It’s amazing the kinds of things you sometimes hear — or even overhear —in conversations. Sometimes the most shocking dialogue comes from fellow Second Amendment supporters. Maybe they just haven’t thought things through. Or perhaps they randomly picked it up somewhere. But sometimes the discussions lead to some daunting conclusions about family defense.
For instance, it wasn’t too long ago that I overheard a conversation between several local firearms owners. One person was making the comment that he was upset a fellow gun owner had claimed you should always “shoot to wound.”
I have no poker face, so I’m pretty certain that my eyebrows leapt up to the top of my head as I contemplated this terrible idea. But it got worse from there. The gentleman then exclaimed how inappropriate, unsafe and wrong it was to spread this misinformation. He stated that instead of “shooting to wound,” we should always “shoot to kill.” His logic was that in a court of law, prosecution would argue that if you had the time to wound an attacker, you shouldn’t have shot at all.
I cringed and likely appeared as if I had eaten a bite of something sour. The statement did not sit well with me at all. I shook my head and practically screamed in my brain, “No; we don’t shoot to wound, and we don’t shoot to kill. We shoot to stop the threat.”
Even though I made a scene in my head, I sat quietly and contemplated the best and most effective way to share my thoughts. It was at that moment that another person from the conversation noticed my proximity and mentioned to the group, “Well, Beth knows this better than most of us! She teaches this kind of thing all the time!”
Responsibility for Family
I was immediately humbled … and relieved. And I was grateful for an opportunity to share that as responsibly armed Americans, the words we choose can often be just as important as our intent if we ever have to use our firearms in self-defense. I don’t know any law-abiding gun owner who has an evil desire to intentionally take the life of another human being. But stating that we should “shoot to kill” can easily give others that impression. I, personally, want to end an attack. I want to protect life. And I want to live another day to be with my family. That paints a completely different picture!
It makes a difference when those who do not have guns or carry them (or those who do not support the decision to have a firearm for protection) understand that my motives are completely grounded in self-preservation and defense of my loved ones. As the saying goes, “I don’t carry a gun because I hate what’s in front of me but because I love what’s behind me.”
About Beth Alcazar
Beth Alcazar, author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals and associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, has enjoyed nearly two decades of working and teaching in the firearms industry. Beth is passionate about safe and responsible firearms use and enthusiastic about teaching others. She is certified as an instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.