We’re all accustomed to the fact we should plan for emergency situations. Natural disasters can strike unannounced and without warning. Events like floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires can degrade your local infrastructure and emergency services may not be instantly available to help. This is why, in addition to having a plan for yourself and your family in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, you need to also plan for self-defense.
When we think of the core essentials, we think of “water, food, shelter”. However, how about protecting yourself? No matter how proficient you believe you are in hand-to-hand combat, actual self-defense is much more nuanced. You don’t know how many opponents you could be facing, what the duration of conflict will be, or when you can expect basic things like an ambulance or medical care to arrive.
This is why making a plan for self-defense is so critical.
Basic Steps: Fight or Flight
Military and law enforcement generally prepare to enter any conflict with, at the bare minimum, numbers and equal or superior firepower. When they don’t have either of those elements, their operations go from offensive to defensive very quickly. You, as a civilian, can probably expect to always be outnumbered and outgunned, and even if you do have the advantage of one or the other, neither is a safe bet.
Unlike the military or law enforcement, you don’t have a person who can haul you out of the fray if you get caught in it. If you go down, there’s nobody to recover you. That’s why you have to be willing to make important tactical decisions to extend out your ability to move and survive. This may include abandoning key essential equipment like water, food, and shelter.
Fighting should always come as a complete and utter last-ditch effort to survive. And you are fighting just so long as you can fight towards flight. While it may be gratifying to know your enemies and assailants have been laid waste, you don’t have that luxury in an emergency situation. Your only job is to survive and to hopefully keep your family safe. Plan for that.
Every Ounce Counts
While fleeing an emergency situation, every ounce you carry will burden you – so every ounce of weight counts. Your choice of weapons needs to reflect a good balance of weight management and efficiency. A lightweight weapon that isn’t likely to survive its first use is of little use to you. When a weapon can double as a practical tool, you’re getting two uses out of it.
Don’t be afraid to make these decisions now. Practice by taking what you intend to carry – including food, water, and shelter – and make a practice go of it. If you find your choice of weapons slows you down, make those difficult calls before the pressure gets turned up a notch.
If your plan is to bring no weapons and rest upon the generosity of your fellow survivors, you may be in for a world of disappointment. It would be better to carry a big stick softly than to forgo the stick altogether.