In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the "Storm of the Century", I was dismayed and saddened to hear of people living is desperate conditions without water to drink and food to eat. It seemed almost impossible to me that with more than three days warning that adults were not able to prepare themselves for what everyone on television and the radio was calling the "FrankenStorm". How, after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the deadly Joplin, MO tornados, and numerous other disasters, all in the last decade, could there be people who still did not understand the need to prepare for long-term power outages and shortage of food and water?
I think back to my childhood and watching my mother and grandmothers plant gardens, can food and stock our pantry or fruit cellar. This was a regular occurrence, not a onetime event. I can recall when my family was snowed in for at least a full week during the Blizzard of 1977. We survived without harm. There were no helicopter airlifts of food to my neighborhood. We didn't go all Donner Party and start eating each other. How can it be that less than forty years later we've devolved to a point where major cities cannot go 24 hours without electricity before turning into some post-apocalyptic nightmare?
I suppose the best term I can come up with is that of an artificial life. The digital era has provided us with more electronic distraction than we have the capacity to take in. Our news media, entertainment, and communication take place in the untouchable realm of cyberspace. Teenagers no longer stand in line for hours waiting to buy paper concert tickets or purchase record albums with glossy cardboard covers that they examine for hours while listening to music.
Lengthy telephone calls where you were tethered to a corded handset while lying in a comfortable chair are a thing of the past. Ask yourself, when was the last time you actually called and spoke to a good friend rather than firing off a quick email or text?
Currency has become notional. Direct deposit, debit cards, and online accounts have all but done away with hard cash. We all know people who don't even carry cash of any kind on their person. We are heading down a path were the concept of the "US dollar" will be almost inconceivable. We might as well refer to dollars as "Republic Credits".
No, I wasn't raised like Daniel Boone where I had to kill rabbits and squirrels for supper. We went to the grocery store. But, my mother always laid out part of the backyard or our property for a vegetable garden. When I was a teenager we operated a small farm and did indeed raise chickens, pigs, and a beef steer or two. We'd barter with the local butcher shop and trade part of the meat for the cost of the processing. Animals had to be fed and watered, regardless of how cold it was or how busy or tired we might have been.
I begin this piece not with malice or antagonism in my heart, but with genuine concern. For nearly thirty years I've carried a firearm professionally and for better than two decades I've been involved in teaching others to do the same. I've written innumerable articles, papers, and even a couple of books that centered on the use of arms. More importantly, I've had the privilege to attend myriad professional schools and training academies to include those run by the U.S. military and state law enforcement as well as those operated privately. The great fortune to train with some of the leading firearms instructors in the world has befallen me.
The previous information was offered as an attempt to assuage the knee-jerk reactions of some who may feel that what follows is a deliberate attempt to insult their religion. Yes, the term 'religion' is used quite deliberately, as many gun owners and toters defend their choice of hardware and employment of said hardware with the zeal of one who is protecting the honor of their chosen faith. Insult is not my intent though I do fear it is inevitable.
While the use of paraphrase is never as valid as a direct quote, I believe I can be forgiven in this instance as I cannot seem to put my hands on my copy of The Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee. As I recall, Lee expressed frustration with the way the martial arts were being delivered and taught to Westerners in the United States. Lee expressed that the, then contemporary, instructors had taken that which was once fluid and forced it into a strict mold, they'd made it rigid.
That was not to say that the modern instructors of his day did not possess skill, they indeed did. But, these men had become masters of repetitive movement and had turned what was once a dynamic form of physical combat into a regimented game. If your aim is be the very best at a game or a sport, there is certainly no shame in that endeavor. The folly comes when skill at sport is confused with skill in mortal combat.
In his Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi offers a warning that, "The 'Way' cannot be learned through frivolous contests in which the outcome is for the name of a school or a large trophy. It can only be realized where physical death is a reality." What does all this martial arts, Eastern mumbo-jumbo have to do with good ole fashion American gunfighting? I'm glad you asked.
Just recently a student of the gun offered the advice that we change the term 'gun' to 'self-defense tool' and that the fresh new verbiage would stymie the anti-gun crowd. On the face of it the suggestion would seem to have merit. However, we need to understand who and what we are up against.
Self-defense tools are exactly what the anti-gun people are trying to legislate out of your fingers. They genuinely do not believe you have the right to self-defense. Any defending of your home and hearth must be administered by a 'professional', that is, a government agent or employee.
Far too often, we as lawful gun owners, experience a blatant attempt to divide and conquer us. The "divide and conquer" form of physical and psychological warfare has been used, often successfully, for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
If your enemy is strong, one of the most favored ways to engineer his defeat is to get him to either divide his forces from a practical or geographic standpoint or to destroy your enemy's morale by encouraging dissention among the ranks. The lawful American gun owner is under attack today like no time in recent history.
Another example of the divide and conquer ploy is underway on the heels of the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas. One of the guest speakers at the NRA meeting was Rob Pincus, a veteran instructor and a name familiar to most readers in this audience. During one of the numerous seminars held at the Annual Meeting, Rob suggested that it might be a prudent idea to install some type of Quick Access Gun Safe / gun vault in your kid's bedroom in the event of a home invasion emergency.
The Huffington Post online and their sycophant minions have taken what would seem to be thoughtful, if not at least thought-provoking, advice and served it as more fodder to their anti-gun, Obama Zombie readers. Not surprisingly, their emotionally driven, reactive audience erupted in a cacophony of hate-filled Facebook posts and tweets reinforcing yet again how 'tolerant' and 'open-minded' they claim to be.
During Pincus' remarks he stated that in event of nighttime home invasion, it would be a natural instinct for a parent to rush to their child's bedroom to ensure their safety. If the only home defense firearm is stored in the master bedroom that could potentially put the defending parent in a position where they find themselves with their child but minus the tool they would need to defend said child or children.
A recent home invasion in Texas put a mother and her child in a precarious position. The small child was asleep in another room and between the child and his mother were three felons. Fortunately, the mother was able to retrieve a gun and fight the armed intruders, saving both her life and potentially the life of her child.
While most in the reading audience would not see Rob's advice as reckless, those that wish to see the American citizen disarmed 'for the good of the children' took vocal offense and responded with venom and vitriol.
While .22 Long Rifle handguns as fantastic training tools and an excellent way to learn the basics of marksmanship, they are not the best fight stoppers in the world. It is true that, as my friend Walt Rauch once advised, "No one wants to leak, not even bad guys." Regardless, there is no reason that a healthy adult woman cannot carry and employ a centerfire handgun.
Not so long ago I had a woman told me that when the subject of a defensive handgun came up one of her male co-workers told her to buy a .22 and load it with "dumb-dumb" rounds. Yes, that was the exact term he used. Dumb-dumb rounds aside, the purpose of defensive shooting is to force the attacker to stop, not to bleed to death twenty minutes later.
This review, as it has a "Part 2" in the title, is naturally a follow up to the previous One Box Workout for Rifles. In the interest of clarity and comprehension, if you haven't read the first part, now might be a good time to do so.
Having taken the time to focus on the basics, it is time to move on to something a bit more dynamic. The world is not a static place and we need to practice moving about effectively and prudently with a rifle in our hands.