Mentally Preparing for Self-Defense

  Recently, while re-reading Jeff Cooper's "Principles of Personal Defense" a paragraph on decisiveness reminded me of last week's Handgunner of the Week, Lance Thomas. Describing his thought process during his first defensive handgun use Thomas said, "And that was it. It's as simple as that. I just decided not to be a victim in an instant. I'm not 'The Fastest Gun in the West'... I'm not 'Wild Bill' Hickok... I was scared to death."
Lance Thomas recalls his thoughts during his first defensive handgun use.
  Here's the paragraph from Cooper's book that brought Thomas to mind: "When 'the ball is opened' - when it becomes evident that you are faced with violent physical assault - your life depends upon your selecting a correct course of action and carrying it through without hesitation or deviation. There can be no shilly-shallying. There is not time. To ponder is quite possibly to perish. And it is important to remember that the specific course you deicide upon is, within certain parameters, less important than the vigor with which you execute it. The difficulty is that the proper course of action, when under attack, is usually to counterattack. This runs contrary to our normally civilized behavior, and such a decision is rather hard for even an ordinarily decisive person to reach."
Jeff Cooper's "Principles of Personal Defense" should be in the library of all who own firearms for self-defense.
  Decide now, like Thomas and Cooper, that you will not be a victim and that your life will never be used as a negotiation tool. Never say "I hope I'll..." or "I don't know..." when discussing self-defense. Erase any doubt from your mind by using positive language. Any doubts that are in your mind now have the potential to cloud your judgment and cause hesitation if the balloon goes up.
  When I deployed for the second time to Ramadi, Iraq in 2006 I knew that it was going to be bad. I allowed myself about 15 minutes of fear and misery on my commute home after our commanding officer broke the news and then chose to focus on training to take the fight to the enemy. By refusing to focus on negative thoughts about injury and dying I freed my mind of fear and doubt. I convinced myself, to a certain extent, that the enemy could not hurt me and, instead, focused on hurting him. Incorporate this kind of positive thinking and "what if" scenarios into your defensive training along with your live fire training and practice. It is free, you can do it anywhere, and it will force deadly doubts from your mind.
The author and fellow fireteam members in Ramadi, Iraq.
Purchase Jeff Cooper's "Principles of Personal Defense" here: