Semper VigilansSteven Lieberman
There is evil that exists in our world. Most would prefer to deny that reality, or outsource our defenses to a tiny cadre of professionals who wrangle the wolves and keep them from the flock. For most this is an entirely reasonable scheme.
Bucolic lives are kept in tact and we are allowed to, more or less structure are lives and lifestyles around a predictable, pacified, structured society.
Some see the tenuous nature of this social construct and prepare themselves for what they see as the inevitable confrontation with the goblins that eschew societal protocols for peaceful coexistence.
Others refuse to even accept the precept that monsters live in the dark. Crime is an economic, or social phenomenon that, with the right cocktail of economic investment, social engineering, pharmacology, and pixy dust can be eliminated from society.
For these people crime prevention rests squarely on surrendering themselves to educated professionals for protection.
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Abraham Lincoln said that if “Men were angles there would be no need for laws…” The problem is that not all men (and women) come close to being angels.
Many clients first come to Artemis to go through the requisite training required by California to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit. One of the first things we tell them in our class is that by carrying a firearm you have just become a devout pacifist. Carrying a concealed weapon means that you must now actively seek out crime…. and stay away from it.
That is the paradox of the CCW holder. We carry guns specifically not to use them.
This means that a skill set that is even more important than marksmanship is awareness.
We use the phrase Semper Vigilans… Always Vigilant… for a specific reason. It reminds us that our first rule of gunfighting is to not get in a gun fight. To avoid it though, necessitates recognizing it. We need to study violence, study our enemy, study our environment, so that we are prepared to make the immediate action decisions when the need arises.
This level of vigilance brought fugitives to justice this last week.
Three inmates escaped from the Orange County Central Jail. These were not small time crooks. These were wicked men. Their escape was not opportunistic,… it was well planned out and executed. One turned himself in relatively quickly in Santa Ana…. the other two stole a van and made it all the way to San Francisco.
Law Enforcement was well aware of the potential violence that these fugitives could inflict upon the innocent and had spared no expense tracking the suspects down…. but it was not law enforcement that found them…. it was a vigilant citizen.
One citizen… paying attention to their surroundings in Golden Gate Park, and already being alerted by the media that the suspects were in a white van, spotted a vehicle matching that description. He also noticed behavior of the occupants that was inconsistent with “normal” people.
Some… unfortunately “many” is probably a more appropriate word… would have either ignored this van, or purposefully moved on, not reporting it for fear of “getting involved.”
Our hero citizen did nothing of the sort.
He reported it’s presence to police, and after a short pursuit the fine officers of the SFPD had re-captured the fugitives.
We each bear a responsibility for our own safety, and by extension the safety of our community. We must stay informed… but we must also stay vigilant.
Our skills that we hone as a free people are not just weapons manipulations. Our “gunfight” is often won or lost way before the gun comes out of our holster.