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Egalitarianism on display.
The second amendment is a tool that recognized a fundamental right of each individual to resist tyranny.
Tyranny is not only the hand of a nefarious government intruding on individual liberty.... tyranny can take the form of a mugger, an abusive spouse, or a sexual predator.
A gun is a tool that allows a citizen to resist tyranny.
Does it potentially make the tyrant more powerful as well?
Does that make the relevancy of the firearm moot for the protection of life and the resistance to tyranny?
Don’t be ridiculous... of course not.
(If you arrived here from our email continue reading here:)
But only certain types of people buy guns right?
Less educated, politically conservative, religious zealots right?
This last weekend Sandy and I worked our first ever Artemis Defense Institute booth at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show.
What a couple of days that was!
Immediately after the show opened hundreds of people flooded the hall, most searching for quick cheap deals on ammo and many glancing towards our booth and trying to figure out who the hell we were.
Then everything stopped.
Over the loudspeaker there was a call to pause and say the Pledge of Allegiance. During the pledge I furtively glanced around at all of the people who had arrived there early.
Anti-gun folks like to propagate a specific narrative about gun owners. To diminish our relevancy the first thing they need to do is cast us as a homogeneous group. This usually tends to be based on race.
Gun owners are white people.
Throw in a little abject racism, a smattering of anti-semitism, sophistry secured to the ball and chain of conspiracy theories.... and for good measure make sure that they are not educated and we got our selves the stereotypical gun owner right?
Not even close.
The group that I saw was first and foremost large. I mean really large, and from what I was told kinda on the small side for a typical gun show. It was also diverse. While there were definitely more men in attendance women made up a good chunk of the attendees.
There racial make up was pretty broad too: African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians and a few that quite frankly I had a difficult time pinning down.
I’m not sure how relevant the sexual orientation of the people there was,... but for those of you that are keeping score of our big "political tent", I can tell you I saw two gentleman wearing Pink Pistols Gay Shooting Organization shirts.... from this I can only make assumptions.
The point is that our visceral aversion to tyranny is not dictated by race, gender or national origin.
Nor is it a mandate of wealth.
There were quite a few people that came to our booth who clearly had established wealth.
(Or are deeply in debt).
There were others that were not ashamed to admit that they were on fixed budgets and were exited to hear that they could participate in our training programs for a fee that would not require a second mortgage.
These two groups intermingled, talked and exchanged advise on guns and training without hesitation or restraint. While they might live in different worlds economically they were bound together with a common cause.... the active resistance against tyranny.
While money might buy you better guns, it will not dictate your place among free men and women.
Ours is an egalitarian society indeed. (And from what we saw from the people that came to our booth a pretty friendly society as well!)
Sending live rounds down range.
I just got back from a morning of live fire shooting with my family.
The summer holds a special benefit for us when it comes to familial scheduling. With our youngest daughter off from school... and our occasional day off from Artemis being set for Mondays, we can go to our local outdoor range and not worry about the crowds or long wait times.
Chaney (The daughter) and I have Elk tags in Colorado so it is incumbent on both of us to do a little rifle work between now and the October hunt. We decided that today would be a perfect day to go to Raahagues... zero our rifles, and what the hell since Sandy would be joining us too.... bring our pistols and do a little live fire work.
(If you are arriving here from our email continue reading here)
The zeroing went relatively fast, and with the addition of Kavon our armorer to our little group we headed over to the pistol range.
Kavon was shooting his little baby Glock.... Chaney had her Sig 239, Sandy her Springfield EMP and I was shooting the Mighty Kimber Desert Warrior 1911.
We just don’t get to shoot that often. Sure... we send thousands of virtual rounds down range every week... but to actually get out and go shooting...Well... That is a luxury that just does not happen very frequently.
Our performance? OUTSTANDING!
We drill all the time on tac loads, movements and proper presentation techniques. All of us were consistent with our quick target acquisition and our weapons manipulation. Before we moved over to the pistol range the range master set up two bowling pins at 110 yards and Kavon and I... just for kicks... decided to try to hit them with his baby Glock.
He fired a dozen or so rounds and came incredibly close, (not bad for a .40 cal round sent down range at that distance.) I took the gun from him and nailed the pin on my second shot. My little gallery cheered at my magnificence... but Kavon analyzed the situation correctly: dumb luck. This was proven by the twenty or so misses that followed on the remaining bowling pin.
The point of this little missive: Shooting does not have to be a solitary exercise.
Sure... I love shooting alone. (Especially when I’m doing rifle work). Shooting with a group... especially your family changes the dynamics and makes the whole process a hell of a lot more fulfilling.
