Despite working in the gun industry, one of my biggest passions is for things with wheels. Cars, trucks, 4x4s, tractors, ATV’s, motorcycles– if it rolls via dead dinosaur juice, I am interested in it. Especially if older and in need of a little TLC to bring back to life. Yes, I still love all of the things with triggers, but things with throttles just fascinate me. They always have. And as such, performance accessories, I’ve noted, come in two flavors, bolt-ons and some assembly required.
Bolt-ons are items that any one who can follow simple instructions and turn a wrench can install. These items can be functional, but more often than not they are cosmetic or at least not detrimental to performance. The second category I’ve named “some assembly required” can actually increase performance by virtue of modifying a part or system so that it works “mo’ better” (actual term of art in automotive performance). These parts often require tuning, specialized tools, most importantly, knowledge to install.
The point here is that anyone can slap some performance wheels and tires on a vehicle and make it look like a hardcore race car or off-road vehicle, but looks don’t tell the whole story. It takes work, skill, and money to actually increase the performance of a vehicle to wring optimal performance from it. Noticeable increases in performance don’t come without a price and window dressing is just window dressing.
“A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations” Det. Callahan, Magnum Force (Clint Eastwood)
“You’ve got to move,” the old Pentecostal song goes. In order to move when you need to move, or fight when you need to fight you have to begin moving now. Exercising to build up your stamina so you’ll have access to a reserve that can see you through a long haul of energy output is crucial.
What are your limitations? Be honest with yourself. Your’s truly, is a big man. I’m 6 feet 2 inches tall, I weigh around 270 lbs and, as my kids and their friends will tell you, I have “old man strength” when it comes to turning bolts that don’t want to move and lifting heavy things like rear axle assemblies. However, my abilities shadow what I used to be capable of in the endurance department. I’m out of shape. I’ve got about ¾ mile worth of run left in me at the moment. Cut that in half if I were laden with 25-30 lbs of gear. Not good. Now you know it and I surely know it. This is a glaring deficit in my life. That’s where my ability to help another runs out, as at that point I can’t even help myself.
Physical conditioning is a huge part of being able to protect yourself and others. There are some dudes that can take care of business when it comes to toeing-the-line and they will tell you the same thing, but not for the reason you might expect. Putting distance between yourself and a threat is the number one way to escape a situation intact or alive.
Avoiding a fight, even if it means swallowing some pride is much preferred to getting your face caved in or catching a knife blade or bullet. That’s not to say don’t fight back. There are places where there is no retreat, no way out, and no choice but to fight. More on this in a minute. Don’t forget that even if you feel justified in using force in defending yourself, some prosecutors won’t see it that way and will be happy to bankrupt you and send you to jail for having the audacity to fight back.
My Plan Won’t Look Like Your Plan
For some people having their back against a wall looks different than it does for others. My wife is handicapped and wheelchair bound for most of our outings. Our ability to retreat is virtually non-existent. Some of you might be in this situation or are a caretaker of someone who is. This must be factored into your daily life and the decisions you make throughout the day. If you have to fight, fight to win. Fight with a force multiplier, such as a less lethal device or firearm. If you do choose to use such a device, know it intimately and use it proficiently. This will mean investing in training, accessories like holsters, and ammunition.
Follow along in Part IV where we continue the discussion on preparing for the worst case scenario. No one is coming to your rescue.