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September 12 : 2017  
Editor's Notebook: Is it Worth it?
In yesterday's Outdoor Wire, publisher Jim Shepherd says this:

Sixteen years after 9/11, it still amazes me that there are those who are willing to wager their lives - and ours- on holding a moral high ground radical aggressors don't even recognize exists. The "moral high ground" folks want us all to be "better" than our attackers - even if it kills us.

Terrorists aren't looking to be "understood" they're looking to destroy us.

Sixteen years after they demonstrated their willingness to die to eliminate as many of us as possible it seems we've forgotten at least of the lesson.

Mortal combat is brutal - but denying a fight means you've already lost.


We'd like to think that his statement is simply common sense at the macro level. Alas, common sense isn't common – quick analysis of ugly situations can lead to frustrated, poorly considered decisions. Critical thinking can readjust that analysis, bringing us to smarter decisions. It's considering alternatives and accepting those which are unpleasant but the lesser of evils.

I was recently asked a question about armed self-defense: is it worth it? The likely result is horrible. Consider potential criminal liability, the "Mark of Cain" – identifying you as a 'killer,' pretrial time in jail causing job loss, the possibility of losing friends, loved ones, signing over all you own to fight criminal and civil litigation . . . it seems to be a huge burden. And that's if you win the fight.

Also consider the possible "negative outcomes," as articulated by the Tactical Professor, Claude Werner. Missing a shot on the range, even a near miss, is no particular cause for consternation for the hobbyist. In competition, fast "misses" often get to the top of the leader board (D-Zone hits). On the street, it's a tragedy and potentially manslaughter in a death case.

This mindset isn't new – the "is it worth it" types were present to question Jeff Cooper early on and friend Massad Ayoob mentioned this type of question in his lecture on judicious use of deadly force. Cooper, in his classic brevity, recommended a simple approach by examining the issue as two separate problems: Problem A and Problem B.

Problem A is staying alive. You'd only use deadly force in those circumstances where failing to avail yourself of deadly force would predictably lead to your imminent death or "grievous bodily harm." So, first, sort out Problem A.

Aside from the aftermath aspects of deadly force, consider preparation: Carry gear, training, practice, all add to the costs.
Problem B is explaining it to the folks with badges, benches and gavels. Problem B is also "living with it." Looking into the mirror day after day, replaying the situation and wondering if you could have done something else. This is all extremely serious but if you don't solve Problem A, it's irrelevant.

Therefore, "it's worth it." It's not pleasant. People respond negatively to it. In a recent situation, an armed robbery suspect was shot dead by a victim, store clerk. The perpetrator's parents, appearing in the "news," said it "wasn't fair."

Let's see, your baby offers deadly force, "Your money or your life," the victim believed your baby's threat to commit murder and properly applied countervailing deadly force.

Too bad for baby. Consider this: if the shop keeper had been capped, I'd never have even seen the story in the "press." Fairness, right?

In the final analysis, you don't get something for nothing. Life ain't fair. It's precious.

Get a bad medical diagnosis, that will put it all in perspective for you. Consider the loss of someone dear to you and think about this: would you put everything you own, even your freedom, ahead of the life of a loved one.

If you'd risk it all to save that life, would you do it?

Whether or not you carry a gun for protection is a personal decision. It's up to you and I won't give anyone a hard time for deciding not to. I had to decide if I'd ever use deadly force the first time I put on a badge – that was in 1977.

Make that decision first. Study the problem. Understand this: some people won't get it. You can face rough times. But you're alive. You did what you had to do.

I can't imagine not carrying a gun.

- - Rich Grassi

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