You’re A Little Bit Nuts

When I first bought my gun I thought I would buy it, take a class, put it on my hip and that would be that. The be all, end all to every self defense scenario there was. Yeah, to say I was naive would be a huge understatement.

The more I learned the more I discovered I needed to learn. Occasionally I get questions about the level I train. It mostly goes like this…

“You are not in law enforcement, you are not in the military, you don’t lead a high risk life, the odds of you ever getting attacked again let alone in a violent manner are slim. Don’t you think you are over doing it?”

I also get “I think you are just a tiny bit nuts and are doing all this just for fun and not because you really think you will need it”.

It is true that I do not live a high risk life style and that my daily life does not put me in obvious life or death situations such as a police officer or a person in the military, but I led an even less risky life the day I was mugged, so odds are not all that important to me.

To be honest with you most of the situations I play over in my head are not ones where I even think my gun will come into play. I carry my gun because I believe in stacking the deck in  my favor. I want to have every option available to me in case I should need it, but I do not intend to just whip out my gun and shoot someone at the slightest provocation.

Sadly, before all of my training that is probably exactly what I would have done. My thoughts were pretty much anyone who even tries to talk to me in a parking lot again is going down. Thank god I had John training me way beyond a simple CCW class. He not only trained me to shoot well and to deal with my mind in case I had to use deadly force, but he spent hours upon hours training me when not to shoot and testing my ability to think and not engage. He created as much stress as possible and put me in scenario over after scenario that required me to think and assess the situation and often time the end result was me not shooting. That really needs to be practiced.

The odds that I will be in a place like a theater where a gun man goes nuts spraying bullets is even less likely than me being mugged in a parking lot, but they both happened. Even so, I do agree that the odds of my needing to use my gun are slim. I do think that it is far more likely that I may have to use other methods to keep myself or my family safe. So, if my thoughts are that my gun is my last resort and not always the best choice doesn’t it make sense that I might want to hone some other skills? Things like paying better attention to what goes on around me, recognizing a potential threat, diffusing a situation. Perhaps it might benefit me to learn how to fight and using a knife. That’s an awful lot of things to learn and it is hard to get all that from one 2 day training course. So, no I don’t think I am over doing it.

Not to mention there are times when I don’t have my gun either by choice or by limitations placed on me by the law. If I only take one gun course a year to keep up my basic skills then what do I do if trouble comes when I am in a gun free zone like say interviewing to become an EMT?

I am not going to deny that I am a tiny bit nuts and I will admit that I absolutely love to train, but still there is value in what I do.

Just because I enjoy something does not mean it doesn’t have a purpose. The joy of training comes partially from the experience of the activity itself, but the bigger reason I love it is because it gives me skills and it builds confidence in me. Two years ago if you asked me if I was calm and confident I would have said yes and I think those who sat in my college classes and knew me as a friend would agree with that, but looking back I was missing something. The more I train the calmer I feel. I live a more peaceful and more controlled life. Even though my life before was non-violent and I thought I was full of peace the reality is I was nervous and uneasy in a variety of situations. I avoided danger(I don’t mean dangerous situations, I mean things like hiking off the trail or shooting a gun even for fun or standing up for myself) and in doing so I missed out on a whole host of experiences. My fear kept me from taking risks of any kind, it held me back and I was not really prepared to deal with any kind of crisis real or otherwise. The thing is I didn’t even know I was afraid. The fear had become a part of me and I reacted out of that place. I didn’t walk around nervous and tense, but the reality was I was afraid.