My wife and I were able to share the pride we have in our daughter, and she in turn was able to bask in the glow of admiration she received from her parents.
In short... we had fun.
Isn’t hat the point?
A team becomes a team because of the confidence that builds among the individual members, as well as the group as a whole. The shared experiences act as a binding agent that unites the desperate parts into a single cohesive unit. A family is no different.
We shared an experience today, one that Chaney seemed to feel the need to incessantly verbalize the entire ride back home.
This is the way it should be.
The Ultimate Warrior...
The other day I had the pleasure of listening to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman give a lecture to a bunch of cops and business people in Orange County.
He said something that really resonated with me and I would like to share it with you.
There is no such thing as the “ultimate warrior”.
This might sound like a defeatist statement when it comes to our personal path towards what we call “unconscious competency”. (More about this in a bit).
It is not.... it is a realistic appraisal and a motivational tool at the same time.
There is no “ultimate warrior”. The magnificent warriors of the Comanche, The Mongols, the Samurai, the Spartans... they all strove toward this goal... but in the end the goal is elusive.
As it should be.
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The “Ultimate Warrior” is the far end of a scale. The willfully defenseless babe is at the opposite end. We each fall somewhere along this continuum. Our place along this scale is not a piece of property that once secured stays with you forever. This scale is fluid, and while you might have achieved a higher point than another in one context, you might fall far lower in another.
I have a fairly decent amount of training when it comes to survival in an aquatic environment. I have expanded that training to allow me to survive and hopefully thrive in a subtropical climate. I am completely ignorant of how to adapt and survive in an Arctic climate.
My scale differs for each specific situation.
Very few of us enter the world of weapons training as complete novices. Somewhere along the way someone took us to a shooting range sometime. We have also been exposed to literally millions of images of graphic violence courtesy of Hollywood, as we inched towards adulthood.
As such we have a pre-existing belief in our ability to survive violence. We are “Unconsciously Incompetent”. We think we are much better than we really are. After some training we are exposed to our own inadequacies. Those that are willing to acknowledge it become “Consciously Incompetent”. We know we don’t know what we thought we knew.
After training begins to set in we become “Consciously Competent”. Given a specific set of circumstances we can elegantly perform a pre-scripted series of maneuvers that may allow us to survive. This of course pre-supposes that we are confronted with that specific set of circumstances.
Lastly,... with time... we become “Unconsciously Competent”.
We don’t think about our tactics... we don’t “think” about are maneuvers... they happen with effortless precision because we have willed them into our being.
Is this the manifestation of the “Ultimate Warrior”.
Even the most inept young little league player may if the stars are aligned, hit the ball in just the right manner to achieve a home run.
Does this mean that he is destined for pro-baseball?
If he practices and practices and dedicates himself to the proposition that he may earn his talent and some day be good enough for the pros, can he achieve that dream?
Is it possible for us to become an “Ultimate Warrior”?
I honestly don’t know... Frankly maybe it is beside the point. Maybe the journey towards that goal is more important than any ultimate achievement.
“There is a certain amount of excitement knowing that someone.... or a group of “someones”... people you will likely never meet.... possessed with far lesser knowledge of of a subject than you, decide what is best for you and demand through force, that you accept their benevolence.” - Anonymous
I heard this quote in college and I tucked it away for future use. Well.... the future is upon us!
I want you to imagine that you are a chef. (Perhaps you are a chef... or merely interested in cooking as a hobby... both are ok.)
You are on a trip to Arizona and to pass some time you wander into a high end cooking store at the local high end strip mall. There you see a beautiful damascus carving knife. It is not cheap, but you are instantly drawn to it. The sales person lets you handle it and you decide you need this knife!
(Sure... you’ve got one at home in the kitchen drawer that is similar... but it is not this beauty!)
Well.... you’re heading back by plane tomorrow and you are only taking carry on luggage, so buying the knife now is not going to work. No worries... this is a chain store, and there is a sister store just a few blocks from your house. You’ll get one just as soon as you get home.
Back home you walk into the cooking store and are shocked to find out that that knife is not available in California!
You are told that that knife is not on the approved roster of “Safe Knives” for sale in California. You see... a manufacturer must submit the knife to the Dept. of Justice. They must determine that the knife is not going to cut you or someone else unintentionally, and there must be approved features embedded in the knife. For a manufacturer to submit the knife to the Dept. of Justice they have to pay a pretty penny.
