Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Professionalism in Home Defense

On Miss Kelly's web site there was a request for advice about what to get for home defense. In addition to a flood tide of advice, there were more than a few people terrified by the level of knowledge available, and the people who were knowledgeable. Somebody asked who we were and why we should know such things.

I am a reservist who used to be on active duty in bad places where unpleasant people were. On Saturday I go to Korea for two weeks. My best friend has arrested senior members of the Crips while a security guard and been shot at while walking a regular warehouse post. A lot of people have been worse places than you and lived more dangerous lives than you live. Ignorance is not a protection because the scope of violence is no longer limited to the bad parts of large cities, like it used to be. There is now economic incentive to be violent in small markets.

What you are seeing is the results of some fairly serious people getting together and talking seriously and honestly about the effective, professional use of violence by law abiding citizens. In many cases this is due to a rising of violence in the criminal element requiring greater professionalism to survive. In other cases, this is the practical result of failures in Vietnam driving the professional military to adjust to the difficulties of urban counter-insurgency. Part of it is that unprofessional enforcement personnel and unprepared homeowners get raped by lawyers in wrongful death suits. In no small part this is due to honest practitioners of military and law enforcement trades utterly fed up with listening to braggarts and frauds. In your lifetime, tactical skill and knowledge have advanced tremendously.

About 18 years ago I started playing paintball. After a couple of months, I had spent a few hundred dollars on a gun, mask, some surplus camo, and a bit of the accessories. One week I pinned down this new guy behind a bush for fifteen minutes. The very next week, he was on the field with $1,200 worth of the best gear he could get. We asked him why, and his answer essentially was that he wanted to be as good at this as quickly as possible, he made plenty of money, and he wasn't going to let shoddy gear be an impediment to his progress. We are a lot richer as a country than we used to be, and our hobbies and professions are a lot more advanced than they used to be and they get that way a lot faster than they ever did.

It used to be that a policeman was unlikely to ever draw his firearm in the course of his career. Ten years ago my friend the security guard was drawing his firearm to arrest people once a month at the least. Part of that is because the compliance of the criminal element has diminished considerably. A critical part is the unwillingness of citizens to allow criminals to rule them by fear.

Finally, the most important aspect is that knowledge of the effective use of firearms is saving the lives of law abiding citizens every single day. Criminals do not get to spend time on the range in prison, ever. Free people trained with firearms can resist criminals trained with shanks, and it happens all the time.
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