Often when a story surfaces in which an armed citizen wounds but doesn’t kill an attacking criminal, statements such as [‘too bad they didn’t kill him’] will quickly show up in the comments section on the Internet. Persons who make such comments have no clue about the cost of killing someone. Even when there are no legal and financial costs, the emotional, psychological, and social costs will be considerable.
From my own experience, I can tell you few people have considered and weighed the gravity of taking the life of another human being. There are legal costs, there are financial costs, but I dare say the emotional, psychological, and social costs can be greater.
If nothing else, legal and financial ends at some point, but emotional, psychological, and social can last the rest of your life.
This is why I believe it’s imperative for anyone that cares about their personal safety and takes steps to enforce it – which does mean things like carrying or owning a gun for personal/home defense, but also includes taking martial arts classes, carrying a stun gun or pepper spray, or simply just understanding your life and the lives of your loved ones is precious, valuable, and worth fighting for – that you need to do more than simply acquiring hard skills. Yes, it’s important to learn how to take and throw a punch, yes it’s important to learn how to use pepper spray, yes it’s important to learn how to effectively shoot a gun – but it’s more important to learn how to contend with everything that is the aftermath.
Because that event? It lasts seconds.
But the aftermath lasts the rest of your life.
Case in point. Claude mentions something Massad Ayoob calls the “Mark of Cain syndrome” – people seeing you differently because at one time in your life you killed a man. I have personally experienced it. There are people who think I’m a horrible evil person. There are some that frame me by one event. I had a student come up to me in class and ask if I was “THAT John Daub”. Of course I am, but instead of being John Daub the husband, father, teacher, long-haired metal-head, weight-lifting, peace and love hippie – I’m “that guy”. The student meant no ill towards me, but I’m still framed by one event.
And then there’s the reality of “the Internet is forever”. For the rest of my life, someone can Google-search my name, and there are things they will find. Your past can no longer be forgotten. Forever shall I wear a mark.
Are you prepared for this?
You need to be.
It’s heavy. The gravity of self-defense is likely far heavier than you imagined it to be, but it’s important to feel the weight, yet not be afraid of it. Face it, grow stronger, and make the decisions now. When you can be at true peace before it happens, it helps you contend with it afterwards.