Monday, September 8, 2014

Daily Briefing for Monday, September 8, 2014

What Jerry Jones Can Teach Us About Preparedness


Yes.  That Jerry Jones.


ESPN recently drilled down deep into the mind of the owner of the iconic Dallas Cowboys, providing a superbly written piece and giving us a glimpse into what makes Jerry Jones tick.


I'm not a big sports fan (I follow a few sports just well enough so that I can keep up with some sports conversations), but I do find the business of sports very interesting.  I detest baseball, for example (the game simply moves too slow), but thoroughly enjoyed the movie Moneyball, which was all about the business of the sport.


Working in the government relations arena, I regularly meet people who are often larger than life, and Jones clearly fits that description.  The ESPN story sheds a little light into what makes him tick.


He has a high "tolerance for ambiguity."  As described in the article:


Jones likens himself to a riverboat gambler whose success depends on a well-honed "tolerance for ambiguity." It's a fancy way of saying that when a big bet goes south or the accumulated risks outweigh the potential rewards, he can still function at a high level.

"The riverboat gambler can be his most charmin', he can be his most clever, the smartest, and not know it's all gonna end on the next card and he's gonna be thrown overboard if it's the wrong card," Jones says. "And a part of havin' a tolerance for ambiguity is looking for the more positive and bein' able to handle the negative because you've got more goin' on."


Preppers have a low tolerance for ambiguity.  If we had a higher tolerance, we would still perceive the risks to ourselves and family, but we would not fret about them.  Instead, we stockpile food and water, putting bug out bags in our vehicles and learn how to cook with solar ovens because we're concerned about the next blackout, severe weather outbreak or other failure of society and infrastructure.


Assuming that we wanted to increase our tolerance for ambiguity, and assuming it's possible to do so, how would we go about it?  And should we go about it?


  • We would be intellectually honest about the true risk we face.  My wife and I were just having this conversation this evening, as we discussed building materials for the house we are building in a couple of years.  We discussed the likelihood of tornadoes hitting the Austin area.  While there is a risk of tornadoes, that risk is small. (I'm more worried about the wild land next door to us catching on fire, lighting up our property with it.
  • We would learn to function better despite the risk, regardless of whether the risk is accurately perceived.  Learning to "deal with it" rather than worry about it is a sign of strong character.  We would learn to relish the challenge rather than dread it.
  • We would treat risks as opportunities to learn rather than problems to be endured.  Learning is how we grow.  It's how we get better prepared.  Dreading or fearing a risk rather than thinking of it as an opportunity to test or practice a skill can reduce your tolerance for ambiguity.  Your mindset is critical in increasing your ambiguity tolerance. 





Friday, June 27, 2014

FREE Firearms Training at Upcoming Preparedness Field Day on August 2!


Yes, you read that correctly – FREE firearms training from KR Training’s Karl Rehn.  But before we get to that, let’s discuss what’s happening on August 2.

 

We've seen a lot of headlines as of late that serve as good reminders on the need to be prepared:

 


 

 

These issues will continue to affect our nation. Government and charitable organizations cannot be everywhere, all the time – we have to be prepared to be our own first responders.

 

At January's Preparedness Conference, many of you expressed interest in getting some hands-on experience in using the equipment and skills necessary to take care of yourself until help arrives. That's why we've put together the field day on August 2 – to give you the opportunity to do hands-on training.  Currently, there is no other prepper conference or seminar I'm aware of in Texas that is going to give you the opportunities this field day offers.

 

And if you’re worried about the heat in early August – please note many of these presentations will be indoors or in the shade.  You will not be outside in the sun all day.

 

 

Here's a list of topics and presenters who are confirmed for August 2.  Note these will be presented in a block format, which each presentation being offered more than once.  You'll have ample opportunity to attend your favorite choices of these presentations:

 

 

Food Storage and Nutrition – Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D., an associate professor at Texas A&M will be presenting on the subject of “Food Storage and Nutrition.”  Many preppers have questions about food storage options and the nutritional retention of their food stores.  Dr. Gehring will speak to these issues and provide practical guidance on long term food storage options and strategies.

 

Fire Extinguisher Training – Mark Wobus, District Chief with the Bastrop Fire Department, and Lt. Brian Harvey of the Bluebonnet Fire Department, will provide attendees hands on training on how to use a fire extinguisher.  This is a live fire training opportunity.

 

Solar Cooking and Energy – I’ll be demonstrating some of the solar cooking and power equipment available on the market. 

 

Rainwater Collection  - I’ll share with you everything you need to know about setting up your own rainwater collection system.

 

Treat the Heat - Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics (and frequent guest instructor at KR Training) will be presenting on the subject of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of various heat related ailments.  Caleb served as a medic in the U.S. Army before beginning his own training company; he brings a wealth of knowledge from the tactical medicine community.

