"The man who prefers his country before any other duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority."
Lord Acton

Monday, January 10, 2011

On senseless suffering and loss of life

Any person with so much as a shred of humanity feels sadness and sympathy for the victims and families impacted by events that occurred in Tuscon.  Losing a loved one in such a way, and especially a child is heartbreaking.

At the same time I am disgusted by so many politicians attempting to "make hay" and use the events as an opportunity to push a statist agenda.  The murdered 9 year old girl's father, in tears while talking to the news, asked that no more freedoms be taken away from Americans because of the tragedy. He claimed that it wouldn't help the situation.  I agree.

Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady, a Democrat from Philadelphia, told CNN that he also plans to take legislative action. He will introduce a bill that would make it a crime for anyone to use language or symbols that could be seen as threatening or violent against a federal official, including a member of Congress. 

One of the fiercest gun-control advocates in Congress, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), pounced on the shooting massacre in Tucson Sunday, promising to introduce legislation as soon as Monday. 

These are both very misguided fools at best, and likely much worse.  If we look at the scene from a rational security perspective we are able to get some clarity.  To think by changing some arbitrary law to "fix" the situation that allowed this crazed idiot to kill 6 people is simply naive and foolish.  A relatively determined individual aimed at harming others or damaging property is very likely to succeed, especially if they are not very choosy about their targets.  The tools in which they use to execute their plan (in this case a pistol) are a tactic, and changing tactics is very easy for an attacker with minimal impact on effectiveness.  It's, unfortunately, very hard to defend against from an asset's or defender's perspective. 

Whenever something bad happens that tears at our heart, it's natural for rational human beings to want to "fix" the situation, and prevent another such incident from happening in the future. No normal, compassionate human being wishes fellow souls to sustain injury, or violent and unnatural loss of life.  We want to do something about it.  What can we do?  The first thing we should do is to wish and pray for the victims of the immediately affected families.  Losing a close family member, friend or loved one hurts terribly.  Probably the best thing we can do for ourselves, others and our community is to prepare ourselves to deal with crises, disaster and the unpredictable.

Preparing to deal with crisis should be a matter of understanding the most likey threats, and disasters you may face and tailor general skills that are useful in a number of situations (independent of specific scenarios).  It's a good idea to know CPR and first aid.  It's a great idea to have a fair level of first aid skills, and practical self defense (Krav Maga, and/or CCW and training) (especially for women in both cases since they are more likely to face those types of threats).   It is possible someone near the victims proficient and prepared with either of those capabilities, may have been able to limit some of the damage.  The same first aid skills that can be used after a tornado or car accident can be used in a number of other situations with real life saving effects, just as practical self defense skills can be used to put off an attack, rape or a number of other situations.  In all these cases it makes you, your family and your community stronger and more resilient.

One final question: Is this murder of 6 people and injury of 14 more tragic than an octogenarian crashing through a farmers market killing 9 and injuring 54.  Despite our efforts, old people still are allowed to drive, even when they probably should hang up the keys but we did not slash the remaining bits of our already tattered Bill of Rights. 

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