Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 18 Should I Shoot? Why A Gun-Mounted Light Isn’t Enough
- Ep. 19 Should I Shoot? Software Upgrade
- Ep. 20 Should I Shoot? Why You Must Learn to Use As Many Firearms As Possible
- Ep. 21 Should I Shoot? To Kill or Not To Kill A Dog
- Ep. 22 Should I Shoot? Do You Draw While Engaged in a Physical Altercation?
Earlier this month, the 15th anniversary of 9/11 passed. Do you remember where you were when you got the word? My SWAT pager blew up on the nightstand. I had just hit the rack after graveyard shift and my first thought was this is going to be a long day — I had no idea just how long it would be.
As I sat on a mountaintop yesterday, I reflected on what the last 15 years was like. In the blink of an eye, we went from being a nation united to a nation extremely divided. I miss the time when people held doors for each other and pulled over on the highway to help someone with a flat tire. American flag stickers were seen everywhere and flag pins were worn with pride. In addition to the national pride, folks made sure they were ready for what came next. Not knowing if this was just the beginning of more attacks, people got their collective $#!% together and took some personal initiative to ensure they could protect their families.
Recent “lone wolf” attacks in the USA and abroad got people to stop playing games on their phones and got people who slacked off to refocus on personal defense and home defense. My plea today is to take out a piece of paper and do an assessment on your own life. Are you ready for the nasty things life can throw at you? This is the time to be brutally honest. After you have identified holes in your plan, work up a plan to fill them and then execute the plan.
Have you done the following?
- Conduct a security assessment of your own home and where you work: How secure is my house (doors, windows, fences and gates)? Is there an alarm system (monitored or not and up to date)? Security cameras (recorded or not)? How many fire extinguishers do I have? Are they up to date? And does everyone in the house know how to use them?
- Medical Training Assessment: At a minimum, everyone in the home should know basic first-aid, CPR and airway clearance procedures.
- Blow-out kit and Boo-Boo bags: Have at least one of trauma kit and first-aid kit. Make sure everyone knows where they are and how to use what is inside.
- Physical Assessment: The USMC and SWAT had physical standards that had to be met. Find a way to test yourself so you can maintain a minimum level of fitness to be able to defend yourself and family as you deem necessary. Set realistic goals and put in the work to maintain them. The best time to start working out was 20 years ago or today.
- Concealed Carry Permit: If the state you reside in allows for a CCW permit, get one. Even if you decide you don’t want to carry every day, it’s better to have and not use then to need and not have.
- Make a family training plan: What do you and your family do if the house alarm goes off? If there is an intruder in the home? If you need to bug out, who does what? If you bug in, what is the plan? Build in time to work on essential skills — shooting, first aid, etc. Create a rally point (meeting place) if you get separated or need to leave the home. It could be a trusted neighbor, nearby store, fire station or police station.
Sitting on that mountain scouting for deer, I realized I’ve been slacking off, and I plan to get some corrective action in place. My assessment of my own personal security bubble brought me to the conclusion I’m teaching way too much on the range. Sure, I can shoot, but can I do it to the best of my abilities? I need to get into a class or have a teammate run me through a bunch of drills to identify deficiencies and work on getting my shooting skills as sharp as possible — and to not slack off again.
I have to do the same for my wife and kids. I’ve let our training slip, and no matter how many excuses I can come up with for it, none of them matter. We, as a family, are not at 100 percent when it comes to personal and home security. Our bug-in and bug-out plans need to be updated and practiced. I know we are in way better shape than most, but it’s not good enough for our standard. I’ve been putting off upgrading the home security system mostly because of cash flow, but I have it at the top of the list to rework the budget and get things upgraded in a timely manner.
I’ve always been hard on myself, and I don’t plan to start easing up now. My family members are counting on me, as are yours. Ask the tough questions and do what it takes to get your team running at 100 percent. The best time to start anything was 10 years ago — or right now.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.