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Living on the edge of America

The horrible tragedy in Newton CT has been broadcast to the world non-stop. One of the drawbacks of instant access to news all across the globe is that it can be overwhelming. I find myself wanting to turn it off. I find it disturbing that I am constantly reminded of the evil in this world. I find it disturbing that someone has once again disturbed the peace and calm of humanity by a senseless act of violence.  

This morning I had to smile as I watched a video from channel 2 in West Tennessee. One unemployed father who is a marine dusted off his uniform and decided to stand guard outside of his daughter’s school. He decided to do this because his daughter has been affected by the senseless violence in Newton. His daughter told her daddy that she was afraid to go back to school. Her sense of peace, calm and safety had been damaged.

In the wake of another senseless school shooting the Americans have become polarized in their attempt to identify the cause and affect of what has happened. I suppose we are all trying to make sense of what has happened and why. Gun control activists are asking for more gun control laws. The logic in this is that if there were no guns then people would stop using them to kill people. I understand that logic but I do not agree with it.

I believe that guns are not evil. People who use guns to hurt and kill other people are evil. I personally own several weapons and I have them for the purpose of self-defense and the defense of my family and loved ones. I have obtained these weapons legally by purchasing them and taking the appropriate concealed weapons permit class in South Carolina. I chose to not be a victim. I chose to be the sheep dog or guardian of my family. Having weapons is only one of many tools in my personal self-defense plan.

In the wake of the latest incident it appears that the young man who killed his mother and father had a history of mental illness. I wonder if the mom and dad were unaware of this or if they were why did they not have better control over their weapons? If there were danger signs present why didn’t the young man receive the proper mental health treatments he needed? While our leaders are working on more gun control laws I hope that they focus their attention on the severely lacking mental health issues that are being swept under the rug.  

I also hope that our lawmakers focus on stricter criminal control laws as well. If someone uses a firearm in the commission of a crime then the laws should be severe enough to make people think twice about doing it. I realize that other countries have laws that are nothing short of Draconian. In other words if you commit a crime the punishment for that crime is severe enough to actually lower crime statistics.   If people know that the punishment is swift and severe they will think twice about doing it.

Of course, that only applies to sane people who know the difference from right and wrong. People who have jumped off the cliff of insanity and feel that they have nothing to lose will not care about this.

I also hope that our lawmakers will focus on providing our schools with adequate security. I believe that every school should have trained security personnel that will help to prevent this type of violence from happening again. I believe that if teachers chose to get a concealed weapons permit, and carry a concealed weapon in his or her classroom, then that could be an option. I also believe that teachers should not have to be focused on providing security for their children. Teachers should be focused on educating our children and molding them into the future leaders of tomorrow.

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Here is an article from the “Well Armed Woman Blog”

I saw this post on Facebook this afternoon and I wanted you to read it as well.

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Personal Testimony of Mr. Tony Walker

One of the things that I am very passionate about is my faith in Jesus Christ.  I am also very passionate about protecting my family from the evils of this world.  That is the number one reason why I have chosen to get my concealed carry permit in the state of South Carolina.  I hope and pray that I am never in a position to use deadly force against another human being.  I have decided that if my family is put in danger that I will do everything in my power to protect them including using deadly force.

I am a proud member of the US Concealed Carry Organization.  I receive their magazine once per month and I love reading true stories about other men and women who use their weapon of choice to protect their loved ones from those people who chose to do them harm.  In this month’s magazine n page 18 I read a story about Mr. Tony Walker.

I would like to encourage you to read his testimony.

 

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Moving on in 2012

I am happy that 2011 is behind us, and the holiday season is over.  Our family is on the mend and we are all feeling much better.  I am back to work, Justin is back to school, and spring semester for college starts up on January 9th for me.  I am not looking forward to school starting up again, but I am getting closer to my goal with regards to getting my associates degree.  I have three more semesters or 27 credits or 9 classes to complete for my degree program. 

