The National Rifle Association started in 1871 as a training organization, and they have been supplying gun safety and shooting courses to the public ever since. They claim to have more than 100,000 certified trainers (I happen to be one of them) who, in addition to providing training in all kinds of small arms, also serve as the organization’s ‘shock troops’ by promoting the aims, values and member benefits of the NRA.
So I couldn’t help but notice an email I received today from the gang at Fairfax advertising two new training courses and one course in particular, Emergency Casualty Care Course, being offered three times next year. The instructor, Gary Melton, is connected to an outfit called Paramount Tactical Solutions, located in the mountains about 50 miles northwest of DC, and their logo, ‘survival is paramount’ tells you all you really need to know. Melton says that he deployed four times to war zones as a Green Beret and then was a Senior Special Tactics Instructor with a ‘federal agency’ that he doesn’t name. Okay, that’s fine. A guy’s gotta earn a living, I have no issue with that.
But I do have an issue with the topics covered in the course, which teaches students how to “take action and save a life.” And what kind of action will you learn to take? Well, for beginners there’s non-trauma medical events like choking, diabetes stroke and cardiac arrest. Then you go on to trauma care, in particular hemorrhage control through tourniquets and wound packing. And then after you stop the bleeding you study something called drags and carries and learn how to make an improvised litter to get the body out to somewhere.
The course only costs $1,250 (transportation, lodging and meals are not included in the fee) and at the end you receive a ‘First Care Provider Certification’ even though it’s not clear exactly who is certifying what. Oops, before I forget, there’s also a discussion about medical equipment, in particular what you should carry around every day and you also get a medical kit “stocked with professional-level equipment” for use when the need might arise.
And if there’s any doubt in your mind as to when or if this whole, cockamamie nonsense might actually be put to use, the entire course begins with a lecture on ‘Tactical Combat Casualty Care History,’ which is another way of saying that you’re going out to West Virginia to play soldier boy with some medical gear instead of a gun.
Now I thought the NRA was devoted to gun training but obviously I’m somewhat behind the times. Because we all know that we live in a world where all sorts of bad things can happen on the spur of the moment and you have to be trained and ready to help ensure the survival of victims from all sorts of tactical combat attacks.
Want to get serious about what happens after a tactical attack? Take a look at the report issued by the State of Massachusetts that evaluated, among other things, the medical response to the marathon bombing that occurred on April 15, 2013. Three people were more or less instantly killed when the device went off, but 60 critically-injured patients were triaged immediately and then sent off to different hospitals where they all survived their wounds. And the reason that so many badly-injured men and women survived was because the Boston Marathon happens to be a favorite activity for young physicians, of whom many just happened to be standing around the finish line at the time the bomb went off.
You don’t learn how to stop bleeding because an army medic wraps a bandage around your arm. You also don’t learn how to defend yourself with a gun by going out and firing a few rounds. But if the NRA is the last word on training about how to use guns, why shouldn’t they also be the last word about how to behave when someone gets shot with a gun?