Next week, I'm giving a talk to a couple of local Neighborhood Watch groups in a city with a very high crime rate. One of the highest in the SF Bay Area.
One of their representatives contacted me shortly after the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. And they want to talk about guns. I'm a bit apprehensive, to say the least.
I've been putting together a Power Point presentation that I'll use to guide me through the talk - which will cover knives, pepper spray, stun guns, Tazers, handguns, shotguns and rifles.
Part of what I'm going to discuss is crime statistics. If you listen to the .GOV types, things are peachy-keen. Crime is down to historic lows. Yippee!
But you look at the local newspapers, and every day - without exception - there are multiple stories about local murders or shootings. Reality doesn't foot back to the statistics.
I guess if they can fudge the economic data, they can fudge the crime data as well.
I ran across this piece by Thomas Sowell [link] that might explain some of it -
Similar episodes of unprovoked violence by young black gangs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls or in other public places have occurred in Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles and other places across the country.
Both the authorities and the media tend to try to sweep these episodes under the rug as well.A specific example -
In Milwaukee, for example, an attack on whites at a public park a few years ago left many of the victims battered to the ground and bloody. But, when the police arrived on the scene, it became clear that the authorities wanted to keep this quiet.
One 22-year-old woman, who had been robbed of her cellphone and debit card and had blood streaming down her face said: "About 20 of us stayed to give statements and make sure everyone was accounted for. The police wouldn't listen to us; they wouldn't take our names or statements. They told us to leave. It was completely infuriating."An unreported crime is one that never officially happened. I thought that choice was up to the victim, though, and not the police.
Oh, and for those of you who are unaware, Thomas Sowell isn't some jack-booted, black-hating, skin-head white supremacist.
He's a black man.
Unlike the rest of the media, Sowell sees what's going on, and takes it head-on. If there's a problem, let's address it. You can't just click your ruby-heeled slippers and hope it all goes away.
Trying to keep the lid on is understandable. But a lot of pressure can build up under that lid. If and when that pressure leads to an explosion of white backlash, things could be a lot worse than if the truth had come out earlier and steps had been taken by both black and white leaders to deal with the hoodlums and with those who inflame the hoodlums.This guy, for totally different reasons, sees what could be coming as well - VERY UNSAFE FOR WORK OR CHILDREN. SERIOUSLY!
When was the last time you went to the range? How about your spouse? Your kids?
Confidence doesn't keep you alive and safe. Skills do.
I had a first on Saturday for my introductory gun class: 3 couples (I limit my intro class to 6 students). I found that interesting in and of itself, but the after-class chat was revealing.
Two of the couples were white. One in their early 60's and one in their late 40's/early 50's. The other couple was Hispanic in their 20's.
I tell all of my students that I'll always stay after class as long as they need me to answer any questions they may have that aren't covered in the class. Most that stick around want more specifics on how to select and purchase a handgun.
One of the white couples took off right after class. The other white couple already owned a gun, asked a couple of questions, then took off. The Hispanic couple stayed around for a half hour.
What caliber? Handgun vs. shotgun? Concealed vs nightstand gun? Revolver vs semi-auto? I asked them a number of questions to help them make their own decision. They thanked me and left.
After I cleaned up my classroom, I popped out to the lobby of the gun range, and there they were. They'd just finished taking the test for their Handgun Safety Certificate (required in CA before you can buy a handgun) and were plopping down some bucks for a gun.
I turned around and ran into another Hispanic woman who had taken my intro class a month ago. With her husband and daughter. The three of them, plus her uncle have signed up for one of my advanced Practical Defensive Pistol classes. They, too, were buying guns.
My point? I think Hispanics are taking this possible "race/economic justice/I want my fair share/gang banger" war threat a lot more seriously than a lot of whites. Especially whites at or reaching retirement age.
At least in my little corner of the gun training world, Hispanics are taking more of the advanced classes in comparison to their demographic representation in the SF Bay Area.
One more thing to think about: What if you find yourself in a shooting situation, where the object of the shooter isn't to steal something or to escape, but is just to shoot and kill?
This article [link] goes more into the specifics of this Active Shooter class attended by the author, but it's something to think about.
We talked about some of the differences between your average robbery and an active shooter. Fundamentally, the active shooter is there to shoot people. He's not using violence as a means to and [sic] end in the way that a robber is (the end being your money), the violence is an end in itself. He's also very likely to be suicidal, or at least willing, or planning, to die in the course of events. This means strategies that involve dissuading or deescalating the situation are unlikely to work and we're more likely to have to achieve physical incapacitation, rather than relying on pain or fear.Irrational, crazy person with nothing to lose. Just looking to inflict some pain and damage. Doesn't care if he lives or dies.
I dunno, like if he can't find a job and his government payment days are coming to an end. Or he's lost his house, his car, his family, his friends. His dignity. He might be listening to a black power or white power or la raza preacher, and figure he's "a chosen one" - "Preacher's talkin' to me!"
He could be wrapped up with some, "end of days" cult, or Mayan calendar sect. He could be persuaded by a Muslim imam, a Baptist minister or a Catholic priest to help cleanse the world before the fiery end.
It takes all types. It could be any or all of them.
Things seem to be wound up pretty tight in our world right now. NATO protest, more Occupy (fill in the blank) protests, Canadian protests, Greek protests, French protests, German protests, Camp David protest.
Might be a good time for YOU to think how you'd handle such a situation.
The neighborhood watch group will get much of the standard fare: Situational awareness, distance from violence is your friend, and fight like a crazed banshee if you're forced into it - get out of there, THEN call the cops.
I'll talk a bit about how their city is basically broke, and police services have been cut to the bone. Emphasize the "self" in "self-defense".
I will actually spend more time on the "non-lethal" pepper spray, stun guns and Tazers than on handguns and long guns. Since virtually no mere citizen in this city has the ability to get a concealed carry permit, if someone in the Watch group has a handgun on them outside of their home, it's likely illegal.
Now, I won't encourage them to break the law, but I sure as hell won't say or imply I agree with our state's insane gun laws. They've got to walk that path alone.
And I'll encourage them to have multiple back-up with them at all times. Assume failure. A twist on an old saying: Walk softly and carry a big spare magazine.
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