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