Friday, January 29, 2010

To Bug or Not To Bug

To Bug, or not to Bug, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.

Aye, there's the rub. Either way you could end up shuffling off this mortal coil.

Of course whether it's best to stay or go depends on the situation. If you live on the coast in the southeast and a category five hurricane is coming your way you'd do well to Bug Out.

But to Bug Out i.e. beat a hasty retreat to your er…retreat carries its own set of dangers and difficulties. You might find you're jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

To "Bug In" or "Shelter in place" (as the government likes to call it) or just plan stay home which is what many people will do anyway is appealing; all the comforts of home, none of the hassles of travel, the reassurance of familiar surroundings. That's assuming, of course, that your Bug In Location (BIL) is adequately stocked for the duration. You do have at least a weeks worth of food at home right? And water?

Assuming a tsunami is not headed for your beach front property there may be no immediate urgent need to evacuate. By staying home you relieve the pressure on whatever facilities that may (or may not) have been set up to handle refugees. The government doesn't have to feed, house or medicate you and yours thus freeing up resources for others.

On the other hand an earthquake's aftershocks or an unchecked forest fire may force you from your home just as you've settled down in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn to watch coverage of the disaster on FOXNews.

The phrase "Watchful waiting" comes to mind here. Throwing your family and Bug Out Bags (BOB) in the Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) and making a mad dash for your Bug Out Location (BOL) every time some drunk driver hits a power pole gets old fast. If something out of the ordinary happens test to see if it really is TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) before sounding the alarm.

Are the lights out all over town or just in your neighborhood?
If you can see lights on in some other part of town it's likely you're experiencing the results of some drunk driver's inability to drive around a power pole.

Does the telephone (landline or cell) still work?
Corded telephones will usually work even with the electricity off. If your corded phone won't work that's an indication that something's wrong beyond the power being out.

Cordless phones usually won't work when the power is out, but cell phones will work if the cell towers still have power.

Does the (car or battery/hand cranked) radio still pick up signals from local and/or out of town stations?
If your self powered radio works whatever knocked out the power to your house is local. Did you remember to pay the electric bill?

Does the TV in the back of the headrests of your luxury SUV still work? If FOXNews and the other satellite networks are going on as if nothing has happened check to see if the local stations are on the air and if so do they have anything to say about the power outage?

The more of these trip wires have been er… tripped the more likely it is that you should start loading the BOB's into the BOV for that mad dash to your secret BOL in the bush.

But what if whatever is happening nearby is a WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) event?

Wouldn't it be prudent to practice loading your BOB's in the BOV? And maybe there's some other stuff you'd like to bring along if you were going to be gone for an extended length of time. Just as an exercise you understand. And maybe some canned goods just in case. After all if it all turns out to be nothing you can put it all back and give yourself credit for not only being prepared but exercising too.

You did gas up the BOV didn't you?
And you've got cash in case the ATM's don't work, right?
Of course if it's just a prolonged power outage you'll want to eat what's in the fridge first.
And you've got a lot of canned goods on hand in case the politicians have to make their "everything's under control" speeches for a longer period right?

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Revisiting Armageddon Man

In Armageddon Man on the History Channel Rudy Reyes starts off by pulling a Bear Grylls (on Man vs. Wild) type stunt (telling the audience how dangerous it is to do something and then showing how to do it.) The contrived bridge crossing Rudy uses to open the show is great theater, but lousy survival tactics. Throwing a makeshift grappling hook across a broken bridge was an excuse to show how to make an improvised rope ladder which while being a useful bit of knowledge is misused in that instance.

Running around in the open in broad daylight when you fear interception or ambush? I think not. Maybe the director just wanted some action footage, but I fail to see how running in the open on railroad tracks is a good thing under the circumstances the show is purporting to show us how to survive.

If you have to move during daylight stay in the tree line; pausing often to listen and observe. Walk next to buildings popping into doorways and alleyways to disappear (as least momentarily) from the sight of those who may be observing from one point of view. Where possible enter buildings by one door and exit by another.

Better yet, wait for nightfall. There's a reason Rangers and Special Forces types train to operate at night and it ain't for the ambiance.

Skipping looted homes and breaking into the intact ones may work for heavily armed squads where Rudy and his special ops team operated, but here in the states where firearms ownership is legal for the citizenry it's likely the homes weren't broken into for a reason. The show should have pointed out that while the guy outside may consider it foraging, the guy inside considers it looting.

