This post is going to focus on three things that I think are good ideas, but that are typically sneered at by a lot of people as 'mall ninja.' I figured I'd go ahead and save anyone who felt the need to start casting aspersions at me for thinking these thing are good ideas rather than making reasoned arguments against by going ahead and dubbing myself with that particular pejorative.
To get it out of the way, I am NOT a high speed, low drag, DEVGRU, tactical operator. I don't think I ever will be, and I don't want to be. I'm a guy who installs satellite tv for a living, drives a beat up car, and lives in an old trailer (mobile home if you want to church it up). My formal firearms training has been an NRA First Steps Pistol class and an abbreviated pistol class with Tom Givens.
That said, I'm a pretty good shot. How that would translate to a gunfight I can't say for sure, but it's got to help. I mean, it's not like guys who make a profession of getting into gunfights don't practice, is it?
Look, I don't want to go chase hajji around the mountains and through the caves of Afghanistan, but is it some insult to the guy who does that if I'd like to be as competent with my firearms as he is? I mean, I know how to treat a wound, that doesn't mean I think I'm an EMT. Just the same, I'd be willing to bet I can put pressure on a bleeding wound damn near as well.
So to the meat of it.
First, I like body armor. I think it's a damned good idea. I love the concept behind the US Palm Defender. If you'd keep a pistol near your bedside why not that as well? I'm not planning on getting shot, but shit happens. I mean, who the fuck expects to get shot? Hell, I don't even expect to be the victim of a violent crime, why the fuck should I carry a gun?*
Taking the thought a little further, I own an AR rifle, (because I think it makes a great defensive tool especially since I live in a place where the response time to an assault in progress is around 45 minutes) so wouldn't some heavier body armor make just as much sense in a scenario where I might need a rifle or shotgun? I think so.
So maybe I'll never need it. I never needed a seat belt, either. Until I did. I've never needed a fire extinguisher. I've never needed to treat a gunshot wound.
Think about that last one for a minute. How many of you think having some type of body armor is a bit crazy/paranoid/useless, and yet you've got the stuff to treat a gunshot wound on hand? Why the hell would you keep something to treat a problem, but not something to prevent it. A condom will keep you from needing a shot of penicillin. It's the same principle.
Second, I'd like to know how to fight with a firearm as a member of a team. I'll probably never need to, but I'll probably never need to apply a tourniquet either. This just seems like it would be good general knowledge. I mean, why would knowing how to safely and effectively use firearms around and in conjunction with other people be a bad thing?
People tend to think a desire for this knowledge means you're a SWAT or SOF wannabe, as if they've never seen on live tv a major metropolitan area completely loose all government service, including police, FOR FUCKING DAYS. I mean, if my neighbors and I have to guard our homes and other property for a few days if something crazy happens I would think it would be nice if someone had a little knowledge about how to do that effectively.
Third, I would also like to know how to clear a building, both by myself and and with a partner/group. I know. You shouldn't do that. Especially by yourself. You shouldn't move someone who might have a neck or back injury either, so clearly you should leave them in a burning car. My point is, sometimes in life you are faced with trade offs.** I'm not waiting outside for the police if I hear my sister screaming in fear next door after I see two guys with machetes kick in her door. I'm also not going to sit still in an active shooter situation if I'm in WalMart with my friend Logan. We're going to get the fuck out of there, but clearing the areas we move through would probably be safer than running blindly toward the nearest door while screaming our heads off.
I'm not one of those people who thinks having a clue or some resources about how to handle unlikely scenarios somehow means I'm going to go looking for those scenarios. I think having these tools in my toolbox would be a good thing. I've got a ton of sockets I never use, yet I don't regret buying them. Hell, truth be told you could say that about most of my personal tools. But every once and a while....
If all that makes me a mall ninja then I guess I'm it.
*That was rhetorical. I hope I didn't need this note.
**More like all the time if you ask me.