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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Uncertainties of life seem to have multiplied…[the secret, my friend, is to remain...

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty...Mark Twain



Remaining Stoic in Uncertain Times        

Most Americans know deep down that something is seriously wrong with our nation.  In fact, a new WND/Clout poll has found that 85.3 percent of all likely voters in the United States believe that our country is going in the wrong direction…

The poll found 92.6 percent of those who identified themselves as conservative believe the nation is on the wrong track. Among those who call themselves liberal, 90.9 percent said it is going the wrong direction.

When asked what they think of the American economy after seven years of Obama’s leadership and economic policies, nearly 80 percent described it as “very fragile” or “somewhat fragile.”

We could all learn some lessons from what Chairman Jonathan Johnson is doing. The following is an excerpt from a recent Fox News report

One week ago Johnson, who is also candidate for Utah governor, spoke at the United Precious Metals Association,  which takes advantage of Utah’s special status allowing them to use gold as legal tender, offering gold and silver-backed accounts. As a reminder, the UPMA takes Federal Reserve Notes (or paper dollars) which it then translates into golden dollars (or silver). The golden dollars are based off the $50 one ounce gold coins produced by the Treasury of The United States. They are legal tender under the law and are protected as such.

What did Johnson tell the UPMA? Here are some choice quotes:

We are not big fans of Wall Street and we don’t trust them. We foresaw the financial crisis, we fought against the financial crisis that happened in 2008; we don’t trust the banks still and we foresee that with QE3, and QE4 and QE n that at some point there is going to be another significant financial crisis.

So what do we do as a business so that we would be prepared when that happens. One thing that we do that is fairly unique: we have about $10 million in gold, mostly the small button-sized coins, that we keep outside of the banking system. We expect that when there is a financial crisis there will be a banking holiday. I don’t know if it will be 2 days, or 2 weeks, or 2 months. We have $10 million in gold and silver in denominations small enough that we can use for payroll. We want to be able to keep our employees paid, safe and our site up and running during a financial crisis.

We also happen to have three months of food supply for every employee that we can live on.

                The Uncertainties of life seem to have multiplied…[the secret, my friend, is to remain fluid against the opposition]

The amount of variables in our lives has multiplied, and with that, every day seems to contain growing uncertainty. There seem to be two schools of thought on how to deal with this increasing inconstancy:

  1. The Technophiles: These are the guys who say you should embrace everything that’s new. Technology will annihilate uncertainty. The aim is to integrate ourselves with machines as much as possible.
  2. The Paleophiles: These are the guys who say you should reject anything new, recover our ancient human history, and live according to that (effectively ignoring new uncertainties). Technology is making us less human. The aim is to detach ourselves from technology.

My goal here is to take a more sober look at ways to deal with (and even benefit from) the ever-increasing uncertainty of daily life. This isn’t a “middle” path of half-measures between the two views, but a totally new way to approach things.

Two Types of Uncertainty

The first thing to understand about our unpredictable world is that there are two types of uncertainty:

  1. Soft Uncertainty. This is the uncertainty you feel inside yourself. It encompasses the moral, spiritual, or philosophic uncertainties in your life, and the doubt that surrounds your choices in what to do and which way to go. It’s the uncertainty you feel before asking for a raise. It’s the uncertainty you feel before attempting a project. It’s the uncertainty of the existential crisis. It’s the uncertainty in the minds of generals at the start of WWI.
  2. Hard Uncertainty. This is uncertainty that exists outside of you. It’s the uncertainty that exists after you ask for a raise and after you begin your new project. It resides in the probabilities and randomness of the world. This uncertainty is the work of the Fates. This is the type of uncertainty that soccer moms and economic planners fail to solve, every time. It’s the fact that weapons will be used in ways never imagined.

If we look at these as problems, they are impossible to solve.

Soft Uncertainty seems, at first glance, to be a solvable problem. Just adopt the proper mindset – often that of some religion, nation, or political stance – and you’ll be golden. Many of us, however, are unable to adopt some ideology whole-heartedly.

