“Skill at arms men”, over and over this was repeated. It was drilled into us and spoken over us like a father to his children trying to raise them in the way they should go. But skill at arms goes further than your ability to deploy a weapon be it pistol, urban rifle or sniper rifle and wield it effectively in training, competition or the day you are tested with lethal force by someone intent on taking your life.
Skill at arms also references your ability to defend yourself in hand to hand combat. Not every encounter with violence is a lethal force encounter allowing you to draw a firearm and start shooting. Yes, the argument can be made that “every encounter is a lethal force encounter…what if I get punched in the face, fall to the ground, hit my head and end up dying because of the blunt force trauma to my skull?” Has this happened? Yes. Does this then give you carte blanche authority to immediately jump to lethal force when presented with a fist because the small possibility exists that you could die from a punch to the face? No. Look into and study your local laws and ordinances. Pay attention when another citizen in your community is arrested and charged with murder or manslaughter. Pay attention to the details of the case and especially the legal viewpoint of the prosecution. You may soon realize that more is at stake for you if you resort to a firearm too quickly.
Since the creation of man the ability to defend ones self has been of vital importance. Today is no different. Though we live in a day and an age when your ability to summon aid or the police is easier than ever before the problem is they are always late. The police are always responding to a call for service or to a situation that has already occurred. Depending on your city makeup the police may be either just a few minutes away or 30 minutes or more away. However, they are not there when the attack or assault is initiated.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Jeff Cooper in his book “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth” (p. 48). “Let us agree on one major point right here. The police cannot protect you in your home. If Goblins break in upon you the police should be called – as soon as you get around to it – in order to write reports and clean up the mess. But the Goblins are your problem. Keep that always in mind.”
You need to train and to be trained. The mantle of the Sheepdog is heavy and comes with great responsibility. In addition to your physical training you need the mental resolve to, if necessary, act with speed, precision and aggression. You should be able to control the fight from beginning to end. There should be no place that is foreign to you whether it be the initial ‘interview’ (the initial contact with the bad guy where he is sizing you up and deciding whether or not the risk vs. reward is worth it for him to initiate an assault), first contact, on the feet or to the ground.
Be safe. And if you can’t be safe, be violent!