Increasing My Universal Set

| March 1, 2017 | 2 Comments

A Venn diagram is a drawing that shows how two or more groups of data (called sets) are alike and different. Each data set is a circle, and any common data is represented by the overlap of the circles.

This overlap is called the “universal set.”

About two months ago I posted about a philosophy called “Rowing the Boat.” The “boat” part of the analogy is the people we surround ourselves with. I believe we need to build as big of a “boat” as possible, especially reaching out to people who wouldn’t normally be in the “boat” with us.

At the end of my article was a challenge to invite someone new to go to a training event, or learn something new, etc. I wanted people to be a guide into the larger world of preparedness and self reliance.

Last Tuesday, The She Shepherd and I hosted 8 people at our home for a high level discussion about emergency medical care. I stocked a “ringer” in the group — my buddy Will — but I wanted to have someone besides us there who already had their shit together.

We have a large group of friends in the self defense community. We also have a large group of friends who are not in this community, and probably never will be. However, we feel strongly about stopgap medical care that the layperson can perform until more qualified help arrives.

Our discussion attempted to increase the size of our Universal Set: people who were interested in trauma care. I don’t care much about what else they do, but I feel that knowing what a tourniquet is, the difference between gauze and a medical sponge, and other high level concepts is something everyone should know.

The attendees (except for Will, he’s down for the cause) were not gun owners. Most of them had never shot a gun before, and some have never seen a gun in real life.

These people are not going to attend trauma care as currently marketed towards the layperson for the following reasons:

  • Most trauma care classes are centered around violent acts. How to treat a gunshot wound. How to deal with a stabbing. Some of the attendees believe that they will never be involved in a violent crime, let alone one that results in serious injury.
  • Some trauma care classes are bundled with self defense. It may be life fire, simunitions, or both — but these attendees are not interested in self defense, especially with guns.
  • Some attendees equate self defense tools — and the pursuit of skill with those tools — as opposite to their political views and culture. This election has burnt a shitload of bridges.

If emergency medical classes are structured around self defense situations and taught in conjunction with shooting (real or simulated), then attendance will be limited to those already in our self defense community.

If we want to “build a bigger boat,” we must engage people outside of the self defense community.

Our hope was to pique the interest of these people and have a pre-class discussion about emergency medical care topics so they felt more comfortable getting professional training in the future. We wanted to inform and demystify, not teach.

With some effort and some empathy, I hoped to increase the Universal Set of my friends’s interest to include trauma care for the layperson.

Here’s what we did

  • We invited people who were parents, worked in dense populations, worked with power tools, etc., or a combination of these attributes.
  • We hosted an information-only event in our home. We used our house because it was a comfortable space with no other bias, such as a classroom at a gun range.
  • We wanted no more than 10 guests. We invited 17 people. 8 accepted. This was an experiment for us as much as it was outreach. We wanted to keep the audience small to address questions and maintain our timeline.
  • Most of the people we invited had families, so we wanted to do this during the work week instead of on the weekend when they are doing stuff with / for their kids.
  • The session was 3 hours long, starting at 6PM. The presentation ended at 8:59 after taking questions. Some stayed around until 10PM.
  • We did not attempt to teach any medical techniques. The presentation explained why immediate emergency medical care was important, our definition of “immediate emergency care,” and common terms, tools, and techniques within the scope our definition.In short, we discussed the principles of MARCH, with emphasis on the Massive Hemorrhaging, Airway, and Respiratory portions. We assumed that higher care would be 30 minutes away or less.
  • We reframed all causes for trauma to things they could relate to, such as a vehicle accident, an incident with power tools, or something that might happen during a recreational activity. We did not talk about gunshot wounds, stabbings, or bombs.
  • We discussed how to make a 911 call. We talked about exercises they could do to increase the effectiveness of their call, such as constantly updating where they were in their head so they could give a good location to the 911 operator. We stressed the importance of practice, and how they could “get some reps in” by doing a 911 call in their head after passing a broken down car or someone pulled over for a traffic stop.
  • Attendees were able to look at emergency care tools without the pressure of having to use them, or being sold to, or influenced as to which one was “better” than the other.
  • We directed attendees to resources in case they wanted to learn more. We provided resources in two groups: trauma care programs as taught by those somehow involved in the self defense community, and organizations that will cover trauma care as part of a larger umbrella program (e.g., CERT or Red Cross).

I repeatedly stated that this was not a medical class. It was an introduction to trauma care, and important terms that they would encounter when they took on real training.

My goal is to get some or all of these attendees into a real trauma care class taught by a professional. So far some people have expressed interest in learning more, but the real proof will be when enrollment time comes around. It will be interesting to see the conversion rate.

I will also run another one or two of these at our house so we have more data to analyze.

How’s your boat building going?

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

2 Comments on "Increasing My Universal Set"

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  1. Jim Molnar says:


    This is an awesome idea. Simply knowing that someday you be surrounded by friends who may have a basic level of first aid knowledge is very comforting.


    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Thanks for your comment! It will never hurt to have more friends around with some level of medical training and/or equipment. The life we save may be our own 😉

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