It recently came to the attention of some folks I was working with that I made a habit of keeping a first aid kit in the backpack I usually carry with me. They thought that this was a strange practice. One even went so far as to ask if it wasn’t a bit paranoid to carry a first aid kit wherever you go. I’d imagine a sizeable chunk of the population would agree with that sentiment seeing as how the vast majority of them get through the average day without needing a first aid kit. Not even ten minutes after someone questioned the level of paranoia necessary to keep a first aid kit handy another someone managed to slice themselves open. At the moment when the dismissive individuals were faced with someone bleeding and teetering on the edge of going unconscious due to being panicked at the sight of their own blood, they stared in (mostly) mute helplessness. It was left to the “paranoid” guy to open up the med kit no one else had the foresight to bring or apparently inclination to use, glove up, and apply some gauze to stop the bleeding.
It wasn’t a life threatening injury…and thank heavens for that. The people who thought I was a bit touched in the head weren’t much help in the situation. Even in this very minor event with only a little bit of blood spilled (by my standards, anyway) they seemed incapable of following the clearest of directions or performing a simple action they had performed many times in the past like starting a car so we could get the victim somewhere they could receive proper care. I don’t really want to know what it would be like to try and manage them in a situation where the bleeding was serious and someone’s life was at stake.
Most don’t like to dwell on the more unpleasant possibilities of life and I totally understand that. I don’t spend my free time contemplating doom, either…but when something like this happens you get the feeling that some have never contemplated even the possibility that something bad will happen. And sometimes they’re pretty smug about it.
We see this frequently in the discussion of firearms policy. Those who campaign for more gun control often react as if anyone who believes that they might need to defend themselves is either a lunatic or eager vigilante hoping to kill somebody and get away with it. They seem to hold particular scorn for those who keep weapons or supplies on hand in case of a breakdown in social order because that sort of thing never happens.
You’d have to be some sort of tin-foil wearing, paranoid lunatic to think that social order is going to break down in, say, St. Louis. It’s Missouri, for crying out loud. Not Mosul. Oh…wait. Well, it’s not like there’s ever been social unrest in the aftermath of a police use of force before, right?
It’s ridiculous and indicative of a warped mind to have a gun or a first aid kit handy right up until the point when somebody is bleeding or there’s a mob setting the neighborhood on fire. Not long after we started hanging out, Todd told me about someone who worked with his wife who regarded private ownership of firearms to be an absolute evil. On 9/11 when the whole country seemed to be under attack and with rumors that every federal building in DC had been blown up, this person sought refuge with Todd because…Todd had guns.
Those who will make fun of you for taking some sort of responsibility for what happens in this world will, without even the slightest hesitation, try to squeeze themselves under the protective umbrella of your good judgment when things go badly. When the danger is over, they’ll return to contempt without any sense of irony or ability to even recognize the folly of it. Some people will still think I have some sort of psychological defect because I have a med kit handy. It doesn’t matter that when someone was bleeding I was the only guy on scene who had a plan or any capability to do something useful…I’ll still be a nut to a chunk of them.
I’m going to continue carrying my first aid kit, though. The sort of people who dismiss the bits of real life which inconveniently intrude on their opinions aren’t ever going to see the light…but there are a lot of people out there who agree with the anointed ones only because they haven’t really considered the question for themselves yet. When they feel the hot breath of real life on their necks, perspectives change. Which might be why gun sales in St. Louis have quadrupled in the last few days and why I’m suddenly getting questions about what sort of stuff should be readily available for dealing with the sort of problem I fixed the other day. Some people, it seems, can learn.
Don’t let the inexperienced, the feckless, or the willfully stupid draw the line that separates preparedness and paranoia in your mind. Those people, after all, will not help you when things go wrong. If things do indeed go wrong, you’ll find their opinion offers little comfort when someone is bleeding and stuff is on fire.