Right. Farm attacks are back in the news, and predictably people are making big social media gestures calling upon politicians and the government to do something. Wear black. Have a red cross. Start a petition. Add a dramatic filter to your profile pic. Whatever floats your proverbial boat.
Here’s a newsflash: all of that activity and the energy spent on it will achieve nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly empathize with farmers. I grew up on a farm, and I was blessed with fantastic friends and neighbours. These are genuine people to whom I could turn to in times of need, and they would move mountains to help and support me. I can wax lyrically for pages about people like Uncle Piet, his wife Auntie Gerna, Oom Willem, and Tannie Corrie. All of them were significant figures in my childhood development. And all of them were farmers. Suffice to say I have roots and understanding in this community, and I am saddened by their plight as I am saddened by any murder.
Murder is a heinous crime, after all. All of the motivational elements in the world neither justify, exacerbate or change that fact.
Yet for all the dreadfulness of farm attacks, appealing to a government (especially today’s government) will achieve nothing. Well, nothing except to perhaps use this opportunity in order to create more power for itself. You see, all they can do is make laws “stronger”. Making murder more illegal than it currently is, is simply nonsensical. It should be clear that the government is not the solution: you are.
Indeed, the only way to create long-term sustainable security for farmers is to engineer a change in culture where people forming that community are prepared to make certain sacrifices and invest in their own resilience to achieve a higher level of security. Fortunately, when we overcome the mental gap of realising that the solution is actually within our own ability to create, implementing the said solution is not overly complex.
Here are some key measures to consider when attempting to minimize your exposure to farm attacks:
Invest in your (and your family’s) ability to be their own defence
If you have not yet invested in tools like firearms to provide an enhancement in doing so, this would be a logical first step. It is not, however, a panacea: firearms and other tools are not the single source for any solution, because no such thing exists. A firearm is simply the most effective and efficient methodology of overcoming force disparity which is induced by either numerical, ability or surprise factors.
The second, and infinitely more important, “first step” is obtaining decent training with your chosen tools. No, I am not referring to the FCA-required competency training. That is not enough. I am referring to selecting one of many excellent training providers (I am very happy to provide my list of recommendations) and partner with them in developing you and your family’s abilities. Ultimately your training should not focus on a single action arena, but rather cover avenues spanning from mental resilience, fitness, ability, medical, communications and response protocols.
Create a security program
This is not the same thing as a plan. I would like to add a caveat: good security is far more than just a gate guard and a barbed wire fence. In fact, good security advisors are not as common as the industry would have you believe. However, engaging with a good brand-agnostic security consultant (not a system salesperson) is an excellent saving opportunity in as much as you will not be required to purchase a plethora of very expensive systems which are incorrectly pitched as solutions. You should develop your security program for your specific needs, and it should include;
- Layered perimeter and access protection.
- A reactive element.
- Effective communications.
- A well-managed and effective information plan.
- Correct processes and procedures.
- Good training.
- And the ability to network with others and integrate into your community, whilst still operating independently of politically directed assets.
Simply put, no single component plan or brand of anything is going to answer your question or provide the solution. You need to understand that fundamentally. You need the program approach.
Change your mindset
Stop thinking of nonsensical feelings-based crap like “carrying a gun is paranoid” or “carrying an extra magazine is too much”. Here is the thing: none of the liberal peaceniks and nonsense-spouting idiots will be with you when things go down. When you know the only person preventing your kids from becoming the plaything of some hate-filled criminal is you, reality hits home fast and hard. Whenever someone tells you that you should comply and everything will be OK, or that carrying a firearm, or training, or preparing is overly paranoid, ask them if they will still feel that way when their child is raped because they liked to believe in fairy tales and unicorns.
Ultimately the farm attack problem has a solution as simple as ABC. Invest in your ability, program that ability into a holistic solution, and change your mindset. Once you have done these three things, you won’t need the mythical “they” to come and “do something”. You will be doing it already.
Be safe, and be #hardtokill
By Bryan Mennie.
Bryan is a professional risk and crisis manager. He has taught kidnap avoidance and hostage survival to various international organizations, and has managed protective and security operations in over twenty countries in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.