After 9/11, there was wide support for pilots carrying or having access to a handgun in the cockpit. While I don’t support it, why is it beyond the realm of consideration for teachers to have a handgun in the classroom?
Similar to how it was considered and seemed logical to arm pilots to protect passengers, why shouldn’t the same be considered for teachers to protect our children? Many critics of arming teachers are against firearms in general, so their opposition stems from their feelings toward firearms. Conversely, many proponents of armed teachers are in favor of gun rights. As I am in favor of gun rights, I am more receptive to a solution that involves responsible carrying of a firearm. That being said, requiring or allowing teachers to carry or store a firearm in the classroom is beyond the scope of a teacher’s duty. We already ask teachers to do a lot for little pay, now we want them to take on a deranged gunman?
It is often mentioned that teachers may inadvertently shoot the kids they are trying to protect because they may not be very good shooters. That argument is based on the assumption that the teachers wouldn’t be trained to use a firearm and have to be certified. No one should be allowed to carry a firearm without adequate training. An example being cited of when trying to stop a shooter goes wrong is the shooting outside of the Empire State Building where all of the innocent bystanders were shot by trained police officers. Looking at the video shows improper engagement for the given environment. The police officers were not shooting to stop the armed suspect, they were laying down fire while trying to run for cover.
Another argument against armed teachers is that the children shouldn’t be exposed to the firearms, that the children will see the handgun on the teacher’s hip and that it will be a distraction. This argument is made without the knowledge of concealed carry techniques and assumes that teachers will have handguns strapped to their hips for all to see. In that same light, it is argued that a child may gain access to the firearm if it is in the classroom. Proper firearm safety makes this a moot argument. The firearm should always be stored in a locking container and considering the environment, I am certain special precautions will be taken to avoid unauthorized access.
While the above arguments are rational and valid, that is not why I am against armed teachers. The primary reason I am against it, apart from this being beyond the duties of an educator, is by the time the classroom staff know what is going on and react, it is already too late. When we send our children to school, we expect them to be safe, we expect them to be returned to us at the end of the school day.
Schools should be the safest place we send our children. When you are put in charge of someone else’s children, you take every precaution to return them in the same state they arrived. No one should be able to gain unauthorized entry into a school and become a possible danger to the children. Doors or windows should not be able to be forced open without alerting security personnel. There should be security officers who maintain the order of the students, as well as security, preferably armed, who are capable of protecting the students from outside factors. Many “inner city” schools have metal detectors, while they do nothing for shootings outside of the school, it offers a peace of mind that no one enters the school with a firearm. Although some people find ways around them, they generally keep metal weapons out. Visitors should only have one way into the building and that entrance should have an inner perimeter and outer perimeter.
Stopping a threat before it passes the inner perimeter of the school is the only way to stop school shootings. Calling for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines and calling for teachers to be armed does little to stop the shootings. Fully implementing the above suggestions with fine tuning at the individual schools level will greatly reduce the chances of another school massacre.
Note: The scope of this article is limited to K-12 schools. Colleges and universities pose unique challenges as they are structured and operate differently. The openness, freedom of movement and diversity in age make these schools a challenge to identify who is authorized and who is not. For those reasons, my suggestions may not be appropriate for those settings.
In any scenario, priority one is the safety of you and your family. This fact becomes more important when we are in survival mode. How exactly do you protect yourself and your family? The best form of protection is to not be in harms way or be perceived as a target in the first place. There are currently a number of TV shows dealing with prepping where individuals detail their plans and resources. The number one issue with these shows is that they paint a target on the families profiled. In some aspects, prepping is like Fight Club; you don’t talk about it. Providing an educational service to people who are interested in prepping is great, but at the same time, you should not disclose what your plans are and where you keep your supplies. No matter how strong you think your defenses are, the fact is, you are putting yourself in the position of having to defend yourself.
Here is a scenario that could happen to one of these families profiled. I recognized them as one of my neighbors. I now know they are preppers and have supplies in the home. I also know they have a bug-out location based on what they disclosed during the show. Assuming I am not a prepper, I know I can target this family to get their supplies. Even being a prepper, I can still target them to aid in my survival. I can also force them to take me to their bug-out location and either get those supplies or take over that location. They may be able to defend themselves against me, but for how long? And I may not be the only one targeting them. That being said, do not make yourself a target by going on TV and giving a tour of your supplies.
