By now, you've seen and heard what happened in Orlando on Sunday. With the death toll at "at least 50" it's now the deadliest terrorist attack in America since 9/11.
In the coming days and weeks, you're going to hear lots of people say that they have a solution to this problem.
Democrats and anti-gun folks are going to say that banning certain types of guns will solve this problem. They're wrong. Donald Trump and his supporters are going to say that banning certain types of people from entering the country will solve this problem. They're wrong, too.
The hard truth is that there isn't an easy solution to this problem, and anyone who tells you differently is lying to themselves or lying to you. So what can we do?
We can be prepared.
First, we're all responsible for our own safety. The police aren't able to be everywhere all the time. By all accounts, the police did everything right in this instance, but they aren't able to just instantaneously appear. What does that mean? Well, it means that we all need to do some thinking about how we're going to keep ourselves safe.
I'm not saying that we should live our lives in fear, but we should be prepared. For example, every school conducts fire drills on a regular basis. Now, school fires aren't very common at all, but we still conduct fire drills because we know that if there was a fire, we need to have school children leave the building in an organized manner to avoid chaos. In fact, I can't even think of an instance of a fire at at school, but I sure can remember all the fire drills that I was a part of.
We need to apply this same type of preparedness to our daily lives. So many people walk around in a blithe state of unpreparedness, the only thing that can save their lives when confronted with danger is dumb luck or the ineptitude of the attacker.
You don't need to go around armed all the time, but you certainly could. However, being armed isn't the most important thing. The most important thing is your mindset. You have to be mentally prepared to defend yourself. In fact, if you're armed, you need to be in the right mindset, or you're just going to be part of the problem.
I know it's not pleasant to go around thinking about the fact that the world is a potentially dangerous place, but it is. If you want to work on getting into the right mindset and believe that self-defense is something that you want to engage in, I would highly recommend this short essay by Jeff Cooper. It's only 41 total pages and you could read it over your lunch break. Here's a brief sample:
Principle One: Alertness
"'A commander may be forgiven for being defeated, but never for being surprised.' This maxim is among the first to be impressed upon new lieutenants. It is equally applicable to individuals who aspire to a degree of physical security in today's embattled society. Alertness is, to some extent, an inherent personality trait, but it can nonetheless be learned and improved. Once we accept that our familiar and prosaic environment is in fact perilous, we automatically sharpen our senses."
The rest of the essay goes on to detail the other principles, which Cooper lists as: Decisiveness, Aggressiveness, Speed, Coolness, Ruthlessness, and Surprise.
There's no magic solution to violence, but we can at least try to be in the right mindset in the event that we find ourselves in a situation where you find yourself in a violent situation.