When we got the phone call from our daughter’s principal that she might be injured severely, I was calm, calm, calm. 18 months ago, I would have panicked and been crazed until I got to her. 18 months ago if there was a bomb threat at my kids school, I would have called my husband hysterical and made him come home. The focus of the day would have been on calming me down instead of dealing with the situation at hand. Of course on Tuesday I was concerned for my daughter and the others at the school because even though it was not likely for there to be a bomb, there was always the first time for each tragic event that has taken place. Before the first school shooting there hadn’t been a school shooting, so just because the odds were against, I still was uneasy. Even the perceived notion that my child could be in danger was stressful for me. I love her and I take caring for her very seriously, but I was able to focus and perform the entire time the situation was on going. That was hugely important for me, my husband and our children. If nothing happened then I avoid expending energy getting crazed plus my husband could focus on his job instead of a hysterical wife and I was teaching my kids how to handle a “crisis”. Plus if it did turn out to be a problem, I had a clear head to deal with it. I did not have that level of peace before I started training. I have gained not only the skills I need to defend my life with and without a gun, but also a confidence and calm that has helped me lead a much more fulfilled life. That did not happen in one or even two training sessions. It took me pushing myself beyond what I thought I could and confronting situations I didn’t think I could handle and showing up time after time when I struggled to over come a certain mental block.

I truly think I need the training. All of it and more. All you have to do is ask the people I train with and they will tell you I am a serious student. I pay attention. I am there to learn a skill and to master it. My biggest problem is that I always feel like I am catching up and that I am going to need the one skill I don’t have yet. I try to cram as much into my training sessions as possible without compromising quality. I believe with all of my heart and soul 100% that everything I have done is something I need and even though I have stuffed an awful lot into a short amount of time, I still think I should be a much better shooter than I am and I know that a handful of combatives/ knife sessions is far from enough. Not only do I believe I am not over doing it, most days I think I am not doing enough. However, the greatest skill I have gained has been the change in my mind. The more I train the less I worry about what I don’t know. It is a paradox. The more I train the more I know I need to train, but the less I worry about not knowing every single skill out there. I have much to learn, but through my training I have learned to transform my mind and my thinking. I now know that regardless I will prevail. But, to be on the safe side I like to keep adding to my tool bag.

This story from Active Response Training is a fine example of training beyond carrying your gun. If you don’t take the time to think and train for other situations you just might find yourself standing outside a post office with a few knife holes in your body. One can still survive an encounter like this, but if there is a way to avoid it or come out with say no stab wounds, then I am all for that.

Now, if you will excuse me I am off on a run and then some dry fire practice and I will probably watch a video on combatives. Might try to knock the snot out of a pillow or two while I am at too.


36 thoughts on “You’re A Little Bit Nuts

  1. Well said A Girl. I agree with you on all counts. Training leads to confidence in skill and confidence in skill gives you clarity of mind. I’ve gone to telling my friends that “nuts is in the eye of the beholder”. Like you I’ve been training with a handgun and more recently in other forms of defense for the same reasons you state. Thanks for the read.

  2. You are not training to be Rambo on steroids. It has given you confidence, combined with ability, and wisdom. Wisdom is what most people who carry a weapon lack. They feel bigger than life and ready to take down whoever is in their path.

    I’m too told to do any physical training. My 40 years of training with firearms will have to suffice. What my training taught me is to also fear the object of my safety and to give it the respect that a deadly weapon deserves.

    And now I have to fear the ones “on my side” who have the Rambo complex. Their weapons would be just as deadly to me as that of a mugger.

    I DO worry about adrenaline though. I DO worry about becoming as incapacitated as a rubber band in the case of an emergency. Your training has taught your muscles what to do until it’s a routine you are familiar with.

    Do you have a post relating your mugging? I’ve traveled back in time on your blog but I’ve never seen it.

    • You possess, and speak, much wisdom and thank you for that. Not for nothing but too old? Without belittling or meaning to pry, I am over 60 (and fair to middling busted up to boot) and train in one fashion or another nearly every day. Doesn’t necessarily have to be at AGirl’s and others’ levels but I do like to keep sharp, and in shape.

      • Not Rambo and for sure not on roids…lol but your right, not everyone trains the same. Not everyone needs as much training as I do. I am less knockin other people as I am explaining why I do what I do. I have explained it before, but it keeps coming up…ha

        The best place to try read about the mugging is to click on the link at the top titled “The Story” Don’t let Cam fool you either…he is one skilled dude.

