The question that has been on my mind is whether being a veteran really makes me better prepared to defend myself against an attacker here in the civilian world. Well, that is riddled with variables on the individual in question, the type of attack, and a host of other critical things we must analyse and be mindful of. Society has created a standard to respect the military and all individuals wearing a uniform without knowing why. "Thank you for your service" has become about as meaningless and half-hearted as a cashier asking if you how you are doing and if you found everything you were looking for. It is societies new saying to run through the motions on.
One of the most popular misconceptions out there is that all those in the military receive elite training that is second to none. The truth is, unless that individual was in a special unit or has attended special schools and spent years honing and teaching these skills, they have bare minimum training that barely meets the standard for them to perform their job. You gotta understand that the military is full of people that come in and need training. How are you going to give elite training to every individual in a compressed amount of time? You simply can't do that, so the military breaks down their training into basic levels that will make it virtually impossible to fail unless you have the IQ of a banana. Also take into account that these individuals rely on each other to plug up weaknesses and square away the fuckups who seem to get through the sifter often.
Now let us look at the level of training one would need to competently handle themselves in a self defense situation. You must be slow to anger, versatile, adaptable, aware, and flexible in your response. Competency is not something you can teach everyone to a fine degree. In the case of many veterans, they require alot of retraining in order to unfuck their previous ideas of how things roll in the civilian world. There is no team to back you up unless you hang with your boys all the time. You are the agent in charge of your own protection detail, as Pat McNamara says in his book The Sentinel.
Another common thing I hear from people is that veterans of combat are better prepared to defend themselves in the civilian world because of their experience. This is one of the most annoying claims of all. I will just keep this brief in telling you that there are so many combat vets out there with a wide range of experience, and their brains have taken in and responded to those events in different ways. In some ways, these vets will freak out if a gun is pointed at them. On another note, the vet may lose his/her shit and become an unnecessary aggressor simply from seeing someone look at them the wrong way. It is rare that combat has turned people into warrior monks who are cool under pressure and will be able to handle everything perfectly. Also, don't forget that in combat, these warriors were backed up with heavy amounts of firepower and lots of bodies whose mission was to protect each other. Big difference from the civilian world where you are alone almost all the time. This is why most vets don't like the civilian world. The vulnerability is just alot to handle when you have become accustomed to being with others who support and look after you whether they like you or not. There are just too many variables that it is ridiculous to believe the broad claim that all veterans of combat are better prepared to defend themselves in the civilian world. I, as a fellow combat veteran, just don't buy it.
Many people like to cite certain isolated cases that support their arguments about vets being better. Such arguments are that many vets have training in hand to hand combat and have learned skills that allow them to react to danger rapidly. Yes, this is true, but again, not all vets behave the same. These arguments are not including the vets that get gunned down despite their elite training. Half of the time they lose a fight because they overreacted and were cocky. They failed on many levels to evaluate the situation they were in so they could make a wise decision. Add in punk ass bravado and the "You better respect me, I'm a veteran" attitude and you have a recipe for losing before the fight begins.
I just feel that people are too quick to put labels on things and make snap judgement based on isolated incidents and Hollywood glorification and embelishment of the military. If you wanna see what veterans are well trained for, go to a base and watch them be the bitch of their command. Watch some 22 year old Lieutenant give stupid orders that an experience platoon Sergeant must follow. Watch the lower enlisted pukes get their barracks inspected weekly and bitch and moan about going out to the field. Oh and it is really fun to see people lose it when they return only to find out their wives screwed half the base. It isn't glorious by any stretch of the imagination and it sucks. But these experiences don't add up to veterans being some kind of Batman-like people ready to squash evil.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.