There is a lot of talk on TV and social media about New Years resolutions.  It is a known fact that most folks who make New Years resolutions have a very difficult time keeping those resolutions during the new year.  One New Years resolution is to lose those extra pounds that we packed on as we gorged ourselves during the holidays.  Gym memberships go up and folks make an effort to work out.  I am ahead of the curve on this one folks.  I did not gorge myself during the holidays and I was sick and lost weight.  That was one positive thing about being sick.  My short term goal is to lose 1 lb per week and I am hopeful that I can meet or exceed that goal. 

In 2012 I plan on continuing my healthy living goals which are very simple.  I plan on eating meal choices that are healthier for me.  I also want to work on burning more calories than I consume.  That means that I need to continue down the path of going to Planet Fitness on a regular basis.  I would like to see myself going to Planet Fitness every day and getting a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.  Aerobic exercise is where I will begin to burn fat cells at an increased rate. 

In 2012 I plan on being less critical of myself.  I plan on living one day at a time and do the best I can with what I have.  I am my own worse critic, and boy do I love to judge myself, and remember those stupid mistakes from the past.  There is nothing I can do about the past, other than to learn from those mistakes and move on. 

In 2012 I plan on reducing my consumption of social media.  If I were honest with myself, I would have to say that I am a technology junkie (addict).  Technology to me is like mind candy, and I can not get enough of it.  I love social media, and having the ability to make personal connections with different people, via the many social media apps online.  I have an account with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google Plus, LinkedIN and many more.  My goal is to reduce how much time I spend on the different social media portals.  As I have been consumed with social media, I have gotten caught up in mindlessly wandering through multiple social media streams of endless content. 

In 2012 I want to help others, become more aware for their need for personal and family defense preparedness.  I have begun to work on a series of articles that take a no nonsense approach, to what personal and family defense preparation is and is not.  I want to find a balance between preparing for the end of the world as we know it, and the belief that crime happens to other people.  My goal is to help people to be better prepared to keep themselves and their families safe in the world we live in through common sense solutions. 

In 2012 I want to be a better husband to my wife of 21 years and father to my children.  I want to be more thoughtful, compassionate and loving.  I want to be a better Christ follower and someone that gives of myself back to the community.  I want to be a better friend that brings value to the lives of others.  I want to continue to be an encourager to those that need encouragement.   I want to be a man of integrity, courage and compassion. 

Dear readers, what are your goals for 2012?  Do you share some of my goals or are they very different than mine?  How can we help one another to be who we want to be?  I look forward to your comments. 

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Personal and Family Defense Plan–Preparation

In part 3 of this series, I made some mental assertions.  Here they are. 

·         I chose to be mentally prepared to protect myself, and my family. 

·         I chose to do whatever it takes so that we will not become victims

Remember that our goal is to be safe as individuals and as families.  We want to know that in case of an emergency, where our safety is threatened, we can act in such a way to escape the threat, or repel that threat.  

The first step towards being prepared is to prepare my mind.  I must look deep within myself and make a commitment to do whatever it takes to keep myself and my family safe should the need arise.

 I am writing this from the perspective of a husband and a father.  You may be viewing this from the perspective of a single person or a mother with young children.    No matter what angle you are coming from you need to be willing to count the cost.  

In order for me to be mentally prepared to protect myself, I must be mentally aware.   I need to be paying attention to my environment, and I must be in condition yellow at all times.  What does condition yellow mean?  It means that I am scanning my surroundings looking for threats at all times.  I am on the lookout for threats that can cause harm.   Being mentally prepared, means that I am in a state of awareness that will enable me to act in case of an emergency.  

When I am mentally aware of my environment and I have made the decision to protect myself and loved ones I am putting myself in an optimal situation.   I will be better prepared to consider all my options and make a good decision.  To be mentally aware means that I am not walking around with my head in the clouds or being distracted by my iPhone, iPod, MP3 player or some other electronic gizmo.  My head will not be down and I will not be so focused on my gadgets that I fail to see danger approaching.  

