Nuances of Professionalism Blog

Nuances of Professionalism

I stood in the library contemplating the golden framed image of Napoleon standing pensively in Cairo.  Painted two centuries ago, his visage was frozen in contemplation, looking past me and ruminating on secret thoughts and insecurities that have been lost to the ages.



I felt a familiar hand rest on my shoulder.



“If you want to practice in Louisiana you will have to actually study the Napoleonic Code, Captain, not just stare at its namesake.”



I scoffed and turned towards the LTC, “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers, Colonel.”



“Well, Ms. Dubois, why don’t you join me at the chairs and we can discuss that rapscallion, Mr. Kowalski.”



I chuckled and followed him to our familiar high-backed leather chairs that sat empty in front of our club’s fireplace.  The logs were already starting to burn, and the light of the fireplace cast a gentle illumination on our other golden framed print of Napoleon.  This one hung above the mantle and showed the general crossing the Alps on his white horse.



We both settled into our seats and lit our respective cigars.  The LTC poured two glasses of whisky and handed me mine.



“It’s not Lagavulin, but it will have to do tonight.”



“Any poison will work.”



The LTC raised an eyebrow.  “Are you really worried about a Blanche Dubois?”



I sat back and sighed.  “Funny enough, I sort of am.”



“Interesting, Captain.  Do tell.”



I took a long drag on my cigar and watched the smoke waft up towards the ceiling.



“Colonel, we preach to people weekly, hell, in some sense daily, about their ethical responsibilities…”



“Ah… Train constantly, consistently, repetitively, and with purpose!  You have a right to bear arms, but you have a responsibility to train!… Preach that from the pulpit, Captain!”



I raised my glass in a mock toast to him.



“Indeed, Colonel.  But then there is also the development of mastery at skill-at-arms, as well as the adoption of professionalism-at-arms.”



“Here here, Captain,” the LTC said raising his glass and returning my mock toast.



“But what is our responsibility; what is our ethical mandate when we see others who have not adopted such a belief?”



“Hmmm, what do you mean, Captain?”



“The other week I was teaching a class.  A colleague of ours, not someone we normally work with, but a member of the Bar, was in class.  He was dismissive and distracted.  He paid the same level of attention we do when we have to take one of our State Bar mandated continuing legal education classes.”



“Ah, watching the program in the background I see.”



“Yes, when it came to his marksmanship and weapon handling skills… well… he was marginal, to say the least.  He was equally dismissive about his skills.  He wanted to check a box, and wanted me to check the box for him.”



“Did you counsel him on his responsibilities?”



“Yes, and with extreme prejudice.”



The LTC chuckled at this response.  “And tell me Captain, how did that work out?”



“Honestly, I don’t think it made an impression at all.”



“That might be a result of our own enterprise.  We get yelled at by judges all the time; the admonitions do tend to become more or less irritants, as opposed to existential emotional experiences.”



It was my turn to chuckle.



“Well, that is true, Colonel.”



“Still, you have a point.  We are employed in the noblest of endeavors.  We assist people in preserving their inalienable right to continued existence.  These are not trivial concerns.  The tools we use, the tools we must master, are inherently dangerous, and even the practice in those tools bears the risk of catastrophic consequences if strict safety protocols are not enforced.  You are absolutely correct in imparting your concerns to all of your students in the development of professionalism-at-arms.  Yet, I’ve heard you… I’ve watched you… you focus so much on the bearing of arms outside of the home, perhaps it is time to become equally dogmatic of professionalism-of-arms while in pursuit of mastery at skill-at-arms.”



I took a sip of my whisky and stared at my glass for a few seconds.



“I should be equally concerned of their commitment to professionalism during training?”



“I think we all should, Captain.”



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Comments (3)

  • Adam Sheck Reply

    A meta commentary on mastery of arms and professionalism, cool!

    04/17/2024 at 08:22
  • Gary Ford Reply

    Thinking back to your CCW class that I took, I know realize/recall that you had a sobering introduction to professionalism-of-arms as a free citizen of a constitutional republic in the class.

    Very interestingly and entertaining. Thank you.

    04/17/2024 at 23:16
  • Norm Ellis Reply

    Point well taken but it needs to be followed thru like everything else 🙂

    04/21/2024 at 16:03

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