Friday, August 21, 2015

The Stuff That Fills My Head At 0130...

Okay, I'm going stream of consciousness here for a sec, so feel free to tune out the TL;DR...

People buy into safety. It's important for people to feel safe. For some reason, people view safety as a binary state and not an ongoing process. Therefore, when something comes along to remind us that we might not be as safe as we think we are, or there's an optional activity we could undertake to improve our safety, it rustles our jimmies and we get all upset and fling poo at that thing and wave branches at it until it goes away and we can return to feeling safe. It's why people who ride without helmets come up with all kinds of BS excuses about hearing and wind drag rather than just admitting "Hey, I'm comfortable with the extra risk of skull fractures in order to feel the wind in my hair."

This is why, for instance, carrying a gun gets on the nerves of people who don't. It's not necessarily that they're even scared of guns, it's just that the person carrying a gun is a reminder that there are bad things that could happen for which they, the non gun carrier, are unprepared. Since they can't make the bad things go away, they want to make the gun-carrier go away so he stops reminding them of the bad things.

This is why some people have a rabid reaction to the Gadget. They've worked long and hard to convince themselves that they are Safe (safety is a binary state, remember?) with the gun carried inside the waistband of their trousers, and then along comes this thing to remind them that there are additional precautions they could be taking. Their choices at that point are to admit that they're comfortable with the level of risk where they are, despite this additional level of safety; buy in and admit they had room to improve their level of precaution; or throw poo at the additional level of safety until it goes away and stops reminding them of the bad things.

And this guy who got jumped the other day in Philadelphia? Same thing. He's a cold wind blowing down the back of the neck of everyone who carries a gun, reminding us of the guy who got really close behind us in the checkout line at the Kwik-E-Mart last night. So our choices are to throw poo and beat our chests and wave branches and yell "MAH SITUATIONAL AWARENESS!" or to admit that maybe we're not as safe as we thought we were, that maybe our lucky rabbit's foot doesn't deter everybody, and go out and spend money on training instead of stuff. Or admit that we're comfortable with the idea of not being able to do much if some real hardass decided they wanted the free gun we were offering. And that's hard. Owning up to our deficiencies and going out to do something about them is frickin' hard. I know. I'm trying to do it right now.

And here's the thing: It's okay to not wear a helmet. It's okay to not carry a gun. It's okay to not like the Gadget. It's okay to open carry and not take thirty-eleven years of BJJ and weapons retention training. It's still (mostly) a free country... *but own the types of risk you're assuming*. Don't hand-wave them away and shoot the messengers who point them out. Say "Look, I'm comfortable with these risks and don't want to make the life commitments it would take to mitigate them" and most people will totally understand that.