Saturday, June 28, 2014

Getting Right in My Mind

I've been home from Gunsite for two weeks now, and I am STILL processing information. I'm not sure if that means that I am obsessive, or just thorough. Actually, don't tell me - I kinda don't want to know - LOL!

As I learned that week, the solid base of the three sides of the Gunsite Combat Triad is Mindset. Probably because Mindset is the most important aspect, and it informs everything else, this is the aspect that is taking me the longest to process. And there is a process to this processing. I'm realizing that this isn't a "learn it once" kind of thing. Mindset is more of a skill that is slowly acquired.

One of the most important personal revelations I had while at Gunsite, is realizing that I am NOT a weirdo for playing "what if" games with myself. This was such a relief to know, and it provided some much needed encouragement for me. I'm glad that I'm not strange if while standing in the check-out line at the fabric store, I wonder what I would do if somebody walked in the front door waving a shotgun. Not that your average fabric chain is often targeted for armed robbery. But the place IS full of women, who can be perceived as easy targets. Also, violent husbands in the midst of domestic disputes do exist, and domestic disputes don't always stay domestic. Sometimes they spill over into the workplace or other public locales. It COULD happen. Acknowledging that possibility to myself is at least part of the mental challenge of Mindset. As Jeff Cooper stated in the video lecture we saw, you have to be able to say to yourself "I thought that this might happen" in order to be prepared if it does happen. (I bought the DVD of that lecture, so I can keep reminding myself of this)

                                  Fabric and Firearms - two of my favorite hobbies

I also am glad I'm not weird for (again while waiting in line) noting the location of the back hall exit in the local sandwich shop, and wondering if the lunchmeat counter could be considered cover or just concealment. Because another important point I learned, was to not forget about the "Nike Defense". There is a saying that goes, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail". But in this case, the tool is a gun, so everything should NOT look like a target. Discretion and discernment are important skills. Oftentimes, just getting the heck out of there is the best thing you can do in a bad situation. But you can't do that if you don't know where the exits are; and you won't know where the exits are if you haven't even thought to look for them; and I only rarely thought to look for them before now.

Before Gunsite, I was worried that all of this "what if" imagining meant that I was paranoid. But then I realized that when I leave the hospital after making sure a newly admitted patient is "tucked-in", I often play similar games with myself. I make sure that I have a back-pocket plan if the patient's recovery doesn't go the way I expect. So then, what is the difference? Planning is planning, right? Having a Plan B and even a Plan C should signify careful planning and forethought - not paranoia or pessimism.

But for some reason in our "Don't Worry, Be Happy" society, imagining that terrible things might happen is perceived to be paranoid. Especially when it involves firearms. One is thought to be "spoiling for a fight", or "looking for an excuse to shoot someone". For me, nothing could be further from the truth. I don't carry a trauma kit because I WANT someone to be hurt.  But if I don't at least THINK about the "what ifs", how can I possibly be prepared for what to do if something does happen? Now that I've started down this self-defense training road, I've realized the importance of having a back-pocket plan for my day-to-day life. The beauty of it all, is that I can use this strategy even if I'm not armed.

Don't get me wrong - I do still spend a fair share of my time in Oblivious-ville. It's a nice, comfy place, after all. But at least now I'm realizing that a comfy place isn't always the safest place. I need to work on getting out of there more frequently. And as Kathy Jackson observes, there is a whole world out there to notice while I'm doing it.


  1. The "What If" game is something I learned a long time ago. We would spend downtime thinking of how we would respond to various situations; shoot holes in the plans that were not tactically sound, and through collective thinking come up with the best response. That is how 1st responders still train today.

    1. Thanks Nighthawk. It is good to have even more reassurance that this is a normal and necessary process!

  2. I am a late bloomer, too. I found your blog on the Gunsite web site. My husband and I are thinking about taking our next vacation there. I am 62 and my husband is 67. He had military experience in the 60's, but I picked up my first gun a year ago. We both have our concealed carry permits but haven't started carrying yet. I hope you don't mind but I linked your blog to mine: I will enjoy your blog.

  3. Hi Debbie! Good Luck to you in starting your personal gun journey. Mine has certainly been rewarding, and totally worth it.
    I look forward to reading your blog!