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Our Obligation to Fight

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer

“We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” -Archilochus, C. 650 BC

Over the past few months, shocking videos have surfaced of drivers getting surrounded by violent mobs of people, many times armed with blunt instruments and firearms. Citizens have been pulled from their vehicles and savagely beaten.  A 9-1-1 call surfaced from a mother trapped in her car with a small child inside, rioters hitting her windows and climbing on top of her vehicle.  In the chilling audio recording, the emergency operator tells her, “We can’t do anything” and “We would suggest you call up city hall to let them know about your frustrations.” At least one person was shot in their car, their forward progress arrested by demonstrators. The recent riots confirm that “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” If authorities do arrive, it will be after the fact.  Despite their best efforts and intentions, police respond to criminal activity and will not be there beforehand to defend you from a violent attack. 


Politicians protected by 24/7 taxpayer-funded armed security details also ironically want to defund the police and take our guns, actions that are the height of hypocrisy.  The rest of us need to stand ready as our own quick reaction force.  We are dealing with the most sacred of all gifts, the gift of life.  As citizens it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and the lives of our loved ones.  In fact, that is our primary obligation.  

So, what do you do if you turn a corner and find yourself confronting an angry, violent mob?  Do you have anyone else in the car for whom you are responsible? Is your spouse in the car?  Is he or she armed?  Are they trained?  Do you have a baby in a child seat?  Do you have two kids in child seats?  A violent mob was recently caught on video blocking a Northern California freeway, moving from vehicle to vehicle smashing car windows as they went.  If you find yourself the target of the mob, stay in your vehicle.  Ensure the doors are locked and the windows are up.  It provides a level of protection, though not from everything.  Your vehicle is also a weapon.  If you cannot possibly avoid a violent encounter, then you fight.  When that times comes, you will want to be as prepared as you can be.  

A U.S. Army Special Forces Vietnam veteran and Los Angeles police officer once told me, “if it doesn’t look right, it’s probably not.”  TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.  That sixth sense that kept people alive for generations still exists.  It does mean you need to pull your head out of your phone and pay attention.  If something doesn’t look right, turn around and get out of there.  If you are on foot, run.  Being aware will only get you so far.  It is possible to be aware of your imminent demise.  You also need to train for that worst-case scenario.  You need to be prepared to take action.  You need to be ready to fight. 


When contemplating the morality or ethics of defending your life, just remember that if you were to suddenly appear out of thin air and were violently attacked by another person or group of people, you would not need to have a piece of paper giving you permission to defend yourself. The Roman statesman and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote, “There exists a law…inborn in our hearts…by natural intuition…if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.” Defending the most precious of all gifts is as natural as breathing. Defense of life is a God-given right, a natural right, one that is not “given” by government and therefore cannot be “taken” away. That is why it is guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. It is America’s First Freedom.  

Prior to summer, the coronavirus pandemic had prompted skyrocketing gun sales, as people came to the realization that a virus might prevent authorities from picking up the phone and responding if they dialed 9-1-1. When the riots started in late May there was a resurgence of interest in firearms and learning how to properly employ them in defense of life and the lives of loved ones.

If you have made the decision to invest in a weapon, get training with that weapon.  With the Global War on Terror creeping up on two decades of conflict, we now have highly trained veterans with extensive combat experience in the private sector passing on their skills and lessons learned. And, with police officers leaving their departments in droves, we are about to have a lot more trainers with law enforcement backgrounds available to teach weapons and tactics. You don’t have to come from a military or law enforcement background to be a fantastic instructor. When it comes to training, there are plenty of choices and they are only a web-search away. 


The coronavirus, compounded by a season of violent riots and looting, have resulted in an uptick in weapons sales, in hunting licenses, and a greater interest in preparedness in general. We are all here today because we had ancestors who were skilled at both hunting and fighting. They provided for and defended the tribe. Studying it from a historical perspective, it is only for the briefest of moments that one has been able to outsource those skills to others; grocery stores full of food and paid police departments are fairly recent phenomena in the human experience.  Having the skills to provide for and defend our families are hardwired into our DNA, primal instincts born of the need not just to survive, but to prevail.  

You may have seen the memes floating around that say, “Wait until those who just want to be left alone get involved.”  As with any good joke, the best memes have an element of truth.  Those who served the country in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and a multitude of other hot spots around the world, who saw friends die or forever maimed by an IED or sniper’s bullet, those people are out there. They know combat, and they are not going to let a mob surround their vehicle and pull them, their spouse, or their child from the car. They are not going to go quietly and allow themselves to be beaten to death without a fight. These are people who have a very close relationship with violence.  They are highly trained, and they are prepared. They just want to be left in peace to pursue their dreams and raise their families. If you happen to run into them and try to take their lives, well, you better bring your A-game.


“This is the law. The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain, all else is supplemental.” –John Steinbeck

Jack Carr is a former Navy SEAL Sniper.  He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Terminal List, True Believer, Savage Son, and The Devil’s Hand.  Visit him at and connect on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @JackCarrUSA 

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