Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Too big of a toolbox ?

When I started writing the "Dark Arts" series I knew that it would set some people on edge, and understandably so I suppose. And I knew there would be detractors and critics, which to be honest I'm okay with I've got a rather thick hide.

So it came as no surprise when one reader pointed me to a forum where one of my recent posting was being discussed. One gentleman who conducts Self Defense training took um-bridge with me personally (ironic since he doesn't know me and lives in another state) and my advice simply because he had never "heard" of me (whatever that means).

I found the statement somewhat quizzical, yet for all of his critiques there was one statement I found to be a little ridiculous.

It went something like...."some of these guys like to overburden their students with so many tools that the toolbox is too heavy to carry. When I teach I focus only on the basics."


Well that's a first.

I will say this about the gentleman who takes disagreement with me. He is an actual trainer and a member of the law enforcement community and by all appearances highly respected in his area of the world. So he's not an arm chair commando. I would also point out that I don't make my living as a trainer, though I am a certified pistol instructor and plans are in the works to develop various training seminars through the company that I own and operate. But my line of work delves into a different area than his.

Let me point to another instance.

Over the summer I attended a morning conference on Church Security over in Illinois, after the murder of the Reverend Fred Winters back in March. The panel was made entirely of law enforcement officers which held a variety of opinions. Panel members where mainly small town police chiefs and most agreed that ultimately in a mass shooting that members of the church would be the first responders to the crisis. Given Illinois anti self-defense laws their were questions concerning what weapons could be legally carried and used.

One local police chief went against the grain of his fellow panel members and said

"you have to remember that this is a law enforcement matter and it is for the Police to respond to. I know you all want to carry a gun, but let me say this as a Chief of Police I don't even let my wife carry pepper spray nor do my teenage children. Any so called self-defense weapon can be taken from you and used against you and they simply aren't worth the risk."

It was an arrogant and disgusting statement.

For someone to say likewise that you can be over burden with to many tools is.....well absurd, because frankly I have yet to find in Sun Tsu's Art of War any quote that reads "stick with the basic levels of training and your campaign will go ok."

Fundamentals are important, but they are the building blocks to further our mindset. We all (myself very included) should always be striving to learn more, train more, think and out think the bad men of the world.

I hope that I never on this blog or in my life come across as someone who thinks he invented the concept of self-defense or outside the box thinking, rather I see myself as a life long student to a school of thought which can only be graduated from by dying.

The irony of it is we live in a world where we over burden ourselves with worry to the point we are told by blue screens in our homes to just take a pill to solve the problem. Yet most of us know that tackling your problems straight on and seeking to defeat them is far more effective than popping legal dope.

Because on Christmas day while most of us were opening gifts and stuffing food into our mouths a vacationing Dutchman was tackling some Nigerinan Farouker (that supposed to be a take on fucker) and preventing him from killing a plane load of people.

There still remains no requirement for being a victim, one doesn't even have to take a physical exam.


Michelle said...

Frankly if I ever went to a defense school that said "don't over train. don't over think" I would walk out the door.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure there's that great a divergence in opinions there, however poorly it's communicated. I have no problem agreeing with the sentiment that people can get bogged down in details. I will not take the position that this blog does so - as fine a read as it is, if this is anyone's _primary_ source on how they intend to manage their affairs, then there's a problem. Supplemental material, like blogs, is exactly where I want a lot of detail.

Were I to guess, I suspect the other gentleman is frustrated by the many Internet Commandos out there, the ones for whom the details _have_ overwhelmed the fundamentals. It is galling and frustrating, but the fundamentals tend to be the least interesting part of any pursuit, especially for the dilettante who just want to get to the cool stuff.

I sincerely wish we could safely assume that everyone was in agreement that of *course* you get the fundamentals covered first, but this is the Internet, and it's just not a safe assumption.

None of which is meant to address what was said or how it was said - disagreement online is no excuse for incivility. But I recognize a familiar frustration in the sentiment being discussed, and I felt it worth suggesting that it's not necessarily _entirely_ off base.

Best thoughts to you and yours in the new year.

Evan said...

"Any so called self-defense weapon can be taken from you and used against you and they simply aren't worth the risk" is so fatalistic. How dare he teach his wife and kids that there's nothing more you can do if the SHTF?! It sounds like he is endangering and disserving (not protecting and serving) his family and his jurisdiction with this mindset.

Casey said...

I have to agree, this guy is a chucklehead for taking such a position. Both the internet forum guy, and the Chief, though for different reasons.

I can see Rob's point about the Couch Commandos and Recliner Rangers out there, who might take this as the end all be all of knowledge. Hopefully the SD instructor is teaching neophytes, in which case, he should stick to the basics. However, basics only get you so far, which is why we adapt our selves, our weapons, and our techniques.

The Chief's comment though, is just wholly inexcusable. This is the kind of (redacted) that gives us all a bad name. I may wear a badge during the day, but I take it off at home. I know how thinly stretched the Deputies are in my area, and fully expect to have to deal with anything that occurs on my own, because they won't get there until it's already over. I felt the same way before I decided to take the step and wear the badge, and will not doubt continue long after my LE career has ended.

