26 Apr 12

These telling comments from an LEO friend and instructor:

“I’ve started routinely asking my colleagues, ‘Are you ‘Living It?’’ We have completely incorporated ‘going armed’ into both our personal and professional lives. We are always ‘armed and dangerous,’ always alert, always ready. When we come to the range, we go, without delay, directly from the car to the line and start training. We have made the commitment to always be ready and able, on-duty and off, to take care of ourselves, and those with us. And, when we depart the range, our pistols are always fully loaded and in holsters. Rifles in cases, in ‘transport mode.’ ‘Armed and dangerous!’

Our training group has taken up the term, and, when we see each other we ask, ‘Are you ‘Living it?’‘

Last week, along with you, I attended a law-enforcement training conference. Participants were there presumptively to advance our Art, learn and disseminate new information and techniques, and bring it all back home to share with their people. We’ve made a personal commitment to do whatever we can so that our people go home, in good health, at the end of their shifts.

Attendees should be the creme-de-la-creme of the law-enforcement training community. Alas, I saw a large proportion who were not ‘Living It.’ Lots of badges on display, but many were simultaneously unarmed.

As part of the conference, you conducted a life-fire Patrol Rifle Course, and I assisted. As our students arrived at the range (all, themselves, firearms instructors) I was dismayed that the majority of them showed up, unarmed and unready. Badges on belts, but unloaded firearms secured in travel cases.

In fact, the first twenty minutes of class-time had to be devoted to ‘gearing up.’ It was painfully obvious that most of our students are habituated to ‘cold’ ranges. There they were, having driven to the range on a public highway, most in uniform, while severely limited in their ability to respond to personal-safety challenges that require lethal force to resolve.

While the gun is the probably least important component of the gun-fighting equation, it still holds a critical position. Mindset and Spirit are the other critical components.

A cold range kills Mindset and Spirit! It is the refuge of the naive, sloppy, and callow. You can’t ‘Live It,’ on a cold range!

Happily, there was a group (unfortunately a minority) who arrived fully-armed and ready, and they all had great skill-sets. Watching them, I saw competent Operators, not just ‘shooters.’

They should illustrate the norm, not the exception. We’re working tirelessly to make that true!

So, are YOU, ‘Living It?’”

My comments: You’re either in the Navy, or you’re not! Wearing a badge, by itself, no more makes you an Operator than wearing a stethoscope makes you a doctor!

“The battle has opened, gentlemen. It is too late to change our dispositions.”

Confederate General Albert S Johnson, at the dawn of the Battle of Shiloh, 6 Apr 1862

Yes, then and now, there will be no time to “get ready!”