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View Full Version : A SIMPLE, SANE approach to preparedness


JohnKSa
February 19, 2011, 07:31 PM
I frequently read and hear people speculating that firearm owners live in fear that something will happen.

Even on this forum, it's common to see people comment that if someone carries a gun in an area (church, home, bathroom, etc.) that they must be expecting something bad to happen and that sort of expectation is unreasonable or irrational.

From the other side of the house we hear about trainers advocating a constant awareness of one's surroundings. Realistically that kind of constant alert is impossible or at least extremely difficult to attain.

We don't want to live our lives in a state of unpreparedness but neither do we want to go through life constantly expecting something to happen. So where's the midde ground? What's preparedness in moderation?

Very simple. Don't concentrate on what might happen--don't live life expecting that at any moment something bad could happen to you.

Instead, avoid falling into the trap of believing that nothing bad can happen.

Don't expect bad things to happen--just don't allow yourself to become complacent by expecting nothing to happen.

That means you don't have to live on edge and it will also eliminate the delay that many people encounter during a crisis while they work through the typical crisis response: "Is this really happening? This never happens. How could this happen? This can't be happening to me. I never thought this could happen." And finally: "Yes, this really IS happening to me. I need to do something."

PawPaw
February 19, 2011, 07:45 PM
Why would you buy homeowners insurance unless you expected your house to burn down? (Yeah, yeah, I know, it's required by the mortgage holder, but the metaphor holds). Same for car insurance.

Better yet, in this day and age, why would you have health insurance unless you expected to go into the hospital?

Folks who make those type arguments aren't thinking.

From the other side of the house we hear about trainers advocating a constant awareness of one's surroundings. Realistically that kind of constant alert is impossible or at least extremely difficult to attain. Situational awareness is fairly easy after you practice it for awhile. When you are situationally aware, you're not on constant alert, just aware of your surroundings. What's going on, what's happening around you. If you're aware, you're likely to not be caught off-guard when something goes awry. You'll still be surprised, but not caught off-guard. That's an important distinction.

I feel like we're talking the same points, just from a different vocabulary.

sirsloop
February 19, 2011, 07:48 PM
Mentally preparing yourself for the possibility that something bad can happen will be a massive advantage if and when something bad does happen. Just the fact that you're thinkin about it before it happens probably puts you above like 95% of the public out there. Most people are sheep, wandering aimlessly around the world, only 2 meals worth of food at home, no means to protect themselves, no plan for anything. Their answer to a problem would be calling the police, calling AAA, going to the store to buy food, etc.

I don't really dwell on what can happen. I live life in a way that puts myself in a good position to succeed, regardless of the topic.

egor20
February 19, 2011, 07:57 PM
Murphy was an optimist. :cool:

JerryM
February 19, 2011, 08:02 PM
[Why would you buy homeowners insurance unless you expected your house to burn down? (Yeah, yeah, I know, it's required by the mortgage holder, but the metaphor holds). Same for car insurance.

Better yet, in this day and age, why would you have health insurance unless you expected to go into the hospital?

Folks who make those type arguments aren't thinking.]

Many, including me, have needed and used car insurance. If you live long enough it is almost a sure thing that you will need health insurance. However, I have lived a long time, and known many others who have lived into their 90s and never needed a gun for self defense.

As far as I am concerned the analogy between insurance and need for a gun for self defense does not hold much water.

Having said that there is nothing wrong with being aware of your surroundings, and carring a gun where legal, including church.
It becomes paranoia when we go to the need for a handgun when showering for example. I see no need to carry in my house, although some might need to do so. If I thought my neighborhood was that bad I would move. I am not going to live in some degree of fear to be concerned about 1 in millions odds.

I have needed medical, car, and home insurance, but not a gun for SD.
I don't expect to need one, but carry when out normally.

Regards,
Jerry

Sarge
February 19, 2011, 08:12 PM
John,

This is quite similar to a phase that rookie cops go through when they hit the street... expecting everybody they come across to try and kill them. The fact is that at any given moment, there are perhaps hundreds of people in circulation who will do just that; but staying keyed-up continuously will tire you out to the point you're way below optimum.

