A close friend of mine asked me to proof read an email the other day. It was an email that was much like many other emails he has written, but what made this one different for me, was that it made me ask an all important question. Why does this circle of people keep repeating this particular conversation? It was as though they were trying to convince each other things they already knew, things that are held to be truths amongst our professional and personal circles. I finally realized that it wasn’t to persuade or convince us of something we already believed, but to reemphasize how important it is for us to keep having the conversation, for the sake of people who just don’t want to hear it. People who also know these things to be true, but are just quietly hoping that they will never be held accountable for their unpreparedness or failure to act. If not us, who? If not now, when? When it’s too late, that’s when.
The topic of discussion was the importance for us all to be as prepared as our skills and abilities will allow us to be. Prepared to protect and defend ourselves, loved ones, or neighbors against the evil that is literally dying to kill us. Never being unarmed, listening to that little voice, and taking note of people or situations that don’t look or feel right. That all seems like “common sense”, but how often to we actually follow through? When you are standing in line at the Post Office, do you have any idea who is behind you or what is going on in front of the building? They put big windows there for a reason, take advantage of them. When you’re getting a latte at Starbucks, are you standing in line like a good little duck or are you paying attention to the front/back door and noticing who is coming and going? It’s too easy to only pay attention to what is happening inside what I call the immediate half circle. Imagine there is a circle around you and it extends out 6 feet in every direction. Take away the half of the circle that is behind you. The remaining half circle that is in front of you is all that most people pay any attention to. If it exists further than 6 feet away or behind to any degree, most people are totally unaware of it. That is not going to cut it. You can have 5 guns on you, a few throwing stars, and be a 6th degree black belt and it won’t matter if you aren’t paying attention.
So, it got me thinking, and although I have had this conversation with many, many people, and they all agree that there are bad guys, standard crazy people, terrorists, extremists, whatever you want to call them, currently thinking about how they are going to make their mark on the world, they all shake their head and say that, “Yah, you just never know.” They say it because they believe it in the general sense, they do truly believe that bad things can happen at any moment, and “you just never know” when that will be. The world can be a seemingly random place sometimes, but they’re thinking about “the world”, on a global scale. The problem is that they don’t believe it on a personal level, or on a local level. Sometimes I know they say it to placate me, hoping that they won’t have to listen to more talk about guns, knives, flashlights, cuffs, floss, extra ammo, beef jerky, multi-tools, Left of Bang, not necessarily in that order. This will be a fight against an ideology. If your Crisis Intervention Training and Verbal Judo are the only weapons you’re packing, you’re screwed. I occasionally run across someone that when we start discussing our every day carry setups, they avert their eyes and say, “Well, I don’t have a gun with me now, I’m thinking of getting an X, Y, or Z.” The part of this that has surprised me the most is that there are a few of my LE friends that don’t carry a gun when they are “off duty.” They know better than any, that crazy/evil with an agenda doesn’t make an appointment, yet they just don’t care, despite their earlier statements to the contrary(refer to the beginning of the paragraph). I guess it really doesn’t matter, if they don’t think it will happen to or near them, they aren’t going to notice the Event until it is too late to stop, and will be herded to their death just like the sheep they are surrounded by.
It is because of them that we keep having this conversation. There are too many people who are capable of fighting this fight, who are simply choosing not to because they don’t want the responsibility. If not you, who? If not now, when? I try to be prepared and I keep having the conversation, because while we have 10 fingers and toes, we can lose a couple throughout a lifetime and get by just fine, but we were only given one life, and there will be no hindsight, no learning experiences, and no chance to be prepared “next time.” I’m not high speed/low drag, I don’t have a beard, and don’t have any cool signature products on the market, but I’ve seen evil, and I’m not going out without a fight.