A Canadian’s Perspective On Security Without A Gun


The following message if from “Just Another Canadian” who happened to comment on a Modern Survival Blog article with some very salient points regarding security and situational awareness. Enough so that I’ve posted it separately for your benefit.

I will comment further after his story…


Here is my story.

I live in a fairly sized city, population approx 750,000. Not large, not tiny. We have the highest violent crime rate in the country per capita. We have the highest murder rate in Canada, per capita. For nearly 10 years I worked with high risk youth. Many of whom were street kids and involved in gang life. I have a unique perspective on our situations in our city.

Because of my involvement with these individuals (and the local police, I needed them more times than I can count) I was always unlisted in the phone book. I’ve always been cautious. I watch over my shoulder. I pay attention to what goes on around me.

I had an incident several years ago where I was attacked by a client. It wasn’t pleasant but all in all it ended fairly well. I had training and had mentally played through this event in my head numerous times. I was prepared and educated. If I had had a gun I know it would not have gone well.

I spent the next two years convinced this individual would retaliate and I’ve been on my guard ever since. I’ve gone to counseling to get over that aspect of the “incident” and for the most part I’m better. What I realized is that I don’t have to be hyper vigilante. Just cautious. Nothing has changed. I’m still the same observant person I always was, but more cautious. I don’t take unnecessary risks. I watch what people are doing and how they are responding to what is going on around them.

We’re not allowed to carry guns on us here (though if we believe Michael Moore, we have a higher gun to person ratio per capita in Canada than the US. Must be all those hunters) so we are forced to be more creative in our personal protection plan. Fore I took self defense, non- violence training, and personal protection training. They all sound alike but are very different. The things that I have learned have helped to spot potential problems a mile away. I now know how to avoid a situation/ confrontation.

One of the best things that I have learned in my life is to be assertive and prepared mentally. Get over feeling rude. A well meaning person will understand. A person who is not so well meaning, who cares if s/he is taken aback?

Remember, your safety, whether on the street or in your home begins and ends with you. The best defense a person will ever have is a well laid out plan. If you feel the need to protect yourself with a gun, remember you may end up using it. It may end up being used against you.

I’m not going to say right or wrong. But if you are truly so worried that you feel a gun is your only choice, take additional courses on self protection so that you will know all your options and understand all of them before you get to the point of needing to fire.

Please know that not all Canadians live in a “our world is sunshine and rainbows” kind of place. I for one see the everyday violence that goes on around me. I know that my city is not a safe place. But I am choosing to be smarter than my attackers and not be a victim through training and self awareness and situational awareness.

For the record, if I lived in the country in the middle of no-man’s land I would certainly have a gun at the ready.

[Ken adds:]

“I don’t take unnecessary risks. I watch what people are doing and how they are responding to what is going on around them.”

This is key in survival… not taking unnecessary risks. If they’re necessary, then so be it. But most (risks) in my estimation, probably are not (necessary). Survival security, to an extent is about blending in with the background while steering around potential areas of conflict.

“We’re not allowed to carry guns on us here…so we are forced to be more creative”

This emphasizes yet another very important and primary aspect to survival… adaptability. You make do with the resources at your disposal. You find another way to accomplish your goals. In this case, self defense.

“The things that I have learned have helped to spot potential problems a mile away. I now know how to avoid a situation/ confrontation.”

Spotting potential problems a mile away, exemplifies situational awareness. This is it folks… regarding personal security… being aware of what’s going on around you, and from a distance (instead of burying your head in your iPhone while texting, etc.) This awareness (and recognition of what REALLY is happening) will allow you to make decisions as to how and handle it… go around, turn around, confront, etc.

To: “Just Another Canadian”
Message: You’re right on. Thanks for the comment.


  1. glad you made the points…good ones.

    maybe it is why here is Canada there is a fairly strong tradition of Big Dogs….They can be quite helpful.

    re security…don’t know if this happens in the states, but up here we seem to be inundated with telephone solicitors offering us
    -free installation of home alarms
    -free inspection of my furnace

    to all of these I say some version of “already have one”.

    I hope no one ever admits to these characters they do not have an alarm, or lets them in for a look around so they can case the place?

