In an ironic twist of fate, just as the Monty Python scene wherein the bridgekeeper asks Sir Lancelot three simple questions and permits him to pass, I (like Sir Robin and having seen how simply Chris answered the questions) was overly confident in the ease of this assignment. I feel like saying, “What Chris said,” and being launched off the bridge just as Sir Galahand was ejected for stealing Sir Lancelot’s answer.
All Monty Python nerdery aside, I am here to answer the bridgekeeper for myself.
My quest is truth.
You see, when I started out on this journey I was told and believed many things. I believed that stopping power in handguns was a thing. I believed that a defensive handgun caliber needed to start with .4. I believed in sticky holsters and carrying your keys between your fingers. I believed in so many erroneous things so strongly that I even tried to fight for them. And it was in trying to prove them right that I realized how dreadfully wrong they were; how dreadfully wrong I was.
That’s a frightful place to be, friends.
When what you believe so strongly gets stripped away, you are left defenseless against the doubt of the infinite other ways in which you are wrong. And where do you begin to figure out what to believe now?
If a .45 caliber handgun didn’t have the power to blow a perpetrator across a room and totally incapacitate him with a single shot then what did stop a determined attacker? If it takes more than one, well-placed hit in order to physically stop someone, what happens if I miss? What happens if this perpetrator is super close? What happens if he lays hands on me? What happens if he tries to take my firearm away from me?
Every new question seemed to give birth to a new myth that was tempting to believe.
I’d been hoodwinked before. I would not be so easily fooled again. I determined to test each new thing I was taught.
And here I am, 16 years later, still putting myself to the test.
The frustration seems never ending.
The lies never stop.
Don’t use pepper spray, use wasp spray, instead! Just kick them in the groin, the pain will make them immediately crumble! A near miss to the heart will cause a shockwave effect that will devastate the internal organs! Make sure whoever you shoot is dead so that there’s only one story!
All lies that needed to be sifted through one at a time that took valuable time away from knowing and practicing the truth. Sometimes I thought I had it, and I tested it again against other, uninitiated foes and I realized I’d been sold another bill of goods.
The doubt this engendered in my own abilities to truly defend myself and those I love was like a weight around my neck. In many ways, I am not rid of it entirely, but I have a much sturdier foundation upon which I stand than I did all those years ago.
It made me cynical and suspicious, impatient and ruthless. I have no patience with those who peddle platitudes. Innocent lives depend on what we tell them about personal protection, and they deserve the truth, not bullshit dressed in a pretty package, painted pink, or pretend participation.
And if my quest is to know the truth–of what is effective, of what is legal, of what is moral, sound, and of what I am capable–then I would be only the greatest of hypocrites if I allowed lies to be passed on to those who trust me. So my solemn vow is this: I will never repeat to anyone else that which I have not vetted to the best of my human ability to be as true as I understand it to be.
That is my quest.
I also don’t know the capital of Assyria.
What is your quest?