CAFT Fundamentals of Concealed Carry Course

 

Rob Pincus is well known in the gun world.  You see his photograph in different magazines from the NRA to Guns & Ammo. Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 11.42.42 AM

He even appears in advertisements for products now and then.  He has created a Combat Focused Training course, and the Fundamentals of Concealed Carry was the first of his training courses that I have attended.  This review is specific to Central Alabama Firearms Training LLC (www.caftllc.com) and the one-day course it offers in Birmingham, Alabama. I have to tell you, this was a fabulous course.

In order to be certified as an instructor by Pincus you not only have to know how to shoot, and be able to teach it, you have to make it through the training which washes out a good half of the people who take it.  That David McCullough (the owner of CAFT) was able to pass and be certified tells you something very important about his qualifications:  he satisfied Rob Pincus.

Safety is Job One

Training that isn’t safe is not training that you take seriously.  I have walked out of training where people pointed loaded guns at other people.  I am never going to take a chance on someone making the kind of mistake that might cost me my life.  I am happy to say that safety was a big issue at CAFT.  It starts before you sign up.

You are encouraged to bring your defensive firearm and an outside the waistband holster.  I brought both IWB and OWB but wound up using my N82Tactical IWB because I could reholster easier with it than an OWB.  Also, I place a much higher value on being able to conceal my firearm than others I guess.  One of the things we were instructed not to bring was a shoulder holster.

If you are unfamiliar with firearms training, or having been on a firing line with other people, you don’t understand the common-sense safety built into this requirement.  If you, in your daily life, want to wear one, I am sure David would have no problem with you doing so.   But look at this image because you have to understand the inherent danger in a shoulder holster:shoulder holster sweep

Now note where the pistol is pointing when you wear a holster: directly at the person behind you.  In most cases, that means your instructors.  And as you draw, you sweep across anyone on the firing line to your left or right.  In this instance a negligent discharge would be potentially fatal.  So these were outlawed at the beginning.  A commitment to safety that is evident in preparation is noteworthy in my view.  I will discuss other safety-related issues as they arise in this review.

Another thing I liked about this training was that it assumed you had an understanding of the legal basis for self-defense, how the state law applied to you, and whether you needed legal advice.  As an attorney I am often amazed at the exceptionally bad advice given by instructors (like: “hang up on 911”).  None of that here.  You were encouraged to read for yourself and get legal advice.  This is excellent advice, not just because I am a lawyer, but also because it underscores that anyone can give you legal “instruction” but only a lawyer can tell you how the law applies to a given situation.  However, I would also be remiss if I did not mention that they offered sound and practical advice about how to deal with the police after such a self-defense shooting.  This was not legal advice, but practical advice.

Classroom

Mr. McCullough taught the didactic portion of the class by himself.  He used Powerpoint slides and a few videos to make points.  The instruction was in the same trailer used by the local SWAT team and had photos all over the place of police officers with guns.  You were reminded at every level that what you do when you carry a firearms involves the approbation of law enforcement, and is closely monitored by them.  CAFT provided snacks and coffee, and on the range provided bottled water.  Restroom facilities were available.

The class was designed for ten, but we had eleven people in our class.  Two of the attendees had taken the class before and were repeating it.  That to me was an expression of the value that they perceived from the class.  Inside a classroom a 1:11 ratio of instructor to student is not a problem.  On a live fire range, however, it has the potential to be a disaster.  So I was very relieved to see six additional instructors at the range and available for the live fire portion of the training.

Before I get to that, let me say that many of the topics covered in the classroom portion were similar to topics I have covered here.  The range at which most gunfights occur, the degree of hits, etc.  There was a discussion about choice of ammo.  There was a great deal of practical information.  But it all boiled down to preparing us for the range.  Not only was there additional safety information provided in class, we were not allowed to bring any ammunition into the classroom.

Range Time

When we went to the range, the safety briefing was first. They used electronic hearing protection so that we could hear the instructors easily.  They insisted on eye protection.  We could not even load magazines until we were on the range and even then we could not load our pistols until instructed.  The range safety briefing was a kinder and gentler version of the same briefing I had in Army boot camp.  It boiled down to the four rules of gun safety, and of course, emphasis on what I call the really big rule:  Keep Your Booger Hook off the Bang Button.

