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Old October 17, 2010, 04:25 PM   #1
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 7,478
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.

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat

Last edited by pax; October 17, 2010 at 04:31 PM.
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