However Armageddon Man does demonstrate, albeit briefly, some good tactics for those for those operating behind enemy lines (as he was trained to do) or surviving Armageddon. The use of a piece of a metal sheet (supported by bricks, rocks or other non burnable objects) to build a small fire on in a building was well demonstrated.

-- Once while hiking I built a small fire on a metal plate in an abandoned and falling down line shack. I thought the metal by itself would keep the dry wood floor beneath it from catching fire. I was wrong. Fortunately it was raining and I was able to cool the smoking floor boards before they burst into flame. --

As Rudy points out, when in a city camping on the second floor does give you several tactical advantages. For one it's difficult for an enemy to rush you from all sides when you're on the second floor. For another attackers are forced into kill zones (stairwells) and the walls of the first floor act as sounding boards confining and reflecting the sounds made therein thus increasing the chances of early warning for those on the second floor.

Further on the plus side escape from the second floor is as near as the closest window. Or, as Rudy demonstrates, you can slide down the elevator shaft on the elevator cables however I find that a less than optimal (slow and noisy) method of egress while under attack.

Even with editing you could see that Rudy had trouble getting the elevator doors open to get into the shaft. After sliding down the cables we find the elevator doors conveniently open and the elevator car conveniently not on the first floor which would have necessitated opening a trap door in the roof of the elevator car, climbing down into the elevator and then prying not one but two sets of doors open to get out. Like I said slow and noisy.

Like most other survival instructors Rudy is anxious to show us how to start a fire using steel wool and a nine volt battery. However, he fails to inform us that the finer the steel wool the better. And it is that lack of significant, often crucial, details that I noticed running through the entire show.

Yes, you can use a hand bicycle pump to pull gasoline or diesel (or water) from the underground storage tanks of gas stations by cutting off the valve at the end of the pump's tube and attaching a garden hose for added length using duct tape to get a good seal. But you'd better bring a good pair of bolt cutters along because gas station owners don't leave thousands of dollars worth of fuel unlocked when they go home at night. Also they don't want some drunk unscrewing the lid and lighting a match to "see what's down there" after the bars close.

And, yes, you could (eventually) get enough fuel that way to start up a hospital generator so as to charge a battery but it's more likely that the hospital's generator was run until it ran out of fuel. A better option, here in the states at least, might be the offices of a large corporation which (if it had a backup generator) is more likely to have shut down during the chaos that led to the city being abandoned and therefore still have fuel in its tank.

The segment on making fuel from the contents of grease traps behind restaurants was, as far as I know, accurate but lacked details.

In house to house combat soldiers will take to the sewers to avoid machine gun and sniper fire that's how Rudy was trained. But the rationalization for that stunt with the field expedient grappling hook on the bridge was to avoid the vary contaminants he encounters when he goes into the sewers.

Also, once in the sewers he's trapped down there with only one way to retreat if he runs into hostiles. And the exits (where he can reach them) are usually in the middle of streets.

The same goes for maneuvering in flood control channels when they are dry. These concrete lined sunken highways are, for the most part, devoid of cover and in many places impossible to get out of without a ladder or rope, a perfect place for an ambush.

Bottom Line
If time constraints require you to travel quickly in the open, do so at night and sleep during the day.

Rudy seems to have some good information but it's presented out of context without supporting data and in segments that are far too short for him to get all the information across.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

How much is enough?

If the world went to hell in a hand basket tomorrow would you have enough?

Enough what?

The answer is obvious: enough to get you through whatever it is. Whatever that is.

It matters not whether the "whatever" is depression, hyper inflation or any of the dozen or so long term disasters that could impact your life, when you get right down to it enough means enough to eat. Period.

Would you rather be hungry in a palace or satiated in a hovel? I'm guessing you'd go for the hamburger on a tin plate over the airburger on a gold plate.

So when we talk about "enough" we're ultimately talking about food and the things that it takes to get food. For most of us that means money.

We give the grocer money and the grocer gives us food. But what if the value of the money decreased? Would the grocer still be willing to hand over the same amount of food for the same amount of money? Probably not. It's called inflation.

When it gets really out of control we call it hyper inflation and think of the Weimar Republic in 1923 Germany and fifty million Mark postage stamps but there are other examples of hyper inflation.

