Are We Really Any Safer?
As I write my editor’s letter, the East Coast is just starting the slow process of rebounding from Hurricane Michael. That includes not only homes ravaged by the storm, but the usual criminal looting that follows in those areas. We also just recently passed the 17-year mark since we all woke up to a country that’d never be the same again on Sept. 11, 2001. As I reflect on all the different ways these events continue to affect the U.S., I still can’t help but wonder, whether we’re at home or abroad, are we really any safer than we were 20 years ago? Is there really any bigger push to educate people on how to protect themselves?
Here’s a case in point. A few other staff members and I recently attended a counter-custody class taught by Ed Calderon, whom we interviewed in Issue 25. One of our homework assignments was to make and conceal weapons on our person and try and sneak them past a point of inspection during the following day’s class. Students were subjected to a fairly thorough pat down by some of Ed’s assistants who were already familiar with the many methods people typically use to hide weapons. I and several other people in the class successfully defeated the search and, although I felt good about completing the assignment, a very discomforting realization came over me. Whether it’s at an airport or any other point of inspection, imagine how many so-called security measures that supposedly make us safer are being defeated with the same amount of ease.
We probably have all heard about someone who forgot about the folding knife in their carry-on or a few loose rounds of ammo in their pocket, yet it still went unnoticed through metal detectors or baggage scanners. Even though security has been greatly intensified over the last 17 years in any number of areas we travel through, there are tons of people at this very moment working on countermeasures that’ll successfully thwart detection of weapons, people, drugs, and any other heavily regulated commodity you can think of.
There are groups who buy the same quality inspection equipment used by law enforcement with the sole purpose of discovering its weaknesses. There are people studying protocols and patterns of
TSA, Customs, and various other state and federal entities to identify flaws in their methods. There are decoys sent through every security system imaginable to test the boundaries of their capabilities. Even in prisons where people are scrutinized 24 hours a day, there are still surveillance blind spots, capital crimes committed, and contraband that manages to get smuggled in. If an environment that is predicated on security is still vulnerable to exploitation, what does that tell you about entrusting your safety to others? Time to start planning for contingencies.
We’ve lined up some content for you on lessons learned from one of Ed Calderon’s courses on how to circumvent a kidnapper’s techniques. We’ll also show you the basics of land navigation, as well as some of the newest compass offerings currently on the market, lest that GPS you’ve become so reliant on goes kaput. In this issue’s What If column, we discuss some recommendations on what to do if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of an airline hijacking. We’ve also evaluated some of the latest mobile emergency apps to see what features they offer and what situations they’re best used for. And since financial ruin can also accompany disaster, we delve into the nuances of insurance coverage so you can better understand its intricacies and won’t fall victim to the fine print.
RECOIL OFFGRID always seeks to embolden you with the tools, training, and resources that’ll keep you and your loved ones safe. The only way to defeat danger is to understand and potentially outsmart it. Think of it like a chess game. The bad guys or bad situations make a move; you think a few steps ahead and make your next move. We hope this information will give you the advantage you need to ensure your survival.
If an environment that is predicated on security is still vulnerable to exploitation, what does that tell you about entrusting your safety to others?