Saturday, February 2, 2013

Training – What’s your life worth???


TheBoy: Hey dad, what ya doin’ tomorrow??

I smell a trap here . . . .

Me: I have some meetings until about noon . . . . what ya need???

TheBoy: Can you drive up in the van and help me take our old carpet to the land fill?? Please??

He and his fiancée had recently replaced old carpet with a new laminate floor and she was getting a bit antsy to have it gone from their porch . . . . . not sure why, it’s only been a couple of months . . . .

Me: Sure, will call you when I’m on the way tomorrow.

Various meetings fill my Saturday morning and finally, just afternoon, I’m headed north. Within 15 minutes of their home I call . . . .

Me: Almost there bud, gear up and off we go . . . .

TheBoy: MMMmmmm – OK. Say, made a bit of a mistake when I looked for the landfill in Waterloo . . . . I looked up Waterloo, ONTARIO.

On – frickin’ – TARIO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

TheBoy: But the one in Waverly is open until 4PM, can we go there???

Well, given that Waterloo, ON-frickin’-TARIO is 11 hours away, a 25 minute drive is lookin’ pretty good. So I say “no problem” – we load the old carpet in the back of the van – and off we go.

I enjoy my time with TheBoy – he’ll be 24 in a few months and is turning into a solid man. Our conversations are on equal footing now-a-days rather than a Father/Son posture. And, he reads the old man’s blog so he earns a few points right there!!

TheBoy: I liked your posts on Gloves. But you really need to do one on “What’s your life worth.”

So we chat about that on the way to the landfill. His take revolves on selection of a reliable weapon to defend yourself and I gotta say I’m pleased with how he has thought this out, his considerations and his own personal decisions as to the weapon he’s chosen to defend himself and his bride-to-be.

TheBoy: Yep pops, you gotta write that one some time . . . . .

Perhaps I do . . . . .

What, exactly, is your life worth?? There are many ways to compute “value” for an individual – let’s walk through a couple of them.

Biological Value: You can look at the value of your body for simply the value of it’s minerals and the “leather” that could be made from your skin. Your body’s breakdown is roughly as follows:

  • 65% Oxygen
  • 18% Carbon
  • 10% Hydrogen
  • 3% Nitrogen
  • 1.5% Calcium
  • 1% Phosphorous
  • 0.35% Potassium
  • 0.25% Sulfur
  • 0.15% Sodium
  • 0.15% Chlorine
  • 0.05% Magnesium
  • 0.0004% Iron
  • 0.00004% Iodine

The value of the minerals in your body would be around $1.50. Your leather?? At $.25 per square foot, you can add another $3. Let’s round it up to $5. So there ya go, you’re physical value is a “fiver” . . . .

Spare Parts: How about the “junk car” approach – organ harvesting. Lot’s of “meat” there. (sorry, couldn’t resist) In today’s world, lungs, hearts, livers, kidneys, bone marrow, bone, stool, skin, arteries, eye lenses and corneas, blood, plasma all can find value on “the street”. A 2011 segment on NRP rang up an inventory accounting of a value of $250,000 for the author’s individual body components. So, should your loved one be so inclined . . . . a cool quarter-mil could be added to their bank account by simply choppin’ you up!

Earning Capacity: Today, in 2013 the median age of the average American is approximately 35 years old. In 2011 the Social Security Administration estimated the average income of an American was approximately $43,000. Assuming that you are 35 years old and work to age 70, you earning capacity is a tad over $1.5 Million dollars. Perhaps this is how you should value your life.

The Soldiers Sacrifice: We’ve all heard the stories – grenade – buddy – body . . . . a supreme sacrifice made in an instant of mortal threat. A soldier chooses to value his body in terms of lives saved. His/her life measured against a fellow soldier’s ability see their children, another sunrise, to hold a wife or parent or lover. Their true value is their buddy’s life. “No greater love hath a man than to give their life for another . . .”

A life lived: Perhaps the simplest “value” is the value of a life lived. Meet Peter and Margaret.

Peter and Margaret

In 2004 my wife received an invitation to a birthday party . . . . for Peter . . . . his 200th. When seen in the scheme of things, this is a virtual sliver of humanity. But, still, a distinct, finite starting point that is fixed and measurable. From these two individuals have emerged over 5,000 direct decedents. Take this couple away – say an accident during a day’s trip by horse and buggy – and 5,000 souls disappear from existence. As we scanned through our “relation” one notable person that I remember is a member of the 1980 Olympic hockey team. It’s very odd to look at the trunk, branches, twigs and leaves of this family tree and realize that the “value” of Peter and Margaret can be measured by 5,000 lives lived – and all that goes with such a thing.

A life ended: It was one of “those” 2AM calls – the kind you instantly know you don’t want to answer yet you must. It’s Ronnie’s wife on the phone – my step brother’s wife. “Bill, your mom’s been in the hospital for the past 8 hours – she had a heart attack and the treatments for it lead to a massive stroke. She’s on life support. You need to come home so we can let her go.” A 45 second conversation – and a life ended. All too suddenly I am walking into her room, her husband Harold weeping in the corner. Mom will be the third wife he will bury – all friends/acquaintances of my mom and father. We say little – there is nothing to say. We agree, give the nod to the doctor and silence fills the room as the ventilator is turned off. I’m holding her hand as a nurse leans over – “Talk to her, they say the hearing is the last of the senses to stop.” So I say goodbye – thank her for the love she showed me – tell her I’ll see her again . . . . And in this final goodbye her value is apparent . . . our life together, our shared love . . . . nothing monetary, just her “being”.

The value of a gun:  Whether you look at your base elements, body parts, progeny . . . . you DO have value. You are worth defending – your family is worth defending. Given that . . . . . what are you defending them with? I have no problem with “grandpa’s gun” – provided it is functional and reliable.    Or a used gun in your favorite dealer’s case. Or your buddy’s weapon that they just want to get rid of. The actual “cost” of the weapon truly means little – it is all about function and reliability.  And – that you carry your gun each and every day – without fail!

The value of training: In the world of personal defense – training is the central element that decides if you go home at the end of the encounter or if you’re “carried by six” after a solemn service by your favorite pastor. Your inability to draw your weapon, your inability to put combat effective rounds on a threat, your inability shoot and move – will get you killed. Period. The bottom-line value of training?? You get to go home at the end of the day . . . .

So just what is this “personal defense” going to cost me – other than my life if I don’t take it serious. Some estimates:

  • Handgun                           $500
  • Extra Mags (3)                 $100
  • Holster                               $60
  • Belt                                     $50
  • Mag Holder                        $30
  • Eyes, Ears,Cap                 $60
  • Range Bag is gear            $100
  • “Basic” Training                 $150
  • Ammo                                  $800
  • First Year Base Costs   $1,850
  • Annual Training                  $400
  • Annual Ammo                    $800
  • Annual Costs                    $1,200

So there ya go - $1,200 to “keep your edge” throughout the year, to prepare for those 3-seconds no one ever wants to experience, to do your best to insure you are ready to protect yourself, your family or your friends should the need arise.

What’s your life worth?????


  1. Well done Sir, and the point is well made. Especially the family...

    1. Thanks - I have met people who simply see no value in their existance. And yet - 200 years down the road, thousands will owe their existance to that single person. A pretty humbling thought . . .