Two recent events, the attack on a Texas church and the assault on Senator Rand Paul, may seem unrelated, but they do have similar things to teach us. Just as with the previous attacks at a Las Vegas concert and earlier at a Congressional representatives’ baseball practice, these incidents highlight the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a “safe space” where one need not be concerned with violence. Attacks can happen anywhere, at any time.
The attack on Senator Paul was particularly unusual because it happened in his own yard while he was doing what many of us do: mowing the lawn. Senator Paul suffered multiple broken ribs, leading to fluid in his lungs, an extremely dangerous condition. Even more concerning was that the attacker was not some politically radicalized individual, but one of the senator’s neighbors.
More importantly, both the church attack and the assault on Senator Paul remind us why it is so important to remember some basic safety protocols. First, maintaining awareness at all times is absolutely critical. This is especially important when you find yourself “lowering your guard” or feeling complacent because you happen to be in a seemingly benign environment … such as a church, or working in your own yard.
But all of these recent violent attacks also underscore why it is so important to be armed at all times, or at least as much as possible. After all, if you are completely aware of your surroundings, but unarmed, you are limited in how you respond when something does go wrong (basically run or hide). But if you have a firearm on your person, you at least have the additional option of lethal force.
The attack on the Republican baseball practice would have likely been far more disastrous had armed Capitol Police not been present. As it was, Representative Steve Scalise was severely wounded by the shooter, but immediate return fire by the officers prevented what could easily have been a massacre.
I myself carry virtually every time I walk out of my house, even when I mow my lawn. And yes, I do carry in our church … always. When I first moved to my home in Florida in 2015, my new neighbor across the street, an avid hunter and pro-2nd Amendment guy, asked me why I carried so regularly. After the recent spate of attacks, he said, “I guess I can see why you carry all the time.” He added that he now does so as well.
Knowing your neighbors is important for another reason. You may have heard the term “SWATTING,” which refers to someone fraudulently calling the cops on you. They will claim that they “heard violent yelling and threats” from your house, adding something like, “I know he has a lot of guns” or even that they saw you brandishing a firearm. This is a vile and vicious thing to do, and it can get innocent people killed — in particular, YOU.
Pay attention for clues during conversations with neighbors, and note things such as lawn signs supporting gun control, etc. Sure, some of these types fly under the radar, and keep their views hidden, but any information you can uncover can at least give you some warning about potential trouble-makers.
But in the end, the fundamentals still apply. Maintain constant situational awareness, everywhere. And of course, do everything in your power to be armed at all times.