Skip to main content

God, Guns, Self-Defense, and Oscar?

I read with great interest the letter written to the Sun by Rick Crotts and I read it about six times.  Other than a missing word, which I filled in, and the unintentional implication in the opening paragraph that a person might use the Oscar Pistorious trial to kill a person, it was definitely food for thought.   Incidentally, I am not following the trial, so I can’t answer any of the six specific trial questions Mr. Crotts posed and I am not sure anyone else can either.
For instance, the question of, “How many times did this man prevent a tragedy using a gun and how many times did he create one instead?” can only be answered by the Almighty.  I say that facetiously, as I see the points he is making in his two question sentence.  The same could be said of anyone using diplomacy instead of a “gun” however.  The answer would be the same, “Who knows?”
The letter was intended to show a parallel between using a handgun for self-defense and outright murder and of the fifteen questions raised in the letter; I am going to address the nine that would apply to me as a concealed handgun permit holder and thus most everyone else who possesses one.  Mr. Crotts’ letter was heavy on questions and equally absent of solutions, but that is my opinion and you may have felt he spoke to your heart.  I do not agree entirely and I’ll explain in a bit.
I do agree with the intent of his letter and that is the “awesome responsibilities associated with using a gun in self defense.”  Back years ago before my physical abilities began to wane, I was a proud black belt martial artist with the confidence to handle most anyone who decided I was a target, but then, there wasn’t the proliferation of armed assailants we are seeing now in the news.
The CHL permits were just becoming available and I put off getting certified for the very reason Mr. Crotts wrote about.  I didn’t want the responsibility of killing someone on my conscience.  For years black belt holders were viewed as loaded weapons, with “registered hands” and the responsibility of not using unjustifiable force was upon us, both socially, legally, and personally.  It was enough and many black belts take this responsibility seriously past the point of fighting. 
In other words, they don’t fight anymore than most CHL owners look for opportunities to “blow someone away”.
Second, I want to take time to say that anyone with a real black belt, after years of study, is fully capable of maiming, crippling, or killing another human being.  Don’t believe the hogwash you see in Hollywood movies where two or more practitioners beat on each other for ten minutes and even the mixed martial arts bouts have many rules to safeguard the fighters.  Real combat is short and swift and if both have skills, both get hurt, regardless of who wins.
About 99% of having the ability to bring severe or fatal harm to a fellow human will be dependent on the mental state of the person with the skills or gun and their confidence level.  As an alpha personality with a black belt and a CHL, I can’t for 100% certainty say I will be up for the confrontation if and when it happens, or if I will make absolutely the right decision.
I, as a degreed self-defense practitioner would like to think I will and I have years of extensive training to possibly bolster my assertion – but I can’t say for a certainty until that time comes and I think that pretty much answers this question, “Does the average individual even act rationally when they are mortally afraid, justifiably or not?”  No one can say for sure they will do the right thing until it happens, regardless of what they tell themselves they will do – unless there are children involved.  The violence is then immediately justified without thought.
On these questions, “What do I do if I wake up in the middle of the night with a loaded gun nearby, hearing an unfamiliar or unanticipated noise? Is that a legitimate reason to shoot somebody?”  The answer to the first one is you arm yourself, hunker down, and call the police.  If it is indeed an intruder and you do not have other people living in your house and they come through the door, you shoot them by aiming for the center of their body.  If you have other people in the house, you are going to be forced to investigate exercising great control.
“If I want to be sure that I don’t make a mistake in shooting, how do I do that? Turn on the lights and get a good look? Do I call out for someone to identify themselves?”  If you don’t have confidence or the ability to identify a noise or intruder, you simply cannot use a firearm to “recon by fire”.  Call the police and hunker down.  Don’t yell out or turn on a light.  Wait for the police.  As far as waking up and thinking straight goes, that is what the hormone adrenaline is for.  It’s God’s auto-pilot to warn and equip us to run from or react to danger.
Unless you are a B.A.S.E. jumper adrenaline equals fear and it should.  Everything in you will make you want to run and this is normal.  Having a gun in your hand doesn’t negate this over-whelming feeling.
“If I observe a crime, even a violent one, out in public, do I really want to blaze away with my gun, perhaps escalating the violence or hurting a bystander? If someone else with a gun sees me firing a gun, what prevents them from seeing me as a threat and joining in, with me as the target?”  I’ll answer the first one, first.  Nope, call the police and hunker down.  Don’t do a thing unless you are personally threatened.  If the armed robber turns their gun on you, you will be forced to engage them or be a victim.
On the second question, if you are observed shooting a gun, you are potentially a bad guy to everyone at the scene regardless and will be treated as such until and when the police arrive.  Put the gun in plain sight and keep your hands out of your pockets until the police can sort it out.  Only talk when spoken to.
Like I said, earlier, I see the gist of what Mr. Crotts is writing and believe I understand he is attempting to educate by getting people to define what they would do and thus my take on it.  Your views may differ from mine, but that’s okay with me.  In the meantime, I will continue to arm myself and as always, stay out of trouble.


