Happy New Year 2012!!!
I spent New Year's Eve discovering my newest favorite TV series, "The Walking Dead". It got me thinking about some things...
Such as emergency preparedness. I've had some training in this field, plus many years of watching science fiction, has made me rather mentally prepared for the Worst Case Scenario. If there's anything Science Fiction teaches you, it's that the impossible really can happen, with little or no warning.
First, I've put together a survival kit. My hiking backpack frame hanging in the basement holds a tent, blankets, spare set of clothes, waterproof matches, some bottled water, hatchet, multitool (think Leatherman), compass, multivitamins (swap these out whenever you buy a new bottle), knives (big for carving up meat, medium for slicing food, small for detail work like making shavings for starting fires), small ratchet/wrench set (never know when you need to fix a machine, or help someone do it), chlorine (one drop purifies a quart of water).
Guns, while glorified in movies and TV, are a much more personal issue in the real world. Some people abhorr them, some accept them. Popular culture has conflicting views. I will not pretend to say one side is better than the other. Proceed as you see fit and feel comfortable with from this point on. These are my own opinions, and do not reflect the position of any other person or organization. I cannot overstate the importance of being trained in the proper handling of firearms.
From what I know of human nature, emergencies breed panic. Panic causes irrationality. Irrationality brings on Bad Decisions, such as shooting the first thing that moves when you are afraid. Which is why you shouldn't shoot first and look after.
In these situations, I would rather have a gun than not. But I have been trained in handling guns and more importantly, when NOT to use them. If you have not been trained, but would like to be familiar with the operation of basic firearms, contact your local police force and they can direct you to a responsible training facility in your area. I have yet to meet a police force that doesn't want civilians to be at least somewhat familiar with firearms. Most responsible gun shops either have their own firing range for testing purposes, or are aquainted with a local firing range where they can set up a testing session for a few bucks.
As I said before, firearms are dangerous, despite the Hollywood glamour built around their use. Firearms are meant for one purpose, and that is to kill. Their use is not to be taken lightly.
Enough lecturing. All of this assumes that I cannot stay in my own home, and need to be mobile quickly.