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.

10 Comments

rab in jo,mo said:

Gun owners provided important security here in Joplin after a tornado wiped out a third of the town. We guarded our homes and neighborhoods and as a result, looting was minimal. There were a lot of people wandering the streets that night, many of them turned around and went somewhere else after they spotted me sitting in my driveway with a shotgun in my lap. The sheriff's deputies that evacuated my neighborhood warned me that I'd be on my own and wished me luck. There was no attempt to dissuade me from staying there to protect what possessions remained.

Since that time, I have remained active in the recovery process and am working with my church to prepare for the next event - since we seem to average a major tornadic event every few years around here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Longenecker in California replied:

Good one, Rab. Glad to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Rab, the difference is, you live in a part of the country where taking care of your own is just a way of life. We have that to an extent here in Georgia except for the major cities where the idiots except the government to take care of them. It was amazing the whining and crying the last time a hurricane was expected to impact Coastal Georgia.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 5:42 PM

rab in jo,mo replied:

True. I lived in Chamblee (just outside of ATL) for a couple years, so I understand.

At least with hurricanes people have some time to prepare (or evacuate), not so much with a tornado. Either way, depending upon where you live, it's not necessarily if, but when, so it pays to have a plan in advance.

We had ~30 seconds to take cover from the time I heard the tornado until the time it hit the house. The debris cloud prevented a visual fix on the funnel, so all we could do was hunker down and pray. We did a lot of things "wrong", but by the grace of God, we didn't suffer physically from these mistakes. We learned a lot, and these mistakes will not be repeated.

This is what drives me to work with our church and other entities to improve local disaster preparedness. As I wrote before, it's not a matter of if, but when.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Longenecker in California replied:

Good post, Rab. Why don't you join us on my LinkedIn discussion board? http://tinyurl.com/ax786kw

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Longenecker in California replied:

And it sure does happen that way, Sage. It is a difference in values and in world view. I think it can be overcome by education. The DM community is revisiting its own messaging at this time, and now might be a good opportunity to connect with them.

See my board over on LinkedIn. http://tinyurl.com/ax786kw

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Wendy Weinbaum in Dallas, TX said:

As a Jewess in the US, I can only say that ANY anti-gun plan from an ignoramus like Slow Joe Biden or his dirty Kenyan boss is bound to be a loser idea. Certainly it will make all REAL Americans put our 2nd Amendment FIRST! Both criminals and overbearing governments respect FIREPOWER, not sweet talk. And remember that America wasn’t won with a registered gun! -Wendy Weinbaum

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Longenecker in California replied:

Thanks for mentioning that, Wendy. It reminds me to say that you can go to Wikipedia on "Gun Registration" and see on a state-by-state table that many states in fact do not register their guns. This is because the legislators do not believe that they need to know where the guns are. This is most significant. They also have lower crime rates and have not been made to regret placing their trust in their citizens instead of asking citizens to trust servants.

They don't need to know where the guns are.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Tony in Indiana said:

Ok.. I made comments based on my personal insight on being prepared. Nothing bad, just the way we were brought up as kids growing up.

Our parents lived through the hard times, they were brought up by people that had to live through the great depression. So we always had to tend to gardens in the summer, harvest the crops and then can them. This also included picking berries for jam, and hunting and fishing to fill the freezers for winter. The guns came in to play for hunting and if need be protect what we had.
Family was first on the list. Food next, and neighbors.. You see, I come from a time and a place were values were put above all eles. Guns have there place though and their place is in defending and harvesting. My dad fought gun registration back in the 70s but I never knew why until now. We were raised on how to shot and when to shot.

I see a lot of people in this world that think they are ready for anything by simply having a gun not so is the case. Food will go a lot further than a gun. You can not eat steel.

People need to learn how to fish so they can eat for the rest of their days. Anytime there is useful information on survival I think everyone should read and take stock on their lives, their families lives..

Just a country boy and his own thoughts.. Take what you want from it and leave what you will. I intend to see my son and family name carry on in time.. Values will change as people change but the core vales that my son has been given will endur time..

Thank you for listening me ramble.

Tony.

Monday, April 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Longenecker in Los Angeles replied:

You need both lethal force and food. You can't stop a home invasion with grated cheese and powdered eggs.

Monday, April 1, 2013 at 5:18 PM