It is very important that you are confident in your ability to make the right decisions and that you equip yourself so that you can act in such a way to either escape a threat or repel the threat.   Criminals know what they are looking for in a victim.  They walk around looking for folks that are distracted and not paying attention to their surroundings.  They look for easy targets to hit.  They look for someone that they believe they can overpower easily and do what it is they plan on doing.  

Your mental awareness and body language go hand in hand.  Paying attention to those around you and giving them eye contact will let them know that you are not going to be a victim.  You are aware of their presence and you are prepared to act. This does not mean that you will never be attacked; but it does mean that your attacker will not be able to take you by surprise.  

Being mentally aware also means that you understand the different types of dangers in your environment and that you have purposely considered your ability to escape or repel a threat.  Have you ever heard of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Being mentally prepared means that you think about what you are going to do before you do it.  We must think about the consequences of our actions before we commit to them.  If I find myself in this situation what will happen if I do this or that? 

Personal defense scenario at home:

One evening you come home after work and you drive up in your driveway.  You start to get out of your vehicle but you notice a stranger on the sidewalk and they are approaching you.  You do not know the person and now you are nervous that they might not have the best of intentions.   What are some of the things that are going through you mind? 

·         Who is this person?

·         Could this be a sales person?

·         Why is this person on my property?

·         How is this person acting towards me? 

·         Am I expecting someone?

·         Is anyone home that can help me?

·         If this person becomes aggressive towards me what will I do?

·         Where is my cell phone? 

·         Should I yell for help?

·         Do I feel threatened or am I being overtly paranoid? 

If you are mentally prepared you will have already worked through this type of scenario in your mind before it ever happens in real life.  As you can see, when something happens you have to quickly assess your environment and all of the variables so that you can either escape or repel a threat.  That means that you have to act decisively. 

How would I process my environment in this scenario? 

·         How far is this person from me once I notice them?

·         Is the person visibly aggressive or passive in their body language?

·         Can I see their hands or are they wearing bulky clothing that could hide a weapon?

·         Are they the only unknown or are their multiple threats?

·         What is my gut instinct telling me? Do I feel threatened?

I will need to process my environment and make a decision within 60 seconds so that I can ACT one way or the other.  I may choose to get back into my vehicle, lock the doors and call the police. I may decide to back out of the driveway and go to a neighbor’s house and ask them for assistance.  If the person is threatening me and I am in fear of serious bodily injury or death, and I am carrying a concealed weapon, I can announce my intention to use deadly force to protect myself. 

The closer that the person gets to me the shorter amount of time I will have to react and my options for escape will diminish quickly.  I heard the other day that the FBI put together a 333 rule.  Most shootings happen within 30 feet within 3 seconds and 3 shots are fired.  I will leave it to you to do the research on how correct that statistic is but I can assure you that when things happen they do not happen in slow motion like in the movies. 

How many times do we do things repetitiously?  We leave, we go to our different destinations and most of the time we take the same route over and over again.  We become comfortable in our routine, and if we are not careful that routine could give us a false sense of security.  Years ago, when I was in law enforcement the number one killer of police officers was routine traffic stops.  They key word here is routine.  There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop.  The moment something becomes routine, that is when you can become the victim of a crime. 

In the next article we can look closer at the environment and how to identify different threats to us as individuals and families.  How well we plan for threats to ourselves, and our families will determine whether or not we will become a victim.    

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Personal and Family defense plan–What to expect

As I write this series of blog posts/articles about personal and family defense plans, I want to make something crystal clear.  The intent and purpose of writing about this, is to get you, the individual or family member, to think about personal and family safety in case of an emergency. 

