You are always the First Responder to your personal crime scene – you cannot outsource responsibility for your personal safety. This reality of course does not stop people from trying. Especially by using common methods such as subscribing their household to armed response.
Vast numbers of people place all their reliance on a solitary Response Officer, who earns the minimum wage, to save them when violent criminals break down their doors. This RO is usually responsible for patrolling a geographic area far larger than is optimal. And their employer usually provides minimal training and equipment.
You Are Always the First Responder to Your Personal Emergency
It is therefore obviously a grossly unrealistic expectation. But millions of South Africans firmly and fully subscribe to it. And one cannot really blame them.
The state of policing in South Africa is in disastrous shambles. The year-on-year increase in murder and other violent crimes viciously attest to this fact. If the metric for effective policing is an absence of crime, then our national abundance of crime certainly indicates highly ineffective policing. Which is exactly why residents are exploring other options.
Unfortunately private security and public policing both face a significant limitation – they cannot be everywhere at all times. Among other reasons, this is why police are not tasked with protecting individual citizens. But rather with securing society as a whole.
No matter how effective police and private security provision is, you will always remain the First Responder to your personal emergency. Nobody else can get to your crime scene before you. And the decisions and actions you take during the critical seconds can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Invest in the Mindset, Skills, and Equipment to Save Your Own Life
It is exactly for this reason why I advocate for people to equip themselves with the required Mindset, Skills, and Tools in order to prevail over circumstances and actors that threaten their lives.
Doing so, however, requires significant investment. It demands that you invest time, effort, and money into acquiring and developing new skills. Most importantly, it demands that you make lifestyle changes in order to develop a Combative Mindset.
What is a Combative Mindset? Quite simply it is the overwhelming will to do whatever it takes in order to prevail, for the purpose of saving your own life (and perhaps the lives of others). Your primary objective every day is to go home to your family in one piece. Cultivating a Combative Mindset is a key requirement to achieving this objective when life throws adverse events at you.
Mindset is the most important element of your personal resilience. But Skills and Equipment are vital additions. They enhance your ability to respond speedily, accurately, and effectively to the particular emergency incident confronting you.
Guns are the Most Effective Personal Defence Tools
When it comes to personal defence, owning and being proficient with a firearm is a fundamentally important element. Firearms are the most effective personal defensive tools in existence. There is nothing else available that allows ordinary people to project force in defence of their lives to remotely the same result. Which is precisely why police officers carry guns to protect themselves during the execution of their duties.
Developing defensive proficiency with a firearm requires disciplined training and practice. But it is certainly within the capabilities of the overwhelming majority of ordinary people to achieve such proficiency. Police officers are, after all, nothing other than ordinary citizens who concern themselves with law and order on a permanent (and professional) basis. They are not imbued with superior abilities at birth: they develop their abilities through study and training.
And so can (and should) you.
Embrace Responsibility for Your Personal Resilience
Instead of trying to outsource responsibility for your personal safety – embrace the responsibility of being your own First Responder. Doing so will make you resilient and empower you with the necessary skills to prevail over adverse situations. Situations that may otherwise leave you dead or very badly injured. And you can start this process by changing your attitude towards self-reliance.
Once you have done so, seek information about how best to go about becoming legally armed and properly trained. This website has numerous articles about choosing a defensive handgun, finding the right trainer for you, and how licensing works. You are neither the first nor the last person to undertake this journey: learn from those that successfully did so before you. There is a wealth of knowledge and information out there – and much of it is free.
Become a Dangerous Target for Violent Criminals
South Africa has an incredibly high violent crime rate, because violent crime is cheap. Offenders get away with their crimes (as attested to by the pathetic murder and rape conviction rates, both under 15%) and expect little resistance from their intended victims. People are conditioned by the media and so-called “experts” to not resist, and merely give criminals what they want. A foolish and dangerous recommendation.
Only when we make violent crime expensive, either via a proper-functioning criminal justice system or by hardening potential victims and making them dangerous targets for criminals, will we see a reduction in it. I don’t presently hold much hope for the former. But the latter we can certainly achieve. And it starts with you deciding that instead of being a willing victim, you want to be a dangerous target.
Stay Safe. Be Dangerous. Be your own First Responder.
Written by Gideon Joubert.
Gideon is the owner and editor of Paratus.