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Grassroots Commentary

CPR and the Armed Citizen Are All About Outcomes

John Longenecker · Mar. 22, 2013

With the scandal of a refused CPR and belligerent gun control propositions in the news, laymen in the middle try to sort it all out alone. How the armed citizen and the CPR-trained layman are identical in moral purpose and in shaping better outcomes can clarify the issues.

Mistaken notions and jumble about gun control and Citizen CPR make for a distressing indifference to the lives of others. Millions have to live with the politics of such error as their reader response seems to guess at issues and solutions.

Medical professionals past and present strive for the best possible outcomes; so do gun owners, both for their own lives and for the lives of loved ones. Any interference with these two – irrespective of the politically stated reasons and promises – affects outcomes for the worse and in large numbers. It often goes to the core of decency and independence as a desensitization ensues.

But this is only the beginning of where and how the armed citizen and the CPR-trained operate together as another national safeguard, rescuing values and integrity as much as personal independence and safer streets. Without appreciation of this central purpose of each, laymen who try to noodle it all out in commentaries keep going in circles.

I have written that the health of the second amendment is the primary indicator of the overall health of the nation. This is reflected in deeper official respect for the citizen, smarter spending, greater rapport with citizens, and a general adherence to values as shrewd safeguards of the country. Individuals who prefer personal independence over dependency, for instance, soon see an important compatibility of gun ownership with those values beyond surviving violent crime.

A majority of states agrees. Those states seem to understand how gun control policy becomes a blatant disregard for human life, growing more bureaucracies, broadcasting zones of vulnerability, dictating more intrusion and control; whole states refuse these vociferously, and many Sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws as being against their oath of office.

By refusing gun registration and confiscations as well, more and more states make a public statement of respect for the citizen … and for life. The armed citizen contributes not to violence, but to safer streets; gun control contributes not to safety, but to plumb the depths of electorate tolerance for over-reach. The armed citizen is optional; gun control is forced. One can refuse to carry a gun; one cannot refuse gun control which disarms people. Thus, the ill-health of the second amendment is just as much the primary predictor of unsafer streets, unsafer freedoms,and unsafer futures as its wellness is a safeguard of those freedoms and streets.

CPR is appearing in the news with case histories of saves every day of the week now, and debates about who ought to receive CPR and who ought not. A good CPR course – I endorse the all-day course – addresses these, furnishing legal answers, class instruction, practical training and a practicum testing of CPR on adults, on teens, CPR for infants, the Heimlich Maneuver, emergency assessment discernment and current CPR policy, some words about healthy heart, and a pass/fail certification. Instead of noodling it all out in debate, trying to decide whether the elephant is an eel, a leaf, or a tree trunk, why not take a 12-hour CPR course and be taught the concepts?

Gun control is also in the news, with its insistent interference with the right of self-defense as if gun control can somehow be present when and where it is needed most: at the scene of the crime. Like the Good Samaritan who comes to the medical aid of a stranger, the armed citizen brings what gun control can never deliver, and that is that the citizen can and does fight violence where it is fought best; at the scene of the crime. Instead of noodling this one out in debates and anti-gun editorials, why not consult private citizen gun owners instead of bureaucrats consulting other bureaucrats?

The “national conversation” can therefore find a better direction in genuinely saving more lives. Both CPR and the armed citizen have the preponderance of saves upon saves against derogatory claims of failure and futility. And noodling. No, CPR does not work every single time, and we cannot save the world; but then, CPR was never developed to save the dead and dying, but the viable. It could always be delivered for the aged, but it was crafted to fight premature death; your nineteen year old who takes an electrical shock from his hobby bench, or the forty year old who is dragged from the water not breathing. Or, the co-worker who chokes on her food.

When I graduated Paramedic School in 1977, I knew I would not be saving the world, unless we are playing our role in saving the world one patient at a time. No illusions, but values, and years of many happy individual outcomes.

This is the best place to begin. The armed citizen and the CPR-trained are all about outcomes. They are identical in every way, though outwardly counter-intuitive. When citizens complete a CPR course or a defensive gun use course, they are saying the very same thing in each elective action: they make quite a statement if they complete both. They have come to appreciate the freedom to act in an emergency in the absence of first responders – a dual duty to act for community – and they have come to understand how shaping any one such single outcome plays its role in shaping safer streets, safer freedoms, and safer futures.


John Longenecker is author of The CPR Corollary – how two seemingly disparate life-affirming values mean safer streets and safer futures. John and his wife Aurea operate Wellness Priority One.

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