Saturday, October 29, 2011
The mindset of self defense.....
"When I was but a mere slip of a boy".... okay, in truth I was never a 'mere slip of' anything. I was a big kid, and am now a big man slowly shrinking down with advancing age. But, as a boy, I didn't have to fear other kids. I was just too big to mess with, and mostly got left alone by bullies and thugs.
That didn't mean I was unaware of evil in the world, or that people of bad intent lived among us. My father made sure, as best he could, that I learned to keep quiet and take stock of folks. Those who live by taking advantage of others usually reveal themselves eventually.
To that end, there has been a 'self defense mindset' growing in my soul most of my life. It means, quite simply, being ready to defend me and mine against life's threats as best able. It also means, quite simply, keeping ones eyes open and actually seeing the world as it truly exists around us.
This idea of a 'self defense mindset' is fitting for discussion on a shooting blog because firearms are a primary consideration in that realm. As such, there's been a number of articles here regarding carry weapons, holsters, ammunition, training, etc.
This morning, as the snow falls outside and 'Ol Carteach relaxes in his toasty warm secret bunker, thoughts range farther afield to the very notion of self defense itself.
To every sturdy house, there must be a foundation. Without a well built foundation, the whole construction is doomed to mediocrity and eventual failure. 'Self defense' is a concept, and concept's are built on the foundation of philosophy. Not blocks of concrete and stone, but ideas and observations; Thought carried through to conclusion.
To construct the concept of self defense, one must first make some decisions. Chief among them... if your life worth defending? Next... if the first answer be yes, comes another question; Are you willing to take on the responsibility of your own self defense? These are first person questions because this is a very personal philosophy, held deeply within each persons soul. No one can answer these questions for you, and nothing else I write here matters till those answers comfortable reside in your mind.
Once one decides their life has value worth keeping, and also decides it's their own personal responsibility to care for it, then we can open discussion on the 'Self Defense Mindset' (SDM).
There are myriad threats on this world. Some big, most small, some deadly, most simply bothersome. Key in developing a SDM is being able to spot realistic threats, and then divide them into ones that can be handled on a personal level. Asteroid strikes might be a remote threat... but a real one. Does this mean one can prepare for it? Not really. If a mountain falls on your head at orbital speed, there's really very little one can do but take a stab at kissing your own butt goodbye. Now... walking down a city street has dangers too... and there we can take action towards our own defense. It's these more reasonable threats I speak to here.
SDM requires a person to open their eyes to possible threats from the world around them. Not exaggerate them... but simply recognize their existence... and then plan on dealing with them should they materialize. Something as simple as keeping a warm blanket in the car all winter... that's using SDM to prepare for a possible breakdown and a freezing wait for help. Taking it a step farther, one might keep some extra cash in the car too, just in case. Say a hundred dollars; enough to buy a tire, rent a hotel room, or buy gas and food for a few days on the road.
Take that one more step down the path, and one might reasonably carry a spare set of clothes in the car. After all, a storm could pop up and make an overnight stay necessary, or one might get rained on running for the car and having dry clothes will make the work day so much more comfortable.
As long as we have a blanket, some clothes, and a little cash, why not a few toiletries? Who hasn't been stuck at work late and wished for a tooth brush and perhaps some fresh deodorant? Maybe a razor and shaving cream for a man who might be surprised by a sudden call to an important meeting late in the day.
Well... as long as we have all that 'just in case' gear piling up in the car, why not put it in an old suitcase or gym bag to keep it neat, clean, and orderly? Sure... that makes sense. Maybe toss in a few tasty energy bars too, in case a meal has to be skipped. I know... add in a couple bottles of Gatorade too, or just plain spring water.
Guess what folks..... do all that, and one has suddenly arrived at the concept of a 'Bug Out Bag', or nearly so. Add in a weapon or two, a few handy small tools, copies of your more important papers and ID's.... and now you have a bag of gear you can grab while escaping something bad enough you need to leave home or work in a hurry. Keep it all in a low key backpack or book bag, and now you are using the concept of camaflage and misdirection.
The only difference between throwing a few things in the car just in case, and putting together a serious Bug Out Bag, is one of Self Defense Mindset. Using SDM requires one to look at things in a different way, and evaluate things a little differently. What might be 'common sense handy' in one light becomes serious life saving survival gear in another.
A flashlight is pretty darn nice to have when trying to unlock your front door on a dark night. Make it a small and stunningly bright LED unit with a strobe setting, and it becomes a life saving defensive tool able to startle an attacker long enough for the victim to get a head start towards safety. That is SDM.
A simple pocket knife is an amazingly handy tool carried by humans for centuries. Make that pocket knife an assisted opening lockblade with a belt clip to keep it near at hand, and it suddenly becomes a defensive weapon ready to be wielded at a moments notice. That is SDM.
A pen.... used by millions of people, millions of times each day. Every school and business contains hundreds or thousands of them. Take that 'pen' and enclose it in machined aircraft grade aluminum with a little knurling, and it becomes a Kuboton... an ancient weapon of self defense. That is SDM.
A sledge hammer, used by home owners, tradesmen, and mechanics for so many generations they can't be counted.... originally began life as a 'war hammer', used to bash heavily armed men attacking ones home. That is SDM so old it's lost in the fog of history!
An old pump action shotgun, used by Grandad, Dad, and Son to bring home meat for the family larder. Mount a shorter barrel, screw on an extended magazine, and load it with buckshot... and it becomes the single most recognizable home defense weapon there is. That is SDM.
A Ruger LCP pocket .380, with a laser sighting device mounted on it. Slipped into a person's pocket even while simply relaxing at home.... that is pure SDM, with not a shadow of any other purpose.
Step up from that pocket pistol to a Glock G-30 with an internal laser carried in a Galco CCW holster, and now we are moving into the realm of serious Self Defense Mindset.
Self defense is a choice. Serious self defense requires a Self Defense Mindset, used so regularly that it becomes trained reaction... instinct.