Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you’re prepared to successfully defend yourself and others. That’s not a sudden conversion to the anti-gun point of view on my part. It’s simply a reality that people who are knowledgeable about self-defense, and the training, skills and mindset required to avoid and/or overcome danger, understand. And when it comes to being knowledgeable, Rob Pincus and Mark Walters have both earned and demonstrated outstanding credentials.
Walters is well known as the host of the nationally-syndicated “Armed American Radio” program, as an author, and as a columnist for Concealed Carry Magazine. Pincus is also a familiar name to gun owners, as an author, as the owner of I.C.E. Training Company, and as the developer of the Combat Focus® Shooting Program. Together they have co-authored “Lessons from Unarmed America,” a follow–up of sorts to 2009’s “Lessons from Armed America” that Walters penned with writer and trainer Kathy Jackson.
As the title suggests, this is not a book about defensive gun uses. Rather, it’s a series of lessons, and that word is truly appropriate, where Walters relates dangerous situations that actual people found themselves in, leaving Pincus with the task of assessing what could have or should have happened had they made different choices.
Walters is a practiced story teller. It shows in the way he paints word pictures for the audience on his radio program, and it shows in the way he writes. That’s no easy task, even though he has a knack for making it appear so, and he manages to present concise narratives that nonetheless draw the reader in not just intellectually, but viscerally. His style works because you can tell he’s invested himself in the stories he presents, and has reached down deep to understand the ordeal of his subjects so that he can more effectively explain what they felt and endured.
Of the two, Pincus has the less enviable task, because even though people think hindsight is easy, he’s sensitive to the fact that these are real human beings whose stories are being told, and the object is not to criticize their actions and tell the world what they did wrong, but to help others who may find themselves in similar circumstances consider alternative actions that might produce preferable outcomes.
As for the stories Mark sets up and Rob breaks down, the beauty of this book is readers need not be gun owners to get value from them (although after reading this and its “prequel,” don’t be surprised if they decide to amend that). That’s because the lessons this book imparts are independent of all else except the human experience. We all need to learn to listen to that inner voice that tells us something about someone’s demeanor makes us uneasy. We all can benefit from thinking through just what it is we would be prepared to do if a child -- especially our child -- started choking to death on a public sidewalk.
I’m not going to try to mention all the lessons here, all the things this book makes you think about, sometimes for the first time and sometimes simply in a new light. As far as further specifics go, I will say I appreciate writers who understand that evil exists and is a force that we can train to make informed choices to defend against.
This book is a useful tool to add to our kits to help us do just that. Plus it’s an easy and enjoyable read, one that compels you to keep turning the pages.
What the Obama administration can’t get through legislation they’re determined to get just by issuing orders. The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the magazine hits the stands. Click here to read "Executive Actions.”
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