By Sheriff Jim Wilson, Shooting Illustrated
Here we are, once again, entering the Holiday Season—the most stressful time of the year for most folks—in a year like no other year any of us has ever experienced or expected. What that means for folks like us is that we’ve got to really increase our awareness and keep personal defense in the forefront of our minds at all times.
We know that robberies and home invasions increase during these last days of the year. But you also have to realize that ordinarily good folks are getting awfully stressed out. They’ll be letting their anger and frustrations get the best of them. They’ll do stupid things. And they will do things that place other’s lives in danger.
We can begin by recognizing that we, too, can become overly frustrated and angered. Talking with the family about finding ways to avoid stress is a really good place to start. Often, just supporting each other is a good way to keep that stress level within bounds. And we can also make a concerted effort to remain polite and courteous to everyone, strangers included. When a person loses his temper, he has also weakened his defense level.
The holidays are also a good time to review the personal defense plan, especially the need for being aware of what is going on around us. We also need to make sure that we are communicating regularly with other family members and that we know each other’s location at all times. When another family member is especially stressed or not feeling well, we need to be there to pick up the slack, carry some of their load for them.
And this is also not the time to let your pistol practice wane. Yep, I know that ammunition is difficult to come by but that just means that you need to increase the time you spend in dry practice. Practicing the basics—draw stroke, flash sight picture, trigger press—can also still be honed during dry practice. And you might want to do it while wearing that heavy coat and winter gloves that you’ll be wearing when you go out.
Getting serious about our personal defense and having a solid personal defense plan does not have to hamper our enjoyment of the holidays. Once these principles become ingrained in our everyday lives, we can enjoy ourselves and still be careful. You say you haven’t gotten around to developing a personal defense plan and discussing it with your family? Well, now is an awfully good time to start it.
You can’t avoid being a target, but you can decide if you are going to be an easy target or a hard target.
So find ways to keep the stress within due bounds. Make it a point to put a smile on your face at the same time that your head is on a swivel. Focus on your family and the other stuff that really matters and you’ll likely get through these trying times successfully.