Personal Safety for the On-The-Job DJ: The Last Resort

In my book, “The Complete Disc Jockey,” I included a section on safety and security tips for the mobile DJ based on a series of articles I wrote for another publication.  It included everything from truck packing to prevent damage to gear, ways to secure vehicles and trailers against theft, insurance, tactical strategies (how to park, staying aware of surroundings) and so on. The topic is so nebulous, in fact, that I’m considering writing yet another book devoted entirely to safety and security for the club and mobile DJ.  For now, we jump to the end.

WARNING!  CONTROVERSY AHEAD!

Few things, however, were more controversial than the section on including a firearm in the DJ’s safety arsenal.  Now, a decade later, my bet is that reactions might be even more extreme given the current political climate.  So when I was asked to address the topic, let me say at the outset that a firearm is always a LAST RESORT!  They are not for everyone.  I know that if there were children in my home, if I had anger issues, or if I or my wife suffered from depression or other mental issues, my situation and relationship with firearms would be very different.  My purpose here, then, is not to recommend, but to address those DJs who have already determined that this added layer of protection is needed.

A primary concern IS safety; yours and everyone around you.  For this overarching and important consideration, I’m going to emphatically recommend getting proper training.  By “proper,” I don’t mean looking up the cheapest CCW class in your area. Take the time to do a bit of research. Learn who is conducting the class, how extensive it is, and what sort of reputation the instructor or group has. Don’t skimp here.  The idea is to achieve more safety, not become a hazard.  As the old song goes, take your time, do it right.

NO PANACEA; NO OTHER OPTION

A firearm is no guarantee of safety, especially against an armed robber or assailant, but conversely there is no sane, rational response to an armed attack than an armed response!  So the top four things to keep in mind here are:
1. Select a firearm that fits you; that you can easily control, comfortably carry for long periods of time, keep out of sight yet secure (conceal) and reliably hit your target.
2. Always carry in a holster!  Again, get one that’s comfortable and secure.  While I’m no fan of retention holsters, if you’re going to be active, then you cannot risk having your firearm drop out!  Try a few.  Get recommendations.
3. Practice often!  At the very least, head to the range and put a minimum of one box (50 rounds) down range each month.  Habituate safe handling practices and make your sight alignment, trigger control, breath control and all the other elements you will learn in your training second nature.  If an attack happens, it must be “muscle memory” at that point.  You won’t have time to think about your stance!
4. Always work to NOT need it.  As I said, a firearm is a last resort, when all else has failed.  Every bullet has a lawyer attached to it, so unless your life is in immediate jeopardy, then keep it holstered and remember the Triple A’s.

AWARENESS, AVOIDANCE, ACTION

Your best self-defense weapon lies between your ears.  Paying attention to your surroundings, who is doing what, where they are, if anything looks odd or out of place, etc., can alert you to potential threats.  Keep an eye on anything that’s “not quite right.” If you DO see an actual threat, then leave.  If trouble is coming, simply get the heck out of the way!  The best gun fights are those you are NOT INVOLVED IN.  This is the “avoidance” part.  It also includes the ability to keep your own anger in check. We all deal with rude people.  A DJ might face a guest who is drunk or high, but again, we need to assess whether or not the threat meets the level of an armed response.  Unless it’s your LIFE, then again, keep it holstered.  Learn how to de-escalate.  I can’t tell you how many fights I’ve avoided by simply saying, “Hey, I didn’t mean anything by it.  Let me buy you a beer.”

Action, the last “A,” means that once you’re facing an actual lethal threat, you must commit to taking action.  If the firearm comes out of the holster, you must be fully capable and committed to USING it if the threat doesn’t stop immediately.  A moment of hesitation or indecision could be fatal.

Yes, this article barely scratches the surface. It’s a big topic for less than 1,000 words!  So I invite you to drop me a line if you have any serious questions about adding a firearm to your protection plan.  (No arguments, please.  Save those for Facebook.)  Write me at: glockslinger@keepandbeararms.com.

As always, until next time, safe spinnin’!

Stu Chisholm
Stu Chisholm of Stu & His Crew Professional Disc Jockey Service in Michigan has worked in several areas of the DJ Universe. He’s been a radio, mobile, club and roller skating rink DJ in the Detroit area since 1979, and done commercial voice-over work, as well. Stu has been a keynote and featured speaker at DJ trade shows in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. He is the author of the book, “The Complete Disc Jockey” and is a regular columnist with Mobile Beat Magazine. To contact him, email DJStuCrew@gmail.com. You can grab Stu’s book at TheCompleteDiscJockey.com.

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