I need to define what an emergency is.  I am primarily focusing on the physical safety of you or a loved one.  I want you to think about what you are going to do in the event that someone places you, or a loved one, in a position where you feel that you are in threat of serious bodily injury or death. Your personal and family defense plan should include threats from natural disasters such as floods, fire, earthquakes as well.  More than likely you have already formulated a plan for that eventuality. 

This series on personal and family defense is an introductory series that will probably bore most hard-core personal defense or survivalist gurus. If you fall in that category, you are possibly looking for tactically oriented discussion.  I am creating a Google Circle in which everyone is invited to discuss these blog posts, and learn from them. No matter what group you fall under, you are welcome to read and share your thoughts and assistance to those who are new to these topics. 

As we go through this series I feel a need to repeat some things in order to keep us focused and on track.  Our goal is that we want to be safe as individuals and as families.  We want to know that in case of an emergency, where our safety is threatened, we can act in such a way as to escape the threat, or repel that threat. 

Ok, now that we have the preamble out of the way lets dive right in.  Why is it important to have a personal and family defense plan? Do you have a living will or power of attorney in case of medical emergency?  If not, you seriously need to put one in place.  Just as it is important to have a living will or power of attorney, it is important to have a personal and family defense plan.

Here is a news flash for all of us.  Emergencies happen and rarely announce themselves.  Before you know it, you or your family could be in the middle of a crisis.  Your ability to survive a crisis depends on how effective your personal and family defense plan is. Let’s flash back to the famous movie called

Apollo 13 trailer

, where Tom Hanks is starring in this movie.  The famous words were “Houston, we have a problem”.  He says this in the midst of multiple warning lamps going off in the background and audible alerts.  They were losing their oxygen supply fast and their lives were in danger. One of the command module team members cycled one of the air controls during a routine procedure. When he did this an explosion occurred and caused one of the air lines to rupture and start venting air out into space. The members of Apollo 13 were in a real crisis. They depended on their support team in the NASA control center to formulate a plan that would save their lives.

Now, let’s make this personal for us.  The chances, of us being in orbit 3 miles over the earth, with a busted air line is slim to none.

Let’s imagine we are not filthy rich and can’t afford the fanciest of alarm systems, do not have a pack of trained attack dogs, or heavily armed body guards.  We are asleep in our beds at 2:30 am and we hear the sound of your downstairs door, being forced open.  You can hear the sounds of the door jamb coming apart, and the door hitting the floor.  You hear muffled voices downstairs, and your mind starts to race, adrenaline starts to shoot through your veins causing your hands to start shaking.  What are you going to do?  How are you going to survive this crisis?  If you are a family member, how will they survive this crisis? 

If you are reading this thinking “OH CRAP” I have NO idea what I would do, then you are not alone. Most people seem to think that this will never happen to them.  This only happens to someone in a neighborhood that is not their own.  It only happens to other people, not themselves.  Because they have never experienced this sort of crisis they assume that it can never happen to them.  A dear friend of mine told me one day, that him and his family have never owned a firearm, nor have ever had the need to use one.  Why would he find the need to own one now?  I will come back to this question at a later part of this series.   

Under Siege Dark Territory

is an action thriller starring Steven Segal, where he is on a hijacked train. A mad scientist is using a satellite uplink, to control a space satellite to destroy things on the ground. In one of the scenes, the hired mercenaries assumed that the rogue cook (Steven Segal) was safely off the train and not going to kill any more of their men.

I loved this quote, that the head mercenary told his men when he asked if they found Steven Segal’s body.  Assumption is the mother of all FUC* Ups!  Yes, I could have used the word “mistakes” instead, so I will just apologize for using the original word.  I wanted to use it because it drills the point home.  If you assume something, that assumption can get you or a family member killed. Let me put it a different way. The safety of your life, or your family, should NEVER rest on the basis of an ill formed assumption.  There is always a chance that a crisis can and will occur. 

