My wife and I lived in a high-crime area in East Dallas for three years. Before others criticize me for my life choices, please be advised that we had a good reason for moving in and staying there as long as we did. During that time, my wife’s SUV was broken into seven times and there were two homeless persons living under a mattress propped against a wall on the building behind us. During that time period I got very good at dealing with aggressive panhandlers and developing a high level of situational awareness.
We lived in an area where a significant number of persons were poor, desperate, intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, mentally ill, and/or occasionally sociopathic. There were obviously persons there that believed that I had something in my possession that was of great value to them, which in this instance would have been cash and possibly personal items such as jewelry, credit cards, and a cell phone.
To that end, I simply made sure that I did my best to deprive others of an opportunity to deprive me of my possessions either by force or through theft at all times, and I truthfully did it would without becoming paranoid or losing sleep. Looking back, I am thankful for the experience. However, I can’t say the same for State Farm Insurance. I eventually got a call from my long-time friend, student, and agent saying that State Farm was getting tired of replacing my wife’s SUV front passenger seat window, and would I please see that it stopped immediately.
COVID-19 virus is a real thing, and concealed carriers might be well advised to ignore some of the internet posts by self-appointed disease control experts and take it seriously. There is a real chance that certain parts of the United States might very well experience a crime spike if this event does indeed last several months. Without my having a crystal ball I am unable to predict what may actually transpire until this situation calms down, but I am recommending to all of my students that until then they simply treat this situation like they lived in a high-crime area at all times. For the purposes of this article I am referring to this as a “Concealed Carrier Strategy.”
CCW Safe recently published an excellent short article by CCW Safe co-founder Stan Campbell that was titled “The ‘Corona Virus’ and Concealed Carriers.” This article clearly and succinctly set out ten tips for concealed carriers addressing actions that they might take in order to safely get through this time period. I would encourage readers to make sure that they read that article, and for those that have already it would be a good idea to go back and read it again. I think of these ten tips as being tactics that support our Concealed Carrier Strategy, meaning that these are actions that might enable concealed carriers to accomplish their objective of not being harmed or worse by others while going about their normal lives.
Why is it important for concealed carriers to distinguish between strategy and tactics? I think it is because strategy is an objective that is always constant, and tactics can (and should) change as necessary in order to accomplish the strategy. In other words, I am going to treat this event like I am living in a high-crime area. I am going to take actions that reduce the chances that I will be targeted by denying others a ready opportunity to deprive me of desirable items (in this case bottled water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and very possibly food). When purchasing desirable items where I park matters, how I move through the parking lot back to my vehicle matters (am I looking around), how I load my vehicle (am I still looking around), and how I drive home (is there a vehicle following me and matching me turn for turn).
There is a reasonable possibility that the frequency of both daytime and nighttime burglaries and home invasions might increase. Doors need to stay locked at all times. Concealed carriers should be advised that daytime burglaries are often preceded by first a knock on the door. If there is no response, a quick kick to the door is typically all it takes to make entry. I always respond to knocks on the door by standing off to one side of the door and far enough back that if the door suddenly flies open it does not hit me in the face, and then asking who it is. While I hate to never say, I will say that there are very few reasons I can think of to open that door. I can always call 911 on behalf of someone outside my door who claims they are in need of assistance.
The actions described in the above two paragraphs are just tactics that support my strategy, which is to treat the COVID-19 event like temporarily living in a high-crime area. In other words, there is a reason to be cautious without living in fear. There are hundred of thousands of persons who live in high-crime areas that do not live in fear everyday and have actually achieved a state of normalcy.
The chances are extremely good that at some point in the future this pandemic will end, and most concealed carriers will go back to living like they did before. If there is a silver lining to this dark cloud, it may be that concealed carriers will have learned how to take actions that can also serve them well in the future. I live in a safer environment now, but I occasionally venture into areas where that is not the case. At those times I default to a state of heightened awareness and take actions without much, if any, conscious thought that ideally cause predators to lose interest in me or constantly improves my position in case a confrontation with others might occur.
I have read and heard comments by persons claiming COVID-19 is a media hoax, a conspiracy, a minor event, and the end of the world as we know it. I do think it is a major event that is going to really hurt some people financially, and that there is a probability that concealed carriers might lose elderly family and friends before their time. There is a good chance that crime rates will spike in some areas, and some of this will be accompanied by violence. All of us should be mindful of this, and even if we are not adversely affected by this event understand that others are. However, history buffs know that large scale events such as war, epidemics, and natural disasters are just a part of life, and sometimes our acceptance that life is just sometimes extremely harsh may be our the best option.
Author Steve Moses is a long-time defensive weapons instructor based out of Texas who has trained hundreds of men and women of all ages for more than two decades on how to better prepare to defend themselves and their loved ones. Steve has completed over 80 private-sector and law enforcement-only defensive weapons and tactics classes, and has trained civilian and law-enforcement officers in six states. Moses is a reserve deputy, former member of a multi-precinct Special Response Team, competitive shooter, and martial artist. Steve has written numerous articles for SWAT Magazine and other publications. Steve is a licensed Texas Level 4 Personal Security Officer and Instructor who was Shift Lead on a mega-church security detail for seven years, and has provided close protection for several former foreign Heads of State. He is currently an instructor at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga in Tyler, Texas and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group (www.ptgtrainingllc.com).