    • No, you are not nuts….far from it. I live in a small rural town and of late we have had several breakins. The odd (or maybe not so odd) thing is some of those caught were not only non locals but even from out of state. I really believe things are going to get a whole lot more out of hand. And to complicate things the gooberment is not something I would even think of trusting to do the right thing. Matter of fact they could even be a worse threat than the criminals. Bottom line, “It is better to have and not need than to need and not have”. ‘Nuff said.

  3. You’re my kind of nuts. Proper training = proper habits = preparedness = confidence and optimism = a more enjoyable life. What’s that phrase, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty?”

  4. I’ve had people ask me why I carry a gun (in compliance with Castle Doctrine, for now) or why I want to get a CHL. I always ask them if they’ve ever been passed by a speeder, or seen someone run a stop sign, and get away with it. Cops can’t be everywhere, and they’re not required to protect you personally. Plus…everyone has (or should have) car insurance, home owners insurance, renters insurance, health/life insurance….I’d be MUCH farther ahead in my checkbook if I only had to pay for those when I needed them, if I could just open a policy the week before an accident or broken bone or something. That would be soooo nice. But, I can’t predict the future. So carrying, for me, is my personal protection insurance. Other training falls into the same category (and the voices in my head agree). More training is more insurance. Training usually leads one to understand that they don’t know everything, but wisdom leads them to the understanding that they don’t necessarily NEED to know everything. You just need the skillset/toolbag to combine the relevant portions of your training to adapt to the current situation. The more “tools” you have at your disposal, the more options you will have available. And those options are what give you the confidence to go about your day, even though you know you’re not a master at everything.

  5. To the nay sayers….

    Do you have a fire extinguisher in your house? Yup statistically unlikely event, but fires can and do happen.

    Do you have a first aid kit in your house? Probably, more likely to need it, however there are numerous people who get training in first aid.

    How about CPR training, again why get the training, one day you may need it but then again the number of people who actually do isn’t that high. Besides you can just call 911 right?

    Yup, that’s exactly why AEDs were designed and invented with the purpose that they eventually become cheap enough to be in every house hold. FYI, I’m a personal friend of the man responsible for inventing the AED. You ask him why he did it, it all comes back to time, the faster the response the better. The way you get the fastest response is to have the damn things everywhere.

    The idea that you should bother with training or tools for a statistically unlikely event is bogus. It is bogus because society actively encourages us to seek training and tools for exactly that.

    HAM radio is another fantastic example. It explicitly centers around emergency communication yet hams have equipment, expertise, and abilities found no where else. HAMs can get communications working effectively when everyone else is failing, yet that expertise is only really necessary during rare natural disasters, or other massive events. So should HAMs stop investing in tools, training and equipment?

    Ask any member of the public service sector who has utilized the capabilities of a HAM during a disaster and they will tell you it is worth it easily in the lives saved.

    If training on the use of a firearm and well as other methods of self-defense saves my life. It is money well spent. If I never have to use it, it’s money well spent, because when the day comes and I need it, I can’t just magically get the tools and training.

    • That is the funny thing. Most of the people asking either have no desire to prepare for themselves or people who have a gun, but really don’t even do the most basic training. It’s like they think the gun is a magic protection device instead of a tool that is only as useful as the one using it.

      We all choose what we are willing to do or not and we all have limits…time, money, age, whatever, but why Knock someone else for what they do? Who even cares if I go overboard. It effects them none.

  6. It’s been my experience that carrying a gun, or even simply rationally exploring the idea of carrying a gun, changes your perceptions, reactions, thinking and attitudes about many other crisis events. In short, getting ‘into’ guns for self-defense tends to start a personal growth process that winds up changing a persons way of thinking to the point where they function much better in a crisis, even a non-gun crisis, than they would have earlier.

    I attribute this to the notion of carrying a gun forcing them to mentally deal with ideas, issues and situations that they may not have explored and thought about previously.

