T Nation

Be The Hammer

Chris’s article in the current issue, 257, struck a chord with me.

There was another school shooting today, this time in Pennsylvania. I’m currently in high school, and I guess it wasn’t so long ago that i made a promise to myself. After Columbine I decided that i would never be a victim in a school shooting. Although it’s pretty damn unlikely that this would happen in my school, i decided that if i ever saw someone with a gun i would take action. Hero Complex? Possibly. Damn stupid? Probably. Chances of surviving? Nil.

For all my bravado and woodcraft(I was a redneck youth: Hunting, Fishing, Shooting, Tracking, etc) I realized i’d be pretty useless in an urban combat situation. I’m a decent size (6’1, 238, 14%), go to school in a city where drive-by shootings at school are almsot common, been in a few fights, and a few other nasty situations.

I realize that if the person weilding the weapon has any experience at all i’m as good as dead, but in many cases fast action can make all the difference in the world.

How many of us would wish to do the same, but how many could? That said, here’s a handy little quote from the article:

"Since 9/11 I’ve received my concealed carry permit. I’ve been trained in “urban combat” by professionals who use these skills every day to survive. I’ve learned how to disarm an attacker. I’ve learned knife fighting skills from Special Forces instructors who can tell you what it smells like when you cut a man’s throat. I’ve memorized the bleeddown tables and learned adrenaline control techniques from former military snipers. "

Where do I sign up? Seriously. I think the above course list is pretty much required by any aspiring T-Man. I’m specifically talking about the Close Quarters Combat skills.

So I ask Chris, if he reads this, to provide information to anyone interested in travelling down the Testosterone Road Less Traveled.

Actually, a multi-millionaire in my area (I may even get a chance to see him tonight) has taken a lot of these types of courses, because, as a single father, the risk of things happening is very real. I’ll ask him where he got the training, though it may not help you out. I’ll post what I find out (if anything).

Personally, I thought the article went too far.

There is a difference between the “perception of danger” and the actual occurence of violence. Yes, another school shooting. What is the likelyhood of you being involved in one? Look at the murder rate over the past 20 years, the downward decline. Violent crime, rape, almost every felony indicator has gone down. Yet we’re more afraid then ever.

So you say “be prepared for the worst”. Okay, I can understand that. Pack a gun? No. Shoot a guy who’s robbing a 7-11 if your wife is in the car? That is fucked up.

Our first question should be why violent crime exists, and what we can do to tame it (how about reallocating the ridiculous amount of money we spend on the so called drug war to drug treatment and counselling)?

I know I’ll get jumped on with anecdotal evidence, someone who knows someone who this and that. Maybe you have been the victim of violent crime. I have, in the form of getting the shit kicked out of me by 10 guys, having knives pulled on me, and other such nonsense. If I had a gun, I might have used it. And that scares me way more than the black eye and busted ribs I suffered.

If you’re going to be the hammer, I say you better know what the hell you’re doing. Being afraid of shadowy threats that hardly ever materialize is quite dangerous.

Rumbach: Pardon my curiosity, but why were you so afraid of the fact that you might have used a gun if you had one with you?
Rob: the Rolling Thunder course out of San Antonio, Tx. has a really good reputation for urban combat. There are a few others around which are eun by ex-specwar guys. I’m pretty sure that an internet search will turn something up. As for being able to tell which ones are good … that’s a bit tricky.

I agree with rumbach even though I have my permit. I would only use it if my life was in danger or someone in a family. I could care less if someone was robbing the 7-11 or car jacking me. Take the shit I could care less, come into my house and try to get in my safe room I will add another hole to your head. You pull a weapon in public u do not know the reaction around u. It could be good or very,very bad. I am not willing to go to jail for some punk.


I don’t plan on engaging in any one-upsmanship here, but I will say my “anecdotal evidence” comes by way of personal experience.

A few of the other incidents i referred to follow. Disregard them if you like, this is the internet after all.

There have been 3 school shootings this year in the city in which I attend school. They never made the news. This doesn’t count the gunfire i hear and never know what happened. I’ve been robbed - once, when i was younger and inexperienced. Since then someone, albeit a very stupid someone, tried again. It didn’t work out very well for them. Jumpings, Attempted jumpings, fights, et cetera are fairly commonplace.

My question wasn’t directly aimed at the concealed carry permit, actually I really could care less. Carrying a gun is an invitation to get shot. I was mainly referring to the disarming, adrenaline, and other tactics.

I know we have quite a few MMA people here. While I’m not interested in pursuing it(3 other sports), I was wondering if your Gym offered any classes/seminars.

Shoot a guy who’s robbing a 7-11 if your wife is in the car? That is fucked up.

If someone pulls a gun in my presence, with the intention of shooting someone, i will do my best to disarm, disable, or kill that person. I don’t care whether I have to use my hands, a handgun, or a spork. One of us will not walk away under their own power. If that person happens to be me, so be it. The above of course percludes Law Enforcement officials, etc.

Sorry for the double post, but there are a few comments i forgot to make.

