Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lesson Twenty: Prevention - Pack Light

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Uh, yeah. And then some.

Goggles weigh 8 ounces. We're still working on the prosthetic eyes.

A watch cap, wooly pully, fresh socks, and fire starting kit weigh a pound, maybe two. A casket weighs about 80 pounds.

Carry your survival kit. I repeat, carry your survival kit. I repeat, carry your survival kit.
Pocket tin, less than a pound.
Belt kit, couple of pounds.
Casket, 80 pounds.

Your body is overwhelmingly water.
A bottle of water purification tabs weighs a couple of ounces.
A 5-star water purification pump or desalinating pump weighs a couple of pounds.

I can fix your shrapnel to the eye, sucking chest wound, broken arms and legs, traumatic head injury, dehydration, hypothermia, and shock a lot better if it never happens because you didn't break 27 safety guidlines, than if I have to start using an ambulance-load of Secret Medic Ninjitsu on all your little screw-ups.

It's a well-documented fact, that in the wilderness and in combat, the vast majority of all casualties are caused by a loose nut behind the trigger. Tighten yourself up, and safety-wire that thing, before you hurt yourself.

Wear your helmets, your seatbelts, your vests, both life- and bullet-resistant-, your goggles, your earplugs/muffs.
Do all the do's and avoid all the don'ts somebody smarter than you told you about.
Like the Doc told the cherry grunts in "Hamburger Hill", "If you want to get out of this place alive, you will listen to people who know!"

Yeah, you're a candyass, sugar-coated killer. You're also not blind, deaf, and all jacked up after the plane crashes/boat sinks/IED goes off/zombies attack.

Which means as the dust settles and the screaming starts, you can help be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.
You can return fire conscious, instead of soaking up incoming fire as you lay there knocked out.
You can go home to your friends and family and kids and hobbies, instead of being hauled out in a plastic bag, or strung up from a bridge by your gonads, or getting a wreath tossed over the side because they couldn't find the body after the sharks and crabs ate it.

Any of those things might happen anyways, but if it does, you'll at least have had a chance.
If I was going to get thrown into a pit with a bear no matter what, and they asked whether I wanted a spear and a knife, or nothing, I know which option I'd chose. And it wouldn't be nothing but the firm resolve to taste very bad.

There are two certainties in life. The first is that any number of things in the big bad universe are trying to end yours, with no malice aforethought, simply the cold, unyielding facts of physics, the laws of nature, and random chance, and exactly zero regard for what a splendid all-around human being you are. Rocks don't fall on only bad people, and tigers and sharks express no preference for jerks over stand-up folks. Crocodiles snack on heathens and missionaries with equal relish.

So your good looks, sense of humor, and busy social register won't cut you any slack in the back of beyond, and you shouldn't expect it to do so either.

The second rule is that eventually, the Universe is going to win, and you won't be here.
Bring your stuff, follow the rules, and learn and practice what you know how to do, and you can put that day off an amazing amount of time so that by the time it happens, you're old and feeble enough that when Death comes knocking, it'll be a welcome rest and a new adventure, and not you screaming with your last breath that it isn't time to go yet. The former is much more pleasant. And the kicking and screaming almost never avails, because Death's sense of what's right usually has more to do with what you did before things went sideways than what you do afterwards.

So pack a small kit, and an ounce of common sense, and save everyone else having to haul your carcass out feet first.

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