Victim vs. Personal Responsibility

A long time ago, there was a concept in this Country that gave us great strength and, indeed, power. It was the concept of personal responsibility. The idea that you can work and earn. The idea of saving to buy. The notion that every dog has his day. These were all as American as apple pie. We are not yet a nation of whiny, spineless, cowards who are wishing for a broader definition of “victim” so that we too can be sheltered under that ever-expanding term.

There is, however, a growing chorus of people claiming to be victims of one -ism or another.

There are several problems with seeing yourself as a victim and we will start with power.

Power

When you see yourself as a victim of an –ism you no longer have any power over your own life. You are now a pawn in a game controlled by others. When viewed from the idea of personal responsibility, your failures are a lesson and your success is your own work.

If your success is the result of your hard work, then your failures are attributable to some oversight, or mistake, or poor judgment on your part. This sounds bad, but in truth, it isn’t – because an oversight, mistake, and even poor judgment are correctable flaws and are still under your control! When you decide that your failure to reach your goals is the result of some outside force working against you, well…you can neither control your fate nor overcome the setback. All that is left for you is to complain and offer excuses.

Motivation

When you feel that you control your fate, you have a motivation to try harder, to work more and to learn what it takes to be successful. Being in control over your life, having that power we mentioned above is a powerful motivating factor because we know that our success or failure is entirely in our hands. When your success depends on your own work, you will tend to work harder. When you are a victim, you will not try as hard, and as a result, you will necessarily experience less success. People who are motivated are always willing to give it one more try, or work those extra hours, or make necessary sacrifices in other parts of their life to achieve success. Victims…not so much.

Reward

When you achieve success after the hard work and the sacrifices, the reward is yours. And it means so much more than if it was given to you.

Example: My first vehicle was a 1967 Chevy 3/4 ton pick-up truck. It was beat-up, had paint that was starting to peel off, and it would grind horribly every time you tried to shift into 3rd gear. It had the original radio in it, which no longer worked, and no air-conditioning, which is a big deal in Texas with our nine month summers of 90 degree days and several weeks each year over 100 degrees. It took me several months and a lot of hard work to save the $1,000 that I paid for it.

But it was mine, and it was earned. Far from being embarrassed at how it looked, I was proud of it because it was mine. I remember how thrilled I was when a friend of mine who was a Teacher was changing schools and asked for my help and my truck to move her items from one school to another! No shame, but a great deal of pride.

Contrast that with a friend of mine who bought a car for her daughter. The daughter decided that she liked her mother’s car better, so they traded. Then the daughter wrecked her car and wanted to trade back. The mother traded, took the wreck and traded in on another car, for which the daughter demanded yet another trade. My friend initially refused this trade offer but relented after the daughter claimed that the mother was trying to keep her under her thumb (an asinine accusation). I don’t know where the story went after this because I stopped paying attention…ironically, I find drama to be quite boring.

Without being earned, the reward ceases to be a reward and becomes a bauble.

So the choice is yours; claim the mantle of victimhood, or get out there and work your butt off. The decision is yours, as well as the results of that decision.

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New Terrorist Method and Response

With the use of cars to run over people, followed by knives to kill more, and questions from readers coming in, I decided to take a look at this new modus operandi of the terrorists.

And wouldn’t you know, it isn’t new at all. My mind was preoccupied with the horrible news coming out of London, without making even the most casual mental correlation to what happened in Nice, France and Ohio State University and so many other places.

From 2007 until this writing March of 2017, there have been 21 instances that I can find of terrorists using cars to kill by crashing into people (I had to, necessarily, exclude car-bombings). The attack in 2011 at a Tel Aviv nightclub is the first incident of a terrorist using a car to try to kill people, followed by jumping out and attacking with a knife. There have been many more of these attacks since then, and they seem to be happening more frequently.

There have also been other incidents of people using a car as a weapon, but their motives in these cases were not terroristic in nature and so do not factor into what I am looking at here.

The questions that were sent to me were what do we do when this happens?

