Right at a year ago, Psychology Today published an essay which postulated that training seriously for armed self-defense was deleterious to empathy and weakened human character.

The following May, our friend David Yamane wrote this counterpoint.

I’m with Yamane on this.  Read both of the above and tell us, here, what you think.


  1. I think David says it best; “70,000 years of violence in human history suggests the opposite.” That is something the first author neglected to take into account (was that by accident or on purpose?).

  2. If Michael Austin is so concerned with the negative impact guns MAY have on empathy, why isn’t he writing about violent video games, which are mostly played by young boys? Wouldn’t those games tend to decrease empathy? Wouldn’t young boys be more affected by the games, than the typical older shooters would be affected by self-defense training with guns?

    What about gangster rap? Don’t the nasty lyrics tend to decrease empathy, and increase thuggery?

    I believe the opposite of Michael Austin. I believe training for self-defense against criminals is healthy for character building. I believe it is good to hate evil. I believe it is good to hate and even kill evil people. To feel empathy for a criminal is a character flaw in my book. We should love the righteous and hate the wicked. There are Bible verses which teach us to hate evil. So, contrary to some old bumper stickers I used to see, hate is in fact a “family value.”

    When we think of improving the world, we tend to think of helping people through giving them things, or teaching or preaching good things to build their character. One way of improving the world would be to get rid of the evil people in it. For terms of this discussion, I would define “evil people” as first-degree murderers. I actually believe one of America’s flaws is keeping first-degree murderers alive. I understand that innocent people have been executed, but if there is any doubt, suspected murderers could be left with a life sentence instead of the death penalty. The fewer evil people and criminals in the world, the better the world will be.

    Now to bring politics into this. Remember that if criminals are killed, that would mean fewer votes for the Democrats. Democrats want felons to vote. Fabian Socialists want chaos in society. A good way to do that is to let mentally ill people out of insane asylums, and let crime increase. When crime increases, the citizens will clamor for bigger government. “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

    Here’s the campaign slogan which should be adopted by the 2020 Democrat Presidential candidate; “Death to America!”

    • Bible says to hate evil…not the evil doer. That’s where most Christians go wrong. Makes them come across a little blood thirsty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a proponent of capital punishment. Here’s why

      The Bible does call for capital punishment. It’s not in a blood thirsty manner as most depict. The concept behind it is ‘restitution’. Sounds a little weird at first until you get the whole picture. In the Bible, there are no prisons. The crime wasn’t against ‘society’. It was against a person. That person deserves justice. The Bible lays out punishment for the offense as restitution. Kill your neighbors cow by accident, you repay him a cow. Do it in a malicious manner (like theft), pay him multiple cows. Sending a person to prison does little to restore the damage to the victim. So, what do do with murder? You can’t replace a life. So, the restitution is with your life.

      • tom,

        Your answer is excellent. Have you heard of Ted Weiland?

        Just want to make one small correction. From the New Testament we might get the idea that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” But look at Psalm 5 verses 5 and 6. In both the KJV and the NIV it is clear that God hates sinners.

    • Sorry Roger, the phrase “Death to America” has already been copyrighted by the radical Moslems. Maybe the 2020 Democrats can scream “Death to Patriotic Freedom Loving Americans!” at their Socialist rallies instead. Beto used to do a good imitation of Adolf Hitler with his wild arm gestures, but Bernie’s not too bad in that area either. Tall Tale Joe just looks like he needs to take a long nap.

  3. The good sheepdog does not run out and attack indiscriminately. The good sheepdog will act judiciously to protect itself, its flock, and above all, its people. Sometimes substantial force is required to deal decisively with a vicious predator. The good sheepdog need not feel guilty for recognizing a threat and doing its job appropriately. Likewise armed citizens under the law. I don’t know any firearms trainer who teaches “shoot first, and ask questions later.” I don’t personally know anyone who trains that way, either. I am suspicious of pacifists, especially the hypocritically warlike ones, who suppose that all people are basically good.

  4. So they feel that willfully making yourself vulnerable to attack increases your empathy and makes your character stronger?

    Maybe. Nice theory. Bit it is more likely it will make you a victim. I’d rather not be a victim.

  5. The mind game training provided with First Person Shooter games seems to be overlooked when people place the blame for ALL shootings. I wonder if there’s not a somewhat sinister plan to keep the gamers pulling the trigger, after all you get mega points for racking up kills, reap the bounty and advance in the game.
    Halo, Call of Duty, GTA 4,5 and no doubt other games I,m not aware of.