There is a difference between the “perception of danger” and the actual occurence of violence. Yes, another school shooting. What is the likelyhood of you being involved in one? Look at the murder rate over the past 20 years, the downward decline. Violent crime, rape, almost every felony indicator has gone down. Yet we’re more afraid then ever.

I would also assume that there is a direct correlation between the declining murder rate and the rise of fear/indignation/awareness. We are at an all time high in terms of “fear”, but aren’t we at an all time low in terms of crime? The Not In My BackYard attitude so prevalent among today’s Americans is a good thing, IMO.

Our first question should be why violent crime exists, and what we can do to tame it

Don’t you think the prevalence of violent crime would greatly decrease if the criminals knew the victims might not be so helpless and might be shooting back? I do.

If you’re going to be the hammer, I say you better know what the hell you’re doing. Being afraid of shadowy threats that hardly ever materialize is quite dangerous.

I hardly plan on becoming a vigilante who prowls the street looking for justice. But let’s try a little poll.

Question 1: How many school shootings have there been near you in the current school year?
3. Bloods and Crips. Loser A shoots Loser B’s brother. Loser B shoots Loser A. Loser A’s gang shoots losers C, D, and teenage girl E.

Question 2: Have you been threatened with a weapon in the past month? Yes.

Suddenly the shadows begin to take form.

“I know I’ll get jumped on with anecdotal evidence, someone who knows someone who this and that.”

And here’s your anecdotal evidence. I live in what is probably one of the safest areas in the city of New Orleans. We had a break-in a block from my house last year and the owner of the house was shot in his own damned house.

Also, there happens to be a serial killer in South Louisiana at this time, abducting women from their homes. Do I want my wife to be the next victim? Or should I try to understand why the guy’s killing people? Maybe I should have a sit-down with him and discuss his feelings.

C’mon, man. If my house is broken into by a person with a weapon, all the talking goes out the window, and I’ll protect myself and my family no matter what it takes.

I agree with Rumbach on the point of proportionality. People prepare for this and that that have rediculously small odds of occuring to them while ignoring that which is much more of a real threat-- if more mundane. Put down that cell phone while you’re driving and you will do substantially more to protect your life than getting a gun in terms of odds. People seem to lack a sense of proportionality.

I’ve never even touched a gun, let alone shot one. I’m scared of them, always have been, always will be. I figured my hands and quickness can get me through more than a gun. If a court decides my hands are lethal, then I am a badass.

Actually, I was interested in some of those courses myself - specifically, the sniper adrenaline control techniques. Any info on that would be appreciated.

Char,Check out www.snipershide.com or www.snipersparidise.com

These “yeah, but it probably won’t happen” excuses are pretty lame. My house and car have never been broken into, but I still lock the doors. I wear my seatbelt but have never been in an accident.

The point? Knowing some self-defense skills might come in handy. The odds may be against you running into violence, but that doesn’t mean you should go through life defenseless and waiting to be a passive victim.

All it takes is seeing some surveilance footage of people being shot to death by a robber execution-style in the back room of a 7-11 store to make most people realize that such things can happen and you should be prepared in some way.

If you choose not to be, then you’re either some head-in-the-clouds, unrealistic liberal more concerned with the criminal than the victim, or a total wimp who’d rather die than defend yourself. Hey, like the article said, it’s a personal decision. You have the right to “be the anvil” if you really want.

And for those that are against concealed carry permits, wait until your sister, wife or mother gets raped, then tell me how she had no right to defend herself with a gun. Hundreds of rapes are prevented each year by armed females who have chosen not to be victims.

And as for the poster who wrote, “I figured my hands and quickness can get me through more than a gun. If a court decides my hands are lethal, then I am a badass.” Do you know what they call people like you in real life when violence occurs? Dead.

Rumbach, I don’t know where you’re getting your stats from, noting a decline in violent crime over the last 20 years. BTW, crime stats can be doctored to portray many things. It’s been my firsthand experience that violent crime has gone up slightly, not down at all. That may not be true all over, of course. There are still many “nice” and rather “safe” areas, towns, communities, whatever, left in the good, old, large U.S. of A. But for the most part, crime remains a very real problem in our country.

Rob, I found all this course info at the local indoor firing range. That particular range always has guests coming in to speak and instruct on different topics. I’ll bet many indoor ranges will provide info like this, although you may be too young to attend these courses. Some have age limits. The knife fighting courses I’ve taken all did.

Another thing to do is pick up the book “The Truth About Self-Protection” by Massad Ayoob, it’s an unblinking look at violence and what you can do about it written by a vet cop. Here’s the Amazon link:

For those who’ve been PMing me about concealed carry licenses, go to packing.org, the net’s largest database on this topic.

I just wanted to point out that both Rumbach and solojobber have agreed to be the anvil in both their posts, perhaps the realized it, perhaps they didn’t. In both cases, you two are relying on the benevolence of the attackers to not kill you. Certainly that is your choice, as gun ownership is not for everyone, as solojobber said, “it could be very very bad.” Bad like being killed in the car jackings? See, I agree that when making the decision to be the hammer, you are making a very serious, mortal and permanent decision. However, I would rather make that decision myself, then to leave it in the hands of a wacko attacker.

