some ideas for reducing the cost of those spares. (I’ve used Zenni Optical and Eye Buy Direct with complete success; an emergency pair of glasses can be had cheap, and the quality of the lenses is quite good. Their cheapest frames aren’t up to the quality of good name-brand alternatives, but for a spare set they’re more than adequate.)
– Grant Cunningham