Hard Uncertainty also seems like a lost cause. Each time we are promised some scientific or economic certainty, the forecasts miss and everything changes.

The problem isn’t uncertainty itself. The problem is our rejection of it.

Perhaps we don’t need to solve Soft Uncertainty by finding the answer. Maybe the ability to comfortably hold a paradox in our mind is the better answer.

Perhaps we can’t control Hard Uncertainty. Maybe we ought to position ourselves to actually benefit from things out of our control.

The tools we discuss below develop our strength to handle both types of uncertainty simultaneously.

Instead of becoming arrogantly certain, we will become confident in our uncertainty. Instead of pretending we can predict the future, we will be ready for a future we could never imagine.

hese uncertain areas are the most interesting and the most valuable; they provide the most challenge, and thus the most growth, satisfaction, and ultimately, joy. It’s where your time is best spent, and where the concept of obliquity mentioned above factors in. Some problems — the complex ones, especially — require indirect solutions and the ebb and flow of a risk and discovery cycle.

The best chance you have at taking advantage of an uncertain world is to be operating with the proper framework. The tools below will take you a long way in developing that framework.

5 Tools for Dealing With Uncertainty

We are going to look at five tools for dealing with uncertainty through the emotional and professional lens, but understand that this is for the sake of space; many of these have the potential to benefit you in all areas of life where uncertainty resides. Which is to say, everywhere.

1. Stoicism: Focus On What You Can Control

When I was a day trader I would often lose thousands of dollars while making what I believed to be the correct trade. The next day I might make thousands of dollars while executing a foolish trade on a whim. If I allowed my emotions to tie themselves to these outcomes I would have gone broke within a month.

In an uncertain world we might have a great outcome follow a terrible choice or a terrible outcome follow a great choice.

The best we can do is stack the probability of winning in our favor and then act consistently towards winning.

This is terribly difficult because it hurts especially bad to lose while doing the “right” thing.

Stoicism is a powerful tool to help us through the emotional turmoil that this can cause.

Even more than any Roman philosopher, Nassim Nicholas Taleb has summed up what it means to be a modern Stoic:

Stoicism is about the domestication, not necessarily the elimination, of emotions. It is not about turning humans into vegetables. My idea of the modern Stoic sage is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.”

William Irvine has written the only true guidebook to modern Stoicism that exists (the Stoics didn’t bother with this, which tells you a lot about the differences between their minds and ours). In it, he describes one of the most important topics of Stoicism: control what you can, forget about the rest. He uses a tennis match to illustrate:

“Remember that among the things over which we have complete control are the goals we set for ourselves. I think that when a Stoic concerns himself with things over which he has some but not complete control, such as winning a tennis match, he will be very careful about the goals he sets for himself. In particular, he will be careful to set internal rather than external goals. Thus, his goal in playing tennis will not be to win a match (something external, over which he has only partial control) but to play to the best of his ability in the match (something internal, over which he was complete control). By choosing this goal, he will spare himself frustration or disappointment should he lose the match: Since it was not his goal to win the match, he will not have failed to attain his goal, as long as he played his best. His tranquility will not be disrupted.”

This is easier said than done. It takes constant practice to separate your emotions from external situations.

How do we go about this?

Every time you begin to feel anxious or upset, try practicing the Triad of Control. To do this, you simply distinguish, in any given situation, whether you have total control, no control, or some control. Then, focus on what is in your control with your whole being.

At first glance it seems like this may rob you of power. It’s acknowledging that you can’t, in fact, control everything. After some practice, though, you will notice a growing sense of control in your life. Instead of tiring yourself worrying about what-ifs and shoulding all over yourself, you are concerned with what you are able to do. You connect yourself to reality.

If you practice this consistently for a month or so you will notice that you actually seek out adversity. Consider Seneca’s description of a wise man:

Working toward that mindset will make you a force in an uncertain world. You don’t hide when things shift, you push harder. You’re not afraid to learn when new skills become necessary. You aren’t afraid to see opportunities where others only see chaos.

For more on Stoicism check out Ryan Holiday’s quick and motivating The Obstacle is the Way, Tim Ferriss’s favorite essay by Seneca, or, if you want something comprehensive, William Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life.

