Grassroots Commentary

Why Gun Owners & Disaster Management Professionals Should Get Together

By John Longenecker · Jan. 8, 2013

It can be where personal independence and emergency planning meet.

DM – Disaster Management – also known as Emergency Management, is an emerging specialty since disasters came into such prominence and adverse influence in our country.

The DM career is generally made up of credentialed persons who operate as planners, policy-makers, and general analysts of how disasters are managed. This includes preparedness, management of relief efforts, and recovery. Many of these people are very smart and genuinely care about the people they serve: us.

Lately, their position as they have posted in their own spheres has been whether they are getting their message out. Articles of theirs ask why the public is not heeding their message, and other concerns over being involved.

My analysis of their puzzlement is that many of those planners – not all of them, thank goodness – take an elitist approach to their duty, a doctrinaire rhetoric, and look down their nose at preppers.

I believe that gun owners in America can aid them in their message in defining how the DM role can find greater acceptance, and helping to shape policy and planning, all to better obtain desirable results in survival and social outcomes.

Another problem within the EM community is that it is international in scope, and management plans from other nations do not take into account that the American people are the sovereign here and not the government under our system; this is not the case outside the U.S. Where perspectives are more centralized as a cultural norm and Americans prefer a less centralized authority, many good suggestions from around the world are not compatible with our way of life in America.

The important thing which can help define the role and success of the EM community and make it more valuable to citizens is to understand the place and role of America’s gun owners. Translation: respecting the personal independence of citizens to act in a time of interruption of services. Be inclusive, more tolerant certainly.

To ‘act’ means to be prepared within reasonable and practical parameters and not be mocked for the extent to which one feels he must go to survive. To ‘act’ means to be free to carry out safety preparedness in terms important and meaningful to one’s household.

To ‘act’ means to aid law enforcement in keeping the peace, as another example. Many Sheriffs, for instance, are announcing that they are examining deputizing gun owners, people who pass background checks, people known to the Sheriff, people who know how to use a handgun or rifle and people who can take orders and follow leadership. This is an example of planning disaster management which would include utilization of a disaster’s most understated assets: volunteers.

DM experts are already aware of how life-saving volunteers are today and always have been. Rebecca Solnit’s book, A paradise built in Hell, examines five disasters and the vexing refusal to acknowledge volunteers in planning. Ms. Solnit makes some very good examples of the stubbornness of the community in both private and governmental cultures while reflecting the meritorious success of volunteers.

I concur. Volunteers are the essential element of Citizen CPR, the movement of the seventies to train citizens by the millions to respond to a witnessed cardiac arrest, choking, non-breathing, or other emergency. Today’s CERT training is an offshoot of that proven paradigm of involving citizen volunteers to act without further authorization.

The best way, naturally, to utilize volunteers and the expertise of EM professionals is to extend a hand, reach out, and offer cooperation and insight to each other. Where many EM experts agree with the concept of the armed citizen, the concept needs to be homogenized throughout the profession as a bonafide contributor to what EM is trying to do. Safety, relief, survival.

In short, outcomes. We’re both on the same side.

One of the obstacles to this is the disinformation about the character of gun owners, and it is incumbent upon both sides to clarify for the sake of professional integrity. Many in the EM community have been most misinformed on the armed citizen while the independence culture has missed a bet in making friends through public education.

I have opened a discussion board on this subject on LinkedIn, the social business network. Why not drop in and visit?

Right now, the business of disaster management is a shared values system of both EM professionals and America’s gun owners, the lovers of personal independence. Why not introduce yourself?

It has the potential to be where personal independence and emergency planning meet. It has the potential to affect outcomes for the better should we find ourselves amid an emergency of an interruption of services.

John and his wife operate Wellness Priority One. Don’t merely survive disaster – survive well.