Category Archives: self defense

Responsible Ownership

This could include anything that could cause harm to others. That is, a car, propane tank, knife, internet usage, relationship, hammer, welding torch, …

But in this context, I’m talking about firearm ownership. Whether you believe its a useful tool or not, here are a few things that come to mind. Mind you, the reason I write this was because of something I saw on an Instagram story post:

The video showed someone looking over the sights of a handgun pointed at and following an individual. The caption said “Should I?” I think it was meant in a joking way, but to me, it wasn’t a joke at all. Not only did she point at the person, but she had her finger on the trigger!!!

There were two immediate problems with what I saw. Here are two rules that should be obvious to most people with a little bit of common sense:

  1. Never point a weapon (handgun, nail gun, slingshot, BB gun,…) at something or someone that you might harm. Don’t even do it jokingly. You always assume a weapon is LOADED regardless if you triple checked it to be unloaded. Never EVER point unless you plan to shoot.
  2. Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire the weapon. That means your finger should be pointed forward along the weapon and not on the trigger until the very moment you plan to fire. This has a major role in preventing accidental discharge.

Along with these rules, here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

  • I am for the 2nd Amendment. But insuring a proper licensing process that excludes felons, minors, people with a history of domestic abuse, sex offenders, and others is an important step in the process. Every gun owner should have a FOID first (Firearm Owners Identification Card). This includes a screening process and an FBI background check. People who don’t know what their talking about think that anyone can easily get a firearm. This is not true. Then possibly a Concealed Carry permit only for those trained to safely use a firearm.
  • Always make sure a firearm is SECURED. This means securely on your person, locked in a safe and put away out of sight in a vehicle, or in a locked safe at home. Its an owners responsibility to prevent theft and take guns off the street out of the hands of criminals and minors.
  • Don’t be a HERO!! This was said over and over in my classes. Because you have a weapon does not mean you turn into the police or a good Samaritan for every situation. Find safety for yourself and family first, then call 911. Your weapon is only a last resort should all else fail.
  • AVOID – don’t get into violent situations. Don’t go to bars looking for trouble. Don’t carry to a pickup game of basketball where emotions can rise. Don’t carry to a party. Most of these things are against the law anyway. You don’t carry in those places. If a situation arises, AVOID the situation. Don’t get involved. If you are involved in a road rage incident, keep your windows up and drive away. Don’t honk and shout profanities. That only puts you into a fight.
  • DE-ESCALATE – if you are subject to a road rage incident or other situation. Make every attempt to soften the tensions. Tell them they are right and walk away. You know you are safer because you have a weapon. Don’t let your bravado get you into a situation. Walk away!
  • There isn’t a safe WARNING SHOT! I saw on the news where a person was prosecuted for getting involved in a situation they shouldn’t be involved in. They fired a warning shot to stop the altercation. It turns out it was two (black) mental health workers trying to secure an escaped (white) mental patient. There is a lot wrong with that. A warning shot can ricochet; a shot in the air means a bullet can come down anywhere; and it causes undue fear in the population. Not a single concealed carry class would encourage warning shots. Don’t do it! It is illegal and you will get prosecuted.

Having a firearm shouldn’t make you more brave than if you didn’t have one. But it gives you security so that you are not a sheep waiting for slaughter. If someone threatens your child or spouse with deadly force, then you can respond with the same and not feel totally helpless. If you are against overwhelming odds in a bad situation, at least you have the ability to defend your right to live. But you are not a hero, you aren’t looking for fame, and you don’t show off your weapon or tell everybody you are carrying. Those are the people who shouldn’t carry. There was a report of a lady police officer who’s weapon accidentally discharged and killed an 11-year old sleeping in his bed in the next room. She was off-duty at a party with friends, drinking and joking, and for some reason decided to pull out her weapon to play with it and show off. Those are people who shouldn’t have weapons. If you do it right, nobody will ever know you carry. You don’t talk about it. You don’t show off. Its a serious matter that only will ever show up in a life or death situation. And hopefully that never happens.

Nearly all victims of rattlesnake bites are young men. Instead of avoiding a poisonous snake, they feel like they need to be macho and play with it. Most women are smart enough not to do that. So its stupid people who end up paying the price. Don’t play around with dangerous things, firearms included. They aren’t toys.

Don’t Fight Angry

unequal_fight_2

I probably should use angrily since its an adverb, but this is a better title. And, better yet, avoid a fight at all costs. We’ll all be better off with less fighting. But if you’re a fighter, then here ya go!

A top-fuel funny car or dragster can clock a quarter-mile time in 3.278 seconds. I mean, you have to admit that is super fast. The only problem is that a good percentage of the time, these cars blow-up, spin their tires, or crash due to some little wobble that makes it uncontrollable. But when they are on, they are something else.

Now take a Rally Car. It may run several hundred miles in a race on 4-cylinders without much horsepower compared to a top-fuel dragster. But it can go the distance making calculated strikes with gas mileage, speed at taking turns, navigation, and whatever it can to efficiently make it to the end with a win.

When I wrestled in high school, I was the dragster. I may have gotten “real” wrestling fitness toward the very end of the season. Otherwise, I was always gassed if I went the distance. Well, the distance is only 6 minutes, but you really have to be there to understand. Prepping for a match, I would mentally psych myself out. I would imagine my opponent hurting my little adopted brother. I would get foaming at the mouth mad and my adrenaline would crank through the roof. I would say that in about 40% of my matches, I pinned my opponent in the first minute, all with a lot of anger. But if we got past the first round, I was in trouble. I might hang on for dear life holding on to the points I scored in the first minute. Otherwise, I could barely fight at the end.  Sometimes, I had to be helped off the mat since I was so tired.

If you’ve ever gone to a powerlifting meet, the consequences of this psyching is clearly evident. Some of these guys will stomp around and yell, sniffing smelling salts while their coach pounds on their shoulders. They build their adrenaline and lift enormous loads. But you have to time that adrenaline dump if that’s your style. If they lose too much energy in the minutes before a lift, or even hours before, then they gas out and often don’t complete the lift. Elite powerlifter Travis Mash talks about this a lot. He was more even-keeled with his emotions. And he ended up being one of the greatest powerlifters ever. He timed his energy not wasting it on emotion, but on the lift itself.

Here is my advice:

  1. First, develop a good chin. Learn how to take a punch. Learn to resist the emotional first response. If you hear something that is politically or personally offensive, let that first shot glance off your bow away from you. The worst thing you can do is go off on somebody and make poor decisions in the heat of the moment.
  2. Second, make your jabs efficient and effective. Put power behind them, but not with a ton of emotion. Make them calculated hammers to the face & body. Use words that are crisp and calculated. Don’t be the quarterback who runs for first downs head first in the first quarter only to be taken out early. Don’t let emotions draw you into a brawl. Keep your elbows in and your guard up. Breathe and don’t let yourself get winded. Stay in a zone where you can recover and fight the long fight.
  3. Third, take the mindset of Iowa wrestling. Instead of conditioning for 7 minutes on the mat, condition for 30 minutes. Put that beast into 2nd gear and stay there. Keep grinding non-stop and don’t let up. Don’t blow it all on emotion and all out efforts. If you lift 30 reps of clean & jerks with 135 pounds for time, focus on how you’ll do the last 5 reps, not the first 5. Don’t let someone capitalize on your weakness when you’ve lost your endurance. Don’t end a fight not even being able to lift your arms. Finish strong.

 

Not Even There

big little dog

This is what I’m putting behind me with this writing.

There is an old cartoon. As I recall, it was a little toy breed of dog who would jump around all excited around his much larger friend, I think his name was Gus. Little dog was like “whatta we gonna do Gus?!!!” “What should we do today!!” This little guy was so excited and fawned over his friend. And the big guy was mostly apathetic toward it all. In fact, he probably wished that little dog wasn’t even there. What a nuisance, right?

Sometimes, friendships are like that. Some people light up your life. They walk in the room and their smile infects everyone to smile too. They have a charisma or a sweetness that melts your heart. Yet, you stand there like the Invisible Man. You may as well not even exist.

I often feel like that little dog. I can go head over heels in supporting my friends. They may be offering a “macrame workshop” and I don’t have a lot of interest in macrame. Or maybe I want to find interest in macrame just because I want to support my friend. I’ve set up events and workshops where a handful or less showed up. I’ll admit it made me sad. Not even my friends showed up. You thought that at least your friends would be there for you. So then, you become guarded and no longer set up events. Nobody likes to fail. And nobody wants to be disregarded by friends.

There is a song by James Taylor that goes:

Shower the people you love with love,
show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine,
if you only will.

I would love to be this way all the time. Realistically, I would say I am that person 80% of the time. But the other 20%…well that’s where I’ve been lately. Its when you feel invisible…disregarded…alone. You feel like you are on a one-way street. A street that you travel to be there for people. But they don’t travel the other way to you. Is it selfish to seek goodness in everyone and not get it in return? To give compliments, empathy, and compassion, and not receive anything back? Maybe. But we can’t control other people.

So, I will take control. I will be the Master of my domain. I will probably not change my 80% as a giver. I need to do a cost/benefit analysis of my stocks. I will put all I have into investments that give good returns. And I won’t invest in stocks that give nothing.

To those I love…well, the showers of goodness they’ll get will overflow with richness, so much that they will have no choice but to share it with others.

Much love to you my friends.

Burn the Boats

burn the boats

Several years ago, I was the pacer for a runner in the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run in California. This started as an equestrian event many years ago. When Gordy Ansleigh’s horse went lame at the start, he decided to run it on foot. And so the tradition began for what is known as the Grand-Daddy of all ultramarathons.

A pacer’s job is to keep a runner on track, especially in dangerous terrain where they can get lost or suffer collapse. In some races, a pacer can mule for a runner, which means they can carry water, food, or other needs. But not in this race. I was there for safety, guidance, and motivation. At one point, likely midnight at around mile 70, my runner succumbed to the chair. They always say “beware the chair”.  I had put a mylar blanket on her and she ate some food and proceeded to pass out. She said, “I’m done.” I prodded her to keep going. I wasn’t about to let her quit. And I said, we are deep in a canyon. The only way to get out is to start climbing cross-country. And even if we get to a road, we may wait a long time for someone to pick us up. It was unsafe and unwise. There was no going back. And she continued on.

When you set your mind on a goal, you should stay the course. Cortes and a small group of Spaniards landed on the Yucatan Peninsula in 1519 A.D. and set out to conquer Mexico. He ordered the troops to “Burn the Boats”. That way, they would either collapse in defeat or fight to victory. And fight they did. I won’t say whether this idea or the historical act of colonialism was the correct course of action, but you have to admire the will to succeed by not allowing for an exit strategy.

Sometimes life throws things your way and often we don’t have an option. We are the soldier placed in a situation where we have no other way but to move forward. Sometimes, the boat is burned for us whether we like it or not. Sometimes people will say things in such a brash and unforgiving way that they burn the boat. There is no going back. Salvaging a plank of wood and wading into the ocean is not an option. You can forgive their anger and honest emotions, but you can’t forgive the substance of the message.

Move forward all you soldiers. Don’t even think of escape. There is only up. Gird your loins and find your reward. The horizon is yours for the taking.

Stands With A Fist

stands with a fist
There is a character depicted in the movie “Dances With Wolves” with the name given to her “Stands With A Fist”. She was a Caucasian woman taken in by the Lakota Sioux for a reason I don’t remember. She had been with them for so long that she no longer spoke English. Apparently, she was given this name because she didn’t take any gruff from anyone. She wasn’t a weakling of a person who sought special privilege. She Stands with a Fist. You have to admire a person like that. Someone who isn’t looking for a handout. Someone who makes the most of every situation.
When you are proud, you try to do things yourself. You appreciate help, but you don’t seek it. It is about personal responsibility and value of self-worth. In that time, a Native woman would wander off to a lonely place in the woods to give birth. It was a completely different mindset. Don’t get me wrong. I like all the accouterments of modern life. But you have to admire the mind of someone who does something on their own. Its why I like to fix my own car. YouTube is good for that. There is nothing that we are incapable of doing these days if we have the courage to put our minds to it.
It doesn’t take the government, or some official, or a college degree to tell me if or what or when I can do something. I will do it. And always on my own if I have the tools to do it. We should all learn to Stand With A Fist!