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Old October 17, 2010, 04:25 PM   #1
pax
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Don't Get Training

In states where training is required, the state's sole interest in requiring training is to keep you from endangering the people around you. That's the state's only purpose in issuing driver's licenses, too; they don't care if someone without a driver's license rolls a private vehicle on private property and dies. They don't care about the individual's life. They just want to be sure that guy doesn't take anyone else with him when he goes. If you want training that does more than that, you are asking the state to do something it's not designed to do and isn't good at doing. And you're asking the state to prohibit people like the poor single mom dealing with a stalker from being able to carry; she won't scratch up the money to get an advanced class even if she had time before the stalker comes back...

As long as we can point to valid experiences that show that neither accidents nor crime rates go up when untrained people exercise their right to carry guns (and we can! over and over and over again), there's no reason for the state to get involved in the training issue except, perhaps, as an emotional / political ploy to manage votes from people who refuse to look at the facts objectively.

However, absolutely none of that kind of state-required training makes any individual person safer, except incidentally and unintentionally.

For the deliberately and stubbornly untrained: if you're not well trained, you might as well leave that heavy lump of steel locked up at home. It won't do you any good anyway. That's your bailiwick, of course, but that piece of metal doesn't do anything at all on its own. It requires a competent user to make it work.

The more challenging the situations you envisage where you might need or strongly desire to act, the more training you should receive.

A single guy who has no family and no intent to protect anyone else in the world can be quite content to learn how to hit a target at bad breath distances, and not much else. It's his life, see? If he's too slow out of the holster, it's his life. If he's fumble prone and likely to shoot himself in the knee or left hand because he never learned how to draw, it's his problem. If he's too stupid and unaware to avoid trouble, that's his burden to bear. His life, his choice. If he wants to wander on in happy ignorance, let him.

But someone with a family might want to give a little thought to working with a great deal more competence and confidence even at farther distances. What if someone across the room grabs his baby daughter and threatens to leave with her? Can he hit a kidnapper at that distance? Can he avoid hitting his baby at that distance? Has he given any thought at all to the types of tactics that might enable him to most safely protect his family in these or other circumstances? That's going to take more training and more thinking. It's going to require more skill and more knowledge. So he owes it to himself and his family to learn more. Again, if he chooses not to, it's his life and he's the one who ends up mourning the consequences if he gets it wrong.

Someone whose personal ethics require them to intervene to save the life of a stranger -- such as a convenience-store clerk being threatened in a situation where you believe that a murder is imminent -- needs a similar level of training as the family man. Again, this isn't something forced on the individual from outside. It's not a matter of law; there are no laws that require an individual private citizen to act to save the life of another. You can just stand there and watch the innocent person die and you won't be violating any law if you never lift a finger to stop it from happening. You can be too untrained to save that innocent and so what? But if this thinking is repugnant to you and your personal lights would absolutely require you to act, then you should get training. If your code of ethics would force you to act in such situations, then you'd darn well better have some idea how you would go about doing that.

Someone who absolutely believes they would do whatever it takes to stop a mass shooting incident should receive advanced, competent training to reach a high level of skill. Why? Simply because these incidents are far more likely to require a distant shot, and to have a lot of very active innocents fluttering around the target. If you are willing to send bullets flying in the midst of a panicked crowd, you'd better be darn good and sure that you're shooting the aggressors and not the responders! Some knowledge of how these types of incidents happen, some understanding of how to keep yourself and those around you safe(r), some grasp of basic tactical considerations ... all of these become really crucial. Again, there's no law requiring you to act. You can instead decide to hunker down, watch the massacre, and keep yourself safe without lifting a finger to stop the murders. But if your personal code of ethics would require you to act in such a situation, you're foolish if you don't learn how to do that and do it well -- since you're the one who has to live with the consequences if you cannot respond as competently as the situation requires.

And again, absolutely none of this matters to the state, nor should it. It's all on the individual and the individual's personal code of ethics, and that's as it should be. The state doesn't require you to act to save anyone's life, not even your own. If you want the state to require you to save lives or to attain some specific level of training that helps you survive, then you should go become a law enforcement officer. When you're a LEO, the government entity that invested money in your training has a legitimate interest in your personal survival. But as a private citizen, the state really only cares that you avoid threatening the lives of other private citizens. If you want to survive, that's on you.

Some people seem to think that the state should force them to learn enough to save their own lives. Why should it? If you're a damfool, the best thing that can happen to society is that you remove yourself from it.

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Old October 17, 2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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I always try to imagine it back in the day.

Figure there was an expectation among free men that you have the necessary training and skill with your arms to serve as part of the watch, part of the militia. I imagine that training levels were probably poor on a formal organized level (situation dependent) and better among select individuals. Your local government, likely your neighbors had an expectation that you would do your part. Failure to live up to that expectation likely meant a shunning, or at the very least a good talking to.

We have traded freedom from the watch and militia for a responsibility for our personal safety 24/7. No one is watching you while you sleep. No one walks your neighborhood looking for bad guys, at least in the vast majority of neighborhoods. The state is too large, too indifferent. The community no longer is integrated where you know the guy who makes your horseshoes, grows your grain and mayors your town.

The fact that people have this responsibility to themselves, to their families does not register with everyone. Their denial does not mean that it does not exist.
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Old October 17, 2010, 05:21 PM   #3
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Excellent post, Pax - I particularly key on the difference between those who view is to protect themselves primarily vs. those who explicitly postulate a role in a high intense critical incident surrounded by others. IMHO, controversial, they have the moral duty to train to minimize harm to innocents.

That a core issue in my analyses and a practical one in advocating carrying. I would like those who make that latter point have training as it would strengthen my hand in argument.

The expense issue is well taken for the poorer, folk, single mom, stalker victim, etc.

If expenses could be a problem, for the committed dedicated, around here - we could probably come up with some discounted training.
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Old October 17, 2010, 06:09 PM   #4
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Excellent post, pax. I've often been dismayed by the extent to which some folks will go to rationalize not getting training. No one can know what his problem will be, if it ever happens, so one can't know what he'll need to know or be able to do to solve it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
...If expenses could be a problem, for the committed dedicated, around here - we could probably come up with some discounted training. ...
I'm with a group of certified instructors who put on regular Basic Handgun classes and occasional Personal Protection classes. None of us take any compensation. Our fees are calculated to just cover expenses. We do it because we enjoy it and find it very satisfying to help new shooters start out right.
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Old October 17, 2010, 06:35 PM   #5
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Glenn, fiddletown ~

You're right. The cost of training can be a significant problem for some -- something I know personally all too well.

When I first started shooting over a decade ago, my husband and I had five young children at home, and lived entirely on my husband's low-end salary. Not an easy life, just the one we deliberately chose in order to rear our own homegrown children. Neither time nor money were easy to come by in those years... but when I decided to keep a defensive handgun on my hip, I made the decision to do whatever it took to get good training, too. A family friend purchased my first class for me, as a gift and as an encouragement. Bless him!

After that, I worked my tail off to get as much training as I could possibly manage, despite our financial circumstances. I scrounged and I wheeled and dealed and I just plain worked at finding ways to do it. I owe a deep and abiding debt to the friends who worked out three-cornered barter deals with me to get me into classes. I sorted and recycled brass, worked grungy weekend jobs, traded babysitting with friends (since I had five and most have two, those swaps always took far more of my time than a straight across swap could have done). To save money on ammunition, I learned to reload even though I hate reloading. I volunteered as an RO so that I could be the fly on the wall in other people's classes. I started writing articles so that I could beg for comp-spots in classes that weren't quite filled. Then I turned around and used my "spare time" (hah!) to volunteer and help train others so I could pay my karmic debts as well as my personal debts of gratitude. And I remain very, very grateful to several specific people who saw my plight and took pity on me and helped me learn what I needed to learn.

Gun people are some of the best, most generous people in the world. If I state this more strongly than others might, it's because I have more reason to know it than others do.

So yes, I do understand just a little bit about being broke and not being able to buy classes outright. And ... I stick by my primary point.

If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse.

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Old October 17, 2010, 06:43 PM   #6
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It's not impossible: Regarding free or low cost training.

I put on Free HP & CMP GSM clinics. I use to put on CCW & Womans (Pistol) defense classes (free) until some lady bitched because that was how she supplemented her wages (charging for classes). My contention was, the government paid for my training, why not give something back to the tax payers.

I can't understand why someone would pay her ($80 per one day class) to get a CCL in Wyoming when you can get the same thing by paying $5 for a Hunter Safety Class which will do the same thing.

