“Anyone heard of the 21-foot rule?” The instructor at Patriot Defense looked over the class, and no one offered a guess. Several things ran through my mind. There’s the rule that says, “That 21-foot pile of baling twine is gonna lay right thar ’til spring thaw.” Another says: No matter how much calving difficulty that cow may be in, when you come within 21 feet, she will jump like a mouse caught in the grain bin and high-tail it over a 5-foot board corral. That’s a rule.

Jaynes lynn
Emeritus Editor
Lynn Jaynes retired as an editor in 2023.

But that wasn’t what the instructor was looking for. He explained that an aggressor on foot can cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. Then he showed a video clip, where even someone trained in weaponry had trouble drawing for defense during that same 1.5-second time lapse. I could have come up with a lot of 21-foot rules, but that probably wouldn’t have been one of them.

But the video clip was over, and the class discussion moved on, giving me a chance to rethink why I was even there. But it was simple, really: I didn’t want 2022 to be like 2021. I work a lot from home, which is at the end of a long lane with no turnaround, and one day a panicked idiot (being chased by a deputy) turned down our lane (ignoring the sign that says “Your GPS is wrong; turn back now”), couldn’t get out, so blew through a gate and a few fences, ripped up some irrigation equipment, took a panicked joyride through a few pastures and finally ended up caught. All is well that ends well, but I kept wondering what I would have done if I had been home at the time, if he had approached the house. Hence the Patriot Defense class: I would learn to act instead of react.

It’s the same desire that took me to a hemp production meeting later. I wanted to learn about farming options with better information (act instead of react). Hemp is unfamiliar territory for Idaho farmers, and it’s challenging to find information on industrial hemp (such as will be processed in Jerome or is processed in Montana) and grain hemp (processed in Buhl or Montana). Nonetheless, the meeting I went to promised information that would ultimately help me assess its merits (act instead of react).

In another scenario, reactive writing would mean we’d be discussing the 21 things I do not want to write about – 2022 midterm elections or all the problems with social media. But active writing means we discuss other things, crucial things, things we can change – like the 21-foot rule. For starters, I think it should be a 63-foot rule, which will allow me to use three times the brainpower to try and remember where I put the dang weapon. Let’s see that on a video clip.