Recently got home from the 2013 Polite Society event, a/k/a National Tactical Conference, in Memphis. A symposium like this allows you to recharge your batteries and remember what you fight for. There were roughly 150 attendees – 25 of them teaching – and damn near all of them were carrying loaded guns the whole time. The name of the conference comes from a Robert Heinlein quote popularized by armsmaster Jeff Cooper: “An armed society is a polite society.” One quick translation of that is, creatures with fangs and claws do not see other creatures with fangs and claws as prey…and unless it’s a mating issue or a turf issue, they generally leave them the hell alone.
There were too many fine presentations to relate here, though each is discussed on an upcoming ProArms podcast that four of our crew who attended were able to record in the car on the way home. Yes, the drive of eleven hours each way was more than worth it for what we got out of the conference. It is not “up” yet, but should be soon; patience appreciated.
Many of the presenters and attendees alike were cops or retired cops. Across the board, there was unanimous agreement that the current trend toward private citizen disarmament was deplorable and wrong-headed. Host Tom Givens, the founder of the program, made a telling point: real-world analysis of violent crime indicates about a one-in-thirty chance that any individual American will face it at some time in his or her life. (Virtually ALL of the presenters had come face to face with it already, one reason they were selected to teach.) Tom pointed out that over the years, sixty or more of his civilian graduates have been involved in lethal force encounters. All but two prevailed and survived. The two who didn’t prevail, died. Not coincidentally, those were the two who were unarmed when it happened. Tom reminded us all of the advice of Jeff Cooper’s acolyte Mark Moritz, a gun-wise attorney: “The first rule of gunfighting is, Have A Gun!”
The eclectic program encompassed emergency first responder trauma care for gunshot wounds, stabs and lacerations, and blunt trauma injury, taught by MDs. It included a veteran psychologist on one side and a homicide investigator on the other delineating how human predators think and act. There was hand-to-hand work, and knife awareness, and recognition of assaultive behavior cues. There was aftermath management: the blocs I taught revolved around lessons learned in some of the more recent homicide trials I’ve been involved in, including one a month ago, all of which were killings done in defense of self and/or others. (And yes, in each case the jury agreed.) The veteran cop who talked about “active shooter” scenarios deplored the fact that this has become the terminology, since human monsters such as those should be considered “active killers” or indeed, “active mass-murderers.” He had been involved in two such incidents himself, both of which ended in the quick death of the monsters as soon as they were confronted with lethal force resistance, and he quite pointedly noted that some of the cases under discussion were ended by armed citizens who saved countless lives.
Time with people who understand the ugly reality of having to stop murderers, is time well spent for those who may have to one day face such murderers.
And “those who may have to one day face such murderers” includes everyone reading this, and indeed, everyone, period.
Thanks to Tom Givens and his team for making this top-tier level of training available to law-abiding private citizens, as well as the many cops who were in attendance. Next year’s program will be held on February 21-23, 2014 in Memphis, and you can get more information from the Rangemaster Website.