Firearms, Self-Defense, and Natural Disaster

Firearms, Self-Defense, and Natural Disaster

Firearms, Self-Defense, and Natural Disaster

I’ve seen every Mad Max movie. I watch “The Walking Dead” like it’s my job. I love the fantasy of life in a post-apocalyptic setting and all the gut-punching stories you can place there.

But, I also live in the real world. More than that, I’ve been in a few war zones and in some genuinely nasty situations when the grid went down and the Powers-That-Be had bugged out of town leaving us peons to our own devices. And while it’s fun to fantasizes about gearing up and rampaging across the burning waste of civilization, the fact is that this approach can get you killed.

Most of us won’t face a grid collapse or a war zone, but after watching Hurricane Matthew slap the Atlantic South around it occurs to me that natural disasters can put us in positions that come pretty close. I want to talk here about the role that armed self defense, particularly with firearms, is likely to play when an earthquake or a hurricane comes a-knockin’.

First off, get the macho daydreams out of your head, sunshine. You won’t be engaging multiple targets in pitched firefight with local goons unless things go horribly wrong. You’re more likely to sit inside, complain about the heat/cold/lack of utilities, and eat canned food. Maybe you’ll run off the occasional looter or errant teenager.  So don’t go looking for trouble or start digging fighting positions on your front lawn. A bit of discretion is really the important thing.

Second, keep your guns out of sight if at all possible. Open carry is a touchy subject under normal circumstances and more so when the power has been out for three days. People get edgy, tempers fray, and someone looking for a new piece might start eying yours. And remember what happened post-Hurricane Katrina. Unable to tell the armed good guys from the armed bad guys, the cops just started disarming everyone. Most of those weapons were never returned to their rightful owners, and a lot of people got thumped around or arrested during confiscation. So play it cool and keep your stuff out of sight.

Thirdly, be realistic about your capabilities. You most likely won’t face a violent problem, as folks are pretty civilized in general. However, large scale looting and mob violence can happen in a community temporarily without rule of law. And—incoming reality check, sunshine—you won’t be masterfully gunning your way through the crowd like an 80’s action hero. Alone, you’re toast. Network with your neighbors, make a plan for the community as a whole, and work together and you’ll stand a much better chance of making it through unharmed and relatively unmolested.

It’s like they always say: the key is common sense and common sense ain’t that common. But if you plan ahead and keep your head, you should be just fine.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go watch Fury Road again. A man can dream at least.