After reading PAX & Meyer's post, I'll move away from our Local Club and offer the classes again on my range. Not like I've never stepped on toes before.
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Old October 17, 2010, 07:51 PM   #7
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Read the NRA armed citizen accounts. Over and over again "untrained" citizens protect hearth and home. Some times coming to the aid of others. Training in my opinion is highly overrated. Mostly touted by those who want to sell one a class. Knowing your gun and its limitations and your limitations can be accomplished at the range. Draw and presentation can be done in your living room. For legal aspects one should consult a local attorney familiar with the state and local laws. (Note local attorney Brian Ciyou spent two years researching his book on Indiana handgun law)
Is training worthless? Of course not. Get all you can. Are you going to be a "gunslinger" I hope not.
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Old October 17, 2010, 08:16 PM   #8
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Training.... how about practicing that training

I have been putting on some basic practices called Shooting Like the Good Old Days - Shooting on the Move near the Seattle area for the last 3 years.

I see a huge divide in the area of places one can "practice" in a self defense manner. Basics of drawing from your holster, shooting on the move, reloading in an active shooting sequence, engaging multiple BG targets and shooting from cover.

Quote:
Draw and presentation can be done in your living room.
Sure you can practice drawing from holster in your living room but there is a difference when you do live fire exercises. The motion can be covered but how and why doesn't always come up with dry fire.

Quote:
Knowing your gun and its limitations and your limitations can be accomplished at the range.
True to a point. Shooting at a bullseye target will prove your marksmanship ability but many ranges will not allow you to practice many of the skills needed for self defense. Shooting from cover, shooting while moving (retreating), rapid fire to name just a few.

I'm glad Washington State does not mandate "courses" to obtain one's CPL (concealed pistol license). It is up to the individual.

If you're in the Seattle area.... look me up.
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Old October 17, 2010, 09:03 PM   #9
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You stated this perfectly. One of my best friends will be attending your Sierra Vista class and I hope I can study from her when she returns.
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Old October 17, 2010, 09:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grey sky
Read the NRA armed citizen accounts. Over and over again "untrained" citizens protect hearth and home. Some times coming to the aid of others. Training in my opinion is highly overrated....
Sure, often ordinary people with minimal training manage to defend themselves, but --

[1] Those stories tend to be very sketchy. Yes ordinary people used successfully used guns in self defense, but we usually know little or nothing about their backgrounds. Ordinary people do, sometimes, have some training. And while it may be clear that some of them did not have any training, there's still many about whom we don't know that for sure.

[2] And if you ever find yourself in trouble, you have no way of knowing ahead of time what you're going to need to do to solve your problem. (Consider driving. How many deaths or injuries could have been avoided if one of the persons involved was a more skillful drive and better able to, for example, maintain control of his car in an extreme situation or manage a skid or accomplish an avoidance maneuver?)

[3] No one seems to be systematically collecting information about situations in which an attempt to use a gun defensively went bad. For example:
  • A couple of years ago, there was a mall shooting in Washington State. There was a person with a CCW present. He managed the situation poorly by hesitating when he should not have. He was seriously injured as a result. I don't know if he had any training, but if he had, it didn't take.
  • We've also seen cases, reported on this board and others, in which individuals made some poor decision, like going out to confront people outside their homes or in the street, and have gotten into significant legal trouble.

[4] Also, IME it's mostly folks who haven't had any training who think that training is overrated. Most folks who have had some training seem to have found some value in it.

[5] It's often said that in an emergency one doesn't rise to the occasion. He defaults to his level of training.
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Old October 18, 2010, 01:47 AM   #11
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More and more CHL's are getting involved in shooting situations as CWL's become more common. Since there is no rhyme or reason for requirements between the states for training it is difficult to tell who is well trained and who is not. Certainly there is little exploration into this area.

One of the more curious aspects of state mandated training is the fact that with nearly every state there is no requirement to get refresher training to continue to hold a CWL. Going to the driving a car example this almost makes sense, after all no state requires that you go back to driving school to continue to hold a drivers license unless you have proven yourself a poor driver. However, most people who drive cars do so on a regular basis. Most people who keep guns for self defense may only use them for that purpose a couple of times in their life, if ever.

This is in stark contrast to the military where soldiers may use weapons in combat a few times during a year long tour, but the war fighters spend significant time between tours learning combat skills. IME most soldiers will spend 20-30 times the amount of time training, to the amount of time actually in real combat. This does not even include preparation time for missions. The price of failure can be quite high. The truth is the military has learned that it is difficult to over train, if the training is good and correct. Tons of money are dumped into training each year to sort the problems out before the lead starts flying; trying to figure it out in the middle of a fire fight is a bad time to learn what you should have known all along.
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Old October 18, 2010, 05:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
However, absolutely none of that kind of state-required training makes any individual person safer, except incidentally and unintentionally.
I disagree. My CCW training course, required by the state of FL, was valuable and welcome training for both my daughter and me. It was better than the minimum required, and I paid good money for it, but just because training is mandated doesn't mean that it doesn't have value. All training has value (or can be valueless) depending on whether or not you pay attention and take it to heart.
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Old October 18, 2010, 05:53 AM   #13
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Two reasons people are anti-training (perhaps not coincidentally, this is also why people are anti- competing in organized shooting sports):

1) "It costs too much." Somebody has fifteen guns, a motorcycle, a PS3 with plenty of games hooked to his flat-panel TeeWee (not to mention the PS2 and PlayStation in the attic), and who knows how many other toys, and a $200-$400 handgun training course "costs too much". Hey, Skippy, how 'bout selling that Taurus Raging Judge you were bragging about buying last week and using the proceeds to get yourself taught how to use one of the fourteen other guns you already had? (And maybe sell one of those and take an MSF class for your motorcyclin' while you're at it.) The problem is, people can't point at new mental furniture and say to their friends "Look what I just bought!"

2) People can't shoot, but think they can. At the range, nobody is really watching them shoot and, face it, everybody else at the range is awful, too. But if they go to a class or enter a match, it will get proved officially: "Joe/Jane Averageshooter: First Loser". It takes humility to learn and lose. Humble people don't boast on their adequacy. So most people go and buy another gun instead, because when they open the box on that gun, it won't look up at them and say "You stink!"; it'll say "You just bought the official pistol of SWATSEAL Team 37 1/2! Congratulations!"
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Old October 18, 2010, 06:21 AM   #14
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Is training worthless? Of course not.

You all missed that part. OK no training = no competency
I concede.
One day I hope to be," the only person in the room professinal enough....."
Google that quote.
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Old October 18, 2010, 06:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grey sky
One day I hope to be," the only person in the room professinal enough....."
Google that quote.
I doubt anybody posting in this thread needs to do so. Everybody and their mom has seen Mr. DEA agent shoot himself in the leg because of his lousy gun handling. What's your point?
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Old October 18, 2010, 06:49 AM   #16
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I think mention of the militia is irrelevant. It wasn't voluntary at all, quite the opposite, and, by the way, it didn't include women. It had nothing to do with personal defense either. The training, true, was relatively minimum, and it occurred at the periodic muster. True, some members had better skills than others and that's true even now in the armed forces. But this same militia took to the field and, sometimes, did as well as or better than the professionals. Remember also that the training was to increase their efficiency as a unit more than anything. Overall, however, the militia system was inadequate and they finally had to concede a standing army was necessary after all.
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Old October 18, 2010, 08:41 AM   #17
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We are, IMO, running a strong risk here of mixing our apples and our oranges.

When we begin to discuss the relative merits of more (and maybe more and more) training, we bring up the specter (most any government bureaucrat will do for this) who will stand ready to define for us who should be allowed to exercise their rights.

Training is absolutely valuable and the more (good) training one can get, the better.

However, I don’t hear anyone arguing that training is necessary in order to defend oneself or others.

We absolutely must strive to be consistent: We have to learn to tolerate those people with less ability, knowledge, intelligence, and, yes, training, doing all kinds of things they should be free to do including; speak, practice their religion, go about the world armed, and the rest of the BOR as a bedrock start.

Of course it can be dangerous to allow stupid, ill-informed, and untrained people to freely carry arms or to speak out in public or to run for office or to vote in elections.

However, IMO, our focus on political correctness and our fears of what some may do with their freedoms has led us down a very precipitous and dangerous path over the past 100 years or so. We as a society have to learn to separate our fruits meaningfully to develop the kinds of arguments that will help educate (and train) those who need it without contributing to the denial of their rights.

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Old October 18, 2010, 09:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamara
Quote:
Originally Posted by grey sky
One day I hope to be," the only person in the room professinal enough....."
Google that quote.
I doubt anybody posting in this thread needs to do so. Everybody and their mom has seen Mr. DEA agent shoot himself in the leg because of his lousy gun handling. What's your point?
And so, grey sky, Mr. DEA, or anyone else, would have done better with less training?

