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  • A Profoundly Depressing Book

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on November 17th, 2009 (All posts by )

    I enjoy perusing bookstores and recently saw this book that caught my eye – The “SAS Urban Survival Handbook”. Readers of the blog know that the SAS are the British equivalent of the US special forces military units.

    Since the book’s theme is intentionally downcast and “worst case” (i.e., urban survival) I was prepared for a list of disasters and potential bad things that could happen to you. The book spares no situations, focusing on getting attacked and what to do when everything goes awry.

    Through the book they also offer “sensible” solutions to avoid getting in harms way in the first place, such as not frequenting dangerous areas and particularly for women and the elderly, who are likely to lose in a typical encounter with an angry urban male, to practically stay at home or only go out in groups. And why is this? Because no one is armed, so in Britain if something goes wrong and you are smaller or outnumbered you are in big trouble. There are certainly clubs (the mayor of London recently went after someone with an iron bar) and knives and similar-type weapons but no firearms.

    And here is what the book has to say about firearms, after showing page after page of fighting techniques (noting that you are in big trouble if faced with multiple attackers, or someone with a knife, or are physically smaller than your assailant):

    Firearms represent more of a risk than a serious form of protection… attitudes to arms vary enormously around the world… the legal requirements in Britain, however, probably give the safest guidelines for owning and storing weapons.

    This paragraph would offer more comfort to those that aren’t martial arts experts and physically dominant if it wasn’t preceded with page after page of dire outcomes for those that aren’t big and trained to fight. Violence is certainly not rare, and it is a strange society that basically tells you to run for it and hole up in your home with extra deadbolts and not even to be outside in the first place in many situations. These are “safe guidelines”?

    A sad book, indeed.

    Cross posted at LITGM

     

    10 Responses to “A Profoundly Depressing Book”

    1. Kirk Parker Says:

      Depressing? Are you sure it’s not comedy?

      The legal requirements in Britain, however, probably give the safest guidelines for owning and storing weapons.

      ROFL!

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Sounds like a lousy book.

    3. dearieme Says:

      “the legal requirements in Britain, however, probably give the safest guidelines..”: poor stuff – that’s the sort of empty-headed jingoism that one expects from American books, not British.

    4. Mike K Says:

      There is an old saying that applies here: “God made all men but Samuel Colt made them equal.”

    5. renminbi Says:

      http://www.countingcats.com/?p=4964#comments

      In England the police (and the political authorities) are the enemy-they seem much more interested in harassing the law abiding than in catching criminals. If you injure a criminal you may be the one in trouble.They have a government that fails in its most basic responsibility.
      On the London Underground, I was amused at how reluctant London’s finest were to remove a disorderly drunk I reported to them.

    6. DOuglas2 Says:

      Boris disarmed one of the attackers and used the same weapon to threaten same. Had he not already been a high-profile person, he very well might have been charged.
      Even clubs are outlawed in the UK. If you make preparations to cause injury, that is a crime. No cricket-bats under the bed. Baseball bats are right out, as they have no reasonable use other than as a weapon ;)

    7. ThomasD Says:

      The legal requirements in Britain, however, probably give the safest guidelines for owning and storing weapons.

      This needs to read in context. The subjects within the UK have neither second nor first amendment type guarantees.

      In other words, that statement was likely necessary to ensure publication.

      Pravda is pravda, even in the Queens english.

    8. John C Says:

      This reminds me of “The Gift Of Fear” by Gavin De Becker.

      Great book – until (thankfully at the end) he discusses firearms and “so-called second amendment rights”.

    9. bgates Says:

      that’s the sort of empty-headed jingoism that one expects from American books

      Only if one is an ignorant foreigner.

    10. Tatyana Says:

      This phrase also makes little sense to me:”Even though there is legislation, there are (sic!) and enormous number of cases where weapons are misused”.
      Do they think legislation in itself, no matter what it is, is the most effective measure against “misused” weapons?