Although not making yourself a target is the best line of defense, you cannot make that your only form of defense. Firearms, edged weapons and blunt weapons are a necessity to aid in your self-defense. Along with these types weapons, training and practice are equally important. Wielding a weapon without knowledge and practice could render that weapon ineffective. For example, many people buy firearms but don’t get the proper training required to effectively use those weapons. There is more to shooting than pointing and pulling the trigger (this includes shotguns with shot shells). Trigger control, recoil management, sight alignment, target acquisition, breathing, and more are things to keep in mind in becoming a good shooter. Without training and practice, you will have a difficult time hitting your target, especially under stress. When I first started shooting the .40 S&W round, the recoil made the follow-up shots slower and off target. I had to spend more time trying to reacquire the target which slows down the follow-up shots or I would be wildly off target. It wasn’t until after hours of practice and a few hundred rounds that I felt comfortable using that round for self-defense. The same goes for melee weapons. The added danger with the misuse of melee weapons is the close proximity to the assailant. The possibility of being overpowered and having your weapon taken and used against you is much greater. This is why training and practice are important. Knowing when to swing a bat, for example, verses using it to jab could make the difference in a life and death situation.
If you don’t own any firearms or have access to at least one, you should obtain one as soon as possible. If your state requires you to have a permit to own or purchase firearms, start the process immediately. Some places make it difficult or expensive to get a permit. For example, New York City requires a permit to own firearms and the associated fees are hundreds of dollars. Also, firearms must be registered. Conversely, a number of states don’t require a permit to own or purchase a firearm at all, just a valid state ID. My state requires separate permits to purchase handguns and long guns. The process, according to the law, should take no more than 30 days. In reality, most people have to wait months before receiving their permit. I had to wait almost four months before receiving the permits. Additionally, a growing number of states are adopting a one handgun a month policy in hopes to lower illegal gun sales. I will have an in depth article on gun control in the future. If you haven’t already done so, you should start building your firearm collection before it becomes more difficult.
If you have a criminal history, it may be illegal for you to own a firearm. While I do not endorse allowing everyone with a questionable background to own a firearm, the way you choose to protect yourself and family in a survival situation is ultimately up to you. Some may choose to illegally obtain firearms so they are not at a disadvantage, but being caught with it may be more problematic than it is worth. If your criminal past is truly in your past, be prepared the best way you can. For those with a criminal past, the only time I would suggest using a firearm would be in a true SHTF scenario. There will be less accountability and less of a chance of you being penalized for having it. On the other hand, if someone illegally enters your home outside of a SHTF scenario, you may have to deal with it in a different manner than someone who can legally own firearms. Use your better judgement and balance what you can do to protect your family while avoiding being changed with a crime.
What kinds of weapons should you have? First, you should have a knife. I prefer a folding knife, as it can be placed in the pocket and goes undetected. A spring assisted folding knife has an advantage as it can be deployed more quickly. Something like the Smith & Wesson M&P Magic Assist knives are great, but may be illegal in some states. Check your local laws to find out what you can and can’t legally own. Another weapon you should have is a blunt object. A wooden baseball bat can fit this area. It is something you can keep in plain sight and not have to worry about it being the focus of attention. Extendable batons are another option, but some of the low cost variety are of substandard quality and are easily bent. I suggest going with a reputable brand, such as Smith & Wesson and ASP. You may pay more, but they are made to last. (NOTE: I am not affiliated with Smith & Wesson or ASP in any way, I am just familiar with their products.)
This leaves us with firearms. Just about everyone who sets out to buy their first firearm always asks, “What gun should I buy?” This is a very difficult question to answer. For the purpose of this article, my answer would be a 12 gauge pump action shotgun loaded with birdshot. For home protection, the shotgun is king. With multiple projectiles, you stand a greater chance of hitting your target even when under stress. I suggest birdshot because there are more projectiles in those shells which increase your chances of hitting your target. Additionally, there is less wall penetration with birdshot than buckshot and slugs. In apartment living this is more of a concern since your neighbors are in close proximity. You can also load all types of shells if needed. I suggest a pump action because of the psychological aspect it brings. The sound is distinctive and can deter an intruder from proceeding any further.
