Living a safe life…practical and pretty basic

Living a safe life…practical and pretty basic

This is what Stonewall Jackson said…
“Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me.” He added, after a pause, looking me full in the face: “That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”  That said, Jesus instructed us not to jump off the roof to see if God will save us.   I believe what General Stonewall Jackson said, but I also believe what the Scriptures say. We ARE responsible for our safety.

Most of staying safe is just being practical, as is most of life.  Remember, there is a reason the cute little bunny profiles a hawk, right?

Statistically we are very safe.  Sadly, to have an average there are somethings that can’t be helped…regardless of what we do.  It is for those “lightning strike” events…yes, I was hit by lightning and those odds were very low, that we carry a gun.  Believe it or not, as we get older we are less likely to be involved in a forcible felony than the young; heck, I am in bed at 8:00.  My mother used to tell me, “what good can you do past 11:00 at night”…it is true!  Don’t believe me, ask a policeman.  Anyway, single family home owners are statistically safer than apartment dwellers.  Statistics are a fascinating thing but don’t tell the whole story.  Our safety mainly lies with life choices; if you want to see who you are, look at your friends.  If you don’t like what you see find different friends.  Alcohol and drugs play a factor also.  The good news is that 99% of us have good friends, live moral lives, don’t stay out till dawn and don’t abuse alcohol or drugs.  That said there are some basic, very practical things we can do to stay safe.

Be aware of your surroundings.  Situational awareness is a wonderful thing! Besides being aware of all the negative and potential bad around you, you will see all of God’s wonder…that alone should be enough to encourage you to be aware of our surroundings!  Remember, it is all here for your good pleasure.  By being aware of what is around you, you can spot potential evil early and maintain distance. Distance is definitely your friend.  The bad guy needs to be close to you…very inconvenient yelling at you at 30 feet to “give me your money or else”.  With our very busy lives: texting, phone calls, children, and preoccupation with work or life’s pressures makes it is hard to maintain situation awareness sometimes; you must practice to make this a part of your lives. You’ll have to try! Make a point of it.

Firearms are a standoff tool and as people get closer they become less effective. If someone can get his hand on your gun, there is a high probability that you will lose.

We will live a lifestyle of avoidance, evasion and de-escalation.

Avoidance. Example; don’t go to a bad area of town to get gas. Don’t go out late at night to get money from an ATM machine. Makes sense to me?

Evasion. If you feel like you’re entering a bad situation, if the people you are heading towards make your alarms go off…don’t be there, go somewhere else. Pretty practical?

De-escalation. If you carry a firearm, you have huge responsibilities. If you have road rage issues, do not get a gun.  You may put yourself in a position that you created that truly does put your life in danger and are forced to fire on another human being.

Remember, we are NOT Superman, spies or policemen.  The S on your chest will not stop bullets…there is a reason our law enforcement wear bullet proof vests.  That said, if we hear a bump in the night outside, don’t seek it out, call the police.  They will come with several of their well-armed friends…all wearing body armor.  If you see someone breaking into your car, call the police.  Though you have every right to confront that person, you may put your life in danger and be forced to shoot another human being or worse yet, he shoots you!  Remember, that is what insurance is for.  Be very cautious of getting involved in unknown altercations between people.  You may not know all the facts and what appears to be one thing may be another; again, call the police.

Areas to be vigilant. Walking from a department store or grocery store to your car. Getting into your car and sitting there before you drive away. Stairwells. Parking garages. ATM machines. Pumping gas.  Be aware of the surroundings.

Simple procedures. Try not to text or get preoccupied with a phone call as you walk through the parking lot. Don’t sit in your car with the door open balancing your checkbook or other. Don’t wait until you get to your car to get your keys out of your purse or pants.

In the parking lot if you feel you’re being followed (awareness), what to do? Circle back! Two things will happen; you’ll know if you are being followed and you will get back to safety, people. At the car if someone approaches don’t ask, “may I help you?” That encourages a person to come closer. A bad guy needs to be close to you.  Again, it would be very convenient for him to stand off 30 feet and shout, “give me your money or I’ll hurt you.” Say something like, “stop there, what do you want?”  Those statements make it clear you will not be a victim and you are not prey.  If the potential threat continues to advance, raise your tone of voice. Your fence is your first line of defense. The fence is an outstretched arm with palm toward the threat. It is both a visual stop command and your first point of defense, hand between you and the bad guy. Double fence would be both hands outward palm facing the threat.  Try and move keeping your car, shopping cart or other between you and the potential threat.

