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Considerall the ramifications of a shooting

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Recently, after teaching a customized version of the "Refuse To Be A Victim" (RTBAV) course, one of the seminar clients approached me. He wanted to thank me for being the first instructor from the NRA to ever to do two things: (1) mention the aftermath of a gun shooting {emotional, personal, neighbors, civil reactions**; (2) mention that a gun should be the LAST resort in your "arsenal" of personal protection tools.

As I drove home, it made me wonder if other NRA instructors don't mention this because they have personally not been exposed to RTBAV or was it more related to the fact that most are male? Whichever it is, it is truly part of my "purpose" as an instructor to be focused first on the subject of safety. The NRA created the RTBAV course and materials because one of the purposes of the organization is to provide education on safety. Originally, the focus of the material was towards the instruction of women, but it was only a few years before the NRA and the "guys" requested to be part of this training, too. Wonder what the actual statistics are for the count of male NRA instructors who have actually taken the RTBAV course....

Let's talk about the gun as your personal protection device. The arsenal I referred to earlier can be quite large. It starts with something as simple as intuition and attitude. Add education and awareness. Layer with it the personal safety devices that range from personal alarms to pepper spray, from a tactical pen to a stun gun, and so on. The gun should only be considered if you've used (or still use) a range of other protection devices first.

I like the phrase, "commit to the concept, make the muscle memory (practice), and soon it becomes instinct." Commit - Memory - Instinct. If you decide to add a gun to your personal arsenal, make the commitment to ensure you buy the best type for your body style and where on your body you plan to wear it. Commit to getting the full education to maintain the gun. Commit to getting the best safety knowledge in the use and care of your gun. AND commit to the practice. If you're wearing a gun, you should be practicing weekly if not more with probably about 200 shots each week - and from the position of unholstering the gun where you plan to where it. This is absolutely necessary to ensure that when you unholster it, that your muscle memory will be reliable. Just like a martial art, if you think you can earn a black belt by going to one class, you are wrong. You want your instinct to be automatic and accurate. Finally, consider that if you actually shoot a person, guns kill. They are not created for any other purpose except to seriously maim or kill the target (animal or human) and for competition of accuracy.

If you seriously maim or kill a human, are you ready for the aftermath? Have you considered what it could be? I've heard so many people bravely say how it wouldn't affect their ability to make the shot or deal with it afterward. Amazing how one can predict so well the outcome of a situation most have never actually had happen to them. They hope to predict how they would react, but unless they are practicing that scenario often, the instinct may not be what you expect. Now that the police are gone, you're left looking at the blood stain on the carpet or floor. You're the one calling for repairs to the surrounding infrastructure damaged by either the forced entry or the potential stray bullets you shot. You're the one that may be the subject of neighborhood gossip. You may be upset by the trauma and require some counseling. And you may actually be sued by the person you shot or their family in a civil lawsuit, even if there were no charges against you. The money to fight this case may have to come out of your own pocket. The list is endless. Yes. You protected your person/family, domicile or property. Yes. You came out of it alive. Hopefully, you won't ever have to actually face this actuality.

By ensuring your personal protection arsenal starts with ATTITUDE and education and awareness, you will go much further than the person who runs to the gun store. Be aware. Be educated, and don't be a victim!
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  1. night ninja's Avatar
    Don't be a victim, what an important statement. The first issue that comes to mind is to protect yourself, family, property, even another total stranger from physical violence. There are so many other kinds of VICTIMS. The list could begin with being the victim of an assault, robbery or physical attack. The next could be the victim of the courts should you be sued as a result of your actions, or inaction. I am a retired police officer of 25 years, I have seen the aftermath of a shooting to all parties involved, the police, the department, the family of the officer involved in a shooting. The family of the person shot. I have seen wives leave their husbands because they could not live with a "killer". Even if you cleared of all wrong doing, your kids may have to hear it in school for years and pay the price. Your event may be returned to front news every time there is a similar shooting in your city, sometimes years later. Don't be a victim, once the bullet leaves the barrel you are a victim, it all depends on how mentally prepared you are for the next days, weeks, months, even years.
    I carry every day, I have since I was 18 and I'm 62. I have never fired a round at a person on duty or off. Lord knows the close calls are to many to even remember, But that's where training, mental preparedness and the willingness to do what needs to be done. Carrying a gun is easy, be willing is the most difficult decision anyone will make. I have decided I am willing, but never have had to find out. May I never find out.
    Tom McDonald
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