  2. I’m not crazy about guns myself, although I do have one I don’t carry when going out. I believe in situational awareness to keep me clear of trouble. Since purchasing my handgun it has never left my bedroom. I feel if someone enters my house in the middle of the night and get as far as my bedroom its my last line of defense. We have always had big dogs until about 2 years ago when we had to put down our Rottie due to cancer. Once she was gone I found I had trouble sleeping knowing that layer of protection was gone. It was not practical for us to replace her at that time and still isn’t, so my handgun is substitute. It gives me enough peace of mind in order to sleep at night.

  3. Also, to be clear, I posted this article to point out that situational awareness, and being street smart, is just as important if not more important than the last line of defense itself. In no way am I suggesting a negative view on firearms…

  4. We keep multiple firearms at home, but contrary to popular belief not all Texans carry firearms, more are starting too. I am debating getting my concealed handgun license though. Crime is going up even in the smaller towns. But knowing self defense and being self aware goes a long way too. Also I do carry a knife for self defense, but getting it fast enough in some situations would be tough I think.

  5. I live in Mississippi,since the goings on in the Newtown gun free zone killings,our Highway Patrol has had to increase the days and times for people to come in and go through the process of getting their ccw permits.It has been said that requests for ccw permits have more than doubled,this I don’t doubt.From what a Deputy friend of mine that teaches the enhanced carry class,the class where you are able to carry in more places,requests for his class have also increased,he used to teach the class once a month 30 students per class,now he teaches the class three times a month with 30 students per class.I used to be a Deputy myself and situational awareness was part of your going home after your shift was over.I still practice it everyday,also carry everyday,because you never know what you might come across,myself I encourage those who can to carry also.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

    1. Andy, the last time that we moved (to a new state, not too long ago), and when the Mrs. and I took the class to obtain our concealed-carry permits, we were amazed by the size of the class (impressed) and the cross section of those who were taking the class. There were a surprising number of seniors, women, and middle aged. People apparently have a renewed sense that this is important and it’s in their best interest to do so. The police chief who was giving the class even commented how it has been very busy regarding class attendance. Although I won’t mention who or where, he was a very good instructor and I was pleased to discover that he was on “our” side, so to speak. There are plenty of good cops out there who “get it”…

      And yes, situational awareness is THE KEY, especially when carrying.

  6. I’ve had a concealed weapons permit since NOV 86. I carry a loaded firearm everywhere that I go, even church. I can count the times that I drew a gun on one hand. Regardless of the low number of incidents that I needed a weapon, I am a staunch advocate of always being armed. I am also highly observant of our government’s repeated efforts to disarm the nation. I see nefarious intent. Our Forefathers realized the importance of an armed population. They did not write the 2nd Amendment for hunting and the fact that muskets were the modern firearm at the time has NO bearing on the argument today. To understand the reasons that we should maintain this liberty, one only has to take an objective look at history. The tyrants and despots have always disarmed their people in the early stages of their power grab. It can happen here, too. In fact, it is happening right now.

  7. I recently did some research as a result of a dialog with another over a blog. I was making a point regarding Canadian per capita firearms ownership statistics with another and we were making our points based on radically conflicting statistics. The difference between official UN statistics and official statistics based on government records showed a difference of more than double the UN stats. When Canada introduced its draconian Firearms Act 3 million Canadians obediently submitted to the new regulations and jumped through the hoops while 4 million had the attitude Phuk the government and either hid, buried their guns or just plain did not comply. According to pre 1993 Firearms Act government statistics are are most likely 20 million guns in Canada with a population of 35 million, a per capita gun ownership statistic that is higher than the US.

  8. In Canada we do have a ‘shortage’ of small guns. Being vigilant of surrounds seems to make us apologetic and more easy to get alone with in order to keep the peace and be safe. I think that the people that do have the long guns probably have more than one, two, three, or more for different uses.

    On the subject of awareness, I think a lot of us fail by giving out too much information: telling the taxi driver on the way to the airport you are going away for two weeks and other information he gleans about your empty house. People always store their valuables in and around their bedroom. It is so easy for a B&E to make a bulk carry all of your dresser contents from your bedspread. Don’t forget to hang all your keys by the garage door (sarc).

    I think a small handsaw hanging on a hook near your entry door would be a legit ‘backoff’ tool to ward off an intruder; ever try to grab a saw from someone. Depending where I am going, I keep one in my backpack within easy reach. A few slashes and loud yelling gives you some space imo.

