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“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).
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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.
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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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