Friday Fundamentals – Getting our priorities straight

The attacks in Paris by Radical Islamists have captured the attention of the world and obviously people in the United States. Over 100 people were killed and several hundred more were wounded. Along with many people, I mourn for the casualties of these horrific and barbaric events.

In the aftermath, numerous articles are being written about surviving active shooter events, etc. In addition, some folks are saying they’re going to make some massive changes in the way they socialize. It’s always good to examine our vulnerabilities. However, let’s look at things in perspective.

According to the FBI:

In 2014, the estimated number of murders in the [United States] was 14,249.

In 2014, there were an estimated 741,291 aggravated assaults in the [United States].

There were an estimated 84,041 rapes (legacy definition) reported to law enforcement in 2014.

The FBI definition of Aggravated assault is:

An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Simple assaults are excluded.

As my colleague Tom Givens has mentioned, one reason the murder rate has declined in the past few years is because of the advancement of emergency medicine. People who would have been murder statistics a few years ago are often aggravated assault statistics now. That doesn’t mean their bodies and lives haven’t been changed forever because of the assault.

While it’s popular to believe that most murders are committed by gangbangers killing each other and we should just say ‘good riddance,’ that’s not necessarily the case. Where the data is available, the Bureau statics indicate that strangers or unknown persons accounted for 57 percent of murders.

When considering clearances of violent crimes, 64.5 percent of murder offenses, 39.3 percent of rape offenses (legacy definition), 38.5 percent of rape offenses (revised definition), 29.6 percent of robbery offenses, and 56.3 percent of aggravated assault offenses were cleared.

‘Cleared’ means someone was arrested for the crime, not necessarily even convicted. Fully one-third of murders in this country don’t even result in an arrest. Nearly half of aggravated assaults don’t even result in an arrest. Almost two-thirds of the reported rapes don’t result in an arrest. If you become the victim of a violent crime, there’s a good chance the only ones affected will be you and your loved ones.

Relatively speaking, our chances of being criminally victimized are massively higher than becoming a casualty of a terroristic attack. Over 800,000 people in this country had their lives changed forever last year by ‘ordinary’ crime. That’s what we need to maintain our focus on.

For instance:

  • Are all your doors and windows locked at night and do you keep your security system on all the time?
  • Do you always make people aware you’re in the house when they knock?
  • Have you ever opened your door to someone without checking the peephole to see who it is?
  • Do you walk or run with your earphones in while listening to music?
  • Is there a safe or lockbox in your car to put your pistol in when you can’t take it in with you to the courthouse?
  • Do you make a short security halt to observe the parking lot when you come out of a store?
  • How often do you text or check Facebook on your phone while you’re in a transitional environment like a parking lot?
  • Do you ever park your car in the closest spot to the door of a store without regard to who’s around or what kind of vehicle you’re parking next to?
  • You know all the little security violations that you make. Eliminating them is probably more useful than starting to carry an another magazine of ammo.

Another thing to consider is our usage of automobiles and just how much danger we place ourselves in when we drive. Being in a motor vehicle may well be the second most statistically significant voluntary danger we face, exceeded only by going to the hospital.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, US car crashes killed 22,383 vehicle occupants in 2013 and injured 2,099,000.


Tactical firearms training is a lot of fun. Tactical medicine classes are very informative and might be more useful than a firearms course. But when was the last time you took a Defensive Driving Course?  Some insurance companies offer online versions for free. Most insurance companies lower your premium for taking the DDC. In my state of Georgia, the class is 6 hours and costs less than $40 if you don’t have to take it because of getting a ticket. You put your life in danger every time you get in your vehicle. Don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to become a safer driver? The Situational Awareness tuneup will carry over into other areas of your life, as well.

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest horror of the week that the Lame Stream Media shoves down our throats and we then propagate among ourselves. Let’s use it as a reminder to examine all the safety risks we face. The latest event is probably way down the priority list if we dispassionately look at the many dangers we face every day.