Anonymous said…
Good response to him. JC
Anonymous said…
Bert: Glad you did piece today. I think this subject should be looked at through the eyes of many. I have been a CHL holder since the first year such licenses were offered, 1996. I read the Crotts letter with interest, and I must say you are nicer to him than I would be. I might also say that some of what you say I agree with and some I don’t, but that’s what the “debate” is all about. (There is no debate, really, to me. I don’t want anyone messing with my weapons, and that is what many, many are seeking.) You might remember I did a column last year on guns laws. There are literally thousands on the books now. The column I did was about crooks turning in their guns with even more laws placed on the books. It ain’t gonna happen. Wonder if Crotts read about Fort Hood. Hey, that was a gun-free zone. Anyway, Bert, glad you did the piece. jimf
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

Camp fires, wood smoke, and burning leaves.

When I was a kid, everyone burned leaves in the fall. I always enjoyed it so much.It was a happy time. Man, that smell was amazing and you couldn’t go anywhere without smelling it. Of course now I know that it is a major source of air pollution and those of us that live inside the city limits are restricted from doing it. I don’t think I would burn them anyway, choosing to compost instead.
The whole family would engage in raking the yard and the reward was burning the leaves. The thick gray smoke would pour out like liquid clouds and we would run through it. Afterward, we smelled like smoke, but we didn’t care. I would wager that most people under the age of 30 have never even raked leaves into a pile, let alone burn them.
Growing up in north Georgia in the late 60’s, my 3 brothers and I would camp out most of the summer and burn anything and everything on our campfire. At the end of summer there wouldn’t be a stick, pine cone, or needle on the ground. We smelled like mountain men a…

Riding the waves

Back in 1974, after coming back to the USA from the unpleasant conflict in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Vandenberg has 20 miles of coastline that is basically closed to the public and people in residence, regardless if you are in the military or not. This rule didn’t seem to affect my fellow airmen and I from going body surfing on a lonely stretch of beach, far from controlling authorities. There was a submerged shelf that ran out a couple three hundred yards from the beach that was flat and about 6 feet deep.You could swim way out there and as the ocean waves came in, they would hit that shelf and make 5 feet high waves that white-capped all the way in. Now mind you, this was pre-Jaws and none of us had ever heard of a Great White shark. Year later I read where this stretch of beach was prime habitat and a couple years ago, an airman was killed right there.
We had been in the 65 degree water for about an hour and I was turning …

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three years, but let us take a look at Ben Franklin as an example of that. We have a family joke that the answer to almost any Jeopardy clue is almost always “Who was Ben Franklin?”
When I am asked who I would most likely enjoy an afternoon with, it is always Ol’ Ben, the only President of the United States, who was never the President of the United States. Did you know he was the master of self-promotion and a man I admire? Even as a young lad, if he spotted a person of higher station, he would grab a shovel or some tool and begin to work diligently. The person would see him and remark, “What a fine worker that young man is!”
I’ve read a couple of books on the man and it still amazes me that he did so much with so little organized education. “From 1714-1716, Franklin attended Boston Grammar School and George Brownell's English School (for one year each) but he was withdrawn due to the expense of formal…