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I May Be Old...But Don't Mess With Me
By TC Burnett
I am old now and crippled up.  The last time my knee  got torn up was the end of it.  The doc won't even try to cobble it back together.  He says my age precludes me from being a candidate for reconstructive surgery.  OK.  I can handle wearing a brace 24/7 to keep the bottom of the leg under the top and my toes pointing forward.  At least I can feel my toes.  I don't suppose I'll be pivoting any roundhouse kicks off that knee again.  
Eventually the body goes.  It's just that way.  It wears out - sooner for warriors, all of whom hope to go out in a blaze of glory - but the glory days passed and I didn't realize it.  Now I'm stuck.  I have an evacuation plan of course.  But it only kicks in if I am on the cusp of not being able to care for myself or move freely.  The stupid brace allows both of those options.  Or if I think I am losing my faculties - but I have been acting like this all my life.  How would I know the difference?  
My birthday is in a month.  It is now ten years past my planned obsolescence but I still wake up every morning, tend the cow, feed a few feral pigs and some mangy cats.  I'm still ticking at 118/72.  I just realized today that I can't kill my cow or even the pigs.  I can hunt animals - but I can't kill them and I can't butcher them. I never could kill animals.  I can only kill people.  And it's been many years since anyone needed killin'. I'm not 'official' anymore.  I can't go hunting bad guys.  I have to wait until one happens to find me and there just aren't that many seriously bad people in Hawaii.  And if he - or they - ever show up,  I only hope that some of the skills I used to hone still work - at least a little. 
People used to think I was a coward because I avoided - and STILL avoid confrontations of any sort.  I'd run away rather than fight - unless I was arresting someone.  They'd fight if I couldn't talk them out of it (believe me, I ALWAYS tried!)  but when the swing or the knife or the gun appeared, off we'd go. it was my job.  I never, for a second, believed that I could lose a fight and die in the street.  I accepted the possibility of death - but not of defeat.  Now I can't run away anymore but I still won't accept defeat.
Here's what's left.  I am going to be walking around my farms or I may be in town, or I may be out in the jungle doing something.  And, because I am wearing a full leg brace, and might not be quite as spry as a youngster, I might look like a prey item to the uninitiated.  But I have a particular mindset, and a creed which I have followed all my life.
(1) Be prepared.  You don't know what is going to happen one minute from now.  So you have better be ready to start from where you are, with what you have in your immediate possession, and survive with just that. 
What do I have that you don't?  Two flashlights and a tiny LED keychain light.  At least one knife - usually a Swiss Army.  A small amount  of 99.99% pure magnesium and a flint starter.  I can start a fire underwater that will burn at 5,000 degrees for several minutes.  Fire keys for all the elevators in my state.  There are only two discrete ones. Contact lenses and tinted safety glasses in case I break my glasses.  A four-band 5 watt handheld HAM radio opened up to all the public service and Coast guard channels.  I can talk to anyone. And #(3). If I can get to my truck, that capability is multiplied.  If I can get home, it increases by an order of magnitude.
(2) Live in Orange.  Most people can barely slip out of White into Yellow for a few seconds before they fall back into white.  I live in Orange.  I go only one way from there > active shooter.  But I control my breathing and pulse rate right through red.
(3) Have a gun. Have it loaded.  Have it on you.  Be proficient with it.  Proficient is not 'basically safe'.  Proficient means you have to be able to do what the gun will allow you to do.  And have a plan to kill everyone you meet. When that one person in your life appears, you won't expect it but you have to be ready.
(4) Understand that life is fleeting and that no one lives forever.  If you have to die, today is a wonderful day.
(5) I am old, but I own the night.  If you have a flashlight, I own you, too.  If you don't, you have to come to me and I can smell your fear. I know where you are.
(6) Understand this.  Shoot me in the heart and blow pieces of it out the back of my chest - you will stop shooting to watch me die.  But I already know I'm dead - and I know that I have 5 seconds of trigger-time left and nothing else to do but use it.  I will kill you and everyone with you in that five seconds.  
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