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)
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.