One of the many things the Army does right is instruction “by the numbers.”  This breaks down a complicated series of steps into movements you can perform following numbers.  That is what CAFT did with the draw stroke and with firing at the targets.  Breaking these down for each individual movement was very important because several of the attendees had never fired a gun before.  Instructors were patient, and offered excellent pointers.  More importantly, they were providing a means through which we could develop muscle memory.  The brain is structured in such a way that response time to any emergency can be improved through practice, training, and experience in advance. Such preparation involves converting complex cognitive operations (which take 8‐ 10 seconds) into simple cognitive operations (which take 1‐ 2 seconds).  This conversion of a series of complex operations (the draw stroke, high compressed ready, extend, touch, press, etc) into one simple operation overcomes the limitation on the brain’s storage capacity within working memory.  It provides the brain with a prewired solution to a problem.

One of the things that defensive firearms instructors often include is “checking your six” in a defensive shooting because the threat in front of you may not be the only one.  So we were asked to check our six every time.  It was integrated into muscle memory.  But checking your six is a useless act if you are not really looking!  So instructors behind us held up fingers and we had to tell them what they were holding up.  Pressure was ratcheted up with instructions to shoot numbers, multiple threats, and then numbers that added up to numbers.  Lots of us made errors, but those errors were always patiently corrected.

The instructor who worked with me demonstrated to me how important a good grip was by showing me the difference in my groupings when I had a good grip (1 to 2 inches) versus when I had a less-effective grip (all over the place).  We were encouraged not to look at our gun when reloading, to move between rounds of fire, and to move when reloading.  At nearly every step of the way, the pressure was increased, and as students we responded.  I learned more in one day than I did my entire time in the Army, and I qualified on every rifle and pistol available to issue in the Army.

The Simulation of Your Life

Yet, while I got a lot out of the range time, and learned a great deal, what I got the most out of was the Simunitions drill.  Simunitions are a kind of paintball round fired by a modified Glock 19.  As it so happens, my Everyday Carry is a Glock 19 (although I used a S&W M&P Model 2.0 for the class).  It fit my holster perfectly.  Each of us could only watch the scenarios after we had participated in our own.

When my time came I was placed in a Darth Vader type helmet, given the magic Glock, and sent for a walk.  I won’t describe the scenario because they may want to use it again, but suffice it to say that it started out as a “defense of others” scenario and quickly became a self-defense situation.  The speed with which the situation degenerated was amazing, and it produced the exact reaction it was supposed to produce.

What do we know about self-defense situations?  We know that we get an adrenaline dump, that we develop tunnel vision, and that our fine motor skills go quickly to hell, leaving us only with muscle memory and learned responses.  I knew this was a simulation.  I am in reasonably good shape.  Yet when I was attacked and I had to draw that weapon and fire, I found my heart rate had jumped from 60 to 130.  After the shooting they have you simulate a call to 911.  I had to take a breath every few words.  I was literally gasping for breath in spite of the fact that the only exercise I had was drawing and firing.  And at the moment that I fired I could not see anyone but my attacker.  I had tunnel vision.  Even though I knew this was a simulation, it was certainly the closest thing in the world to a real-world shooting incident.  This one exercise made the ridiculously small price of $150 very much worth it.  What I took away from that encounter was confidence.  I not only could engage in a self-defense shooting, I could prevail if I did.

Bottom Line:  Great Training

I have wracked my brain trying to think of something, anything I could say that was a significant omission from the course.  A review should be about both the good and the bad.  But here the only thing I can honestly say I would have liked to see that I didn’t see was training on pre-assault indicators.  In a 9 hour intensive action course, that’s a pretty minimal omission.

The instructors that worked with me were terrific.  They improved my shooting. I have the basis now to know what I need to add to the range bag to improve my personal training at the range.  And perhaps most importantly, I know that if I practice what I learned I will be a better defensive shooter.

There are lots of NRA courses that teach some basic skills.  Very few teach the kind of life-saving things that the Fundamentals of Concealed Carry Course teach.  For more information on this excellent program, go to their website.  It is worth your time to drive, fly, bike or walk to Birmingham for this training.  I know I am glad that I did.

I will update this review with photos shortly.

Updated 1-25-18 to correct spelling of Mr. McCullough’s name.