 

Herbal Medicine – Sam Coffman of The Human Path will do a short herb walk and discuss the details of using several local medicinal plants for acute injuries and illness as well as chronic illness.

 

First Aid - Sam Coffman will demonstrate (and coach) the use of a poultice using both plant material as well as charcoal, to deal with infection, inflammation and tissue healing. 

 

The only direction you can't fell  tree is UP- Never handled a chainsaw? John and Kelli Kochan of KR Training will demonstrate what you need to safely handle and maintain your chainsaw. Then gear up and get your hands on a saw for real.

 

Radios don't bite - Learn what various radios can and can't do, which to use for what type of communications and how to use them properly.  Ham radio operator John Kochan will lead this presentation.

 

What are ya gonna do when your cellphone quits working  - John Kochan will show you how to set up a communications plan for your family and friends. Hurricane, bomb threat or power outage, have the equipment and plan in place before you need it.

 

Intro into Reloading Ammo – Karl Rehn will demonstrate the equipment and skills needed to reload your own ammunition.

 

Simple Stick Defense – Frequent KR Training guest instructor Chuck Rives will show you that simple defensive stick techniques can be applied to a million different tools that you can pick up or carry in lots of worst case situations.  These techniques are simple, quick-to-learn and work with batons, canes, broomsticks, trashcans, clipboards, fire extinguishers, phone books or hundreds of other items that you might find around you all the time. 

 

Unarmed Combatives – Chuck Rives will be providing some hands on demonstration on various unarmed combative techniques you can use in the real world.

 

Trapping and Snaring – Greg Pleasant of Texas Parks and Wildlife will cover how to identify animal sign and trials to figure out what animals are making them and then setting snares and traps to catch them.  He will cover both primitive and modern snaring and trapping techniques.

 

Bug Out Bag Building – Brian Brown of Team Rubicon will bring his Mother of All Bug Out Bags and let participants see what gear he carries into the field during disaster response.

 

Map and Compass Orientation – Brian Brown will demonstrate how to read a map and use a compass in field conditions.

 

 

You can attend this all day, family friendly event for $50 per person.  You will not find another opportunity to see and learn about these skills and technology in one place in Central Texas.

 

Here’s where the free training part comes in – At the end of Saturday’s conference, Karl and his team of instructors will run people through various defensive handgun drills, culminating in each student shooting the NRA Defensive Pistol Qualification Test.  This training is free for anyone that signs up for the Field Day prior to July 19.

 

For those of you who want more training opportunities that weekend, on Sunday, August 3, Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics will be teaching his course in Dynamic First Aid.  Those of us who have been through his course can vouch for the excellent training and skills you gain from attending this class.  The class costs $160.

 

So to recap:

 

  • Lots of training opportunities on Saturday
  • FREE handgun proficiency training for those who sign up soon
  • Dynamic First Aid training on Sunday

 

 

 

You’ll need to go here to register for these events. (Please note you’ll need to sign up separately for the Field Day and the Dynamic First Aid courses)

 

I hope to see you there on August 2.  Call me at 512-267-4817 if you have questions.

 

Paul

Daily Briefing For Friday, June 27, 2014

Lessons In Road Rage


I'd like to share my road rage experience with you.


This morning, I was heading to lunch at the University of Texas Club, located in the UT stadium.  The stadium and club entrance are in the far left of the map below.  The parking garage which I entered is not on the map, but it's located in the corner of the intersection of Littlefield and Dedman, across the street from the police department.  The top of the map is north.


Prior to the incident I'm going to describe below, I made a right turn on red to head west on Littlefield, towards the stadium.  A few seconds after making the turn, I heard someone blowing their horn.  It's an urban environment, and so people are always blowing their horn at something, making it difficult to determine if the horn was meant for me or someone else.  I did notice a pick up truck - old, faded and missing paint - in my rear view mirror, with two male occupants.  From my quick glance, they didn't seem to be upset or troubled by anything I'd done.  I continued the short quarter mile trip to the parking garage, turning left off of Littlefield into the garage entrance.





As I stopped to get a ticket to enter the parking garage, the pick up truck screeched his tires and pulled in behind me, stopping about 20 yards away.  The driver jumped out and yelled at me as I got my ticket:


"IF YOU'RE GOING TO DRIVE LIKE A WOMAN, YOU'D BETTER SQUAT WHEN YOU PISS, YOU SON OF A BITCH!" 


I didn't acknowledge his existence.  I took the ticket, the gate arm rose, and I drove on into the garage, cautiously monitoring my rear view mirror to see if he followed me inside.


That's it.  That's the story.  Thankfully that's all of the story.


