By Jim Higginbotham
In my role as a trainer of Law Enforcement, military personnel and citizens in the skills needed to enhance their survival in an increasingly dangerous world I get to listen to many aspects of the subject. One common thread emphasizes the “will to survive” or, since a lethal force encounter is a life and death contest, the “will to win”. Indeed, even our own training program, above the most fundamental levels, stresses the many factors in surviving a violent attack. Attitude or “mind set” is one of the most important of these. However I want to address this idea that some have that the “will to win” is the most important thing and that one can simply overcome all odds merely because he is the good guy and he has more to loose than the miscreant who is trying to take his life. My view on this was summed up recently when I noticed a new sign up on the wall in our Church’s fellowship hall. A quote from Keith Kerstetter, it is a tenet of the men’s Honor Bound program but it fits so appropriately in the Ministry of Defense philosophy I decided to borrow it. The sign simply says:
The Will to Win Is Nothing …Without the Will to Prepare
Now there’s a revelation to be chiseled in stone! So many people think they are prepared to meet violence, merely because they have purchased a firearm. Well, brethren, let me enlighten you. You are no more able to defend yourself because you have purchased a pistol than you will be able to bound up on the platform and accompany the Worship Team because you just bought a piano.
There is an interesting story in a book I recommend to students about a man camping on a beach with his wife and teenage children. Please forgive me if the imagery of this is too graphic but, as with auto safety, safety in a violent world can only be encouraged to some by causing them to face life as it is. At any rate our family patriarch was startled to find two men outside his camper (the kids were in a nearby tent – he thought) demanding money for his visit to the beach. It was a private beach and he knew the owner so he suspected something right off. He left the security of his camper to talk to the men but discovered that there was a third who was subduing his struggling son over by the tent. The leader of the men then produced a large knife and demanded money. The man behind him displayed a steel rod. Even though he was ill prepared, our hero waded into these men hand to hand. His wife, even less prepared but no less brave, jumped right in. The fight was intense but not over quickly. When it was over the wife was stabbed in the chest 5 times with a deflated lung, the man was seriously cut up (enough that he missed 11 months of work), the robber with the knife was dead and the others had run off. Victory exacted a horrible price on this family but the wife did survive, barely. Now it is time to meet the man. His name is Bob Rogers, and he was at that time the Commander of the San Diego Police SWAT team. He had the will to win, in spades, but he was not prepared to win or even to fight successfully.
Now you may ask, if a man of such training and background fouled up so thoroughly then what chance do you have. Friends, this was a simple problem. We teach dozens of people every year to handle such problems and, fortunately, they do – we haven’t lost one yet!. To put it straight to you in simple terms, it will take about 16 hours of instruction and about 500 rounds of ammo, 10 minutes of “dry” practice every day for a month and then 10 minutes a week for the rest of your life, 50 rounds of live practice each month and a little “attitude adjustment” to handle about 80% of all lethal force encounters. About 40 hours of training, 1500 rounds of ammo and the willingness to keep “grooved in” through regular practice, both live and dry will make you the equal of about 90% of the SWAT police and Elite Military operators that are around – at least in the art of defending yourself. It may take a little more before you can “storm the ramparts” but then that is not what we are looking for. Remember, I say this as one who trains many of these type people.
Lest it sound like I am tooting anyone’s horn here, never fear. I am merely trying to take away the intimidation some people have when they start looking into learning how to defend themselves. It is quite a bit easier to learn how to defend yourself effectively, morally and legally – and yes, with much restraint – than it is to learn how to drive a car (which is far more dangerous than a gun). Apparently it is easier than learning how to program a VCR, since I see a lot of VCR with 12:00 flashing on and off all the time. My feeble attempt here is aimed at encouraging you to seek help in this area. Find some training, go to it, remembering that if you are a “do-it-yourselfer” then also find a “do-it-yourself” will kit. Find a way to make yourself practice – but remember “only perfect practice makes perfect”, if you practice poor shooting technique, you will be a poor shooter. If you practice poor life saving techniques you will be dead.
We have covered in a previous newsletter the subject of what is ordained of God in this line. No one has the right to take your life from you. If you have come to that place where you believe that you are valuable and that you are willing to act accordingly you have the “Will to Win” – so get on with Preparing to Win.
Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition