The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"I Give Up"
It is wise to come to terms with the reality that both action and inaction come with an equal, opposite, and predetermined amount of sacrifice. A guardian can be no more effective without sacrifice than a stagnant mind or body can be healthy.
Listen using the audio player above OR read the text transcript of this podcast below.
Note: 100% accuracy on text transcription is not guaranteed.
One of the influences for the CCU School of Thought, or Philosophy, that we are building is John Boyd. Boyd was an Air Force colonel who turned over a lot of tables in terms of aircraft design and air-to-air combat tactics during the 1970s and 80s. He gave us the F16 fighter which, even after it was molested heavily by bureaucrats to the point where Boyd hated the plane, still managed to be one of the best jet fighters the US has ever come up with. But his concepts had far greater reach than that, including helping to architect the invasion strategy for the first gulf war which provided us with one of the more dazzling victories of modern warfare.
John wasn’t well-liked. He wasn’t popular. Only a handful of people attended his funeral. He did not die wealthy, and he watched many of his peers zoom past him in the ranks to become generals. And yet, he lived a life that shines far brighter than any of them. And what he accomplished in the sense of moving forward the flag of our understanding of combat dynamics puts him, in my mind, at the same level as an Einstein or Newton or Aristotle.
I believe most of John’s story can be summed up with this quote, which was spoken by John himself as he lectured a room full of newly minted fighter pilots and Air Force officers. “Tiger,” he would call them, always pushing to instill warrior ethics among his peers, reminding them that they have just one job in the Air Force…
“Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road. And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed, “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction, “Or you can go that way and you can do something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work… your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?”
I call this Guardian Broadcast: I give up. When you carry concealed and accept the Guardian Lifestyle… when you really accept it for all that it is, you give up a lot. That is probably precisely why so few people do it; why so few people carry concealed well. But when you decide to become and remain a Guardian, it’s important to know from the very beginning exactly what you’re giving up.
First, you give up comfort, because a gun jabbing you in the gut or hip all day sucks. It would be easier to leave it at home. Or leave it in the car. Or stick it in a brief case. Or downsize to a gun that only weighs a few ounces. But because you want to carry a gun that you can rely on, you give up. Because you want enough ammo on you to accomplish something good if it’s ever necessary, you give up. Because you’re a Guardian… you give up.
You give up style. Because you need to hide your gun, you wear baggier clothes. You wind up looking like a slob in the eyes of some people, because you no longer tuck your shirts in. Your style suffers because have to change the way you walk and step and stand and sit so that your gun doesn’t print or show. But because you won’t compromise safety or effectiveness for a little bit of vanity, you do give up. Because you know how bad you’d regret having a tiny gun or a time-consumingly concealed gun that you couldn’t draw quickly, you give up.
You also give up money. Tier 1 combat grade guns are expensive. Good ammo is expensive. Thousands of rounds of training ammo are expensive. Education and training and practice are expensive. But it’s worth it to you, so you give up.
When you carry concealed, you give up some of your pride; some of your perceived strength. Because now you have a duty to avoid violence. There can be no shouting matches. No fist fights. If the guy next to you at the restaurant is swearing in front of your kids, or if the guy in traffic nearly caused an accident and could have gotten your grandkid killed, you take a breath and you grit your teeth, but that’s it. You get out of there. You give up. Because if the cops believe you started it, it won’t be self-defense, it’ll be murder. So you give up these age-old trademarks of masculinity.
You give up popularity. You give up a lot of potential friends. When you leave the gun course after the first day because it’s a two-dimensional waste of time, you give up. When you don’t go to the social events or fill your sleeve and bio with a pocketful of meaningless certifications, you give up a lot. When you interrupt the BS exchange with the truth about the .45 ACP blowing someone’s arm off, or the ineffectiveness of 9mm rounds, you give up. When you can’t find anyone willing to train with you a second time, you give up.
When you’re a Guardian, you give up some of your confidence, because you no longer believe you’re invincible. Proper education and training has made you painfully aware of where you’re weak, and what your vulnerabilities are. You give up the feeling that because you’ve got a gun, you’re unstoppable. In exchange for the truth and the ability to leverage your real strengths, you give it all up.
You also give up some of the feeling of security that a gun used to provide you with. You learn that you alone are responsible for your safety, and you learn that a few presses of the trigger doesn’t neutralize the situation. You learn that you’re going to be in that fight until it’s over, and so you prepare for that. You learn that if there are two of them, your odds go down. That if they get the first shot off, your odds go down. You learn that if they get within 20 feet of you before your gun is drawn, you’re going to have to work hard and get sliced up to deploy that piece. You learn that bullets lack stopping power, and that one-shot drops or any shot drops are exceedingly rare. You know you’ve got to get moving. You know that in combat you’ll revert to your most basic level of training. The gun becomes a dynamic tool for you, it is no longer a magic wand. You give up on that comforting idea.
You give up some of your heroes – teachers and practitioners who you idolized before, but people who you quickly realize have at best a feeble grasp on the reality of what self-defense is and can’t actually do much for you.
And most of all, you give up your time. Education takes time. Training takes time. Practice takes the most time. And you realize that rather than checking a box… rather than putting on a gun and being done with it and getting back to life… by deciding to walk the Guardian walk, you’ve accepted a lifelong discipline that will require mental and physical energy for the remainder of every single day of your life.
In some ways, by becoming a Guardian, you do give up your life for those you love. And greater love hath no man than this.