There is always a risk

| June 11, 2014 | 1 Comments

I have ridden a motorcycle for almost nine years. I’ve logged nearly 100,000 miles, most of them commuter miles. I ride in high density, high speed traffic in major metropolitan areas. I’ve ridden in all kinds of weather from snow showers to tropical storms.

I wear “all the gear, all the time,” which means that I wear a full-faced helmet, special motorcycling boots, protective pants, a chest and back protector, an armored jacket, and armored gloves. I wear these things not because of any accident (I’ve never had one) or because I am afraid of crashing.

I wear these things because I want to reduce risk as much as possible, and protective gear is part of that risk management strategy.

That being said, I have no illusions that my gear, or my training, or my experience will keep me 100% safe from injury or death.

I have been around guns since I was about 9 years old. I’ve held a concealed carry permit for the last 18 years, and have been a student of fight-focused techniques for almost seven years.

I have a Glock 19 or S&W M&P Shield on me at almost all times. I sometimes carry a short barreled rifle, AR15 pistol, or Glock SBR conversion when I am going to and from work or headed to high traffic areas like a movie or the mall. I carry these things not because of any violent incident (I’ve been in several) or because I am afraid of getting hurt or killed.

I carry these things because I want to reduce risk as much as possible, and protective equipment is part of that risk management strategy.

That being said, I have no illusions that my gear, or my training, or my experience will keep me 100% safe from injury or death.

Motorcycle safety gear and weapons are not magic talismans. Owning a motorcycle does not make you a motorcyclist, just like owning a handgun does not make you a gunfighter. The mere possession does not infer knowledge, aptitude, wisdom, or mindset.

On June 09, 2014, Joseph Robert Wilcox was shopping at a Las Vegas area Wal-Mart. He held a CCW permit and was armed. Jared and Amanda Miller entered the store after murdering two police officers who were eating nearby. Wilcox decided to engage Jared, not knowing that Amanda was Jared’s accomplice.

Unfortunately, Mr. Wilcox was shot and killed. Details about the incident are still unfolding and may never be made public.

There is all kinds of speculation on the Internet right now about the level of training / experience and weapon Mr. Wilcox possessed. There is discussion about the tactics he employed, and uncertainty if he issued a verbal challenge as some schools teach (including the school I primarily attend).

The intent of this post is not to criticize the actions of Mr. Wilcox, or even to attempt to find “lessons learned” or “opportunities for improvement.” That may be a separate topic, if we ever learn more about what happened.

What this post IS about is that every action has risk. The gear, the training, the experience, it helps sway the chance of success in our favor.

But these things do not guarantee a successful outcome.

Some become apathetic by this realization. “What’s the point in training if I might die during a gunfight?” “Why should I wear a helmet if a certain type of accident might cause me to break my neck?” “CCW is useless since the bad guys didn’t get stopped [this time].”

There is another way to look at it. The way I prefer to look at it, and the way I hope you look at it, is that it is our responsibility to do everything we can to sway the odds in our favor.

For motorcycling and self defense, this means paying attention / developing situational awareness, practice, training, and proper safety gear selection. My father taught me this paraphrased Benjamin Disraeli quote as a young boy: “hope for the best, plan for the worst.”

I’ve spent my whole life planning for the worst while living a happy life to the best of my capacities. This is life, and this is what we and Mr. Wilcox strive to protect.

No matter how it happened or what happened, I honor Mr. Wilcox for trying to be a good shepherd. He didn’t have to act, and whatever his training and gear he chose to take a risk.

There is always a risk.

This is a good opportunity to resurface the “chocolate frosting” drill from the force on force class I attended in April of this year. There was a second aggressor, and despite my best efforts to conceal the draw and use another student as cover (sorry buddy) things still turned ugly.

Please continue to train, both with live fire and force on force training. We owe it to Mr. Wilcox if we ever are called upon to take a calculated risk.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

1 Comment on "There is always a risk"

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  1. Egregisan says:

    You do the best you can with what you have where you are. Even if you are prepared you may still lose, but at least you tried. As you noted, we may never know the full details of the interaction between Wilcox and the two assailants. He may have delayed them for enough time to save a few other people, he may have already been a target of the pair and the outcome may have been the same for him concealed gun or no concealed gun. At the very least we can say that he accepted his responsibility to be the first line of defense for himself.

    The training video is interesting. I had no idea so many people were in the “store” until the alternate angle was provided. Very interesting.

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