I really didn’t want to wade into the current gun debate, which is always how someone who wants to wade into the current gun debate begins their conversation. We had a tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut over the last month. Unless you live under a rock, you are well aware of the event. No need to rehash it here. It has brought out the best and the worst in people, from constitutionalists (the 2nd Amendment says I can have a gun) to those who interpret it as “a well trained militia can only have a gun” to the conspiracy crowd who keep seeing soldiers in blue helmets marching down the street kicking in doors and throwing your guns into an armored truck parked in your front yard. As some of you may know, I don’t own a television, or to be specific, I do not have access to the 24/7 newsfeed that blindly leads our nation around the neck. It has been a social experiment of mine since I realized I was feeding Comcast Cable about $220 a month that I could be spending on other things a little over a year ago. So, I catch the news online, at various sources, and get a feel for what’s happening based on the people I associate with; a mix of extreme liberals, die-hard right wingers, “we’re leaving the Nation” groupies, moderates on both sides, as well as people who live in Europe, England, South Africa, Australia and Japan. But, I digress.
I recently caught a Facebook comment thread that captured everything I feel about gun ownership. I was raised in Texas by a father who was a Department of Corrections officer (prison guard). He ran the rifle / pistol range for the maximum security facility, so I learned to shoot at around 6 years of age. BB guns, .22 cal, .38 cal, .45 cal, and all kinds of rifles, to include what is being called “assault rifles” in the media. I learned how to kick in a door at age 12 and clear four corners of a room. I learned basic ammo reloading techniques to save money on shotgun and pistol ammo. It, of course, led me to the Army where I continued to master my craft. It culminated in the sands of the Middle East, in fire fights outside Fallujah, where, if it entered my sight picture, it dropped. I don’t know how many people I have sent to the other side of life, but war is hell and I have a very strong survival instinct.
Now, you may think my house is like that room in the movie Men In Black, the one with the secret door and a chamber filled with every firearm conceivable to mankind. But you might be surprised to know I have zero firearms in my house. Some of you are screaming “DON’T BROADCAST THAT, THE EVIL MEN WILL BREAK INTO YOUR HOUSE!” Well, I had two home invaders try that in 2008. It is not about gun ownership, it is about warrior skills. It is about honing your instinct to take a life that stops violence. It is about intent. I mentioned I did not have any guns in my house, but there is something in every room that deters a home invader. Maybe it is an inconspicuous Tupperware container filled with ground five alarm chili powder ready to be thrown into the nose and eyes of an invader, allowing me and mine enough time to survive. Maybe it is a well sharpened blade that can inflict pain (because, trust me, pain is a combat multiplier) that is available. Maybe it is a high lumen flashlight that temporarily blinds the attacker allowing you to launch your attack. It might be wasp spray – be amazed what that does to the eyes. Is that a cell phone or 20,000 volts coursing through your neck? Maybe it is me dropping to the floor sobbing in hysterics that allows you to get a little too close to me so I can throw the mental switch into the mentality of "one lives, one dies" – I will live. Gun disarms are tricky, but can be done. Ask two snot nosed teens in Savannah, Georgia who were zipped tied and waiting for the police to arrive when they came out of my spare bedroom and found me waiting. So, no guns in the house. Just a little sign in the window that says Iraq Combat Veteran. If you can’t figure out what that means, I will be glad to give you a very short brutally, painful class.
In the meantime, if you own a gun, be responsible, just like we do in the martial arts. Train with it - in every condition; in the dark, in the cold. Keep it secure. Know proper sight picture before trigger squeeze. Have tactical and situational awareness of your surroundings. Know that you possess the difference between life and death. It is a great responsibility. Please treat it as such.