Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

By Ruth Goodman

umpire safe

I am declaring it official. The gun-buying panic is over. The mad rush to arms following the Sandy Hook tragedy (and the politicians’ attempts to exploit it) has finally come to an end. In case you were out of the country or otherwise occupied during the last two years, let me bring you up to speed. The gun industry was already experiencing high activity thanks to the reelection of our current president when tragedy struck in Newtown, Connecticut. Immediately following the reports of a school shooting AR’s began flying off the shelves.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

Most of our inventory of Modern Sporting Rifles was gone within a week, all of it was gone within a few weeks. (On our busiest day, we went from a regular staff of 5 to 9 and still had customers lined up to the door.) Once all the AR’s were gone, attention turned to handguns. Self-defense purposed handguns became impossible to keep in stock. The rapid rise in handgun purchasing led to ammo shortages in nearly all the popular calibers. For most calibers, the supply quickly caught up with demand and the shortage ceased to be a problem many months, if not a year, ago. The notable exception to that is .22 ammo. In our store, the .22 ammo shortage began around the same time the rest of the calibers were catching up with demand and has continued on from that time. The most bizarre thing to many of us in the industry, is how long it has taken .22 ammo to catch up. A full year later and we still have a very limited supply of .22 and impose strict limits on how many boxes a customer can purchase. 

However, as we entered Spring we noted a marked slow-down in our store. As we talk with others from around the country, we are hearing of the return of the normal “summer slow season.” Gun stores and industry reps for national companies are reporting an industry-wide slow-down of purchases and firearms activity (with the exception of states that recently enacted increasingly infringing gun laws). I believe this slow season feels much slower to many, because it stands in stark contrast to the record making sales of the last two years. We have been so busy for so long, that record busy became the new normal. Stores increased staffing and ordered more product, producers ramped up production, etc… 

out of breath

Now that pre-chaos norms have reinstated themselves, this is the perfect opportunity for us all to rest and catch our breath. It’s a chance to look up from the daily activities and see the bigger picture. How many of the recent gun-buyers were first time buyers that now need training, supplies, and support? How can we as an industry meet those needs? Women are steadily increasing their presence in the firearms world. What can we do to encourage and support that growth? Have the local demographics changed in the last two years? Should a store focus more on building their online presence or on their brick-and-mortar functionality? There are countless questions we, as an industry, can ask ourselves at this time. Now is the chance for each of us to really sit down and evaluate ourselves as a store, an industry member, a service provider, and a member of the community. 

Let us all make the most of this time and catch our breath. 

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business-insider

The past week was certainly a learning opportunity for those of us in the Atlanta area. Winter Storm Leon was unreal. I see many internet commenters asking how 2 inches of snow could possibly shut down a major city for so long and while I don’t have a good answer for that question, I would like to share some of the lessons we learned.

Prepare!!

So many were caught unprepared and suffered through the cold night. On the other hand, preppers were instantly vindicated in the eyes of their friends and family. Many a spouse began suddenly thanking their wife or husband for insisting on keeping supplies in the car for “just in case.” Blankets, coats, food and water made the night so much more bearable. Even with these common preparations, though, one oft-forgotten issue slowly came to the forefront. How’s a lady to go to the bathroom while gridlocked on the interstate or highway? Of all the problems that arose from the gridlock, the bathroom issue was the single most discussed problem I heard mentioned on the radio or on social media. The utter misery and humiliation this caused countless people convinced me to procure a means of addressing the situation. I will soon be adding a urinal to my emergency kit.

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Supplies people wish they had: blankets, warm clothes to walk in (snow boots, hat, mittens, coat, etc…), food (and not just a snack bar or two; some people were stuck for 22 hours or more), water, a way to modestly go to the bathroom without uncovering in the frigid cold, toilet paper, a battery charger for their cell phone, a list of phone numbers for when the cell phone died, flashlights, pillows, hand warmers, items for other occupants in the car (children or pets), a change of clothes, etc…

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The car itself needs preparation: a full gas tank, good tires, good wiper blades, an ice scraper, an empty gas can, de-icing washer fluid, sand or kitty litter, shovel, etc…

Plan ahead: Map out alternate routes (but keep in mind once the highways are gridlocked, the side streets shut down too), discuss options and plans with loved ones  ahead of time to best determine your course of action and once the situation arises keep loved ones informed of your progress.

Stay Home!!!

