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On The Fantasy of Self Defense - Peak Oil Preparedness
at the end of the world, will you feel fine?
On The Fantasy of Self Defense
I have a friend who is a famous survivalist. Just released his second novel. I helped him write the first one. Good times. While his documentation of the economic collapse has been fantastic, and his initial concern, years ago, that economic collapse would lead the way into very stressful situation (which it is), I just can't agree that we'll all be toting .45's around openly a few years from now. Too many of the loners who get transfixed by the idea of living in a post-apocalyptic world where their limited people skills (some have ADD, ADHD or OCD) and paranoia are rewarded instead of punished like they are now... sigh. It just makes me sad. I suspect many of these folks, instead of buying guns and canned food, put the same effort into starting up a small business and forced themselves to politely interact with other people just to get business done, without picking fights, without antagonizing people (I do that, I'm guilty as well), and calm the f down, maybe then they could start thinking longer term than a carefully ordered suicide. Using a gun is a great way to spend a year in jail and court and go broke defending yourself legally. Really dumb idea. Lock your door, call the cops, let them deal with it. If it's truly valuable, don't park it somewhere it can be stolen, or learn to get by without it. I remain daily surprised that my car is still there when I go out for my daily commute. See, I'm an optimist!

A friend of mine at work announced he wants a firearm. My response was: "Move to a better neighborhood and you won't need one." A discussion followed.
"I want to protect my family" 
"You just got married. You don't have a family yet," I pointed out.
"I'm worried about mobs, like in Egypt. What if the Occupy Wall Street movement spreads?"
"Are they at the Pacific Stock Exchange and the Chicago Merchantile Board? No? Then stop worrying." Yeah, me telling people not to worry. What is the world coming to?

I eventually talked him down from a .44 Magnum revolver, whom another friend I mistakenly got into shooting sports described as having the recoil of a .22 LR. It doesn't. A proper .44 load kicks like being hit by a car or a baseball bat, right in the hand. I don't recommend it. Most .44 owners shoot light .44 Special loads, which kicks much less. The last thing I want my friend to do is shoot someone. He's already had a firearm accident, nearly killed a friend. People who grab a gun by the trigger end up killing someone. It is one of the NRA no-nos, and whatever you may think of the NRA's public statements, remember that their primary purpose is firearm SAFETY which they actually do as their primary job. I suggested, since he's so persistent about all this, a shotgun. It can't be concealled so it will stay home where it belongs instead of slipping into clothes resulting in an arrest or worse a confrontation that gets him killed. I find people picking fights in hostile territory under the excuse of "what if I go to this dangerous part of town at night?" hypotheticals to be asinine. Don't go there. Duh! He probably won't buy one and will probably get the .44 under that bad info from our mutual friend. Sigh. Newbies.

I got out of guns years ago. I have the skill and the knowledge. That's enough for me. Knowing about chickens is more valuable. Knowing how to can foods at home is more valuable. Knowing people at the city council and attending meetings, being part of the community volunteer network is WAY more valuable. Cops will actually care about you when they arrest you. My friend who only has fanciful ideas about self defense? He'll be shot dead. How is his new wife going to cope? I really hope he moves and stops picking fights with the world. It is always cheaper to change your life than it is to get into a fight and have to defend yourself in court.
11 comments or Leave a comment
merccom From: merccom Date: October 7th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
becomeing a self sufficient type that really understands the ideology seems to be a process

seems like most people come to it with the idea that they need a gun or two. after they have 20 or 30 of them they start to get the idea that maybe other things might a good idea, maybe a garden which leads to food preservation and cooking from scratch which leads to food storage then maybe a camp stove and on an on, i'm sure you can see where this is going.

generally though people begin with firearms.

i'd say just play the game with them. give them advice on what guns are good an why. then just expand the bad scenario that they can envision for themselves, essentally just help them to evolve along the path of self sufficiency instead of just let them stagnate with "i got ma foughtie fow, i'm good"

in other news i had no idea you knew that "survivalist"

after some of your previous posts i figured you would look at him like a joke.
theheretic From: theheretic Date: October 8th, 2011 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I know him personally and in person. We have a difference of opinion over just how things will go, him towards abrupt chaos and myself towards stair steps of irritation rather than widespread violence. We have a somewhat different set of experiences with people, in general, which effects our opinions of likely responses by the public to certain stresses we both agree are likely. Peak oil is one of them. He also lives in Idaho now, while I'm still in the Bay Area so I'm getting a less biased view of the people most likely to be an issue, without paranoid filtration through media or other sources that tend to inflate issues and behaviors which are probably not nearly as bad as they are imagined. We still respect each other. He posts my better articles on his site. I sometimes wish he would be more cautious in his appraisals or support of the more radical posters who seem to be of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

There are many survival strategies. Time will tell if either one of us is right or wrong.
snuck From: snuck Date: October 8th, 2011 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now I want to know who your friend is!
baron_waste From: baron_waste Date: October 8th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Actually, the best firearm for home defense is a brace of repro flintlock pistols. No, seriously:

• The time it takes you to charge, load and prime them is time to determine if the threat is real, or just the dog larking about after bedtime

• A black-powder firearm fires a heavy, I mean heavy caliber ball - you WILL put your target down with one shot

• Even if you miss - or if you don't load it - in a darkened room it puts out a foot-long tongue of red flame, shakes the walls with a concussive boom no 9mm can match, and fills the room with choking, blinding smoke. NO seventeen-year-old “liberal's darling” with a rap sheet as long as your arm is going to stick around for more of THAT

