The psychological aspect

The psychological aspect

This is a discussion on The psychological aspect within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm still new to the forum but after reading so many posts I think it's fair to assume we all get our fair share of ...

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Thread: The psychological aspect

  1. #1
    Member Array shooterready's Avatar
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    The psychological aspect

    I'm still new to the forum but after reading so many posts I think it's fair to assume we all get our fair share of range time in and take comfort in carring for our own defense. Many people train for real life scenarios, work on their aim and take classes in defensive shooting. But what do you do to prepare for the mental aspect of potentially taking another persons life.

    I don't think it's always as easy as having a simple "him or me" attitude.

    Is it something you prepare for, or something you'll address when, or if, an incident occurs?

    What would you do if the shooter you defended yourself against was a kid?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Inspector71's Avatar
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    If my life was at stake I would do as I did in combat, and that is, whatever it takes to survive one more day. If in doing that, you can't deal with the "what if's" and second guess yourself what is the point in survival anyway. Survival is living and moving on. Maybe other combat vets can understand what I'm trying to say.
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    VIP Member Array Spirit51's Avatar
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    Let me put this in a way I think you can understand.

    I spent most of my adult life as a Firefighter/Paramedic (heavy on the paramedic) in a Urban Metro area. I saw more shootings, stabbings, bludgeoning incidents than I can even count. I have seen all types of victims lost to crime or mentally disturbed individuals. I have subdued violent felons before the LEO arrived (not because I wanted to...because I had to). I have testified in court many times. So I am not someone whose exposure to this is reading the newspaper or watching the news at 10. I was in the "trenches" and lived to crawl back out.

    I made a promise to myself many years ago. I will NOT be a helpless victim to any form of crime. If I am faced with it in my personal life...I will do ANYTHING I have to do to emerge victorious. I may not win...but I will give it all the fight I have using whatever is at my disposal. I have spent my life following the rules and doing everything I could do to help people.....I DESERVE BETTER THAN BEING A VICTIM OF SOME LOW LIFE.

    Could I pull the trigger? Damn skippy without batting a eye. Seeing death is not foreign to me. Would it "eat away" at me if I had to? NO. My life is important to me and only GOD has the right to take it. I hope this answers your question. If not, just let me know and I will give you more.
    A woman must not depend on protection by men. A woman must learn to protect herself.
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    Senior Member Array Inspector71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit51 View Post
    Let me put this in a way I think you can understand.

    I spent most of my adult life as a Firefighter/Paramedic (heavy on the paramedic) in a Urban Metro area. I saw more shootings, stabbings, bludgeoning incidents that I can even count. I have seen all types of victims lost to crime or mentally disturbed individuals. I have subdued violent felons before the LEO arrived (not because I wanted to...because I had to). I have testified in court many times. So I am not someone whose exposure to this is reading the newspaper or watching the news at 10. I was in the "trenches" and lived to crawl back out.

    I made a promise to myself many years ago. I will NOT be a helpless victim to any form of crime. If I am faced with it in my personal life...I will do ANYTHING I have to do to emerge victorious. I may not win...but I will give it all the fight I have using whatever is at my disposal. I have spent my life following the rules and doing everything I could do to help people.....I DESERVE BETTER THAN BEING A VICTIM OF SOME LOW LIFE.

    Could I pull the trigger? Damn skippy without batting a eye. Seeing death is not foreign to me. Would it "eat away" at me if I had to? NO. My life is important to me and only GOD has the right to take it. I hope this answers your question. If not, just let me know and I will give you more.
    Said it better than I did. That split second of hesitation while you soul search can put you in the dead zone and death is final. No more worries for you.
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  5. #5
    Ex Member Array RayBar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shooterready View Post
    I'm still new to the forum but after reading so many posts I think it's fair to assume we all get our fair share of range time in and take comfort in carring for our own defense. Many people train for real life scenarios, work on their aim and take classes in defensive shooting. But what do you do to prepare for the mental aspect of potentially taking another persons life.

    I don't think it's always as easy as having a simple "him or me" attitude.

    Is it something you prepare for, or something you'll address when, or if, an incident occurs?

