How can I be safe? (Dec. 7, Part II)

First off, please accept my apologies for the length of time between these two posts! Life has been busy on this end for many reasons, not the least of which has been the approach of Christmas, at which time my family and I celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, but also in that I have been blessed with an opportunity to volunteer my time at a local clinic. I’m glad for those who keep coming back to read the posts, and for any new visitors who may also come along. Thank you and let me take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

In my last posting (which, I say with all humility, I am grateful was received well and without the instant and manufactured ‘outrage’ we see today, in all too many cases) I spoke about the fact that we, as a nation, have an enemy that wants to see us fall. I spoke of the violence that we see happening, and how we need to be prepared and ready and not soothed by the gentle words of those who are willing to do anything in order to stay in office and play the appeasement game. In the responses to that article, a friend of mine who is a responsible gun owner mentioned that he felt it was an appropriate reason for people to begin seeking out becoming legally licensed to own and carry a firearm. While I am not only a firm believer in responsible gun ownership but, indeed, believe it is a right guaranteed by our Constitution here in the US of A, it also made me think; what about those of my readers who may be either unable or unwilling to have or obtain a firearm and/or carry one? Perhaps, because of a poor decision in your past, there may be legal barriers. You may have medical or ethical objections. You may simply not be able to afford the expense of licensing and purchasing a handgun. The reasons, really, are secondary, overall. If you fall into that category and are thinking, “Well, what can I do?” Let me answer that this way. I am in the same boat as you. I’ve asked myself the same questions, and I’ll gladly share what I’ve found out. Use what works, discard what does not. Ready? Let’s get to it.

For myself, owning a firearm to carry is something I have consciously chosen not to do. I was diagnosed epileptic about 2 years ago and, unfortunately, the same medication that I take that keeps me seizure-free also has a possibility, however, small, of side effects that can include changes to your personality. It has to do with way that the medication interacts with the chemicals in the brain. After much thought and prayer on the subject, I decided that so long as that was a possibility, I would consciously choose to not obtain and carry a firearm. Yes, I know that if I really went right off the edge and wanted to do harm to people I could find a way, as could anyone, but I would rather give people a better chance to get away from me because I had a knife or a bat as opposed to a fully loaded .45. As I said – my choice, and used for illustration, not debate.

I use that illustration to show that despite that, there ARE things you can do. You CAN, as the image says, “Be Prepared, Not Scared.” One of my favorite authors, Gavin DeBecker, says that knowledge is the best antidote to fear, and I have found it to be true. Here’s my suggestions:

  1. LEARN. I would recommend the following books which are not only straightforward, easy reads but also for me were life changing. They are eye opening looks into the world of violence and violent behavior, how to spot it and how to avoid it if humanly possible.
    1. The Gift of Fear: With the exception of the Bible, this book, written by Gavin DeBecker, is probably the most impacting book I have ever read. It deals with the ability we all have to recognize the signals our mind sends us in the presence of danger, and how to listen to them. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
    2. Facing Violence – preparing for the unexpected: Written by Rory Miller, this book is another on my “definitely read it” list. It deals with concrete examples of violent behavior, the people who show it and do it, and perhaps most importantly, ways that you can avoid, defuse and if necessary (and hopefully) get out of potentially violent behavior. For men, especially, it is an eye opening look into the way our brains tend to work when in social situations and, especially, potentially violent ones.
    3. Fear Less – Real truth about risk, safety and security in a time of terrorism: Also written by Gavin DeBecker, this book takes a hard look at the ways in which the media, politicians, and other groups use fear as a means to not only heighten our uncertainty but also potentially make us feel that only “they” or “the government/the police/the military” can protect us. It also looks at how media reports are changed and used to make them attention getting (“nothing gets our attention like fear”) when they may not be nearly as impacting as they are made out to be.
  2. PLAN: It’s as simple as “What would I do if…?” Do you pay attention to what’s around you? Have you studied any type of self defense? Make it a habit, wherever you are, to ask yourself “If X happened right now, what would I do?” Make it a point to look up from your phone/tablet and actually pay attention to the world around you and the people in it. The criminal element counts on the unobservant and the self-absorbed. Pay attention, and plan.
  3. BE SECURE: Pay attention to the security of your home/office/car. I don’t own a handgun but I do own a shotgun for home defense. I know how my apartment is laid out and where the best and most defensible places would be from which to use it and not endanger my family. When lights were out on the back of the apartment building, I pressed the office to have them replaced so that it wasn’t dark all the time back there, inviting people to break in, unobserved. Remember – YOUR safety begins and ends with YOU. Don’t take shortcuts or say “Well, that’s good enough.” The stakes are too high.
  4. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING: I know, it sounds trite by now, but consider what happened in San Bernardino a short time ago, and how many times the refrain of “Well, I didn’t say anything because…” has been said while the death toll is being read out on the news. Suspicious behavior is suspicious behavior, whatever the skin color, ethnicity or country of origin. Don’t be afraid of the PC crowd and their labels. If you feel – if you KNOW – something is wrong, SAY something, and make your voice heard. The stakes, even if it’s not YOUR life, may be the lives of others. Is it worth it, with those stakes, to keep quiet? I surely don’t think so.

Well – that was a bit of a long one, but I hope and pray that there is information in there that will be of use to someone who reads it. Take care, be safe and above all, remember – PREPARED IS NOT THE SAME AS PARANOID. You don’t have to be paranoid to be prepared – only realistic.

God bless, my friends!