One of the issues we are facing these days is the increasing public awareness of the possibility of becoming a victim of crime. There are still those, of course, who adhere to the it can't happen to me approach to their personal safety, but many people are feeling vulnerable and are acknowledging that vulnerability by seeking information about how to protect themselves.
With violent crime on the rise in many areas, one group that is particularly keen on improving their personal security is women. For many, the first place they look is to members of their local police department. Who better to advise them about staying safe? To their credit, most agencies have some sort of crime prevention program, including the usual pamphlets, lectures and home security advice. Although useful, they never seem to go far enough in addressing the most distressing question that is at the heart of the issue: Will you be there when I need you?
The answer, of course, is: Probably not. With budgets shrinking, resources dwindling and demands for service increasing, today's officers are stretched all too thin. What we need to do is help our citizens learn to recognize danger and respond appropriately to it. Everyone must become their own "First Responder." All officers need to be prepared to advise people about how to do that. Being able to refer concerned people to additional resources and information is an essential part of your crime prevention mission. To that end, I'd like to introduce you to a resource that is unsurpassed in its quality and right on target for today's concerns. It is the latest book by Gila Hayes, Personal Defense for Women.
Let me say first that I have known Gila for a number of years and she is a consummate professional in the field of personal protection training, for both men and women. She and her husband Marty Hayes own and operate one of the premier firearms training facilities in the country, the Firearms Academy of Seattle. Actually located near Onalaska, WA, it has a superb reputation for its training programs, and particularly its programs for women.Gila is at the heart of that effort. Her first book, Effective Defense was well into its second edition when she was approached by Krause Publications, best known for their Gun Digest Books, to write a new book. Despite her busy schedule with the FAS and a new venture, The Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, LLC., Gila accepted the challenge. The result is extraordinary. It is exactly the sort of book that can be recommended by anyone and to anyone who wants to honestly understand how to prepare themselves to deal with the real threats that exist in our society.
As I mentioned earlier, women are particularly concerned about their safety these days, so a book written by a woman, expressly for women, is dead on the mark. This particular book springs from all of Gilas experience, including 10 years as a law enforcement officer and a police firearms instructor, as well her expertise in training not only women, but men who train women. Personal defense for women is her thing, and she does it better than anyone I know. So, you might be thinking, it is a gun book for girls. Not hardly. Let's take a brief look at what Gila has wrought.
A quick review of the chapter headings will give you an idea of the tone of the book and the mindset that Gila is trying to encourage. The first several chapters include: Developing A Safety Conscious Attitude, A Fight Avoided Is A Fight Won, Finding The Will To Survive, and Emotional And Physical Consequences Of Survival. We all know that awareness and avoidance are better than confrontation, but here they are articulated with clarity for even those who would continue to deny their own vulnerability. The importance of being prepared, emotionally and physically, is a lesson all can take to heart, regardless of their background.
Gila then proceeds to the real world application of being prepared, including chapters about safety in the home, in the car, at school and at work. She also includes a chapter about rape prevention and survival. And yes, she does talk about guns. The selection and use of handguns, shotguns and rifles is thoroughly covered, again from the female perspective. If you don't understand how that is different from the male perspective, you will by the time you finish reading those chapters. Other chapters cover Tasers, non-lethal/less lethal tools and unarmed defensive tactics. Gila has so thoroughly covered the issues and concerns of women's safety in today's real world that I believe this book will become known as the definitive work on the subject. Massad Ayoob, in his Forward for the book, said: Read this book. Buy it for the ladies in your life, and urge them to read it too. It's not about guns so much as it is empowerment. I couldn't agree more.
And that brings me back to my original reason for presenting this in a column that is supposed to be about firearms and firearms training. When police officers, in a professional capacity at least, are asked about the important, yet sensitive and often controversial subject of citizen safety and firearms ownership, they are inclined to want a simple and safe answer. They want to avoid advocating anything that could be misinterpreted as encouraging the use of weapons when such use is not justified or introducing deadly weapons into a household where safety may be an issue. Unfortunately, nowadays an incomplete answer will not serve the public well and our job, above all, is to serve. Here is an answer that will certainly serve well: recommend this book. It is worth far more than its cover price of $21.99 and it is available at the link below or from the usual book dealers. Whether it is the women in your life or the women on your beat, encourage them to read what Gila Hayes has so masterfully presented.