      • Understood. I think most of us that would follow this questioning typically ask what’s the agenda behind it, or the collective thinking of today. Whos paying the freight. I always question the games that give rewards for killng take-overs, heists robbery.
        Young minds that train “In the Game”. Pull the trigger hundreds of times, and run over pedestrians… This is the wrong MIND training for young people, but it works. And the kids just love it!!!

    • As I recall, the first first-person shooter game was Doom, which launched in 1993.
      1993 also happened to be the peak year for criminal violence in the U.S. The violent crime rate been dropping ever since. (Check the FBI.)
      I doubt “violent video games” caused the drop in violence; correlation is not causation. But I can say that they haven’t caused the predicted “rising tide of violence,” because as the number of people playing first-person games went from zero to zillions, the violence tide has ebbed.

      • Wolfenstein 3D came out in 1992, a year before Doom. Stylistically they are very similar (being created by the same people).

        It should be noted that in Doom the player engages alien demons and zombies, but in Wolfenstein 3D the player mostly engages living humans (Nazi soldiers and officers, but still arguably human).

        I had never realized the timing of the release of these FPS (First-Person Shooter) games and the peak and subsequent decline of violent crime, even though I knew both happened around the same time. It seems quite possible that the rise in popularity of FPS games gives a psychological “release” to people who might otherwise choose real-world violence, and therefore are a net benefit to society. (I’m not claiming it is so, just that it’s possible.)

        The people who claim that violent video games should be banned, censored, or restricted because it “desensitizes minds” toward violence, are running against more inconvenient facts than just the First Amendment.

        As a long-time fan of FPS games (I played both Wolfenstein and Doom when they came out), I can tell you this: It never leaves your mind that this is a game. It is not real. Nobody in their right mind plays Grand Theft Auto and then thinks it’s OK to yank a women out of her car to steal it, pull an AK rifle on responding officers and kill them all, and then blow the helicopter out of the sky with a bazooka (or that just changing your clothes will heal all your wounds and fool police). Again, it’s a game; it is not real, and the players know it.

        And if you ask any gamer how many points they earned on GTA, CoD, or Halo, they’ll laugh at you; FPS games, by and large, are mission-based and not scored, and have been for a LONG time. Keeping up with the “bodies for points” argument just proves that the people who want FPS games restricted have never played them. Just like how most of the people who want guns restricted have clearly never used them and don’t know how they work.

        Because at the end of the day, it’s never about gun control or game control; it’s always about people control.

      • this is a game. It is not real. Nobody in their right mind plays Grand Theft Auto and then thinks it’s OK to yank a women out of her car to steal it, pull an AK rifle on responding officers and kill them all, and then blow the helicopter out of the sky with a bazooka (or that just changing your clothes will heal all your wounds and fool police). Again, it’s a game; it is not real, and the players know it. {{{ BULLSHIT}}} Young people play these first person shooter games, Repetition repetition, GTA games have a perfect plan to Desensitize young peoples minds. They do sell very well though so you could say YEAH SUPER we love to kill, blow up armored cars, race fast, and if people die, to bad its only a game. Anyone that thinks that this is not impacting young minds is truly disconnected with reality.

      • Archer and Jim,

        My guess is that some minds are adversely impacted by games and movies. These people would probably become criminals anyway, but why should we help them along?

        I remember hearing that the author of “The Godfather,” Mario Puzo, purposefully made the gangsters in that first movie look as though they led unattractive lives. It worked on me. There was the family, a wedding going on, and there they are in the back room worried about business. Yuck! Those gangsters always have to worry about getting whacked, by the enemy or by their boss! I am not attracted by that life at all, but some people are. They want to be gangsters. They think the life of a “made man” is glamorous and easy money. “Made men” get respect.

        Look at how popular gangs are in inner cities. Broken families don’t help. You can work at some low-paying job, or join a gang, sell drugs and get bling. Easy money, the quick buck. Very tempting to some minds.

        Since America is supposed to be about freedom, I always default to having as few laws as possible. But good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things, and use America’s freedom and lax penalties to have their way. The few bad people ruin the freedom which should be enjoyed by the majority.

  6. What we see in these two essays is an almost perfect illustration of the left-wing / right-wing division in the human mind. As I have noted before, there is a subconscious “setting” in the human mind that tells each individual how much to “trust” humanity as a whole. This setting varies from person to person and is, I would argue, set by genetics and childhood experiences. In adulthood, it tends to harden into a fixed position.