The first component is to maintain a constant, easily maintained level of of alertness. Always remember that any day can be The Day.

The second is developing conditioned responses, to overcome the OMG!! reflex and suppress the hesitation that gets you killed.

The third component is to ingrain counter-attack skills to the point that they flow from the subconscious, allowing your conscious mind to remain free threat recognition and problem solving.

Cover those bases, and you're about as safe as you can be. Until somebody shoots you in the back, you catch a ricochet, etc. etc.

tony pasley
February 19, 2011, 08:46 PM
I was raised to prepare for the worst. pray for the best, and deal with what comes your way.

2edgesword
February 19, 2011, 09:55 PM
There are levels of awareness that have been characterized by colors from white to red. To paraphrase these conditions in a non-technical way...

White = you're in bed with your wife watching Americas Funniest Videos

Yellow = you're walking in the mall

Orange = you're walking on the street and see a group of rough looking, rowdy teens or young adults coming your way.

Red = you're aware of some eminent threat

You can walk around for extended periods of time in condition yellow, and anytime you're out and about among the general public you should be at that higher stage of yellow alert. This is no stress or adrenalin pump associated with this level of awareness so you can maintain this condition indefinitely.

The higher conditions of awareness will eventually drain you physically and mentally. I don't think MA instructors are saying that every time you step out in public you should be in condition orange or red but rather condition yellow with eyes open and antenna up.

parkerppaul
February 20, 2011, 12:26 AM
I, too, was taught the color levels of awareness long ago. Although I remember another ... Black = too much condition white :rolleyes:

JohnKSa
February 20, 2011, 12:53 AM
Maybe there are people who can actually maintain condition yellow anytime they're outside of the house. I think that's open for debate, but I think it's clear that not many can always be aware of what's going on around them even if we limit it to only when we're outside of our homes.

But there is no doubt that when folks are at home they want to relax. I've seen that sentiment voiced repeatedly on TFL and elsewhere.

I'm not suggesting that people should just give up on being aware and alert, just pointing out that even in situations/areas normally considered to be fair game for relaxing it's important not to fall into the trap of believing that there's nothing bad that could happen.

The point is that many feel that trying to be constantly prepared for something to happen is unrealistic, irrational, or undesirable. I think that at some level all of us can understand why that's true. On the other hand, we don't want to swing too far in the direction of complacency.

So where's the balance point? I suggest that it's summed up in the following.

Don't go through life always expecting something bad to happen but at the same time don't go through life expecting that nothing bad can happen.

Most victims fall into the latter category--that's why you always see them on the news saying something along the lines of: "I never thought this could happen to me." or "I couldn't believe it was happening." etc. The point is that when something goes wrong you want to be in the mindset to react appropriately rather than in the mindset of the person who will freeze up during the situation and then make one of the above statements in the after-action interview. Achieving the proper mindset is not a matter of always expecting trouble so much as it is a matter of not expecting constant safety and tranquillity.

Rufus T Firefly
February 20, 2011, 02:27 AM
Most people I see trying to turn a corner while on their cell phone are condition white.
I prepared with food and water first. A firearm is uesless if you can't use it. Heat and light are essential. A propane conversion kit for the furnace. A generator or minimum a power inverter to run off the car battery. Maybe a kerosene porpedo heater. Sure, bad for health but vent it.

OK, so you have a firearm. Do you survive because of that? It is some insurance that you will. Amazing but search on the LDS Church. The Mormon Church. You will find plans to survive. Minimum a 30 day supply of food. 7 day supply would be minimal and recommended by FEMA. FEMA also allows you to take online courses and be certified. If you care to. I don't really know if I want the government to know I am prepared.

Medical supplies? Bleach? 3 gallons of bleach. Unless you can filter water or have the ability to distill it.

JohnKSa
February 20, 2011, 02:48 AM
SHTF and TEOTWAWKI are off topic for TFL.

Dr. Strangelove
February 20, 2011, 03:14 AM
So where's the balance point? I suggest that it's summed up in the following.

Don't go through life always expecting something bad to happen but at the same time don't go through life expecting that nothing bad can happen.

Very much something I can agree with, and in fact; live by.

