Two weeks ago, a mile from where I grew up, an 85-year-old man was brutally murdered in his home. Rumor has it he was beaten and strangled; the official cause of death has yet to be announced. Signs are the bedroom was ransacked in what appears to be a burglary/murder. Time will tell.

A few years ago I asked two paramedics on a south suburban Chicago fire department to monitor the radios and keep track of each time the police in their city were called out on a violent Code 3 (lights and sirens, burglary in progress, etc…), as well as how many times the fire department was called out to an actual fire. The ratio ended up being 60 to 1. For every one time the engines rolled to a real fire, police responded to 60 violent events (murders, stabbings, aggravated assaults, armed robberies, etc…) Not even close to a scientific study, but interesting nonetheless.

We all have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in our homes, and we pay people to polish big red trucks all day. In fact, we even legislate fire alarms and fire suppression systems into our building codes. We do this because the consequences of not having those things when we need them are unacceptable. Yet, when compared to the potential of violent attack, fire is a non-issue.

In my old neighborhood, I know of 40+ homes that have been broken into, 3 murders, and countless assault and batteries. And it’s one of those “nice places to live.” I can only remember one real house fire.

I suggest (to the suggestible student) that they carry their gun at all times – even at home. We all have to sleep, but every waking moment our pistols should be at hand. I don’t say that to impress fear, I say it to impress priorities. You are the first responder to your attack – you get no “wait a minute” or “time out” or “do over.” When it happens, ready or not, you’re on!

The world is telling us something, and people are dying illustrating the lesson – ignore it at your own peril.