Part 5 in our concealed carry series.
When it comes to personal defense, there are plenty of ridiculous statements about the mindset. The combat mindset may suit a combat Marine, but self-defense demands a different mindset. I am not going to be hurt or defeated, and my primary objective is protecting my family and myself. I want to maintain the ability to act effectively and morally under stress. The proper perspective must pass muster as to what is legal and must go further into what is moral.
A good definition of the time when you must fire your weapon is when the actions of the adversary are so terrible you must stop him, and, if he dies as a result of being stopped, it must not matter morally or legally. That is a high standard. You will not maintain the defensive mindset unless you develop judgment and self-control.
Thinking about specific situations is training and shooting in IDPA are also decision-making processes since training prevents confusion. The proper mindset offsets anger. Fear is controlled. The training must be rigorous, and the self-trained must concentrate on physical and mental training.
A prerequisite of the self-defense mindset is that you must be confident in your abilities. If you are not fully aware of your abilities and limitations, then when a threat appears, you will panic or act inappropriately. During my training of interested people, I have stressed that the firearm is not there to enforce your will or prevent a butt whipping; it is there to save your life and for no other reason. When the time comes, you must have studied the ethical and moral questions and have absolute clarity in your mind as to whether your actions are correct.
If you are unsure, you will hesitate and be killed, or you may shoot someone who did not warrant the action. Whatever you are forced to do, you want to retain the faith of your family and be able to live with the consequences of your actions.
Your mind or spirit directs the body, which must have technical and practical ability.
An important part of the personal defense mindset is situational awareness. Be alert to your surroundings. Many people go through life asleep and oblivious to the dangers around them. They may sidestep an open manhole cover and not slip on a freshly mopped floor but then miss the street person who is going to assault them for their wallet.
Clarity of thought is important.
The personal defense mindset has served me well in areas where I could not be armed with an edged weapon or handgun. I practiced avoidance. If your mind is cluttered and unfocused, the added stress of an attack puts you into sensory overload. Everything you have learned is useless or forgotten. An important part of the personal defense mindset is making the decision to defend yourself.
There are some who have a problem with fighting another human, and that is understandable. What is not understandable is being unwilling to defend your family against an attack. If you wish to lay down your life rather than injure another, that is your right; your partner and children may not be able to make that decision for themselves.
If you do not have that clarity of purpose and think you may regret your actions, then successful self-defense is not in the cards.
Conditions of Readiness
For some time, the color codes of conditions of readiness have been used to qualify the “combat mindset” we have modified into the personal defense mindset. They are very good and useful descriptions of personal awareness.
Totally unaware. In Condition White, you are unaware of anything about your position. You are relaxed and consumed with your own thoughts and ramblings. You will not see a threat until it is upon you. Predators pick those likely to be the easiest to overcome. An individual in Condition White is a good target. Condition White should only be experienced when you are asleep or behind your own locked doors.
Relaxed alertness. While a normal person cannot maintain the higher forms of alertness for hours on end, most of us may keep up Condition Yellow for all of our waking moments. You realize there is an endless possibility of attack, although there is no specific threat. You are prepared to move into action, and you notice anything out of the ordinary. You see the details.
Alert and focused. You have identified a threat. Condition Orange is the next stage after yellow and is normally stepped up when you have encountered a potential threat while in Condition Yellow. It actually may not be a threat, but there are reliable indicators that a person is a threat. You are alert and focused and, if possible, you leave the area or danger and call the police.
Condition Orange is not always triggered by a person, it could involve:
- A dark alley that you find in your travels because you are lost.
- Returning home to find your front door ajar or a window broken.
- A loud drunkard on the corner who may be a threat. You walk around him or avoid him, just as you would swerve to avoid a collision in traffic.
State of Readiness. At this point, a confrontation and defensive action are practically inevitable.
- You have identified the threat.
- The threat is approaching in a threatening and combative manner.
- The threat’s attention is focused on you and has the ability and intention of harming you.
- You are all but in the middle of the fight.
That is the essence of Condition Red. Condition Red does not mean the fight is unavoidable and you are in a high state of readiness; it means the fight is on.
What training have you taken, or will you take, to make sure you are ready to defend yourself and your family? Share in the comment section.