Saturday, March 29, 2008

To Carry Or Not To Carry?

As some of you know, I teach combatives. What I teach is not intended as sport or art – it is intended to allow the student (and I teach men, women, and children) to prevail in a violent encounter.

One of my personally favorite courses to teach is a 3-hour Women’s Self Defense workshop. My students have ranged from teenagers to women in their 60’s. They come to class without bravado; they come ready and willing to learn. They come with a touch of fear hovering around them because they know they need this instruction and they typically don’t like facing that fact. I teach them first and foremost awareness and avoidance. Then I spend the bulk of the time instructing them in the use of various strategies, techniques and body weapons to allow them to survive an initial assault and escape. Before we start using hands, elbows, knees and so on as weapons I look at the class and very seriously ask them, “Who here carries a handgun?” I then proceed to tell them that despite what they are going to learn in the next few hours, carrying a handgun, being properly trained in its use, and being mentally and emotionally prepared to use it is the best thing they can do to be ready and able to respond to an attack.

Here is another concept I try to impart, “You are a child of God. You have a right to be. No one can take that away from you.” You have a right, (I say you have a duty) to protect yourself and your loved ones. The most efficient way to do that is with a firearm. A pistol is not a panacea for all that ails you. It is not a magic wand. But it is significantly more effective when facing an armed or physically or numerically superior opponent. (For my better trained readers: I know all about distance, Tueller drills, knife –vs- gun in the close fight, etc – please bear with me here.)

Who gives you “the right to be”? God. Who gives you the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”? God. Therefore, you have a right to the tools which you need to ensure your rights. Who gives you the right to those tools? God. If you have the right to those tools – you have the right to carry and properly use those tools. Again, a right bestowed upon you by God. The Founders (for the American readers) put that right in writing in the Second Amendment. They did not give you the right. They merely tried to make sure everyone understood you have that right and they intended to protect it with law.

Which brings us to the subject of today’s entry: to carry or not to carry? I am fortunate enough to live in a state that issues concealed carry permits. I have one. As much as possible, we should all try and live within the law. I have lived in places where carrying a concealed firearm was not permitted by the governing authorities. I owned handguns at the time. Did I carry even though it was “against the law”? What do you think?

If a person is illegally carrying a firearm and they are confronted with a superior opponent intent on doing them harm that person then has the means to defend themself. Perhaps merely presenting the firearm will scare them away. Perhaps. But perhaps one will have to use that firearm. One would then presumably, survive the encounter with the malefactor and then face another problem: The Law. A terrible position to be in, to be sure – but you would still be alive.

At the moment a woman is being brutally raped do you think she is smugly content that she was a good, law abiding citizen and was not carrying an “illegal pistol?” At the moment thugs are shooting some innocent man to the ground in front of his family, do you think he is happy that he was “one of the good guys” who obeyed the law and didn’t carry a handgun because it was illegal to do so?

You can practice awareness. You should practice avoidance. But sometimes, sometimes Evil visits you nonetheless. You do not get to choose that moment. If you could, you wouldn’t be there. And when Evil appears you have to deal with it. If you cannot run you are going to have to fight or die. You may fight and still die. If you are not up to the challenge presented you will lose. Sometimes a handgun (at a minimum) is the only thing that will help.

What about if you are discovered "carrying illegally” by the authorities? Then there will be a price to pay. I worked with some people once and one of our sayings was, “If you ain’t cheating – you ain’t trying.” There was a corollary to that: “If you get caught – you weren’t trying hard enough.”

It’s your choice.

Choose wisely.

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. - Luke 22:36

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


At 29/3/08 08:24, Blogger Staying Alive said...

Well done, Joe! Full of damn good advice and remedies for certain sociological ailments.

I especially like the way you address the ladies. They come to your class so they aren't stupid. But when they have paid money to be taught by a professional and they hear the meaasge about firearms, you have gone a long way toward securing our 2nd Amendment rights. The voting women in this country are feared. If they are armed then they are doubly feared by the gun grabbers.

The Handmaiden and I have no children living at home. The youngest will be 27 in a week so I have guns all over the house. It would be bad field position to come to my home with mayhem on your mind. I have no qualms about putting a perp in a very bad bind.

You should write more!


At 1/6/08 13:35, Blogger theotherryan said...

Good post. Lots of solid advice and lots of stuff to think about. I think that mentioning guns in the context of a womens self defense class is essential. Good training goes a real long way toward leveling the playing field when it comes to hand to hand combat but when fights happen in the real world size matters. It does not matter more then training but if two people of roughly equal skill fight the bigger one is probably going to win. Since women tend to be smaller than men on average firearms are very important for staying safe.


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