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So between my new love of firearms and interest in personal safety I went from being fun loving, friendly, and “normal” in some of my friends and family’s eyes to paranoid, over concerned, fearful, and maybe even crazy.  How the heck did that happen?

Maybe the people who now think I’m paranoid have forgotten the difference between being prepared and being paranoid so let’s take a quick minute to look at their definitions thanks to The Free Dictionary:

pre•pare  v. pre·pared, pre·par·ing, pre·pares

1. To make ready beforehand for a specific purpose, as for an event or occasion: The teacher prepared the students for the exams.

2. To put together or make by combining various elements or ingredients; manufacture or compound: prepared a meal; prepared the lecture.

3. To fit out; equip: prepared the ship for an arctic expedition.

4. Music To lead up to and soften (a dissonance or its impact) by means of preparation.

par•a•noid   

1. Relating to, characteristic of, or affected with paranoia.

2. Exhibiting or characterized by extreme and irrational fear or distrust of others: a paranoid suspicion that the phone might be bugged.

n. One affected with paranoia.

Here is the definition of paranoia:

par•a•noi•a   

1. A psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of persecution with or without grandeur, often strenuously defended with apparent logic and reason.

2. Extreme, irrational distrust of others.

I did not realize that having a plan or being prepared was a bad thing.  If you’re having a wedding or party outside you have to consider that it may rain that day and be prepared.  No one would think you are crazy or paranoid then.  In fact they’d think that you were smart especially if it did rain because if it did rain you’d be screwed and your wedding would be ruined.

Many of us have fire extinguishers in the kitchen but that doesn’t make us paranoid it makes us prepared just in case of a fire.  So I have to ask why should preparing for our personal safety be any different?

I don’t have an irrational fear or distrust in others, I feel that I’m trying to be ready just in case, to have a plan as opposed to thinking crime could never happen to me.  My husband and those who know me best know I’m overly friendly with strangers to a fault.  In fact my husband always says that I’d be the girl in Silence of The Lambs   who would get into the van to help the creepy dude (don’t worry, I’m working on not being so trusting).

NO ONE expects that crime is going to happen to them.  I used to live in a complete state of denial.  I thought that crime couldn’t happen to me or anyone I knew because we live in a “nice” town and we don’t put ourselves in bad situations.

However, earlier this year I found this wasn’t true when two people we know had their homes broken into, my friend had her purse stolen out of her car, and even more recently another friend had her GPS stolen out of her car-yes the car was unlocked but still someone came into their driveway and tried to open the car door, what if they tried their front door while they were at it?

Again not a single one of these people expected that crime was going to happen to them.  After all they live in “nice” areas, and have “nice” homes.  So how could these things possibly happen if crime doesn’t happen in “nice” areas?

The fact is crime can happen at any time to anyone.

Criminals don’t care what color our skin is, what time of day it is, if we are rich or poor, and they definitely don’t care how we’ll be voting in November.  They want an easy target and I’m just trying my best to not be an easy target any more.  So I’m educating myself, becoming more aware, and changing my mindset.

So because I go to the range each weekend and I’ve come to realize that any of us can be a victim of crime while some of my friends and family refuse to believe that it could possibly happen that somehow makes me paranoid?  I don’t think so.

Now that I have a different perspective they choose to roll their eyes at me or poke fun at me.  Do you know how many times I’ve been called Annie Oakley in the past few months?  I could only hope to someday shoot like she did and wish I could consider it a compliment but clearly they say it as a dig.

I’m just not sure why they are so angry and disappointed with me.  Is it because they want me to continue to believe what they think?  Perhaps they don’t want to think about crime because then it won’t happen? Or maybe if they pick on me enough they think that I’ll revert to my old ways of thinking so that they don’t have to hear me talk about personal safety anymore?  I can tell you if that is what they are thinking it is not going to work.

I’d much rather have a plan and try my best to be prepared than to be caught completely off guard and not have any idea of what to do.  We don’t tend to work well or make quick decisions under pressure.  If the first time we are considering being assaulted is when we are attacked that’s too late and is probably not going to turn out well.

I’m done with being the following:

naïve

1 simple and straightforward in one’s way of thinking, speaking etc.

2 ignorantly simple.

sheep•ish    

1. abashed or embarrassed, esp through looking foolish or being in the wrong

2. resembling a sheep in timidity or lack of initiative

Or living in de•ni•al    

1. an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false: Despite his denials, we knew he had taken the purse. The politician issued a denial of his opponent’s charges.

2. refusal to believe a doctrine, theory, or the like.

3. disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing.

I’m not going to say sorry for, or feel guilty or embarrassed about educating myself about personal safety, or learning how to better use my gun.  To me it is no different than having jumper cables or a spare tire in my trunk and knowing how to use them.  I don’t have them because I’m afraid; I have them just in case.  And that’s exactly why I’m educating and preparing myself…just in case.  And I don’t see any harm in that.

So as much as I love my friends and family, if they disapprove of the changes I’m making we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.  This is my new way of living and I’m not turning back.  I’m educating myself which makes me feel more confident and empowered…not paranoid at all.