    What would you do if the shooter you defended yourself against was a kid?
    Having to use a firearm to defend yourself is something I think everyone will agree, not what any one looks forward to, or wants to happen.You have to examine your own conscience to determine if you are capable of shooting in self defense. In your heart of hearts you know wheather or not you have any religious,moral,or ethical resons to choose not to defend yourself. The best you can do to prepare mentally is to go over these things in your mind well in advance of any incident that might happen. If you decide you just can't justify it, don't carry a firearm for protection. Train for the worst,hope for the best. If that kid you mentioned is trying to kill you or someone in your family, you have to know what you could do to prevent it. You are not the cause of the trouble,you didn't look for it, but you and yours have as much right to survive it as the one looking to do you harm,kid or not. I would even go as far as to say that if you have a wife and children,it is your responsibility to protect them, not someone elses,yours. And if that includes being forced into a situation that you must use deadly force to preserve the lives of your family or yourself, so be it. We all struggle with this demon from time to time,but self preservation is a basic human instinct and the right to defend yourself against another that is trying to kill you or do you serious harm is generally ackknowleged and accepted as your God given right. Pray that it dosen't happen,but be prepared if it does.
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    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    It is my understanding that the reason people get sick (if they do) is because of nerves over the adrenaline rush from surviving the ordeal.
    I have heard that it is considered quite the high having survived an attack of the life threatening kind.
    It is however important that you begin thinking what you will do if confronted. Although it would seem that most people that make the decision to defend themselves manage to get through it ok.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Lish's Avatar
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    It's something I haven't dealt with but I have thought about. When I think if I had to defend myself against "a kid" what comes to mind is a teenager. I'm not going to ask for ID. It's them or me and it sucks to think about taking so young a life, but I would in a heartbeat if necessary to protect myself or my family. After a hurricane, my inlaws were shot at by looters who hopped out of a van in their driveway. My fil fired back, hitting one and the rest took off. They were "kids" 15 and 16 years old. The one he shot later died at the hospital. Was it hard on him to have taken a life? A young one no less? You bet. It has weighed on his soul. Would he do it again? You bet.

    I do think it's as easy as him or me when it comes down to it. Personally, I've been the victim of an assult. To be honest, two. One was rape as a teenager. One was just a grab on the street in college. I can say with no hesitation, NEVER AGAIN. Him or me - you bet. There are psychological factors that mess you up being a victim, I can attest to that. I'd rather take the psychological factors of defending myself or my family.

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    Physical preparation is the easy part. Mental preparation takes more effort. You need to make the conscious decision not to be a victim.

    Age and gender of the BG should not come into play. A shot fired by a 13 year old girl will kill you just as dead as a shot from a 33 year old man.
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    Distinguished Member Array Burns's Avatar
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    Spirit, to clarify, seeing death and causing death are extremely different.

    I've posted about this before, everyone thinks they would easily take a life to save their own until the time comes (that included me until an incident a few years ago). I'm not guaranteeing you wouldn't because it really depends on the situation and the situations you have been in in the past, but it is, to say the least, "easier said than done". It's not easy to look past the morals most of us were raised on even with the possibility of being a victim, but I guess that's what makes us human.
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    Member Array nwbackpacker's Avatar
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    "Is it something you prepare for, or something you'll address when, or if, an incident occurs?"

    You cannot prepare for this if and when an incident occurs. There will almost certainly not be enough time and if you're up against a bad guy who has no qualms against taking YOUR life, then you're at a distinct disadvantage if you are the one pontificating over the morality of the situation.

    IMHO, part of preparation is physical training; range time, classes, dry firing, whatever floats your boat. Just as important as this is reading and educating yourself about what and who you're up against, and spending a lot of time thinking about scenarios and what you'd do if they occurred. Apparently it's quite common for new gun owners to dream about shooting a bad guy during a home invasion, or coming across a street scene and drawing your weapon. I read that this is part of your brain's attempt to figure out the situation and run through scenarios due to your recent ability to wield deadly force.

    Frankly, if someone new to guns didn't think about this quite a bit I'd be worried about that individual. Carrying and utilizing deadly force is a huge responsibility and so it's natural for reasonable and civil people to consider its application in depth.

    "What would you do if the shooter you defended yourself against was a kid? "

    Tough question, but with a simple answer: it's no different than if they are an adult. If a child is legitimately threatening your life with a weapon then you should defend yourself. It would be an incredibly unfortunate situation but it is what it is.

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    Member Array NCMedic8617's Avatar
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    I would recommend you seek out the books On Combat and On Killing by Col. Grossman, there is also a book called Who lives and who dies (something like that) they provide a good insight and discussion on the discussion of mindset.
    I have spent 15+ years in Fire and EMS and seen my fair share of violence and people who have met a untimely violent death in some shape or the other so it is not foreign to me, I spend a great deal of time in stressful situations and people who are put in them, there are people who cope and deal with it, and some don't, if you call 911 screaming because you cut your finger, I don't think you will deal any better in a higher stress situation.
    I decided along time ago that if I am in a "me or them" situation, I will prevail and protect my family.
    Mindset, situation awareness, training, and equipment are all vital components of prevailing in a survival situation, however if you don't have the mental ability to say "I will do whatever it takes to survive this situation", you can have the best equipment in the world and die, it is a common scenario that happens in the wilderness, some injury or disorientation occurs and they will die while having a full pack of gear, never thinking to use it.

    These are honest discussions you need to have with yourself before they occur.



    Sent from this... Using that...
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    Member Array jwbannon's Avatar
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    This is just my take on it, and I am sure you will find a wide array of personal opinions. An individual can run through potential scenarios they may encounter all day long, but at the end of the day a real life situation is unique in the fact that it is a life or death situation. People can put in hours of range time and training drills to improve thier skills. In an actual armed confrontation your sympathetic nervous system is going to come into play, commonly associated with what is known as 'fight or flight'. When this comes into play, there can be accelerated heart rate, decline in fine motor skill, skewed vision, etc. With all these psysiological aspects at play, I do not have time to contemplate 'what ifs' due to my primary objective being survival. If I am confronted by an individual that I believe has the intent to cause me sever bodily injury or death, then I will do whatever I can possibly do to protect myself. If the situation calls for deadly force, then I have decided in my mind that I will use my weapon in that manner without regret. I hate to sound this frank, or to sound cold in any way, but I believe that an individual has no business carrying around a pistol for self defense if they have not made up their mind that they can and will take another person's life if they have to.

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Spirit51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burns View Post
    Spirit, to clarify, seeing death and causing death are extremely different.

    I've posted about this before, everyone thinks they would easily take a life to save their own until the time comes (that included me until an incident a few years ago). I'm not guaranteeing you wouldn't because it really depends on the situation and the situations you have been in in the past, but it is, to say the least, "easier said than done". It's not easy to look past the morals most of us were raised on even with the possibility of being a victim, but I guess that's what makes us human.
    Not to argue the fact, but I have no doubt that I would not only perform, but not "melt down" afterwards. Would it be something I would want to do....NO, but I would and having made that decision I would not have a problem living with it.

    I was also a Tactical Medic with our Special Weapons and Tactic Team. I won't go into the actions I have done in the performance of that duty, but just let it be known I know the difference between seeing death and inflicting death. Still sleep well at night without nightmares.

    What bothers me more are the horrible things done to the victims of inhuman scum that walk this earth on two legs.
    A woman must not depend on protection by men. A woman must learn to protect herself.
    Susan B. Anthony
    A armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one has to back it up with his life.
    Robert Heinlein

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    Distinguished Member Array Burns's Avatar
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    Not to argue the fact, but I have no doubt that I would not only perform, but not "melt down" afterwards.
    Again, I'm not saying you wouldn't. Just saying, it's not as easy as most people think.

    What bothers me more are the horrible things done to the victims of inhuman scum that walk this earth on two legs
    And there seems to be more and more of them every day :/
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable- JFK

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    Member Array NCMedic8617's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement that seeing death and causing death are two separate items, however in today's world and modern western society, people are not exposed to death, for the most part people don't die at home like they used to, many have never hunted or killed their own food, even combat today is more withdrawn than before.
    Most people have never seen someone or something die, viewed a dead body outside of a funeral viewing, even less have actually taken a life.
    It's a significant decision to make and needs to be addressed before the event transpires, or you are setting up for failure.

    Mindset is everything.

    Sent from this... Using that...
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