Don’t go to stupid places; don’t associate with stupid people; don’t do stupid things.
That they will probably go through life without the need to ever defend themselves from bad guys. And they right--right up until they're wrong.
A series of events, relatively local to me, is finally drawing to a close, and that motivates me to write a little something on the subject. You'll notice it has a crapload of tags, because you can't pigeonhole this one easily.
If you read the article I'll eventually link, you'll get all this background, but I want to state this myself. In May, 2014, 3 men attempted to rob a local business. The owner, who was armed, shot one and all three were arrested. The 3 were gang members. Other members of the gang began to stalk the owner and his wife, who took some steps to beef up their security posture. These steps were, as we'll see, ineffectual.
In October, 2014, there was a knock at the door of the owner's home. His wife answered and was immediately shot and killed. The owner armed himself and returned fire, but his gun jammed after the first shot. He was shot and left for dead. The shooter left, but heard the man sobbing and returned to deliver the coup de grace. A third individual in the home, the owner's son, was uninjured. I speculate this is because he was out of sight during the event.
It has taken some time, but everyone involved in this is being brought to justice, for various values of justice. There will unfortunately, IMHO, be no executions. The victims' son is keeping a low profile out of fear of further retribution by the gang.
I don't want to speak ill of the dead. They didn't know what they didn't know. Those of us who have been raised around guns, who have used guns as a tool in their work, who have trained in armed self defense or in law enforcement, we can all see the series of mistakes that were made that led to this unfortunate conclusion.
What I want to do is jar you the hell out of your complacency. COMPLACENCY KILLS. You need to understand this at a gut level.
We're all guilty of it. We've bought gear, spent money, time and effort, irritated our spouses, used time off for things other than vacations, and you simply get tired of all that effort with no obvious return. God, but I just want to go to the beach, sit under an umbrella and drink!
No one says you can't. We all need a break. No one can live in Condition Red, or Orange or even Yellow, forever. You'll lose your mind. But remember, it's a break. Eventually, you have to come back and live in reality, and the reality is that COMPLACENCY KILLS.
I don't care if you live in a "good neighborhood". I do, and my house has been burgled. These folks lived in a much nicer one, and they're dead. Criminals don't care about your neighborhood. They don't care that the cops usually spend more effort on the nicer areas than on the crappy ones. They know where the good stuff is, and that's where they're going to come. The gangbangers really don't give a crap. They pretty much figure they're going to die young anyway, so they don't have much in the way of fear. They are particularly dangerous because They. Don't. Care. About anything. As the old saying goes, they'd as soon shoot you as look at you.
I don't care if you have a gun, or a couple of guns, or a bunch of guns. Do you do any sort of training, even if it is just watching videos on Youtube? It's been said before, but a gun is not a magical talisman whose presence keeps evil at bay. It's a tool, and you have to know how to use it and when you can use it.
I don't care if you've had a training class, do you practice? Do you get to the range? Do you even shoot at all, bro? You have to get to the range and practice with that gun in your hand, and punching holes in paper doesn't count. You need to move and shoot, shoot from behind cover, shoot on the move, draw from a holster, draw from concealment, draw on the move. If you can and you're willing, shooting sports like IDPA and USPSA are good things to participate in; they'll give you plenty of practice at these things.
We have to face some ugly facts. We all know the police aren't everywhere; they never have been. But things are changing around us, and not in a good way. Violent crime seems to be starting to trend up, and there are stories in the news that crime stats in various locations may have been cooked for some years to make the politicians look good. There are chief LEOs who are telling their citizens that they need to arm themselves because their departments are over stretched and they are, in effect, on their own. While there is no hard statistics, it appears that criminals are getting more violent in their attacks. Last but hardly least, we have had and will probably continue to have terrorist attacks on our own soil.
While the likelihood of any one of us being involved in an incident is small, it isn't zero, and the effects of it can change your life--or end it. Just as with prepping for a hurricane or an economic displacement, preparing yourself to defend your life and property takes time, effort and money. But the chances you'll need to use that equipment and those skills are probably higher than any other thing you will prepare yourself for.
Remember, complacency kills. Don't be complacent.