14 responses

  1. […] Source: Friday Fundamentals – Getting our priorities straight […]

  2. Reblogged this on Stuff From Hsoi and commented:
    While it’s important to train for critical events (e.g. your life being in immediate danger), realize there are many more mundane things that put your life in danger than someone robbing you or breaking into your house.

    Do you have any sort of first aid training? My bud Caleb Causey from Lone Star Medics makes the excellent point that unless you’re active duty military or LEO, you likely encounter more car accidents in a year than gunshot wounds. How many lives could you help save with some first aid training?

    Do you lock your doors? I know so many people that are lax about locking the doors and windows to their house. So many burglaries are prefaced by a simple check for (un)locked doors and windows, and if locked they just move along… because they know eventually one will be unlocked and a much easier target.

    And yes please… while I know it’s hard to resist the addiction of txting and Facebook and whatever else on your phone, realize that it puts you in “code white” (technical term for “head up your ass” and “totally unaware of what’s around you”). While sometimes that is unavoidable, usually it is avoidable. Take a few seconds to resist the urge and keep yourself safe, because bad guys don’t materialize “out of nowhere”; “nowhere” happens because you weren’t paying attention. And if you must bury your nose in your phone, take a moment to first put yourself in a situation that guards against the issues.

    Little things add up.

  3. In the 40 years since I entered the police academy and the last 4 as an “old retired guy”, I have never had to use more than minimal force in an off duty situation. I have, however, had to use emergency first aid, to include trauma level, on many occasions. Basic and tactical firearms training is, of course, necessary for law enforcement and those civilians with carry permits but first aid training is more likely to be put to use.

  4. Robert White.W.T.D.

    I think you writing this piece shows that there are people out there with more then half a brain. Meaning you nailed it! Social Media has helped and at the same time ruined people and their way of thinking outside the box. Instead they have created this new box that they check more then the oil Iin their car. Thank you for pointing out some of the important things that matter.

  5. David and Anne Gibson


    Sent from my iPhone


  6. […] On the other hand, random violence is a far more likely scenario for most of us.  Claude Werner, another friend in the shooting community, has a gift for detailed data analysis and distilling that data and its implications in a to-the-point way.  His take on keeping perspective and focusing on preparing for the bad thing (lower case) is here. […]

  7. […] calm down a bit and get a little perspective on the issue. As Claude Werner points out in this excellent article, the risk of being involved in a terrorist incident is still quite small, even after Paris. In the […]

  8. I agree. You are far more likely to use a first aid kit than a firearm.
    And since you’re much more likely to need a firearm at close range than at long range, the Glock in the photo is mis-accessorized. I would take off the grenade launcher and replace it with a bayonet.

    1. Begin to attrit the enemy at the maximum effective range of your weapons. 🙂

  9. A swell idea, if your enemy is advancing across a field from the treeline. But if the enemy suddenly drives up to your doorstep (a much more likely occurrence), the launcher will be useless and the bayonet may end up more effective.
    Of course, I agree with your theory and hope you recognize that I was joking.
    (Does anyone make a Glock mount for a saber?)

  10. […] Consider the big picture of LIFE in this step (or keep it confined strictly to self defense if you’d like). Consider your profession, how much you’re in a vehicle, your neighborhood, your fitness level, etc. Complete a rudimentary risk profile to visualize your biggest threats. Also be honest with yourself and reflect on your real priorities. […]

  11. […] Consider the big picture of LIFE in this step (or keep it confined strictly to self defense if you’d like). Consider your profession, how much you’re in a vehicle, your neighborhood, your fitness level, etc. Complete a rudimentary risk profile to visualize your biggest threats. Also be honest with yourself and reflect on your real priorities. […]

  12. Reblogged this on tacticalprofessor and commented:

    This popped up as popular in my stats today. I don’t know why but it’s certainly worth repeating.

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