As noted in an earlier post, firearms trainers are selling solutions. Good firearms trainers clearly define the problems their solutions address.
Gabe Suarez begins his Pistol Gunfighting School with the problem it addresses, and uses the board game “Clue” as an analogy to drive home his point.
Everyone of a certain age – and the average age at the course I observed was 50 – knows this classic Parker Brothers board game in which players act as detectives investigating the murder of Mr. Boddy in a multi-room mansion.
The goal is to solve the mystery: who did it, with what weapon, and where? Prof. Plum did it with poison in the library. Ms. Scarlet did it with a candlestick in the conservatory. Col. Mustard did it with knife in the billiard room.
For Suarez, defensive firearms instructors play a game of “Tactical Clue” in training their students. In 1997, “Tactical Clue” was most often solved with: “Thug in the parking lot with a screwdriver.” That was the problem defensive firearms instructors trained students to address.
2017 America poses a new problem for armed citizens. “We live in a time of war,” Suarez tells his students. We never know when we will be sitting around, minding our own business, and then hear, “Aloha snack bar!” And soon we will come to the frightening realization, as Suarez puts it, that “Mustafa is having a jihad party and I didn’t know I was invited.”
Therefore, Suarez’s winning “solution” to Tactical Clue in 2017 is “Mustafa with a rifle in a mall.” Or a husband and wife with guns at a Christmas party. Or a psychiatrist with a pistol on a military base. Or, on the eve of my leaving for this class, a terrorist with a rented truck on an urban bike path. Or, on the final day of the class, a domestic abuser with an AR-15 in a small town church.
According to Suarez, the paradigm of conflict has changed. Consequently, Suarez designed his Pistol Gunfighting School as much to deal with terrorists as thugs.
“You came to train here because my organization has a different ethos,” he reminds his students. “You are a modern day civilian warrior.”