To say that a self-defense tool can be easily taken away and used against someone, and so they should never have it in the first place is just ridiculous, and only empowers criminals.

I wish every single person who was thinking of committing a crime had to also wonder if the person he was about to violate was going to shoot him before he could perpetrate his crime. That might go along way towards reducing crime here in the states.

Anyway, keep up the great work. I love this resource, and look forward with anticipation to each new installment in the Dark Arts series.


drjim said...

""because they won't get there until it's already over""

And that's EXACTLY why we need the means to defend ourselves. I've taken a lot of training, and they always focus on the basics. Skill, equipment, and mindset are all elements of being able to defend yourself and your family.

sofa said...

by the chief's logic, the killing was his responsibility to stop, and his alone. He did not.
Therefore, hold him personnaly responsible. He's asked for it.

Robert McDonald said...

I've really enjoyed your 'Dark Arts' posts and have found them very informative. I enjoy picking up tips and tricks where ever I can, and I never know when I'm going to come across something I've never thought of before. That's why I read this blog and so many other self-defense materials. I hardly think any one is the 'be all, end all,' and I'll continue to tap as many resources as I can for as long as I can.

Boat Guy said...

Man we're getting some real "Only One" comments out there from LEO's - or folks sayin they're LEO's. Can't believe a real street-cop would restrict his family so, but the guy cited in this example is obviously "management".
"Dark Arts" is one of the best treatments I've seen yet because it focuses on thinking first and foremost. A shirt worn by the OIC of our Marine Security Guard at an Embassy I was attached to said it all; "One Mind, Any Weapon"

Sevesteen said...

The "small toolbox" comment isn't the same as "don't go armed, let the police handle it".

My life has a minimal risk of violent attack. I can spend an inordinate amount of time and effort preparing for a low-likelihood event, or I can spend it in ways that benefit me more--there are other, more likely risks I can mitigate with less effort.

For my situation, a giant toolbox isn't practical. I want a small box with high-quality tools that I can use well. For defense outside the home, that usually means a single handgun, and alternatives only when that is not available. Pepper spray is for when I can't carry a gun, and a pocket gun is instead of a full size, rather than in addition. In the unlikely event I need one of those tools, I don't want to dither about which one.

My attitude would be considerably different if I had higher risks, or were in the business of protecting others. Even then, I think I'd concentrate on a small number of tools used expertly, rather than sampling the entire tool store.

The sites founders. said...

Perhaps another POV: I suspect most SD instructors, especially those associated with police departments, are initial instructors. I expect that few of their students have ever had any type of SD training or military training. Basics for them are probably all that is realistic for them to accomplish.

From the individual’s view, far too many expect that since they have had a single SD course or an intro handgun course during a concealed carry course they are now “trained” and are fully capable of defending themselves.

You take a true “outside the box” approach and simply assume the whole situation has gone to shit. Most folks I have met who have received training by local police or sheriff departments assume that a weapon in their hand gives the control of the situation. They seldom game the opposite POV.

Anyway, it takes all kinds. I enjoy your work and your views. Thank you for your willingness to share them with us.

MadRocketScientist said...

learn more, train more, think and out think the bad men of the world

Can't get inside the other guys OODA loop if you have no concept of what they might do.

MadRocketScientist said...

Any so called self-defense weapon can be taken from you and used against you and they simply aren't worth the risk

OK, if it is so easy for a criminal to disarm a potential victim, then a potential victim should be able to easily disarm said criminal? Right?

Sorry Chief, your position is only true if the armed victim is unwilling to deploy force in self-defense, or if they are taken by surprise.

Anonymous said...

Too many "Chiefs" have jumped the shark from "street cop" to politician. This dude looks like one of them. He looks like he would prefer that his family just go down the chute to the slaughter along with the rest of the nice sheep.

Anonymous said...

and from personal experience.. I can tell you that far too many LE instructors like to think that they are the last, unquestionable authority on anything to do with their field. Watch some of them throw a tamtrum when their expertise is questioned. It can be entertaining.

If more of them were as skilled with their weapons as they are with their mouths then I would be impressed. Not that I claim that I am any better mind you.

ASM826 said...

Did you see the comments about the clerk shot in a robbery in Massachusetts? The police spokesman said "he did everything right". They also said they were "puzzled as to why the robber shot him".

I have a link and my comments up in my latest post. I think the police statements are worth reading just for the utter cluelessness.

James R. Rummel said...

Good post.

John from Washington State said...

I appreciate your writings and also that you freely admit that you don't make your living as a trainer, but offer up training on the side.

I think a point should be made about the gentleman who focuses only on the basics in his training. No one (you included yourself in this I think) would deny the inherent value you the fundamentals in any training. However there is a reason places like Gunsite and Thunder Ranch (whom I've spent a lot of money at both) offer several course levels.

I had the privilege of attending GunSite when it was still under Cooper's reign and in a rifle course we were taught to hit flying claybirds with .308 bolt actions.

My dad taught me the basics of rifle shooting. Jeff Cooper taught mastery.

Anonymous said...

A guy who doesn't "let" his wife carry a weapon, even pepper spray? Sounds like an abusive relationship.

Home on the Range said...

I hope that fellow's next wife will speak up in defense of her own life.

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