    • That has absolutely been my experience. It really has forced me to think about things I never ever thought about and I have been forced to face things I didn’t need to before and each time I am better for it.

  7. I’ve always told my kids that panic is useless – you’re expending energy on something you cannot change, why not expend energy on what you can change?

    Training is a huge part of learning how to expend the energy correctly. I’ve told my students that over and over again during First Aid/CPR classes. Chances of ever needing it are nil, but people are eager to learn. Chances of ever needing to bring a gun into play are also close to nil, but people shy away from learning. Why? Because in their minds, CPR/FA is helping to save a life, while learning to shoot is helping to take a way a life, when in fact it’s completely the opposite.

    I cringe when I see people treat their guns as magic talismans. They take one class – ever – and think that’s all they need to do. You’re doing a great job of leading by example. You understand it’s not magic and that it won’t solve all of the world’s problems.

    This is kind of rambling – blame it on the pain meds – but I hope you get the gist.

      • I don’t know about being a good momma. Fact is, I was too busy trying to keep a roof over our heads to spend as much time with the kids as I needed to. I couldn’t have them calling me at work in a panic every time something went wrong, so it was really more of a survival thing.

        I wish I’d been able to be the kind of mom you are – your kids are super lucky to have you 🙂

  8. “Things like paying better attention to what goes on around me, recognizing a potential threat, diffusing a situation.”

    To me, this is the most important part of self defense. Too many people take this forgranted as an elementary part of one’s training. The best way to win in a fighting situation is to not be there. Follow this with if worse comes to worse, be prepared to act and have the mindset to follow through and do what you must to win.

    • Yes! That’s the thing anti gun people don’t get…most all of my training is how to avoid ever needing to use my gun or even finding myself in a situation that would warrant the need to use any of my skills.

  9. Maybe it is a little bit nuts, but guess what? Its your money, time, and life. As long as your not hurting anyone it shouldnt matter what you do.

  10. Like many folks, when I was new I’d go to the range when it was nice out, not too hot or cold. One day Tam said “it’s not going to be 70 and light wind and all bright out when you’re attacked” (not her exact words but that was the intent).

    I listend. She’s never given me anything but great advice on guns or what sauce to pick at the Mongolian Barbecue.

    I started going when it was hot and windy, when it was so cold Caleb and I wearing Parkas were the only people at Eagle Creek.

    Slowly I added in tactical. moving, shooting, crouching, ducking.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever be totally ready, but I’m a hell of a lot more ready than I was.

  11. I probably won’t need to ever use my gun or fist. Lived 57 years and only once used a gun to keep someone for the cops and my fist once to, again, keep someone for the cops.

    I train cause I like to train and keep my hard won skills up! If they don’t like that, well it’s just to bad.

  12. and you didn’t even mention the EMT training you’re going to be adding to that list…

    Hope you have time left over for the range after all that.

    Stay thirsty.

    • God is doing everything in his power to keep me from the range…was suppose to go today, but gotta sick kid:( Dry fire has become my best friend:)

  13. Getting a carry permit here in Germany is next to impossible, and training courses are only open for permit holders. All others (hunters, target shooters) aren’t allowed to acquire such dangerous knowledge.
    However, when I was in the army they did train us rather well, with and without firearms, as well as first aid, fire-fighting, and getting people out of dangerous places.
    So I still attend first aid/EMT courses every few years, swap out the first aid kit in my car for a fresh one overy three years, and have a ResQMe and chemlights within easy reach from the driver’s seat.
    Knowing what to do in an emergency (or at least knowing what NOT to do) is a great way to keep a clear head instead of panicking.

  14. No, you are not nuts. You are having fun, and there is nothing wrong with saying that. Are people who train to run double marathons nuts? Just because most of the population couldn’t do it doesn’t mean they are nuts. They are having fun.

    As for those who claim you are paranoid for having a gun, ask them if they have smoke detector in their house. When they say yes, ask them if they are paranoid that their house will catch fire.

Comments are closed.