Recently, I read an article in which some anti-gun mouthpiece asked the following; “What are you so afraid of that you feel the need to have a military-style assault rifle with a high capacity magazine next to your bed?” You could almost hear the hysteria in her voice. Ignoring the factual errors in the question (an AR-15 is neither military or an assault rifle and a 30-round magazine is standard capacity), the answer is, I’m not afraid of much. Except knife-wielding clowns—they kind of freak me out. But otherwise, I’m not really afraid, at least in the, “I’m full of fear” sense. I just like to be prepared. If this anti-gun individual prefers not to be prepared, rock on. Doesn’t affect me at all. But don’t tell me I can’t be prepared. My preparation in no way impacts her life in any way, shape or form.
With that out of the way, let me address the topic of fear because I think it is actually a valid question. It would be easy to draw the conclusion that those who carry a firearm in public or who keep them at home for protection are afraid. It’s so easy to draw that conclusion that anti-gun propagandists use that all the time to demean those of us who take our personal security personally. We’re constantly told that the “gun lobby” uses fear to gin up more gun sales for the greedy gun makers. They apparently assume that no reasonable person would every actually want to own a gun so they conclude that it’s a fear-driven industry. This is poppycock of course; just talk to any gun owner and they likely have a list of additional guns they’d like to own just because. I have such a list, and it’s a long one. I don’t want a pre-1990 Remington 700 in 7mm Rem Mag because I’m afraid of anything, but because it’s quintessential American hunting rifle. Same for the pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in .270 Winchester. I simply read a lot of Jack O’Connor as a kid.
Don’t Live In Fear
I was listening to an episode of the American Warrior Show earlier this summer and the guest was Rory Miller. He had this to say:
“Fear makes you withdraw from the world instead of engaging it. If you do all this training and prep because you are afraid, the imaginary bad guy has already won. We train and prepare to be the best version of who we are. We become strong and able to fully engage the world in which we live.”
I’m actually not sure I can improve upon that paragraph. After a terrorist attack, we often hear people talking of going back to doing what they were doing when the attack happened. If they don’t, the terrorists win. Training to save one’s life is much the same. We don’t train because we’re afraid; we train so we don’t have to be.
Since I started taking defensive and competition training classes just over a year ago, I’ve had 72 hours of instruction in 10 classes. I know for certain that I walk with more confidence, more awareness and am able to more fully engage in my surroundings than ever before. As Rory said, I’m not afraid of an imaginary bad guy; instead, I’m much more prepared to handle whatever might come my way. I have by no means arrived, and will likely continue taking classes for a long time. Each class makes me a little better than I was before, which lends a little more confidence.
I’m reminded of a story—which may or may not be apocryphal—about a traffic stop of a little old lady. When the officer asked for her license, he noticed she had a snubby revolver in her purse. He asked if she had any other weapons nearby. “Why yes I do,” came the reply. “There’s a .38 between the seats and a Colt .45 in the glovebox.” Stupefied, the officer asked, “M’am, what exactly are you afraid of?” “Absolutely nothing,” she said flatly. That’s how I want to live my life.
Prepared, Not Scared
Back to the original premise of the post, I keep firearms nearby for the same reason I keep fire extinguishers nearby. Not because I’m afraid of my house burning down, but because houses do sometimes burn down (I should know, I was a firefighter for 4 years and put more than a few out). Most of those house fires could have been minor nuances instead of major tragedies had someone had access to a fire extinguisher quickly.
Likewise, home invasions happen, and they are on the rise. You can live in denial if you want, and tell yourself you’re in a good neighborhood, and you have the 911 on speed dial. That’s cool with me. However, having been a first-responder, I know that on a good day, help is at least 10 minutes away. A whole lot of bad can happen in 10 minutes. Depending on the mindset and aggression of the invaders, it might not matter if it’s 10 minutes or 10 hours, the outcome is the same.
I have the training, the mindset and the skills to defend my home and family and I will do so to the death. That’s not macho, that’s just a statement of fact. I’m not afraid of it, because I’m prepared for it. I don’t sleep with one eye open and a finger on the trigger. I sleep soundly confident that if the excrement hits the rotating air moving device, I can prevail. That confidence comes from stacking the deck in my favor.
Training, equipment and the proper mindset are keys—for me, anyway—to not only staying safe, but living strong and fully engaged in my world. What’s you’re strategy?