So how do we protect ourselves from hyper inflation? Gold? Silver? Foreign currencies? Food? True, we can get the latter by holding the former but there are translation problems. A gold coin may buy more groceries than you want but do you want to accept your change in a currency that's decreasing in value so quickly that the grocery store clerk who hands you your change demands to be paid twice a day so as to be able to afford to buy food on his lunch break before it doubles in price at quitting time?

Silver, particularly U.S. pre 1965 Junk silver dimes and quarters would come in handy at the grocery store.

If you look at recent hyper inflation in other countries you'll see currency black markets springing up overnight so having the right currency could be helpful.

The American dollar has been the currency of last resort for decades, but what to you resort to if it goes hyper? Swiss francs (CHF), New Zealand dollars ($) (NZD), Canadian dollars ($) (CAD), Australian dollars ($) (AUD) or maybe you'd like to bet on the Chinese Renminbi (¥) (CNY)?

Long term the Renminbi is probably the one to bet on, but let your grandchildren worry about that you're worried about being hungry tomorrow.

If the American dollar catches hyper pneumonia the rest of the world will catch an economic cold. You won't be able to escape hard times, but you can alleviate them by having some savings in a foreign currency in a foreign bank.

But why not eliminate the middle man? Most of the canned food in your grocery store now bears readable expiration dates. Join Costco or one of the other big box store clubs (I receive my membership fees and more back from Costco every year by using my True Earnings card from Costco and American Express) and save by buying canned goods (among other things) by the case.

Buy canned foods you normally eat. Store them in a cool dry place; a closet or your garage will do. Put the new stuff on the back of the shelves and eat from the front of the shelves always eating the oldest first.

But do you want the family fortune in cans of Campbell soup in the hall closet? Probably not, but a years supply of food would go a long way towards helping your family through a bout of hyper inflation. Having your savings in a foreign currency in a foreign bank would enable you to take care of your other financial obligations

And, of course, you'll want to have a bag or two of pre 1965 "junk" silver.

How much of any of the above is "enough"? Well, as Yogi Berra is said to have said "Prediction is difficult, particularly about the future." Exact amounts would depend on how long the hyper inflation lasted, but having preparations in place should help ease you through whatever comes.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Will Spot Hit the Spot?

This piece is a brief summary of thoughts resulting from the article Fido Friend or Food?. It has been suggested by sources kinder than I that Fido, Fluffy and Spot should be spared the stew pot due to their usefulness. But are they truly useful or is that a figment of the pet owner's imagination?

Please Pass the Hindquarters
Some (well fed) dogs share their catches (Retrievers mostly I would think). However, if you've ever watched video of a pack eating a kill you've probably noticed that sharing isn't part of the protocol.

But failing to share slobbery squirrels and ripped up rabbits wouldn't be a problem if Spot was feeding himself (thus producing no drag on the family survival slipstream) and providing an early warning system thus providing for the public good.

However there may be a problem with that. My wife and I take an almost daily one mile walk around our neighborhood. Without fail we are barked at by about a dozen dogs every day. The same dogs. Dogs that should know us by now. We have managed to make "friends" with one dog so that it only stares at us through the fence as we walk by.

If a family is Bugging In (remaining in their home) after a WTSHTF event morphs into TEOTWAWKI Spot's barks become a two edged sword serving to alert the family to the presence of nearby strangers and the strangers to the presence of nearby protein.

Marauders may charge into the home for K9 burgers, but I'm sure they'd be willing to stay once they saw what else was on the menu.

If the family is Bugging Out (fleeing their home) a leashed dog isn't going to stay leashed long and a free ranging dog is likely to wander off thus solving the noise attraction problem while depriving the family of a protein source.

But dogs also offer protection. (For the record although I'm no expert I believe properly raised Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Bull Dogs are no more dangerous than Mastiffs, German Shepards or other medium to large size dogs. However their size combined with their predispositions tend to make them more dangerous if they do attack.)

