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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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  1. Personal safety along with protection of others is the obligation of all. We live in a world where it is now a necessity to always be prepared. Decades ago everyone could leave the house or car unlocked, but now it is an invitation to get robbed. Our society is getting to the point where personal safety is the same way—a requirement of law abiding citizens. Personal safety like locking the doors is not paranoia.