A few months ago, I posted an article The Hard Questions – Gracie’s Fireside Chat. This article posed a handful of questions that every person should consider before they carry a gun, or expect to use one for defense. It was also a key article in my series on the defensive mindset. Today we continue the project of  asking ourselves tough questions so that we can continue to build our personal tactical doctrine.

My Sifu once told the whole class that our home work was to make an “I will never …” list. This is a list compiled of things you will never do.

There are two types of “I will never…” lists I want to discuss. There is the “I will never…” list regarding your core beliefs, and there is the “I will never…” list pertaining to your personal boundaries (i.e. I will never get into a car with a stranger). Today we focus on the first type.

The reasoning behind creating “I will never …” list  is to discover where you stand on a personal belief level, because when the cookie crumbles isn’t the time to be figuring it all out. It sets some rules for yourself, hopefully these rules will keep you from doing something you can’t live with later.  I found this seemingly simple homework to be harder than it sounds, and in the end it was very enlightening.

Here is an example of a possible beginning to  an “I will never…” list:

  1. I will never standby and watch as someone abuses an elderly person, a child, or a woman.
  2. I will never kill or hurt a child
  3. I will never  kill or hurt a woman

Sounds easy, right? Wrong! Remember, never means NEVER. Let’s break down each “I will never…”.

I will never standby and watch as someone abuses an elderly person, a child, or a woman. Easy enough right? You’ll just step in and stop the abuser. Maybe, but what if the abuser  is actually three armed men? Will you still step in? Are you willing to risk your life? Will stepping in escalate the situation and drive the abuser to cause more harm to the victim?

I will never kill or hurt a child. It goes against human nature  (and probably your core beliefs) to hurt or kill children. But what if a child is attacking you with a knife or a gun? As history has shown time and again, children are capable of murder. If it came down to your life or the child’s life, could you make that decision? Is personal preservation worth more than the life the child?

I will never kill or hurt a woman. This one can play out just the same as the previous “I will never…”.

DISCLAIMER: Packing Pretty is in no way condoning taking the life of anyone. These questions are purely to get the reader thinking about things, and in no way reflect the beliefs of Packing Pretty.

I understand that every situation is different, and until one is in that situation, one cannot say with 100% accuracy what he or she would do. However, it’s important to have  an idea of what you are willing to sacrifice and what kind of action you are willing to take.  The question you need to ask yourself is how far you are willing to go for your beliefs, and if they’re in the right place to begin with.

I cannot tell you what your “I Will Never” list should include, but I can give you some tips on writing it.

  1. First, write down everything you can think of, don’t over-think any of it, if an “I will never” comes to mind, put it on the list.
  2. Second, go through the list and ask questions regarding each “I will never”. Similar to what I did in this article. If you decide that an “I will never” is actually something you would possibly do in certain circumstances, cross it off the list. Remember, never means NEVER.
  3. Third, review the list and add or subtract as necessary. Life is a learning experience, people change and grow. My “I will never” list might look different today then it would have three years ago.

Remember, the “I will never…” list is supposed to help you discover your core beliefs on the use of force, and help you figure out what you are mentally and spiritually capable of living with. It’s a guideline, or set of rules to help you make the tough decisions when hell breaks loose. This is a very personal list and should be treated as such.