Several years ago I wrote an article about Crime Definitions You Should Think About, talking about the definition of “Aggravated Assault” (as opposed to “Attempted Murder”) and what it meant—and how often it happened. If you haven’t read that, please take a moment to do so, because it describes the definition of aggravated assault, and why that definition is important. It’ll make the next part a lot more clear.
Each year, states (and divisions within that state such as county and city departments) are required to report crime statistics in various ways. One of the most important “indexes” of crime are “Part I” crimes, which include (among other things) the various categories of “Violent Crimes” which are: Criminal Homicide, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault.
Most often, people (when talking about armed self-defense) discuss the criminal homicide rates in their various areas, touting those areas as “safe” or “dangerous” in various descriptions based on those rates, most of which are misleading at best, and downright wrong fairly often.
In a past post, I talked fairly bluntly about how if you don’t have any education, training, or experience in a technical area, you don’t really have a right to an opinion in that technical area.
Unsurprisingly in this time of “everyone is equal and their thoughts are all equally valid, even if they are clueless,” lots of people grew angry about the idea. It probably would have gone better had if I said it differently, but what I was REALLY thinking was “…your opinion is worthless.”
And I wasn’t wrong.
So how do you get to a point where your opinion is valid in a technical area such as self-defense? Answer: Education, training, or experience. (And preferably, all three.)
Let’s start with education (this will be the first in a set of three posts). Continue reading
You are a consistent follower of Rule One, so you always carry a gun. And since you are not merely a gun owner, but instead are actually prepared to defend yourself, you also follow Rule Two, and have trained sufficiently (and have kept in training sufficiently) to have at minimum a solid grounding in the fundamentals of shooting and gun-handling while also acquiring the requisite knowledge of the law with respect to use of force, and use of lethal force.
So what’s the third Rule?
It’s quite simple, really, even though this is the situation where the largest number of people will create the most ridiculous rationalizations to defend their emotional investment in a piece of equipment.
Rule Three of Concealed Carry: Carry the most effective tool that you can.
So, you are following Rule One. You have a gun, concealed, on your person. So, what’s the next rule? What’s the next most important thing?
Have the basic knowledge and skill to use it properly. That’s Rule Two.
Some people are probably scratching their heads and saying “why was ‘Have A Gun’ Rule one when you aren’t requiring anyone to know how to use it?” Simple—if you don’t have one, what skills you have with it won’t matter. And more importantly, plenty of people who have no formal training or practice with firearms have nonetheless competently defended themselves using firearms.
I know that if you read articles or forums posts written by me, you will see phrases like “any caliber from 9mm through .45acp will work equally well” and “at least shoot a 9mm” crop up often. There is a large, robust set of of research data showing those calibers, through handguns, will be functionally effective in the same manner to the same degree and can, in general, be relied upon to cause self-defense “stops” given adequate accuracy on the part of the shooter.
Does this mean I believe anyone who carries a smaller caliber than that isn’t going to be able to defend themselves? Continue reading
Ralph Mroz liked my article about expertise, where I discussed some of the things Tom Givens said about who is qualified to have an opinion in a technical field.
…and he and Tom Givens made some interesting comments as followups, too. In particular the important question: “What constitutes “experience” in a civilian context?”
This is one of the things that I’ve talked about before, regarding military or law enforcement “experience” when talking about people who are qualified to teach citizen CCW courses–which Tom Givens discussed also, and I mentioned in my original article. Continue reading
I posted a depressed comment on Facebook yesterday:
“I need to start charging over a hundred dollars for a half-day seminar. Apparently.
This explains why I’m poor!”
A couple of my friends replied:
“Why don’t you charge more?“
“Do you think aren’t worth more? Or do prefer to be the better value?“
“Truth? I think that my combination of training, experience, and practice in armed and unarmed self-defense plus the fact that I’ve actually been researching this topic (instead of depending on anecdotal evidence) means that my training is worth quite a lot (especially in self-defense classes)—and not only more than I’ve been charging, but much more than a lot of the crap that is taught around here by people who are teaching based on their background and experience, which doesn’t actually match the topics that they are teaching.* Continue reading