Changing PerceptionsSteven Lieberman
“I’m not going to shoot”.
“Ok…you are under no obligation to shoot”
“I don’t even want to touch the gun…do I need to have one to go through the scenario?”
“Um, no…you don’t…but you will be at a serious disadvantage should you need one.”
“Thats ok…I don’t believe people other than the police should have guns in the first place…I’m only here because of this corporate event. I have no choice…if it were up to me we would have donated this money to an anti-gun group.”
“Ok…you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. If you don’t feel comfortable participating I’m sure your co-workers will understand.”
“Nope…they won’t. I’ll do it..but I’m not taking that thing in there with me.”
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This dialogue took place a few months ago during one of our corporate training events. This young woman was clearly not thrilled about being at Artemis. She had established very specific viewpoints about firearms and the right of the public to own and use them. I did not feel it was appropriate to debate her in front of her co-workers…so I let our simulators do the work for me.
She was insistent on not taking a firearm into the simulator with her. So I put her on a scenario where an assailant confronts a woman with a kitchen knife. Without a firearm available to protect that woman she had no choice but to stand by and watch her be murdered by her attacker.
“But…but that is not right!” She stammered after the scenario concluded.
“What do you mean?”
“Well…why did he stab her? He didn’t need to!”
“Maybe he stabbed her because he thought she would talk….maybe he stabbed her because he thought he would be sexually gratified if he stabbed her…maybe he stabbed her because he thought she was a dragon about to eat him…does it really matter why in the final analysis?”
“Well…yes it does…so it doesn’t happen again!”
“But you could have stopped it from happening in the first place if you had been willing to use deadly force when you realized an attack on her was imminent.”
“Yeah…but I didn’t have a weapon!”
“That was your choice.”
“But…but…I told you people should not have access to guns!”
“Should people have access to kitchen knives?”
“Well…then your political decision sealed her fate.”
She just stood there and stared at the screen.
“Let me ask you something….If I had been up there..and I do choose to carry a gun when I go out in public…would you have been happy if I had chosen to use that gun to save that woman’s life?”
“But you would prefer if the legislature made it illegal for me to carry that same gun.”
“Well…yes..but I would also like them to make it illegal for that guy to carry that knife around too!”
“Do you think he really cares if it is legal or illegal to carry a knife? After all…he really doesn’t seem to care that murder is illegal, and that didn’t seem to stop him.”
She stopped looking at the screen, and stared at the floor silently.
“You’ve got a point.”
Update: Our young client has gone through a transformation of sorts…after taking an Art of the Pistol class, and going through a few one on one instructional sessions she is now the proud owner of her first handgun.