 

Why We Train

Survival Depends on Training

There are very few savants who come from the womb with knowledge of gun-fighting.  That’s not to say that there might not be a few, because I am sure that some people take naturally to guns without a great deal of training, and perhaps internalize all the bad moves seen in the movies and on television (like putting your finger inside the trigger guard when you are not actively getting ready to shoot).

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Nevertheless, for most of us, what we learn about guns and fighting with guns comes from one of two sources: our military or police training and what we get from knowledgeable (and sometimes unknowledgeable) friends.  Experts tell us that only a small percentage of what we learn in training is retained long term.  Some claim it is as little as 35% when lecture and reading are combined with Audiovisual and Demonstration.  I know from personal experience that I had to watch a YouTube video to remember how to clean my M-16 (now an AR-15) after lugging that damned thing all over Korea and cleaning it every other day.  Of course, that was 32 years ago.  Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 3.32.20 PM

This illustrates an important principle; we tend to forget that which we have learned and which we have not used and practiced.  This is because memory is very selective; we remember what we think we need, and may not remember what we actually see.  Perception and memory often result in a loss of almost 95% of the information obtained through training. It’s called the Forgetting Curve.  That’s why training needs to happen on a regular basis.

Finding this difficult to believe?  Well, watch this training video and see how you do.  Unless you truly are a savant, you were left feeling more than a little silly at the end of that video.  The fact is that training, like freshly caught fish, must be used quickly.  It must be reinforced through practice.  It must become a part of your habits and daily life.  In terms of carrying a weapon concealed, training is the difference between shooting someone and getting shot, cut, stabbed or worse.  How many times have you heard someone say “I got a gun to keep me safe!”  And how many times did the person take it to a range and learn how to use it properly?  My guess is the smaller number is the last one.

Here’s a news flash: Guns do not make you safe, but training makes you safer.

The Illusion of Safety

There is a wonderful parable from the Destroyer series of books written by Sapir and Murphy.  Yes, they are terrible pulp fiction, but buried in many of them are little treasures of wisdom.  In one book the support character, Chuin, tells the story of the King who learned that a rival king had paid an assassin to kill him.  He had his minister hire the person who could make him safe, a consultant so to speak.  The consultant’s first observation was that the walls were easily scaled.  So the King increased the height of his walls, asked the consultant if this made him safe, and the consultant said “no, people could just dig under.”  So he lined the inside of the castle walls with heavy rocks and asked if this made him safe.  Again the consultant answered in the negative.  He doubled the guards. “How do you know one of them is not your assassin,” the consultant asked. Frustrated, the King asked “is there no way to make me safe?”

The consultant said “if you want to be safe, come with me into the woods at the north of the castle and dismiss your guards.  You and I must be alone.”  The King dismissed his guards and followed the consultant into the woods.  The consultant handed the King a shovel and asked him to dig a hole.

“I am a King,” the man said.  “I do not dig holes; I command other people to dig holes.”

“This is what you must do if you want to be safe,” the consultant said.

Thinking that this would somehow make him invincible, the King reluctantly dug a nice six foot hole.  “Am I safe now,” he asked.

“Your majesty, you are in the safest place you will ever be, you are totally safe.”

“I am?”

“Yes,” said the consultant, drawing a sheathed knife, “you’re in your grave.”

The story had an unhappy end for the King, but the consultant got paid by two kings to kill one.

And, no, the moral of the story is not that you should never hire a consultant from more than 25 miles away from home, the moral is, as Chuin tells us later “no greater enemy exists than your own illusion of safety.”

Let me repeat Chuin’s wonderful statement:  No greater enemy exists than your own illusion of safety.

Why?

Because life can go from happy to chaos in a matter of moments.  One minute you can be escorting your bride down the street, and the next moment you could be confronted with a lunatic with a baseball bat and an unchecked sexual urge.  When you are wondering about, blithely ignoring the cues all around you (no people on the street, quiet when there should be noise, or noise when there should be quiet, etc.) your illusion of safety can get you killed.

Having gone to an indoor range and pulled the trigger on your firearm a couple of dozen times does not prepare you for this moment.  Can you draw before that man with the baseball bat can get to you?  Can you shoot him and stop the threat when your hands are shaking like an electrician on a live wire?  If he gets to you before you can get your gun into operation, will he take it away and use it on you?  If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then you need training.

