by Gila Hayes

I intend to write only a few brief thoughts for this closing column, having rather worn out the keyboard on the long lead article this month. That story was born from the need to show what I can only describe as “proof of concept” to answer questions about what the Network does on behalf of members, and whether or not membership benefits are provided as promised. It is surprising how often we are challenged to prove our integrity by folks who are considering becoming Network members. This works in the Network’s favor, since we are proud and happy to take the opportunity to highlight the Network’s reliable services to our members, and at the same time, we can encourage callers to ask the same of our competitors.

In December, I rather hesitantly reached out to two Network members for whom we have paid attorney fees from the Legal Defense Fund. Far be it from me to tear the scab off a newly-healed emotional wound or to expose someone to the threat of a civil lawsuit if what we print raises an idea that they might be a good target for a lawsuit for damages! Both Mr. Daub and Mr. Joslin were extremely kind in sharing their stories, and I hope in publishing what they experienced, we all learn valuable lessons–including the need to have post-incident legal representation, and the value of belonging to the Network to assure that it is obtained quickly

My conversations with both members strongly reminded me of the need to acknowledge that we carry guns because we may need to use them against a fellow human being, a topic from which many shy away.

As I pondered what Daub and Joslin had told me, I recalled a lengthy conversation with top-tier armed defense instructor Tom Givens of Rangemaster in the summer of 2012 that resulted in an interview we published in the July 2012 edition of this journal (see At that time, Tom detailed how even long-time armed citizens are sometimes shocked when called on to use deadly force against a human attacker. Being surprised, or thinking “I can’t believe this…” wastes valuable time that should be used to regain the initiative and turn the surprise back on the attacker, Givens emphasized.

Givens spoke convincingly of internalizing the possibility that today may be the day you are called on to use the gun you carry to earn your very survival. Each morning when you put your gun in your holster and prepare to go about your day, remind yourself that today you may need to take the life of another person who is trying to kill you. It is a sobering thought, and one that we don’t like to confront, so the wise will implement Givens’ advice. He knows of what he speaks.

I think armed citizens have gotten in the habit of stepping so lightly around anti-gun opinions that reticence to discuss killing has polluted our own internal beliefs and behaviors. Killing is not a potential that we relish, but we fail ourselves and those who rely upon us if we don’t acknowledge and prepare for the possibility. If it is possible, we’d better do some serious thinking and take concrete preparatory steps to deal with that possible duty and what comes after.

If you own guns for self defense, please also ponder the fact that like the member in our lead article this month, you may have no choice but to shoot a human being to assure the safety of your family and of yourself. If not willing, ready and able to do that, why do you own a gun?

To high-jack a much over-used meme, “Stay ready, my friends.”

Click here to return to January 2017 Journal to read more.