As this relates to TFL, we all need to recognize that everyone has their own opinions regarding levels of readiness, and that no one is wrong or right just out of hand. I may think keeping an AR-15 in a plastic bag in the shower is ridiculous, but to some it's simply a valid solution for their home defense needs.

I happen to take the "High Sheriff Andy Griffith approach", I choose not to carry a gun, but I've got one if I need one. (No, I'm not in law enforcement) I understand why many do carry, and I have no issue with their actions.

We all have to choose the level of readiness we find appropriate and least obtrusive in our own lives.

Ben Towe
February 20, 2011, 03:51 AM
Awareness is easier for some people than others. Some people never dream anyone would do something bad to them. That only happens on TV right?:rolleyes: Extreme paranoia is a little crazy but you shouldn't walk around thinking everybody is as good hearted as you either. It's not reality.

Rufus T Firefly
February 20, 2011, 04:38 AM
Might not apply and yet it might....

My 2 cents is that there are 1000's of people out there that do not care who you are or you thoughts about self-protection.

I know many people that could care less about me.

pmeisel
February 20, 2011, 09:34 AM
A general awareness of your surroundings is always wise, and not just for human predators. What about traffic, pedestrian as well as vehicle? kids playing in the neighborhood? utility workers, delivery folk?

lots of everyday safety issues

therewolf
February 20, 2011, 03:43 PM
Live every day like an American: be ready to die on your feet, but refuse to live

on your knees.

Strap 'em on, stay alert,and God bless.

FireForged
February 20, 2011, 07:15 PM
If you own a fire extinguisher, smoke alarms and wear a seatbelt.. you are seen as a responsible adult. If you carry a firearm, you are seen as paranoid. Its just a culture thing and I dont think I will ever understand that way of thinking. I see carrying a firearm as just another method to midigate a threat that you know is real but hope never occurs.

therewolf
February 20, 2011, 10:23 PM
I see carrying a firearm as something my daddy did,
my grand-daddy did,
my great grand daddy did,
my great, great,...

raimius
February 21, 2011, 12:35 AM
I think some people probably take their definition of "condition yellow" too far. They seem to think it is some sort of hyperawareness. It isn't. It is simply not being oblivious to obvious things around you.

Now, there are ways to train yourself to become more aware of certain things. Sometimes, it is even entertaining. Try practicing scanning techniques or quiz yourself on what you are seeing. If you make a habit of being more aware, your "normal" level of situational awareness increases. (To a point, I'm not talking about hyperawareness, but more of a "reliable witness" point.)

Skans
February 21, 2011, 08:49 AM
It depends on where you live. Everyone should be aware of their surroundings and prepared for "bad things" to happen, to some degree. But, you just can't say that living in a small town not near a big city where everyone knows everyone else is the same as living in a large city.

Having said that, I believe that its a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. I do this routinely and I kind of find it fun. There are other benefits other than just looking out for "bad stuff". You notice people - I mean really take notice of them. It gets your mind out of daydreaming or introverted thought and brings you back down to the real world, focusing on real people.

As far as carrying a gun goes, I'm one of those folks who sort of picks and chooses when to carry. It's probably not the best practice, but I'm an adult and its my choice.

MLeake
February 21, 2011, 09:26 AM
... is something I hear all the time. Here's my problem with that.

Example 1) I was deployed. My then-wife had gone to the beach with some Marine friends of ours. (I was Navy; we were on a joint base.) She went to the rest room, and on her way there, she encountered a local beating up and choking a woman. My ex, all 5'2" / 103lbs of her, got in the guy's face. The woman, who turned out to be his girlfriend, ran away. The guy started to turn on my ex, when a crowd started to gather, so he backed off.

My ex rejoined our jarhead buddies. They drove to a local biker bar, where they had left a couple of their vehicles, including her 4Runner. They hung out at the bar for a half hour or so, and then my ex drove home, up and over the mountains, and down the other side on the Pali Highway.

Our neighborhood was very nice. We were leasing a 2600 sq ft house, with lanai and mother in law unit; houses nearby were similar. All had yards.

She let the dog (Rott/Shepherd mix) out of the house, and took her to the backyard. Dog started snarling. The local dude and a buddy were climbing over the back fence, coming toward them. They stopped when the dog snarled.