My desire at this point, is for you to consider what you would do in case of a crisis that places you or a loved one in a position of serious bodily injury or death.  I want you to contemplate the reality of that and let it sink in.  Do you feel that if you are prepared and have a personal and family defense plan in place that you will become a different person that you will not like?  Do you feel that your family, wife or friends will think you have gone off the ranch and lost your mind?  A dear friend of mine told me one day that I am “paranoid”.  I told him, no, I am not paranoid; I am prepared as I can be, for whatever crisis that might threaten my personal safety or that of my family.

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What is a personal and family defense plan?

We spend a lot of time putting together short term, and long term goals.  In order to meet these goals we have to develop a plan.  The plan identifies the goal, and what needs to happen to be successful, in meeting that goal.  What are some of the goals that we have? 

We spend a lot of time and energy in providing an income for our families.  We want to be able to provide for the needs and wants.  We develop a savings plan, in which we invest in stocks, bonds or have a 401k.  We want to make sure that as we grow older, that we will not have to be dependent on our families, others or the state to provide for us. 

We formulate goals and plans for our personal well being.  We want to live a healthy and productive life, that is filled with fond memories with loved ones.  We plan things so that our longevity and quality of life takes a high priority.  We try to eat the right things, we try to exercise, and stay way from those things that are harmful to our bodies. 

I am sure that as you have read these goals, that require some serious planning, that you can think of other things such as retirement,  children’s college funds, taking care of aging parents etc.  All of these things are important to us and require some serious thought and energy. 

How much thought have you and your family put into a personal and family defense plan?  Every single day we tune into our favorite news media portal, and we hear about people who have become victims to violent and non violent crimes of all sorts.  Most of us are so sick of listening to it, we chose to tune it out.  We do not want to get sucked into being fearful of what might happen, that we decide to assume it will not happen.  If we assume that it will not happen, then there is no need to put together a goal to be safe.  The goal to be safe and stay safe, requires a plan just like the rest of the plans I discussed earlier.  It does not happen by itself and it does require some thought. 

I am going to give you my definition of what “personal and family self defense” means.  Personal self defense, means the ability that I have, as an individual, to keep myself safe at all times.  Family self defense, means the family, as a unit, and its ability to function as a unit, with the goal of keeping other family members safe. 

As we dig into these definitions, and their purposes, we will find that both plans have some of the same needs and purposes.  The goal is that we want to be safe as individuals and as families.  We want to know that in case of an emergency, where our safety is threatened, that we can act in such a way as to escape the threat, or repel that threat.

In this series of blog posts about “personal and family self defense” I will attempt to examine several things. 

  • the importance of having a plan
  • understanding how to formulate a simple plan
  • personal defense away from home
  • personal defense at home
  • The differences between personal defense and family defense
  • how to over come the negative rhetoric of gun ownership
  • the importance of our second amendment right to have and bear arms
  • arming yourself and loved ones with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about self defense in your town, city and state

 

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No Concealed Weapon signs means no business from me

I went to the Goodwill store on Rivers Avenue, just after Remount road on Sunday afternoon.  Katy and I were on our way back from church, and I wanted to see how the Goodwill Technology Center was doing.  I do volunteer work for a non profit in Charleston and I send a lot of folks that need low cost technology hardware to that location.

The parking lot was full for a Sunday afternoon, and I found a place to park near the front door.  Katy and I walked up to the front door and I was greeted by a “legal” No Concealed Carry sign on the front door.  That means that I , as a legal concealed carry permit holder have to disarm myself to go into this business.  Despite my urge to get in the car and wait on Katy to finish her shopping, I disarmed myself so I could complete my mission.

In South Carolina you can go to an 8 hour class , in which an NRA trained instructor, teaches you the state gun laws, and you spend time on the range proving your proficiency with a hand gun.  Basically you have to prove you can hit a paper target up to 50 feet away with both hands.  You shoot 50 rounds and do it with the gun range instructors guidance.  The 8 hour class is a bare minimum requirement from the state.  You also get yourself fingerprinted at the local Sherriff department on Leeds Avenue.  Those prints are then sent to the FBI where your prints are compared to their database to make sure you are not wanted or have a criminal background.  While you are at Leeds avenue you are in a locked room with the deputy who also searches their County database to see if you are currently wanted in their system.