What is worse.... The Justice Dept. has just announced that all new knives on the roster must have imbedded serration micro-marking technology. (So if someone gets cut they can trace the knife back to the owner). The problem is no reliable Micro-marking technology exists.... so knife manufacturers have simply said screw it.... we won’t sell our knives in California.
This is our gun roster. While a citizen can purchase a specific handgun in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon... that same handgun... not on the roster in California is deemed by California authorities as “Unsafe”.
(I’m sure the store owners and purchasers in the bordering states are quivering at the possibility that the products they own or sell are “unsafe” by California standards.)
Sunday I went to Bass Pro for a lecture. I got there a little early and looked at the gun counter. The last time I visited there were literally hundreds of different varieties available for purchase.
Not that these guns will be around that long.
By 2015 all of the guns that are currently on the roster will have to be re-tested... and guess what... They will all fail.
One of the requirements... That they all be fitted with micro-stamping technology is not reliable, nor commercially feasible at this point.
Of interesting note... there is an exemption to being forced to buy a handgun on the roster... if you have a badge... meaning you’re in law enforcement... you are authorized to purchase and carry.... wait for it... an “UNSAFE GUN”!
This might create an interesting litigation point.
Here is the bigger problem for our law enforcement brothers and sisters...
Gun companies love to give big contracts to agencies. Not because they make a whole lot of money on the individual guns... they don’t. Because they are huge marketing opportunities.
See.. when “Metro-police” announce a contract with Evil Gun Manufacturer there are a whole bunch of civilians that decide they want to buy that same gun from Evil Gun Manufacturer. These civilians are more than willing to pay full retail... and that full retail price and the sales driven by those civilians, more than make up for the money lost with the actual contract.
If Average Joe can’t buy the gun that “Metro-police” carry, why in the world would Evil Gun Manufacturer bother with the contract in the first place?
Or... if they do... the price of the contract will go up dramatically.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, as well as Cal-Guns both have law suits challenging the Constitutional validity of the roster. In the end they will probably win... but in the mean time we wait... wait, wait, and wait... while our betters up in Sacramento smile knowing they know what is best for us.
“I’m not going to shoot”.
“Ok...you are under no obligation to shoot”
“I don’t even want to touch the gun...do I need to have one to go through the scenario?”
“Um, no...you don’t...but you will be at a serious disadvantage should you need one.”
“Thats ok...I don’t believe people other than the police should have guns in the first place...I’m only here because of this corporate event. I have no choice...if it were up to me we would have donated this money to an anti-gun group.”
“Ok...you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. If you don’t feel comfortable participating I’m sure your co-workers will understand.”
“Nope...they won’t. I’ll do it..but I’m not taking that thing in there with me.”
(If you have arrived here from our email continue reading here!)
This dialogue took place a few months ago during one of our corporate training events. This young woman was clearly not thrilled about being at Artemis. She had established very specific viewpoints about firearms and the right of the public to own and use them. I did not feel it was appropriate to debate her in front of her co-workers...so I let our simulators do the work for me.
She was insistent on not taking a firearm into the simulator with her. So I put her on a scenario where an assailant confronts a woman with a kitchen knife. Without a firearm available to protect that woman she had no choice but to stand by and watch her be murdered by her attacker.
“But...but that is not right!” She stammered after the scenario concluded.
“What do you mean?”
“Well...why did he stab her? He didn’t need to!”
“Maybe he stabbed her because he thought she would talk....maybe he stabbed her because he thought he would be sexually gratified if he stabbed her...maybe he stabbed her because he thought she was a dragon about to eat him...does it really matter why in the final analysis?”
“Well...yes it does...so it doesn’t happen again!”
“But you could have stopped it from happening in the first place if you had been willing to use deadly force when you realized an attack on her was imminent.”
“Yeah...but I didn’t have a weapon!”
“That was your choice.”
“But...but...I told you people should not have access to guns!”
“Should people have access to kitchen knives?”
“Well...then your political decision sealed her fate.”
She just stood there and stared at the screen.
“Let me ask you something....If I had been up there..and I do choose to carry a gun when I go out in public...would you have been happy if I had chosen to use that gun to save that woman’s life?”
“But you would prefer if the legislature made it illegal for me to carry that same gun.”
“Well...yes..but I would also like them to make it illegal for that guy to carry that knife around too!”
“Do you think he really cares if it is legal or illegal to carry a knife? After all...he really doesn’t seem to care that murder is illegal, and that didn’t seem to stop him.”
She stopped looking at the screen, and stared at the floor silently.
“You’ve got a point.”
Update: Our young client has gone through a transformation of sorts...after taking an Art of the Pistol class, and going through a few one on one instructional sessions she is now the proud owner of her first handgun.