Some people may be content with one firearm and stop here, but only having one firearm does not offer the best protection. You should have a firearm in every room or at least one between you and every potential entry point. For example, if you live in a high rise apartment building, windows may not be an entry point. On the other hand, if you have a terrace or fire escape, that should be considered a potential entry point. If you only have one firearm, it should be kept in the room where you spend the most time or your bedroom. I strongly discourage having only one firearm, but if that is all you have, you should have a plan to get to it quickly and safely. Having to go past an entry point to retrieve your weapon can be very dangerous and should be avoided. Ideally, you want to have a weapon, preferably a firearm, in every room. These weapons should remain out of sight but easily accessible. Bookcases are a great hiding place for weapons. Tall bookcases allow you to keep a weapon out of sight and reach until needed. If you have children, you have to take them into consideration when creating your plan. You do not want your children finding your weapons and injuring themselves.
You may want to keep a gun in the kitchen and bathroom as well. While you may have a number of knives in the kitchen, in a gunfight, you need a gun. There are a number of places you can keep a firearm in the kitchen. You can place a handgun on the ceiling of a drawer, that keeps it out of sight, but easily accessible. It may take some fine tuning, but it is a viable option. You may also want to store a firearm in the lower cabinets. Again, keep your children in mind when you design your plan. You may already have cabinet locks in the kitchen to keep young kids out, but older children may find your weapons. You should consider educating your children on proper firearm use so they don’t play with them if they are found. In some states, it is illegal to have firearms accessible by minors under 16 years old. Now for the bathroom. You are most vulnerable in the bathroom as this is a room where you are usually in a compromising position. If you have a toilet with a tank, you may want to store your firearm under the tank cover. This gun should be sealed in a watertight plastic bag. You should not just hide all of these firearms and just forget about them. They should regularly be taken out and tested to ensure they will be functional when you need them.
You know your home best. If an intruder enters, you should be equipped to handle the situation. If you are to retreat, you should know exactly where you are going and how to get there. If you are unable to retreat, having your weapons at the ready or in close proximity may be the only thing that will allow you to survive the encounter. Create a plan, and go through a dry run. Either imagine someone entered your home or have a friend enter your home and try to defend against them. Of course, do not use live weapons. Accidents happen and this is not a situation you want to go awry. Refine your plan and always keep in mind that no amount of practice will have you 100% ready to face an intruder. With enough practice, you should feel confident that you can defend yourself.
I have been living in an apartment for the past 5 years. Although my apartment is a decent size, it is not ideal for prepping. The longest I can prep for, while still being able to live comfortably and have free range of movement, is approximately two months. Apartment living more than likely will not lend you a dedicated area for prepping. You should also keep in mind, your life should not revolve around prepping. Allow me to explain. No matter how long you are preparing to be in survival mode, prepping should be secondary. It doesn’t make much sense to center your life around being able to live in survival mode while missing out on what life has to offer right now. Prepping should have minimal impact on your daily life. For example, if you have a room that is rarely used and it collects a hodgepodge of junk, this room could be used for prepping. On the other hand, you should not have your kids double up in a bedroom so that the extra bedroom can be used for storing your prepping supplies. Additionally, you should not have any difficulty moving around your apartment because of your prepping. If you have limited space, like most in an urban setting, co-prepping may be a viable alternative to doing it on your own.
What I mean by “co-prepping” is sharing resources with others who have the space you require. Your co-prepper should not be located very far from you and should have the storage space for both your needs and their needs. Keep in mind that they are not prepping for you, they are merely providing space for you to store your supplies. But do not simply think of your co-prepper as storage space. If your partner feels like they are being used, you may lose their trust and ultimately your partner and possibly your supplies. You should emphasize that you are working together for the common goal; your mutual survival. Some preppers currently operate under the communal philosophy. That they stand to have a better chance of survival if they work with neighbors or family members. I am more inclined to have this approach with family members than I would with neighbors. I strongly believe that no one should know what your plan is or what supplies you have. The more outsiders know about your prepping, the more likely they will target you in a true SHTF scenario. I hold this view because in desperate times, people do desperate things. All you need is for someone to share your plan or divulge what supplies you have to put you high on the resource-rich list. Once you have been identified as being resource-rich, you may have to either share your resources or defend them. Protecting your resources will be covered at detail in subsequent articles.
