Daily news reports warn us to be prepared for disasters
July 1, 2011
by Joseph P. Tartaro
Something that is a source of constant amazement to me is the almost religious belief held by many Americans that the government is there to protect and shield them from dangers. Those same people fail to make even the simplest preparations for their own survival when they have the opportunity.
Yes, you can’t fight Mother Nature, or even man-made disasters, but some simple advance preparations can make all the difference between surviving hurricanes, blizzards, forest fires, earthquakes, floods, power outages, water-main ruptures, chemical spills, and so forth. It’s amazing how many people in much of this or other nations don’t have some extra canned or dried foods and potable water put aside for emergency purposes, let along firearms and ammunition, flashlights and portable or crank-type radios.
Such things don’t cost all that much and can be stored with extra blankets and shelters. Yet many Americans seem to ignore the prospect that something terrible and threatening could happen at any time.
No one needs a special warning before they begin to be prepared. The warningsor cautionary talesappear almost weekly in newspapers, on television, in radio broadcasts and on the Internet.
The disaster, with attendant loss of life, injuries and property damage, doesn’t have to happen in your region, county or state. Something like it could happen anywhere at any time.
Some of those warnings last for weeks as the continuing woes resulting from hurricanes or oil spills, blizzards or chemical tank cars erupting are prolonged. And some of them don’t even come from our own country.
In the daily newspaper recently I found two such stories on the same page. In both cases, the governments of two different countries had failed not only their own people, but caused possible harm in other countries.
In Japan, the government finally admitted that it had not prepared for the possible devastating damage to its power-generating nuclear reactors from earthquakes and tidal waves. In the other story, the German government had failed to protect that nation’s food supply from an E. coli outbreak that claimed over a hundred lives at home and in neighboring countries.
If you are relying on the governmentwhether FEMA or the local police and fire departments to save your bacon, you may be asking for trouble like the people of New Orleans.
I suppose, by nature, most gunowners are inclined to be prepared and fortunately, more and more American are becoming gunowners. As indicated by another recent newspaper story.
People having more faith in themselves than in government agencies may explain why the Daily Commercial in Lessburg, FL, recently ran an article on Florida seniors comprising the bulk of card carrying of concealed weapons permit holders.
The newspaper began its story headlined “Granny, get your gun” by reporting that James Pecoraro didn’t give much thought about carrying a gun until he reached Social Security age.
At 66 years old, the Summerfield resident said he just needed to feel saferand got a concealed weapon license and two firearms, one a Glock 9, it continued. They noted that “His intuition may have been right.”
Sometime afterward, he was in his car in a parking lot when a group of men surrounded his vehicle. Pecoraro said it looked as if they were preparing to rob him.
It may never be clear what the men’s intentions were, the newspaper noted, but said that when Pecoraro reached into his glove compartment for his gun, the men scattered.
“It definitely was a good idea for someone my age,” said the now 68-year-old Pecoraro, who calls himself a good shot. “It was something I’m glad I had.”
Elderly and middle-aged residents in Florida hold more concealed weapon permits than people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, according to the latest statistics from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The Daily Commercial went on to explain why seniors feel the need.
Card-carrying concealed weapons permits holders have soared from roughly 25,000 in 1987the first year carrying a concealed gun was legal in Floridato 813,127 today according to state numbers.
“Of the 67 counties in Florida, Lake County, where the newspaper is published, ranks 13th in the number of concealed weapons permits currently in use.
People 66 and older hold 20.69% of the permits in Florida, although residents 65 and older only represent 17.2% of the state’s population.
A number of people interviewed by the newspaper said older people tend to hold more conservative views when it comes to owning guns.
“Older people are less likely to take a liberal’s anti-gun stance,” said the 73-year-old Ron Staub, shortly after taking target practice at a local gun range.
However, some elderly people said they just needed another hobby. Jim Hoover is president of the recently formed Pennbrooke Pistoreros Gun Club, named after their Leesburg 55-plus community.
The gun club takes target practice once a week at the Gun Shop & Gun Range on State Road 44, less than half a mile from their Pennbrooke Fairways neighborhood.
“We wanted to do more than just play golf and shuffleboard,” said Hoover, preparing for a range session.
But concerns about crime is certainly a major reason.
According to the US Justice Department’s Bureau of Statistics, people who are 65 and older are much less likely to be victims of violent crimes or property crimes than younger men and women. Yet studies show that seniors are far more worried about crime than people who are younger, the newspaper said.
Hank Lajole, a member of the Pennbrooke Pistoreros, turns 80 soon. He didn’t get his concealed weapons permit until he was 77.
With a neatly trimmed white beard, he said he is somewhat concerned about local crime.
“I want to die in bed sleeping, not in a back alley somewhere,” Lajole said.
J.R. McGovern, 48, who teaches a concealed weapons permit class in Groveland and Titusville was contacted by the newspaper’s reporters. He estimates about 50% of his classes are comprised of seniors.
He said unlike younger people who are tricked by the media, seniors realize that the recession isn’t going to be over soon and that a tougher time is coming. And they are buying guns.
“They are little bit nervous,” McGovern said.
Glenn Badcock is an office manager for Seniors Vs. Crime in Lake County, which works with seniors who are crime victims. Badcock told the newspaper he believed like anyone else, the elderly needed to be concerned about crime.
The Daily Commercial also explained to readers that to get a concealed weapons permit in Florida, applicants must be US citizens and at least 21 years of age. The cost is $117 for most applicants.
A criminal record, or dishonorable discharge from the armed forces can cause an applicant to be ineligible.
However, the physical inability to handle a firearm safely and failing to provide proof of proficiency with it can stop residents from acquiring the permitwhich could be a concern with feeble residents.
It’s too early to tell if the newspaper’s report encouraged any other grannies and granddads to get their guns, but its report contained most of the information they might need if they decide to be responsible for their own personal safety. Maybe the Daily Commercial, or another Florida newspaper, will revisit the issue again in a few more years.