Think about it, if someone is robbing a 7-11 or stealing a car, their sense of self worth and preservation is much lower than yours or mine. They are willing to risk imprisonment and even death for the cash in the register or a new car. Would you want someone with that sense of mortality and self worth (who could also be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, etc.) than choosing whether or not you should live or die? You are relying on a thug to make the rationale decision to take the car or the cash but decide not to kill you. Certainly in some situations maybe this is the only or the best option, but I don’t like the idea of putting my life in a criminal’s hands.

Rumbach you were in a situation where 10 guys pulled knives on you. Did you think you were going to die? Were you hoping that they would eventually stop beating you? From what I can gather from your post, you were putting your life in the good will of a bunch of thugs who may or may not had the self control and the sense of self preservation to keep from killing you. Certainly I am glad to hear that you survived and you are right, getting off with only broken ribs and a black eye is fortunate, but you must admit, you were the anvil.

Gun ownership may not be for everyone, and I’m not advocating that they should be. However, I think it is a more dangerous path to put your life in the hands of some wacko. As always, the best solution is to avoid the situation, be alert and think, but unfortunately if a choice has to be made about your life or death, think about who you want to make that decision.

To address a couple points:

First, the information I am referring to regarding the violent crime rate in America is government released statistics on crime and detention, available at Department of Justice websites and numerous books on criminal law. I study political science and particularly systems of violence.

There is debate as to why the violent crime rate has gone down - some say improving economic conditions, some say longer jail sentences have kept certain people off of the street, etc. My point is, the argument “I see a “not in my backyard attitude” and a period of low crime” doesnt work - the number of subway restaurants in this country has dramatically increased over the past 20 years, should we assume by building subways our crime rate goes down?

Second, I do not argue at all with self defense, combat training, etc. I myself have trained for 15 years in wrestling, Tae Kwon Doe, boxing, etc. I can disarm an opponent (but know it better to run), etc. That was not my point. Being prepared for the worst and being educated on how to treat a violent situation is key. I appreciate that point. But too many people are taking the “be the hammer” attitude with no training to back it up.

My point is this idea of “preemptive” danger - assuming the worst and acting on it. Shoot a guy that might cause you harm. Shoot a guy that is robbing a taco bell. Etc. Etc. It scares me that some people 1. resort to having to rob a taco bell to get money or 2. use a gun to do it. I really don’t think that person is trying to kill anyone, likely they are supporting a drug habit (as my friend Jeremy was, who is no serving a 10 year sentence for armed robbery with an unloaded gun).

It doesn’t suprise me this concealed weapons idea comes out of Texas, a state that is willing to support the death penalty even if it means killing the mentally retarded, model prisoners, and a whole lot of folks who’s guilt is questionable (check out the current supreme court case looking at Texas justice).

Yeah, if I had a gun when those guys jumped me, I might have shot one of them. Why does that scare me? Because I would have killed someone, instead of doing what I did (the smart thing), and letting them do their thing. They didn’t hurt me bad, they were all teenagers (as was I) and thought I was someone else. Did I break one of their legs, one of their arms, two noses, 3 fingers, and a jaw? Yup. I suffered a broken nose, black eyes, and busted ribs. Guess what, we’re all still breathing. I might have been the anvil, but the weight of guilt doesn’t affect my life.

Andersons: to clarify, the guys who jumped me did not have knives, that was a separate incident.

Another thought - the idea of being “the hammer” has the same philosophical grounding as the death penalty - the deterrent effect - as Chris said it, the bad guys know that in Texas, they shoot.

Unfortunately, in study after study of the death penalty, it has been shown that the abscence/presence of such measures does not affect the rate of crimes that are punishable by it. In short, the death penalty is not a deterent to violent crime. A person that goes as far as to kill another human being does not rationalize punishment, or is sure they can get away with it.

So, I bring up a similar argument againt “being the hammer” as I do against the death penalty - If we execute one innocent person, is the death penalty worth it?

Is “being the hammer” worth it, as a rule, if innocent people die in escalations of violence that never needed to happen? Just as you don’t trust the “wackos” to choices of life and death, do you trust most people in those situations? What are the qualifications of an individual to “be the hammer?”

Terrible shit happens, and continues to happen. There is no real answer to this debate. We all have our opinions. But I can say, as one who is skeptical of the “hammer” as a rational, educated, and useful way to pursue criminal deterence, I hope you never kill innocents in the crossfire of your solution to violence.

Oh, and one more point - If an armed person breaks into your house, they seal their fate. That has always been my opinion, and continues to be. Just don’t shoot them in the back if they’re running out the door, please.

In Texas it is quite alright to shoot them in their back as they run out your door. No one gets one “break into my house” free card. AND, if they have any of your property it is quite alright to chase them down and shoot them in the back in the street.

Doogie, if you don’t have any problem shooting someone in the back, well then, er, I don’t think we rationalize in the same way (no matter what Texas says is ok or not)