UnknownIf at all possible, stay home and off the roads. Georgia as a state has proven itself incapable of dealing with snow storms and Atlanta drivers met all the expectations their reputation demanded. Of course, when it’s a regular occurrence for a fender-bender on one side of the highway to cause traffic on the entire highway to back up, what else should we anticipate when an unusual weather event occurs. Learning how to drive in winter conditions would certainly help us next time (applying the brakes right as you hit that patch of ice is really not a good idea). For Atlanta drivers though, simply learning how to drive safely on a clear day would be a step in the right direction. The combination of crazy drivers, horrific rush hour and ice all combined to give us #SnowJam2014. The only part of that equation I can personally change is to not be one of the crazy drivers. Just stay home. I hope schools and inside-the-perimeter employers will be more lenient when the next storm comes around. Cutting down on the massive number of vehicles on the road would tremendously assist in reducing the gridlock.

Join Together

Rebecca-WattersPeople opened up their homes to strangers. Some packed up food and water and walked it out to the gridlocked interstates. Stores re-opened to give the stranded drivers a warm place to stay and a bathroom. Untold numbers of people reached out to help their “neighbor” in the greatest showing of Southern Hospitality I have ever seen. Reading the stories of compassion and kindness reveals the heart of God moving upon so many people to help their fellow man. It was truly touching to see.

Lessons To Be Learned

There are many other lessons to be learned from an event such as this, but these are the ones that I gleaned from the whole mess. I certainly hope the city and state have learned their own lessons from this snafu. More than the government learning its lessons, I truly hope the Atlanta populace has learned not to rely on government to do the right thing but will prepare themselves for such a weather event next time it comes through. Only time will tell, but I pray there will not be a repeat of this past week.

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Other Resources:

http://www.instructables.com/id/READY-2-GO-emergency-porta-potty/

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/15040 Electric 12v Blanket

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/13089 Travel John-absorbent pouch

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/13087 Little John urinal

https://www.sportys.com/PilotShop/product/13088 Lady J adapter for Little John urinal

http://blog.allstate.com/survive-a-night-in-your-car/

http://beprepared.com/insight/6790/how-to-build-an-emergency-car-kit/

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/products/the-ultimate-emergency-preparedness-kit-for-your-car-8#slide-1

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/01/30/simple-winter-car-survival-kit/

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/24444321/be-prepared-have-a-winter-weather-emergency-car-kit

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/next-time-put-these-in-your-car/nc8x5/

http://www.prisonplanet.com/if-3-inches-of-snow-can-cause-this-much-chaos-in-atlanta-what-will-economic-collapse-look-like.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/02/daisy-luther/a-harsh-lesson-in-winter-survival/

riots_la1

LA Riots in 1992

Sides-LA-Riots-6_525As unlikely as it appears to many US citizens, the riots of Europe, the Middle East, South America and Los Angeles may conceivably occur in cities across the US. While the current political climate is not conducive to riots in the US, as we have recently seen in Europe it does not take much to set off a firestorm of violence and chaos. Riots are often sparked by food shortages, high prices, government oppression, racial tensions, religious tensions, and politics. For example, during the Zimmerman trial there were many threats of mass riots all across the country. Thankfully, little came of those threats but they do provide an excellent opportunity for strategic analysis. For those of us in the Atlanta area, have you ever considered what you would do if riots break out Downtown Atlanta? What if you were working downtown when the riot erupts? How would you get home? If you are outside the Perimeter, can you stay there indefinitely? What steps should you take if you find yourself needing to travel through the riot area?

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Brazil Riots

Naturally, the best thing is to avoid a riot completely. Just don’t go there. By avoiding the chaos, your personal injury and damage will be severely limited. However, as not everybody has the luxury of avoiding Downtown Atlanta (due to health, family or business), what steps can you take to mitigate your chance of injury or loss should you find yourself traveling through a hostile area?

  1. Be armed — While a firearm is certainly an effective way of dealing with assailants, it also will attract a lot of attention. Attention is the last thing you want in the midst of a riot. Gaining the attention of the rioters may get you attacked and gaining negative attention from the police may get you shot. Utilizing mace or a knife is a far more stealthy option that may help you escape a riot unscathed. Knives have the added benefit of never needing a reload but the downside of requiring close quarters to use. Mace/OC Spray has the advantage of clearing an area instead of just one person. One person may get the full effect of the spray, but most of the people around them are also going to clear the area in an attempt to escape the spray.

