Preparation:

The action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test or duty.

Avoidance:

An act or practice of avoiding or withdrawing from something.

Awareness:

A state of being aware.

The holidays are upon us and our time is stretched beyond its usual capacities as we strive to meet the demands of the season.  Our lives become rushed as we focus on getting places, beating crowds, shopping, etc., and understandably we may be focused on the tasks at hand, thereby reducing our normal levels of alertness.  How aware are you of your surroundings at any given time on any given day?  Are you prepared to avoid certain unpleasant situations that may befall you simply because you were unaware of what was going on around you?

On Armed American Radio we talk about preparation, avoidance and awareness to some extent almost every week and how important those three elements are to your personal safety.   The sad fact is that criminals and predators enjoy the holiday season as much as the rest of us.  They love the fact that we are distracted by our surroundings and many are lying in wait for us to make that one mistake that they can capitalize on. 

Obviously crime happens all year but we seem to be made more aware of it by the authorities during the holidays.  We read about and see on the news, stories of “stepped up” patrols by law enforcement at the malls for example, and we are reminded about doing the simple things such as walking with our heads up, keeping our keys in hand as we approach our vehicles, and not being so overburdened with packages that we are easy targets, etc. 

That is great advice any time of the year and should be a part of your preparation, avoidance and awareness practices each and every day no matter where you go and what you do.  During an on-air interview with me on Armed American Radio, nationally recognized self-defense expert Massad Ayoob told listeners, “Heck that’s good advice regardless, not just to keep watch for the bad guys but think of all the really cool things you’ll see during your day that you would have otherwise missed”!

Like everyone else who takes their personal safety serious, I do all that I can when I am out and about.  I don’t mean I walk around like Linda Blaire in the Exorcist with my head spinning in a circle, I mean simply being awake.   Incidentally, Massad was right, I have seen some pretty cool stuff that I might have missed were I walking around like some zombie more concerned about a stupid email on my cell phone rather than paying attention to my surroundings. 

Think about this.  Have you ever heard a victim of a car accident say something like “I never saw him, he came out of nowhere”?   Well guess what?  Three thousand pound speeding hunks of metal that make noise do NOT come out of nowhere.  Someone simply wasn’t paying attention to their surroundings when they should have been.

The same thing happens with criminals.  They don’t come out of nowhere.  In fact many victims actually remember seeing their attackers long before they were attacked when discussing the incident afterwards. 

Meet Lee Michaels.  Lee is the Operations Director at a Minneapolis radio station and as such, he has seen and reported on crime in his city.  Because the nature of his job requires reporting the news he tends to be more aware of his surroundings than the average person.  Lee is living proof that even though someone is doing everything right by being aware and paying attention, things can still go horribly wrong.

Upon returning to his home around midnight a couple of years ago after a hockey game, Lee noticed a young male riding a bicycle on the street as he entered his condo complex, in fact he almost hit the kid.   Avoiding an accident, he stopped and let the pedestrian move out of the way before continuing to his garage. 

Parking inside and lowering the garage door, Lee exited through a side door and walked towards the front of his abode.  Like most men, he stood out front and looked up to admire the fruits of his labor before heading inside when the kid on the bike approached him on foot asking for money.  Lee stood assertive, looked the kid directly in the eyes and told him he didn’t have any money. 

Unfortunately and unbeknownst to him, the kid on the bike wasn’t a friendly neighbor boy looking for a piece of candy but was the set-up man for a tag team armed robbery.  Within seconds, another miscreant scumbag approached from the rear and promptly began pistol whipping him and threatening to kill him while demanding he “give it up”.  During the attack Lee heard the armed attacker telling the kid on the bike he was “just gonna do him” right now.  

Herded into his garage at gunpoint and forced into his vehicle by the two genetically challenged criminals, Lee fought back.  Starting his car, he stepped on the gas intentionally hitting the armed punk as he shot out of the garage and into the street, knocking him to the floor (Unfortunately not killing him).  The bicyclist was caught later that evening and eventually sentenced to the Minnesota Big House where hopefully karma has seen him robbed of his prized canteen purchased Honey Buns, or worse.  The armed scoundrel was never caught.

I have interviewed and written about countless good people who have had similar things happen to them even when they thought they were awake and aware and I know from my own experience that crime happens anywhere, to anyone, at any time.  By staying alert and aware you hopefully avoid any situations that might make you a victim of violent crime but being prepared in the event it happens will determine the outcome and your very survival.

For me, preparation means having the means to defend myself if everything else fails.  For me it is a gun.  I will never understand the man or woman who does not posses the means to defend themselves or their families and loved ones.  That concept is foreign to me.  I know first-hand what can happen in an instant, in the blink of an eye even when you ARE paying attention to your surroundings, like Lee.  I simply cannot imagine being unable to defend my life or my family in the event I could not otherwise avoid a situation or impending attack.

Like health or life insurance, a fire extinguisher, smoke detectors or seat belts, having a firearm, as part of your preparation skills means that you have a chance to survive should the unthinkable happen.  In fact not just any firearm but the biggest, most powerful, largest caliber that you can comfortably conceal, carry and shoot that will effectively stop the person and the attack against you.  Maybe for you it is a .22 caliber mini-revolver and that’s just fine.  Maybe your clothing, size and lifestyle allow you to carry a .45 ACP but either way it sure beats fighting for your life with the car keys if you find yourself in a nightmare situation.

The point is to prepare yourself, by being aware of your surroundings and avoiding any and all confrontations at all times no matter what by using your eyes and your brains.  Prepare yourself by purchasing a gun, training with it and obtaining the necessary state weapon/firearm permits.  Embrace it, get to know it intimately, love everything about it, the way it looks, the way it feels, its beauty in design and engineering, its disassembly and reassembly, its features and accessories.  Carry it with you and never be afraid to use it to defend your life or that of your family and loved ones. 

Although it happens to thousands of Americans every day, a lethal encounter is very rare and your odds of becoming a victim of violent crime are minimal but if and when it happens, it will happen violently and in the blink of an eye.  As a mother, father, brother or sister, you have an obligation and responsibility to yourself and your family to survive.

For more information and to listen to Lee Michaels tell his harrowing story on Armed American Radio, please visit Armed American Radio (http://www.armedamericanradio.com).  Lee’s story can be heard in the August 29th 2010 archive in the 3rd hour.  For more information and to test your own awareness and alertness, please visit Armed American Radio and click on the “Sealed Mindset” link under “Sponsors” to take the sample lesson.  It is free and anonymous, you will not be asked for any personal information or email addresses, no forms to fill out, etc. Just take the 2 minute sample lesson and learn how unaware you really are!

Editor’s Note: Take a look at Mark’s book Lessons from Armed America. Click here to learn more about Armed American Radio.

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