Most of us long to be perfect. Or at least, that perfection in our lives were the rule rather than the exception. After all, who wouldn’t want to be the perfect fit…for the perfect job…or drive the perfect car…and always be ready with the perfect comeback? Wouldn’t that make you grin ear-to-ear with your skull full of perfect teeth? Shouldn’t have we worked harder in school, trying to always bring home an “A+”…get 100 percent correct on every test…earn that four-point-oh GPA…wouldn’t that have been perfect?
Reality, however, is a little harsh. Most of us don’t achieve the perfect result every time. We value perfection because it is the result of intense focus, dedication, and- most of all- expenditure of tremendous effort. That’s why we are repeatedly told that “…Success is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration…”
But there is one situation in which being perfect is the last thing I would ever want, and that is if I were ever forced to use my gun in self-defense!
Yep, that’s right- and here’s why-
In a defensive situation any and all effort I can manage will be directed toward getting myself and my loved ones out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. If this works, and I am able to escape, or deescalate the situation, or avoid it altogether…perfect! The best fight is the one you’re not in, right?
The problem comes when the fight doesn’t go away. My job isn’t to stop bad guys from doing bad things. My job isn’t to see to it that they can never pose a threat to me or anyone else ever again. My job is to whatever I must to go home to my family- but ONLY that. As a responsibly armed civilian, it is expected that I will do only what is absolutely needed to save myself from immediate death or serious bodily harm. And nothing more. And it will likely be my job to argue that what I did was the reasonable minimum under the given circumstances.
So, No Thanks, perfection. I want no added effort or intensity, no artistic flourish, no sense or suggestion of high accomplishment. For me, the “D-Minus” is a passing grade. It’s good enough. If (God forbid!) I ever have to use force against another, I want to be the “reluctant defender”-the guy who did just enough to get himself out of a bad spot.
Self-defense is going to be a “pass-fail” test. If they want to talk about my grade point average, they can subpoena my guidance counselor.