The people's voice of reason

To Arm Or Not To Arm Yourself

If you choose to arm yourself be sure that you know the law and how to use whichever firearm you choose to arm yourself with!

I am often asked by citizens what my thoughts are about them purchasing a firearm for self protection. My answer to them is usually the same for everybody, they have to make that decision for themselves. I advise them that they have to know in their heart and mind that they will be able to use that weapon for what it was designed, to kill or injure another person. If they cannot, without a doubt, convince themselves that they will be able to pull the trigger if the time ever came, I do not think that they should arm themselves with a firearm. A gun is not something that they should rely upon to bluff a bad guy because there is a good chance that the bad guy will wind up with their gun and in the worst case scenario, use it on them.

On the other hand, if a person knows that they will be able to use the firearm to protect themselves or another person, I wholeheartedly support them in their efforts to arm themselves. I do suggest that they learn how to safely handle a gun and that they learn what the law says about self protection. This can be accomplished by attending a class offered here at the sheriff’s Office or a class offered by the Montgomery Police Department. I also recommend that a person obtain a permit to carry a pistol concealed on their person or in their vehicle when they make the decision to buy a gun. Even thought the law allows a person to have a handgun in their home or fixed place of business, without a permit, the time may come when they need to carry a gun on them. A permit is obtained by applying at the Sheriff’s Office in the county in which a person lives and is a fairly simple thing to do. An application, listing a persons pertinent data, is filled out and a criminal background check is completed on the person. If everything checks out, no felony convictions or domestic violence convictions or other disqualifiers, the Sheriff will then issue a permit.

The remainder of this article may be controversial but I believe it goes along with the question if whether or not a person should decide to arm themselves. I understand that telling a person that they need to know that they would be able to pull the trigger if the time ever came sounds harsh, but it is very important. I recently read an article in the American Legion Magazine that contained excerpts from a book titled “On Combat” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Col. Grossman has a very interesting way to look at people and compare them and I believe that he is correct in his assessment of society. He says that there are sheep, sheep dogs and wolves. He says that most citizens are kind decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation, in other words they are the sheep. We are very fortunate that the majority of the people in this world fall into this group of people.

Col. Grossman says at one point in the article; “Then there are the wolves, and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. He goes on to say” that the moment that you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep and there is no safety in denial.” I believe that he is correct in his statement, that there are people out there who are evil and will do unthinkable things to another human being. I have seen it many times over my career working violent crimes at the Montgomery Police Department and as the Sheriff of Montgomery County. There are the wolves who prey on society and do not care about anything other than themselves and what will gratify their needs or urges. Unfortunately, there are people who do not agree with this assessment of others, but I can assure you that there are wolves out there. Look at the people who rape the innocent woman, the people who abduct and murder children and do unthinkable things to them before they kill them, the people who murder innocent people during robberies or burglaries just because they want to get money to buy drugs, or the people who kill other people for reasons that most of us cannot understand, the pleasure that they obtain by watching another person die. Thank God that these type of people are few and far between, but rest assured, they are out there.

Now, Col. Grossman goes on to say, “Then there are sheepdogs, and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the world.” He says “that if you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have been defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.”

I think that it is obvious that the people who deal with the wolves in this world, the sheep dogs, are the soldiers who are defending our country, the Police Offices, the Deputy Sheriff’s, the State Troopers and other Law Enforcement Officers. But there are plenty of ordinary citizens who are sheep dogs, people who do not necessarily think that everyone is bad, but realize that there are wolves in society and refuse to become their prey. These are the people who know that when the time comes to defend themselves or another person, they will be able to do whatever is necessary, including pulling the trigger to stop the wolf from doing his evil deed. Nobody wants this time to come but when, and if it does, the sheep dog will be there to defend the sheep from the wolf.

After reading the article by Col. Grossman, I believe that the answer to the question often asked by people about arming themselves can be answered by telling them that if they believe that they are a sheep dog, yes buy a handgun and learn the laws pertaining to self defense and learn how to properly handle the gun.

“On Combat” (PPCT Research Publications, September 2004) is available in bookstores and online at


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