    riots

    French Rioter Wears Protective Clothing

  2. Wear Protective Clothing — Long sleeves and long pants will help protect you from some of the crowd control measures utilized by police. Jeans and a long-sleeved shirt can somewhat mitigate the damage caused by rubber bullets, spray and other crowd control measures. Preparing beforehand is the best way to insure you will have such protective clothing available in the eventuality a riot begins while you are away from home and/or at work. I recommend keeping an extra set of clothes in your car or desk drawer (especially if tensions are mounting).
  3. Blend In — do your best to look as much like the rioters as possible. Again, you do not want to gain the attention of the crowd nor the police. Standing out in this kind of crowd will likely be very detrimental to your health. Wear clothes that are similar to those the rioters/protesters are wearing. Shout the same slogans the rioters are shouting. Suddenly become the biggest supporter of the rioters and their cause. Remember, at this point your goal is to survive not be politically correct. Discard anything that looks authoritative: security badges, uniforms, (even referee or umpire uniforms), etc…

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    There’s a Reason for the Flow

  4. Go with the Flow — If you are caught up in a moving riot, go in the same general direction the crowd is going. Walking in the opposite direction will likely cause you to bump into somebody, and that small infraction may trigger a harsh reaction. Also, if the crowd is running a certain direction they may be running from something. The police may have just released large amounts of Tear Gas or other types of crowd control agents (or in the worse case, may be shooting live rounds into the crowd). Following the crowd is not a technique I normally advocate in life, but there is certainly a time and a place for it…. And that would be the time.
  5. Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Keep Calm!! — Maintaining your awareness and clarity of mind is key for such a time. If you are to escape unscathed from the chaos you will need to keep an eye out for 1) opportunities to escape, 2) potential threats, 3) ensuring any loved ones traveling with you stay with you. Depend on no one but God for help. In a riot situation the Police are not there to help, they are only present to contain and control. Do not run towards them for help or you may be seriously injured or killed. The Police will see movement towards them as a threat and will react as such.

    urban-survival

    In this case, you want a bag that will be as unobtrusive as possible… No ALICE or MOLLE packs. You need to BLEND IN!!

  6. Prepare Now! — As we have already seen in LA, Europe, the Middle East and other places around the world, mass riots can begin with little warning given to the everyday citizen and in a matter of a precious few hours. Many of us prepare for the eventuality of getting mugged, assaulted, or otherwise accosted (which is why we carry) but we also need to expand our preparations to include common sense items that will assist us in any emergency. Cash may get you gas for your car, bribe a rioter into letting you pass, or buy you food when the grid is down. Keep emergency cash on hand: on your person, in your glove box, etc… Stash some food and clothes in a bag and keep the bag in your car or you could also stash them in your desk at work. If a mass riot breaks out while you are working (or shopping in) downtown, you may be trapped. Having food on hand will help you both physically and mentally. You may also want to do as I did and throw a small Bible in your emergency bag as well. During such a time, a Bible will likely be very comforting.  A deck of cards may also be a good idea (if you happen to be one of those that still knows how to play with actual cards and not just digital ones).

lariot01While many of us pray such a scenario of utter chaos will never unfold in this country, a realistic look around the world and at history reveals the odds are stacked against us and it is likely only a matter of time. While we are still on the peaceful side of such an event it behooves us to analyze our weak and strong points, our travel patterns, and those of our family members so we may quickly plan the best avenues for escape, concealment and defensive positions. For example, a non-threatening shop/business such as a sewing shop or craft store is a better place to hole up than fuel stations, restaurants or other locations that bring crowds or numerous customers. It is also best to avoid places that may attract thieves to loot; i.e. a jewelry or grocery store. While there will be little we can do once a riot erupts, preparing beforehand will dramatically increase the effectiveness of what we are able to do. The oft quoted “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially applicable to just such an emergency situation.

US-social-racism-riots-anniversary-files Riot

Other Sources

http://www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com/how-to-survive-a-riot/

http://howtosurviveit.com/how-to-survive-a-riot/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Emergency-Drills—Practicing-What-to-Do-In-Case-of-a-Riot&id=7435911

http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Survive-Riots-and-Civil-Unrest-When-The-SHTF-%28With-Or-Without-Zombies%29&id=7430687

http://www.theexpathub.com/what-to-do-if-caught-up-in-a-riot/5087/

http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/archives/392  Voice of Experience…

http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/archives/392

http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2009/11/so-you-think-you-want-revolution.html  eye-witness account of a mass riot

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/middle-class-guy/2011/aug/11/london-style-riots-can-happen-here/

http://bonniegadsden.blogspot.com/2012/03/1992-la-riots-first-hand-account-part-i.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/penn-state-riot-pictures-2011-11?op=1