Duncan Larsen AKA FailureDrill-P099 submitted this article.
Carrying is a great responsibility, live up to the challenge.
During times of great tragedy there is an opportunity to reflect on yourself as a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) holder or off Duty Law Enforcement Officer (LEO). CCW is not just anyone carrying a firearm, it is a state of mind. You must think about scenarios that might occur around you. Whether you are an off duty LEO or a private citizen CCW holder, you must mentally prepare for an active shooter scenario. When I was a LEO, I always carried off duty. I was not required to do so but I made the decision that I could not live with myself if something happened and I was not armed. As a CCW holder this has also stayed with me. Even though you might carry everyday in your own personal capacity, you must ask yourself, am I ready to use deadly force?
I remember as a young officer having a recurrent dream. This dream was the same for a long time. I would get into a deadly force encounter and draw my firearm. I would fire several rounds at my attacker but they would have no effect. The guy would just keep coming at me. I found later that other officers had this same dream. When I became a firearms instructor, the head of the firearms division advised me to read two books. These books were On Killing and On Combat, both by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. These books talked a-lot about mental preparation for armed conflict. In fact I found that the books contained officers talking about the same ongoing dream I had. This dream let you know that you were subconsciously not mentally or physically prepared for a deadly force encounter. The solution for this preparation is more realistic training with your duty weapon, off duty weapon or CCW weapon. Training over and over builds muscle memory and things become second nature. There is a reason officers cannot remember the exact number of rounds they fired in a deadly force encounter. Their subconscious took over from their thousands of hours of training and they reacted. They stopped the threat and did not realize it until it was over. Their reaction became second nature.
As a private CCW holder nothing is different. You must train, you must think about the what if’s and you must make the decision that you will use deadly force when needed. If you do not challenge yourself mentally and physically you will fail, you will freeze up when it counts. At the end of the day you must ask yourself, do I want to be a sheep or do I want to be a sheep dog?
Several years ago there was a shooting in Trolley Square, a popular shopping mall in Salt Lake City Utah. An off duty officer from Ogden City Police Department was having dinner with his wife in Trolley Square. This day he was carrying an off duty weapon, when a young man came in to the mall and started shooting people. The attacker killed several men, women and children. The officer was prepared and ran towards the gunfire. He engaged the attacker with the only magazine of ammunition he had. These rounds pinned the attacker in a shop until officers from SLC SWAT engaged and killed the suspect in a firefight. How many lives were saved? Who knows, but the officer stopped the suspect from killing anyone else because he was prepared mentally as well as physically. That day he was just a CCW holder, just like you, and lives were saved. If you are going to carry your firearm, commit to it mentally and physically.