No Magic Powers in Gun Free Zone Signs

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign…

There is a sad belief among leftists in this country that the sign “gun free zone” has magical powers.  In essence they believe that a law that criminalizes the possession or use of a firearm on school property protects the students therein.  As the Parkland shooting demonstrates beyond any ability to disagree, that simply is not true.  All it really does is ensure that, at the time when it might be needed the most, a civilian with a firearm won’t have one.  And it also insures that the shooter will know that he has no competition.  In fact, all the shooter need do, even if the school has a school resource officer, is wait for him to appear and take him out first.  “No Guns” may as well say “No Survivors.”

Free Publicity

Ben Shapiro has recently said that because mass shooters crave attention he will no longer publish their names or photos.  It’s a good first step, and certainly one the mainstream media should undertake.  Make the name (but not the photo) available on Google, but don’t give these jackals their 15 minutes of fame.  That’s because this need to feed their self-importance is what drives many of these wackos to do this kind of thing, and it’s important to remember that they choose gun free zones and later surrender without firing a shot for a very good reason.  They crave the attention, even if it means going to jail, because their lives otherwise lack meaning.

There is a great cartoon of two terrorists stopping outside a school with a pair of AK-47s and seeing a sign that says “No Guns Allowed” and then saying “well, darn, I guess we can’t kill anyone here.”  It captures the lunacy that goes with a gun free zone sign.  Cruz knew the school was a gun free zone.  He didn’t care.  Neither will the next one.  The left is populated by idiots!

If you want to stop a school shooting –  and let’s be clear, school shootings are, for the most part, done by screwed-up young white kids with enough money to buy guns and ammunition – then the way to do so is to make sure they understand that once bullets start flying there is no quarter, no surrender, and someone with a firearm is going to keep you from enjoying your 15 minutes of bloody fame.  Give them something to fear. Acquaint them with the sound of lead whizzing by their ears.  Give them the knowledge that they have only a 20% chance of surviving where armed security exists.  I would post the qualification targets at the school entrance!

Other Places, Other Rules

America has taken steps to protect critical infrastructure in other places.  At airports you must be screened.  Why not at schools?  At airports there are sterile areas where only screened people can be.  Why not at schools.  Try getting into a court house with a gun most anywhere and, in most cases, a sheriff is going to shoot you.  If we protect our flyers and the instruments of justice from threat, why on earth would we not protect our schools.  The answer is because school security, like curriculum, teacher pay, and teacher-to-student ratio, is a local affair.  It’s paid for with local tax dollars.  And people don’t want to pay their tax money for that kind of improvement.  And so squishy politicians blame guns to avert the suspicion of the public from the true causes of mass casualties: school administrators and the local school board.  And let’s be fair: those curmudgeons who vote against raising taxes for needed improvements also share some blame.

Can’t Happen Here…

And, of course, there is cognitive dissonance.  “That might happen in [pick a large city] but it won’t happen here in [insert your town] where everyone knows everyone else.  Except it did.  It happened in Sutherland Springs, albeit not in a school, but the idea that mass shootings are only likely in big cities is ridiculous.  Every school is at risk.  Every teacher is at risk.  Every student is at risk.  They are at risk every single day.

“If it saves even one life,” is frequently the rallying cry of the anti-gun left.  Ban this gun.  Ban that gun.  Let’s all sit down and sing Kumbyah.  And that way we’ll all be together when the crazy bastards that don’t obey any laws come for us.

Where Tax and Spend Makes Sense

How about a new rallying cry:  “We can all afford a tax increase for 3 years to secure our schools.”  It is really that simple.  Outer doors that only open outward from the inside.  All points of entry secured and monitored by video camera.  Doors that alarm when left open for more than 15 seconds.  Metal Detectors at student points of entry.  Hardened steel doors in classrooms.  Bullet-resistant Kevlar curtains to cover up classroom windows.  And let’s be realistic: armed security present in the building from 1 hour before classes until 1 hour after.

Train, Interdict, Prosecute, Repeat

In addition, get counselors the training necessary to spot students likely to cause trouble, and get them early intervention and interdiction.  Make mental health assessment a part of the testing curriculum.  Get the kids that need it the help they need.  Ban those students by court order that refuse to accept the help or fail to follow the rules.  Fully and furiously prosecute straw purchasers of handguns for minors.  Make sure that gun crimes receive special attention from the press and that the criminals pay with serious sentences that send a message.  The Hanging Judge, Judge Parker from Arkansas, said “it is not the seriousness of the punishment that deters crime, it is the certainty of it.”  Make punishment certain, and make it certain that anyone who goes into a school to commit mayhem is not going to come out in one piece.

 

That’s what people like Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris would do if they were serious about stopping school violence.  But they are not.  Like Planned Parenthood, DACA, and Immigration, its all about the money with them.  They use things like this to increase their DNC coffers and generate cash to crush your gun rights.  A direct attack on the Second Amendment:

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Screen Shot from Kamala Harris email…

It is time for those of us with guns to start fighting back with better ideas, better plans, and louder voices.

Guns do not kill people, foolish people unwilling to take protective action to protect our kids kill them.  And until they start doing the right thing, we need to get in their face.

