Nothing can totally prepare you for a situation in which you have to decide whether to pick up a loaded firearm and use it to defend yourself, your family, or your property. Nothing. Everything changes and everything keeps changing when you may have to take a life to save your own.
I grew up around guns. My father was in law enforcement, and we lived in the country outside any city limits in Texas. It was not uncommon for my brother and me to get out in the yard, set up some targets on a rise, and practice with them.
Later on, I joined the U.S. Air Force and qualified on the M-16 during basic training. Air Force recruits spend about a day with the M-16 and firing at stationary targets on full auto is part of the training. Yeah, a day is not much firearms training. Army and Marines are chuckling as they read this. But it’s more training than most Americans have. It’s far more than the McCloskeys in St. Louis apparently had when protesters allegedly broke down a gate and entered their private property to protest actions taken by the city’s mayor — actions which had nothing to do with them. But there were a hundred or more protesters, allegedly threatening them, and apparently standing on their property. They brandished their guns — a handgun and an AR-15 rifle — and waved them around, even pointing them at protesters and each other at times. What would you do?
A few days ago I was on Newsmax TV, and the host asked me about that incident. I replied that the McCloskeys were not just reacting to what was happening right in front of them, which was uncertain and probably terrifying, but they were also reacting to what has happened in Seattle, Minneapolis, and many other cities. Mayors and city councils have abdicated their responsibility to protect citizens and property. Predictably, this has led to more violence, rioting, looting, and even killings. One of the first victims of the recent riots was retired police captain David Dorn. Rioters broke into his pawnshop and murdered him. That happened in St. Louis, where the McCloskeys live, on June 2, 2020. Just under a month later, protesters by the dozens were suddenly on the McCloskeys’ property. What would you do?
Gun sales began to soar early on in the coronavirus pandemic. Unrest of any kind tends to lead to gun purchases. As the protests over George Floyd’s killing morphed into riots and looting, gun sales soared again. Fox Business reports that gun sales spiked 145% in June 2020 alone — during the worst of the riots (so far).
But how many of these are new gun owners who have no experience or training with firearms?
I don’t know exactly what I would do if protesters turn up on my property. No one really knows that for sure until it happens, and much will depend on your situation — whether and when police will respond, the number of protesters, time of day, and so forth. But I do have a good idea of what my thought processes would be and how my mind and body would react.
A few years ago, I underwent training that put me into tense, live-action and live-fire scenarios through a company called Atlas Defense.*
I faced two scenarios in which I was armed, and the live actors confronting me were either definitely armed or they appeared to be armed. Both scenarios involved live actors, and both involved live ammunition. Thanks to clever uses of technology, no one was ever in any actual lines of fire, but the training is very intense all the same. Being put into real-life scenarios with live ammunition has a way of focusing the mind, raising the heart rate, and making things very real.
Picking up your gun, never mind pulling the trigger, in a real-life scenario will change your world. I’m sure the McCloskeys know this all too well now. So do Americans who have found themselves surrounded by protesters on city streets in recent weeks. In one of these incidents, a BLM protester fired into a surrounded SUV and shot the driver. In another, the driver pulled a weapon from his glove compartment and waved it at protesters who were suddenly surrounding his car. These scenarios could happen to you if you are driving near any protest and protests often spring up with little or no warning. Both of these happened within the past week.
All of this is to say, if you’re buying firearms for the first time now, good. You’re exercising your Second Amendment rights. You may unfortunately need your firearms, as more and more cities “defund” police — which will lead to more violent crime and put more Americans at risk.
But it’s also wise to get some training as soon as you possibly can. It doesn’t have to be as intense as live-fire scenario training. Go to a range and ask the specialists there to advise you. They’re usually happy to share their knowledge, which at a quality range will be considerable. Check your state laws and obtain your concealed or open handgun carry license as soon as you possibly can. Some states have very long backlogs now. Find an instructor and get on the list. The training in many states includes the legal implications of firearm use in different situations, plus time on the range to help you learn how to fire more accurately. Read sites like ours, our sister site Bearing Arms, and others that are not hostile to guns and gun ownership. Study up. Train up. It’s all very useful.
It’s getting crazy out there and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. You can never be fully prepared, no matter how deep your experience and training are, but the wise course of action is to be as prepared as you can be. If you’re buying a gun for the first time, or have never been trained on the guns you already own, get some training.
*I know Atlas Defense’s owners but did not consult with Atlas or anyone connected to it on this article.