“You are not the police.” This is a sentence I have heard many times in gun classes and in pretty much every conceal carry class I have ever been in or audited. Interestingly enough it is also one of the few sentences that gun instructors and anti-gun liberals have in common. Well what I am about to say next is going to have many of those instructors pulling their hair out or maybe wanting to set mine on fire. Much of the time YOU are the police or at least you should be.
I have seen this discussion for many years but it seems to really be resurfacing now with all that is going on in the world, and I want to try and give a reasonable but minority view.
The idea that it is the police’s job to protect each and every one of you is fantasy. Law enforcement is one of our most basic needs in society but there is no possible way that they can serve as personal body guard for each and every individual. Yes they are there to protect us in the general sense. They are there to stop and deter localized crime. They investigate and arrest crime doers so that they don’t keep doing, but this protection is mostly a broad general term. Very necessary, but not likely to help you in the spur of the moment.
When you are faced with imminent danger you are your police. No matter what tool you use to resolve the situation it is very unlikely that the police can arrive in time to help. This means you will be required to make the right interpretation, and react in a reasonable manner, just like the police. Don’t think you will be held to the same standard by a jury? Well good luck with that. Train and play the “What If” game extensively.
Those people that live in the “you are not the police” world don’t take responsibility for their selves. They hope that nothing happens. They hope a policeman will be there, and they rely on luck to get them through. If you are reading this then you are probably not one of those people. Most likely you have gone to class and are armed. If not then I hope you reconsider, get trained, and get armed. If you are though then you really need to think about this. I have seen so many concealed carry individuals that are taught and believe that that gun is strictly to protect them. No matter what is going on around them they only use their gun in defense of their life. Really? No I am not advocating that you go out on patrol. You are not looking for trouble and in fact you ARE actively avoiding trouble in every way possible. Be smart. Don’t frequent places where trouble is a frequent occurrence, but this does not mean you have to abandon your common decency to your fellow man. If something happens and you are the one that is there, are you really only concerned for yourself? Most people extend that to “my loved ones”. So if you see a punk holding a gun on the clerk at the gas station too bad for her? What if I was the conceal carry guy and the clerk was your wife or daughter? Are you ok with me leaving her on her on because I am not the police?
Recently a conceal carry holder saw a man beating a woman inside a car on the street. The conceal carry holder drew his weapon and stopped the beating. He ordered the man out of the car and held him until police arrived and arrested the abuser. So was this risky for the conceal carry holder. Oh my god yes! There are a ton of scenarios where this goes horribly wrong. He could have ended up in jail, injured or dead. The sad truth is life is risky. Any of us could end up injured, dead or even in jail at almost any moment. The fact is he did the right thing in a moral sense. Were there risks? Yes so he did everything he could think of to manage those risk but again what if that were your daughter in that car?
There are suddenly shots in the theater I am in. I can see a man framed in the exit firing a weapon, I have a great angle and a clear shot, but I am not the police so I duck and escape out the other exit. I go home safe and sound to my wife. A huge success by many instructors’ standards. I did the exact thing they teach. On the news I discover that he fired till he ran out, reloaded and fired some more. Seventeen people died. I personally don’t think I could live with myself. I wonder if my original conceal carry instructor would be pleased with me if one of those seventeen was a family member of his?
In the end I am not telling you what you should do. This is always going to be a situational, and VERY personal choice. Don’t just sacrifice yourself. Don’t exceed your training and ability. I expect myself to do the right thing, and help anyone I think I can, so I TRAIN as much and as hard as I can. I personally just hope that everyone considers doing what you know is right regardless of the cost and I hope that you support anyone else that tries to do the same. As always feel free to comment, and check out my facebook and website.