 

 

Where there’s smoke…

Imagine This

It’s 7 in the morning.  You look out your door and you see some smoke, not a lot, coming from your neighbor’s house.  You think maybe his house is on fire.  So you call the Fire Department directly and tell them.  The Fire Department says “well does he have a gas grill?  Maybe he’s just grilling some sausage.”

So you hang up.  You look out ten minutes later and there is more smoke.  Geez, it’s black.  You call the fire department again, and this time they tell you to call 911.  But, you’ve already called once.  No sense being an alarmist.

You think, perhaps I should go warn Jacob and Leticia about the smoke.  They have two kids, you wouldn’t want anything to happen to them, but then again you think, who needs a buttinsky neighbor?

Fifteen minutes later you see the fire trucks arrive.  Although they battle the flames relentlessly, they cannot save the occupants who died from smoke inhalation.  You call the media and blame the fire department.  They should have acted on the first call, sent a fire truck, and investigated the smoke.  Where there is smoke, there’s fire!  The mayor calls for the fire chief’s head.  The fire chief, a bum by anyone’s measure, didn’t take the call, and didn’t make the decisions.  But his job is on the line.  The state fire marshall says it will investigate!

But…what about you?

What was your responsibility?

Sure, you could have gone over and knocked on the door, you could have investigated, you could have gotten the family out before it was too late.  But, you were worried about what people might think.  You were worried about what Jacob might think.  And now that there is a tragedy, you want to blame the only people with a duty to react.

The FBI is not ENTIRELY to Blame for Parkland

Does the situation above sound familiar?

What is described above is almost exactly what happened with the Parkland shooter.  Lots of people knew the kid was dangerous.  Lots of people knew he had guns.  At least two people tried to alert authorities.  But no one – not one single person with knowledge – took direct action and marched down to the police station or FBI and stomped their feet until someone actually did something.

Government is like a freight train.  It takes a lot of energy to get it going, and once it’s going, it takes a lot of time to make it stop.  You don’t start a freight train with a 100 cc motorcycle engine.  Yet, calls to tip lines, made anonymously, do not guarantee a solution. They are, in fact, just a  100 cc engine in the giant cogs of government.  All calls to tip lines do is salve the conscience for later: “At least I tried!”

But, no, you didn’t.  You knew the skeevy little perv was planning to do this, you knew he had it in him, you knew he had guns, and you were worried about being ridiculed, or worse, sued.  You were scared for all the wrong reasons.  You should have been scared for all the right ones.

And what about the sheriff’s deputies who had been to the shooter’s house more than 22 times?  What is their responsibility.  Why did not they get involved with the state child welfare agency and force action.  The squeaky wheel, so they say, gets the grease.  Those deputies knew or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known that this kid was a loose cannon.  Where is their accountability?

While it is true that the FBI did not bring honor upon itself in this situation, it is not entirely to blame.  Every one of those kids who said “we knew he was going to do something like this” ought to have to go look at the bodies, see the holes, and face the families of the dead and listen to their wailing.

In 1982, when I was a therapist at St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida, I was on duty when fire-medics brought in a child who had drowned in Lake Worth.  The fire-medics had responded heroically for that 12 year old boy, and our ER crew worked tirelessly for almost an hour trying to get life signs back.  But it was futile.  In the end the ER doctor had to walk out and tell the family.  He did that as I was walking the ambu-bags back to the department, and if I live to be 100, I will never forget the wail of the mother of that child “My baby, my baby, he was only 12!”  I still tear up thinking about that day, and the profound loss that woman suffered.  And then I magnify it by 17, and don’t doubt that people are sick, scared and angry.

So, make them face the families.  Make them take accountability for the suffering they facilitated.  Make them understand that sometimes, when you see something, you need to do more than say something.  You need to stomp your feet, you need to raise the red flags, you need to take direct action!

We are all familiar with the story of Cain and Abel.  We know that we are, indeed, our brother’s keeper. Vicktor Frankl, the noted existential psychotherapist, said that “the last of a man’s freedoms is his ability to choose his reaction to a given situation.”  We need to stop choosing to be silent.  I have made that decision.

For several days now there has been a trailer parked on the road leading to my house.  It has no reflectors.  Along about dusk it all but disappears, and even with car lights on people have trouble seeing it.  So I called the police.  I asked them to do something.  They told me they could not do anything at that time, but that they would talk to the owner and warn him and if he didn’t do something about it, they would ticket him.

That’s not good enough for me.

I am buying traffic cones and placing them behind it.  If it saves a life, the $10 will be worth it.

And you.  The next time you see something, and say something, and nothing happens, you better be prepared to keep saying something until someone does something.  You owe that much to others.

Truth Matters!

Another school shooting, another knee-jerk reaction.  BLAME THE GUN!