Once the background check is done your concealed weapons permit application is sent to the same local Sherriff for their approval or disapproval of your permit.  Once he or she signs off on it. the application goes back to SLED for their approval. and to either send you the permit or deny it.  This process takes up to 90 days to happen.  Not everyone is able to get a concealed weapons permit.

More and more people are finding the need to be able to carry a concealed weapon on themselves, for their protection, and protection of a loved one.  In South Carolina you can carry a handgun in a container, that can be locked such as your glove box or center console, or trunk in your vehicle.  You do not have to have a CWP (concealed weapons permit)because of the Castle Doctrine that the state legislature enacted many moons ago, basically states that your vehicle is covered.  The Castle Doctrine basically states, that your home is your castle, and you have a right and privilege to defend it against intruders, and that you do not have to retreat in the face of an intrusion.

The Concealed Weapons Permit does not mean that you can carry a concealed weapon anywhere you please.  You can not carry your concealed weapon into a school or government building.  You can not carry it when you go vote or into government buildings, childcare facilities or medical facilities.  You also can not carry a concealed weapon into a restaurant or bar that sells alcohol for on site consumption.  You can not carry a concealed weapon into a business if they are displaying a legal sized sign with a handgun with a line drawn through it with a circle and says “No concealed weapons allowed”.

If you carry a concealed weapon in any of these places, and you are caught, you lose your CWP permit and you are fined and can go to jail.  That means that if I really want to go to King Street Grill on Wednesday for a half price burger I have to disarm myself.  If I want to go to the Goodwill Technology center to buy this or that I have to disarm myself.  When we went into Goodwill, as in most stores, there are no security measures in place to protect you.  No armed security officers, no police, no nothing.  That means that you are disarming yourself so that you can have the pleasure of obeying the law and spending your hard earned money in that establishment.

The only problem with this scenario is that criminals do NOT obey the law and they carry concealed weapons wherever they go.  When business owners display the no concealed weapons signs on their business that is advertising to criminals that everyone is disarmed, and that they can safely go in and rob the place.  They do not have to worry about being met with any type of resistance from a legally armed citizen.  I believe that the state laws need to be amended, so that folks who are legally able to carry a concealed weapon can do so in restaurants and businesses like Goodwill.

If you look at the state laws online you will see that restaurants that sell alcohol on the premises are NOT listed as one of the places you can not carry a concealed weapon.  That prohibition is listed in a completed different section of the state law.  You have to do some digging to find it, but it is there.  I believe that the law should stipulate that if you want to consume alcohol, then you can not legally carry a concealed weapon.  If you want to enter the establishment and have dinner with your family and you are NOT sitting at the bar, then you should be able to carry a concealed weapon with a state issued permit.

I also believe that businesses should be allowed to prohibit the ILLEGAL carrying of concealed weapons but also allow LEGALLY licensed permit holders to carry.  As it stands it is either you can or you can not. How can we change these laws?  By communicating with our state law makers in such a way that they will make changes to the language of existing laws or passing amendments.  That is why it is so important to educate yourself on what the law says.  You can do this by joining the NRA or local gun clubs or state organizations that can help us to effect these much needed changes.

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Finding balance between personal safety and paranoia

This year I have managed to work on three different goals.  The first goal was to continue my education by taking classes at Trident Technical College. I probably have one more year to go and then I will have gotten my first 2 year degree as a Telecommunications Systems Manager.  That degree program at Trident Technical College fits right in line with my current career path in I.T.  If truth be known I should have done this 20 years ago.  What can I say, I am a slow starter. 