If you’d rather visit the primary texts (which are extremely readable and approachable; these guys were more concerned with solving problems than sounding smart) then I’d suggest Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic or Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations to start.

2. Make Many Small Bets

“People are bad at looking at seeds and guessing what size tree will grow out of them.” –Paul Graham

In most situations, it’s cheaper to test the validity of something than to spend a lot of time guessing about it.

In my business, StartupBros, we will use a blog post (investment: time) to gauge demand for information on a certain topic. We have an idea of what types of posts will hit, but we can never be certain. If a post elicits an extreme reaction from readers we consider building a paid course or coaching program based on that topic.

We make small bets (blog posts) and then pour more resources into the ones that show promise.

Venture capital funds operate in a similar way. They never know what is going to be the next Google or Facebook and so they are forced to make a ton of small bets, knowing that most of them won’t work out.

Paul Graham, founder of Y-Combinator, discusses the odd place this puts venture capitalists in:

“When you interview a startup and think ‘they seem likely to succeed,’ it’s hard not to fund them. And yet, financially at least, there is only one kind of success: they’re either going to be one of the really big winners or not, and if not it doesn’t matter whether you fund them, because even if they succeed the effect on your returns will be insignificant. In the same day of interviews you might meet some smart 19 year olds who aren’t even sure what they want to work on. Their chances of succeeding seem small. But again, it’s not their chances of succeeding that matter but their chances of succeeding really big. The probability that any group will succeed really big is microscopically small, but the probability that those 19 year olds will might be higher than that of the other, safer group.”

We can use this same approach to taking risks in our own lives. Put most of your resources into something safe while putting a small amount into extremely risky bets with massive potential.

An example of this for your career: keep your day job while working on a crazy startup at night.

If you’re operating in a random world you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket. You want to be able to take a lot of small losses while being exposed to potentially massive wins.

3. Give Yourself Options

“[B]iology rarely rests with a single solution. Instead, it tends to ceaselessly reinvent solutions.” -David Eagleman, Incognito

An option is something you can take advantage of but don’t have to. If you buy a movie ticket then you’re guaranteed to be able to see a movie, but you don’t have to. That option cost you about $10. If a friend invites you to dinner it’s not a terrible cost to forgo the movie. A ticket to an AC/DC concert will be a much more expensive option.

Being exposed to more options means more potential opportunities.

Being able to move freely in life depends on the options you open up for yourself. Robert Greene explains how optionality is used in warfare:

“The world is full of people looking for a secret formula for success and power. They do not want to think on their own; they just want a recipe to follow. They are attracted to the idea of strategy for that very reason. In their minds strategy is a series of steps to be followed toward a goal. They want these steps spelled out for them by an expert or a guru. Believing in the power of imitating, they want to know exactly what some great person has done before. Their maneuvers in life are as mechanical as their thinking.

To separate yourself from such a crowd, you need to get rid of a common misconception: the essence of strategy is not to carry out a brilliant plan that proceeds in steps; it is to put yourself in situations where you have more options than the enemy does. Instead of grasping at Option A as the single right answer, true strategy is positioning yourself to be able to do A, B, or X depending on the circumstances. That is strategic depth of thinking, as opposed to formulaic thinking.”

The best generals aren’t the ones with the best plans, they are the ones who open themselves up to the most options.

In order to take advantage of these options one must be able to adapt.

Here are 5 ways to increase your options right now:

  • Learn a new professional skill. If your company goes bust right now, would you be able to get another job doing exactly what you’re doing in your current gig? If not, you need to expand your skillset. This kind of learning can create asymmetric payoffs – skills often work together synergistically.
  • Start a side hustle. Work on something on the side. Again, if everything goes to sh*t it’s nice to have options.
  • Save money. It’s also nice to have options if things go well. Money in the bank gives you the option to take advantage of opportunities – be they investments or some amazing offer that requires you to quit your job. Money in the bank also makes it easier to transition if everything goes to sh*t.
  • Go to parties. Opportunities often come in the form of humans – both personal and professional. One of the best ways to meet people is by going to parties. I hate parties until I get to them, then they are always worthwhile.
  • Shift your perspective. I know. This is BS. But it’s also not. When you shift your perspective and become aware of more options, then you can take advantage of them. Train yourself to see your opportunities and what you could do to expand them even further.

