A slippery word, it is one of the many whose meaning changes depending upon whom is speaking it.
Tonight, I'd like to riff upon a certain group of people who should hold honour most dear, yet among whom are those who treat honour as if it were merely kleenex. Or worse.
I speak of instructors.
Most students believe that they are seeking skills when they go to a school or an instructor.
This is, indeed, the case. However, the skills the instructors imparts to you must -- must -- be backed in full by his honour.
In the aftermath of any use of deadly force, there are two legal processes that immediately come into play: 1) Criminal; and 2) Civil.
The criminal aspect is immediate and is represented by the attentions of the Grand Jury -- and should you fall afoul of the Grand Jury, at your criminal trial.
The Civil aspect is when someone -- the critter, kith and/or kin of the critter, Justice Department, whoever -- sues you.
In your criminal case, the Court must see you as Innocent Until Proven Guilty. And you must be found guilty "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt", the State has the burden of proving your guilt, and your guilt must be agreed to by all twelve "Good Men and True" of your jury.
In your civil case(s), on the other paw, the plaintiff suing you has to convince a majority of the jury that a "Preponderance of Evidence" shows that the plaintiff is entitled to what he/she is asking for. Usually everything you own, owned, or plan on owning in the future.
To my mind, far too many instructors choose to ignore the civil aspect of their instruction -- and worse, in the name of "cutting edge tacticality" many instructors actively pursue avenues of instruction which are not only civilly damaging, but are criminally shaky also.
Folks, if you take nothing else from my blog, take this to heart: the honour of your instructor may -- may, I say -- not be a factor in the criminal aftermath of your incident.
The honour of your instructor WILL be a factor in the civil aftermath. Period.
Too many folks think only of surviving the criminal part -- everybody hopes to be no-billed by the Grand Jury. Too few folks are taking steps to ensure that they survive the inevitable lawsuit that will follow. There seems to be this conception that as long as you get no-billed, everything else is gravy.
Nobody ever seems to ponder what it would be like to survive the Grand Jury, only to sell every gun you own -- to sell every possession you own -- in order to hand a cash judgement to the scumbag family of the scumbag critter you were forced to lay in a dirt bed.
And it is your civil trial where your tax refunds, the college funds of your children, your retirement, everything ... rests on the reputation -- on the honour -- of your instructor.
This goes double if the people suing you manage to attract the attention and aid of a civil rights organization, such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the ACLU, or the like.
In seeking instructors, first you must Trust, But Verify. If your instructor makes claims -- verify them. Somedays it seems like every new instructor I see advertisements for has a personal cemetery larger than the whole of Arlington.
And the number of firefights -- Sweet Shivering Shiva! I didn't realize that half of the cities and towns in the U.S. of A. were actually worse than Beirut or Belfast in the Bad Olde Days.
If your potential instructor likes to talk about the firefights he's survived -- verify. Shoot-outs get investigated -- especially if a peace officer was involved. Such investigation is a matter of public record, and the Freedom Of Information Act is your friend.
This goes double for killings. Self-defense shootings go before a Grand Jury. Grand Jury findings are -- again -- a matter of public record.
Trust me. You do not want the jury to hear all about the dozens of deadly shoot-outs your instructor was in, just before a civil rights lawyer dramatically proves that he's a liar.
To the jury, you just turned into a Rambo wannabe -- and only a majority of them have to feel this way.
In the same vein, talk to other folks who have taken this instructors classes. Search the various Internet gun forums for your prospective instructors name. If the instructor teaches tactics that you find morally or legally questionable -- find someone else.
My paw to Odin, I have had firearms instructors tell me -- recently -- that old bushwa about "If'n you shoot someone in your front yard, be sure to drag 'em into the house 'fore you call the cops."
Another shining example of the breed solemnly intoned, "After the shootin' stops, check the bad guy. If'n he's still breathing, shoot him in the head. Dead critters can't sue you none."
No, you profligate moron, but his relatives can.
Do you think anyone who's just gone through a self-defense shooting wants either of these two idiots on the witness stand in front of a tax-payer-funded ACLU lawyer with all that you own hanging in the balance?
You think I jest, but large law firms and civil rights groups have battalions of investigators with nothing better to do than dig up everything they can find on you.
Like it or not, the choice of instructor -- his reputation, his standing, his honour -- can have a major impact both civilly and criminally should you be unfortunate enough to wind up using his skills in a deadly force encounter.
Choose your instructors carefully. Choose deliberately. Choose wisely.