    1. Ur..
      thanks. that is a good suggestion, handsaw. it is not so easy in Canada to “have something handy”/while at the same time being able to claim you had no intention to use it as a weapon. Heck, re the Toronto “spice man incident”, the restaurant owner threw a bowl of spice at a perp, and he was charged for using a weapon (OMG).

  9. I grew up strange.. outside north america. I had kidnapping attempts..
    I’ve tried taking self defense classes many times, I always get asked to leave.
    See I was taught two rules very young. and have used them in my professional life..
    IF someone is trying to harm you, Do Not Allow it.
    Anything can be a weapon.
    I can’t box. I can’t have a fair fight. I can only break people.
    I’m never comfortable in public. Because I’m always watching.. Even on a hot date. I know where all the doors are and everyone that comes and goes.
    On the good side I’ve never been successfully mugged. Having a gun would only mean I could take on a group. cause as it is I’m limited in how many I can defend against. I don’t know if I would want to carry.. I guess it depends on how the country degrades over time..

  10. A gun is only one tool in the box. I have carried a gun on me everyday in every place permissible to me to do so. Situational awareness is paramount in every thing you do, see the trouble, avoid the trouble but be prepared to fight if the trouble follows you. Train physically, train in martial forms, train in threat assessment, train with your weapon and how to incorporate it into a defense plan. Train, train, and train some more. When you are tired of training, TRAIN some more.

    The most important tool in the box of anyone who is serious about their protection and the protection of their loved ones, is the mindset of survival. Prepare yourself mentally for the horrors of combat. A gun fight is not like the movies, its not done in great light and its seldom done in a fair manner. In all likelihood an armed confrontation will take place in low light, an ambush type scenario and will last approx 3-7 seconds with an average of 5 rounds fired.

    A handgun is not a powerful weapon, its not the movies where the good guy fires one shot and the bad guy is blow backwards with a gaping hole in his chest. The reality is that it often takes multiple hits on a person to incapacitate them. A fight is over when one of the combatants can no longer continue, be it that one is dead or wounded beyond ability to continue. Remember if you choose to shoot, shoot till the threat is resolved. There are no rules in a gun fight, the agressor has no rules and I assure you he will not play by yours.

  11. @ Steve, I completely understand. My wife used to think I was a bit crazy, by my choices of tables at restaurants, how I’d watch the pack and the doors and at the local JCPenny while shopping, even making eye contact with store security, which they hate, but are so easy to spot. Always making direct eye contact with anyone I thought could cause me trouble.

    Till the day a man attempted to mug us. I was prepared, I saw it coming and averted the entire situation (story too long to type). It IS called being hyper-vigilante. My wife no longer questions anything i do and has learned to be self aware as well.

  12. >I saw it coming and averted the entire situation (story too long to type)

    I’d like to hear some of these stories. Esp., what things you trained for / or did that gave you a leg up on the situation. A compilation of these types of stories as an article would be an interesting read.

  13. When confronted by an attacker its better that you have the advantage of the element of surprise. As a young, or middle aged person turning, going around, or running away is a very commendable action of avoiding a conflict from an aggressive person.
    BUT if your a aged impaired person and tired of being intimidated physically as well as mentally and , bullied, by people that have no regards for your freedom of movement as well as your right to be happy, then I would say that it wouldn’t be bad to have your intimidator (gun) on you to even out the combative playing field, as you would only use it if approached with their intent to do bodily harm to you and them giving you a fear for your life to yourself or loved ones.
    A lot of grandparents now have charge of taking care of children taking them to the parks, and many other places and it would be terrible to see someone do bodily harm to a child that you love right in front of you and you are helpless other then taking a video of it. Police can not be everywhere and a response time by the police may be to long for you to stay alive if a situation goes bad and negotiations don’t go well. Having a concealed weapon by a trained person only gives you an advantage if confronted by an irrational person that doesn’t believe in your human rights of being secure for your well being. Thank You

  14. I know what city this person is referring to because I live there myself and I can attest to his comments 100%. I’ve only been in one bad situation in my entire life, whereas other people i know who are not as aware/observant have had many misfortunes. Master your environment or it will master you.

  15. anyone living in canada and don,t own at least a shotgun and think he-she is safe is kidding themselves if people where armed the way they should the word home invasion would have never been coined take a lesson from switzrland.

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