I would like to make my opinions about weapons and the 2nd Amendment very clear up front. I am a suburban kid who grew up in a state where you could not discharge a weapon east of the parkway, and I attended a private university where I obtained a liberal arts degree. You can probably guess my position on the right to bear arms. Or at least what it used to be. The first time I touched a loaded rifle was when they handed me an M-16 at The Basic School in Marine Corps Base Quantico.
My first time on a rifle range was an interesting moment. Unlike the country boys or other suburban kids who had gun-nuts for Dads, this was the first time I would sight in on a target with a rifle. I attempted to seat the magazine I had into the magazine well of my rifle, pulled the charging handle to the rear, and I now had a round in the chamber (or so I thought). When instructed by the range announcer I jumped into the prone position and sighted in on my target. Taking a deep breath as instructed, and attempting to fire prior to exhaling. CLICK. The weapon did not fire. I conducted remedial actions and sighted in on my target and attempted to fire, again. CLICK. One of the shooting coaches on the range walked over to inspect my weapon. He himself couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get a round in to the chamber. Until he attempted to remove my magazine.
Believe it or not, having never touched a rifle before I managed to successfully seat the magazine inside my rifle upside down. I bring this story up to illustrate the fact that I was once that kid who was so nervous to hold a rifle, because I thought it was the most dangerous thing on earth. The Marines would quickly indoctrinate me, and I would understand the inner workings of multiple weapon systems that were far more deadly than the M-16 I was once scared to hold. They would also teach me that any idiot can operate a weapon system, but only the experts are consistently lethal with said weapon.
I was once the kid who thought weapons were for the military and the police only. Now, I believe it is an individual’s right to keep whichever weapons they desire in their home, because in the end it is the man or woman behind the rifle who needs to be worried about. Much like it is the man or woman at the end of a bottle who gets behind a wheel that should be worried about. My response to drunk driving, DUI’s, Underage binge-drinking, is not to remove alcohol from society. Need I remind you how that went the last time? We created a black market that bank-rolled the actions of more crime syndicates than this country had ever seen.
I say all of this to make it clear that I own rifles. I love weapons. I believe it is the right of every red-blooded American to own as many rifles and stock pile as much ammunition as you desire. To you folks who have never felt the recoil of a rifle and hit black (dead center) on a target, I see your side as well. I admit that our nation is facing a problem with active-killers (more on why not to call them active shooters later). So we can make a decision to be sheep, who await our moment filled with anxiety and fear of a potential demise at the hands of another individual. Or we can make a decision to take matters into our own hands. I’m not calling for vigilantism. I am calling for a well-educated populace to know how to respond to these situations.
If you haven’t heard of Tony Blauer, the man spews out free information regarding ways to respond to every single violent situation. He constantly preaches for the need to learn to navigate chaos. His instagram page has a breakdown for responding to active killers (with over 13,000 views) that I highly recommend watching. He has developed a self defense system known as the SPEAR-system. Having trained in multiple martial Arts, I find what Blauer teaches to be most interesting and very actionable. He harnesses the human flinch response to respond to someone who is attacking you. He also released this 20 minute podcast in response to the Las Vegas massacre. While the audio is tough at points, there are some actionable pieces of information in this episode.
You should carry a tourniquet on you. I keep one in my truck at all times. A person with an arterial bleed can be gone in close to two minutes. You can save their life with a tourniquet. As Blauer says, “You can learn to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire, and that doesn’t make you a firemen. I can teach you to use a tourniquet to save someone’s life, even if that does not make you a combat medic.”
Aaron Jannetti is the gentlemen that Tony Blauer interviews in the podcast I mentioned above. His book is something I would recommend buying if you want to learn more about these situations and I myself have just purchased it. He also has a page devoted to teaching people how to respond to these active killer situations.
As Lt. Col Grossman points out in this video, these people are not shooters. They are murderers. There is a difference. A shooter is someone training with their weapon on a range. They are working hard to ensure they can employ their weapon safely and effectively. They are generally police officers, members of the military, or responsible red-blooded Americans who want to ensure they can use the weapon they carry should the time ever come. These people engaging in these massacres at schools, movie theaters, and in other public spaces are not shooters. They are murderers. Our society needs to distinguish between people with guns who have good intentions, and people with guns who have awful intentions.
The issue in our society isn’t about guns. The gun is the tool these active killers are using to engage in violent action. We can choose to stand around and hope we are never placed in such a situation. Or we can choose to be a part of the solution by arming our minds with methods to respond. We must not fear evil men. What we must fear is the indifference of good men.
John McCarthy is a Father, Son, Husband and former Marine Infantry Officer. He serves his local community and just wants to push people to be better humans. Check out the Tough Talk Podcast and other writings on this website to learn more.