The pocket gun...
This seems to be an interesting point of contention among the weapons aficionados out there. Some seem to think the whole concept is ludicrous… no self respecting Yosemite Sam would dare cary anything other than a full size firearm. (That, and a minimum of three extra magazines.... thank you very much).
(If you arrived here from the email...continue reading here:)
Others, see the value in a micro gun… and take micro to the extremes. Seeking to balance the stopping power of 45, 40 or 9 with the petite novelty of a .22 Derringer.
Ok… first off let’s get the orthodoxy out of the way. Any gun in a gun fight is waaaaay better than no gun.
That does not mean that you should not put some thought into what works for you as a pocket gun. (Note I did not use the term “back up” gun…. a back up gun may or may not be a pocket gun.... for the purposes of this discussion, a pocket gun is just that... a firearm that is small enough to fit in your pocket. If it is your only firearm, so be it... if you figure that it is going to be used as a secondary firearm that is cool too. Remember the old adage: (“One is none and two is one.”)
We have some clients that exclusively carry what I would call pocket guns. They are small enough to carry in a pocket but some choose to carry them in traditional methods... usually employing IWB holsters (in the waist band). Their logic is that the ability to conceal their firearm is paramount... and these tiny little pistols tend to conceal better than a larger cousin.
Frankly, I think this logic is a little silly. I will be the first to tell you that I shoot a larger firearm more accurately than a smaller one. Many of you have seen that I carry a full frame 1911 (with a tac light)… and I do it with an OWB (outside the waist band) holster. Once you make the decision to carry, focus on changing your wardrobe... not your firearm to accommodate the necessities of concealing. Now... if you are going to carry a pocket gun... and for full disclosure, I do carry a Smith and Wesson Airweight revolver as a pocket (back up) gun... you must make two very critical determinations:
1) Can you shoot the damn thing with your grossly oversized hands?
2) Are you prepared for the limitations associated with your choice of firearm?
I have seen problems with both issues above.
We have a client... the guy could have been a lumberjack in an alternate universe, who wanted to see my revolver.... he was considering getting one himself. I unloaded it and handed it to him. I literally watched it disappear in his fingers. Frankly an AR-15 might be too small for this guy. My gun... while it “fits” me, is way too small for him. While he was impressed with the ability for it to conceal in his pocket, there was no way he could ever get his hands around it in time for it to be a useful tool.
Sorry cowboy… size does matter… and this time it might have worked against him.
From a practical standpoint, he is going to need a larger gun.The second point from above takes a little bit more explanation.
Sig Sauer has a neat little Equinox model that looks like someone took a 1911 and put it in the dryer. The first time I saw one, I thought it was a toy. A cool looking toy... but a toy. It has the same slide stop and thumb safety of a traditional 1911, but with a much tougher trigger pull. While you can easily conceal this gun, virtually all of the muscular functions necessary to make it work are by definition fine motor skills.
(Actually for me I probably would need to put my reading glasses on to find the mag release). Since we know that in “condition red” we’ve lost our fine motor skills this gun tends to beg the question: When would I be able to use it effectively”?
Since most of you know, I’m not a huge revolver guy. So I do tend to get the question “why a revolver for you pocket gun”. For me, this is simple. If this gun ever comes out, it is because my regular cary gun either did not work or was not available to me. It also probably means that the threat has closed the distance and is essentially on top of me. If I have to make a contact shot, I don’t want the slide of a semi-auto to be pressed back causing a failure to fire. A revolver eliminates this problem.
One point that I do want to make though....a naked pocket gun is a dangerous gun.
If you choose to carry in the pocket… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure you get a holster to carry it in. The holster will act as a pattern break up (the whole idea is concealment right?)… and it will also be a secondary barrier to a negligent discharge.
In the end though always remember: times, tastes, and comfort levels change. Find the gun you like right now… but don’t be a slave to it. You might just need to make sure you have room in your safe for the “next one” too!
Reflections on the 4th,
As you read this the Fourth of July celebrations are behind us. The bunting has been removed from the eves and the flags that fly occasionally next to our neighbors garage doors have been placed back into storage until the next celebration or catastrophe mandates that our feeling of national pride be re-kindled.
And that is the point isn’t it?
The metaphor of kindling.
Like a torch to light the bone fire the source of our light is kept protected and burning until we need it again to illuminate our path.
(If you arrived here from an email continue reading here:)
Early on July 4th I was mandated by my youngest daughter...a Sheriffs Explorer to wake up at the God awful hour of 03:00 to take her to a muster location so she could do her volunteer work with the Orange County Sheriffs dept.: working security for the Lake Forest 4th of July parade.
