Sunday, January 3, 2010

Aim to Stop

"It was him or me." "I was only trying to stop him."

In an online conversation a correspondent complained that although she enjoyed target practice, when it came to the prospect of actually shooting a real live human being the reality of it … "leaves a dreadfully bad taste"

Aye, there's the rub.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take up arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them?

Yet, when it comes to "assisting" an attacker in shuffling off this mortal coil it isn't practice anymore. Or is it?

One of the doctrines of modern combat training is:
You will do under stress that which you have trained to do.

That is why we practice.

An Example:
In the Army, in Germany, in the early '60's I was trained to disembark from an M113 and charge the enemy with my M-14 (later an XM-79) at port arms.

Years later, as a reserve deputy sheriff assigned to a raid on a biker hangout, the scenario was repeated. We were to drive up in a convoy of squad cars, disembark, form up and march across the road to effect the raid.

Well, training took over. I disembarked from the patrol car and proceeded post haste at port arms across the road to the objective.

Now it just so happened that two of the bikers were outside the bar when we drove up and had started back into the tavern to warn the others.

I charged up to the bikers with my baton at port arms.
They thought I was confronting them and stopped.
I thought "What am I doing here? I'm supposed to be forming up back there!"

The raid commander thought I'd acted to prevent the bikers from warning their cohorts. I didn't disabuse him of that notion.

(That's about as rousing a tail of daring do as I can truthfully tell. Well, except for that time I… Oh wait, I can't tell that story until I'm on my deathbed.)

My point is that people run away screaming in a hyper stressful situation because they don't know what to do. But people who have trained (have practiced doing it) to respond to the same stressful situation by doing their jobs.

Most people will refrain from shooting until they had no other choice. And then you should shoot to stop. He's trying to kill (rape, maim) you and you're trying to stop him.

So you see self defense training really is a choice of to be or not to be.

That's right. This ain't no "shoot to kill" movie. In the real world we shoot to stop. You practice aiming for the center of mass because that's the proven best way to stop an assailant. If that center of mass hit happens to kill him so be it. You had no other choice.

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