The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"The Charging Dog"
As a Guardian, our reactions to violence or sudden threats are everything. This week Pat breaks down the different reaction extremes and provides a personal example of how to be on "autopilot."
Listen using the audio player above OR read the text transcript of this podcast below.
Note: 100% accuracy on text transcription is not guaranteed.
My Fellow Guardian,
There's no audio for this week’s broadcast - what you see is what you get. I want to take this time to pose a VERY simple question to you: how would you react?
As a Guardian, our reactions to violence or sudden threats are everything. Sometimes, we are given a few seconds' warning. Even then, we must be fully ready (not only prepared). If you hear a door splinter at the other end of the house, you may have time to kick yourself into motion.
"THIS IS IT. STOP LISTENING AND WONDERING AND MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!"
You're always going to be readier with a gun in your hand than without one, so we cannot afford to hesitate. We must understand what readiness posture is, and we must have an innate and autopilot response any time we're awake for how to get into that posture.
If you're watching TV in your favorite chair, your mind and body must know in an autopilot sense where your gun is and what the fastest way is to get it in your hand. The same is obviously true for when we're driving, walking, at work, lying in bed, in the shower, mowing the lawn, etc.
BUT WHAT ABOUT INSTANTANEOUS THREATS?
That's right. Even when we have a short warning, many people will freeze. They will freeze because their subconscious KNOWS they are UNprepared, INcompetent, defenseLESS, and INept.
Remember: having a gun makes you prepared, but not ready. We were prepared for Pearl Harbor. But we were NOT ready. You and I need to be ready at all times.
WHICH OF THESE GROUPS DO YOU FIT INTO?
I always hesitate to share stories like what I'm about to share. Why? Because when talking about anything related to human nature, we are dealing in a bell curve. And as an instructor, I'm dealing with three very unique groups of individuals:
GROUP #1: THE COLD EXTREME (35%)
At one end, we have those who are NOT AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH, and my job for them is to build them into the kinds of people who can meet and overcome the utter violence of a murderous attack. You could put it very bluntly and say that I need to develop these students into people who can decide quickly and kill efficiently if it's absolutely required for the preservation of innocent human life.
GROUP #3: THE HOT EXTREME (5%)
At the other end, we have those who are TOO AGGRESSIVE, and my job for them is to speak rationality, common-sense, forgiveness, realism, compassion, and love into their hearts. To remind them that we're all human beings, that we're all in this together, that the gun is the absolute last resort, that any non-violent outcome is better than a violent one. My job is to tame them.
They are already fighters who could kill efficiently, and my job with them is to tame them into the sort of people whose reserve and discipline and a natural sense of empathetic hesitation so that they may spend 6/10ths of one second asking: lethal force is justified here, but is it truly necessary?
GROUP #2: THE LEVEL-HEADED MAJORITY (60%)
Those two extremes make up only about 40% of my students. The majority (and therefore, probably YOU, dear reader) are already perfectly mature, rational, level-headed adults who understand the difference between "can" and "need” and pride and human life. You already have the capacity to fight.
For this vast majority of students, my job is to simply teach them:
(1) WHAT they need to know, and
(2) HOW to acquire the mental and physical skills/tools they need.
The result of this diverse audience is that if I were to share a story where I avoided conflict by means of De-escalation, the HOT EXTREME might see me as timid, and may disregard my work. While, if I share a story that involves aggressive action, the COLD EXTREME might see me as hot-headed, and disregard my work.
I don't want either of those things, but still: I submit to you what I firmly believe is an appropriate reaction:
THE CHARGING GERMAN SHEPARD
A few evenings ago, my family and I were taking an evening walk. We live in a rural part of Michigan, and we were walking down a 30mph township street that had no sidewalk. Nothing out of the ordinary; pedestrians are common.
My 5-year-old is about 30 feet ahead on his bike, riding peacefully down the shoulder of the road.
I'm walking 5 or 6 feet out into the road, to watch for and slow down any cars that might appear.
Suddenly, there's a dog's bark. Now, I've had dogs my entire life. This was not the "hey, there's a stranger!" bark, this was the slow, resounding growl from a charging animal building into a series of pre-attack barks.
By the time I see the dog, maybe 1 full second later, I feel my body stop, mirroring its motion. It had charged up against the invisible barrier of an underground fence and is standing - still barking - across the road from my son.
WHY DID MY BODY STOP?
I stopped moving because the threat stopped. You see, when the dog stopped, I realized that I was holding my shirt up with my left hand, and my pistol was 3/4 drawn from its holster.
Unconsciously, on autopilot, I was orienting myself for the shots - a series of shots - as the dog charged my son.
This is a REACTION, and it was the proper one. I was too far away to sprint, and yet I know I could have made the shots.
And yet: none of these thoughts passed through my mind in the moment. There wasn't time. It was a situation that was truly a test: does combat immersion work? (Like studying and analyzing violent situations, like you'll find in 3 SECONDS FROM NOW)? Does muscle memory practice work?
And WITHOUT practicing every scenario under the sun, CAN we develop minds that will react correctly, without any thought, but those that also have the RESERVE to STOP in mid-reaction when the threat stops?
Well, I submit stories like this (and I have a few) to demonstrate that it IS possible.
Listen: I'm not exceptional. I'm not gifted or "a natural.” ANYTHING I can do, you can do.
And this type of reaction is something I want to see in you. If you are ever tested, I want you to react similarly.