Saturday, March 10, 2012

Commentary – To stand against evil . . . . . .

I’ve been feeling a bit Schizophrenic of late, today especially.  Heavy sigh . . .
I have another Defensive Pistol class coming up in a few weeks. I always need to switch gears a bit from my NRA classes. The NRA, in their very PC way, “forbids” the word “weapon”, asserts that you “shoot to stop the threat” – and presents the idea of defending yourself, your family and friends in the softest possible way. I accept this and follow it to the letter – it is certainly within their right to expect this from instructors teaching their courses.

Yet, for my own Defensive Pistol courses, I do my best to make it very clear that an individual, in a personal defensive encounter, uses a weapon to cause the greatest possible harm to the attacker – this will “stop the threat” and insure their family, friends – not to mention themselves – will live to see another day. They need to “stand against evil”.

To the schizophrenia. The LT I mentioned a few posts back lost a medic this past week. “Doc” and two others had been hit by an IED before Thanksgiving. Two died in the vehicle – “Doc” made it, made it to Germany and back to the US. And held on until last week. I always hoped my time in war would help those that came after not to experience it – to not pick up friends and put them in bags for the trip home. I’ve watch the LT come through scouts, Bill on a minigrow in the wilderness, graduate college and ROTC, take Ranger training – and now listen to his “war stories” – and find my  time spent in war saved him from nothing. Of course, neither did my Uncle Vic’s time in a B-17 over Germany save me from the Central Highlands – and so it goes. Taking a lot of words to say some of my past history has been on my mind of late.

I’ve added a couple of books to my reading list that I’m working through. The first is: On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Col. David Grossman Taking another person’s life is not a normal action for humans. Yet, for the folks taking a Defensive Pistol class – hesitation can mean the difference between survival and death. Lt. Col. Grossman’s writings explore this process – both from the preparation POV and dealing with the aftermath. I’ll do a full review once I complete the book.  That said, from what I have read so far, if this is not on your reading list, it is worth your time.
The next book added to the list is: Warrior Mindset written by a number of authors. How do you teach and train an individual to have a warrior mindset – especially a new shooter that has decided to carry a weapon for personal protection. I’ve skimmed the book, looks “detailed” – which might be good or bad, I’ll let you know. The purpose for the student is to enable them to adapt the mindset of a warrior in their daily life – to prepare and train for an encounter that could end their life. And - to do this while being a “thinking shooter”.

These are nuances that I am trying to blend into the Defensive Pistol class – along with the raw mechanics of threat assessment, engaging a threat and the draw-presentation-engagement-threat assessment process. Ultimately, it is the mindset and the willingness to take a life that will determine if all the mechanics I teach are even employed.

The final piece of my schizophrenic existence was my Lay Formation class (part of the 3-year Catholic Lay Formation process I blogged about earlier). Today we focused on the core principles of Catholic Social Teachings, the principles of a Just War and Catholic Pacifism. Actually it was a very interesting day with lots of good conversation and introspection. However, given my reading material and personal focus lately, I needed to mentally shake my head a few times throughout the day.
Just to put the cherry on the top, I stopped by the range on the way home and sent a couple hundred rounds down range working a bunch of 2-second drills.

Which brings me to my final take-away from today and the past week or so. I want to prepare people to stand against evil. I want them to fight. I want them to win. I want them to go home at the end of the day. If we, as people who have chosen to learn the art of personal defense, who have chosen to be the “sheep dogs” do not stand and fight – if we depend on others, wait for others, assume that “they” will protect us, we are lost.

We must all stand against evil.


  1. I really enjoyed Lt. Col. Grossman's book... He's offered his "Bullet-Proofing the Mind" seminar several times here in Ohio and it's well worth the time to go if anyone has the chance...

    Dann in Ohio

  2. Excellent points all... And I'll have to get LT COL Grossman's book.

  3. Good post. My Amazon shopping cart just got two books heavier.

  4. GGG - I'll have to see if he ever gives his presentations closer or see what it would take to have him speak near here. He covers the topic so well.

    Old NFO - thanks. BTW, I enjoyed your post on meeting the old friend that you flew with the day the MIG-25 flew to Japan. I remember that day quite well actually.

    Kirk - Apologies to your credit card - and yet, money well spent! :)