Matt in FL recently emailed me a question: “If we admit (and we have to admit) that, unless you’re involved in certain lifestyles, a self-defense scenario where you fire even one shot is statistically unlikely, then that puts a scenario where you need three guns somewhere in the realm between ‘really damn unlikely’ and ‘me in a three way with Doutzen Kroes and Kelly Brook,’ doesn’t it? What exactly is he planning for? I know, the flippant answer is, ‘I don’t know, but I mean to survive it,’ but seriously, he doesn’t seem like the guy to do things on a whim, so that leads me to believe he put some thought into this. What course of rational thought ends with him feeling the need to carry three guns every day of his normal, average, everyday, suburban upper-middle-class non-criminal life? Do you have any idea?” I do . . .
First of all, let’s be clear: the rabbi is a law-abiding, tax-paying American. In an article following this one, the gun guru will explain why his backup gun has a backup gun. But he’s under no obligation to do so. In a country where a state feels free to regulate the number of bullets in a magazine this is not the time to get hung-up on the number of firearms an individual carries.
It must also be said that the rabbi is a generous soul. His politics are right of Attila the Hun (he views liberalism as a disease) but he trains anyone and everyone who wants to learn The Way of the Gun regardless of their religious or political beliefs. He’s happy to discuss his methodology. His psychology, not so much. But that’s where we’re going with this one . . .
The rabbi and I share a common bond: our fathers were Holocaust survivors. Their ordeal, their unfathomable loss and psychological trauma, informed our upbringing in ways we couldn’t begin to understand at the time, that defy easy explanation to this day. This inheritance continues to influence our lives, and the lives of our children, for good and for ill.
While I can’t (and won’t) speak to the rabbi’s childhood, the following excerpt from about.com’s The Effect of the Holocaust on the Children of Survivors resonates with my own experience and raises some possible points of commonality:
Survivor-parents have also shown a tendency to be over involved in their children’s lives, even to the point of suffocation. Some researchers suggested that the reason for this over-involvement is the survivors’ feeling that their children exist to replace what was so traumatically lost. This over-involvement may exhibit itself in feeling overly sensitive and anxious about their children’s behavior, forcing their children to fulfill certain roles or pushing their children to be high achievers.
Similarly, many survivor-parents were over-protective of their children, and they transmitted their distrust of the external environment to their children. Consequently, some Second Gens have found it difficult to become autonomous and to trust people outside their family.
Like most psychological profiles, this one reads like a combination of astrology, psycho-babble and a fortune cookie. But it’s certainly true that the rabbi and I feel pushed, driven to succeed. We’ve been involved in multiple causes and businesses, endlessly searching for paths to personal excellence and financial achievement – hampered by our inability to trust anyone. It’s no surprise that we both upped stakes and moved last year, to places where we knew no one.
On the positive side, if I may be so bold, this analysis also applies: “Resilient traits – such as adaptability, initiative, and tenacity – that enabled survivor-parents to survive the Holocaust may have been passed on to their children.” I would not want to face the rabbi in any kind of fight: rhetorical, political or physical. He will not yield, ever. By the same token, the rabbi’s armed self-defense business (armedresponsetraining.com) and this website were created from nothing, against well-established players, through sheer force of will.
Like our fathers before us, the rabbi and I are survivors, born and bred.
As such, the rabbi and I exercise our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. In this realm, the differences between us are only a matter of degree. I train to a basic level of competence. The rabbi trains to the highest possible standard and teaches others to do the same. I do a pretty good job of situational awareness, frequently lapsing into smartphoneland. The rabbi rarely leaves Jeff Cooper’s Condition Orange. “If you are attacked in condition orange,” Richard Fairburn writes at policeone.com, “you should be expecting the attack.”
And there, finally, is your answer. The rabbi expects an attack, whereas you and I plan for it as a remote possibility. Does that make us “sensible” and the rabbi “paranoid”? Given Mr. Kenik’s family history, given the history of our people, I say no. “Never again” isn’t just a public declaration by a Jew that he or she won’t to surrender to the forces of evil without a fight. It’s also a grim reminder: the fight is coming. I may not share the rabbi’s level of preparation but I share his fatalistic belief that peace is only a temporary condition. Especially for a Jew.
Think of it this way: if you knew you were going to be attacked how many guns would you carry?
[NOTE: Click here for the rabbi’s post giving the practical reasons why he carries three guns.]