The ex ran inside, retrieved a Beretta 9mm, and ran them off.

Nice neighborhood, but trouble followed her home.


Example 2) My dad's cousin had a lost floral delivery guy show up at her nice place in the woods outside Worcester, MA. Guy wanted to use the phone (pre-cell phone days.) She let him in, but her German Shepherd took an instant dislike to him. He left. She called her husband, who thought it suspicious, and called the cops.

Several patrol cars responded. Turned out a serial rapist had raped four or five women in that area, using the "lost floral deliveryman" routine, complete with fake delivery van.

But she was at home, in a good neighborhood.

Example 3) A friend had moved from San Francisco to Maine, to get away from the city scene. I met her while skiing, as her place in Maine was a B&B near a ski resort, and I stayed there. Nice lady, with a daughter my age. She also had three dogs, an old Rhodesian Ridgeback, a 4yo Golden, and a 1yo Labradoodle or Goldendoodle, can't remember which. One of the reasons she and I hit it off was that I told her to let the dogs loose while I stayed there; she kept them isolated unless she knew the guests were dog-friendly.

She truly believed in the inherent goodness of man. We had several debates over the war in Iraq, the need for self-defense, and similar things - her on the side of man's goodness, mine on the side of taking threats seriously.

I liked her, I liked the dogs, I liked the place, and I made her B&B a regular stay for me when I went skiing.

She was murdered in 2006. An off-season boarder got in a fight with her handyman and killed him while she was out. When she returned, he killed her. When her daughter, the one my age who had moved to Maine to be near her mom, came to check on her, he killed the daughter, and the co-worker who had accompanied the daughter. When the police went out to investigate, he was putting the women in a wood chipper.

SOB also killed all three dogs.

Nice bed and breakfast, home to one victim, and in a very nice, small, resort town in Maine.

My point being, things happen. In my own case, things happened to three people I knew and cared about.

I am armed except when I cannot be.

KingEdward
February 21, 2011, 10:10 AM
For the last 6 months or so, I receive the Metro Spot Crime reports via email.
Not a week goes by that there are not assualts, robberies, rapes, vehicle and personal thefts within less than 1/2 mile of my residence.

This tends to keep one in at least condition yellow.

Especially coming in (after work) and leaving (in the am)

Since there was a home invasion (armed) 2 yrs ago very nearby, I've had
little problem being in cond. yellow most of the time.

I'm a realist and am about as prepared as I can be.

Glenn Bartley
February 21, 2011, 11:36 AM
Don't expect bad things to happen--just don't allow yourself to become complacent by expecting nothing to happen. Exactly how does doing the above cause the below:

preparedness

Staying aware of your surroundings and situation is the best way to go and no that does not mean living on the edge. Allow me to give you the perfect example in a non firearms situation. You are out for a walk, you cross the street. You do not expect anything bad to happen, yet you do not expect that nothing can happen, but you do not stay aware of your situation and you walk right out in front of a 10 ton truck doing 30mph.

You should almost always try to be somewhat aware of your situation. Of course, at times, you will be in a zoned out or blissful state (such as relaxing while sunbathing) but even then you need to be somewhat aware otherwise you may burn like a cinder. Awareness does not mean necessarily living on the edge as if you were almost paranoid. It means keeping your senses functioning and at least minimally processing the information they send to your brain so as to know what is going on around you in the event danger approaches The amount of awareness that comes into play depends on the information your brain is processing. If potential or actual danger signals are received you go into a higher state of awareness or alert and should act accordingly. That is not living on the edhe, that is living sensibly and will help you to avoid danger before it actually happens.

I think what you are trying to describe, despite your seemingly contradictory spiel telling people not to become complacement or unaware (see the definition of complacement (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/complacent)), while at the same time telling them always being aware is living on the edge, allows for danger to happen, then you react to it after the fact.

All the best,
Glenn B

JohnKSa
February 21, 2011, 10:51 PM
Exactly how does doing the above cause the below:There are different levels of preparedness and different definitions.