(My only personal experience in this regard occurred while I was working as a security guard. Some very young children next door were playing with a Bull Dog puppy when it latched onto the belly of a little girl. Bull Dogs are famous for tenaciousness and this puppy was true to its instincts. The screams of the children as they ran up had my hand hovering over my .45 revolver until I saw what they were crying about. I quickly realized a gun wasn't called for. The puppy was literally hanging from the little girl's tummy by his teeth as she ran over. Had the dog been larger she wouldn't have been mobile and perhaps more drastic measures would have been called for. As it was I was able to get my hands around the dog's throat and strangle it until it gasped for air. In doing so it released its bite on the little girl's skin. I relaxed my grip so the dog could breathe again and carried it, still by the neck, over to the fence from whence it came and dropped it back into its own back yard. When I turned around the kids were gone. I was alone on duty and couldn't leave my post, but about an hour later the little girl's mother came over and thanked me. By forcing the dog to release its grip on the skin I'd avoided creating a tearing wound. All the little girl had were some tooth puncture holes, which would probably heal without scaring, and as story to tell when she grew up.)

Nobody wants to get bit even by a small dog, yet SWAT teams regularly go into yards and buildings protected by large "Bad Dogs" who've been raised to be that way by bad people. The SWAT guys seldom get bit. I know of two instances where burglars killed guard dogs (Once inside with a gun and once through a chain link fence with (probably) a pellet gun.) A medium to large dog attacking your attackers would momentarily distract them which would give you an advantage IF you were prepared to take advantage of the advantage. And, to be fair, the prospect of a dog bite might discourage potential attackers.

Dogs can also pull carts and bear backpacks if you've had the foresight to make or buy them.

Bottom line
Long term, of course livestock guarding and herding dogs will be valuable for their innate talents once the TEOTWAWKI induced human die off peters out and rebuilding begins.

Short term A WELL TRAINED dog that can be depended upon to warn with a growl and not give your position away to every passerby would be worth keeping even if you were starving. However Porky the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig and yammering mutts would make good soup stock.

Question for preppers and survivalist dog lovers: is your dog trained to growl instead of bark? Have you stitched up a wagon pulling harness for him? Bought the cart? Is there a doggie backpack in your closet?

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fido friend or food?

Would you eat your pets? Here's a good example of the difference between WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) and TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)

Of course you wouldn't eat your pets during a WTSHTF event. It'll all be over in a few days and besides the government can be depended upon to deliver food and supplies eventually.

Ah, but with TEOTWAWKI, where there is no help coming, that's horseflesh of a different color isn't it?

In the ubiquitous "Survival Situation" what part of the food pyramid are pets? If goldfish are part of the fish food group where do cats fit in?

In the meat group alongside fried Fido, Mr. Ed and Lassie!

Let's take a look at the different scenarios.

WTSHTF: It's day five in the shelter and novelty of the government issued MREs has worn off. Fluffy doesn't realize you had to trade your wedding ring to get him meal #8 with beef patty. Fluffy eats it but with a look that says you'll never be forgiven.

TEOTWAWKI day five without food you're starting to see turkey boots on Fluffy's drumsticks er… legs. And Fluffy is in constant danger of giving your position away by barking at every band of marauders that comes near. If they find Fluffy it'll be shish kebab time and it's only a matter of time until that happens. Then it hits you, Fluffy is going to be eaten by someone! Better Fluffy becomes barbeque for family than strangers.


Further thoughts on pet food.


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

After Armageddon on the History Channel

WOW! just WOW! After Armageddon is the most realistic portrayal of what would happen in America after a worldwide pandemic that I have ever seen on TV!

OK the last five minutes was the standard Hollywood claptrap about how the world would be better off without cities and how the cities could never be rebuilt (which begs the question: How were they built in the first place?) and peace and yada and love and yada and so on. But I noticed that if you look closely you'll see guys with rifles on guard on the roof of that ultra modern architecture house as they roll the closing credits.

The show depicts a family of sheeple living in the Los Angeles area when a Southeast Asian virus spreads world wide in a matter of days and soon mostly depopulates the human world. Or as the History Channel puts it:
"The disappearance of water and food supplies, the effects of deteriorated sanitation and health care on the remaining population, and the increased use of violence as a means of survival--all illustrate how societies have responded and survived."

Without the skilled people to run them communications (phone, Internet, transportation and utilities begin to shut down.

The protagonist, Chris Johnson, is a paramedic who refuses to believe there is anything seriously wrong until he sees panic buying in the grocery stores and violence in the streets. Even then he and his wife and teenage son refuse to make any meaningful plans as they hunker down in their home. The program points out viruses usually complete their cycle in about 90 days and that most homes have only a three days supply of food on hand while grocery stores restock every "one to one and a half days" on average. Or as one expert put it: "We're nine meals away from anarchy."

