Part 2 – Weapons for readiness, not violence.
Houseaux, a native of France, grew up in the shadow of his father, a commander in the French air force. The French military trains its personnel in the handling of guns, but strict gun control laws in Europe prohibit private ownership of handguns, he said.
“People don’t realize that all over Europe, only the bad guys have guns,” he said. “For me, owning a handgun is a symbol of freedom.
“But if you do’t know anything about a gun, then you shouldn’t own one. There’s nothing more dangerous than somebody having a gun and not knowing how to safely use it.”
Comments from other Gunsite students range from pragmatism on guns to adulation of cooper. Jim Nicholson, a man from California who talked incessantly about violence in the schools there, was among the pragmatic. “You ever been in East Los Angeles?” he asked. “From late at night until early morning, you don’t go out without a gun.
He slapped his sidearm for emphasis.
Another student said, ” I had to teach my wife how to shoot and the biggest obstacle was getting her over the psychological barrier of killing somebody. But all you have to do is think about what some people are doing to others.”
George Kilby, who refused to divulge his career or home state, was one who adored Cooper. “He doesn’t teach violence – he teaches preparedness.”
Today Gunsite Academy is teaching Preparedness in their new course offerings ‘Active Shooter/Terrorist Response for Civilians’, ‘Defense Against Street Crimes’ and ‘Home Defense’.
Nort Richards, a gun hobbyist from Illinois, said, “Just think how many lives he has saved, teaching them to be prepared.”
Prepared is one of Cooper’s middle names. His demeanor, his spotless custom tri-level home – complete with an armory built like a vault – and his training reflect his years in the Marines.
Cooper, who has been harangued by critics for his aggressive pre-weapons stance, steadfastly believes many people today should be trained in self-defense.
“But I certainly don’t wish frivolous-minded people to be armed,” Cooper said. “Instead of being jumpy and hysterical and firing all over, you have to be confident and cool.”
If you should be unlucky enough to be unarmed when you encounter an intruder with a weapon, doing what he tells you isn’t always best, he said.
“Don’t ever believe that doing what a man with the gun says will save your life,” Cooper said. “It may. And it may not”.
“When a criminal with a gun gives yo an order, he expects it to be obeyed. If he didn’t expect it to be obeyed, he would have shot you already.
“But if you’re to surprise him and survive, your response must be decisive, controlled and immediate. You don’t have to be fast but you have to be steady and strong. Confidence makes it possible for you to take command of the situation.”
“People who think that the gunfighter is something out of 1882 are about 100 years out of date. There are more gunfights per month in Los Angeles than there were in all the history of Tombstone.”
However aggressive Cooper may appear, he mixes his strong defense of gun training and ownership with warings to all weapons fanciers to avoid becoming bloodthirsty.
“It takes a tremendous moral wrench to pull that trigger on a gun pointed at another man, and that’s good because it protects our social order.