Yes, we all get tired of this.  Yes, we all know that decent people wait for answers to questions like why, but that people who advocate gun control simply want to be emotional vultures on the pain and suffering of others.  They posit that winning the battle of public opinion is more important than winning the battle on the facts.  As a result they spread lie after lie in order not to be accurate, not to have an intelligent discussion, but rather, to persuade using falsity.  This is unethical, unreasonable, and completely dishonest.  Here is a sampling of just the lies I have seen on Twitter and Facebook in the past 24 hours:

Lie Truth
AR-15 is a military rifle AR-15 is a civilian sporting rifle.
AR stands for assault rifle AR stands for Armalite Rifle
AR fires military grade ammunition AR fires standard .223 rounds, which are lower power rounds than hunting rifles.
ARs are too difficult for civilians to handle 9 year olds shoot them in competition.
ARs are assault rifles An assault rifle is a term of art and to be an assault rifle the weapon must be capable of automatic fire.  ARs are not assault rifles.
You don’t need background checks to buy AR-15s Background checks apply to all commercial sales.
There is no background check in Florida, all you do is fill out a form See above.  That’s complete bullshit.
Trump rolled back a ban on selling guns to crazy people Trump rolled back a presumption that someone who needs help managing their money is batshit crazy, and the ACLU supported this measure.
The NRA owns politicians NRA donations pale in comparison to donations by other groups.
ARs fire 600 rounds a minute ARs fire one round each time the trigger is pulled.

 

None of these outrageous lies are true, but they are all spouted by people who supposedly believe them.  Either they do not have access to Google (which seems strange, when they’re posting on social media) or they don’t care to be accurate because their emotions are more important than honesty.

Last night someone said we should not take them on with “technical points.”  That’s nonsense.  A gun that fires 600 rounds a minute sounds scary.  “Assault rifle” sounds scary.  “It’s okay to sell guns to crazy people” sounds scary and crazy.  98% of the public is gullible and lazy and if they see something in print more than twice they believe it.  We absolutely must debate them on the facts because we can’t win on the emotions.  No one wants to see kids shot dead.  But when the police, FBI, and others do not do their part, when they do not interdict kids who cannot legally possess weapons (you must be 21 to buy a pistol), and when politicians refuse to blame the shooter and instead blame the NRA, we absolutely must fight on the facts.

It is up to us.  We must do what needs to be done.

 

An Instant to React, & No Do Overs

Today’s blog post is dedicated to a survivor, Richard Nelson of the Las Vegas, Nevada, Metropolitan Police Force.  Mr. Nelson’s incident, captured on a body camera, illustrates why people who criticize officers for shooting too quickly fail to recognize the inherent dangers of policing.  It is a cautionary tale that says “judge not!”

Before we roll the video, let’s set the stage.  The police have been alerted to a thief who has a stolen cell phone.  The owner, using GPS, has tracked it to a truck parked in front of a convenience store.  In the video he is the person the cops are telling to “get back” because he is either being a lookie-loo or because, like all people who know nothing about police work, is offering “helpful suggestions.”  Nota Bene:  if you do not do police work, do not offer “helpful advice” to police officers.  It just annoys them.

Apparently the suspect is sleeping, and the cops wake him up and ask him to step out of the truck.  The truck is stolen.  They don’t know that.  As you watch this video, watch what happens, and watch the second officer’s reactions on his body cam.  Also pay attention to the lead officer, Nelson, and his coughing after the incident.

Here is the video.

Amazing, no?

In an instant the encounter went from whiny-but-cooperative to full on Call of Duty.

So, here is the really interesting part of this.  First, Nelson survived.  He was wounded, but he lived. Moreover, he was shot in the chest, and survived.  He survived because he got prompt medical attention after he secured backup and after he had rendered the bad guy combat ineffective.

His partner took a round in his gun belt.  I am sure it hurt like the dickens, but he was not wounded in terms of a bullet entry into flesh.

But look at what Nelson did in this encounter.  He drew and fired his service weapon with incredible rapidity and was combat effective with at least one of his shots.  In addition, even though he had been shot, he did not err and wind up shooting his partner who was also downrange.  He drew and came to a two-handed grip and delivered aimed fire all within one second of the encounter going sideways.

Keep in mind, they were investigating a theft.  There was no information on their radio about the fact the truck was stolen, or had stolen plates.  There was no information about the suspect because he had refused to identify himself.  The suspect had a record for assault and theft, and thus was a prohibited possessor of firearms.  No firearms were visible in the vehicle so as to give the officers a clue as to what was coming.

Now, we could debate tactics.  The police chief said they should have gotten him out of the vehicle sooner.  That is Monday Morning Quarterbacking at its finest.  Likewise, we could take pokes at both officers being on the same side of the truck instead of one on the passenger side, but it was a valid judgment call to assume that both officers would be needed to physically remove the rather large suspect from the truck.  So, in my view, if the officers did anything wrong – and that is a very big IF – then at the very least Nelson’s swift reaction and effective fire covering both his retreat and the retreat of his brother officer, ought to wipe away any of that.

Now keep in mind after the first shots are fired (and they were fired by the suspect, not the cops) Nelson is hit.  He was shot under his vest in the armpit area, and he has a chest wound that is producing the cough and shortness of breath.  But incredibly the officer is combat effective for another 40 seconds at least, before being rescued by a sergeant who forgets to unlock his door.

There is justifiable criticism of the shootings of Philando Castile and Daniel Shaver.  I believe those boil down to poor training and an overabundance of testosterone.  Stupid people did stupid things and two lives were lost.  And again, in Monday Morning Quarterbacking, we can say that neither of these men posed a threat to the police.  But, the cops at the time did not know that.  And it is precisely episodes like this one that make officers’ reactions to suspects understandable.  In a situation like this, you don’t get a do over.  You either shoot and live, or fail to shoot and die.

