GHayesby Gila Hayes

What are the chances? It is surprising how often we try to guess the likelihood of facing that for which we strive to prepare. The question arose a couple of times this week. The day before Thanksgiving, I was visiting with a former student who owns a couple of champion Buhunds, a Scandinavian spitz-type dog of moderate size. Showing the dogs entails some long trips, including a cross-country trek to a competition in Orlando next month. She explained that while worried about travel safety, she has worked hard to attain this standing and will not stop out of fear of terrorism.

Well, I replied, obliterating the famously pleasant Western way of life is part of the enemy’s objective. Knuckling under advances the terrorists’ agendas, and this woman, for one, had no intention of doing that! Instead, we talked for awhile about what she could to do increase her personal safety in large public venues, and after the conversation was over, I continued to ponder the challenges of living in this world without falling prey to its monsters.

Over the years, Marcus Wynne has written several outstanding blog posts about preparation to survive a terror attack and one was quoted recently in Ralph Mroz’s Street Standards blog. After the Boston Marathon bombing, Wynne wrote, “The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, to get us to stay home and watch events on TV, to live in fear and demand that the government do *whatever* to make this stop…Let’s not do that. Let’s get on with our lives and refuse to be cowed, refuse to allow others to rob us of joy and the simple pleasures of going about our lives.”

While armed citizens talk about concealed carry’s role in surviving a terror attack, recent lessons from Paris underscore more than ever that our key job is protecting family members, and getting the heck out of the danger zone. A pistol is a poor offensive tool against terrorists who bring rifles and explosives to the scene. In fact, while no one will deny the value of being armed, much of the solution is not gun-oriented at all. Wynne wrote that prior planning calls for knowing what to do if the phone service is interrupted, loading maps and other tools that function without a cell signal on your smart phone, having alternative meeting points established amongst family members, picking out cover and areas of temporary safety when you are out and about, and knowing several ways to depart the immediate area fast! First Aid training and basic gear and being dressed so your shoes and clothing do not greatly inhibit your ability to get out of Dodge, are just a few other facets we now need to work into daily safety.

In training circles, much is preached about awareness, but little specific instruction in the “how” and “what” aspect is given. The broadcast news last night featured a segment on a cell phone app on which citizens are to photograph and send information about suspicious characters to authorities. I found the whole idea a little chilling! Still, looking beyond Big Brother’s corruption of personal safety principles, we do need to pay more attention to items that don’t belong, persons who are dressed wrong, out of place behavior, and we must not be embarrassed to leave the area if a credible threat comes up on radar.

This is just the beginning of safer living in today’s world. is a better starting place to review or begin your personal preparation.

In addition to our psychological resistance to admitting how vulnerable we are (something Dr. Margulies briefly addressed in our lead interview), we also fight the temptation to “play the odds.” Last week, I had a nice phone discussion with a man who became one of our newest members at the end of our chat. One of his questions arose when a friend opined that using a gun in self defense was a one-in-a-million likelihood, so he should not waste his money on a post-incident protection plan. I was happy to suggest instead that the Network gives members a solid value for their dues by sending each new member eight lectures on DVD and a book, this journal, as well as access to our ever-growing Legal Defense Fund, to defray member’s legal expenses and bail after self defense. I commented that the twelve members who have had self-defense incidents probably didn’t expect to be attacked either, but that didn’t reduce their need for an attorney’s counsel after the threat was gone.

Click here to return to December 2015 Journal to read more.