There is one indisputable lesson we now need to finally learn from the Florida bridge collapse – our government cannot protect us. We now know that the engineers warned Florida State agencies the bridge was unsafe. They did nothing. We learned weeks ago that the South Florida sheriff and police new that Cruz wanted to shoot up the high school. They did nothing. Florida agency knew Kenny Chatman was killing and raping young people looking to recover from addiction. They did nothing. The lesson we need to learn is simple: government bureaucracies are incapable of protecting us. Not by accident, but by design. But there is another, more important and actionable lesson.

The government is incapable of protecting us because the world is far more complicated that their abilities to deal with it. The complexity of our society is growing exponentially (twice as complex next month, four times in two months, sixteen times in three, so on), while the government’s ability to govern and respond is only growing linearly. This result is a catastrophic capabilities gap. One that requires filling, because nature abhors a gap. It is a very dangerous gap that is often exploited by bad people and even Mother Nature herself. So what can you do if the government cannot, should not, be relied upon for our safety?

You, the person reading this, needs to learn to protect yourself, your family, and your friends. You need to become an effective first responder. Being a first responder means being prepared to proactively respond to a situation happening now or in the future. It means having more situational awareness of the events around you and those that can impact you – getting your head out of your iPhone, so to speak. It means having more than ample food and water in the event local stores cannot provide them. Being a first responder mean knowing where you would go if going home was not longer an option. It means learning to protect yourself with common tools around you and lethal response systems like firearms. But it also means spending time to learn and practices with these capabilities in order to develop muscle memory (skills) so that they become second nature… like riding a bike or driving a car.

Get off the bench, go onto the field, and into the self reliance game. Become a first responder player, a real participant. You can decide right now, right here, to save your family – to be their hero. An event may not happen today or tomorrow, but one will happen. One that will hurt them without your first response. The important question is, “Will you be ready?”

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