This is one reason why I believe citizens need to acquaint themselves with the risks that officers run every day, and stand up for their police.  Because when violence is knocking at your door, especially if you are unarmed, that’s who is coming to help.

GoPro: Shooters Friend

Okay, I admit it, I’m a geek.  I always have been, and I probably always will be.  They are likely to bury me with my Ipad (assuming the nursing home people do not take it away).

As I mentioned yesterday, I have started taking my GoPro to the range when I go.  I thought I might offer some advice for those of you who want to try this and have not done so yet.

First, choice of camera.  I had one of the original GoPros (GoPro 3) and I bought every single available attachment for it.  By the time I finished with it, I had more junk than I could carry.  There were problems with this original GoPro (pictured here)

DSC_4624

One problem was bulk.  It was giant and clunky and no matter where you put it, it got in the way.  And even though there were a dozen or so accessories for the damned thing, there was nothing that put it at eye level, or even close except for a device that was designed to strap it to a bike helmet.  Now, if you go to the range with a bike helmet on, they are liable to ask you to head back to Happy Acres and call the men in the white coats if you don’t leave quietly.  So the bike helmet thing was a non-starter.

There was a head mount. (pictured)

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Again, the problem here is that wearing this in public makes you look a little like the Borg from Star Trek.  Not my favorite look!

One potential solution was the chest strap.  The chest harness wrapped around your chest and held the camera out in front of your chest, and just like the other mounts, it was clunky and you couldn’t go to high compressed ready without bumping it.  Here it is mounted over a chair with the GoPro3 attached so you can see it.

DSC_4628

Not very practical.  So strike two.

Then, following a trip to Italy, my GoPro got lost, and my wife bought me a GoPro Session.  Unlike the others, this one had a built in battery you couldn’t change, and roughly the same length of running time.  More importantly, it was lightweight and much much smaller (pictured here)

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Along about the same time the ball cap mount came out.  (pictured here)

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It fits on the brim of your hat, only slightly above your eye level and it provides a good view of the action if you adjust it properly.  On its initial break in run at Disneyland, I must confess to having some great views of dark ceilings because I did not adjust it right.  And this is pretty dumb because with the GoPro app on your phone you can get a dynamic view of what your camera is seeing so that you know whether you are capturing your shooting or getting a really good view of the sky.  Once you have the camera adjusted, assuming you don’t mess with the hat, you should be set for video capture.

One really good thing, as I have already pointed out, is that a camera records everything you do right, and everything you do wrong.  Unlike setting up a video camera and walking away to do shooting, you simply tap the button on the top of the Session (the newest version is the Session 5) and start shooting.  You get the shooter’s view of the shooting (very much like the bodycam video you see every now and then).  In retrospective analysis it makes it much easier to see what you’re doing wrong and also what you do well.

I believe its important not to judge your shooting solely on the basis of targets with holes in them.  Anyone can punch holes in paper given enough time.  Being able to accurately see what you’re doing, how you’re holding the firearm, etc, is a huge advantage in trying to figure out why, for example, all of your bullets are grouped on one side of the target. (pictured here).

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So, that’s my take on GoPro as a shooter’s aid.  I hope you’ve found it helpful.

Range Day

I love range day.

I try to go during the week, because the range I use (East Alabama Gun Club) is full to overflowing on the weekends.  Of course, for entertainment sometimes I go watch the SASS and IDPA events when they have them, but most of the time, I go alone and I shoot alone.  I actually like it that way.

This time, I brought a Go-Pro Session camera with me mounted to my hat.  While I wish I had adjusted the camera a little better (I could have used my iphone to see what it was seeing, but that did not occur to me until I was viewing the footage later and cursing myself).  But I still got a little useful footage.

I don’t post this video to brag.  And some of you are going to look at it and go “MY GOD I HOPE NOT!”  This is because you never see yourself screwing up until afterwards, like when my wife came in as I was editing the footage and said “you know your two handed grip on the M&P really sucked!”  Yeah, thanks Dear, so helpful of you to point that out.

They say that it is important to adhere to fundamentals like grip, trigger press, and the like, and I try to implement those as faithfully as I can.  But I still screw up from time to time and don’t get a good grip on my pistol.

On this last range day I was shooting my Ruger GP-100 Match Champion .357 and I was shooting .357 Magnum rounds through it.  I figure, why have one if you’re only going to train with .38 special?  Just buy a .38.  So I actually had a pretty good day with the .357, even though it hurt my recently fractured and even more recently healed wrist.  Still, I got all the shots in the 10 ring, and I could that as a win.  Not that I carry that pistol.  It stays in the safe most of the time.  But I do keep it handy in the event of the Zombie Apocolypse.  I did all this shooting from between 7 and 10 yards.

I also shot my Glock 19, but I did not get any footage, mostly because I forgot the damned camera until I was finishing up with the M&P toward the end of the session.  That would actually have been good footage because they have steel targets and I hit every one of them with the Glock, but then again, that’s my usual carry gun.  So, the video is very selective and selectively edited to make me look less like a complete loon.   So, here’s the footage.  First the .357, because that was probably the best of the ones filmed

Now the shots at center of mass using the M&P.

Now, head shots using the M&P.

