In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus tells us to be ready for His second coming. In this parable, Jesus tells us that 10 virgins took lamps to meet the bridegroom and celebrate his wedding feast. Five smart virgins took extra oil for their lamps, and five silly ones didn’t take any extra oil. When the bridegroom delayed, the oil burned down. By the time his arrival was announced, the silly five had no more oil in their lamps while the wise five could refill theirs. Panicked, the silly virgins ran off to find an all-night olive oil store. By the time they got back, the party was in full swing, and it was too late to get in. Jesus concludes by saying, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
Parables are often defined as “a heavenly story with an earthly meaning.” If this parable tells us anything, it says we must be ready for the unexpected. “Be prepared” is the Boy Scout motto. As a person who has accepted responsibility for the defense of myself and others, I need to think about what emergencies might be likely and get ready for them. I cannot depend that today will be as uneventful as yesterday. For instance, I never carried a fire extinguisher in my car until it caught on fire. A car fire. Unlikely? Yes, if I only consider it happening to me. But someone else’s car on fire as I pass? Much more likely.
Don’t go out unprepared for self-defense. In Chapter 5 of my book, A Time To Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism, I talk about the Luby’s Cafeteria massacre in 1991 that teaches us many lessons about preparation. For instance, your family needs code words to be used if a deadly or dangerous event starts in a store or restaurant. These are words that tell your family you are about to act explosively, and they need to use cover and concealment to gain an exit while you head toward the danger.
Next, the adults in your family must be sufficiently trained to implement the family’s self-defense plans. Each adult should be competent to pull the kids out of the situation if the other adult is neutralized or to outflank the bad guy to put him in a crossfire. The kids must be trained to obey commands instantly and to remain calm when they hear gunshots and the panicked screams of others. Like the smart virgins who brought extra oil, you must have spare ammo or a backup gun in case your primary gun runs out or malfunctions.
The adults in the family need to be trained to use their weapons accurately and legally. Their level of training and preparation cannot consist of buying a gun, firing a few rounds, and watching TV cop shows! In a chaotic situation, laser sights would be a good addition to your gun to assure you keep your sights ONLY on the bad guy.
All responsible members of the family (any one if driving age) should have pepper spray or some other intermediate-force weapon in case the situation doesn’t call for deadly force. To paraphrase, Jeff Cooper, “It’s much easier to argue to a jury that you didn’t pepper spray the bad guy too much rather than you didn’t shoot him too much.”
Teach yourself and your kids to spot everyday items that can be used as alternative weapons, such as dinner plates used as Frisbees. Take a Red Cross lifesaving and first-aid course and teach your kids basic first aid. For arterial bleeding, use what police have carried in cruisers for decades: sanitary napkins. Dehydrated mashed potato mix works just like military grade fast-clot products and can be flushed away by water at the ER.
Finally, take the time and spend the money to get professional training and legal advice. Make sure you know an attorney who can answer your self-defense questions and provide legal advice in the event you are involved in a deadly encounter.
Do not walk around with a gun on your hip if you have not received the basic training and made these basic preparations listed here. Understand the definition of the word “emergency.” If you knew when and where you would need your gun, you wouldn’t be there in the first place, and you certainly would not have your family along. Remember, “you don’t know the day or the hour” so start getting ready for it now.