Valentine’s Day, 2018, will either go down in the annals of the history of our county’s long-standing tradition of firearms ownership as either a watershed moment: one where the fear and emotion surrounding an object a maniac COULD use in the most horrific way possible results the erosion of our 2nd section of the Bill of Rights…you know, the one our founding fathers thought was so important to keeping us a free people they put right after the protection from the first thing a King or tyrant usually takes when they want to suppress its citizens, the ability to speak freely. They did just fight a costly war to make sure the choice was there for further generations.

OR it will be a moment that we as a nation finally stop pointing fingers at either an inanimate object, or people on the fringes of society, or the person with mental illness, or God…whatever it is that makes the side you take on the debate get you on your soap box and shout into the maelstrom of what is most definitely a closed debate depending on who you talk to. We teeter precariously on the precipice of a point where we are losing our ability to debate, critically think, and come to consensus on a topic based on logic, reasoning, and facts. Emotion and outrage rule the day…and that is in no way taking away from what happened. Families are devastated…young people in this country, now because the raw emotion of incidents such as these are broadcast 24/7 in a never-ending cycle of tragedy and fear, are wondering what in the hell has become of things when they can’t go to school safely. Gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters across the country are girding themselves for an all out assault on the ability to legally own firearms. Both sides of the issue feel that they have the moral high ground…Heller pitted against Marjorie Stoneman.

And all of it has taken away our ability to look at what we as individuals and citizens of this great country can do to potentially stop the loss of life in incidents such as 2/14/18. There are literally THOUSANDS of episodes of tragic violence everyday that do not make the news…families shattered and lives forever changed. Each one just as devastating to someone as the poor folks who lost loved ones in Florida. For those of us who study violence, and Its intervention, this is nothing new. Whether is a drunk driver that wipes out a family headed to dinner on Christmas night, or what took place in Sandy Hook, they’re all the same. The sobering thing is that general society puts more emphasis on the tool employed to do it than actually preparing themselves for its incidence. We in the instructional field, and those of us fortunate to count ourselves among the ranks of the first responders, know that the REAL weapon, the real solution, to a myriad of dangerous and complicated situations we can encounter in life, is preparedness and training. Realistic, frequent, and relevant TRAINING.

Sadly, the notion of facing the realities of a violent world and the decline in basic human common decency are either met with apathy, or downright denial. We instructors see it all the time…folks who walk out the door at the end of a class and who we know without a doubt we, or any other instructor, will never see in another critically instructive class again. To make matters worse, we have a large segment of society that flat-out refuses to acknowledge the realities of today, and would rather bemoan it, as if impassioned cries of how terrible something is will somehow make it go away without doing the hard work of actual preventing it from happening in the first place.

We are 2nd Amendment supporters…bottom line. Those of us who have served in the military, overseas or otherwise, can tell you first hand that there are people all over this planet who live in societies and have given their lives to have even a segment of the enshrined rights we are guaranteed by our Constitution, and have a unique perspective on the duty we have to protect them. But we are also citizens of our communities; we are fathers, and husbands, and neighbors; civil servants, businesspeople, members of our church congregations; and yes, we are among the millions who entrust their children to school all over the country. As stewards of the knowledge we have learned and practice everyday, we have an obligation to not only pass on the knowledge to our students, but to make our knowledge and experience available wherever it’s needed if it has the potential to benefit those communities we are apart of. We may not be able to be there for every depraved thing someone with a depraved mind wants to do, but we CAN help others be prepared to intervene and care for the ones we can’t shield from it.

Solutions aren’t always pretty. There’s no simple law or policy change that will change the heart of an evil person. Sometimes they require you to get your hands dirty. Sometimes violence DOES solve problems, especially if it’s in response to lethal violence. There are people of all sorts of abilities and inclination…some of them abhor violence in any form. It does not relieve you of the obligation of being part of the solution, not just crow about it and expect someone else to handle it on your behalf. It doesn’t have to be preparing to visit violence in response to violence, but there are things you can and should learn that will save a life in the tempest of an encounter. We wouldn’t be any sort of example to others if we didn’t offer some of those solutions.

So, with that being said, we here at CDT will offer FREE defensive firearm, active shooter, unarmed tactics, and trauma first aid training to any school teacher, worker, or administrator that wants it. All they have to do is get in contact with us and have a conversation about what, where, and when. Even if your district is not on board with you being trained, it’s here for you at no cost. This is our contribution to part of the equation. We will continue to offer top-level training for citizens who want to be prepared for everyday violence as we always have. But we have to get the schools caught up.

Will it stop horrible people from doing horrible things? No…if its anything the knowledge we have gained through our training has taught us, is that violence, and especially against vulnerable populations is a timeless fact of human existence. We can wish it away, or we can accept it and prepare accordingly. The days of aimlessly standing by and doing nothing are over. Be part of a solution that could actually make an impact. The obligation you have to your families and fellow citizens requires it if you intend to make a REAL difference. It doesn’t fix all the worlds ills, but it may just be the change you want to see in the world, and its starts with good people deciding to be part of it.

– Atchison