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Old October 18, 2010, 09:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacecoast
My CCW training course, required by the state of FL, was valuable and welcome training for both my daughter and me. It was better than the minimum required...
spacecoast,

This actually proves my point. The state has no interest in ensuring that you are well-prepared to save your own life or the lives of people you love, so the state minimum requirements don't do much toward that end.

However, good instructors do care about their students, and thus often bootleg a little extra information or training to their classes. That's why you know your class was "better than the minimum required."

This is a good thing and a fairly common one (and bless the instructors of whom it may be said!). But it's not the state's fault that your instructor did more than the state required. That extra instruction was incidental, not by legal design.

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Old October 18, 2010, 09:20 AM   #20
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psyfly,

That's it -- exactly.

If you want to wander around untrained, that's your concern. It's your life, see?

But ignorance is not better than knowledge. Not in this area nor in any other.

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Old October 18, 2010, 09:32 AM   #21
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# We've also seen cases, reported on this board and others, in which individuals made some poor decision, like going out to confront people outside their homes or in the street, and have gotten into significant legal trouble.
A couple of days from now, assuming the trial doesn't get delayed, I'm going to be hanging out down at my local courthouse to watch one such trial. The shooting briefly made the national news as a "homeowner legally defends home yay us!" kind of thing. But it wasn't quite that positive for our side. The middle-aged homeowner -- who has never been in trouble with the law in his entire life -- is facing spending the rest of his life in jail for a bad decision he made when a couple of lifelong crooks broke into his garage.

If what the prosecutor alleges actually happened, the homeowner did in fact break the law. And those on the jury who believe in the rule of law will thus be faced with the awful choice of sending a good man to jail for the rest of his life, or failing to punish serious lawbreaking that led to the death of another citizen.

Would he have made that same bad decision if he'd had good training? I seriously doubt it... but we'll never know, since he never got that training. And now he's facing financial and personal ruin.

I live in a very conservative area, and sentiment around here strongly hopes the jury refuses to convict. Perhaps he'll be acquitted.

But it's a close thing, and by no means a certain one. And you'd never hear about the consequences to the homeowner if you'd only read the initial reports which made the national news.

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Old October 18, 2010, 09:53 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Tamara
2) People can't shoot, but think they can. ...
Tamara,

You made me laugh this morning. Thanks. And it's (sadly) right on target, too.

What I've noticed is that the better a shooter is, the more aware they are of their own deficiencies and areas they need to improve. It's poor shooters who are universally assured that they don't need to improve. (Of course, there are scientific studies explaining why this is true....)

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Old October 18, 2010, 10:25 AM   #23
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if you're not well trained, you might as well leave that heavy lump of steel locked up at home. It won't do you any good anyway.
Bullocks.

If you can hit the paper @7 yards, are AWARE of surroundings ( hypervigalent is better) and they dont "get the drop" on you....then you can reasonably expect to defend yourself with a pistol.

That does not mean you should NOT practice, or train, or learn to draw fast....they do increase your odds.
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Old October 18, 2010, 10:28 AM   #24
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...are AWARE of surroundings ...
Yeah, um. About that: awareness levels

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Old October 18, 2010, 10:34 AM   #25
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When we begin to discuss the relative merits of more (and maybe more and more) training, we bring up the specter (most any government bureaucrat will do for this) who will stand ready to define for us who should be allowed to exercise their rights.

Training is absolutely valuable and the more (good) training one can get, the better.

However, I don’t hear anyone arguing that training is necessary in order to defend oneself or others.

We absolutely must strive to be consistent: We have to learn to tolerate those people with less ability, knowledge, intelligence, and, yes, training, doing all kinds of things they should be free to do including; speak, practice their religion, go about the world armed, and the rest of the BOR as a bedrock start.

Of course it can be dangerous to allow stupid, ill-informed, and untrained people to freely carry arms or to speak out in public or to run for office or to vote in elections.
Well, that is the puzzle of a true republic.

There is no good argument these days about training to protect others.

My point about the watch, was that back then, there was an expectation of bad men (mostly outsiders) wanting to do people in your community harm. It was considered a shared responsibility to conduct the watch. The fact that women did not do it back then is not really relevant as the role of women has changed in US society that it is clearly distinguished as to be almost unrecognizable. Still, there is no procedure to draft women into military service of the state. I imagine that most communities of today if they had a watch might not have the expectation of women serving on one. It is a function of the expectation of the role models of society, not indicative of rights or capability.
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