What does it mean to arm oneself? Does it simply mean carrying a gun? What if the person just doesn't like guns? Or, for whatever reason, can’t legally own one? Indeed these are rhetorical inquiries. Though when I propose a militant, if not human, response to aggressive violence - it is these types of questions that I often encounter. So consider these next few passages to be the philosophical framework of #ArmYourself #DefendYourself.
First, it's important to understand that the foremost asset in any of our arsenals is our mind. And as such, our first line of defense is a self-protective mindset. The desire to defend ourselves needs little to no encouragement, as self-preservation is coded into us as Earthlings. However, a safeguarding posture demands a little more than our natural tendencies. Danger avoidance and conflict de-escalation are, I think, the safest roads travelled. Though in order to walk these paths, one has to exercise some situational awareness.
Simply put, situational awareness involves being alert to what’s happening in the vicinity. This helps us understand how real-time events and information will impact us in the immediate to near future. Such attentiveness can literally save lives and is essential to a posture of self-defense. This is also step one of what it means to #ArmYourself.
Next comes the practical application. To this end, we have to make a few initial assessments; everything from potential life-threatening scenarios to our personal feelings about killing a member of our own species. These considerations are usually colored by a myriad of factors; location, culture, personal history and the like. The important thing, though, is to be prepared. First mentally, then physically. For whatever situation presents itself.
When I speak of arms, I refer to the instruments with which one can effectively fend off an aggressor. My instrument of choice is the firearm, as I see it as the great equalizer. But for those uncomfortable with the shock or the lethality of guns, I would suggest an alternative projectile weapon, such as a Taser or pepper spray. While I’m not a fan of contact weapons, I think a baton or a knife could be useful, as well. For the record, any object within reach is a potential tool for self-defense. And of much more significance than the means is the result; one in which the would-be victim makes it home safely.
So what does it mean to arm oneself? It means orienting one’s mental faculties toward self-protection; avoiding danger, de-escalating conflict and exercising situational awareness. It means equipping oneself with the tools necessary to effectively repel an attacker. To arm ourselves and defend ourselves essentially means recognizing the value of whom and what we see in the mirror.