Another thing physicians also say is “don’t diagnose yourself! Win the fight then treat yourself.” Looking at a chest wound or knowing you have a head wound and going into bellows breathing is exactly the wrong thing to do. Start your Tactical Breathing immediately and lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Take control of yourself. As one surgeon said, “A head wound kills you right now if it is going to, otherwise have faith you will make it!” That is a common refrain from the folks in the ER, a wound that hasn’t immediately disabled you is probably survivable if you don’t give up…don’t panic. And one of the best panic preventatives there is is training!
Finally, a word about the warrior’s path: When you put on a badge and a gun you literally give up the right to give up. You symbolically are saying you will fight for the innocent, for what is right, and for yourself. Every warrior knows what Hector said in the Iliad: “All who are born die, the hero as well as the coward, and I choose to live as a valiant one!” The choice in life isn’t whether we will die or not, but how we will live minute to minute, day to day, and when a just warrior falls we are in lamentation, and remembrance of the sacrifice. Each of us will face our end and if it is to be fighting so be it, but as the California Highway Patrol Prayer by Kevin Contoneo says: “And if ever I am called on to face the ultimate trial of life and death, that I might be victorious, in the name of all for which I stand. If not, that as I leave this work, I might drive the soul of my aggressor before me.”
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Editor's Note: It's a rare occasion that I would add to something that Dave wrote but in this instance I'm a living example of one of his points. In 1986, while off-duty at a gun range, I was shot in the back of the head. A poorly trained and improperly supervised shooter had left the firing line with a jammed Government Model 1911 .45ACP pistol. From a distance of about twelve feet behind the line, he worked to clear the jam with the grip safety depressed and his finger on the trigger. When he finally cleared the jam, he fired the weapon and the FMJ round struck me in the head just behind my right ear. I'm here to tell the tale because the bullet ricocheted off my hard head. Everyone on the range panicked because I had been "shot in the head." But I was conscious, had one hell of a headache, and a nice goose egg forming quickly at the point of impact. My family jokes about the proof that I'm hard-headed but I've always kept that experience in mind. Shot doesn't mean dead. Impact doesn't mean penetration. I'm living proof. Dave is right (as usual). Heed his words!