I have a friend and LEO who is a trainer for the “Below100” initiative sponsored by LawOfficer magazine. Since 1944 the annual death toll for Law Enforcement Officers has exceeded 100. Sadly, 2013 will be no exception with the 100th death of an officer in the line of duty occurring in Alabama on December 20th. While reading through the tenets of the program, it’s history and goals . . . it got me thinking. What 5 tenets could we – as individuals and instructors, who carry and teach personal defense - adopt to give us the best chance of getting “Home, Safe” each and every day? This post are my thoughts – comments and ideas are welcome!
First a review of the 5 tenets of the Below100 program:
- Wear your belt
- Wear your vest
- Watch your speed
- WIN – What’s Important Now
- Remember – Complacency Kills
Take some time and read the linked articles. There is a tremendous about of common-sense information that can go a long way towards insuring that you – while more than likely not a LEO – arrive “Home, Safe” each and every day.
While adopting a number of these tenets, for the civilian they have just a bit of a different slant and emphasis. And a couple are just different. Here they are:
5-tenets of “Home Safe”
Drive your vehicle
WIN – What’s Important Now
Master your weapon
Remember – Complacency Kills
Drive your vehicle
You are the PILOT – not the passenger of the vehicle you’re driving . . . act like it!
When I was young there was a traffic accident just down the road from my home. My dad and I walked down to see what/who was involved. Peering through the crowd and into the drivers-side window the driver could clearly be seen . . . . with the steering wheel shaft driven through his chest. It was the mid-50s and well before the dawn of the seat belt and collapsible steering column. Today, the auto industry is trying to save your life with seat belts, air bags and steering columns that absorb energy rather than driving a chunk of steel through your chest.
The best plan to reduce vehicle deaths in America – and for you – is to DRIVE YOUR DAMN CAR!! YOU are responsible for its path, its speed, the conduct of your passengers. YOU!
- Wear your belt.
- Insure your passengers wear their belt.
- Use child seats.
- Put down the damn phone and use hand-free tech instead.
- DON’T FRICKIN’ TEXT OR READ EMAIL!!!
- Don’t do paper work!! (yes, I have seen people driving 70+ MPH with a file open on top of their steering wheel!)
- Don’t speed!!
- Road Conditions Matter – slow down!
- Don’t drive “under the influence” of . . . ANYTHING!
- Drive “Aware” of your surroundings.
According to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics of 2011 there were 34,677 vehicle related deaths. I suspect many were truly “accidents” . . . yet I am equally certain that many were because the driver had their head buried! Don’t be a statistic!
Drive Your Vehicle!
WIN – What’s Important Now
There is a single instant in time where you can affect change . . . NOW! You cannot return to the past and change events. You cannot leap into the future to view possible outcomes. You only have NOW, this moment, this instant, this second.
What’s important to do NOW, so you get “Home Safe” tonight? So your life continues on the best path possible? Is it time to end your shift or day at the office? Going to hit the bar with friends, or would going home to your wife/husband and kids serve you better? Should you eat the donut or take a pass? Push back in the recliner or spend 15 minutes on the treadmill?
Are you running late? Would a “little over the limit” get you there on time . . . or dead? When the waiter asks your table if anyone wants a second glass of wine – do you really “need” it?
When it’s a choice between the school play, the kid’s game or the Christmas Concert and a few extra hours at work or a second round at the bar . . . which choice will serve you better?
We all face dozens of moments throughout the day where our choice affects our path . . . as the old knight would say – “Choose Wisely!”
“The best way to win a gunfight is to never get into one!” A well-known phrase attributed to a handful of people, yet filled with common sense. From the NRA’s “Levels of Awareness” to Jeff Cooper’s “Color Code” or Col. Boyd’s “OODA Loop” – all stress the importance of being “aware” of your surrounding and the things going on around you as a key element to your survival.
Move to a state of “living in yellow” – “Aware”. With the today’s fondness for new games . . . like the Knock-Out-Game . . . it just makes sense to scan your surroundings, be aware of people moving towards you, of things that just don’t “feel right”. We all have “Spider Senses” – hone them!
And, along with this new found awareness – be willing to ACT on what you see or sense. If it feels “off”, it probably is. If there are a group of young men locked on you – wishing things to be different will not change the situation. Be willing to move to a safer place, to create distance and – as a very last resort – be willing to defend yourself, your family and your friends with deadly force.
Master Your Weapon
Your concealed weapon is your very last resort to protect your life, that of your family or friend. It’s not meant as a tool to threaten or to warn. It’s meant to be used only if you are unable to evade or escape attack. If you do not employ it in your defense . . . you go home in a ZipLoc. It only makes sense to me that you are its MASTER!
What does that mean exactly – to “Master” your weapon. To me it means that it has become an extension of your body. Its draw, extension, target acquisition is as natural as you pointing your finger at a person. That should events unfold that you have determined your single last resort is to use your weapon to protect your life, or the life of a family member or friend you don’t have to think . . . Access Chest, Grip Chest, Draw Chest, Rotate Chest, Join, Extend . . . your weapon is simply out and on target.
It means that if a malfunction occurs you don’t have the urge to call a little range conference of your friends to determine what the heck happened . . . you simply clear the malfunction.
It means that you take care of your weapon – clean, lube and inspect it with the sure knowledge that at a critical moment, this is the only thing that may well stand between you and your Maker.
It means that you are NEVER SATISIFIED with your skill level. It means that your train diligently on the range, that you continue to take course work and that you work to be the absolute best shooter you can possibly be.
That YOU are its master!
One other thing . . .
Carry the damn thing . . . EVERY DAY . . . WITHOUT FAIL!!
Remember – Complacency Kills
Murphy is a brutal teacher caring little whether you arrive home safe tonight or are lying on a steel table at the local coroner’s office. The feelings of your family and friends matter little to him.
Take a moment – every morning – before you take up your EDC gear and clear your head. Focus your mind. The arguments of the night before, the tasks of the day, the stresses of life – little and large – all can get in the way of your primary task for the day . . . getting back home, safe. Go through your mental check list.
- Magazine firmly inserted, round in the chamber?
- Spare magazine?
- Backup knife?
- Do you have all EDC gear you normally carry?
No excuses . . . “Well, I don’t think anything’s going to happen today – I think I’ll just leave all this crap home today!”
Pick up your scanning . . . and make it your goal to live in Condition Yellow, “Aware”.
Set aside distractions – your iPod/MP3 player, leave texting until you’re at your destination, insure your clothing provides you maximum visibility. All simple things – and that’s the problem. They’re simple to do . . . and just as simple to forget.
It’s your job to keep you head in the game all day . . . Murphy’s waiting . . .
If each of us take these 5 tenets to heart . . . make them a part of our daily life . . . we significantly increase our chances of getting home, safe.