Living free – first responders?

by Nathan Barton

Do we know what it means to live free?  Are do we depend on government and other institutions too much?

The term “first responders” is commonly understood today and frequently used to describe the various services (usually provided by local governments) such as firefighters, police or sheriff’s officers, emergency medical personnel, and utilities personnel.

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But as a recent JPFO writer ( pointed out, this is really NOT a proper title or identification. In a crime situation, he explains, it is the people ON THE SCENE who are the true first responders, and the police are second responders (at best).

The same is true for all the other emergencies of life: whether it is the next-door neighbors rescuing family and pets from a burning house, a passing motorist pulling a shovel out of his trunk to fight the fire in the bar ditch, a family member responding to your heart-attack, that next-door neighbor’s 14-year-old nerd figuring out WHY the phone or the modem doesn’t work, or the homeowner responding, gun in fist, to the sound of a shattering window, it is not a “professional, trained and certified” peace officer or medic or firefighter that is usually first on the scene, and responding first.

Intentionally or not, by calling the “professionals” the first responders, we are conditioning ourselves to the false idea that we must depend on the government – or at least on the professionals approved by the government – to respond to emergencies that threaten us. It reinforces the “victim mentality,” the idea that we can not do anything (like Calvinists in spiritual matters) to save ourselves (physically), OR to save others.

Often, this is what the various governments and law enforcement agencies (at least their bosses) want. Consider this: A Saint Paul (MN) police spokesman made that exact point in a news video about recent “mob robberies” of stores: “Don’t try to confront or deter the mob – let them steal whatever they want and let the police deal with it.”

The JPFO writer was dealing only with situations involving self-defense (and mostly, of course, guns). But the concept can and should be applied to every setting. This may sound like I am promoting a “Jack of All Trades” mentality, and that is EXACTLY right. There is no reason why not. ANY person, of near-average or better mental reasoning and intelligence, moderately good physical condition, and (most important) training, can be enough of a JOAT to respond to any imminent threat or emergency in modern America. At least to the extend of being the first to respond. (I realize that I am, of course, excluding a big chunk of the population: the snowflakes and the welfare-bred, to name a couple of groups.)

first responder 02

But for those of us with motivation to do so, we can be effective first responders. Here are a few ways:

Fire? Can you use a fire extinguisher? Know where one is? Know how to dig dirt with a shovel to fight a grass fire? You don’t need to go to fire academy for six weeks to deal with 99% of household and rural/highway fires.

Hazardous materials? Can you read a label? Smell? Know how to keep the stuff from leaking more or spreading out? Keep people and animals away? You don’t need a 40-hour HAZWOPER class to do that.

Medical? Know the signs of choking, of stroke, of heart attack? Know what to do about bleeding? A snake bite? A puncture? You don’t need three months of EMT training to respond – although 4 or 8 hours of first aid and CPR is a WISE investment.

Attack? Do you carry a self-defense weapon? Know how to be aware of your surroundings? How to respond to an attack in a house or a store or an open area? You don’t need to go to Frontsight Academy to be able to defend yourself and others. Although an 8-hour range and gun safety and self-defense course would be VERY useful indeed.

Suicide or psycho? You don’t need to be a trained counselor to help prevent a tragedy. You know how to talk to people and calm them down? How to read their body language? How to buy time for others to come help? It can and is done every day.

A recent story about a “gun incident” in a public school told how the teachers and other staff apparently had no idea how to deal with a gun brought from home by a student, and had to depend on a nine-year-old girl who knew what to do – she’d obviously been trained enough by SOMEONE to be able to safely handle a gun and determine if it was loaded or not.

The key is training – and not really all that much. It doesn’t take 10 or 20 hours to teach a private person to be a first responder in dozens of situations in the home, the playground, the office, the school, the store, the highway, and elsewhere. It is the necessary responsibility of free people to FIRST care for themselves and then to voluntarily care for their families and neighbors and community.

first responder 04

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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