Finally hunger forces Chris out of the house on what turns out to be a clue finding mission. Seeing looters two blocks from his house he tries to "go gray" (a survivalist term not the films) by scattering trash and clothes outside to make it look like their house has already been looted.

In a true TEOTWAWKI situation I'd be inclined to let looters break in and then take them out with small caliber weapons whose report wouldn't be heard far outside the house and later scatter the bodies on the front lawn to discourage others, but that's just me.

As looters finally force them from their LA home they pack hurriedly (the show's onscreen experts give an all too brief explanations of what BOB (Bug Out Bag) & GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bags are. That's the first time I've seen such references outside of earthquake & hurricane preparedness segments on TV shows) pack and throw everything, more than they can carry and no backpacks, into their car and try to leave LA for somewhere in Idaho.

I give the show credit for admitting that people will need guns to survive in the aftermath of a TEOTWAWKI event.

In explaining what people are likely to do in a catastrophe the onscreen experts (often in voiceover mode) frequently reference people's reactions during and after Hurricane Katrina.

After Armageddon also reminded viewers that in order to prepare for disaster, it will be important to be aware that you will need to defend yourself and understand that survival may require force and violence. When people move into survival mode, they do not act as they normally would - civilized and peaceful.

As one expert put it: "We don't have many cases of mass migrations that go peacefully."

One expert on After Armageddon surmised that foraging after a disaster would become a necessary part of survival. As he stated, "foraging is a nice word for looting". This illustrates that disaster changes people and changes their behavior - a common theme in After Armageddon.

Another expert said it best: "We like to think that moral progress has made us nice people. We've heard that our distant ancestors were mean and cruel and ruthless, and we can't imagine that we would be such people - but we're nice mainly because we're rich and comfortable. And when we're no longer rich and comfortable, we won't be as nice."

Through a series of unlikely events and miraculous luck the (for most of the time) unarmed family eventually arrives in Idaho to start their new lives wherein they learn, among other things, that an abandoned car in the hot sun makes a good dehumidifier.

One thing they did that I disagree with was using storm drains and sewers to get out of the city on foot in the daytime. Such avenues of egress are not meant for foot traffic and expose those in them to ambush. Better to travel quietly at night and hold up during the day.

There are plenty of other tactical errors, but I'll leave them for you to discover as you watch the show.

A short list if concepts shown but not articulated:
Never camp, rest or stop on roads or trails.
Avoid fellow refugees, they'll be eager to "share" whatever you've got.
Very few have the skills and/or supplies needed to survive TEOTWAWKI.

Overall I give After Armageddon an A for an accurate depiction of what would probably happen if a TEOTWAWKI event were to occur.

The History Channel is already offering it for sale and it is the only History Channel show I've ever even considered buying.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A 12 Step Program for the Unprepared

Few of us could afford to prepare for TEOTWAWKI even we knew what it would be. The alternative is to prepare for WTSHTF events like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and blizzards. Fortunately preparing for the smaller events makes us more ready if the big one should ever come along.

Here's my 12 step program for the unprepared:

Step One: Ensure you have enough water on hand to last for at least three days (a week is better) at one (1) gallon per person per day for cooking and drinking only. (Not for washing or toilet flushing.)

Step Two: Ensure you have enough "picnic" supplies on hand to provide paper plates/bowls and plastic spoons/knives/forks (Spoons are most important, you can get by without the others.) so you don't have to eat off of dirty dishes. Remember that one gallon of water per person per day is for cooking and drinking. Picnic supplies allow you to eat without compromising your sanitary requirements.

Step Three: Ensure you have enough food on hand to last at least a week (a month(s) is better). Canned food is best since it requires no refrigeration and most cans nowadays have expiration dates printed on the can. Buy canned goods you normally eat and rotate them; first in first eaten.

Step Four: Ensure you have enough alcohol wipes and/or hand sanitizer for a week. Note that suspect water from compromised municipal water systems is safe for toilet flushing, but not hand washing.

Step Five: If it seems likely the electricity is going to be off for an extended period; eat only refrigerated food at first. Then the frozen stuff as it thaws. Draw a map, from memory, of the contents of your refrigerator/freezer. Then make up a menu. Next pull out those foods needed immediately and close the refrigerator door as quickly as possible. Containers that need to be replaced in the refrigerator should be placed next to it as portions are removed so all of them can be replaced at once. Then update your map.

