Mindset - Ignoring the Noise
I've done a lot of interviews about the rush to buy guns during this COVID-19 emergency. My thoughts return to being prepared and the mindset needed for that.
Often, we talk about "mindset" for self-defense. That is, being ready to react to an attack. This isn't about that.
I'm talking about the mindset -- a way of thinking -- that enables you to do what most people will not. It's really a way of living. Whether you call it "prepping" or just being prepared or merely being careful, this mode of operation has you taking steps that the majority of the population does not do and which, frankly, makes them nervous.
That's where it takes mental strength. When your friends and family question and even mock that you have guns for defense, that you actually take training to use them, that you keep several months of food on hand, that you have water purifiers and cookstoves ... that's when you must be firm in your convictions and tune out the noise of the naysayers.
Witness all the people rushing around to buy guns, ammo, toilet paper, food, and more during this current crisis. I bet many of them if asked only three months ago, would have scoffed at the idea of stocking up on supplies. Hey, the store has everything you need, right? Except that when you really look at it, stores have about three days' worth of supplies. If the trucks don't arrive, for whatever reason, the stores are empty within a week.
You need mental strength, and just a bit of arrogance, to prepare when others can't or won't see what you can. Further, you must be able to push back the doubts when events don't require your preparations. Just because you haven't had to use your self-defense gun doesn't mean you shouldn't have it.
I find it particularly interesting that so many people need to demean, belittle, and challenge those who do prepare. We see it with guns all the time, and some in the media are mocking the gun-buying spree now, chiding that "you can't shoot the coronavirus." Having watched this behavior for decades, I've come to understand that this is a defensive mechanism that allows (even if unknowingly) the non-prepared to massage their own self-image as well as insulate themselves from the uncomfortable reality that they are not, in fact, safe. If they can mock those of us to take responsibility for our own safety they can continue to pretend there is no reason for them to prepare. If they were to acknowledge and admit that it's smart to prepare, they would then find themselves wanting.
Suddenly many of them have awakened to the reality that cities are releasing prisoners from jails, police departments face shortages as officers contract the virus, and the usually-faint possibility of civil unrest seems much more realistic. They are shaken at these prospects, and it has taken almost no time at all for them to realize that a personal firearm offers comfort and the option of real protection. Will these millions of new gun owners remember this lesson? Will those who unexpectedly ran into the roadblocks and delays they previously called "commonsense" gun control recall the frustration and even the fear that they might not be able to get a gun? Will some of them actually cross over to the side of Second Amendment supporters? Time will tell.
Certainly, when the COVID-19 emergency passes, most people will return to their old ways, depending upon others for ... everything.
I have hope, and I have fear.
I hope many remember the feelings of fear, of uncertainty, of frustration, and I hope we vow to be serious about preparing because something will happen in the future.
My fear is that many in government now see just how easy it was to revoke civil rights in the name of an emergency, and also just how willing Americans were to trade their freedoms for security. I'm not saying this is not a real emergency. It is disturbing to consider that the governments (federal, state, local) actually do, in many cases, have the legal power in law to take drastic actions.
On the other hand, it has been great to see the major gun rights organizations working together to push back on states which originally closed gun stores, but when faced with lawsuits from our 2A groups, reversed those orders.
It makes me glad I've been a member of those groups and have been donating to them for years. Just as with prepping, when the emergency actually happens it's too late to come up with a plan.
Be safe. Start working on your "what have we learned" list. ~ Tom
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.