Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just the Basics - Safe . . . . Really??


Safe: not able or likely to be hurt or harmed in any way

not in danger

not able or likely to be lost, taken away, or given away

not involving or likely to involve danger, harm, or loss

Our town held a community meeting last night entitled “Keeping our kids safe”. It’s been a topic of interest for small and large communities alike for the past 9 months since the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. And please, make no mistake – it was a tragedy and evil incarnate – true, soul sucking, straight from the depths of hell evil walked the earth that day. I realize it’s not very PC to acknowledge “evil” yet I believe it exists. There were “medical findings” and a broken home and violent computer games . . . but, in under all the trappings of the 21st century I find the cause much simpler to understand – evil walked the earth that day, in that soul and took lives, pure and simple.

That said, there is a tremendous need to “do something” on the part of parents and schools, something that will keep the kids “safe”, something to protect them from harm.

Notice that the definition above uses words like “not able” or “not likely” to be hurt or harmed or placed in danger or to be lost or taken away or to be involved in danger or harm. The definition attempts to walk the fine line between certainty – “not able” – and something a bit less certain – “not likely”. This is a very important difference that applies both to parents looking to their kids safety and to a defensive shooter looking to their carry weapon to keep them safe. Let’s chat a bit about that.

There’s a rather frank saying about life in general . . . “life’s a bitch!” And so it is. It comes with NO GUARANTEES – period, including a guarantee of safety. When a parent sends their children to school – in the world of the 21st century – there are even fewer guarantees than there were, let’s say a half century ago when I was in school. (sigh, half century . . . . really????) For “younger readers” let me describe life for a kid in school between 1956 and 1968 – though things were changing (and not for the better) during the last half of the 60s.

You WERE raised by the community. Unlike the illusion Hillary Clinton speaks about when she mentions that it “takes a village” – school kids of my time truly were raised by the community. Any adult had full license to discipline a kid, up to and including a good smack on the ass. (And please – there’s a difference between BEATING a kid and a smack on the ass – a very useful tool that has been totally abandoned in today’s world). Once said discipline had been dispensed – the parent was called immediately – insuring an additional smack on the ass when the kid got home.

Teachers had the power. Corporal punishment was the norm – not a perversion. Or you sat in the corner, embarrassed before your classmates. You learned that adults were to be respected if for no other reason than they had managed to survive life to an “old age” while the verdict on YOU was still in doubt.

YOU were expected to handle bullies, not your teacher, not your principle and not your mom and dad. I’ve talked about Jack before – he was my “right of passage”. Virtually every kid learned that at some point you had to put on your big boy/girl panties and handle your own shit.

For boys – knives were COOL. Everyone was proud of their first knife – be it the blue Cub Scout knife or a Pear Knife – you had taken the very first step towards manhood with that knife.

Hunting season meant a better than even chance that there was a shotgun in the locker of most boys. What – leave them in your car?? Are frickin’ kidding me?!?!?!? It might get stolen. No sir, I’m gonna lock that puppy in my locker and make sure it’s safe.

We have lost so much . . . I saw young parents – many friends with my daughter throughout her time in school – fearful for the safety of their kids. Afraid to have them walk to school, afraid to have them play outside by themselves, afraid to let them out of their sight. While we are a small, out of the way little burg, and the chances of something happening are oh so very low . . . . still . . .

They assure their kids that they and the teachers and the administration will keep them “safe” . . . in other words – they lie to them.

Our school has chosen to take the ALICE training – Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Escape. It does a good job of incorporating the core of Cooper’s Color Code or the NRA’s Levels of Awareness. Be Alert to something that is “off”, Lockdown the facility, Inform the building what is going on, Counter an attacker via barricades, lock doors (anything but huddling is a corner!) or Escape if possible. Some staff have taken force-on-force training to see what it like to be attacked.

They have not taken the step of armed staff – and that seems unlikely. It is just too far a leap given today’s fear of guns. Sadly, I’ve reach that age where I and a couple more in attendance were the only ones that had a memory of bringing a shotgun into a school for safe storage. We have lost so much.

So where is this headed? If you have school age kids – be honest with them. While teachers and staff will do their best to protect them – witness the staff and their tremendous sacrifice at Sandy Hook – there is much the kid can do themselves. Work out a plan with them – YOU, not the school. Go to their school, walk the halls with them, walk the rooms with them, “game” various situations. Be proactive as a parent. I hate this word, but . . . “empower” your kid with choices – up to and including picking up anything at hand and attacking if that is their last resort. Our schools and our society have done their best to turn society and our children into victims, it pisses me off.

As for YOU, as a defensive shooter – a person who carries every day - life is a demanding teacher. There are NO guarantees that this isn’t the night your home is invaded, or that tomorrow your bank won’t be robbed while you’re doing your business, or someone targets your new SUV at the stoplight . . . . it’s an endless list.

The number seems to vary so widely, but somewhere between 500,000 and 2 MILLION times a year a firearm is used to stop a crime. Taking the small number – 10,000 times per year per state. However you wrap your head around it – while 99.9% of the time life leaves you alone – there is evil and it will take a swing at you when you least expect it.

Safe?? Really?? I’d rather hang my hat on “unlikely” and be prepared for “OH SHIT!!”

. . . . been to the range lately??