4. Adaptability: Learn How to Perform in the Present

“The problem is that we imagine that knowledge is what was lacking: if only we had known more, if only we had thought it through more thoroughly. That is precisely the wrong approach. What makes us go astray in the first place is that we are unattuned to the present moment, insensitive to the circumstances. We are listening to our own thoughts, reacting to things that happened in the past, applying theories and ideas that we digested long ago but that have nothing to do with our predicament in the present. More books, theories, and thinking only make the problem worse.

Understand: the greatest generals, the most creative strategists, stand out not because they have more knowledge but because they are able, when necessary, to drop their preconceived notions and focus intensely on the present moment.” -Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

Abraham Lincoln put it more succinctly: “My policy is to have no policy.”

Remember the WWI generals. They had access to decades of theory and planning when they entered the war. The first person to make a move that wasn’t in the playbook made all that theory irrelevant. Worse than irrelevant, clinging to old plans actually makes them harmful.

The war didn’t call for the generals with the deepest knowledge, it called for generals who were able to adapt to a rapidly changing situation.

We are in a similarly volatile situation today. Industries are completely changing shape in the time it takes college students to graduate.

If you want to be a writer you’re not going to take the same path writers in the past have. There are different demands on writers now. Publishing doesn’t work the same. Instead of waiting to get picked up by a publisher, you may need to release your own work on Amazon.

If you want to make movies, you may be better off starting a YouTube channel than working your way up the studio system. You’ve got to adapt to the new mechanics of the industry.

Even those who are looking to get a job need to adapt. Looking to the past might teach you that getting a degree (and then another) is the best way to get hired. Actually, you may be be better off creating a badass side project and showing it off online.

This world is changing so fast that no book (or even blog post) can give you a definite path to follow. You’ve got to quickly look around and act as best as you can given the environment you see.

Doing what makes sense in your specific circumstances will serve you much better than doing what you learned you ought to do in a situation similar to yours. There are best practices, of course, but until you grow past them it is impossible to fully take advantage of the randomness around you.

Robert Greene’s 48th law in The 48 Laws of Power is about remaining fluid. It’s about evolving into something other than you are in order to take advantage of a new situation. He explains the importance of adaptability in evolutionary terms:

“In the evolution of species, protective armor has almost always spelled disaster. Although there are a few exceptions, the shell most often becomes a dead end for the animal encased in it; it slows the creature down, making it hard for it to forage for food and making it a target for fast-moving predators. Animals that take to the sea or sky, and that move swiftly and unpredictably, are infinitely more powerful and secure.

Just because you’ve mastered a skillset doesn’t mean that skillset will continue to matter. A friend of mine was a well-known wedding photographer. When digital cameras began taking over, he refused to adopt the technology.

After years of refusal he became a sort of novelty. For a window of time he was the person to go to if you wanted old-school film prints. Ten years later, nobody cared about film anymore, they just wanted great images. Now he has finally made the switch and is slowly building up his clientele again.

When a machine takes over your job your best bet is to learn how to use the machine. Don’t hold on to your old-school way in the name of tradition.

It’s easy to think of castles or fortresses as symbols of protection. We think that if we become strong enough nothing can harm us. Remember France’s Maginot Line? It was an impenetrable series of fortresses built as a reaction to the German invasion in WWI.

When WWII came around, the Germans marched right around the line, making it totally useless. The French, instead of looking around at their current circumstances, reacted to a previous attack. They prepared for the past instead of the future. They spent a massive part of their national budget on digging their heels in.

Their refusal to adapt was even more expensive.

