The one question that the rabbi asks before he gives any of his students instruction: could you kill another human being? I know that some members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia have been there, done that. And I have little doubt that most of our readers don’t find that moral hurdle particularly high. If someone was threatening your life or the life of your loved ones, and imminence was imminent (imminence front), I’m quietly confident that you would do what needs doing. The question is: what then? Are you mentally strong enough to deal with the psychological after-shocks? Over at usacarry.com, William Nosek has penned a post on Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Would that be you, then? Maybe . . .
There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution to the mental aspect of having to defend yourself. No matter how prepared your mind may be before it happens, everyone feels the same immediate after effects . . .
After the event is over, there is always panic, disorientation, hyper vigilance, and eventually a sense of complete calm about the situation. Those things are common in everyone who is forced to defend themselves, no matter the outcome of the situation . . .
This does not mean that everyone who is forced to defend themselves will end up with PTSD or that they will be out in the woods setting traps to take out as many people as they can.
Whoa! Where’s that come from? Did I miss a Stallone movie or sometin’? Anyway, despite his protestations, I reckon Nosek reckons no one gets out alive—I mean, no self-defense shooter can avoid PTSD. Which is great for the social services department, but lousy for you.
In some cases other symptoms like intrusive thoughts or dreams about the situation, a heightened startle response, constant hyper vigilance, lack of interest in activities, separation from family and friends, and being uncomfortable in crowds or public places can come about and hit you when you least expect it. These things will seem to have little to no cause, and will really shake you up. The onset of these symptoms can be delayed in some cases for years after the event.
As part of the PSD package, you get a gift card for Self-Recriminations R Us. In his attempts to help you make those bad feelings go away—in advance—Nosek gets all zen.
“What could I have done better?”
The simple answer is nothing. Training and practice are the key elements in everything that leads up to that split second decision. Your mind and body are actually running at peak performance when you are in a life or death situation. Your brain will naturally stop your conscious mind from interfering in what needs to get done, and in effect “You” are taken out of the equation. What you do is based on trained physical reaction, nothing more, and nothing less. So there is nothing that you can do better or worse in any given situation.
Huh? If humans didn’t Monday morning quarterback, we would have never had Howard Cosell to complain about. And for those of you who missed his broadcasts (and Rowdy Roddy Piper’s cocaine-fueled rants as color commentator for WTBS wrestling), take it from me: the world would have been a poorer place. As it is now, what with a federal deficit the size of the Death Star and only slightly less ominous.
Where was I? Oh yes. Could you deal with shooting and killing another human being, without descending into madness? Obviously there’s no way to know for sure until and unless your gun’s hot and the perp’s not. And I hope you never go there. But whaddya think? Would you seek counseling after the event as a matter of course? How would you cope?