"If I was only ten years younger..."
How many times have we either heard someone utter this refrain or said it ourselves? It seems to me that one of the great ironies (and frustrations) of life is the inverse relationship between the knowledge/experiences we store in our minds and strength/power we possess in our bodies. As young adults, we have physical ability for days but little in the way of useful knowledge about how to actually do things or how the world works. We often allow unchecked passions to make decisions for us instead of logic and reason. We lack wisdom. As life progresses we get a little more tired. Our knees get stiffer. Our backs hurt more. Yet we've seen a little more of the world. We don't have all the answers, but we know a little more about how to get thing done because, frankly, we've done more things. We still have passions, but we pause a little longer before making decisions to consult with logic and reason. In our twilight years, we have a lifetime's worth of "know how" stored in our heads. We tend towards a higher level of caution when deciding things, preferring instead to act deliberately. We often stop testing our knees and backs because, after all, why take the gamble? IT IS AT PRECISELY THIS POINT WHERE WE RUN THE RISK OF LOSING SIGHT OF OUR ROLE IN DEFENDING OUR HOMES AND COMMUNITIES. Why does this happen and what are we to do?
One of the leading causes of this disconcerting feeling is a misalignment of perspective. I believe that we often define our value too narrowly. Chiefly, we weigh the level of our physical abilities against those we believe are a necessary component in surviving armed conflict. Of course, physical fitness matters. Strength, power, and stamina play crucial roles in life and death struggles, and I believe deeply that functional fitness should be included in our personal training regimen for as long as we are able. However, physical ability alone is rarely decisive in the microcosm of individual armed self defense, let alone the macrocosm of community defense.
The point is that defense is multi-faceted beyond simply the acute moments of conflict, and we must evaluate our abilities/strengths/weaknesses with this truth in mind. Logistics play a pivotal role in setting the conditions for success by not only providing for the health, morale, and capability of individuals and communities alike, but also maintaining them. The people who store canned food away in old root cellars, are adept in radio communications, operate heavy equipment, and farm can all be just as necessary as another rifleman. The morning coffee crew at the diner or the gas station attendant are sensors who see what's going on day to day in the community. Volunteer fire departments/EMS and county law enforcement are charged to work for the local communities they fill their ranks from-you can assess the value of those relationships better than I. We would all do well to take stock of our skills/abilities and think about how we can leverage them to support ourselves and the people around us. By taking this approach, we can more effectively assess how to align ourselves with the roles we are uniquely positioned to fill, enhance our adaptability to the attendant difficulties of aging and injury, and maximize the effectiveness of our defensive capabilities.
This is the first article in a series on this rather broad topic. If you are interested in reading further articles as they come out, please don't forget to subscribe at the bottom of this page.