We are all gearing up for the holiday season. There is shopping to do, meals to prepare, and many of us will be traveling.
No doubt there is much to preoccupy us, but there is also a nagging voice in the back of our minds…what if something similar to the Paris attacks happens here? The truth is that no matter what safeguards our government institutes, there is never a guarantee that something bad won’t happen. Whether it’s a terrorist attack, natural disaster, fire, or some other catastrophe, bad things sometimes happen to good people. Those who are prepared stand a much better chance of surviving and avoiding injury or death.
So you may be wondering what you can do to mitigate the risk when the unexpected happens…after all, unexpected means just that, right? I’m glad you asked! Do you remember those PITA fire drills you did in school? Well, they do those for a reason. You need to have a plan, not just a reaction. So we will outline some very simple, yet effective, things that everyone can do, regardless of their physical abilities.
Have A Plan
When you go into a crowded area, do you look for exits? Do you assess the potential for danger? You should. Just like when you are driving, you should always leave yourself an out. It only takes a quick glance around the room. In movie theaters, sit where you won’t be blocked by panicked people who freeze…and having a plan will help ensure that you don’t freeze! Know where the closest two or three exits are (the closest may be blocked) and how you will get to them in the event the room is dark and filled with smoke…or in the event you have to crawl on the floor to keep from being shot.
You know those annoying safety speeches the flight attendant gives before the plane departs? Pay attention to those! In the unlikely event the plane makes an emergency descent or landing there will be no time to find the instructions!
While this can’t always be done, it is often easier than you might think. It goes back to the first point, take a look around you. Be aware of your surroundings.
Criminals are eager to prey on distracted holiday shoppers. People are carrying lots of bags and perhaps lots of cash, and they are focused only on what they’re doing, not what others are doing. They are prime targets for a surprise attacks. It happens more frequently than you know…and the shopping malls don’t want it in the news because it could scare away the customers. BUT you can avoid the danger simply by being aware of your surroundings. If you can’t be ambushed because you are paying attention, there is a good chance that the criminal will wait for someone else who is less vigilant. After all, they are concerned about their own safety just like you are!
Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, your car, your boat? (If you don’t then you should!) Do you have insurance on you house, your car, and your life? Do you carry any defensive tools? You would be surprised how many people answered “no” to two out of three of those questions.
Let me point out that having the tools without the knowledge and skill to use them is also a risk. We all have a responsibility for our own well being. That includes maintaining our health, developing safe driving habits and skills, knowing what to do in the event of a fire and having some sort of self defense strategy.
Many people already have the tools for personal defense and don’t even know it. A firearm is the most obvious, but there are places where you cannot take your gun. In fact the citizens of Paris were deprived this very basic tool. Yet the attackers were armed with…you guessed it…guns. But even in places where you are seemingly disarmed, you still have options. Your keys can be used as a weapon, as can a woman’s purse. (Have you ever picked one up and wondered if there was a lead brick in there?) So can a pocket knife, a flashlight, the heel of your hand. Even books and papers thrown in an assailants face can disorient them enough to give you a fighting chance or an escape route. BUT if you don’t know how to use these things effectively AND instinctively, your panicked mind will not offer the data to you in an emergency. So with that we move on to the next section…
There are many types of classes. If you choose to carry a firearm for personal defense, please seek out a class that offers range time and discusses carry options, drawing from concealment, decision making in an emergency and mind set. You must be prepared to defend yourself, not hesitating about the right course of action.
In addition, you may consider courses on non-lethal defense. There are many levels of defense and some will depend on your physical ability. You need to be honest with yourself about that!
Here at Gadsden Guns we offer various classes, both private and group. There are advantages to both. With private you get a more personal experience, but in a group you benefit from insight of others, who may ask questions you never considered.
I can’t stress this enough. Have you ever gotten on a bicycle after years of not riding one? Were you a little wobbly until you got the feel for it again? Well, it’s kinda like that. If you haven’t taken your gun to the range in a while you will be slower and less accurate, which could be disastrous, or even deadly. Your muscle memory will be diminished and, worse yet, you may have to consciously THINK about what to do next. You may fumble to get your gun out of the holster. Fortunately, you can use dry-fire drills to keep some skills up between visits to the range.
Also, you must make it a habit to play the “What If” game. Whenever you go someplace, you are setting yourself up for potential danger. After a while, assessing the situation will become second nature and you won’t even realize you are doing it. Some say this is paranoia, but it is a simple survival skill that everyone should incorporate into their daily lives.
Do you remember the French train attack where three young American men overpowered a would-be attacker? Those young men had all practiced what to do in a similar situation. They had a plan. They kept their skills up. They survived, as did the other passengers on the train.
In an environment where the majority of people are expecting the police to save them, and are therefore not conscious of potential danger, criminals are empowered and enabled. But in a community where the majority is alert, aware, and ready to defend themselves, criminals are discouraged. They depend on the element of surprise to overwhelm their prey. So when there is no opportunity, they will often abandon their plans and look for softer targets.
The net result is a safer society, which is what I want for Christmas.
On behalf of everyone at Gadsden Guns, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season, filled with friends, family and good times.