Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thoughts to ponder and keep you safe

I am currently reading a book called Survivors, by John Wesley, Rawles, also the author of Patriots, A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse. He is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and has been a survivalist for many years. I realize to some who read this, including some of the Left-leaning members of my family, the word "survivalist" conjures some negative images, holds some negative connotations. Also, the notion of a "collapse" is often considered a bit of paranoia "clung" to by those of us who mistrust our government and the way the economy is being mishandled.

Being prepared for emergencies is the duty of any parent, any man responsible for a wife and/or children, elderly parents, or other responsibilities. If a man prepares for a tornado, a hurricane, or a forest fire where those are prevalent, as out West, he is considered thoughtful and wise. If he buys life insurance to protect his family should he die, or disability insurance should he be injured and unable to work, he is considered a smart and responsible individual.

Those of us who prepare - now being labeled "preppers", almost as derogatorily as we used to be called "survivalists" - are not considered wise or smart to create our own insurance should the system break down more significantly. Having been raised where hurricanes and blizzards were a part of life, it was not unusual to find yourself without power for a week or two after a very bad storm, or with the roads so badly blocked by snow that you couldn't get to a store to buy food, and it wouldn't be open even if you could get there. In the Northeast, at least, it was common to keep a large pantry where at least a week's worth of staples (and usually more) was available to keep the family fed.

Many years ago, having had a friend who became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints, I was introduced to the idea of storing a year's worth of food. This was a requirement for LDS members (probably better known as "Mormons", although I think there may be a bit of an insult involved in calling them that) back then, although I understand that at one point it was upped to two years. Living in the country as I prefer to do, this sounded like a sensible idea to me. From what I understand, the LDS folks are required to do this in case there is some sort of economic collapse or societal upheaval, but in many, many instances it has kept a family well fed when the bread-winner has been injured and unable to work, or laid-off and unable to find work immediately. Can you imagine the relief many families living today would feel, where the husband has lost his job due to our terrible economy, knowing they could at least feed themselves? To not have to beg for food or listen to your children cry, going to bed hungry?

So, I decided this was a sound idea, one that couldn't hurt, and could easily help. Storing other necessities beyond food seemed like a reasonable extension of this notion. Have you ever run out of toilet paper, perhaps discovering there wasn't even a box of Kleenex in the house? If you haven't, does that sound like something you'd like to experience? (Sears isn't putting out the big catalogs they used to make available ;-) It is an easy step from there to stocking a bit of everything you might need. When it is used, you simply replace it with more from the nearest Walmart, Costco, or supermarket.

The argument you get from those with more "liberal", collectivist tendencies is that being a survivalist (now "prepper") is "all about guns". While that certainly is untrue - you can't eat a gun, or purify water with one, or dig a garden, fillet a fish with one, or wipe your bottom with one, they are still useful, especially for us who live in the country. In Montana and Wyoming - even in far Northern California where I used to own a little 40 acre ranch - bears can be a problem, one that can't always be avoided. Sometimes they seek out your pets or your livestock for food, as do coyotes and mountain lions. We had all three in Northern California, when I lived just outside of Yreka, up near the border with Oregon.

As society becomes more violent, with more rapes and assaults and robberies and home invasions happening, especially in the urban areas, being able to defend yourself calls for more than a cellphone and some pepper spray. It is easy to say, "Oh, I live in a safe area. I don't have to worry about that", but allow me to tell you that you are wrong. Having worked in law enforcement on and off for over seventeen years, I will remind you that the bad guys have cars and trucks, and don't merely prey upon their own socio-economic class. A Nike-wearing CEO who jogs down quiet neighborhood streets in Portland, Oregon is as easily assaulted and raped - and even murdered - as a poor Hispanic lady forced to carry her groceries on foot from the local bodega to her basement apartment in the nasty part of town.

Guns are tools. They are not inherently evil, cannot operate themselves, and most of them are incapable of going off on their own even if dropped onto hard ground. Like all tools, they can be misused. A hammer can drive a nail or smash a skull. A knife can cut some rope or slit a throat. And for those who claim that they only purpose for a gun is to kill, I call "bullshit". The primary purpose for a gun other than providing meat for the table via hunting is for the stopping of violence. For the purpose of preventing harm caused by someone intent on doing that harm. Sometimes the only way to stop someone who wants to hurt or rape or kill you is by actually firing the gun at that person, but in many, many more instances, the mere threat of being shot is enough to cause a bad person to turn and run away. There are millions of defensive uses of guns every year in this country, compared to the mere thousands of times they are actually fired, or the few thousand times they actually kill someone. Far more people die from improper treatment by doctors and hospitals ("medical misadventure" is the euphemism), or by car accidents, than die from firearms in this country.

So. The bottom line, one which the folks on the Left do not want you to understand, is that the gun is insurance. Just like afire extinguisher which you hope you never have to use, or that jack and spare tire in your trunk. Or the life preserver (PFD - personal floatation device) you had better be wearing anytime you go out in a boat or kayak. Those of us who carry handguns or other firearms do so not because we want to use them to kill, but because we want to use them to keep from being killed ourselves. Or to protect those we love.

If you and your wife, or you and your husband, are accosted by three or four men who have decided to rape someone, they certainly will be done with both of you long before a police officer could respond, even if you have the opportunity to dial 911. As a former police officer, I know this for a fact. Often, those who rape have already developed criminal records and don't wish to return to jail or prison, so they are not interested in leaving witnesses behind. Some of the scum who inhabit our world even enjoy the feeling of power they get from the taking of human life.

Possessing a firearm and the training to use it effectively can save your life. Often merely displaying a weapon will stop the action, but you must understand that this can only be done when your life, or the life of another, is in danger of serious bodily injury or death. That can mean one attacker if you are frail, female, disabled, or elderly. It can mean someone smaller than you, if they have you down and are trying to seriously injure you, or if they are armed with a club or a knife or gun.

We can never know when violence will present to us, anymore than we know when a forest fire or a tornado will threaten us. Being armed is simply a means of insuring that you have a better chance of going home alive if you or a loved one is attacked. It is a good feeling to know that you are prepared to deal with the possibility of violence should it occur. And I promise you that the gun will never leap into your hands to wantonly take the life of someone innocent. With a little training, a little information, and some common sense, it will never threaten your children or family, friends or neighbors, either. It can be as safe a tool as any other in your toolbox, workshop, or kitchen.

And remember that violence used in the defense of those you love and wish to protect is neither evil nor wrong.

“Anyone who clings to the historically untrue- and thoroughly immoral - doctrine that ‘violence never solves anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, The Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon.

Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms”.

Robert A. Heinlein, from Starship Troopers

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Sorry, folks. I was completely ignorant about comment rules. Anyone can post, but I'd prefer a name, even if it is made up. Anonymous posts just seem cheap, if you know what I mean. Also, if you want to argue a point, that's fine. Cheap shots and name calling towards me or another person commenting (ad hominem) is rude and will get you banned. Other than that, I'd love to get some comments.