If you have a close personal relationship with some of your neighbors, it may be better to work together. They may have extra space in their home that may accommodate your needs. Even if a neighbor can not store much, they may bring other skills that will aid in the group’s survival. For example, hunting, meat preparation, first aid, and self defense skills make up for their lack of storage space. The more skilled people in your group, the greater your chances are at long-term survival. Allowing people into your group has its downsides as well. Will the members turn on you and try to keep your supplies? Who will be the leader? You get along great now, but are their personalities going to change once you enter survival mode? These are things to consider before co-prepping.
Water is the most important resource in any survival scenario. Whether you are dealing with a natural disaster or the collapse of civilization, having water on hand will give you a better chance of survival. If you are prepping correctly, you should have a knowledge of exactly how much water you have and approximately how long it will last.The question many first time preppers ask is how much water should they store. The general rule is to have one gallon of water for each person for each day you anticipate being in survival mode. In a moderate climate, doing moderate physical activity, a healthy adult male requires 3 liters of fluid a day. Under the same conditions, a healthy adult female requires 2.2 liters. The best way to visualize this is to think of bottles of soda. A gallon of water is slightly more than 3 liters, so you are essentially storing more drinking water than you actually need to consume in a given day.
For a family of four, storing the required amount of drinking water for 180 day would equate to 720 gallons. If you live in an apartment or have a small home, this poses unique challenges. For the apartment dweller, storing this amount of water may not be feasible. Having to renew a lease every year or two means there is always the possibility that the apartment may be lost. Imagine the nightmare of having to move 720 gallons of water. The other challenge is the space needed. Having a family member with ample space could help with your prepping needs. Coordinate with this family member and include them in your plan. If needed, introduce them to prepping and help them get started. Pooling resources in a time of need may be the best option if you have limited resources. This does not mean you should become dependent on another for your survival needs, you are working together to aid in your long-term survival. The concept of co-prepping goes beyond the scope of this article and will be covered in detail at a later time.
Where exactly should the water be stored? In apartment living, the logical choice would be the kitchen, a closet or an area that is out of the way. Prepping should not be an obsession. The plan and provisions should be known and available, but they should not be in the way. Now, that all important question: How much water should be stored? As much as your dedicated space can hold, but no less than a 3 day supply for each person. That 3 day supply should not be your goal or the end of your plan. If you have a bug out or co-prepping location, you should have enough water to keep you until you can get to this location. One cannot assume that order will be restored in 3 days or disaster cleanup will be completed in that time. There should be a plan in place to obtain more water if you are unable to make it to your bug out location. Depending on the scenario, you may have to operate under different rules, in other words, you may have to steal water. One thing to remember is that you are responsible and will be held accountable for your actions once order is restored. Common sense should dictate when this type of action would be necessary.
I would not suggest entering the homes of others to take their resources because you cannot be sure what kind of security they have in place. This is also unfamiliar ground to you and that leaves you at a disadvantage. Going to a nearby convenience store or supermarket would be the best places to find water. These should be your primary targets the instant we have a true SHTF scenario. I consider a true SHTF scenario to be one that is sudden and widespread with no foreseeable end. I mention this because if there is enough warning, these things can hopefully be bought. You will just have to be among those who don’t prep and flock to the supermarket whenever there is a report about an impending storm. As a prepper, this is not a situation you want to find yourself in. You should already have your supplies and be heading to your bug out location, not standing on a line to buy supplies.
In a true SHTF situation, stores will more than likely be closed preventing you from buying water. You may not want to wait until you run low or run out of water before trying to obtain more. You should have multiple means to get to your targeted stores and transport the water. Be smart about where you go. The convenience store may be closer, but their supply of water will be limited. You may only have one opportunity to make this run, so it is important where you go. Getting as much water as possible should be your primary goal at this point. Any space you have should now be used to keep water. Along with bottled water, you may also want to steal storage containers. These containers can be used to store tap water, presuming you still have running water. You should also have multiple means of purifying water to ensure the tap water is safe to consume. But depending on the scenario, you will know whether tap water should be considered safe for use.
