I recently came across this article http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/07/26/why-own-assault-rifle/ and realized the author had some valid points that needed to be addressed. His claim that there was nothing anyone carrying a weapon could have done in Colorado is also valid to a point. So I thought his concerns needed answering. This is not about gun rights it is about responsibilities of gun owner ship and more specifically civilians who carry weapons daily or have one for home defense.
- You’re not Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, or Bruce Wayne. Situational awareness takes training that you don’t get as a civilian. You won’t recognize a threat until it’s too late
This is a very true statement, most people walk around complete unaware of their surroundings. This is referred to as condition white; we are tied to our I-Pods, cell phones, music on the radio or just in a daze. Situational awareness takes practice and commitment. When you park at a local store do you look around at the other cars, the people in the parking plot? Or do you believe you are safe because you have been there countless times with no problem? The criminals of the world are counting on you believing the latter and they can count on most of us to live in that world of assumed safety.
When in truth we all should be walking around in condition yellow, staying aware of what is going on around you will keep you safe. It does not mean you have to be paranoid it means you have to be aware. Recently a friend of ours what at the local store as she came out she noticed a man walking around the parking lot between cars. He was not looking for his car just watching people as they came in and went out. She is an older woman and after seeing this she asked for help to her car, she felt she needed an escort. As it turns out later that day that same man attempt to car jack another older woman’s car and she was injured. Had our friend not been in condition yellow paying attention to her surroundings she could have been the one injured.
Could situational awareness have helped in the Colorado case? Perhaps, opening an exit in a dark theater is pretty obvious. And from what I have read he opened it propped it open went to his car and came back with the weapons. Why did no one point out to the theater that a door that was to remain close was propped open? Feeling safe in the theater, they assumed that a man in full battle amour was part of the show even after the gas canisters were thrown? I can be confident that the people in the theater were all in condition white. It is a sad thing to say but in today’s world we cannot afford to be in condition whit even in our own homes. Back to the question; could it have helped in Colorado? The answer is yes, if some had notified the owners of the open door, if people did not assume the man was part of the show because they were safely in a theater, lives might have been saved.
- Unless you’ve trained with the exact weapons system you’re carrying, you’ll miss. It takes hundreds of hours with a firearm to really be proficient. Do you know what you’d do if it jams? Can you reload before the last round leaves your chamber? How many rounds in your magazine? Have you even practiced drawing your weapon if it’s concealed?
Another very good point, many people will go to the range but not with the weapon they carry. Perhaps you shoot a 9mm or a 40 and yes the ammo can get pricey. A 22 is much less and is fun to shot, but are you going to carry that weapon? Train with what you carry or have at your house that you use for protection. You can be proficient with it unless you use it. Learn how to clear malfunctions and practice daily on how to clear them. Murphy is alive and well , and comes by when you least expect it. You need to build the muscle memory to do this without thinking. You need to practice reloading quickly you do not have a Hollywood gun that never runs out. Be aware of the capacity of your magazines. Practice tactical reloads so you always have a loaded weapon. Perhaps one of the most important aspects is to practice drawing your weapon from a concealed carry. Do not assume that you will be able to get to it quickly just because it is there. You are under stress and you will fumble getting to your weapon unless you practice. Again muscle memory is the key. Practice from every position you carry whether it be in the waist band or out, in a fanny pack , cross draw, or shoulder holster. PRACTICE !
- Proficiency deteriorates without practice. When was the last time you fired your gun? Police and military practice regularly for their jobs. You do it irregularly for fun.
When was the last time you fired you gun? I dry practice daily and live fire once a month minimum. It is fun, but your practice should included firing from a concealed carry whatever that is in your case. Do not be concerned about time but be concerned about accuracy. It is not the fast draw that wins a gun fight, accuracy is always final. As for police practicing regularly, that is questionable. I know law enforcement that only fire enough to pass the yearly test. Otherwise their weapon never leaves the holster. You are only going to get more accurate and faster with live fire practice. And always use the gun you carry!
- A thousand hours on the range aren’t the same as a hundred seconds in a real shootout. Can you recognize the threat, obtain a site picture, and neutralize the target with a gun pointed at you? Police and military don’t just learn how to do this once, they actually train in these situations.
Find someplace where you can use a simulator or be placed in a tactical situation on a regular basis. Nothing can replicate the stress of a real life situation, but the more we simulate it and practice in that time of environment the less of a surprise it will be. Even just using the pressure of time can help create stress and help you learn to deal with it. Remember that you are only going to be 50% as good as the last time you practiced. Again emphasizing our need for situational awareness, we need to recognize a threat when we see it, so we can avoid it.
- There’s a solid chance you won’t even pull the trigger. There is huge psychological trauma associated with taking a life. Estimates are that between 1/3rd and 1/4th of guns on the battlefield in WWII were never shot. There are even police officers and soldiers who have been killed because they didn’t have what it took to kill.
There is no way to train or be prepared for the physiological aspects of using deadly force. However one thing you can do is put it in writing, write down when you would be willing to use deadly force. Under what conditions are you going to be willing to take another life? Write it down read it and read it again. Talk with your loved ones about every condition and situation that could arise. Make those decisions ahead of time, you will not have time to make them in the moment. We had a period of home invasions in our area a few months ago. One of them resulted in a hostage situation, the husband laid down his gun under the treat they were going to kill his wife. They beat him almost to death. My wife and I discussed what we would do, she said that I was to never to lay my weapon down and was to take whatever actions needed to protect myself and her. If that meant taking the shot at the hostage taker then so be it, she told me she is not afraid of the outcome. In fact she joked that being a Christian she might mention to them she knows where she is going when she dies, do you? The bottom line is that she trusts me and knows what needs to be done and so do I. Every decision you do not have to make, under stress will save lives and time.
- Even if you train with your gun, you do it until you get it right. Police and military do it until they don’t get it wrong. You’re just not ready like they are to use your gun.
This is not true, well it is true for many who carry. However you can be ready it just takes a commitment to train. If you are going to carry you need to have this commitment. By accepting the responsibility to carry a concealed weapon you have an obligation to those around you to be prepared and properly trained. Could anyone with this training have help in Colorado? I do not know it is all speculation. Can it help you in the future, yes it can.