    An individual with a high trust setting tends to automatically “trust” other people and tends to feel, at the most basic level, that humans are “Good”. An individual with a low trust setting will tend to be distrustful of others, especially strangers, and will tend to believe that all humans have a capacity for evil.

    The authors of these two essays are displaying their built-in trust settings. Dr. Michael Austin clearly has a high trust setting. This leads him to believe that:

    1) Humans are inherently “Good” therefore the carrying of arms for self-protection is unnecessary and even counter-productive.

    2) To reinforce this belief, he rationalizes that training with arms is actually harmful in that it may suppress empathy for others and create a “kill reflex”. As someone with a high trust setting, he is overflowing with empathy for others.

    Dr. Austin further writes” “When we are encouraged to see others, be they military enemies or other members of our own society, as morally inferior, they are dehumanized and thereby easier to kill. This can be done through racist epithets, as was the case in Vietnam and Iraq. It can also be done by seeing the enemy as evil, as morally inferior and deserving of death.”

    This is, if I may say so, a hypocritical statement given that Leftists, such as Dr. Austin, are some of the worst offenders in this regard. Consider that the American Left routinely dehumanizes their political opponents by branding them with labels such as Racist, Homophobe, Sexist, deplorable, gun nut, religious nut, climate criminal, etc. Indeed, by giving the examples of the use of racist epithets, in Vietnam and Iraq, Dr. Austin (himself) is dehumanizing gun-owners by implying that they also have racist motives.

    David Yamane, on the other hand, clearly has a low trust setting. The central point, in his essay, is to dispute Dr. Austin’s implicit assumption of the “Goodness” of mankind. For example, with this point:

    “Far from being a feature of human nature, our contemporary psychological resistance to killing is profoundly social. As Steven Pinker has documented exhaustively, violence has declined in human history not because our nature has changed, but because we have evolved social structures (e.g., the centralized state that monopolizes legitimate force) and cultures (e.g., recognizing universal human rights) that limit inter-personal violence.”

    Clearly, a point being made AGAINST the assumption of the inherent goodness of mankind.

    Who is correct? For most people, it will depend upon their own trust settings. People who share Dr. Austin’s high trust setting will “feel” that he is correct. People with low trust settings will favor the arguments of David Yamane.

    I would point out, however, that there is an objective way of deciding who is correct. If Dr. Austin is correct that firearms training can harm a person’s character, then one would expect a tendency toward violence and crime from those who have such training. Similar to the old “blood will run in the streets” arguments against expanded concealed carry laws, one would expect increased violence which would be documented by the crime statistics for people with firearms training.

    I would point out that studies of people with concealed carry licenses, who (by definition) have training and access to firearms, shows them to be extremely law-abiding. Indeed, several studies show that their crime rates are much lower then those of the average citizen. They are even lower than those of police officers.

    This is flat-out contrary to the expectation that should arise if Dr. Austin was correct in his arguments. It makes a strong case that the arguments of David Yamane are the correct ones.

    • I believe you have your “trust settings” reversed. It seems to me that Dr. Austin is saying that he does not trust people to train with and carry firearms because they will be ethically damaged, whereas Mr. Yamane is saying that most people can be trusted with the tools to protect themselves.

      It’s your “left wing” that says people must rely on government because they can’t be trusted to make good decisions, while your “right wing” trusts individuals to run their own lives.

      Personally, I think the “right wing” is just as likely to call for more government control, only over different issues. Therefore I don’t trust either of the mainstream parties. Count me libertarian, which is neither.

      Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one is looking, even when doing the wrong thing is legal. (Aldo Leopold)

      • @ larryarnold – “I believe you have your ‘trust settings’ reversed.”

        Not at all. The concept goes as follows:

