Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Gift of Fear

I cannot say I am enjoying reading this book, The Gift of Fear (De Becker). It's unsettling. It's creepy at times. It stirs up all those little hind-brain bits we "civilized" folk would prefer to forget or ignore. And that is exactly the point!

I generally consider myself one of those women who does not look like an inviting target (at least I hope so!). I try to keep my head on a swivel when I'm out and about. I don't hang out in questionable areas, or bars. I tend to shop in daylight. I am by nature somewhat suspicious--but probably not suspicious enough often enough. I don't carry a purse--my pistol is far more comforting and comfortable! I like cutlery. But I realize by my very gender alone, I have a moderate target on my back, and have had all my life. And it is exacerbated by having my 3 kids in tow whenever I go out. Now, the kids are getting older, and are less of a hindrance, and more of another 3 sets of eyes, but still...

DH and I recently decided to sell off some gear in order to budget in some private instruction in managing unknown contacts, threat assessment and home/family defense. We are hoping this will help us in our daily lives, by giving us the insight of professionals in identifying threats, and then figuring out the options to deal with said threats--be it at home or at the Walmart parking lot. It should be interesting.

I am pleased to live in Texas, where the right of self defense has not been neutered, as it has in some states. I am also pleased to exercise my rights to arm myself, which in Texas is suitably straight forward, though more expensive than perhaps is necessary. In fact, currently Texas only restricts one's CCW pistol, to the type you qualified with (revolver or semi-auto). If you qualify with a semi-auto, you may carry any pistol (including revolvers), whereas if you qualified with a revolver, you are restricted to CCW'ing a revolver. Knives on the other hand, are far more restricted under the laws...go figure!

De Becker is not a huge fan of firearms, it appears more for personal reasons. And that's ok--I'm not looking to him for firearms advice. My purpose in reading his books are to learn something about what makes attackers reawaken my own 'early warning system' in the brain, so I can buy myself time to act, rather than just react. Because if you are reacting, you are already behind the curve, and that is not a great place to be!  That reawakening is hard to do--the mind resists breaking the status quo, the relative peace it has known for nigh on 50 years. "It can't happen to me" is a hard mentality to completely get rid of.

I don't want to live in fear of life.  That would be a miserable existence.  It's not who I am, it's not who I want to be.  But I also don't want to be a victim.  The world today is not the one I grew up in.  That makes me sad--not so much for myself, but for what my kids will not have--that freedom to roam around town in relative safety, bike riding all over, or just walking.

I see other women out there, on the MUP, maybe out jogging, usually by themselves even at night...iPhones on, music blaring through earbuds, oblivious to everything except the pounding of their feet and the rhythm in their ears.  While I applaud their exercising, they make me want to scream!  They make me want to rip out the earbuds and scream into their half-deaf ears that they are making themselves into prey!  That they are unknowingly drawing predators into MY neighborhood!  Their neighborhood!  Our town!  Even worse are the walkers, plugged in and playing on the smartphones...they are not only deaf, but blinkered as well.  At least the joggers have their heads up to see where they are running...the walkers, all plugged in and texting or whatever they are doing, well it wouldn't be polite to print where their heads are!  And guys, don't think you are immune to violence either, because you're not!  Don't act like prey in my town, please!

I'm going to end this's focus has changed from my original intent, and I don't want it to get out of hand.  Those of you who know me, know where I stand.  Those of you who do not know me well, will probably figure it out sooner or later if you keep coming back here.  I will merely leave you with a quote from one of our Founding Fathers...
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


  1. Great post!!! Oh this is a sensitive subject for me since I am a retired Operations Consultant from the banking industry. I not only trained branch personnel in matters of banking operations but also in emergency preparedness, security and robbery. I tell people I now mingle with whether it be hiking, kayaking, birding or exercising about "being aware" of their surroundings AT ALL TIMES!!!...:)JP

  2. Great post. Rather than living in a state of fear I think people should live in a state of awareness.


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