Learn to shoot

From: I William Wiser (will@wiserlife.com)
Date: Fri Oct 27 2000 - 19:27:30 MDT

Hi All,

I haven't posted on this list in a long time but some of the
people who have been around a long time will know me.

I'm going to recommend that everyone on this list who is in
decent health go and get some serious firearms training.
Self-defense is one of about fifteen things that I think are
key to staying alive and doing well in the world. I'm emphasizing
it now because there is a good introductory opportunity that
may not be around much longer.

Go to www.FrontSight.com and check out their free one day
submachine gun class. It is near Las Vegas and is completely
free (weapons and ammo are provided); all you have to do is
get there (the course is a major loss leader to drum up
publicity and students but you get real instruction). The
last course offered is in early December. Maybe some of you
want to go as a group, if so, let me know and we can set
something up.

No, I don't think submachine gun is the first and best weapon
for you to learn but this course is free and other courses are
$500 and up . If you would rather take a handgun, rifle or
shotgun class and don't mind spending a few dollars by all
means go to one of those (If you know me or want to know me
and want to get in cheaper, send me an e-mail). The basic
principles are similar for all of the weapons.

That is enough information for people who understand the
value of self-defense (which should be most Extropians). I'm
going to write a little more for people who have not figured
out the value of firearms training yet. I know most of you
think knowing how to defend yourself is a good idea and are
just procrastinating. Firearms may not be the most important
or urgent thing to do but this course is about the most useful
thing I can think of to do in a single day. Don't procrastinate,
go, you will be glad you did. The rest of this e-mail if for
people who are neither convinced nor close-minded.

To me, knowing how to shoot is like wearing a seat belt or
brushing your teeth. In the world as it is now firearms are the
quickest road to competent self-defense. The sooner you know
how to use them the sooner you are prepared for an unexpected
attack. I don't expect to need to defend myself. I don't
expect a corrupt government to bother me anytime soon. I don't
expect to be in a war zone. However, if you look at history
and the world you will realize that none of these things
are certain. Self-defense is best complemented by having
money and staying away from trouble but neither is a guarantee
of safety. Both together are synergistic.

I think violence is less of a threat than aging but you cannot
do much to stop aging in a weekend and you can improve your
self-defense ability quickly. It is also possible that violence
will become a more common immediate threat than aging. Looking
around the world, sometimes it happens. I do not understand the
world well enough to know that this country will not be involved
in a serious war. I do not know that this country will stay
a relatively free and reasonable place to live. I don't expect
problems but until I can rule them out it is sensible to make
some minimal preparations to deal with them. Being able to go
someplace else is my first option but knowing how to defend
myself is another worthwhile skill.

There may be times and places when it does not make sense to
keep a gun around but there is no reason not to know how to use
a gun. If there is any reasonable chance that it will someday
be important for you to use a gun or if there is any chance
that you will someday be faced with someone using a gun it
makes sense for you to learn how firearms are used. Firearms
training at a good school is safe relative to driving there
and you will come away with an understanding of weapons that
you would not otherwise have.

Most of the time it is good to have a gun around. Properly
set up no one is going to use it against you and you can keep
it in a way that you are not going to have problems with children
or accidents. The reality is that if you face someone armed with
a gun and you do not have a gun, you will not have much of a
chance unless you have a lot of martial arts training. Firearms
training will help a lot because you will know what an attacker
can do with their weapon. You will be able to tell if they know
what they are doing or not. You will know how many tenths of
a second you have to react. A violent assault is unlikely if
you are doing well in the current society but so is a serious
car accident. Also, things may not always stay the same and
it may not be so easy to get the training then. (I also
recommend driving schools and they take a similar amount of
time for a similar amount of risk reduction).

I also have bought into the idea that a well armed population
is a check on government abuse. A government which disarms
its citizens has more power over its subjects and is less
prepared to defend against external attacks. Some people in
power may not always use that power in ways that are best for
those they rule. They may be perfectly nice, or only a little
annoying, but they might also suspend a lot of rights and
freedoms, and I'd rather not leave it to chance. I am willing
to hear arguments on either side but for now I will go with
the idea that the second amendment is a good idea and was put
there for a reason.

I also believe that when freedom loving people get together
and do things like learning to use weapons safely, responsibly,
and skillfully they cross fertilize ideas. I think actually
going out and learning to use firearms gives a feel for how
important self defense is in a way that you will not get from
a lot of reading and lip service. I think that more awareness
of firearms in more people may have an effect on the culture
in this country. Weapon skill and ownership is really in most
people's interest and I think that will become clear if enough
people take the time to learn how to use firearms well.

I notice that I feel a little uncomfortable posting this because
I don't want to be labeled as a gun nut. There is something
wrong if we are afraid to unabashedly speak out on behalf of
self-preservation and the freedom to defend ourselves. Even if
there is not a lot to defend ourselves from, there is something
wrong with people trying to disarm gentle people by force and
law. I have always believed in self-defense; I'm just doing
something about it now. I am taking a few courses. It would be
good if you did also. Otherwise there will not be a lot you can
do if someone else decides to use a gun against you. Watch
_Shoah_, go to a few murder trials, and then tell me why you
will never need to use a gun or defend against one.

Another consideration is that nanotech and AI may eliminate
the relevance of firearms. That may be true one of these days
but we are not there now. We may someday live in utopia but
I think there is a good chance that even after nanotech and
AI we will still have a need for self-defense (perhaps even
more so). Firearms may someday cease to be relevant but the
combat mentality and concepts that you learn will still
apply. Assuming that you are the defender and not the
aggressor you need to learn to see threats coming, respond
quickly, and respond skillfully. That will be true for many
weapons for a long time to come. You may as well develop
the habits and mental discipline now.

Finally, I have a hunch. It's just an idea and it may not
apply to everyone. It's only something I feel and I'm not
even sure it applies to me yet. I think really knowing that
you can defend yourself is good for your energy level and
peace of mind. It may be a biological effect of vigorous
and complex physical training. It may be that our simian
brains are more comforted by knowing that we can eliminate
threats than by all of our reassurances about what a nice
and safe neighborhood that we live in. It may also be
that our brains also still respond to a pecking order system
which recognizes self-defense ability as a key dominance
trait. Whatever, it may be comforting and good for your
psyche to know that you can defend yourself even if you
never need to.

Firearms ownership and skill has always been a given in
Extropian circles but it's time we did something about it.
If you have not had training at one of the major firearms
institutes or put a lot of time and effort getting to a
similar level some other way you are seriously behind the
curve. That can be fixed quickly and easily, and frankly
it's a lot of fun. A good extropian sort ought to be
able to take out most threats they can see in a few
seconds or less and get on with their life.

Okay, that's it. Reasoned arguments are welcomed as
always. Keep your eyes out for my life extension web
site in a few months and I'll talk about a lot of the
other things I think are important and why. I'm only
harping on this firearms thing because the opportunity
may not be there much longer.

So, go to www.FrontSight.com and sign up for the free
submachine gun course or one of the other courses.
Send me e-mail if you have any question. I hope to
see a lot of you there.

Cheers all,

I. William Wiser [will@wiserlife.com]
Longevity and Quality of Life Consultant

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:18 MDT