        1) A certain percentage of the population, due to genetics and childhood experiences, develop high trust settings in adulthood.
        2) A high setting causes the individual to have a subconscious, inherent belief in the basic “Goodness” of mankind. To inherently trust other people. How else can one explain such actions as President Obama (notoriously left-wing) giving the Iranians $150 billion and expecting that it would buy peace rather then fuel terrorism?
        3) Such a belief causes a paradox (in the real world) because it conflicts with the manifest presence of Evil in the World. In other words, if one believes in mankind’s inherent “Goodness”, how does one account for Evil. The world should be a paradise if mankind were actually inherently “Good” as indicated by a high trust setting.
        4) To resolve this logical paradox, the rational part of the mind, of a high-trust person, shifts the blame for evil to social or environmental factors. A belief is created which says that the inherent “Goodness” of mankind is corrupted by worldly influences such as racism, sexism, poverty, addiction, capitalism, ecological destruction, weapon proliferation, etc.
        5) This directly leads to the classic, Left-Wing Worldview that Big Government Power is the answer to evil. A powerful central government can modify society to implement “Social Justice”. The concept is to use the massive power of government to mitigate all of the negative factors, listed in (4) above, so as to nullify their destructive effects. To fight racism and sexism with Government Civil Rights Programs. To create anti-poverty programs. To fight addiction with Government drug treatment programs, To fight capitalism with socialism. Government programs to protect the environment. Government Anti-gun and anti-weapon programs, etc. Basically, the entire left-wing program that we have seen played out in Washington, D.C. over the last century.
        6) People with high trust settings are, therefore, directly sent to the left-wing political program by their subconscious trust setting. In it’s ultimate manifestation, it leads to a Utopian belief and dream. Because, you see, if people ARE inherently GOOD and if the negative effects of society can be MITIGATED by means of Big Government Power and Programs, then the result would be paradise (or, as LBJ put it, a “Great Society”). Mankind’s goodness would shine forth unchallenged by the world’s negative effects and a peaceful, bountiful paradise would be created here on earth. One would not have to die to get to heaven. It would be right here and now. Created on Earth by a benevolent Big Brother Government.

        You see why left-wingers love Big Government so much and why they are appalled by Right-Wing individualism. It runs counter to their path to the left-wing Utopian paradise that they are trying their utmost to create! It is not only counter-revolutionary but counter-paradise. It is working for Evil in their view.

        So, your view that left-wingers “don’t trust” the people with firearms is not the way the left looks at it. Say, rather, that the left believes that firearms are harmful, negative influences on mankind and that the human race would be better off if they were eliminated and their possession outlawed by Big Brother Government. It is for our own good, don’t you know?

        That is the way a leftist would view it. You are not seeing it clearly because you are not a leftist yourself. Your trust setting is not high enough to think as a leftist thinks. You don’t really believe in the ultimate “Goodness” of mankind. Your trust setting is low and you are distrust of mankind. You believe that all people of capable of evil. Not merely because they are forced to do evil by social circumstances but because they can be Bad People. Leftists don’t believe in Bad People. They only believe that society can force weak-willed people to do bad things.

  7. How does that explain that CCW holders are some of the most law abiding citizens?

    Also sounds like someone that has never had anything bad happen to them (by a person). The old “liberal is a conservative that hasn’t been raped”.

  8. This is precisely why PhD level nonsense exchanges are more appropriate for totally “academic” settings. The “real world” exists as fact not assumptions colored by mindset. No one wants to “stall” their airplance and endanger lives on board or on the ground. We train pilots to be able to recognize the circumstance that they find themselves in and take appropriate action. Military pilots have the advantage of egress systems and life support equipment for when “all else fails”. I fully understand the cowardice/fear that limits human beings responses. Go ahead, don’t pull that ripcord. Take all of the next seven seconds you want.

  9. Those that refuse to prepare to resist evil ( and those that refuse to resist evil) serve society poorly.
    To answer “Who is correct?” Of course, I am!

  10. I suppose this is the converse of the issue of soldiers dying while never firing a round because they could not bring themselves to kill another human. The commonality between gc1.0 and gc2.0 is that in 1.0 you know when you pull the trigger you are going to kill -an animal and in 2.0 you know if you pull the trigger you are going to kill -a human animal. It should also follow from each that you know when not to pull the trigger. Sorry, I know it’s trigger press and we don’t drop the hammer much anymore. I’m from gun culture 0.0.

  11. “To the extent that the Gun Culture 2.0 instills in people a willingness to kill, it can be harmful to their character.”

    Dr. Austen must also understand that his wife has all the equipment necessary to be a prostitute, and being in possession of such equipment, must instill in her a willingness to practice such activities, as the equipment is with her all the time and must, therefore, certainly influence her thoughts and actions.

  12. “A Virtue Ethical Case for Pacifism“ was cited. I don’t think there are any convincing arguments for pacifism. Pacifism, so far as I can see, is a supremely selfish, utterly narcissistic philosophy.

    Pacifism elevates one’s self-regard as a ‘moral, ethical’ person above the wellbeing of not only one’s self, but above the well-being of one’s spouse, one’s children, and all other innocent people threatened by unprovoked violence.