From a standpoint of personal safety, the old advice of being aware will still be the first and most important key in your plans for personal safety. If you have your head in your electronic distraction devices, you might be hit before you even know anything is happening. Awareness will allow you to notice something going wrong at the earliest possible moment. You need to know what is happening as soon as possible, it will give you time to react. You should be more maneuverable than a car or truck. But you will need to see what is happening and have a chance to determine which way to go.

Crowd size comes into play here as well. I have hated crowded places for most of my life due to some bad experiences. Mostly, this has left me with a lack of trust when it comes to humans in groups, but in this instance, the issue would also be in the ability to get out of the path of the vehicle.

This does bring us back to a point I bring up in the seminars I teach, and that is simply having a plan when you go anywhere. Always be aware of where you plan to go if things go bad. When indoors, you need to know the nearest exits. Outside, be aware of where you would need to go to find an escape and now also to be aware of where to go in the event of an attack by car.

I do not mean for this to seem dismissive, but that is the extent of the advice to give regarding the vehicular portion of these attacks. Y0u will not be able to kung fu the car. Being aware and having a plan is going to provide the biggest portion of your safety during that part of the attack.

The knife part is where we there will be a collective groan as I say the obvious – you need training for that. But even with training, you can get injured or killed. Train anyway. Nothing is guaranteed but get every possible advantage.

To this, I would only add one point. You will miss out on a lot of good things in life if you are in constant fear of being caught up in a terrorist attack. Having a plan and the training to execute that plan will go a long way in easing the preoccupation with this issue.

I hope this helps!

The 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment

In the United States, the first ten amendments are what is known as The Bill of Rights. As an armchair student of U.S. history, I could write quite a bit about the Constitution and the founding of our Nation. It would be a little out of place here, and so I will stick to one issue here.

The 2nd Amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This clear and very straightforward sentence gets mangled and twisted as people try to make it conform to what they want it to mean.

Anti-gun people focus a lot of their attention on the phrase A well regulated Militia. The Militia, those who would be called upon to defend the United States against aggression, had to be armed. The anti-gun people take this to mean that the military would be armed.

But this isn’t what the 2nd Amendment says. And the Militia being referred to here was…wait for it…the people.

This is very clear in the way that the 2nd Amendment does not read A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the Militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It says the people.

We tend to forget in our time that back when these ideas were debated, people actually thought. They argued. They did not get their positions on political issues from celebrities or Facebook shares. In our dumbed-down society, we inject our approach to issues into the minds of people in the past. The reason the 2nd Amendment says the right of the people is because they meant the right of the people.

I don’t claim to be anyone special who is gifted with any unique insight into the matter. But I am able to think for myself, and in our time that is almost a superpower. I have said repeatedly, self-defense isn’t a Constitutional Right, it is a human right. As an independent and free human being, no one has the authority to tell me that I am not allowed to be equipped to defend myself and my Family.

If any of my anti-gun readers have read this far, I would like to point out that I was once very anti-gun. I was raised to be afraid of guns and afraid of the people who liked them. I am not your enemy. But there is a simple way of approaching this subject. If you do not want to own a gun, don’t buy one! I found enough reason to buy guns and before that, I took the time to learn about gun safety.

Every single time that some half-wit or radical idiot shoots someone we are inundated with cries to end one or more types of gun ownership. And such cries are complete and utter nonsense. People are still responsible for their own actions. Not society, not inanimate steel and polymer objects – individuals.

Anyway, that is my stance. I thank you for your time in reading this, and as always, likes and shares are greatly appreciated!

Anger Management

Have you ever said words in a moment of anger that you wish you had not? Do you have a long list of moments where you wish you had a do-over? What about your circle of friends and loved ones, do they wish you could control your temper?

Anger is one of those pesky parts of life that, when we are feeling noble, we speak of it is if it belongs in the category of always wrong, in the same way, we proudly proclaim that violence is always wrong – but always give ourselves an out by adding the cute little “unless…”.

But the anger I want to look at here is the everyday kind of thing and the people who lose their cool over anything, without regard for how such loss of composure affects those around them.

The biggest lie that comes out from this is the excuse of I can’t control it.