My second goal is to continue working on my wellness program.  I started this in earnest back in June of this year when I joined Planet Fitness and made a commitment to myself to go work out a minimum of 3 days per week so I can lose weight.  I also made a commitment to myself to eat healthier and to eat less.  Thus far this is working out for me as I am finding some success in this area.  I am losing weight and my clothes are getting too big for me which is forcing me to pay to have them taken in. 

My third goal this year was to get my concealed weapons permit in South Carolina.  I guess some folks would consider my blogging about that as “over sharing”.  The reason I want to write about this is because I have met with some resistance from some of my friends with regards to my decision to do this.  I have been labeled as “Mr.Paranoia” by some of my  friends but that is ok.  As I have discussed the reasons for labeling me as paranoid I realize that those folks have either experienced or seen other folks experience accidents around guns because of their mishandling.  We have all heard the stories of how a child comes across a loaded gun that is laying around the house not secured.  Sometimes the gun is not just laying around the house and might even be put away.  The problem with that is the weapon should be put in a safe place where it is accessible to the responsible adult in case of emergency but secured in such a manner that a child can not accidentally discharge the weapon and hurt themselves or others. 

I have spent a decade in law enforcement and private security and I have been exposed to the victims of personal crime and property. I have seen the affects that crime can bring upon an individual and their families. It is said that crime is a crime of opportunity.  In other words crime is committed by people who intentionally plan on doing something that breaks the law and violates our safety and that of our loved ones. I have several friends who have said that they have never had the need for a gun nor have any of their loved ones.  Therefore they do not see a need to have one in the home much less to carry one concealed.  All I can say to that is they have been very very fortunate.  I would also state that if that is the reason that they feel they do not need to protect themselves or their families then that is not good.  Thinking that crime can not happen to you or your family and that you will never become a victim is that very thing that will get you into trouble. 

The title of my blog post today is “Finding Balance between personal safety and paranoia”.  There is a difference between self defense and personal safety.  When you find yourself engaging an attacker then you are engaged in self defense. Self defense is something that we do instinctively because our survivor instincts kick in and we do everything that we can to get ourselves and our loved ones out of danger.  Personal safety is a mind set and a willingness to explore the possibility that there is danger all around us and to be mentally, emotionally and physically able to repel whatever danger that we might encounter. Being prepared to defend yourself and loved ones by any means possible is a right and privilege that should be taken seriously. 

Personal safety experts tell us that we should be in a condition “yellow” mode at all times. What does that mean exactly?  It means that we should always be aware of our surroundings.  It means that we should pay attention to the environment that we are in and the people that we are going to encounter each day.  It means that we should understand that not everyone that we encounter is our friend and that they do have a potential to want to do you or your loved ones harm should you look like a victim to them.  What makes someone appear to be like a victim?  A victim is someone who appears to be physically weak and not paying attention to their surroundings.  If you are walking down a sidewalk texting your friends or talking on your cell phone and not paying attention to those around you then you might be placing yourself in a position of being a possible victim. 

Having a law enforcement background I understand that not everyone is going to be ready willing and able to use a firearm to take a life. One of the things that our instructor told us was this. If you are not willing to put a gun into the rib cage of an attacker and pull the trigger and possibly kill them then you need to take your training fee and go home.  There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being an armed citizen.  You have to count the cost and you have to educate yourself on what the local laws are with regards to gun ownership and concealed carry. If you decide not to carry a firearm that does not mean that you have to throw away personal safety.  There are plenty of non lethal weapons that can be used for self defense and personal safety. 

I can not stress this enough.  Personal safety is an individual right and privilege. Your well being and your life and the life of a loved one could depend on your ability to be smart, be aware of your surroundings and be able to thwart an attacker that is intent on doing you serious bodily injury for whatever reasons. Yes, you have to be wary and maybe even a little bit paranoid of potential threats in the community around you but that little bit of paranoia can also keep you and your loved ones alive. Whatever you do please do not take the attitude that crime can not happen to you and is something that only happens to other people. 

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