    ‘I shall not lower myself to the rapist/murderer’s level by using countervailing violence’ has no purpose I can identify as other than narcissism to an extraordinary degree. ‘My regard for my virtue is more important to me than my children’s lives’ is hardly a mark of empathy.

    • Penrod,

      I’m trying to imagine how a pacifist would respond to an assault. One tactic may be to outrun the assailant, which would produce an acceptable outcome. Another way to resist an assault, while staying true to pacifist principles, may be to restrain the attacker until the police arrive. The pacifist could than claim he put a stop to the evil action, without harming the misguided human attacker.

      Obviously this second tactic sounds good in theory, but would rarely be successful in practice.

      A third tactic might be to allow the attack, and accept the consequences as God’s will. However, if that pacifist was the head of a family, he would neglect his duty to his family members if he did nothing when they were attacked. Pacifism is for dreamers.

  13. Yes, I agree with David Yamane. One thing that stood out to me was that training allows you to perform self defense actions while not having to think about “how” to do them. That releases cognitive resources for making the necessary ethical decision to shoot or not. Therefore, training does not instill a robotic response to a threat all the way through to trigger pull. It only instills it up to the trigger pull moment so the rest of your brain can be used to “decide” if the “situation” actually warrants the “trigger pull”.

  14. The author of the article in psychology today is another example of a putz with a PhD. He’s describes self defense training through his myopic and biased observations. He has no ability to realize his self imposed, limited perspective.

    • After reading Dr. Austin’s essay, I’m reminded why PhDs are so exhaustively hard to get.

      It takes a LOT of professional academic training and conditioning to instill a sensible working-age high school graduate with the critical thinking skills of a preschooler.

  15. I would be deeply interested in Dr. Austin’s commentary on empathy for 2 sub groups of people: those who find it greatly entertaining to get drunk with their buddies and then beat the tar out of each other and those who find great satisfaction with visiting violence on random others.

    I’ve seen several “investigative” TV pieces where the talent tries to interact/de-conflict situations in LE training situations. After they get “attacked” by the role player they tend to change their views on what may be necessary to resolve a situation.

  16. As a Ph.D. psychologist with fifty years experience in that field and as a shooter, I would disagree with Dr. Austin. I don’t believe humans are inherently either bad or good, though genes may push them to be impulsive, fearful, anxious, delusional, etc, often modifiable by interactions as they grow. The end result can be someone devoid of empathy who sees others as either tools to be used or obstacles to his needs. The best test of goodness or evil is when facing an individual and seeing if he is a lethal threat to another. As one of my pistol instructors said, before you squeeze the trigger you need to be certain that the planet will be better off without this person. I agree with TW that we want to become automatons to the point of giving us the the time to make that decision.

  17. Excellent response by David Yamane. Articulate responses to a rather biased article by Psychology Today. I thought the article was condescending to lawful gun owners.

    I believe that in the majority of Lethal Force Encounters the psychological impact of having to take a life has a profound impact not just on civilians but on LEO’s as well. I have talked to LEO’s that were involved in shootings and the general response was that they hated to have to take a life but that it was either “him or me” moment or in the protection of innocents.. The sad part of these encounters is the backlash of the “armchair quarterbacks, anti gun liberals and the media and in LEO’s cases the fear of being thrown under the bus by their own administration that paint the LTE survivor in a bad light or are looking to charge them with a crime for defending themselves, love ones or innocent civilians. The repercussions of a LTE can be endless. It’s not a decision one takes lightly.

    Training and practice are an absolute must to be proficient in the use and handling of firearms. I choose to be a “Sheepdog” I will never choose to be a victim.

    If that makes me a card carrying member of the “Gun Culture” so be it.

    • Dear Linda, thank you for speaking out. Yours is the only female voice on this thread so far, a voice I was hoping to hear. You probably meant to say “LFE” rather than “LTE” to represent “Lethal Force Encounter.” No biggie, F and T are catty-corner on QUERTY. I happen to have met for sure five murderers who can be called “LFE survivors,” only two of which were taken into custody and imprisoned. One of the others was actually murdered himself. None of the murderers gave any of their victims the ghost of a chance to defend themselves. I hope that the murderers’ clear lack of empathy for victims cancels any expectation of empathy for the murderers from anybody. For the Sheepdog, practice makes perfect. Therapy helps overcome any PTSD. Go Dogs!

