Recently, I decided to start putting my NRA instructor certification to good use, and started helping a friend teach his Concealed Handgun Permit class. Granted, there's no such thing in Virginia as a "concealed carry class" as such, or at least the state doesn't give any real guidance on what needs to be covered by a class like that. As such, our class is just an NRA First Steps class, with a little extra time spent on explaining Virginia gun laws.
This most recent class, I had a new winner for scariest response to a question in class. There are a few things we like to stress in one portion of the class. The first is that you don't draw your firearm unless you believe you are going to have to shoot to protect yourself, and you have to have the will to pull the trigger once you draw. The second is that you have to have the self-control to not shoot if the criminal bolts as soon as you draw. There is a third thing we use a scenario to highlight, but I'll get to that in the story.
Me: "Ok, a guy comes at you with a knife. You draw your firearm, and he hightails it as soon as he sees the barrel come up. At this point, is everything over?"
Them: .....stare blankly, followed by one or two saying "I guess so."
Me: "No. While you go about your business, thinking it is over, the thug is on the phone telling the police that you pointed a gun at him for no reason, and you end up in cuffs. So do you think you should do to prevent this."
Normally, I get more blank stares. Occasionally, I get the correct response of "call the police first?". On Saturday, I heard "So should I shoot him before he gets away then?".
The fact that I visibly cringed at this response was a pretty clear indication to the rest of the class that this was definitely NOT the correct action.
Me: (pulls cell phone from my off-hand pocket) "No. You use this. You call the police before he can. Police will try to claim this isn't true. But when it's one man's word against another, the first one to call is generally considered the real victim. You DO NOT shoot a fleeing man in the back."
As much as I love teaching people to shoot, and helping them be able to carry concealed for their protection, comments like that scare me. It's not his answer to that question that scares me. What scares me is that he may have another screwed up notion about something important, and I haven't thought to include that question in our course. I realize that the state only requires me to conduct a safety course, and that I only have an obligation to make sure what I say is correct. But I still wish that there was some way I could actually prepare a class for every circumstance in a four hour course.