Monday, June 15, 2009


Have you ever had to reconcile two parts of your life? I am currently working to reconcile the need to become proficient in firing at least two different weapons with my calling as an NP. Not only will I be trained to use these weapons, they will become my constant companions for the next year, and I am expected to use them, if necessary.

I did not grow up in a hunting family, nor does my husband own a firearm. We never felt the need to protect ourselves that way. With our lack of experience with firearms and two inquisitive children in the house, we figured the risk far outweighed the benefits. I am not an anti-gun activist—and I do agree that people kill, not guns. I don't care if you own your own arsenal (although I question the need) but I just do not aspire to gun ownership.

As an NP, my job is to help and heal people, not inflict mortal wounds. We have already had the ethics lecture with the vignette depicting the need for triage between a minimally injured American soldier and a significantly injured insurgent. My answer, based on my responsibility to heal and the triage concept, was met with heated discussion from the commanders (all non-medical) about how they would argue to have their troop cared for first. Now, imagine getting back to base after a skirmish only to be presented with an injured enemy troop and discovering you were the one who had fired the offending bullet.

My analytical mind enjoys the challenge of target shooting and the puzzle of disassembling and reassembling a weapon. My desire to keep my fellow PRT members (and myself) safe from the “bad man” will motivate me to become as proficient as possible on all our weapon systems. But, the healer in me will continue to struggle and pray that I never have to pull the trigger on another human being.


  1. I will pray that prayer too! I know that anything you put your mind to do - you will do well! Blessings, Jacki

  2. Lori,
    You have hit on the real dilemma: war and physical healing are fundamentally incompatable. That said, wars do happen and our troops are blessed to have such skilled and motivated medical support available in the field.

    You will make the right choices; you always have! I pray that day you mention never comes too, but it is best that if it ever does, we get the right outcome!!

  3. I hear ya. I'm not a gun person myself, but I grew up in a hunting family.

  4. Weapons are tools, nothing more or less. They have no soul, no mind, no heart. They are nothing more than an extension of an idea formed in a person's mind. Just like the tools of the medical profession, a weapon must be decidedly used, without hesitation and in a sufficient manner to achieve a purpose. And like medical tools they can kill or save.

  5. Nicely put, Lori! Sometimes we just have to acknowledge the existence of an ethical dilemma and do our best. At least, that's been my experience. I look forward to reading more of your posts. Abigail