Step Six: Ensure you have enough candles, flashlights and fresh batteries to last a week. A months worth is better. Don't forget the matches. Common candles are OK, but a better/safer bet would be "jar candles" of the type used in churches. The candle is in a glass tumbler and can be found in most supermarkets with and without religious printing on the side.

Step Seven: Ensure you have enough of the medicines you and yours will need for an extended period. Yes, in a WTSHTF event help may arrive within a week, but medical supplies will likely be in short supply. If possible have your doctor write two prescriptions then fill them both going back for another periods worth when the first prescription runs out then using the second period's meds while the third periods supply acts as a backup and so on. That way you'll always have at least a periods worth of fresh meds on hand.

Step Eight: Ensure you have all your BOBs packed and up to date.

Step Nine: Ensure you have enough TP to last for several months, 'nough said.

Step Ten: If you live in an evacuation zone (and even if you don't) a can of gasoline in the garage, rotated every six months, will get you that much farther when the roads are packed and gas stations drained dry. You did remember to keep the tank at least half full at all time didn't you?

Step Eleven: Family records, pictures, deeds, marriage and birth certificates, résumés and other important documents stored either in a waterproof container or, better yet, copied on to a thumb drive could come in handy in the event the storehouses of those records are washed/blown away or swallowed by the earth or sea.

Step Twelve: "But Dave, but Dave we've gotten all the way to the last step and you still haven't told us which Assault Rifle with 30 round magazines you recommend. Or what 12 gauge shotgun with folding butt stock is most desirable. Or even if a .45 semi-auto pistol is preferable to a.44 magnum revolver." (Well duh, of course it is!)

No, because if you're an experienced shooter you've already made up your mind on which weapon(s) you'll use to defend yourself and my stated opinions won't change your mind.

But I'm glad you asked because if you're a non-shooter with no preconceived notions about calibers and barrel lengths I do have a recommendation for you:

Non-shooters by definition have no firearms skills and so should stick to the simplest to operate personal defense weapon i.e. a short barreled (so he can't grab it away from you) double action (so you don't have to remember to "cock" the hammer) revolver (so you don't have to remember to turn off the safety or "work" the slide). Happy?

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Aim to Stop

"It was him or me." "I was only trying to stop him."

In an online conversation a correspondent complained that although she enjoyed target practice, when it came to the prospect of actually shooting a real live human being the reality of it … "leaves a dreadfully bad taste"

Aye, there's the rub.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take up arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them?

Yet, when it comes to "assisting" an attacker in shuffling off this mortal coil it isn't practice anymore. Or is it?

One of the doctrines of modern combat training is:
You will do under stress that which you have trained to do.

That is why we practice.

An Example:
In the Army, in Germany, in the early '60's I was trained to disembark from an M113 and charge the enemy with my M-14 (later an XM-79) at port arms.

Years later, as a reserve deputy sheriff assigned to a raid on a biker hangout, the scenario was repeated. We were to drive up in a convoy of squad cars, disembark, form up and march across the road to effect the raid.

Well, training took over. I disembarked from the patrol car and proceeded post haste at port arms across the road to the objective.

Now it just so happened that two of the bikers were outside the bar when we drove up and had started back into the tavern to warn the others.

I charged up to the bikers with my baton at port arms.
They thought I was confronting them and stopped.
I thought "What am I doing here? I'm supposed to be forming up back there!"

The raid commander thought I'd acted to prevent the bikers from warning their cohorts. I didn't disabuse him of that notion.

(That's about as rousing a tail of daring do as I can truthfully tell. Well, except for that time I… Oh wait, I can't tell that story until I'm on my deathbed.)

My point is that people run away screaming in a hyper stressful situation because they don't know what to do. But people who have trained (have practiced doing it) to respond to the same stressful situation by doing their jobs.

Most people will refrain from shooting until they had no other choice. And then you should shoot to stop. He's trying to kill (rape, maim) you and you're trying to stop him.

So you see self defense training really is a choice of to be or not to be.

That's right. This ain't no "shoot to kill" movie. In the real world we shoot to stop. You practice aiming for the center of mass because that's the proven best way to stop an assailant. If that center of mass hit happens to kill him so be it. You had no other choice.

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