When to draw your gun?  Only you will know when the time demands this action but your gun is safest in the holster. Sadly it takes the average person about two seconds just to get their hand on their gun from concealment (a man can cover 20 in two seconds…that’s a scary thought). If the fence and demand doesn’t work the next step would be fence with hand on gun. You’re definitely getting closer to being in a gunfight by doing this but it does several things, it lets the bad guy know that you were armed and able to defend yourself; that you will not be a victim. Most bad guys want victims and you just made it clear you do not intend to be a victim…they want easy prey. The gun in your holsters is also harder for the bad guy to take from you and if you’re wrong about the bad guy…good guy, you have not brandished (pointed) a deadly weapon at an innocent person. At this point it’s important to remember to keep your head on a swivel. As law abiding citizens this may be hard (we become threat focused) as we do not train that much and may never again be in this situation but we need to be aware of what’s around us. We need to use our peripheral vision and swivel our head, there may be another bad guy! Only you will know if and when you need to present your firearm but remember, we will be reacting to an action and will probably be playing catch up. Statistically, people who have guns pointed at them or are shot, stop fighting. Not because they can’t fight but because they don’t want to be shot or shot again. Those that want to fight may not stop after being shot once, or even more! Our desire is not to kill or injure people but to stop a deadly attack and stay safe. A bad guy shot may or may not eventually die but we may be injured too…that’s not good. Remember, anybody worth shooting one time is worth shooting a whole bunch of times (poor humor but does make a point!). Just know that handguns are terrible event stoppers.  The good news is that most bad guys don’t want to be in a gun fight so your ramping up to the point you are pointing a gun may be enough…

I have a saying, “Guns, like airbags, each may save your life. But if either go off something terrible has happened. It may or may not be your fault. There may or may not have been something you could have done to stop it. But it will be bad.”   For the most part both are invisible and remain inert; invisible. The good news is that both could save your life and the lives of people you love.

We must know what our rights are as defined by the statutes in Florida. Without knowing these rights you will be slower to respond (we are “do gooders” and we want to do what is right, we don’t want to break the law) and you may only have a fraction of a second to respond. Important note, if you’re forced to put your hand on your firearm, if you’re forced to point your weapon at somebody, or if you’re forced to fire on another human being, the minute you’re safe and the threat is over you WILL call the police. The first to call is usually initially viewed as the good guy. The last thing you want when police get there are their guns drawn and pointed at you, to be put face down in the dirt and handcuffed…that sounds terrible. Eventually the dust will settle and they will see you as the good guy but by calling first you may circumvent all of this.

Practice! Practice your draw and practice your firing. Know that your firearm will work as designed. This will take many rounds fired though your gun. With practice drawing and firing your gun, you will create confidence; confidence in your ability and your gun’s ability. Confidence will allow you to move more quickly. Without an understanding of the law, your rights and without knowing your ability…you will be slow in a time where you may only have a second to respond and win. Sadly we are not Superman and the gun may not save us. There are no silver bullets; remember, if you need your weapon, more than likely you will be reacting to an action…you will be behind. You will need to practice drawing from conceal (cover garment), moving before you draw, fire multiple shots. Your movement will change the dynamics and cause the bad guy to now react to your actions…changing the dynamics.  A moving target is also harder to hit.  You will create more distance.  You will move to cover (cover stops bullets).  These things cannot be accomplished without practice so PRACTICE. If you choose to carry a firearm, you must be responsible. You must be prepared. Remember your bullets do not know they missed and they are looking for a home. If you want to be afraid, stand in a Publix or Winn-Dixie parking lot and look around. Your backstop will be grandparents, parents and children. That thought alone should give you pause and encourage you to train.

Statistically we are all very safe. The problem with statistics is there is an average and in creating an average there’s extremes on both sides. There is indeed evil in the world. There is indeed crazy in the world. It is in those two things that our policemen have a confident and secure job. Remember, it is a lot better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it.

I hope you found this interesting and helpful.

Franklin