You know, my job, as important as I believe it to be, is mainly about preparation. What I do is to mentally prepare, as best I can, a normal every-day person, to shoot someone. It is also my job to prepare that same person to be technically proficient enough to shoot someone without getting shot.
Usually, the only validation I get is when I see a change in marksmanship skills, or see an attitudinal change in a student who has decided that we aren't playing games and he/she may have to use deadly force against a real person.
Most of the time, due to the nature of the agency that I work for, my work is mostly theoretical.
A few weeks ago, one of the men that I have been training for the past ten years, was involved in a shooting.
I found out about the shooting as I was going into the gym in our training facility... it was kind of off-hand, and it went like this:
John: Hey, GF, tough stuff for Jimmy last night, eh?
GF: What do you mean?
John: You didn't hear about the shooting?
GF: No!, what happened?
John: You didn't get a call?
GF (irritated): No. Tell me what happened?
John: Jimmy was in a shooting last night.
GF: Is he OK?
John (proudly): Yeah, he's OK, but that motherf***er that he shot isn't!
GF: Kill 'im?
John: Nah, scumbag will survive... but even if he keeps his arm, it won't be good for much any more. The bullet shattered the guy's elbow, I hear.
GF: Well, f*** him, anyway!
(exchange of high fives)
I was relieved to hear that Jimmy was not hurt, but I was concerned, because Jimmy, despite my best work, isn't what I would normally refer to as a meat-eater. Jimmy is one of the most easy-going guys you ever met. Always ready with a laugh, a joke, or a wisecrack but the truth is that Jimmy isn't terribly bright.
As the past few weeks unfolded, and I was able to interview Jimmy (we do this for training purposes) about what happened. After talking through the whole situation, I quickly determined that Jimmy was lucky to be alive. The bad guy, if properly motivated could have killed Jimmy, but apparently he either didn't want to, or he himself wasn't mentally prepared, either.
I was pleased to hear Jimmy say one thing, though, he told me that if it hadn't been for the training that I had given him over the years, he didn't think that he would have been able to shoot the guy at all. He told me: "GF, you were right, dude! You just never know when the fight will happen. Thanks for everything."
How is that for professional validation?
NOTE: Please don't think me either saintly or evil, but I told Jimmy "Next time don't wait so long!... and why the hell did you only shoot him once?"