“I’m not trigger-happy” and “I don’t want to have to hurt anyone.”

During a recent outing to an indoor shooting range, I encountered a fellow shooter. The subject of conversation turned to concealed carry and using a handgun for personal defense. My practice sessions tend to be far from the normal stand and shoot affair. After observing me for a while the gentleman asked where I learned to shoot. He followed it up by asking what I did for a living.

I mentioned that I regularly taught courses at the range in question. He then remarked that he indeed had a “concealed carry license” though he never carried. “I got it just in case” was his remark. He went on to comment that “I’m not trigger-happy” and “I don’t want to have to hurt anyone.”. My comment was simply that “Someone out there wants to hurt you. You just haven’t met them yet.”

The casual reader might think that a callous or even snide remark on my part. The fact of the matter is that from a practical standpoint my comment was right on the money. At the very moment you are reading these words there are people on planet Earth who would happily kill you. The only reason that they haven’t done so is that you are separated by great distance and they cannot get you in their sights.

Reality Check

I spent 17 years as an Ohio State Certified Peace Officer.  During my time spent with a badge, I frequently reencountered criminals I had previously arrested. I would run into them in the aisles of the local grocery or big box store.  My wife learned early on in our marriage that if I pointed someone out during a shopping trip we needed to move to another area of the store.  The last thing I wanted to do was encounter some maggot I’d arrested a month earlier while my family was present.

For the naive in the audience; no, the bad guys don’t go to jail and stay there after the police catch and arrest them. Vermin arrested for vicious felonies will bail out of jail and spend months on the street before ever going to trial. Even if they are convicted, our broken justice system sees them back on the street much sooner than most citizens would imagine. Actual time served is between 50 and 60 percent of the time sentenced.

What’s my point in all this? It simple, every time you leave your home and go out in public you are brushing elbows with felons. You just don’t know it.

Choices to Make

After returning home from the range I posted the comments made by my new shooting acquaintance on an Internet forum and was deluged by additional postings from gun people. A couple of “reasonable” folks made the point that many citizens simply could never fight back against an attacker, particularly with a firearm. I conceded that life is full of choices. One choice that many people make is to be completely unprepared to defend themselves against criminal aggression. It is, however, a choice.

Far too often, when the subject of violent crime comes up, the ‘reasonable and rational’ members of society attempt to position themselves on the moral high ground. These people will make statements such as “I could never harm another human being” or “violence only begets violence”. That is very true. If you attempt violence against me or my family, you definitely will beget some violence in return.

Words, nonetheless, are cheap. All people want to be seen as reasonable and rational by their peers. But words are meaningless to the predatory element of society. The career criminal, social bully, and deranged drug-user pay no heed to how reasonable and rational your friends might think you are. These creatures will take from you want they want up to and including your life.

Pop Culture Pacifist Spreading Their Disease

The pop culture pacifist, the man or woman who prides themselves in telling others that they would do no harm to another ‘human being’ is a coward. Yes, a coward. Would they truly rather submit to a predator and be murdered than fight back? By their public statements these PC pacifists are saying that they would rather have their spouses widowed, their children orphaned, and their families left to deal with tragedy than to take up arms to defend their lives.  That is the height of selfishness in my book.

Adding insult to injury, the PC pacifist is not satisfied to set themselves up as willing victims. These cowards push their poisonous rhetoric on all those they encounter. Any friend or co-worker who might mention owning a gun or is thinking about purchasing one is barraged with accusations of paranoia. The gun-owning or gun-seeking friend is accused a being a “kook”, “gun-nut”, or “trigger-happy”.  (Yes, gun culture friends, those are all pejorative terms.)

Why did the man at the beginning of this article feel the need to tell me he wasn’t “trigger-happy”? Why, despite having a CCW permit, did the man go about deliberately unarmed? Was he unconsciously trying to score points with the Pop Culture Pacifists or was he worried about their scorn?

Criminal Enablers 

Finally, what is most insidious about the ‘do no harm’ crowd it that by their purposeful inaction they are doing harm to others in society. That’s right. Basic human psychology shows that acceptance of any type of behavior effectively reinforces that behavior. Total submission to a thief, robber, rapist, or murderer serves to REINFORCE that behavior. To believe that a rapist will be so overcome with remorse after having violated you that they will turn from their evil ways is the height of naïvet’e.  That kind of thinking is delusional. The felon who successfully victimized you will be emboldened and more likely to attack a good citizen.

For those faithful in the audience, those with a firm belief in a Divine Higher Power, you should realize that your daily existence, your very life is a gift from God. To passively discard that life and willingly cast it away as worthless is an insult to your Maker and the highest affront.

In Conclusion

Before I conclude this piece, with all the aforementioned considerations addressed, I firmly believe that even the most public pacifist, those who have staked out their spot on the moral high ground are merely speaking from blind ignorance and a failure to comprehend real world consequences. When the Grim Reaper presents itself in form of a deranged sociopath set on taking their life, the moral elite will claw and scrape to stay alive.

Unfortunately for them, the ability and wherewithal to stop a predator does not magically appear. Nor does it manifest itself during the moment of crisis. The unprepared fall to the wayside and their lives are forfeit to fate and the non-existent mercy of the attacker. Left with nothing but disbelief, the pop culture pacifist departs from the land of the living and is left with nothing but a surprised look on their face.  Life is full of choices.  Choose wisely.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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