A Thought On Personal Safety And Security

I am encouraged by the fact that more and more people are seeking to take responsibility for their own safety and security. Many do this through concealed carry, which is absolutely a major (and good) step. However, simply having a firearm and not taking any other actions or precautions will not lead to the most ideal security situation, and I will not focus on firearms in this article.

Instead, I want to discuss how to balance safety and reality. More precisely, I want to put some things in perspective.

What Is The Threat?

Many people are alarmed by mass killings such as those perpetrated in movie theaters and elementary schools. However, the odds of encountering such a situation are infinitesimally low. Furthermore, if you live and work outside certain high-crime areas, you are not extremely likely to be the victim of a violent crime, especially one involving a firearm (if you do live or work in such an area, you should probably leave).

There is probably a higher chance of zebras forming a drill team than of you being murdered by a crazy person. But since they’ve obviously started on the drill team thing…

As a result, you are far more likely to face death from a vehicle accident or medical condition than at the hands of a crazy person. But we are inundated with media reports of crazy people killing people, while we are not often told in prime time about the dangers of colon barnacles or diabetes of the heart or other such dangerous conditions. Furthermore, despite similar nationwide numbers, homicides are often highly concentrated in certain areas, but same does not go for drunk driving fatalities, for instance. Someone living in New Hampshire is not very likely to be murdered compared to someone in DC, but the statistics flip the other way for drunk driving.

So we prepare for mass killings instead of cutting back on Big Macs or paying extra attention to that girl who just traded her MG for a white Chrysler LeBaron and is now driving 5 under the speed limit and weaving in her lane.

While this does not mean that people in New Hampshire should never concern themselves with being attacked by another person, it does mean that they should not spend all of their mental energy – and money – preparing for a violent attack. Why not divert some of your self defense training or gear money to taking a high performance driving course, or putting better tires on your car? Both might give you an edge when fractions of a second matter while trying to avoid an accident.

If you text or do other things which distract you while you drive, you are similarly at risk, because you are denying yourself the ability to detect potential threats outside your vehicle. So…pay attention.

Would the rhinoceros intentionally harm the ducks? Probably not. But are the ducks wise to get out of the way of the rhinoceros? Yes.

What I’m saying is, look at where you live and the things you do. Identify the things which are most likely to kill you, and work to isolate yourself from those threats. By all means, prepare to defend yourself against a violent attack, but do not do so at the expense of all other preparations.

17 thoughts on “A Thought On Personal Safety And Security”

  1. Personal defense isn’t always about maximizing your lifespan though – I think remaining in control of however much life you have is a big(ger?) part of it too.

    I can accept that someday, something is going to kill me. I can even accept that it could be a result of poor choices I’ve made. What I won’t accept though; is someone coming and stealing the remainder of my life – even if I were just going to squander it.

    1. I understand and agree, although that gets into philosophy that is a lot more complicated than what I intended to cover here.

  2. As a New Hampshire resident, I’m just thrilled to bits that you mentioned our state twice. And of course, you are correct. Being able to drive in the snow (or being able to judge when you should drive and when you should not) is far more likely to save your life than a really low El Presidente time.

  3. Thanks Andrew! I hope people take this to heart, because I’m getting concerned for people gearing up for some kind of action movie scenario. I think it’s unhealthy to be so combat focused. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly see the fun and possible usefulness in guns, gear, and training . . . but I just don’t think the odds are very high I’ll ever need it.

  4. Good article, i have to say! I do think it is important for everyone to learn an element of self-defence, the basics maybe, to protect themselves and help prevent further attack. I do think it would be useful for devices or iphone apps for example to be used for a first point of contact, by devises I mean a communication device, and some training in personal safety situations is a must for people for example who work on their own.

  5. I’m with you on the importance of good tires. I’m a NH volunteer firefighter/EMT, and it seems that a high proportion of the cars we find off the road have tires in poor condition. Driving a $40,000 SUV in winter on half-bald summer tires? I see it, but I don’t get it. Fortunately, modern cars do a great job protecting occupants if they’re belted.

  6. This post could pretty much be boiled down to this one point. ORM, “it’s not just something the CO invented to bore you with before you go get drunk on a Friday night.”

    1. It should come as no surprise that of all the things I thought were dumb about the USN/USMC, ORM was not listed.

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