I share it with you so that we can discuss what we might be able to learn from my experience.  Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order:


  • Road rage is completely unnecessary and can be hazardous to those who engage in it.  How does road rage improve anyone's driving or life for that matter?  It doesn't.  It certainly didn't help me, seeing how I am still not certain what I did to offend this person.  (And if I did, I'd tell you...I can only speculate that he didn't like the fact I turned right on red, despite the fact he also had a red light just before I did so.) 

    I certainly want to be a courteous driver, and if I inconvenienced him or anyone else for that matter, I am truly sorry.  And I would have said so if need be. 
  • Getting out of your vehicle to confront another driver is a bad idea.  I am reminded of those Capital One credit card commercials where the spokesperson says "What in your wallet?"  You never know what another driver may have in their pocket, console or glove box.  Why on earth would you willingly go up to another vehicle (especially in Texas, when that other vehicle is a 4x4 pick up truck) and threaten or berate another person?  I have no desire to harm a soul, but I'm not going to endure injury or death so that an irate driver can have a sense of justice.  He had no idea what tools were accessible to me should he have pushed the issue further. 
  • Likewise, I would have gained nothing by getting out of my truck, either.  It's a two way street.  I lose the protection of my truck if I get out of it.  Why give up a tactically superior position just so I can pretend to be a bad ass?  I give myself points for not engaging the driver in any fashion.
  • Even though that was a relatively mild incident on the threat spectrum, I felt the adrenaline dump.  We can all train as much as we want, and yet we're going to get juiced in situations like that.  Adrenaline is a gift from God, but we have to realize the limitations it creates for us when we're under its influence
  • This took place on a major college campus, in front of a police station.  The stadium, the police department, the parking garage - this place has more cameras than Best Buy.  It's Surveillance City.  And yet the other individual involved decided to push a bad position, despite the fact he was being watched and recorded by multiple security cameras.

    We live in a surveillance society now.  With lots of security cameras and smart phones able to record videos, there's a high likelihood the entire encounter was caught on video.  When deciding what action to take in a situation like that, you must be mindful of the fact your actions will be recorded and, if possible, used against you.  To the extent you can, you want to video footage of your engagement to be a highlight reel of what to do rather than what not to do.  To do that, you'll need to get more training - beyond your basic CHL class.

    And in case you didn't catch that the first time - I could have stepped out of my truck, picked up a small rock, and hit the police station across the street.  It's that close.  Don't think crime and bad things happen in "good" areas, like in front of a police station?  Think again.
  • People who engage in road rage have much larger issues in their lives.  I can't imagine getting that angry every time I perceive someone is being a bad driver.  And given his comments, he clearly has issues with women.  People like that aren't mad at you, particularly - they have other anger issues in their lives, and you just happen to be a convenient target for that anger. 
  • Let's discuss what I could have done better or differently.  There's no teaching; there's only learning.  I don't have all of the answers.  So what could I have done better?


    My driving - I'm not a perfect driver.  Yet my radio was off, my cell phone was in the drink holder and was not in use, both of my hands were on the steering wheel, I wasn't rushing to get to lunch, and I was paying attention to the other vehicles around me.  I truly wish I knew what I'd done to upset him.  If I made an error in driving, I want to know about it so I can avoid doing so in the future.  If he's simply being a jerk, I can't fix that.  But I can continue to focus on being a safe driver, no matter what.

    My decision not to engage him - had he closed the distance, the thing for me to do would have been to drive on into the garage.  Or would it?  It would have been very difficult for him to get up to the door of my truck, as I was stopped right in front of the ticket kiosk.  That could have provided some protection.  On the downside, driving off would have been seen as me attempting to avoid conflict - something I'd be glad to see on the surveillance footage.  That call could have gone either way.

    Do you have a word track to help de-escalate situations like this?  In the CHL class, we call this "nonviolent dispute resolution."  The word track I suggest to my students sounds something like this:

    "I am so sorry.  Please forgive me.  What can I do to make it up to you?  <<Depending on the situation, you can offer to do something - like move your vehicle if they are complaining you took their parking space.>>"  This is not the response they are expecting.  Bullies want you to either fight back or cower in fear.  When you are rational and apologetic, yet calm and firm, you aren't any fun to play with anymore.  Saying those few words can save you a lot of trouble and cost nothing to say.

    Managing the moments after I pulled into the garage - I give myself a C on this.  I kept watching my rear view mirrors (which I had started doing the moment I heard the tires squealing).  That was good.  I should have picked up my phone and started to dial 911 in case he followed me into the garage.  I was too fixated on where I should park to avoid further conflict and not focused enough on being able to get help there should I have needed it. 


Be safe out there, everyone.  It's a crazy world.