Today self-defense and defensive shooting training is becoming more essential to the private citizen than ever. In many areas of the country we are seeing a reluctance from our law enforcement to enter high crime areas. Our law enforcement officers are now second guessing their response and sometimes hesitant to get involved in a incident. This is in part due to incidents in Ferguson, Mo., New York City, and recently Baltimore. Officers are being scrutinized at every turn and every action they take in a critical incident. This was already the case but they are now under a microscope even more critical of actions. They have become concerned about being disciplined or even worse losing their job for actions taken under stress that have in many cases been found to be justified in their use of force. The more resent pool party incident in Texas appears to be yet another such case. Here the officer resigned before a full investigation was conducted and all the information could have been looked at. Yet another quick judgement by the Press, protestors, and the department administration. Now the crime rate has risen drastically in these areas and across the country. In many parts of the country law enforcement response can take quite some time to get you if you are in danger and this is due to under staffing for whatever the reason. At any rate an already present problem became a bigger issue. It is more and more likely that law enforcement will get to you in your hour of need to late to save you. They will however be in time to clean up the remains and start conducting an incident investigation.

Sheriff David C. Clarke Jr of Milwaukee put it like this;

“You could beg for mercy from a criminal, hide under the bed, or you could fight back. But are you prepared?” he asks. “Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself and your family.”

Perhaps we should be paying more attention to men like Sheriff Clarke. With the growing lack of respect and defiance of law enforcement and authority they represent across the country do you think those bad actors and the criminal elements will be likely to respect the private citizen? I don’t think so. If anything the criminal elements are getting bolder. On Friday June 12 there was a shooting at Coral Ridge Mall in Iowa City, Iowa. The mall is a weapons free zone. Wow! That’s something new right! The gunman was a disgruntled former security guard who had been fired that day. The victim a young woman is dead as a result. We have had shootings in smaller towns in the area. Here in Iowa we have just had information put out that Keokuk, Burlington, Muscatine, Fort Madison, and Davenport have entered into the top ten most dangerous cities in Iowa. Three of these towns are relatively small. This puts Southeast Iowa on a Hotspot that has continued to get worse over the last five or ten years. Criminal shootings, home invasions, burglaries, armed robberies have been increasing. While violent crimes overall are down in the country according to FBI studies and other crime reports it seems to have spread out, out of the big city and is more prevalent in rural parts of the country and small towns. This puts more stress on our already taxed local law enforcement agencies. All the more reason to get yourself and loved ones self defense training and defensive shooting training. The question comes back to the forefront, “Are you prepared?”

Where does this take us? “What will it take to motivate you to look closer at your ability to defend yourself and your family or your business patrons or guests in your home?” Will violence have to visit you or someone you know before you get out and seek out training and take training seriously? The odds are it will be to late then and 911 won’t be a quick enough response when violence seeks you out. Because the bad people of this world choose their victims. The victim has no say as to when, where, and how they will be attacked. If you don’t have the defensive skills. Say you don’t have the knowledge. Are you prepared for a violent attack? Will you be relying on luck to save you? Or relying on help from law enforcement (911) that has a high likelihood of being to late. Relying on luck reminds me of a movie quote from the movie “13th Warrior”.

“Luck will often save a man if his courage will hold.”

This statement was made by an experience trained warrior in the movies about concerns over the villagers ability to fight and defend the village. The next step after this was to start training the villagers to give them the skills to fight and build defenses. Yes, luck can be part of the equation but even this warrior is not willing to rely on luck a lone. In the real world we see something similar in the conflicts of the world. Experienced well trained warriors training villagers and militia to defend against seasoned attacking warriors. As a private citizen who carries a gun or has a defensive firearm in the home you are obligated to train with that firearm. “You are the first line of defense for society against the predators of the worlds innocent!” Yes, I have said that many times. I believe in it. I also believe your skill level and ability will serve you better than luck or the hope that someone will respond to your life threatening emergency in time. Statistics also make that clear. I for one won’t rely only on luck, especially in today’s climate among much of our law enforcement community. Your training must go beyond just thinking your way through the steps and fundamentals. Your defensive firearms use must get to a point at which you don’t have to think about the steps of the draw, sight alignment, grip, trigger press or any of the other fundamentals. These things should become second nature. You should be capable of doing them intuitively without thought. Your mind will need to be processing information and stimuli to respond to the situation. A response developed through experience when available and formal training under a watchful eye of an instructor is your best bet for preparation. You have to be efficient. Now that’s a word of low usage in the training world. Rob Pincus defines efficiency as;

“Achieving a goal with as little time, effort, and energy as possible.”

This is very true. Also the training you receive should support this concept. Developing skills and techniques that breath efficiency. The training you receive is only part of the equation. Once you have attended formal training and acquired the skills you then have practice to hone and polish and maintain those skills you have learned. Making the skills intuitive. Just developing skills does not make them intuitive. Continued practice and training will get you to the goals you set for yourself in achieving a level of efficiency.

While this message reaches many it will only reach a few who will take heed to the need for training. There are many that just can’t be reached. Which is sad. Today there are more people in the country who own defensive firearms than any other time in our nations history. This has had a direct affect on crime regardless of what the anti-gunners say. So why are you not training beyond the basics? I hope that some of those who read this who had not paid much attention in the past begin to. I realize no matter how much information the training industry or I put out about it there will still be those who just won’t get it. But, there will be some who have not considered it in the past that may start now. That’s why I continue to try. For that handful. Besides making us better prepared for a life threatening incident training makes us safer to the public and our families when we carry a gun in public or have one for defense in our homes. Others will only get motivated to train when they see the news of a mass killing or some other horrific incident that gets them thinking on a personal basis. Training after violence has come knocking or after someone you know has been affected by it is training to late. The sad part is this often happens immediately after highly reported incident we see a bump in interest. It however is short lived. Sandy Hook school and the Aurora, Co. movie theater were good examples. The interest in training was abound. Not so much today. As a matter of fact then it was back down in only a few months after each of those events. By the time summer hit it was seemingly forgotten.

Are you efficient in your gun handling? Will you be effective under stress? As an Instructor I ask myself regularly, “How can I reach and motivate people to train?” I am still asking myself that question. Can I motivate you and is it possible? I won’t stop trying! Many of my students return for more. Get your head out of the sand. Training today has evolved from training 20 years ago. Training in tomorrow’s world will evolve and advance as we learn and study more about the use of force and self defense and combat and even the applications of competition to real world. New training techniques and effective drills will be born and will make us more efficient. It’s up to you to keep up and move forward.