Aug 31

Movie Shootings and Handguns in a Bra

Well, it’s time for my 2nd newsletter and I’m already a day late based on the 1st one starting on a Sunday. I’ll try to do better.

Anyway, this week I just wanted to share a conversation my family had on the way to see a movie last Saturday. In light of the fact that we recently had yet another shooting in a movie theater recently, I thought it would be a good time to talk about what we would all do if something bad happened while we were watching a movie. It is always a good idea to have a plan in place so everyone will know what to do.

A you might guess, the first thing everybody said was “hit  the ground”. And I completely agreed. But what to do next is where a lot of folks differ. Some would prefer for us to just duck and cover and wait until “the authorities” handle the situation. Many sincerely feel that the best way to keep everybody safe is to prohibit any weapons anywhere a lot of people are gathered, such as a movie theater. I used the word “feel” on purpose (more on that in a minute).

In line with this mindset, one of our local cinemas has even started checking all bags and purses. Now the person doing the checking is a teenage employee who probably wouldn’t know quite how to react if he/she did find a weapon of some sort. And to make it even sillier (in my opinion) this pretty much means that all the women’s purses were checked yet us guys could be wearing an UZI under our jacket and waltz right in. In fact, my wife went the other night with some other women and one of them had to step into the Ladies room and move her legally carried handgun from her purse to her bra (apparently that works for her) before she went through the check line.

The point I am trying to make in my rambling way is that we are living in a world that seems to get more and more dangerous every day. I  think it is a good idea to take some time and think through what you would do to protect your family if something crazy happened. I’m not talking about getting all paranoid and fearful, just being prepared. In our case, if some demented individual started shooting up the audience, just knowing that my family was under cover would leave me free to have more choices about what I need to do. One of those choice might be to engage the shooter and stop them if I have made the decision that I am ultimately responsible for my families safety, not some kid inspecting purses.

Which brings me back to my earlier statement about some people “feeling” that making  a policy to prohibit weapons is going to actually do anything to prevent an evil person from carrying out their demented plans. As I said, I used the word “feel” on purpose because I just don’t see how any rational logic could be involved in coming to that conclusion. It has been said many times, but it is just plain true, that criminals by definition don’t obey the law. So they certainly aren’t going to be concerned with obeying some sort of corporate policy.  Statistics and history have proven time and time again that the absolute best deterrent to a bad guy intent on hurting innocent people is the presence of capable, armed private citizens. That may not “feel” right to some but facts are facts.

OK, before I start ranting I’ll try to pull this back and wrap it up. I started talking about having a plan. Really, that goes back to the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. For myself and many others, one of the ways we do that by exercising our God given right to defend ourselves and our family from predators by making sure we are ready and able to respond adequately to a threat. Waiting for someone else to get there with a gun is not a good plan, in my opinion. Another way is by making sure everyone in the family is on the same page about what to do in different situations. That alone could make the difference. I encourage you to take a few minutes and play a little “what if”. It can’t hurt and, if nothing else, will give you a little more peace of mind.

Alrighty then. So I started talking about going to the movies and wound up ranting a little. I won’t apologize. We have got to start standing up to illogical, dangerous attitudes that would leave us all at the mercy of those who don;t play by the rules. Oops, I almost started again, better just end this.

So, thanks for sticking with me. Have a great week and remember; survival is not an accident. Be Prepared!




Aug 23

Alone on the History Channel


This week the History Channel show “Alone” finished up the first season. By the way, I know my first blog post/page was about reality TV, and I don’t want to be redundant but I have to admit I really liked this show.
Maybe one reason I watched this one every week is because I was approached at the very beginning to submit an audition for the show (along with thousands of other people I’m sure). In my case the process didn’t get much further than the “I can’t take time off of work” phase but I have to admit I was a little intrigued by the possibility.
To tell you the truth, if I had known that my 25 year job would suddenly come to an end in January of this year I might have considered it more seriously. Like most of us who do this “survival” or “bushcraft” or “whatever” thing, I like to think I would be up to a challenge like this. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding and it would be nice to find out for sure.
It was also interesting to see some guys I was familiar with from YouTube (Mitch, Joe and Wayne) and who I think all have great skill sets. I guess in some ways I was imagining myself in their place. And, to be honest, maybe being just a little envious since by the time the show started airing my schedule was a lot more flexible.
So, my wife watched the first episode with me and after seeing all the stuff about mountain lions and bears and wolves she was like “there is NO WAY I would ever stay a single day out there” and pretty much indicated that she would consider me crazy if I said I would. But the truth is, I couldn’t honestly tell her I wouldn’t.
I mean, I grew up watching Fess Parker as Daniel Boone and Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan. Ever since I can remember I have felt the call of the wild, yet I have never been truly tested.
If I have to be honest, there is something inside of me – a 55 year old man – that echoes the words of the bad guy in the first Dirty Harry movie when Clint Eastwood says the line about not remembering how many shots he fired. “I just gots to know”.
So I’m watching the first show when I see that one of the “contestants” is from Georgia. From Blairsville, in the north Georgia mountains-  just down the road from Woodruff Boy Scout camp where I have spent so much time over the years. Which makes me sort of conflicted as to who to root for and I decided to just watch and see how things develop.
Fast forward several episodes and there are now 4 guys left (the Georgia boy is one of them) , all have been there like almost 6 weeks and they each seem like they are settled in for the long haul. And even though each one had a very different approach, I started thinking about what they each had in common to allow them to make it in such a harsh environment.
I think it is about a positive attitude. What I saw that they all had in common was none of them seemed to focus their mental energy on the how hard and challenging it was. Sure, they mentioned it in video but instead of worrying about what they didn’t have or couldn’t do, they each just took action and did what they were able to do. I think there is a lesson in that for each of us. Like the Nike slogan: Just Do It!
OK, I’m running the risk of rambling again (big surprise) so I’ll wrap this up. Bottom line, I think it took guts for every single person on the show to even apply, much less step onto the shore in the middle of nowhere and watch their lifeline wave goodbye. I think this show was a breath of fresh air among some of the same old “survival” shows that have become so popular in the last few years. I have no doubts there was probably some “hollywood” stuff involved but I really think the premise was honored and these guys seriously proved their mettle.
Oh, and even though I like my YouTube buds, I am kind of glad a Georgia boy won.

