Sunday, February 12, 2017

Keep an eye out for the unexpected

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 11, 2017)

Life comes at you unexpectedly.

Risks are always near-- from aggressive people, the weather, or simply from Murphy's Law. No matter where you are or what you are doing, expect the unexpected, but don't let it consume your life.

You could worry yourself to death over dangers, or you can let awareness and preparedness become a game. Yes, it can be fun. Plus, it will make your life richer because you'll notice more.

Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice people acting strangely or things out of place. Listen to your gut.

I'm sure those in the Fort Lauderdale airport expected nothing out of the ordinary to happen. I would bet not a single person there was expecting any type of attack. After all, there were "no guns" signs posted.

The reality is those signs have never prevented a murderous attack. Not even one.

The honest translation of "no guns" is "We don't care if you die". No matter where the signs are posted, or whatever justifications are used, it is what they mean. Avoid those who place so little value on your life that they forbid you the proper self defense tools.

It doesn't end there. Bad people, and those who empower them, aren't the only thing which can ruin your day.

Exciting weather and car trouble are a bad combination. Keep some high-energy, non-perishable food-- peanut butter, for example-- in your car, along with a blanket. Keep water handy year-round, in case of emergency. Pay attention to the weather and expect the unexpected.

At home, store water and extra food, in case of trouble. If there's a medication you need regularly, get some extra into your rotation. Imagine different events, and plan ways you and your family would cope. Include your kids and see what ideas they come up with. Plan escape routes in case of fire, and where to meet to make sure everyone got out safely. Remind your children that windows aren't sacred, and should be smashed if it's the best way out. Don't forget to tell them to lay a blanket over the sill to protect them from broken glass as they escape.

Ultimately your safety is always your responsibility. It can't be anyone else's.

Even if you never experience a crisis, being prepared can prevent inconveniences and smooth over all sorts of bumps in the road. And it might just keep you breathing one more day. I hope you never need any of your emergency preparations, but if you do, you'll be glad you were ready.


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When civility isn't enough

Some years ago I had a retail store. One thing I hated about having a business was having to deal with agents of the State. Sometimes, I just said "No" to them and refused further cooperation or communication.

One guy would stand on the front steps and call his supervisor to see what to do when I refused to comply. Nothing ever came of that. I tried to make sure it wasn't something they were willing to shut me down over, though.

Sometimes, in the case of things they would have shut me down over, I gave them what appeared to be what they were demanding. Especially in the case of helping my customers rat themselves out.

There was one particular issue I couldn't find a good monkeywrench for: I despised being forced to be a "tax" collector against my customers. Yes, I minimized the theft where I could.

But, I collected the money and sent it to government because otherwise I would have been murdered.

However, me being me, I did make my point.

But, I was still civil.

On the memo line of every check I sent to the various "revenue" gangs, I wrote "extortion payment" beside my account number. The State of Colorado never seemed to notice, but the woman in the city "revenue" office noticed, and it really bothered her. She repeatedly called me to complain or get an explanation. A time or two she even came into my store to confront me face to face. I was nice. I was polite. I was civil. But I stood my ground.

"Taxation" IS theft.

She would object "But that's how we pay the police!" I said "I don't need or want police. I want to opt out."
"You can't do that!"

She would say "But don't you want good streets?" I would say "Not if I have to steal from my customers to pay for them."
"But, but, but...!"

Her response was always one of complete exasperation. She would sigh loudly and hang up. And then call again in a few months.

I don't know why it bothered her so much. I was paying what she demanded. If there was nothing wrong with what she was doing, why not just let it go? Why make an issue?


This blog, like all of, is reader supported. 
Any donations or subscriptions are GREATLY appreciated! And I won't send armed thugs to collect "contributions" if you don't feel like paying. Thank you.