By Bill Tallen, VP Tactical Operations, Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc.
We are uncompromising supporters of the Second Amendment as a guarantee of individual rights; of shall-issue concealed carry permits, and of “Constitutional carry” without state regulation. The Founders’ logic and the historical record support these positions.
Source: American Enterprise Institute; data from the Centers for Disease Control and the Congressional Research Service
Gun homicide and other violent crime rates in most of America have fallen over the last 20 years, as the number of citizens who legally carry concealed weapons – and the sheer number of privately owned firearms – has grown. The most heinous acts of violence – mass shootings by terrorists and the mentally disturbed – have occurred in places where law-abiding citizens are prohibited from carrying a gun. Those who cannot draw logical conclusions from these simple facts will continue to press for more restrictions on firearms ownership and legal carry, exactly the opposite of what is needed.
When you are threatened with violence, moral and philosophical arguments, appeals to reason, emotion, aesthetics, and compassion will not protect you. What will protect you is violence or a credible threat of violence, justly and precisely applied.
The police won’t protect you, because they won’t be there. Their preventive and deterrent influence, which contributes to civil order in a larger sense, will have failed you, then and there. You must either defend yourself, or allow yourself to become a victim, which is a shameful and degraded moral stance.
However, a resolve to stand up and defend yourself is not enough, if you lack the means.
We’ve heard school teachers say that they are willing to “take a bullet” to protect the students in their care. They are, unfortunately, delusional if they think they could defeat a shooter with eloquent speech and thrown staplers. In most of America, schools are “gun free zones” – we call them “unarmed victim zones.” The best an unarmed teacher can do is shield a child’s body with his own, taking the first rounds. He will only have saved himself from watching what happens after, as the children who were in his care are shot. How brave. How useless. How pathetic.
How can you defend yourself and others in the face of violent threats? Against today’s threats – violent criminals or terrorists, alone or in groups – strong words will not suffice. Unarmed self-defense probably won’t either, unless you are young, strong, exceedingly well trained in a realistic system and inured to up-close, bone-breaking, eye-gouging, crippling personal violence.
Those who wish to do you harm will be strong, fast, more acclimated to giving and receiving violence than most of us, and utterly unconcerned about the physical and emotional damage they cause. They will plan for and rely upon speed, surprise and aggression to overwhelm any resistance, because they know how easy it is to get hurt, badly, in anything approaching a “fair fight.”
Self-reliance in the face of a violent threat means, quite simply, having an effective weapon at hand (not locked in your car, or in your safe); and having the skill to use it effectively, and the will to act immediately and decisively, to overcome all the natural advantages of the aggressor.
Pepper spray is a powerful irritant, but people sufficiently amped on adrenaline, alcohol, illegal drugs, or just plain “mean” will walk through a cloud of it to get to you. Blunt weapons (bats and batons), edged weapons, and electronic stun guns can all be effective in some circumstances, but just like empty handed fighting, they all require close contact with the offender, and at that range youth, strength, speed, surprise and aggression, and frequent, hard, dangerous, realistic practice will decide the victor. Those not at the top of that game should look to the firearm as the great equalizer.
A firearm is not a talisman that wards off evil by its mere presence. It is a tool that you must be able and willing to use at a moment’s notice, because you will not likely have more than a moment in which to react. No one is born to these skills, but almost anyone can be trained. And there’s the rub.
How many of us really train? How much and how often? Are we self-trained, or do we seek professionally designed and presented training? How often do we practice the critical and perishable skills that we have learned?
The NRA offers excellent introductory courses for first time gun owners, covering basic principles of operation and gun safety. That is not enough. Concealed Carry courses differ state-by-state, but the actual training component is usually minimal; that is not enough. Some Americans, men especially, believe that they were born with all the knowledge of firearms they’ll ever need, or that hunting skills suffice for close quarter combat. They’re wrong.
Your life, or the lives of your loved ones, and in a larger sense, our survival as a civil society of free citizens in an increasingly dangerous world, depend on the ability of armed citizens like you to be vigilant, make sound decisions under pressure, and execute those decisions safely and effectively whether they involve shooting or not.
The record shows that armed citizens, even those with minimal formal training, can and do act with restraint, precision, and determination, and save innocent lives. Even so, self-reliance implies responsibility, and what responsibility can any individual carry that is more important than the ability to apply deadly force in defense of self and others?
There’s a bumper sticker that says, “Gun Control is hitting your target.” There’s more to it than that. There’s the recognition of a threat justifying deadly force; the decision to employ that force; the mindset that will allow you to employ deadly force effectively – to win the fight while minimizing risk to others. If we do not take those responsibilities seriously – if we do not train and maintain the necessary skill sets and act appropriately, decisively, and effectively on the day they are needed – we will support the “gun control” narrative of those who do not trust their fellow citizens with the means of self-defense. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Get serious about your equipment, your mindset, and your training.
Please welcome the team at Pulse O2DA Firearms Training to the Daily Caller. This series will appear every Saturday. Over the next 10 weeks we will cover: