Join Date: April 3, 2005
Sorry this response took so long.
I've read the responses here, there are some interesting points.
Different curriculums are quite interesting-- and revealing. The NRA curriculum for Intro To Handguns, for instance, contains a block of instruction on “Why People Own Guns”. At Kenmore, there was even a guy who only taught that block-- the instructor would bring him in, and he'd talk until the instructor shut him up. Guy was into it, but only that part of it. I once watched him talk for more than an hour. Mildly interesting, but I don't think it was necessary, and it explains why the NRA's Intro class is sixteen hours long. At Wade's, on the other hand, the Intro class was three hours, start to finish, and included shooting. Between the two extremes, I don't think people who have never seen a handgun before need lectures on things that don't apply. To quote an instructor from Wade's, “the four safety rules, grip, stance, sight picture, trigger squeeze, follow through. Demonstrate the Ruger. After that, why are you still talking?”
To put it mildly, things other than shooting are being taught under the banner of handgun classes.
Comparing the two extremes, the contrasts are fascinating and illuminating. The NRA course included as much indoctrination, political and NRA-centric, as the course designers felt they could get away with, while Wade's was about time, headcount and money. The mere fact that one course included three safety rules and the other four is indicative. One minimized limited shooting and maximized other information, the other maximized limited shooting and minimized anything else except safety.
Vanya, to answer your request, when I talk about teaching ethically, or a set of ethics, what I'm really saying is simply that as instructors, we need to teach ethically. We need to give sufficient information without going beyond our mandate to teach. We don't have any business telling students who to vote for or which car to drive-- we can probably agree on that. As the information gets closer to what we are teaching, we will probably start to disagree over whether or not it belongs in our classes.
Furthermore, the information we are giving needs to be as accurate and correct as we can make it. We can recommend holsters and methods that are safe, easy to practice with and work, or we can recommend Skeeter & Booger's Excellent Holster & iPad Cover, and our students won't know the difference. There are good reasons you need to be on Forrest Service land or a private range before you can practice drawing from a shoulder holster.
I see limited points in self defense classes. But I would put such points beyond what we teach. I teach defensive handgun, not defensive walking or tactical talking. My classes start at the instant the fight starts. I find that I don't have time to teach anything beyond that, and I find that whatever additional time I am granted, I can use to improve teaching that limited subject.
I categorically reject “what sells” or “what customers want” as a basis for ethics. If that were true, we'd still have “For Colored” signs.
I would teach that avoidance and de-escallation are key skills, but I wouldn't presume to teach another adult how to do either. I don't know, and I don't believe anyone here does. What you know won't work in other ways of life among other groups of people. I am certain that what you know about these subjects wouldn't work for me. This thread is proof of that.
So unless you're going to teach separate Defensive Handgun classes for different races, doctors, on-reservation, teachers, bus drivers and plumbers, there is not an ehical reason to teach women separately.
Because in my opinion, your mandate extends to the mechanics of Winning The Fight.
My lessons in humility, what I know and what I don't know came in the form of what one instructor called a “Specific Threat” class. We met a young lady at the range who was staying at the Seattle Battered Women's shelter. She was introduced to us as Jane. The left side of Ms. Doe's face was smashed and purple. She said “he said he'd kill me if I left. I left anyway. I need a gun.” I don't think either of us said one word to her about conflict avoidance. That story doesn't demonstrate any of my points or prove anything-- it's just the point I remember realizing that what we teach can be life and death, and that we need to teach it ethically, and as well as we can.
There is a probably a place for a Women's Conflict Avoidance seminar.
But defensive handgun is about stopping an assailant (or assailants) using a handgun. We are not philosophers, we are not raising these people as our children.
Humility, duty, respect for others and common sense demand that we shut up and teach.
"Huh?" --Jammer Six, 1998