Again, none of this video is too pretty, but here is what it taught me.  A Go Pro should be a regular part of my shooting practice because it allows me to see my mistakes in real time if I use their app and view the footage from the phone.   As training aids go, it serves as a substitute for a coach, because I can assure you no one is going to be as hard on me as I will be.  I’m almost ashamed to post this video, but, if you don’t have integrity, what do you have.

Good Guy With A Gun

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun”

– Wayne LaPierre, NRA

 

“I never see a ‘good guy with a gun:’ I see a human more likely to exacerbate a tragedy than to stop it.”

– Charles Clymer, HuffPost Blogger

Media Silence

I find it interesting that one of the things that consistently seems to happen in the media is that defensive gun uses, where a concealed carrier or home owner uses a firearm to stop a violent or criminal enterprise, is vastly underreported, yet every other shooting is magnified and followed by puff pieces like the one above by Charles Clymer.  Clymer asserts that because of his “infantry training” and the Army’s strict training protocols, only monotonous training, repeated ad nauseum, can prepare a person to shoot to kill.

Pardon me while I laugh out loud at this ridiculous joke!  Putting aside for the moment the fact that human life is not precious to the criminal class, and adopting the idea that Clymer seems to suggest that us “normals” are squeamish about shooting people, let’s deconstruct this nonsense.

There are two components to taking a human life with a firearm.  The first is marksmanship, the ability to hit what you aim at.  While it indeed takes a few days to master the M-16, as Clymer says, remember that it is a weapon capable of automatic fire (though now in burst mode).  Still, it is not some complex machine that requires 18 full days of training to be able to use effectively.  I taught my wife how to shoot it in about two hours.  Also of note, Adam Lanza didn’t have that training and he certainly mastered his AR-knockoff while killing dozens.  So don’t give me a bunch of crap about “normal people” being unable to operate a sporting rifle.  That’s just crap.  Clymer knows it, which makes it worse.

With handguns the training required to aim, shoot and hit a target can be done in 8 hours according to pretty much every state that issues handgun permits.  While I do not think that is an appropriate amount of time personally, and believe that true safety comes from repetitive training and a dedication to mastering responses to stressful situations, I am not crazy enough to believe that someone willing to carry a firearm is somehow incapable of deploying it successfully, even under stress, because deploying it doesn’t always mean firing it.  Moreover, great training programs for civilians, like this one, exist.  They teach fundamentals as well as tactics in an integrated environment, and perhaps most importantly, simulate a defensive shooting situation for the students.  Yes, that’s right, to complete the course you have to demonstrate that in a defensive encounter you have the skills to perform the tasks necessary to save your life.  But again, the marksmanship aspect of defensive shooting is pretty basic, and most gun fights occur between 6 and 10 feet (and in most cases, even with trained law enforcement, half the shots miss).

Skills are perishable and require practice.  But they can be learned.  Clymer is hiding the facts by using the M-16, a fully automatic rifle, to mask his hidden agenda on gun control.

Clymer’s second assertion is that the psychological aspects require long monotonous training to make killing second nature.  Again, lets put aside the gang-bangers from MS-13 who view life as cheap, and the thugs who shoot down children and old people.  They are not a part of this discussion because Clymer doesn’t want (or is afraid to take) their guns.

He says normals are not capable of becoming killing machines.  Uh, yeah. And THANK GOD!

We are not at war in America.  Killing does not need to be second nature.  It needs to be a last resort.  We do not want people desensitized to taking human life.  If we have to shoot, we shoot not to kill another human being, but rather, to protect our life or the life of another. We are not a nation of shoot-first-ask-questions-later Neanderthals, we are a nation of laws.  Clymer doesn’t get this, principally because his a liberal and principally because he would be happiest when all power is concentrated in Democratic hands.

The idea that “the good guy with a gun is a myth,” however, is debunked almost daily with stories of people defending themselves or others, and many times without ever firing a shot.  Consider the case of Derek Meyer.  Meyer was driving along, minding his own business when he saw a crazy man kicking the living shit out of a cop.  The officer had to be hospitalized with a fractured eye socket.  We’re not talking love taps here.  This is Brutus giving Popeye the no-spinach treatment!

Meyer is a lawful concealed carrier.  He gets out of his car, points his gun at the criminal, and orders him to stop the attack.  The bad guy runs.

Here is where the story gets good, and Clymer’s point gets totally destroyed.  If killing were truly second nature, Meyer would not have issued an order, he would have shot the guy.  In that limited situation he might have been justified if he believed shooting was necessary to prevent death or serious injury to the police officer only.

But he didn’t shoot.  He used words first.  Yes, like a civilized person, he told the guy to break off the attack.  And the guy did.

What happened next?  The bad guy ran.  And what didn’t happen next?  Our hero did not shoot him.

Why?  Because the bad guy presented no threat, and because Meyer was trained to react defensively, not like Hitman 47.  No shots fired.  Bad guy arrested afterwards hiding under a trailer.  Cop got medical treatment.  A happy ending.

Interestingly the police lauded Meyer saying that the event could have ended badly for both the criminal and the cop if Meyer had not acted.

This is what happens time and again.  The cops on the street do not fear civilians who legally conceal and carry.  They fear those who break the law, because if you won’t obey a law that requires you to get a permit to carry a firearm (or that forbids you from owning a firearm) a law against shooting a police officer is not going to stop you either.

