Over the years I have developed what I call my Movie Rules of Thumb, insights into how to deal with life’s situations, each one based on some event in a movie I’ve seen. The most recent addition is what I call the Black Hawk Down Rule:
18. There are NO half hour missions.
Both the book by Mark Bowden and the film by Tony Scott tell the story of the US Army mission to try to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Mogadishu in 1993. A lot of the soldiers on this mission got in trouble because they assumed the mission, taking place in the middle of the day, surrounded by his cronies, would take a half hour, in and out. Most took no provisions, no canteens, and minimal ammunition, because the plan said the mission would be too short for them to need it, and they would be back soon. Instead, things went terribly wrong, and the mission lasted all day and all night. 19 Americans died.
So what does the Black Hawk Down Rule mean to me? It means there is no ten minute jaunt to the convenience store for milk. There is no half hour walk around the block. There is no quick run through the drive-through for dinner. Because in all those situations, things can and do happen that can turn that quick trip into a long nightmare, and you need to be prepared.
This means dress for the long term mission. When I make a run to the ice cream store, I take off my sandals and tee shirt and put on running shoes and a shirt that can conceal the handgun that I always take with me. When I run or walk at 5 AM, I carry a Glock 19 in my fanny pack along with my ID and Georgia Weapons License, and a tactical flashlight in my left pocket.
It means I fight my wife to get her to bring her ID and cell phone when we go to pick our son up at a friend’s house, since if we ever got into a wreck and she needed to be treated at the hospital, it would be a great thing if they knew who she was and who to call.
If you’re one of those who hops in the car and goes (and believe me, I was that way once) then I hope you will reconsider that, and think about a worst case scenario as part of your planning. Because no one gives the Medal of Honor to crime victims.