5. Embrace the Undefined

“It’s also important to remember that no one is ‘the bad guy’ or ‘the best friend’ or ‘the whore with a heart of gold’ in real life; in real life we each of us regard ourselves as the main character, the protagonist, the big cheese; the camera is on us, baby. If you can bring this attitude into your fiction, you may not find it easier to create brilliant characters, but it will be harder for you to create the sort of one-dimensional dopes that populate so much pop fiction.” -Stephen King, On Writing

Our efforts to contain the world in a system or idea may be doing more to hurt us than help us. Instead of trying to find the answer, maybe we ought to embrace that there isn’t any answer besides what we do and what is.

Remember that this is true of both our external and internal worlds. John Kay describes the achievement of decision making under complexity:

“We do not solve problems in the way the concept of decision science implies, because we can’t. The achievement of the great statesman is not to reach the best decision fastest but to mediate effectively among competing views and values. The test of financial acumen, as described by Buffett and Soros, is to navigate successfully through irresolvable uncertainties.”

And so it is with our interior lives. At times it feels that we don’t know who we are. This would be bearable if we didn’t believe so intensely that we should know who we are. That we should be able to wrap up our identity into a box or sentence and serve it up to anyone who’s interested.

It’s not that easy, but it is that simple. Steven Pressfield has a suggestion for overcoming this dilemma in The War of Art:

“Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.”

Let the actions you take define you and let the words fall away (they lie anyway).

Let yourself embrace the paradoxes of the world and begin to effectively mediate between the poles.

Let go of the need to explain and you’ll be amazed at what you do.

The aim here is to not just deal with the uncertain world that we have to live in but to embrace it — to love it. Nietzsche said it best:

“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it.”

Conclusions & Action Steps

“…it is much better to do things you cannot explain than explain things you cannot do.” –Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The world isn’t going to get any more certain. In fact, it looks like it’s going to get increasingly complex.

This doesn’t mean that we need to feel uncertain. It does mean we need to learn to operate under uncertainty more effectively.

I offered 5 specific ways in which you can go about doing this:

  1. Adopt Stoicism. Specifically practice the Triad of Control. Every time you feel disturbed by a situation, ask yourself what is in your control. Attach your mental well-being to your effort and the actions you take rather than the outcome. (Again, this is simple, effective, and incredibly difficult.)
  2. Make Small Bets. Think hard about small risks you can take that have the potential to pay off in big ways. Don’t focus on the possibility that you win but instead on the magnitude of the payoff if you do.
  3. Optionality. Give yourself more options in your life. Save money. Go to parties. Make your work public. Don’t commit until you need to. Get multiple offers. Always put yourself in situations where positive options are likely to be created.
  4. Adapt: Stay Present, Fluid. Stop reading about how to start a business and take the first step. Stop reading about fitness and go to the gym. Don’t think about what the book says you should do, think about what makes sense for you right now. The situation you are in is unique to you; a book or advisor may help you think through something, but only you fully understand the context of your situation.
  5. Embrace Uncertainty. Uncertainty is a force of nature; you don’t get to “beat” it, you can only hope to use it. How can you use it? Steps 1-4. How can you make room to begin applying those? Let go of your need for certainty. Begin to see that more ideas can be correct in the abstract — yet when you take action you find that only one reality exists. You can’t explain it all and you don’t need to. In fact, if you did, something else would just change. The goal is to love this. Amor fati!



Kyle kick-starts entrepreneurs at and is offering this free guide of necessary entrepreneurial epiphanies to you. Feel freer than free to contact Kyle anywhere on the web. Even his inbox: kyle at StartupBros dot com.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Gun Regulation, Situational Awareness, Escape Bag Blueprint

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

Your world shrinks or expands according to your courage.
- Anais Nin



Gun Regulation Explained

By Murray Rothbard

If, as libertarians believe, every individual has the right to own his person and property, it then follows that he has the right to employ violence to defend himself against the violence of criminal aggressors. But for some odd reason, liberals have systematically tried to deprive innocent persons of the means for defending themselves against aggression.

Despite the fact that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," the government has systematically eroded much of this right. Thus, in New York State, as in most other states, the Sullivan Law prohibits the carrying of "concealed weapons" without a license issued by the authorities. Not only has the carrying of guns been grievously restricted by this unconstitutional edict, but the government has extended this prohibition to almost any object that could possibly serve as a weapon — even those that could only be used for self-defense.

