Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SDS Daily Briefing for Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All Good Things Come From Philly, Part One: Violence In The Suburbs

Tonight, I'd like to admonish everyone to remember violence doesn't occur to "someone else" or in a "certain part of town."  It can happen to us, and it can happen anywhere.

Consider this harrowing story of a Suburban Dad, Mark LaVelle, who tried to protect two kids from being attacked in a racially-motivated incident near his home.  According to the article, the dad is "a well-known sports-league organizer and coach in the community;" despite those credentials, a number of thugs broke through the door of his house and assaulted him.

The pervasive thinking among surburbanites is if a) I pay enough for my house b) preferably one in a gated community with c) good schools for my kids nearby that bad things like this can't happen to me.  I don't know much about the neighborhood where this took place, but suffice it to say one good man -  Mark LaVelle - called it home. 

With the growing stress level in our country, we should expect more stories like this in the future.  Start thinking now what you might do in a similar situation.  Some thoughts include:

  • Having your local law enforcement complete a home safety survey.  Cops love doing this sort of thing.  They can point out features about your home you may want to modify to make it less criminal friendly.
  • Have a plan for your family if something bad happens - like bad people getting inside.  LaVelle noted that all he heard was his wife and kids screaming.  The wife and kids should have been tucked away somewhere in the safest room in the home, not screaming and putting themselves in harm's way for LeVelle to deal with.
  • If legal where you live, and if you're committed to train properly, gun the hell up.  As Tom Givens says, "I've never talked to anyone who's been in a gunfight who said the would like to have had a smaller gun or less ammunition."  One of the bad guys in this story had a gun.  It would have been nice if LaVelle had one, too.

All Good Things Come From Philly, Part Two: "I Came Out Here Because The Government Was Giving Away Free Money."

No doubt some of you will complain that I am critical of the government assistance recipients in this story.  But allow me to make my case.

See, there's this big ass storm coming - Hurricane Irene.  You can't go anywhere or watch any local TV station that isn't talking about it 24/7.  It will really mess a lot of things up.  It's very scary.

Yet we don't prepare for it.  After all, if things get bad, the ill-defined, never-present "they" will do something about it.  "They" will come fix everything and give us help, free food, free water, free clothes, free everything.  "They" will even arrange for us to have housing.  "They" will take care of us.

Meanwhile, back in the Land of Reality, "they" would be the governmental assistance programs.  And today, "They" showed up in - guess where? - Philly to provide food stamps for those who had storm damage as a result of Irene.  One lady, with whom the reporter speaks at the 1:12 mark in the video, reports she came to get her "free money." 

I don't want to spend the next few paragraphs talking about how these people should have practiced personal responsibility and been better prepared (they should have) or why I am not an insensitive jerk for saying they shouldn't get assistance (I'm not).  Feel free to disagree with me on the propriety of this government assistance program.  The point I would like to stress with you is that I hope all of you take the necessary steps - and make the necessary sacrifices if need be - so that you're not one of those people in a welfare line, weeks after a storm passes, getting food stamps and "free money."

Being prepared for bad things - storms, earthquakes, recessions - requires some sacrifice on our part.  We regularly sacrifice money to purchase insurance on our home and car.  We sacrifice free time so we can exercise and be healthy.  We cannot be reluctant to make the sacrifices necessary to take care of our families.

Get the biggest TV you want, the best cable package, the coolest car.  All of that is fine....provided you can take care of your family when there's a major disruption in your life.

Can you do that?  Have you done that?

P.S. - I've read over enough asset inventories while representing clients in pro bono divorce cases to know half my clients own more and nicer TVs, computers, cable TV packages, video gaming consoles, DVD players and stereo systems than I do.  Don't tell me all of these people couldn't afford to stock up on a month's worth of storeable foods.

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