So, the next time you hear that the “good guy with a gun” is a myth, direct them to this article where they can see for themselves that the good guy with a gun is not a myth, it’s the duty of law abiding citizens who choose to undertake it.

 

Here are a few more “good guys with guns” stories I found on Google in about 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL League of Losers

I used to enjoy football.  I was a long-suffering Chief’s fan.  But no more.  And the NFL’s latest non-apology emotional tribute to Medal of Honor (MOH) winners just pissed me off.

I grew up on an Air Force sergeant’s pay, and as a kid I was lucky to score a dollar for a movie now and then.  I worked pretty much from 8th grade on, and I’ve never done anything but work.  I may fail retirement for that reason.  But the point is, I have always known that there are workers, people who carry the load, and directors, people who direct the work.  For most of my life I was a worker.  When I moved into the director class, I remembered what it was like to be “the help” and I tried to always regard people who worked in my office as people who worked “with me” and not “for me.”  It is a small distinction, but an important one.  How you treat people says more about you than it does about them.

This past year the National Football League has, as an entity, spent the majority of its time spitting on the sacrifices made by our troops in the service of freedom.  Instead of standing and respecting the National Anthem, they allowed – in fact, encouraged – players to “take a knee” to protest something that the NFL has absolutely zero involvement in or control over.  Generally speaking players were allowed to spit on our national image.  And when the president called them out on it, he was labeled a racist for saying what 90% of the country already felt.  Stop injecting politics into football.  Instead of protesting, do something positive!

As a result of the NFL policy, for the second year in a row, I refused to watch any NFL games in person or on television.  I refused to buy any NFL gear.  I refused to care who was in the playoffs.  I refused to watch the playoffs.  I refused to watch the Super Bowl.  And somewhere along the line some ratings analyst went squeeing into the NFL offices and said “Holy Shit, we’re taking a beating, and losing money!”  So the NFL got its brain trust together (creating a collective IQ of at least 70 with all of those folks in the room) and decided that what they would do at Super Bowl 52 was honor all the Medal of Honor winners to make sure that everyone knew that the NFL was really patriotic (just forget that whole spitting on the flag thing!).

It reminded me of all the times that, as a low-level employee, the big bosses would take a few hours out of their life to “recognize” employee’s hard work with a ham, or a turkey, or maybe a set of towels.  My wife, a teacher, once got a whole $1 as a bonus.  Wow! “We don’t actually care about you, but we do so much wish you to think so!” So, basically, the NFL glitterati are willing to let the MOH winners shine for a few seconds at the Super Bowl to try to make America forget that its players have disrespected the very nation that allows them to play a game for money.

If the MOH ceremony had been accompanied by, say, an apology from Roger the Dodger Goodell, apologizing for his inaction and promising to discipline players in the future, I might have watched.  I might have applauded.

But it didn’t.  And I didn’t.  And I won’t be back next year.

It was a cheap emotional ploy to try and hook the suckers.  I refuse to be a sucker.

But make no mistake, the kneelers will be back next year.

They can’t admit they are wrong.

But the best postscript of all to the 2017 season is the fact that the Eagles, the one team that never kneeled, took home the trophy.

 

Suck on that, losers!

Seeing Double, or Triple

Hired Guns

In the old west there were people who made their money with their gun.  Hired guns, and hired killers were not necessarily frequent, but certainly existed.  The old “Have Gun Will Travel” radio and television shows dramatically illustrated this willingness to solve other people’s problem with the dissemination of lead a high velocity.

But 2018 is a bit more civil of a society, except, of course, where it isn’t.  Notably places like Chicago and Los Angeles, places with the strictest gun control, have the biggest problems with gang violence, shootings, and murders by gun.  Gosh, it’s almost like you make the public sitting ducks when you take away their guns.  Who would have thought?

Assuming Produces Bad Outcomes

This brings me to the topic du jour.  Specifically, why it is necessary never to assume.  You’ve all heard that “Assume makes an ass out of u and me.”  But I like my drill sergeant’s statement:  “Assume is the mother of all screw ups.” (I will point out, he did not use the words “screw up”).  In a self-defense situation, assume is the mother of “you are dead.”  All you have to do is read the news to know that criminals are not only losers, but they are cowards to boot.  Very few go into a criminal enterprise alone.  For example, let’s look at just the last 24 hours:

 

These are all from just one day.  All these thugs were armed, and all came into homes or cars with the intention of committing violence. If you read the NRA’s Armed Citizen in print or on line, you know that multiple hoodlum robberies are quite a common report.  This is because criminals know that 4 on 1 is not a fair fight, and they don’t want a fair fight.  They want an unfair fight.  They want a fight that they don’t have to work to win.  That’s because they want to rob you clean and leave you in a pool of your own blood.  Dying or wounded people have more trouble calling 911 (their hands are slick and they are not thinking clearly).

Carjackings are becoming much more prevalent.  Recently four gang members attacked a young woman getting out of her Audi in the Birmingham, Alabama area.  She was a person of regular habits, and they had learned those habits; they attacked her and took her keys when she parked at her regular parking place.

Whether it is a carjacking or a home invasion, the likelihood is that you will face multiple attackers, not just one. Again, criminals are cowards and fools; otherwise they would work for a living. Yet, if one is armed, you must assume the others are too.

