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What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
Why do you want a Florida concealed carry permit?
I ask this question at the beginning of every class I teach, and I hear a wide variety of reasons.
Unfortunately, a lot of reasons are because a sheep has been attacked by a wolf and now realizes the importance of self-defense.
A Strong 'Why'
Recently I met a woman who was a victim of rape. Since her violent encounter, she has been attending self-defense classes and firearm courses and finally received her Florida concealed carry permit.
This young lady has made the decision to never be a victim again. She has a strong "why," and this "why" has pushed her to train and develop her skills so next time, she will be ready for the wolf.
A Weak 'Why'
On the other hand, I meet people who have a very weak "why," or none at all. These people say things like, "I want a concealed carry permit in case I feel like carrying a gun that day" or, "I only want a firearm when I'm at home."
These people have a weak "why," and they are the same people who email me a year after their course asking for directions on submitting their application. Unfortunately, these people are actually sheep, not sheepdogs, and when the wolves attack, they will be untrained and unprepared. This type of person acts as if they will get a notification on their phone: "Warning! You'll be attacked today!”
If you've ever been the victim of violence or witnessed a violent attack, you know these incidents happen lightning fast. You're either going to be ready, or you're going to be a victim.
He Attempted to Stab Me, In Front of My Children
In April of 2018, I was walking with my two boys, Lincoln, 6, and Jaxx, 4, when a man attempted to stab me with a piece of metal. It was 7:30 in the morning, and we were walking around our church building to make sure all the back doors were locked.
Most people wouldn't expect anything bad to happen at a church. However, wolves are everywhere, even at church. When I saw the weapon in his hand as he raised his arm, I knew what I had to do.
I drew my gun and said, "Drop it, or you're going to die!" There was a cuss word in there too, but I will leave that out since this is a church story. The man immediately dropped the weapon and ran.
What do you think would have happened that morning if I hadn’t had my firearm on me? It could have been a horrible ending for my boys and me.
The Three Pillars of Self Defense
This story is an excellent example of what I like to call the three pillars of self-defense: awareness, effective decision making, and the application of skill.
# 1 - Awareness
Awareness is a 360-degree knowledge of your environment and the people who occupy it. It is also the skill of analyzing body language for pre-incident indicators that signal that an attack is imminent.
# 2 - Effective Decision Making
Effective decision making is the process of determining the best course of action to defend against an attack. Effective decision making requires a deep understanding of Florida concealed carry law.
# 3 The Application of Skill
Application of skill is the highest level of skill that a concealed carry permit holder has achieved.
How I Used Each Pillar
I am going to break down how I used each of these three pillars of self-defense during this incident.
As I was approaching the man, I noticed that his body language was off; he was fidgeting and looking around. I glanced at his hands and saw he was attempting to conceal something in his left hand by keeping it very close to his leg.
Situational awareness allowed me to identify the potential threat before I let my family get too close. He raised his left arm. I identified the weapon, drew my firearm from concealment, and yelled the command, “Drop it!”
During this moment, I was completing the last two pillars: decision making and the application of skill. The decision I had to make was:
Am I legally allowed to shoot according to Florida concealed carry law?
Is my only option to keep myself and my children alive to pull out my firearm?
Where is the line in the sand that once the attacker crosses it, I will have no choice but to pull the trigger?”
The application of skill was my ability to remove my firearm from concealment and into the high compressed ready position quickly. Developing these three pillars of self-defense was not easy. It took me years of studying Florida concealed carry law, daily dry-fire training, weekly live-fire training, and countless dollars spent attending advanced shooting courses.
However, the preparation paid off; I was able to stop the threat and keep myself and my family safe without being forced to pull the trigger.
You Must Have a Strong Why
You must have a strong “why” to develop the three pillars of self defense. If you choose to be lazy or carry your firearm only when it's convenient, you're wasting your time. When the wolf attacks, you will not be prepared, and you will unfortunately become the victim.
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That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...Talk to you soon,
Ryan G. Thomas
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