  18. r. Yamane very astutely pointed out that Austin’s little meme about the training drils redicing respect for human life is a very narrow interpretation of the drills. Austin seems to attribute evil to the tool itself, and thus also to they who would learn to better use that tool. Bu the seriously errs in both cases.

    Last month we tragically watched as one man, who was not very fast on his draw when confronted with the reality of a man whith a shotgun clearly intending to kill him. Seens it took him about three seconds from awareness of the threat life and getting his own handgun onl to the low ready position on its way up to alighing with the threat. He lost that one. Simultaneously we also saw another man who correctly ideitified the same threat and began to move to position as he drew his weapon, and from quite distance and in only about two seconds more time than the first victim had, neutralised the threat. One cannot help but wonder how differently that would have ended had the first gentleman to begin his drawstroke had comprehehded the threat a second sooner had practiced his draw to the point it was two seconds faster, and his aim to automatically come up onto target as he sqeezed the trigger.
    But Austin woulld have us believe participating in that sort of “advanced training” would have hurt the man’s character. Perhaps.. but I dareay it would have, at absolute most, hurt his character massively less than that shotgun blast did.

    As I looked at Austin’s sorces, and the periodical for which he wrote the piece, I could not help but realise those sources fit only too well with the sot of thinking he reveeals and prootes in his piece. Psychology Today Gimme break. And Truth about Guns? Help us, we are under attack!!! Here we have a case of a sheltere academic who is out of touch with reality, and working to further pollute the minds of his peers. Mr.Yamane did a sterling job of setting him straight. As to whether he DOES get himself sraightened away remains to be seen. The very fact he even ubished the rebuttal gives some hope toward that end. I have to give him high marks for that move. Few of his contemporaries would do that.

  19. Excellent blog post with excellent comments. Real enlightened education is going on at this website.

    I want to comment on Dr. Austin’s remark about soldiers being trained to kill during a war. Sadly, not all enemy soldiers deserve to be killed. This was especially true in WWI.

    In our wars in the Middle East, we target horrible people who criminalize their own people when not fighting our soldiers. In Vietnam and Korea we were protecting Capitalists from Communists, who were the aggressors. WWII was a fight of good against evil empires who wanted to dominate the world. But the only problem with WWI was that Germany invaded Belgium, France and Russia. Those soldiers were ordered to invade by their leader, Kaiser Wilhelm. In WWI I see the world leaders as evil, because they drafted their young men to go fight, but the young men were just doing their duty, following orders. Even Hitler himself was in that war, yet he was not a Nazi. The Nazi party had not been formed yet. So, when a WWI soldier took aim at the enemy, he could be pretty sure he was aiming to kill someone who would not be a criminal in a civilian context.

    In self-defense, an innocent person is never targeted. In war, sadly, they can be.

  20. Little story here about the disparity between psychological theory and real world experience. There may be a better way to phrase that.

    Some decades ago, Pennsylvania passed the Lethal Weapons Training Act. If you were going to carry firearms for a paycheck in PA, you had to go through the training course, which also included an MMPI and an interview with a couple of psychologists to make sure you were stable and had appropriate “values” (my term).

    My grad level Psych prof was on the board that developed the testing and, in class, noted that the belief of the board was that high level verbal facility was preferable as it should lead to an enhanced ability to resole situations without the use of force. Being a vet, he was, shall we say, not entirely convinced of this.

    After about 5 years, they reviewed the psych interview results and discovered a disparity on a couple questions between those with certain life experience and others. These folks viewed those questions not as “Should I shoot?”, but “Can I safely make the shot?” As a result, they had to add followup questions to determine previous life experience to prevent false test failures.

  21. Third paragraph: “resole” should be “resolve”. My proof reading skills are included in those things that aren’t what they used to be.

  22. My apologies for straying from the main point of the article. Too many weapons have stayed parked in their holsters with moldy old ammo decaying year after year. The beholder is clearly not contemplating the possibility of defending him or herself with it.

  23. A few years ago I was attacked in a Walmart parking lot by a crazy man with a large knife for accidentally bumping his car with my cart. My Glock 19 stopped the attacking man crazed with anger and probably drugs. At the time I was not thinking about my character, only how do I stop this guy from harming me. My training kicked in and I was thankful I had it. And in hindsight I’m glad he went after me and not one of my family members who had zero training nor a firearm on their person. Outcome would of been totally different.

    • Travis,

      The author, Michael Austin, had an academic experience with firearms and crime, while you had a real-world experience. I guess that could account for your differing views on self-defense training.

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