In the Thick of the Fight are You Prepared for the “Elephant” ~ VIDEOS

By John Farnam

Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-(

“We had no home front
We had no soft soap
They sent us Playboy
They gave us Bob Hope
We dug in deep
And shot on sight
And prayed to Jesus Christ
With all of our might

Remember Charlie?
Remember Baker?
They left their childhood
On every acre
And who was wrong?
And who was right?
None of that matters in the thick of the fight!” ~ From “Goodnight Saigon,” written and sung by Billy Joel in 1982

Preparing for “The Thick of the Fight”

In much of what passes for “training,” it seems the subjects of sincerely fighting for your life, and in the process inflicting painful, fatal wounds on people (evil as they may be), are never openly and frankly discussed.

In fact, in many “Gun Safety Classes,” such things are mentioned only in whispers, and only during breaks.

Even “Concealed-Carry Classes” often fail to confront real and pressing issues of lethal interaction with malignant criminals, and resulting dreadful injury and violent death.

Many students come to me with this incomplete orientation, albeit otherwise mostly competent gun-handlers. They can operate a machine, but they’ve never honestly confronted the subject of lethal self-defense. In fact, they’ve avoided thinking about it.

Lawyers and politicians (most of whom have never confronted any species of real danger) talk about it so surgically, philosophically, even casually in the aftermath, but for those of us in the “thick of the fight,” right up to our necks, the stark confrontation with death itself is just about as “real” as life gets!

In one’s general education, some subjects dare not be avoided!

Jeff Cooper used to refer to those of us who have lived through deadly violence as having “Seen the Elephant”.

You’ve heard of the “fight or flight” response to deadly threats. Actually, neither is likely, particularly among the willfully naive.

What is far more likely is “freeze or panic,” and in real, violent criminal attacks, we see both routinely, even among those who ostensibly know how to operate a gun, with predictably dreadful outcomes.

Skilled lethal-force instructors, as an integral part of their curriculum, need to compel students to straightforwardly confront the unthinkable, in addition to teaching them how to operate a machine, productively interact with our criminal-justice system, make profitable adjustments in personal lifestyles, etc.

Ignoring “The Elephant” won’t make him disappear!

“Death smiles at us all. All one can do is smile back!” ~ Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris), in the 2000 feature film, “Gladiator,” staring Russell Crowe


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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You speak of the one quality that separates the quick from the dead. The ability to slip the restraint of being a charitable civilized person and sling eyeballs on the wall. That’s the way it was explained to me in 1978. It requires some instinct, deliberation, and a touch of anger. Say what you will, but it requires you to be offended at the intent of another to subvert you to their will. You basically are pissed at the idea, and willing to do something about it.
Try finding that in a Yuppie gun class………….


Read “On Combat” by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman, it will help you approach the subject of shooting to kill. I spent two years considering the subject before I decided to start concealed carry. I still do not know if I would/could and I hope it stays that way. But I run scenarios in my practice sessions and anytime I get that ‘alarm feeling’. Watching ‘John Wick’ does not make you ready.


This is very elementary but worth mentioning, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to defend your person and pull a gun out you better have made a commitment with yourself that you will use the gun to protect your life. If you draw it and fail to use it in a reasonable length of time the perp will, most likely disarm you and use the gun on you. Therefore, do not carry or pull a gun until you have made this understanding within yourself.


I was actively working as a doctor the one time I used my firearm. As a doctor, you have learn to effectively function in chaotic, fast moving, life or death situations. Yes, you have all the training and hopefully all the tools you need, but the biggest hurdle is dealing with the stress and the unknowns. Like many shooters, I had lots of target practice, but had never been in a situation where I needed my gun. So really, I didn’t know how I would react when the time came. I was initially knocked unconscious by the perpetrator and when… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Dr FlaBoy, What is cool headed about being knocked unconscious and sustaining a broke jaw? Had you said I cocked the revolver as I pulled it out and shot him dead before he could hit me again., then I would have concurred that you are one cool head in combat. No, you were the beneficiary of God’s unfathomable grace.

So Sueme

It was drummed into me and I continue pounding it when instructing others:
NEVER point the “”business”” end of any weapon toward any living thing unless you fully intend to kill it.


Being good with a firearm will only take you so far. The hardest part of self protection is the act itself. Can I shoot someone? Can I kill another human? These are the questions that must truly be answered. In most people case these are question they’ve avoided asking themselves. If and when the time comes and the need is there without an honest answer you will probably freeze up. In which case you or someone you care about may suffer the ultimate price. If you can’t answer these questions honestly. Why do you have a firearm?


I tell my daughters not to pick up a firearm in self defense unless they are prepared to actually use it. Dont wave the silly thing around like they do in movies. You have to view yourself pointing it at a person and pulling the trigger I tell them. They get it now and only the act of self defense will actually show if they can.


And that’s what it’s about lad! at ripping off millions of your people that you are safe without allowing them the “needed information” at “applicable implementation level” of the knowledge and “reasons”, the only hope for many people in monarchies and dictatorships is history books for what you are saying! It’s only about how to seem strong, virile, safe and informed, NEVER is it allowed to actually be considered any of that (self defense, laws, method application/implementation) will be needed and the system also includes playing down real world information of histories examples to distract and allay truths lessons! Here’s… Read more »