We don’t often think of old Saint Nick as someone who practices preparedness, but consider this: He’s “making a list and checking it twice” and he’s “gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.” These are the elements of preparedness and situational awareness. We can all take a lesson from the jolly old elf. Bearing glad tidings may be your intent, but not everyone has quite the same spirit.
As a gift to yourself, check off this list and plan to enter the New Year by taking at least four new steps toward preparedness:
1. Mental Preparation. It’s been said that success is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental. Santa surely has every chimney navigation pre-planned down to the millionth of a second, similar to how athletes train, as they envision scenarios they may encounter. A gymnast, for example, plays a mental movie of each step, each hand-hold, and each tuck and roll in the process of completing his or her routine. A clear mental picture emerges that can be played forward and backward, seamlessly planning each moment. This is done to reduce anxiety, to consider surprising events that might occur, and to plan for success.
Self-defense strategies are similar, in that we need to prepare for both known and unknown elements. We can sit in our homes and play scenarios of a home invasion wherein an intrusion comes from a variety of different doors and windows. But how do we prepare for an assault in a shopping mall, in a parking lot or while we are on vacation? One way is to make a habit of tuning in to the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast and Stop the Threat TV. Both of these shows take the listener and viewer through actual news stories of self-defense and offer play-by-play commentary from experts as they discuss each moment in terms of what went well and what could have been done more effectively. Watching these events offers a valuable glimpse into the tactics used by criminals, as well as a chance to witness times when would-be victims were able to successfully turn the tables on their attackers.
2. Physical Training. Almost everyone plans to join a gym as a New Year’s resolution. Sure, we want to drop a few pounds, but we also want to increase strength and endurance. Physical exercise has been proven to help with focus, clarity, and quickness of mind and body. You can train your mind and muscles for self-defense just as effectively. Just like you would seek out a professional trainer at the gym, you will want to find a skilled instructor who can take you through threat-assessment and threat-management techniques. One of the most respected names in teaching the rules of engagement and self-defense is the Massad Ayoob Group (MAG). MAG offers courses ranging in length from 2 days to several days, in which students learn the legal, emotional, mental and physical elements of self-defense.
3. Legal Protection. In the movies there are good guys and bad guys, characters who are obviously naughty or nice, and the police seem to magically know who is who before they even arrive on the scene of an incident. In those films, the good guys pick up their guns and head home to resume their life uninterrupted. This is a wholly false portrayal of what happens in real life. When a citizen discharges his or her firearm in self-defense the police will process the scene, secure all suspects, and sort out the details later. For the protection of themselves and others, the police may handcuffe you, place you prone on the ground, lock you in the back of a cruiser, or even put you in jail. Furthermore, even if you aren’t formally charged with any wrongdoing, you may be sued in civil court by anyone else involved in the incident. You may be held financially liable for destruction of property, loss of life, pain and suffering…the list goes on.
For your own protection, you should consider forming a professional relationship with a self-defense legal protection organization, such as Second-Call Defense, which advises all its members on what to expect, how to react, and what not to say and do in the event of an incident. Another organization that acts as self-defense insurance to help with the legal expenses of being arrested, posting bond, and hiring counsel is the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network (ACLDN). The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) also offers excellent post-incident protection plans, and arms its members with education and firearms training.
4. Community Support. Every day, groups across the United States are acting very much like Santa Claus—in that they are ever-vigilant, checking twice, and sorting our naughty laws while writing nice ones. When we join these groups, our membership fees help fund their work as they encounter the never-ending stream of regulations and laws that seek to infringe on our Second Amendment rights. The strength of their membership also sends a message to the anti-gun groups that these organizations are millions of Americans strong. These groups keep their members informed with regular newsletters to offer insight into the battle that goes on at local, state and federal levels.
One such organization is the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which is “dedicated to promoting a better understanding about our Constitutional heritage to privately own and possess firearms. To that end, [they] carry on many educational and legal action programs designed to better inform the public about the gun control debate.” Another excellent organization is the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which is designed to help the firearms industry, and helps those who are engaged in firearms and ammunition businesses. The NSSF is also engaged in “promoting, protecting and preserving hunting and the shooting sports.” And finally, nearly everyone has heard of the National Rifle Association (NRA), but they are much more than simply the “gun lobby.” The NRA offers and supports a wide variety of safety programs and classes. Its Political Victory Fund (PVF) evaluates and grades politicians seeking office. NRA membership also offers corporate discounts, and the organization even has a wine club.
As the sun sets on one year, dawn is breaking on the new one. Make this the year you concentrate on preparedness with a list that you have checked twice. Being ready for anything naughty will make 2017 very nice.
Cheryl Todd, owner of AZFirearms.com and cohost of Gun Freedom Radio, has more than 30 years of experience in the firearms industry. She holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, which allows her to bring a unique voice to the gun world. View all posts by Cheryl Todd