I'm prepared for a flat tire but it doesn't mean that I have to expect a flat tire, nor does it mean I have to go through life constantly thinking about the possibility that I might have a flat tire at any moment. On the other hand, if I start expecting that I WON'T have a flat tire then I could end up in a pickle if I allow that kind of thinking to influence my actions.

Part of what I'm trying to get across is that by not expecting to have safety all the time you can beat the delay caused by the typical bewilderment/denial/"It can't be happening to me" reaction that people usually have when something goes wrong. You'll be far more prepared than the person who will say something like: "It took me awhile to realize it was really happening." in the after-action interview and, more to the point, you'll be more likely to survive to have an after-action interview.

Glenn Bartley
February 21, 2011, 10:59 PM
I'm prepared for a flat tire but it doesn't mean that I have to expect a flat tire, nor does it mean I have to go through life constantly thinking about the possibility that I might have a flat tire at any moment. In your opening post, you are faulted those who try to stay aware of their situation. Now that I red the above quote, I beleive that you are confusing being aware with suffering from anxiety. Always thinking that you will be involved in a shootout at any moment woud be anxiety not awreness. There is a big difference.

All the best,
Glenn b

youngunz4life
February 21, 2011, 11:00 PM
I would be lying if the thought hadnt crossed my mind. Pure statistics alone give me a better chance of having a CCW, gun, HD/SD encounter just because I carry. Also, in the back of my mind I wondered if I was self-fulfilling a prophecy or to better describe maybe something would happen because of it all. I do know however and have always known that this just isn't true to the best of my knowledge. It is all preventative or 'just in case'. I am not paranoid and CCWers are not paranoid(or I should say, some are and some are not just like non-CCWers). I do know that at first it heightens your awareness and possibly careful suspicions sort of like the post that mentioned rookie cops above. I noticed this when I we first bought the farm and someone was just banging on the door while I changed the baby. I didn't answer and had a revolver on the bookcase but it ended up being a work colleague who needed my printer. I won't just blindly answer the door. Growing up I wouldn't have thought twice. I still don't know if its my age, my responsibility to my family, the times, etc, or a combination of them.

Rufus T Firefly
February 21, 2011, 11:27 PM
We work on that.
Were the soldiers prepared at Fort Hood?
Is it a bad thing that Texas will soon approve Carry Permits for College Students?

We have a 30 day food stock. We have a water stock. We can run electrictiy off a car battery, we can convert our gas to LP.

If I could not protect what we have worked for, what good will it do?

JohnKSa
February 21, 2011, 11:33 PM
In your opening post, you are faulted those who try to stay aware of their situation.I pointed out that there are people who don't believe it's ALWAYS possible to stay alert and aware and also that there are people who don't WANT to always stay alert and aware, particularly in certain surroundings that they associate with rest and relaxation.Now that I red the above quote, I beleive that you are confusing being aware with suffering from anxiety.No, I'm pointing out that some folks believe that ALWAYS being aware and alert is either evidence of or a recipe for anxiety. And it's true that some confuse the two. People who fall into that camp then often use that sort of reasoning as an excuse for just dismissing the whole issue.

That's a mistake.

What I'm trying to get across is that one can be prepared by simply not always expecting safety. One need not live with the constant expectation that danger could be just around the corner as long as one doesn't go around corners expecting that only safety lies around each corner.You do not expect anything bad to happen, yet you do not expect that nothing can happen, but you do not stay aware of your situation and you walk right out in front of a 10 ton truck doing 30mph.The only way you would walk out in front of a truck would be if you expected that nothing bad could happen while you were crossing the street.

Some folks would tell you that in order to be prepared you need to be expecting trouble or would claim that's what some trainers teach or that some gun owners advocate. We see this debate play out on every "Do you carry at home?" thread. One camp sees it as very logical to carry at home while others claim that anyone who would carry at home must be paranoid, that they must be expecting trouble all the time. They then typically wrap up their remarks saying something like: "If I were that worried about trouble I'd move."

I'm saying people don't need to expect trouble or fear trouble to be prepared and that being prepared doesn't mean that people are worried about trouble or constantly expecting trouble. Being prepared to me just means that I don't fall into the trap of believing that nothing bad could possibly happen. In other words, I'm not constantly expecting trouble, I'm just not dismissing the possibility of trouble.