• If you do go to court over the incident - which isn't likely - no bottom-feeding lawyer is going to be able to convince anyone that YOU are the real menace to society here, when what you took up to defend your home was a centuries-old flintlock pistol right out of the American Revolution. You might as well have had a fife and drum handy with a bandage around your head. The “court of public opinion,” you know…

Personally, if my house gets broken into I know exactly what I'll do - I'll pull out my Rossi snub .38 and shoot out my bedroom window. Two shots, probably. Gunshots, shattering glass - the guy downstairs will clear out in a hot hurry. Think about it. And the most I'd be charged with is discharging a firearm in a residential neighborhood.

theheretic From: theheretic Date: October 8th, 2011 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I suggest, in the kindest possible manner, you make a reasonable deposit with a defense attorney, just in case you happen to need additional legal assistance following such a response. The .38 projectile might accidentally go somewhere unwanted, despite your best intentions.

Here in California, racking a pump shotgun is normally very effective at deterring burglars on the premises, or mobs on the front stoop. My friend, so concerned about burglars, has been advised to purchase one, if he MUST own a firearm. I have been told that #4 buckshot kills people quite well but does not penetrate sheetrock or stucco walls. It is recommended for home defense for those who don't want to have accidents with blowthrough.
baron_waste From: baron_waste Date: October 8th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

I was going to add a similar remark, that never mind decibels, the best “burglar alarm” is the ch-CHAKK! of racking a shotgun, followed by a long, waiting silence… O yah. Bad Guy will suddenly remember pressing business he has elsewhere.

A friend of mine long ago had an idea I liked: When going on vacation, buy 50-lb blocks of dry ice. (Or 30 lb or whatever size it is.) Maybe a dozen, maybe two. Tote them up and stock your attic with them. To the rafters! Then leave.

Immediately after your departure, the sublimated CO2 will begin pouring down into the house, heavier than air, flooding and filling the interior like a colorless liquid, displacing the normal atmosphere and replacing it. Eventually it will leach out, of course, but meanwhile you need have no fears whatever of any house fire while you're gone… and if someone does break in, he'll never know what hit him. He'll asphyxiate and be unconscious within a minute… and you'll find the body when you get home.

[Even if this scenario doesn't occur, you'll have fumigated your house of all insects and vermin, termites, bedbugs, everything.]

theheretic From: theheretic Date: October 8th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Be sure to extinguish your pilot light if you do that, however, and remember that your attic has VENTS leading outside which allows the roof to dry from the underside to prevent mold.

However, that trick would qualify as a "man trap" since it was intended to be lethal and that's felony attempted murder/homicide and prison will follow. Points for clever, just not legal.
snuck From: snuck Date: October 8th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
My husband and I have differing ideas about the calamitous life to come, he is of the Mad Max mindset, I am of the slow painful step school...

I find it is the less socially connected (whether that be personality, social skills or social dislocation - such as new in town etc) that have the most fear and are most likely to resort to an arms race. The real issue is that if they know you have guns and they still want the diesel from your truck they will plan a far more aggressive attack for it. If you are going that route keep it quiet and simple.

Another thing to keep in mind as all good zombie hunters know is ammo resupply.... No point having an awsomely exotic weapon if you can't reload it.
theheretic From: theheretic Date: October 8th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Funny. Far more likely that you'll just be paid less for your work than before and things will keep costing more so you find yourselves in poverty and stuggling to live. That's the Great Depression, something we're all sliding into.


Good article about municipal bond defaults here in the USA. Picture the road upkeep that can be paid for when the city or county you live in just declared bankruptcy.
top_geezer From: top_geezer Date: October 9th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I concur with your sentiments.
In the UK only farmers, toffs, police and crooks have guns. I live in Brixton, London and I stay out the few bad areas there and try to maintain a sunny disposition. I believe there are enough idiots running around trying to find someone to blame for their awful life without giving them an excuse to focus on me. I also do a little work for charitable organisations to maintain the appearance of a good citizen. As for home defence I am aware of the location of the fusebox and all tools and household chemicals in my home.

theheretic From: theheretic Date: October 9th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
A firearm by itself is a tool, like a shovel or a bicycle or an air pump. Used correctly, it does a task. I have no problem with rich people shooting clay pigeons (cast clay discs) for sport in fancy clubs. Like golf, its a nice way to get outdoors and hang out with your social strata. My primary disagreement with young men getting into shooting is they have a fantasy that if they shoot someone "in self defense" they'll be a hero and people will thank them. I wonder just how many people are in prison for that reason? I try to convince these sorts of young men that what they REALLY WANT is to change their lives so the stress that makes them want to kill will go away.

Ironically, Violent Video Games are a good safe outlet, and when that stops working, I tell them to save their money to move to a better neighborhood so they don't feel the stress of a bad neighborhood (full of people who aren't handling the stress well) every time they try to sleep or step out their door. If that doesn't work, think about a new career that satisfies them better than what they're doing now (which is the only reason I know them at all). For some that means getting fame for intellectual reasons (publishing real science or entertainment like a novel). For others it means no more paperwork and getting into physical labor so they can point to a wall and say "I built this." Finding job satisfaction post-peak oil may be one of our greatest challenges, because the lack of options will lead to more people turning to violence, and it will be up to every mature adult to catch the signs and help these people find better lifestyle choices than violence. A gun isn't violence, as I said. A choice can lead to violence, and it is important that young men remember all their choices rather than going for the bad one first.
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