Over in the firearms recommendation thread, I posted:
We talk about F you money here, a lot. But why? It's not going to be enough to retire on, and it won't stop your retirement savings from tanking with the markets, it makes you more vulnerable to fraud and theft and liability to have ready cash, so surely f you money is a net loss, right? No. Having f you money changes one's relationship with your work. Having that bit of savings, means not automatically accepting whatever your boss offers. Not coming in for an extra shift when they just expect you to. Not taking the pay cut, or whatever your issue is with work. It gives you the freedom to reject the expectation of compliance, and going your own way. It empowers you to choose to accept those conditions, as well. But the choice is yours. Even if you don't exercise the option, it's better to have it. Having that option changes your relationship with your employer, and coworkers.
And when someone looks at the world, for what it is, and decides that some parts are to be avoided, and makes the plans, decisions, and preparations necessary to exclude those factors, this is equally empowering.
You can do this with martial arts, building a safe room, training with a gun, or what have you. Look at the advice in this thread. Plenty about gun choice, but just as much about influencing factors and why one should make this or that choice. Nobody is recommending going out and getting a gun so you can blast away at a bump in the night. No, the advice is to match the gun to the need and the environment. To be safe, to get it right.
I don't come from safe, middle class neighborhoods. I have seen plenty of violence, but little gun violence. For me, growing up, I just knew I wanted a different life, and in my twenties, I got it. I was out, and living in those safe neighborhoods, and that was good enough for a while. Right up until I heard someone coming in through the sliding glass door, as I described in the guns thread. It was a false alarm, but it was definitely an alarm. It got me thinking about the people I knew growing up, and what they did to people like me, now. This is what got me going on security.
And I found that having a gun, having looked at security, having made the decision to exclude parts of the world from my life, changed my relationship with the world. A similar change to the "f you money" effect I described above. Bad things still happen, but there are now limits. I feel backstopped. I don't control everything, but I can stop some things, close to me.
I have my little space, where I exercise both authority and responsibility. A place where I decide what doesn't belong. A place where I can determine what matters, and what doesn't. And just as importantly, having that space, let's me let others do as they wish outside of that space. And that is what I am endorsing, when I talk about guns.
But I thought it belonged here.
And I thought I have talked a lot about gun control, and the effects of the same, but I haven't talked about emotions much. The above is how I deal with the bad things in the world.
I can't make violence go away. I can't force people to be good or nice. All I can do is stake out my little corner, and declare, if only to myself, "that won't happen here." But it's not enough to whisper it in the dark under the blankets, like a child. For me, it's the start of looking at possibilities, probabilities, and capabilities, and coming up with contingency plans.
Because I'm a slow thinker. When presented with a situation I haven't expected and explored mentally, I have too many potentials, and I haven't worked out the best course. This causes me to slow down, look more, think more. Exactly the wrong response to a hazardous, quickly developing, situation. So part of staking out my corner is pre-planning for bad things. How to respond, where to go, what to do. Getting the right things in the right places to deal with the problem.
Now I know that crime on my island paradise is about as common as it is in gated private communities with staff security on the mainland. There just isn't much, and not much to do to prevent what little there is. The local rag can milk a murder for years. I've done all the passive crime prevention I can.
But it's not enough. I need a plan for me and mine, because when things change, is the wrong time to plan for changes. Firearms, for me, is part of that. They are part of the plan because they are the most effective deterrent to someone else using them. Not a great defense, but then the threat isn't ever present, either.
This is how I deal with a suboptimal world. What's the other option? Hope? Banding together and pretending the world is better than it is? Honestly, I just don't understand the thought process of looking at a world that includes violence, and deciding not to do anything about it. Maybe people who are less familiar with violence are just better about not thinking about it. I don't know.
So, for those who do something else, what do you do? How do you think? What is your plan?