Yes, you can. You might not want to, but you certainly can control it should you choose to do so.

A couple of examples come to my mind. Let’s say you are pulled over for speeding by a Police Officer. And for the sake of argument, let’s say that you honestly believe that you were not speeding. You might be angry, very angry. But you will be likely to control it and use a lot of Yes sir/ma’am phrases. Or, in the opposite extreme, think of yourself being robbed at gunpoint. Are you going to lecture the robber on how they did not work to earn your money and therefore don’t deserve it? Nah, you are going to keep your mouth shut and hand over whatever they are demanding. You will run your mouth later, but you will control yourself in the moment.

When we look at it this way, we see that there is no lack of control. It is more a matter of having given ourselves permission to lash out. When we lash out, we seldom restrict our mouths to the issue at hand. We will bring up the failings of the person we are lashing out at with no regard for how long ago these failings were made manifest. We will use terms to categorize the other person as having a deep flaw, such as always and never. In essence, we will exaggerate and lie to them about how bad they are.

When you are able to control your temper in your day to day situations, a couple of things will happen. First,, your life will improve because your outlook will be better, and the people around you will respond to you differently than before. Also, you will learn to stay focused on issues at hand, and this is a benefit on many levels.

And as a final point, I want to add that being a nice person does not have to equal being a vulnerable person. You can be nice from a position of strength. Life is a lot more pleasant when you don’t fly off the handle over everything.

I hope this is helpful. Likes and shares are greatly appreciated!

Trigger Warning: I Don’t Do Trigger Warnings

I do love when I hear from readers. Just the simple fact that someone cares enough about what I write to contact me is a big deal to me. Even when people hate something I write, I enjoy a good debate when we are able to discuss differing ideas. I know I am not the smartest person in almost every room I walk in, so I feel completely unthreatened when people see things differently than I do. When people do not like how I present what I am presenting, I will usually try to see if there is a way I can accommodate them. If I can, I usually will. This week, this proved to be more than I was willing to do.

I received the following email, presented here with any identifying points removed:

Hello Wallace!

I recently discovered your blog. You have a unique method for approaching some issues that are important to me. But you need to be more careful in your style. In reading your blog post on (I’ll leave this blank), I became triggered. Your approach was rough and uncaring for the people who might live in a situation you were only writing about.

I suggest you could start by offering trigger warnings on your blog posts. Once you do this a few times a simple “TW” will do. Put the trigger warning, and then space down a few times to be sure that sensitive readers don’t become triggered through careless spacing. 

I am willing to help you decide what needs trigger warnings, but if you do not want my help, a good way to tell if your post needs a trigger warning is if you wonder if it should have a trigger warning. If you have to ask, then it needs one.

I replied to the email. I thanked the person for the feedback but offered that I am looking to help people become better equipped to face the less-than-pleasant parts of life. I offered my view that trigger warnings allow people to stay in a bubble of comfort and that they become divorced from reality. Lastly, I thanked them for their time in contacting me and hoped that over time they might not become triggered by my writing style, noting that I never intended to come across as rough and uncaring, but maybe it is good to be reminded that rough and uncaring people exist and always will.

Don’t you hate it when you try to console someone, only to find them to be inconsolable?

The reply to me was fast. It was obviously typed in haste (or possibly hate?). I will spare my dear readers the details, but it was a profanity-laden tirade filled with pseudo-threats and lacking anything resembling an argument.

I will not be adding trigger warnings to what I write. If you need that kind of nonsense, read something else written by someone else. Things are not going to get any better. I have several drafts in various states of completion that are covering some really touchy subjects. If you can’t take what has already been published, delete your bookmark to this site and walk away slowly. Some subjects have been handled with kid gloves for too long, and unnecessarily so, I must say.

For those of you who have stayed around this long and continue to do so, I thank you. Likes and shares are deeply appreciated! Also, while I do not give trigger warnings, I do give spoiler warnings whenever necessary!

Range Time

Range Time

I promised a follow-up to my First Impressions article about the Walther Creed. Here it is.

Although the weekend was busy with a North Texas Regional Karate Championships to prepare and direct for KickStart Kids, I snuck away for a few minutes on Sunday morning to try out the new Creed.