As a result, potential victims of crime have been barred from carrying knives, tear-gas pens, or even hat pins, and people who have used such weapons in defending themselves against assault have themselves been prosecuted by the authorities. In the cities, this invasive prohibition against concealed [p. 115] weapons has in effect stripped victims of any possible self-defense against crime. (It is true that there is no official prohibition against carrying an unconcealed weapon, but a man in New York City who, several years ago, tested the law by walking the streets carrying a rifle was promptly arrested for "disturbing the peace.")

Furthermore, victims are so hamstrung by provisions against "undue" force in self-defense that the criminal is automatically handed an enormous built-in advantage by the existing legal system.

It should be clear that no physical object is in itself aggressive; any object, whether it be a gun, a knife, or a stick, can be used for aggression, for defense, or for numerous other purposes unconnected with crime. It makes no more sense to outlaw or restrict the purchase and ownership of guns than it does to outlaw the possession of knives, clubs, hatpins, or stones. And how are all of these objects to be outlawed, and if outlawed, how is the prohibition to be enforced? Instead of pursuing innocent people carrying or possessing various objects, then, the law should be concerned with combatting and apprehending real criminals.

There is, moreover, another consideration which reinforces our conclusion. If guns are restricted or outlawed, there is no reason to expect that determined criminals are going to pay much attention to the law. The criminals, then, will always be able to purchase and carry guns; it will only be their innocent victims who will suffer from the solicitous liberalism that imposes laws against guns and other weapons. Just as drugs, gambling, and pornography should be made legal, so too should guns and any other objects that might serve as weapons of self-defense.

In a notable article attacking control of handguns (the type of gun liberals most want to restrict), St. Louis University law professor Don B. Kates, Jr., chides his fellow liberals for not applying the same logic to guns that they use for marijuana laws. Thus, he points out that there are over fifty million handgun owners in America today, and that, based on polls and past experience, from two-thirds to over eighty percent of Americans would fail to comply with a ban on handguns. The inevitable result, as in the case of sex and marijuana laws, would be harsh penalties and yet highly selective enforcement — breeding disrespect for the law and law enforcement agencies. And the law would be enforced selectively against those people whom the authorities didn't like: "Enforcement becomes progressively more haphazard until at last the laws are used only against those who are unpopular with the police. We hardly need to be reminded of the odious search and seizure tactics police and government agents have often resorted to in order to trap [p. 116] violators of these laws." Kates adds that "if these arguments seem familiar, it is probably because they parallel the standard liberal argument against pot laws."

Kates then adds a highly perceptive insight into this curious liberal blind spot. For:

Gun prohibition is the brainchild of white middle-class liberals who are oblivious to the situation of poor and minority people living in areas where the police have given up on crime control. Such liberals weren't upset about marijuana laws, either, in the fifties when the busts were confined to the ghettos. Secure in well-policed suburbs or high-security apartments guarded by Pinkertons (whom no one proposes to disarm), the oblivious liberal derides gun ownership as "an anachronism from the Old West."

Kates further points out the demonstrated empirical value of self-defense armed with guns; in Chicago, for example, armed civilians justifiably killed three times as many violent criminals in the past five years as did the police. And, in a study of several hundred violent confrontations with criminals, Kates found the armed civilians to be more successful than the police: the civilians defending themselves captured, wounded, killed, or scared off criminals in 75% of the confrontations, whereas the police only had a 61% success rate.

It is true that victims who resist robbery are more likely to be injured than those who remain passive. But Kates points out neglected qualifiers: (1) that resistance without a gun has been twice as hazardous to the victim than resistance with one, and (2) that the choice of resistance is up to the victim and his circumstances and values.

Avoiding injury will be paramount to a white, liberal academic with a comfortable bank account. It will necessarily be less important to the casual laborer or welfare recipient who is being robbed of the wherewithal to support his family [p. 117] for a month — or to a black shopkeeper who can't get robbery insurance and will be literally run out of business by successive robberies.