As we drove along the parade route I could see hundreds of folding chairs and tents set up along the side walk....placed there hours ago to secure the “good spots” for the parade that was still hours away. There was a spectral quality to the whole scene...as though a party was set to begin, but no host was present.
My daughter was excited...I was exhausted...but as a parent you have to do what you have to do....so with a cup of coffee in my drink holder we drove towards the lights that the Sheriffs deputies had set up at the corner.
Their muster location looked like a military field command station. Uniformed personnel were busy setting up and preparing for what soon would be organized chaos. My daughter bounded out of the truck and disappeared into a sea of green and black uniforms.
She was, in a sense preparing to stand her post.
What strikes me most about the Fourth in our collective consciences is the generational transcendence. It is not the “Birthday” of our nation per-se that I find so interesting...the anthropomorphic idea that our country was “born” seems as odd to me as the idea that a building, or a thought was “born”.
Still...dates have relevance...they are metaphorical hooks that we can hang on too....and this day is one hell of a hook.
Not too long ago...in 1776 a collection of geniuses assembled.
I don’t use the word genius lightly.
I am amazed that at a singular point in history, at a singular geographical place these mighty giants...happy accidents of time and space were able to assemble...and to agree...on a document that would change the paradigm of peoples relation to their government...and to themselves. It matters little where they took their inspiration from. Cicero, Rousseau, Locke, the Iroquois....yes they all had a hand in setting the intellectual foundations of our country...but so did King George, Gutenberg, Plato, the tailor, the magistrate and the inn keeper.
We are a divine collection of experiences...and all of the intellectual, and spiritual experiences that went into the making of the Framers in Philadelphia can be seen in the final document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
If we are truly “born” as a nation our mother is the “Idea”. Not necessarily the “Ideal”...for the “Ideal” is something we may never know or understand...but the “Idea” that freedom and not just freedom... the dignity of freedom, is what propels our nation through history.
So...My daughter now stands her post.
Protecting the “security” of her parade with other uniformed police standing their posts. A new generation...who not too long ago could barely walk, prepares for her responsibilities to guard this great nation...guard it with a uniform and a gun?
Eventually perhaps if that is her destiny...but in the end she too will come to realize that these tools of defense guard not a plot of land, not a marble building, nor even a nations army....she is preparing to stand guard over our nations “mother”: The Idea.
The great contemporary political philosopher Francis Fukuyama wrote that our foundations of society are based fundamentally on “Trust”. Societies that have strong “trust” traditions tend to last, while societies that have weak “trust” traditions tend to self-implode and become dominated by their more dynamic “trusting” neighbors.
Those of you who are reading this in North America and Europe....congratulations....you are residing in a more or less Trust based society. The cultural advancement, and dynamic legal systems....as well as a more robust economy proves that.
Well....up to a point.
(If you came here from the email...continue reading here:)
See our Trust instinct can become a hardwired cultural determiner that can lead to our demise when we encounter someone unwilling, or unable to play by our societally accepted rules.
We are not prepared to wait for each and every action from our partner, neighbor, or threat to determine their mindset and agenda. Through their past actions, their formal and informal current actions and dialogue, laid across a broad spectrum of societal constructs we can predict future behavior. We need to have this in order for our society to function efficiently.
But what happens when someone decides not too?
When the guy walking down the street smiles at you, you predict that he will continue walking after a harmless flirtation.
Forceable rape would never cross your mind.
When the salesman tells you that this product is going to work for you far better than the cheaper brand you tend to accept that ...because you need to for our society to work.
When the lover tells you there is no one but you...you believe it...because the alternative is too hard to accept.
But the rapist, the dishonest salesman, the deceitful lover...they all have one thing in common that gives them tremendous power....they have abandoned the Trust culture and are now able to profit on the desire of their victims to believe them.
Personal protection is a holistic endeavor.
We must be constantly vigilant against our own victimization both physically as well as psychologically.
A mountain road may be designed by the most advanced state funded engineers, but taken at too high a rate of speed the road still becomes treacherous. We must use the road for what it is designed for...but we must be cautious in its use.
People that seek advantage on us physically will look for an easier mark when they realize that the cost of attacking will be too great and not be outweighed by the benefits of their ill gotten gain.Likewise, those that seek to do us psychic harm must be dissuaded from doing so....not out of pity of our gullibility but out of a realization that their efforts are simply going to go unrewarded.
While we must trust in others for our civilization to continue...we must have confidence in ourselves that we can spot the interlopers...the deceivers, before they can do us damage.
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