There were two mass murders in the US this past weekend – one in El Paso, TX and one in Dayton, OH. In the wake of those events, the traditional media and social media channels are predictably filled with calls for law makers to take action. All the while, people engage in divisive political arguments blaming those with opposing views for the carnage that ensued using skewed or false data to make their case.
It’s hard to say what laws, if any, will be introduced or changed. Frankly, I’m always a bit worried that these events will lead to further erosion of liberty as a result of new legislation. However, this post isn’t intended to to get into politics. Furthermore, if history is any indicator, it’s rare that events like these actually lead to significant legislative changes. Rather, I’d like to share what I will [continue to] do with the hopes of perhaps inspiring some one to do something similar.
Avoid engaging in divisive political conversations. This is easier said than done, especially on social media. I’ll be the first to admit that I get riled up by some statements that rattle my core. But most of the time, I skip over them and don’t engage at all. When I do engage, I try to phrase my response in a way that invites open dialog – sometimes that works and I have a good conversation, other times it doesn’t. My goal with this is do what I can to reduce the political division in this country. I’m obviously fighting a losing battle, but I do what I can to not fuel the fire.
Nurture healthy relationships. With as many people as you can. Start with immediate family, then friends, then co-workers, and then others. It’s my opinion that one of the common characteristics among mass murders is they all seem to have reached a point where they felt so alienated they had no other recourse. Maybe it was from being bullied, or being the weird kid. Maybe it can be chalked up to mental health as it often is. However, I think this really has to do individuals being socially disconnected and isolated. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I can’t image it would do much harm to be kinder to each other.
Take self defense skills to next level. I’m not just talking about carrying a firearm, as some jurisdictions don’t make that easy and some individuals may opt not be armed. But, I do strongly believe every individual is their own first responder until help arrives. That means everyone should at least have a plan for dealing with or responding to violent encounters. Just like everyone should have a plan to deal with a disaster – like a car accident, home fire, natural disaster, etc. From a self defense perspective if one is unarmed (for whatever reason), then consider getting some martial arts training. If one is considering introducing a firearm for home defense, then go get one. If one is considering carrying a firearm for self defense, go get a carry permit (as required by your local jurisdiction) and carry one. If one has never taking a defensive firearms class, go take one. What ever that next level is, go achieve it.
Regardless of whether violent crime rates are low or high, the risk of being involved in a violent encounter always exists. As such, doing some of the things above help mitigate the risk being involved in one. Taking self defense skills to the next level provides a contingency to deal with a violent encounter should one be unfortunate enough to be involved in one, at least until help arrives.