For those of you who’s only exposure to Eastern philosophy came from watching David Carradine just prior to reluctantly opening up a can of Oriental whoop-ass on some miscreant in Kung Fu, “yin” (阴) and “yang” (阳) are polarized or seemingly contrary forces that are nonetheless interconnected and interdependent. It also references how these contrary forces balance each other out, and implies that neither can exist without the other. We’re talking both “natural order of things” and the nature of paradox, here people. And home defense is all about the paradox.

For instance, in the natural order of things, every time you add another, bigger, better lock to something you want to protect, it encourages some bad guy to come up with a bigger, badder, more destructive way to get through the lock and get at whatever you want to protect. Or to put it in home defense terms, there’s a price to be paid for every advantage you attempt to secure. Let me explain . . .

Let’s say you decide to update your home defense strategy from a revolver to a semi-automatic pistol. You wanted more shots without reloading? You got it. But you also now lose some automatic reliability – limp-wristing a revolver won’t jam the gun, whereas limp-wristing a semi-auto will just about guarantee a stovepipe or other kind of jam.

Move from pistol to shotgun? Good idea, but now you’ve sacrificed a bit of mobility in close quarters, again limited your number of rounds without reloading, and have to worry about rotating your ammo.

[Little-known fact: revolver and semi-auto ammo stays “fresh” – i.e. works reliably when you need it – just about no matter how old it is. Shotgun shells . . .not so much. A little moisture in the air over time and your shotgun could be loaded with a bunch of duds.]

Then there’s the technology angle. I thought about titling this post In Praise of Laser sights, for I’m a big believer in taking advantage of anything that will increase my odds of coming out on top in a self-defense situation. A laser sight is your ultimate “point and shoot” accessory. See the red dot? That’s where the bullet will go when you pull the trigger. Every time.

The tradeoff here: dependency. Do you really want to stake your life on a couple of watch batteries? My answer would be a qualified “yes.” The qualification here is that I would practice without the laser, so that if it failed, I wouldn’t be completely dependent upon it. Cool tool, but if the little red light goes out, you better be ready to fire without it.

When you start to see things from this yin and yang point of view, home defense issues can, paradoxically, become a lot clearer. For one thing, taking this tack will keep hubris in check. It’s hard to buy off on the concept that any “solution” is the be-all, end-all answer, when you’re busy playing “what-if” and worrying about worst-case scenarios.

The worst thing you can do, home defense-wise, is to fool yourself into believing that your plan is foolproof. That’s a great way to get yourself killed.

What drives me nuts about this is that it’s virtually impossible to anticipate and plan for every contingency. There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s impossible to make things foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.” Word to yo’ mama, for the best laid plans of Mighty Mouse and men are destined to become just so much well-intentioned crapola, when push comes to shove.

It is the way of things.

So when you get done chasing your metaphorical tale through a priori situations and role-playing exercises, the place where you will likely arrive is this: use common sense and do what you can do – no more, and no less.

No plan is perfect. Expect to have to adjust, adapt, and improvise. Plan as best you can, with the best tools, training, and techniques you can afford, and then sleep well, knowing you’ve done all you can reasonably expect to do.

Just keep in mind, no matter what plans you make, there’s always the situation you didn’t expect, didn’t anticipate, and didn’t plan for. And that’s the one that will bite ya’ if you fall prey to thinking you’re totally prepared.

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