I didn’t know this until recently, but when S.W.A.T. magazine first started publishing in the early 1980s, its name wasn’t meant to imply “Special Weapons and Tactics” (aka police SWAT teams).
The original name was “Survival Weapons and Tactics.”
Well, if you happen to have a copy of the February 2012 issue, which just came out, you might notice that’s what the tagline (just below the title) says once again.
Publisher Rich Lucibella and editor Denny Hansen each got the idea independently that the magazine should shift its emphasis from heavy cop-and-soldier material to information for hard times. They were democratic enough to run this by the writers and staff, who agreed with enthusiasm (and then, naturally, picked a few nits.)
Denny made the announcement like this in the latest issue:
When S.W.A.T. premiered back in the early 1980s, it was called Survival Weapons and Tactics. The name was chosen in large part due to the fact that the country was in the middle of a great recession. People did not trust government and were interested in taking more personal responsibility for themselves and their families.
Three decades later, history is being repeated but on a larger, more dangerous scale.
S.W.A.T. will continue to review guns, gear, and techniques, but over time, there’ll be more articles on things like emergency medicine, home security, black markets … and who knows what else?
You can just imagine how pleased I am by the shift. I’ve hung with S.W.A.T. all these years because Rich and Denny are fine gentlemen who tolerate me amazingly well (and because the writers I’ve tried to nudge into my place keep handing the job back to me). Rich is very definitely a freedomista. Denny leans strongly in that direction and is reasonable and civil when we disagree on things. But because of the ‘zine’s environment I’ve always felt like a pacifist in the middle of a neocon convention or a civil libertarian in the middle of Capitol Hill.
The cop-and-soldier stuff isn’t going to go away. After all, that’s a big part of the magazine’s readership and advertising base. But it’ll be interesting to see the subtle content shift.
Now … here’s your assignment, should you choose to accept it: Tell me what topics you’d like to see me write on (within the following parameters).
My S.W.A.T. column is called “Enemy at the Gate.” It’s political and even under the new regime it’s not going to become a how-to column. It’s going to continue to opinionate (and I hope inform) regarding ways that government, including its enforcement arms, messes things up for the rest of us.
The column I’m working on now, for instance, is about the schizzy attitude government has toward personal preparedness.
So what else would you like to hear me say about government and politics, and how they relate to hard times, hard-headed individualists, survival, preparedness, frugality, neighborliness, self-sufficiency, and other things that are now becoming more important than ever?