And the 1975 national survey of handgun owners by the Decision Making Information organization found that the leading subgroups who own a gun only for self-defense include blacks, the lowest income groups, and senior citizens. "These are the people," Kates eloquently warns, "it is proposed we jail because they insist on keeping the only protection available for their families in areas in which the police have given up."

What of historical experience? Have handgun bans really greatly lowered the degree of violence in society, as liberals claim? The evidence is precisely to the contrary. A massive study done at the University of Wisconsin concluded unequivocally in the fall of 1975 that "gun control laws have no individual or collective effect in reducing the rate of violent crime."

The Wisconsin study, for example, tested the theory that ordinarily peaceful people will be irresistibly tempted to shoot their guns if available when tempers are being frayed. The study found no correlation whatever between rates of handgun ownership and rates of homicide when compared, state by state.

Moreover, this finding is reinforced by a 1976 Harvard study of a Massachusetts law providing a mandatory minimum year in prison for anyone found possessing a handgun without a government permit. It turns out that, during the year 1975, this 1974 law did indeed considerably reduce the carrying of firearms and the number of assaults with firearms. But, lo and behold! the Harvard researchers found to their surprise that there was no corresponding reduction in any type of violence. That is…

As previous criminological studies have suggested, deprived of a handgun, a momentarily enraged citizen will resort to the far more deadly long gun. Deprived of all firearms, he will prove almost as deadly with knives, hammers, etc.

As previous criminological studies have suggested, deprived of a handgun, a momentarily enraged citizen will resort to the far more deadly long gun. Deprived of all firearms, he will prove almost as deadly with knives, hammers, etc.

And clearly, "if reducing handgun ownership does not reduce homicide or other violence, a handgun ban is just one more diversion of police resources from real crime to victimless crime." [p. 118]

Finally, Kates makes another intriguing point: that a society where peaceful citizens are armed is far more likely to be one where Good Samaritans who voluntarily go to the aid of victims of crime will flourish. But take away people's guns, and the public — disastrously for the victims — will tend to leave the matter to the police. Before New York State outlawed handguns, Good Samaritan instances were far more widespread than now.

And, in a recent survey of Good Samaritan cases, no less than 81% of the Samaritans were owners of guns. If we wish to encourage a society where citizens come to the aid of neighbors in distress, we must not strip them of the actual power to do something about crime. Surely, it is the height of absurdity to disarm the peaceful public and then, as is quite common, to denounce them for "apathy" for failing to rush to the rescue of victims of criminal assault.

More Useful Resources…

How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne

There’s a scene at the beginning of The Bourne Identity where the film’s protagonist is sitting in a diner, trying to figure out who he is and why he has a bunch of passports and a gun stashed in a safety deposit box. Bourne also notices that he, well, notices things that other people don’t. Watch:


What course will your life take?

Own your future by learning new skills online


The Escape Bag Blueprint: 37 Items You Must Have to Survive a Crisis



The Art of Everyday Carry: A Beginner’s Guide to EDC

At the most literal level, your everyday carry is the collection of items you carry with you in your pockets or in your bag on a daily basis.

They’re the things you tap your pockets for before you head out the door, the things you feel naked without, and the things that would throw off your whole day if you had to do without them. They are valuable not just in a monetary or sentimental way; your everyday carry is comprised of items that you find truly essential.

This means things like pocket lint, scrunched up receipts, gum wrappers, and other disposables might live in your pocket (hopefully not for very long), but they don’t count as part of your everyday carry. Mainstays in your carry should have certain qualities that fall in line with the principles of utility and preparedness. Each component of your EDC should serve a purpose or have at least one specific, useful function.

Every day, your EDC essentials prepare you for the worst and empower you to do your best.

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Your Personal Gopher-Niche Business Idea Opportunity
Although it’s unlikely any reader will have an interest in the project I’ve been working on, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to share it…you never know when one might strike an entrepreneurial chord somewhere…
 2 Domains+Logo+Web Site Credit/ Niche Biz for Phx, AZ for Students/ Seniors

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