Nov 01

Are Survival TV Shows Dangerous?

survival bootsWhile I was trying to decide what to write for my very first article on Survival On Purpose, I happened to run across a TV Guide story on the dangers of Survival TV shows.  Since I have a little experience with “Reality TV”, I thought that might be a good topic to start with.

Most of us have seen at least a few of the shows. From older ones like Survivorman, Man vs. Wild and Dual Survival to the newer ones like Naked and Afraid and the Ultimate Survival Alaska and Venezuela episodes – Survival TV shows draw a huge audience. It’s no wonder they keep coming up with more and more extreme concepts for shows.

Heck, I’ve even been approached about applying for a couple of proposed “Survival” shows.  Granted, things never got past the initial conversation and I know a lot of other folks with YouTube channels got the same invitations. But I have to admit, for just a brief instant, my mind was filled with images of me jumping out of helicopters and rappelling down cliffs.  Then one popped up of me drinking my own pee and I quickly pulled myself back to reality.

The truth is it would be a little tempting to have the chance to test myself under controlled conditions and find out if I really have what it takes to survive.  Like many of us, I think I do; but there’s no substitute for doing it. And, honestly, the financial benefits might be good too. But  I’ve just got too many obligations and responsibilities (family, job, church, Boy Scouts, etc) to be able to drop everything and hit the woods for weeks at a time right now. Heck, if I could do that I would already be doing it.

Besides, I’ve already had one experience with the “Reality TV” crowd and it was about as close to reality as Alaska is to Antarctica. I’m sure there’s some sort of very official legal document somewhere with my signature on it that threatens all sort of dire consequences for saying the wrong thing. So let’s just say it was a very popular show about making over homes and doing it in an “extreme” way. Anyway, my experience on that project gave me a whole new understanding of the term “artistic license”.

Which is exactly the point I’m getting to. These shows have to add as much drama as possible to make things interesting. In a true survival situation, careful means safe, which means boring. Nobody wants to watch boring. So the producers and TV folks have to keep thinking up new ways to make things interesting.

The question is are they going too far in their quest for ratings? Are these shows dangerous? I think they could be, for people who think of them as anything other than pure entertainment.  Although there may be a lot more, I can think of two possible concerns with the popularity of Survival TV.

First, I think they often encourage dangerous behavior. It seems like every episode you watch has somebody doing something that you would only want to try as an absolute last resort in a survival situation. We’ve seen everything from Bear Grylls jumping off a cliff into a river to Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury going whitewater rafting on garbage bags.  Not to mention the whole drinking your own pee thing. I’m not even sure about that one as a last resort. The problem is that folks see things like that and think they’re reasonable responses to a bad situation; when, in fact, they stand a really good chance of making things a lot worse.

The second problem I have with most survival TV shows is they give folks a false sense of confidence by making things look too easy. Anyone who’s ever learned to make fire with a bow drill or hand drill knows it takes a long time to master and a lot of effort even for very experienced folks.  Yet a lot of people see their favorite “survival expert” on TV whip out a bow drill fire in 2 or 3 minutes and they think they’ll be able to do it if they need to.  I mean, it’s obviously no big deal, right?  Why would anybody carry a Bic lighter if they don’t even smoke?

I could go into some more examples but you get the point. Like anything else, if not used correctly, Survival TV has the potential to be dangerous. But there’s good news.  It doesn’t have to be. It depends on you.

If you just like watching Bear Grylls eat really gross stuff or Dave Canterbury argue with Cody Lundin about why it’s a good idea to go hand to hand with an alligator, then knock yourself out.  Maybe you enjoy hearing Les Stroud play the same tune over and over on the harmonica.  Go for it. Heck, you can even tune in to “Man Woman Wild” just to check out  Mykel Hawke’s cute wife. No real harm done.

Just please don’t ever let the thought creep into your head that any of this is real.  Okay? It’s all Hollywood.  It’s make believe.  Nice scenery and even some cool people, but it’s just not real. So don’t worry.  Survival TV is only dangerous if you believe it.




Jul 08

Please pardon our mess. Site Construction in Progress.

Hi, it’s Bryan. Thanks for stopping by the Survival On Purpose website. We are in the process of creating a great site for you but it’s not finished yet. In the meanwhile, I would like to invite you to check out our Amazon Store here (or click the Tab above).  All purchases support the Survival On Purpose effort and are really appreciated. Thanks for your patience and support.