"Here be dragons." In old times, when there were still unexplored areas of the globe, this phrase and illustrations of dragons and other mythological creatures were used to indicate unknown and possibly dangerous terrain. Man's knowledge of these areas was incomplete; no one knew what was there. Anyone venturing into these territories shouldn't be surprised by what they might find. In other words, expect trouble.
Today we have access to detailed maps to get to any area you might want to "explore." You can get vivid descriptions of what you'll find when arriving, and "reviews" tell you where to go for the "best" of whatever you might need once you arrive. You almost feel like you've been there before departing on your journey. But, even with all this technology and information you still need to be ready for the unknown and the monsters it might contain. This vast array of technology and instant access can lull us into a false sense of security. Our familiarity with somewhere we've been numerous times causes us to relax. The key is to always be prepared, constantly on ready for the unexpected.
Today you're not going to come across a demon that looks like it stepped out of Greek mythology; the monsters you'll see look "normal." But they are just as dangerous as a poison spitting drakon, a multi-headed chimera or Medusa, with her head full of snakes. The "monster" will probably look and act like you and me, right up to the point they try to attack.
Being prepared means having a plan. You need a plan for when you're alone; this action is pretty easy, with avoidance/escape being at the top of your list. A family and friends plan – and I'm not talking about your wireless plan - is necessary for when you're with others, who may or may not be armed. Keep things simple. Simple works best under stress. Simple is easily modified when necessary. This blueprint should be based on the fundamentals: move, communicate, use cover, and shooting if necessary. Don't forget to think. Remember defeating the threat is based on your ability to solve problems quickly, making decisions at high speed.
The family sits down in the restaurant for dinner. You scan to find the exits and areas/objects that could offer safety or protection. You point these out to your "team," and actually have them visually look and locate these exits/cover/safe areas. The family may get tired of this, but don't get discouraged. Hopefully you'll never need it, but if something does happen then having a plan, a framework to work from and knowing where to go could be the difference between life and death.
You may have all the information to know where you're going, how to get there and what you'll find once you arrive. What this information won't tell you are what type troubles may occur in route or at your chosen destination. Remember, you can't be ready for everything but you can be prepared for almost anything. Travel safely.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html McKee's new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite's website: http://shootrite.org/AR15SkillsBook/AR15SkillsBook.html