Apartment living brings unique limitations to prepping. Understanding these limitations will make you a better prepper. Since water is the most vital resource for survival, all options should be considered when it comes to obtaining it, even looting.
George Zimmerman is neither hero nor victim and should not be treated as or thought of as such. It is incidents like these that shine an unjust eye on gun owners and those who believe they have a right to defend themselves. While this issue is not directly related to prepping, it is related to firearms and personal defense, which I believe prepping encompasses. One should be prepared to defend their family, home and personal artifacts in any scenario. In a situation where we are in survival mode and someone unlawfully enters our home to take our supplies, or worse, our lives, we should be able to stand our ground and defend ourselves and family. With these laws in place, when order is restored, we can be justified in the actions we took to protect ourselves. As such, this is why we as preppers should care about this case.
The Florida Law (Chapter 776.013) that is being used as the defense in this incident is being unfairly attacked and mischaracterized by those who are either anti-gun or have ulterior motives. The law is also being incorrectly applied to George Zimmerman as a defense. The law begins with “Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.” The law’s primary focus is on forceable entrance into a “dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle,” which Trayvon Martin was not engaged in. The law does have a provision that covers being attacked outside of these locations and having “no duty to retreat.” This is the provision that is the focus of ridicule and what Zimmerman is using as his defense. What’s at issue is Zimmerman’s actions leading up to the shooting. This appears to be a case of vigilantism where Zimmerman felt “these assholes always get away.” The fact that Zimmerman was unprovoked when he exited his vehicle to follow Martin shows this law does not apply as a defense. The law is clear when deadly force is considered justified. While we are not given all of the information, as the investigation is still ongoing, and we only have one view of what transpired, important information was released to the public. The 911 tapes show that the operator instructed Zimmerman not to engage Martin. Being told not to follow Martin and Martin ending up dead leaves many questions unanswered.
We cannot make Zimmerman into a hero for supposedly standing his ground. From what we know, him standing his ground was after he blatantly disregarded orders not to engage, then chased an unarmed, panicking teenager. How do I know he was panicking? He saw someone in a car staring him down and he ran away. He felt he was in danger and took flight. That is the behavior of someone who is panicking; fearing for their life. That fact alone shows Martin was not the aggressor. If Martin after that point confronted Zimmerman, Martin was the one who was standing his ground. The only difference is that Martin was not armed.
The NRA and all those who support gun rights and castle doctrines should distance themselves from Zimmerman. Supporting the law does not mean we should blindly and unjustly apply it to situations where it clearly doesn’t fit. When these rights that we hold dear are abused, we need to come forward and say that is not what we are for. Zimmerman made a mistake and should be held accountable for it. He may have felt that he was in danger, but he willfully put himself in that situation. All gun owners, gun rights activists, and shooters know that we are responsible for where our bullets end up. If we miss our target and hit an innocent bystander, we are held accountable. George Zimmerman needs to man-up and take responsibility for his mistake.
There is so much going on in the world, disasters (both natural and man-made), economic turmoil, wars and terrorist attacks. At any given moment, we don’t know what the future will bring. Could that tropical storm forecasted to be miles away end up being a hurricane in your backyard? Could the global economy suddenly collapse? Could your country be invaded or terrorists release a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon? Could an astroid impact earth and wipe out half the population? The preparedness community, or preppers, uses a term that best describes this; “shit hits the fan” (SHTF). What is your plan? Do you have a plan? It doesn’t seem like enough people in an urban setting care about these things. While it is unhealthy to dwell on these things occurring, you should at least be prepared in the event that something of this nature happens. The odds are very slim that these things will happen, but to be caught completely off guard should not be an option. The purpose of this blog is to detail how one can be a prepper even while being in an urban environment or living in an apartment with limited space.
While I am a “black urban liberal,” that isn’t may sole target audience. My target audience is anyone who has an interest in prepping, but may not have the resources (i.e. money, storage space, etc.) that those who typically prep have. Blacks, urbanites and liberals are three groups that are underserved and under represented in the preparedness community and are less likely to be preppers. Hopefully that will change and being prepared when SHTF will transcend race, geographic location and political party affiliation.