How Do YOU Answer the Door?

So that begs the question:  How often do you answer the door during the day unarmed?  I never do.  I live in a big neighborhood. I have observant neighbors.  I have an alarm system, and I never ever go to the door unarmed.  I blade the door with my left foot so that I can get to the gun on my right hip if that guy that looks like the postman (see above) turns out to have help and not be the postman.

These are habits I have developed.  Like, when I travel, I always take a doorstop and place it under the hotel room door when I close up for the night.  I do that because, if the bad guys manage to break the chain (one good kick will do it) or the auxiliary lock (again, one good kick) I want them slowed down mechanically by the friction of that doorstop.  It might only give me 3 seconds, but 3 seconds is enough time to get my gun and flashlight up to defend myself.

Assuming that there is only one guy on your doorstep is exactly the kind of screw up that my drill sergeant warned me about.  Unless you have a panoramic view, you have to assume that there could be others in the area, hiding, so that you do not see them.  And, no, those peep holes are no substitute for thick Lexan™ panes in your front door. Just like that cheap Kwikset™ lock on the front door is no substitute for a deadbolt.

Here’s the key point: whether it’s day or night, if you get knocked down at your door, you are not going to be able to recover fast enough to get to a hidden gun.  You are going to be powerless to defend yourself.  So, day or night, if you answer that door, for heaven’s sake do so armed, with your foot positioned so that the door cannot be pushed open easily.  And if it’s dark, always turn on the porch light.  Light is criminal disinfectant.  And if it is dark outside, and you didn’t order that pizza, (this actually happened to me) don’t open the door in the first place.  Tell them to take a hike.  No one needs help figuring out an address at 10:30 at night if they deliver pizzas for a living.  Only bad things can come from this.

Similarly, many of us wear holsters that are difficult (read there: impossible) to draw from while belted into a car.  Getting a car or truck holster (see ideas here, here and here) is important, particularly if you know you’re going to be stopping at stop lights in bad parts of town.  Cars also present a very real problem of distraction if you are traveling with loved ones.  While one person threatens your spouse, you have to deal with the person trying to get the car.  That’s why you lock doors and never ever lower the window to someone you do not know.  And keep in mind that a lot of carjackings start out as a single homeless guy offering to wash your window and morph into a violent confrontation with two or more people.  No one wants to give you something for nothing.

In a follow-on article I will talk about training to take on multiple attackers and the reasons to drill this kind of thing frequently with your family members.  Not because these things happen every day to you, but because they happen every day to someone, and today might be your day!

 

 

 

 

The Duty to Retreat

Do You Have A Duty to Retreat?

Probably not.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as a practical first step in self defense.

Most of the jurisdictions in the United States where there are adequate concealed carry laws have abandoned the age-old doctrine of requiring retreat before using deadly force.  Alabama is a good example:

Ala.Code 1975 § 13A-3-23: Use of force in defense of a person.

(a) A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (5), if the person reasonably believes that another person is:

(1) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.

(2) Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling.

(3) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree, forcible rape, or forcible sodomy.

(4) Using or about to use physical force against an owner, employee, or other person authorized to be on business property when the business is closed to the public while committing or attempting to commit a crime involving death, serious physical injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, or a crime of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12.

***

(b) A person who is justified under subsection (a) in using physical force, including deadly physical force, and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is in any place where he or she has the right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground.

 

While there are other exceptions in the statute, the bottom line is that you can use deadly force against perceived deadly force when there is a threat a reasonable person would presume required it.  The law in Florida and other “stand your ground” states is similar.  But, that does not mean that retreating is not a sound practical way to ensure you don’t spend the rest of your life in the gulag.

Why do I say that?

Because, for the most part, the police do not make charging decisions.  The police are unelected.  They do not answer to the electorate; only their bosses do.  More importantly, the prosecuting attorney, who does answer to the public, is the entity that makes the decision to charge or not charge an individual with a gun-related crime.  This is true for all levels of government, except the FBI when the defendant’s last name is Clinton.

So, what does that mean?  It means that there are a lot of people in elected office who get elected because they’re perceived as “tough on crime” who are in fact charlatans.  They tout conviction rates: “97% of our cases resulted in a guilty plea or conviction,” they say.

Yeah, about that.  When Jethro gets caught with 14 pounds of weed, his attorney plea-bargains possession with intent to sell down to simple possession, a misdemeanor in most cases, and Jethro gets credit for the 14 days he spent in jail before his mama could make his bail.  Jethro walks out a free man.  But – hey – it’s a conviction, right?

When Tyrone goes out and decides to stop Jimmy from selling dope on his street corner, and puts Jimbo in the hospital with high-velocity lead poisoning, it gets sent to the prosecutor as assault with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, and maybe a few other charges like use of a firearm in a drug-related felony.  But Tyrone didn’t have any dope on him when he got arrested, and the police might have been unable to get Jimmy to testify, because Jimmy has his own plans about justice.  So this mayhem gets reduced to simple assault and Tyrone gets probation.

Tough on crime!  You betcha!  Except, not really.

Exceptions

Now, Susie Homemaker is baking cookies for the Boy Scout Jamboree when Cletus decides he needs to sample the goodies (and I don’t mean the cookies).  Cletus breaks in, grabs a knife off the kitchen counter, and comes after Susie, who stands her ground with a .38 Chief’s Special.  Cletus goes down for good.

Stand your ground, right?

Maybe, but maybe not too.

The police will be sympathetic, and will write a report that does not recommend prosecution.  But the prosecutor is running for re-election, and Susie is black, Cletus is white.  There is a racial overtone to the shooting that has absolutely nothing to do with the crime.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  It doesn’t matter.  In a “duty to retreat” state where there is a duty to retreat, it often applies and courts in those states often go through legal gymnastics to find that duty.

Take the case of Patton Gainer versus Maryland.  In that case Gainer was involved in an altercation in his own house with his sister’s boyfriend.  Patton was 16 at the time.  The other boy was older and known to carry a .44 magnum.  When the victim went out for more beer, he returned holding his hands behind his back and saying that he “had something for” Patton, and that he was going to kill him.  Patton shot him when he saw the hands move.  Two slugs from a .22 rifle beat out a non-existent .44 magnum (which reminds us of the first rule of gun-fighting: bring a gun).

The state knew the evidence was in conflict with the sister calling it murder and Momma and the boy’s brothers calling it justifiable.  So an energetic prosecutor brought murder charges and then argued against a self-defense jury instruction.  Under Maryland law, while a duty to retreat exists in public, it does not exist in the home (Maryland has by case law adopted the castle doctrine).  As a result, the appeals court reversed the conviction.

Could You Have Retreated?

So, if Susie/Cletus happens in one of those jurisdictions the first question will be “could you have retreated?”  And if she could have gotten to the bedroom and locked the door, then she is likely to be prosecuted for murder, even though it is likely that Cletus would have plea-bargained a sexual assault case down to simple assault and walked in 13 months.  The prosecutor will argue that Cletus was shot because he was white, or black, or purple, or gay, or whatever because the idea that people defend themselves is somehow foreign to people who surround themselves with armed guards all day long.

So, while there may not be a duty to retreat under your state’s law, and while that duty may be slowly receding in state law generally, retreat is often the best option for several reasons.

Home Invasion

Let’s take a home invasion setting to begin with.

First, if you can safely retreat (that is, if you can get you and everyone you love into one room), and barricade yourself in, you can call 911 and let the police handle the matter.  Sure, the thief may get Grandma’s ring and that $50 you had in the candy jar, but he’ll also likely get caught and you won’t get hurt.  Second, you won’t have to worry about whether you did the right thing by shooting him.  Third, if he comes through the barricade, and particularly if there is more than just you in that room, then it is obvious he is after more than property, and any action you take at this point will be hard for a prosecutor to quarrel with later.

Your Property

Suppose you’re on your front lawn and your crazy neighbor comes swinging a ball bat.  If you can make it inside and lock the door, again, that is not only safer for both of you, it establishes that you had no intent to harm him.  If he bashes in your front window and comes after you anyway, then you have to shoot.

Out in Public

Now, you walk up to the bank and you notice a masked man pointing a gun and demanding money.  He is pointing a gun right at the teller’s head.  Do you enter and take him down?

Not if you’re smart.  If you’re smart you call 911, give your location, describe the situation, and if possible, get cell phone video of the robbery and the person doing the robbery.  Hide.  If the robber doesn’t shoot anyone you can’t be sure he was going to (or that will be the argument the state will make).  And what if this is a simulation for the bank employees?  So, you wait for officers to arrive and then you retreat further.  They get paid to do that kind of work; they know the risks and the tactics.

If the robber starts shooting people, that’s another story.  Now you have a reasonable fear that he will harm others, and now you may act.  But keep in mind, you don’t know who is working with the robber, and you may be placing yourself in both legal jeopardy and personal jeopardy by getting involved.  That’s especially true if you shoot a bystander by accident.  That’s especially true if you use a round that over-penetrates.

If your life, or the life of someone you love is not personally in danger, it is always better to call for help.

Heroes Often Fail

Like Gordon Lightfoot told us, “Heroes often fail.”

Many will argue that helping others is the reason that they carry.  Indeed, in many jurisdictions intervening to stop a robbery is considered heroic.  But it is also important to remember that this isn’t the way things always work out.  In the San Antonio mall shooting last year, the mall had signs prohibiting gun owners from carrying.  It didn’t stop the guy who stopped the robbery, and it sure didn’t stop the two hoodlums who were committing it.  The headline in the USA Today said Shopper Who Shot Suspect Not Allowed to Carry.  You had to read nearly to the end to find out that it was a policy of the mall; the man had a valid permit.  Under Texas law, a sign has the force of law if it meets the state standards.  Still, I would rather be guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor than dead.  That the mall complained about the concealed carrier and not the robber should certainly convince people not to shop there.

Training

When I train, I always train to move back from the target saying “Stop, I’m armed, I will shoot.”  Obviously if you have time in an emergency it is a good thing to do this.  But, defense of life comes before defense in court.  Or said more plainly: you have to survive to be prosecuted.

The Bottom Line

Retreat is a good idea if you have time.  It is a good idea to practice this in range sessions if allowed, and if not, saying “Stop!” to yourself before you pull the trigger is a good way to build it in to your routine if you’re in an indoor no-draw range.