I had never loaded a magazine for a semi-auto before. The springs were tougher than I imagined, but I got the hang of it. It might just be because the springs are new, don’t know and don’t really care. I just figure everything has a learning curve and this one was quite manageable.

And a silly side note; after spending so much time lately dealing with .357 Magnum and 45-70 cartridges, 9mm are so tiny that it took a little time to get used to handling them.

Back to the Creed.

The gun is awesome! I ran 100 rounds through it (it was all I brought, normally 100 rounds with the revolver takes most of the hour long range time, not so with a semi-auto). No malfunctions at all. Malfunctions were my main concern. I had none.

The complaints about the grips seem unfounded to me, or maybe I’m just not very picky. Could it be that other polymer guns bite more snugly in the hand, perhaps? The gun didn’t jump out of my hand, and it didn’t even slip a little.

The sights were great. My accuracy was good enough that I eventually ran out of bullseye to hit and started working on creating an ever-widening hole in the paper. The only time my accuracy went down was when I tried some rapid-fire. As it turns out, I’m not John Wick. But, having started my journey into the world of firearms with truly horrible marksmanship, I’m okay with what I accomplished.

Loaded with 16 rounds, it is still lighter than my revolver. I like the gun. A lot.

I really appreciate the shares! Thanks!

Walther Creed: First Impressions

Walther Creed: First Impressions

My Wife is one in a million. A couple of weeks ago she told me, “You need to get around and get your LTC!” (License to Carry, in Texas, formerly Concealed Carry or Concealed Handgun License).

I responded that my handgun wasn’t good for concealed carry. For those of you who are new here, my handgun is a Smith and Wesson 686 SSR .357 magnum revolver.

Is that a 686 in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

It is a big chunk of steel and would be hard to hide.

So my Wife told me to get a carry gun.

Okay, if I have to.

Just as with my first handgun purchase, I had a lot of things to consider. I ended up opting for a semi-auto because of the concealability and extra rounds. I opted for my first ever polymer gun and 9mm for the same reasons. Then I had to narrow things down from a very large field of choices.

I ended up deciding on the Walther Creed because of the incredible reviews it was getting. But it was not available anywhere in the DFW Metroplex. For those of you unfamiliar with the Dallas/Fort Worth area, please understand that the Metroplex is probably about the size of Connecticut. When I say I searched the Metroplex, this is a serious search. A search that turned up nothing.

So, I decided to check with Bud’s Gun Shop. Hicock45 recommends them all of the time on his YouTube channel, so, why not give it a try. Well, now I too can recommend Bud’s Gun Shop without reservation. They were respectful, timely and honest as well as helpful with questions. They have a good reputation that they earn through fantastic customer service.

Anyway, here is the Creed.

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For first impressions, the gun is very light. It is hammer fired instead of striker fired, but coming from a revolver to a hammer fired semi-auto is no big deal to me. The gun will hold 16 +1, and it comes with two magazines. And it is a Walther, for under $400! The gun is solid, the grip is much better than I expected, coming from zero experience with polymer grips. I expected it to be slippery, but it isn’t at all.

The drawbacks for me are all minor. The slide release is not ambidextrous, but since this is my first semi-auto, what do I care. I simply find a way to make it work for a lefty. The magazine release button is currently under my trigger finger, but it is reversible, so that will change soon, so no worries. The complaints in the reviews I checked were about the grip and the trigger. Some people found the grip to be of poor quality, but I can find no such fault. Once I get to the range with it I will know more, but, on first impression, the grip is good. The complaints I heard about the trigger were different. Some people disliked the pre-cocked hammer, others did not like the reset point…this is all new stuff to me. I have never owned or fired a semi-auto before, so I have no base of reference. Perhaps a trip to the range will clear things up for me.

Next up will be a trip to the range and getting a chance to see how I fare with this gun! I am excited at the chance to find out first-hand how well it shoots. I will report here once I get time to go to the range.

A huge thank you to those of you who like and/or share what you find worthy of your liking and sharing actions! We really appreciate all of you!