I Already Had Training….

“Wait a minute,” you say.  “I had to take training to get my license!”

Sure you did.  That training made sure you didn’t shoot your toes or someone else’s ass off because you didn’t know which end of the firearm went “bang.”  It acquainted you with the law as it existed at that moment.  It gave you a nice little piece of paper that satisfied the statute, but it likely did nothing whatsoever for your safety.

Why?

  • Because it didn’t teach you how to draw from concealment.
  • It didn’t teach you situational awareness.
  • It didn’t teach you how to look for pre-assault indicators.
  • It didn’t teach you that a knife 21 feet away from a holstered firearm is more deadly than the holstered firearm.
  • It didn’t give you any realistic expectation of where your encounter with deadly force might occur.
  • It didn’t prepare you for the emotional costs of taking a human life.
  • And it didn’t prepare you for the aftermath.  And there will be aftermath.  You will need a clear head.

None of us would put a hammer in our pants and call ourselves a carpenter unless we knew how to be a carpenter.  A hammer doesn’t make you one.  Picking up two wires and splicing them doesn’t make you a lineman either.  Like anything else, what makes you what you wish to be is education, experience, practice and eventually, skill.

There is an aphorism that says wisdom is knowledge rightly applied.  In other words, knowing things doesn’t make you wise, knowing the right things and applying them properly makes you wise.  A different way to think about experience is that experience provides you with the way to make enough mistakes to become wise.

But in terms of gun handling and preparing to defend yourself, “experience” is often binary.  In other words, you only gain experience if you survive.  Depending on experience to carry the day when you practice without a goal in mind is counting on surviving before you have even prepared to survive.

Do You Want to Live?

Have I made the case for taking training beyond the basic training  you got when you got your carry permit?  I believe I have.  In my next blog post I will share with you some of my observations of a recent training experience.  But before I got there, I wanted you to have some time to think about why training is so necessary.

So I leave you with this video.  In it you have a deputy sheriff.  He was well-trained.  He had protective equipment on.  He had practiced with his firearm.  He was likely a good shot.  Listen to his voice as the situation goes from bad to worse.  Watch as he hesitates.  And then listen to his screams as he is shot nine times, even though he managed to wound the suspect once. From the video you can tell he failed to learn the most important lesson of his training: you have to do what it takes to survive.

Starbucks Provides Us Answers!

Note that what follows was written before Starbucks commented.  Starbucks denies this person ever worked for them in Atlanta or anywhere else.  Until someone can prove otherwise, I accept their answer.

I leave the rest of this here because I feel it serves a purpose, but I will edit to remove any improper taint for Starbucks.  Readers take note: Starbucks denies the post, and I believe them.


Usually I stick to firearms and gun topics on here, but today I saw something that made me so angry I decided I had to write about it.  I have demanded answers: you should too!

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Again,  what follows assumes the truth of what this person did.  Asserting these things is heinous in and of itself.

Somewhere around 8th grade you realize that the school system is keeping score, that grades matter, and that an education is important.  Even people who hate school, teachers, and everything else, recognize that education is either a promoter or a limiter depending in large part on your grand desires for life.

I am firmly convinced no one ever dreamed that their life’s work would be serving coffee at a Starbucks.  People get hired at Starbucks either because (a) they’re working on a degree or other self-improvement; or (b) that’s the only work they’re qualified to do.  And keep in mind, that’s not a high hurdle anymore since cash registers tell you how much money to give back.  Basically if you can pour water and speak something close to English, you get hired.  That’s not a dig at Starbucks either; they have a very simple product/market.  You don’t need brain surgeons selling coffee.

Back to 8th grade.  That fussy math teacher is telling you that Algebra, Geometry and math in general are important to your future career plans.  It may be hard, it may be boring in some ways, but its important.  You have a choice: do it or not.  To paraphrase Yoda, “do or do not, there is no try.”  Or as I often say, trying is just a noisy way of not doing something.  You either let letters and equation symbols beat you into a life of servile dependence, or you master them.  Even if you don’t like them.  Even if you think you’ll never use them.  I remember vividly asking my former Trig teacher and Satan’s personal emissary here on earth, why I needed math.  I argued I’d never use it.  Then I wound up having to calculate entrainment ratios and suddenly realized just how important my high school and college math education was.  (But I still don’t like her.)

The important thing is, I had a choice, just like everyone has a choice.  Educate and liberate yourself, or fail to get an education and condemn your life to following orders.  Case in point, my time in the Army.  It is the ultimate place where following orders you may not like is a way of life, and failure to do so gets you jail time.

Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the Army.  Where else do they give you a gun, send you to strange new lands, allow you meet strange new people, and pay you to kill them.  For the most part I worked with officers I truly admired and respected.  But there was this one Sergeant Major who would not respect the chain of command.  He wanted personal services not because he had the military authority to command them, but rather because he thought his feces were not capable of producing aroma.  I politely explained to him the chain of command and suggested he talk to my boss, the Captain, to whom I was directly attached and who dictated what I could and could not do.  He ordered me to do his work.  I refused, went to see the Captain, and the Captain straightened him out.  If that was the end of the story, I might have stayed in the Army.  But he came back to me a few weeks later and told me that the Army was a small family, that we’d meet again, that he would see to it, and that he would make my life a living hell.

You see, in the Army, even if those appointed over you are simpering morons, you have to follow their orders.  Even if it gets you killed.  When my ETS came, I did not re-enlist.  I had by then achieved my VA benefits, and I went to college and ultimately law school because I like being my own boss, setting my own priorities, and benefitting (or not) from my own choices.  I follow orders to this day, because we all have bosses at some level.  But my bosses can’t send me to the gulag.

All this gets back to choices.  I made choices.  I could not pay for college, so I mortgaged 4 years of my future for a 4 year degree.  I followed orders for 4 years.  Nowhere in that time, even when receiving truly stupid orders, or being asked to do servile things (clean the coffee pot, bring someone coffee, KP, etc.) did I ever contemplate poisoning people with dog feces, or spitting in the drinks of other people.

You get a job.  You owe the company loyalty.  You owe the customers your honest effort.  You get paid for what you do.  You get punished for what you do not do.  That is how employment works.  To take petty, childish, and assaultive actions against people on the basis of their race (and that’s what this person did), is beyond repugnant.

To date, no action has been taken against the worker.  This is, sadly, a form of “black privilege.”  You can get away with bad behavior if you’re angry, poorly educated, and black.  You can be forgiven because you were “oppressed.”

No one alive today and born in the US was ever a slave.  No one’s parents were slaves.  No one’s grandparents were slaves.  Yes, slavery was awful, but hundreds of thousands of men perished to put an end to it.  Being angry and black does not give you the right to inflict your version of social justice on others.

And, perhaps the worst thing of all, in my opinion, was her assertion of poisoning the child’s hot chocolate.  A four year old child is not capable of seeing race.  She is not capable of hating a person (but broccoli, maybe).  She is still sweet, innocent, and in most cases delightful. And this monster put ground up pit bull feces on her hot chocolate, and act that could have caused E coli contamination.  An act that could have claimed that child’s life.  That is criminal!

But far worse is the fact that after doing so, she bragged about it as if it were a good thing.  You cannot tell me her boss did not know she was doing this.  You cannot tell me her co-workers did not know she was doing this if it really happened.  It doesn’t wash.  My guess: everyone at this location was in on the scheme, and everyone should be considered a co-conspirator, again, assuming its true.  Everyone from the manager down at that location should be fired if it is true.  The location should be permanently closed.

I will drink coffee at a Starbucks again.  I accept their explanation.  That people would assert this kind of thing in an attempt to scare others on the basis of race is both criminal and shameful.   And while these crimes cannot be prosecuted without evidence, Starbucks can surely unleash a battalion of lawyers on them.

So, Starbucks…. thanks for responding.  Good luck in finding these swine and making them pay.

When the Unexpected Happens

 

We always tell ourselves “it will never happen to me.”  And, for the most part, we’re right.  It rarely happens to us.  But when it does, and you are not prepared, it can be a real bummer.

September 18, coming home from a long series of depositions, I tripped over a piece of concrete.  In trying to catch myself with my right hand, I fractured my right wrist.  I didn’t hear it break, I thought I sprained it.  But radiographs don’t lie.IMG_7981

My right hand was my shooting hand.

Oh, sure, every time I went to the range I shot 5 to 10 rounds left handed and always hit the target, but I never gave much thought to actually training hard with my left hand because left handed shooting was just there in case something…happened …. To my…. Right hand.  Oh shit.  Something happened to my right hand!  I did not have any way to draw or manipulate a firearm with my right hand for 10 weeks.  And it has only been the last four weeks when I have been able to get any movement out of that wrist.  The doc says it will never be 100%.  I will have severe limitations on movement and flexibility. (“Hey, you’re 62 dumbass!”)

I have, for the last few years when I went to the range (usually monthly) trained in the Israeli manner.  Israelis traditionally do not carry a round in the chamber.  They draw, chamber, and fire.  I had gotten pretty good with it.  I would say I was within one half a second of most other people who draw from concealment, flip off a safety, and fire.  But now my vaunted Glock 19 would either need to be carried with a round in the chamber, or I would need to carry a cocked and locked 1911, or my Sig P229.

I considered just carrying the Sig.  It’s big, and bulky, and difficult to conceal.  It’s .40 caliber so it kicks like a Missouri mule.  I have difficulty with follow-up shots.  Then there is the weight.  It is significantly heavier than the Glock.  The idea of having a gun the size of a sack of concrete and about the same weight did not appeal to me.  But I strapped it on and after the cast came off I practiced drawing from concealment with an empty firearm.  I dropped it twice.  The weight unloaded was more than my damaged wrist could maintain, and I became convinced that I’d be lucky to get only one shot off with the Sig.

I considered the 1911 but I found, carrying it IWB for a couple of weeks, that the safety had an annoying habit of getting taken off by movement, and so I did not feel safe carrying the 1911.

So that left either chambering the rounds in the Glock and carrying that way, or drawing from concealment with my left hand, with a left-hand holster.

So, have you looked for a left-handed holster recently?  I tried Cabelas, Bass Pro, my local gun shops, and finally came up with a left-handed holster.  The problem: it was for a S&W M&P 2.0.  Ugh.  If you’re a lefty, you’re pretty much left to catalogs to get a holster because I can assure you that even big super-stores do not carry something you can evaluate in person.

So I said to the guy at Jimmy’s Guns (Best gun store in Fort Walton Beach, FL, BTW), let me see a M&P 2.0.  I loved the fact that it had a visual cue as to whether the weapon had a round chambered.  I loved that it accommodated a 17 round magazine.  I liked the serrations on the slide.  But I really enjoyed the safety that was ambidextrous and intuitive.  And that’s how I would up with my newest firearm.

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Here it’s shown with the 17 round magazine.    I found this “warning” interesting

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The sights are very nice, although this photo doesn’t do them justice:

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I like the feel of the weapon, if not how the weapon feels.  Here’s a view of the grip

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Wait a minute, you say.  That sentence doesn’t make sense.  Well, of course not, I wrote it.  But here’s what I meant.  I love the way the pistol feels in my hand.  The grip is firm, perfectly sized, and comes up to a perfect sight picture from my left hand.  It is easily as lightweight as my Glock, and it has better stippling, something like skateboard tape, on the grip.  But the same stuff that makes it aces to hold on to makes it feel like you’re mating with a porcupine when it’s up against your skin, which is usually necessary when you’re carrying IWB with your shirt out.

So, it would appear that I am going to have to get myself a different holster for my new left-handed gun while I work on rehabilitating my right-handed shooting.  And I will have to train like a maniac in the interim with my left hand.  Because I will not carry a firearm if I cannot draw and fire safely.  Safety is, after all, our primary responsibility.

Las Vegas: No Conspiracy

Until now a broken wrist has kept me from giving my opinion on the Las Vegas shooting. I’ve also kept my distance from the subject at least in large part because I believe that the agencies involved needed some time to sort through the facts.

Consider, if you will, what it might be like to be working on a calculus problem – something that requires a lot of thought and focus – and have a two-year-old interrupt you every five seconds with inane questions. If you can envision that, then you can envision exactly what the Las Vegas police have been going through since the day of shooting. The media has been all over this. While they have been doing their job, they have also been contributing to the confusion.

Every network tries to get an exclusive, and then share that exclusive with the public irrespective of whether it may actually be true or conflict with what the Las Vegas police have discovered. And of course what is perceived as a lack of transparency is more likely just complexity at work. Sort of like trying to pick up 10,000 Skittles on a basketball court and sort them by color while 3rd graders play kickball around you. The Las Vegas PD has been doing just that kind of job. Doing countless interviews, collecting countless bits of data and crime scene material, and evaluating video shot from about 300 different angles.

You probably also seen where many of the people who had their phones confiscated by the police and FBI received their phones back and they’re without the videos. Someone is trying to spin this into a conspiracy. It is not a conspiracy, it’s simply an attempt to keep stupid people from sharing senselessly stupid graphic evidence foolishly or in a way that ultimately harms the outcome of the investigation. Investigations require careful calm scientific and procedurally correct methods. They can’t be rushed. But when they are they also can be screwed up. Take for example the infamous Olympic bombing. One of the reasons Mr. Rudolf got away with it for so long was that a security guard was erroneously blamed for it and had a long road back trying to reclaim his reputation. The fog of war often causes police to focus on any solution and not always the right one.

On Townhall.com Steve Sheldon takes a very cerebral approach to the subject, suggesting conspiracy theorists ask each other 8 tough questions. Most are spot on, but #8 leaves me certain that Steve needs an education in firearms. He asks:

  1. Why is it necessary that the shooter have military or law enforcement experience to do what he did?

Steve seems to think that semiautomatic firearms require very little training. That has certainly not been my experience. In the army we were taught the basics of the M-16 (the forerunner of the AR 15), over the course of about two weeks. We learned how to take it apart and put it back together. We learn how to clean. Only then did we learn how to operate it. And that instruction was done with one or two bullets at a time. On the range we were never allowed to fire the weapon on full auto. Although our weapons would operate on full auto, we were told that we be court-martialed if we made that mistake. Later, in training in the Republic of Korea, I did get to fire the M-16 in full automatic mode. I will simply say that is a great deal different than trying to fire the weapon on semiautomatic. The very same recoil that fuels the automatic weapon, also causes the weapon to rise off target. That’s why we were taught to fire three or four around bursts, not simply hold down the trigger.

The idea that someone could go out into the desert and in three or four months learn how to control an AR 15 on full automatic is simply ridiculous. Fully automatic fire reduces accuracy. The only thing it is good for is spray and pray. In other words if you are not a good shot, and you have lots of targets, then you can hit lots of targets in lots of places, but you can never be assured of lethality. Had Paddock known fully what he was doing, he would have fired only on semi-auto, and used a sight to improve his accuracy. But lethality was not his goal: terror was.

Then there is the issue of magazines, magazine changes, and the ability to continue to fire, large numbers of rounds. To date no one in the Las Vegas police department or the FBI have announced how many rounds were fired by Mr. Paddock. We simply do not know. It could be 200, it could be 500, it could be more, but we don’t know. Assuming that he had 30 round magazines, and assuming that he taped them together top to bottom, he would have had 60 rounds available that he could have fired in probably less than a minute given magazine changes. He would have fired 30 rounds, the bolt would have kicked open, he would’ve had to hit the magazine release, pull out the empty magazine, slam in the new magazine, and again hit the bolt release. All of this takes time. When a person is first learning to use a rifle it sometimes takes 30 seconds to master this. With training you can get this time down to a matter of seconds. Listening to the audio of the shooting, magazine changes were done with exceptional speed. This would indicate either a great deal of training or a great deal of practice or both.

There is a reason why Paddock had so many firearms in his room. He realized that even well-maintained semi automatic weapons jam, and stop firing. Nothing has yet been released on the status of firearms found, but it is reasonable to assume that several of them stopped working during the massacre. This is reasonable because firing the weapon so quickly would have caused extreme heat in the barrel, and likely would have produced jamming. Only an individual who was familiar with the unique characteristics of semi automatic weapons would understand the necessity to keep more than one semi automatic rifle in the room if you were going to fire on what was essentially full automatic. You’d need several weapons.

You’d also need to have numerous magazines preloaded. You need to have them taped together so as to make it easy to change them quickly. You would need to have a way to move from firearm to firearm when one or more of them became inoperative. For a guy who was not known to be a “gun guy“ it seems obvious that he had some kind of training. Where that training took place, who did it, and how much practice he had before the event we may never know. But it simply is not possible for him to have watched YouTube videos, gone into the desert, and figured this all out on his own. I realized the guy was smart, and a CPA, but that’s not the kind of background that prepares you to be a mass murderer.  I believe he did have training, but I also believe it wasn’t competent training, and that there is no tie to the government of the USA.

For the record, if there is a conspiracy, and if there is a cover-up, it is designed to protect property interests in Las Vegas. It is being done at the request of the casinos. It is being done so as to get this out of the news as quickly as possible, so that the gamblers come back as quickly as possible. Someone once observed that you should never attribute to malevolence that which is more properly attributed to incompetence.  Or, in this case, greed.

I do not wish to assert that the Las Vegas PD is in incompetent. But neither are they distinguishing themselves in this investigation. That does not mean there is a conspiracy. But I believe that if there are problems here, they relate almost exclusively to trying to conduct a major investigation inside the media fishbowl. The truth will eventually come out. When it does we may find a motive, and we may not. But one thing is sure: the evil that was Mr. Paddock is no longer with us.

 

 

Liberalism’s Centerpiece

To listen to the news you would think that San Francisco is a liberal paradise.  Those AntiFa assholes certainly love it out here.

But for us normal folk, it is not a paradise of any kind. The last few days I have been in San Francisco, and it has devolved into the city of broken dreams. Homeless people are all over the place, many demanding that you give them money to eat. Notice I did not say “asking nicely” I said, “demanding.” They will follow you until you give them the Klingon stare of death and use that Bane voice from Batman to say “No!”

I have no problem with homeless people who are mentally unsound and unable to make their way in normal life. But most of these people are bums by profession. They roam the streets and they stalk the tourists in the trendy areas by doing gross things to attact attention and get money. They will pull half-eaten ice cream sundaes out of the trash cans and start eating someone else’s dessert not so much because they’re hungry (they’re the best-fed overweight bums I’ve seen) but rather, so they can con you into giving them money.

Liberals tell us that if we just do enough with government, we can make everyone’s life better. But the fact is, the only lives that get improved are the suits administering the programs; the rest of us just give up larger and larger portions of our income.

The final straw for me tonight was going to the Walgreens and buying two bottles of Diet Coke. “Do you want a bag?” — no, moron, I want to carry these cold drinks in my hands for half a mile… what do you think? Well, a bag out here costs you a dime. That’s right, California has seen fit to insist on you recycling or contributing to recycling by requiring you to pay for your bags. Doubtless this goes into some fund to save Orca the Killer Whale or something. But it’s the nanny state writ large.

Worst of all, in the People’s Republic of California, you cannot be armed without buying off some police official in order to get your permit, and they do not recognize any other state’s permits. In essence, they penalize the law abiding citizen and traveler, making them easy marks for the criminal class in California, all without delivering a crime-free state, while at the same time rewarding the criminality of illegal aliens. It’s like California is a criminal’s dream: the citizens are disarmed, and can’t fight back.

Several years ago I was offered a job out here. I toyed with the idea.

I am so glad I did not take it.

An Open Letter to Paul “No Wall” Ryan

Congressman Ryan:

As the Speaker of the House you hold immense power. That power is granted to you by the voters. Those voters ensured a conservative Supreme Court, and sought to obtain from Congress a border wall to protect them, tax reform to generate prosperity, a repeal of Obamacare to eliminate federal interference in the healthcare marketplace, and national concealed carry reciprocity to ensure their personal safety in a world dominated by crime and violence.

You have failed in your quest to repeal Obamacare.  You seem much more interested in protecting a bunch of illegal aliens that will never vote for you than in enacting tax reform, and in your wisdom – a term that must be used only the in the loosest form – you have said that not only will the voters not get their wall, but that they won’t get conceal and carry reciprocity because the time “isn’t right.” In spite of more than 80 co-sponsors, you’ve determined now is not the time. So the voters have one question: Do you want to keep your job?

It may come as some surprise to someone in the public service sector, but out here in the real world (where people work 8 to 12 hours for a days pay) we employees are required (it’s not a suggestion, we’re not “encouraged,” we are required) to follow the dictates of our boss. If the construction foreman tells the carpenter to cut a four foot board, a four foot, two inch board doesn’t work. It’s the kind of thing that gets employees – even ones who honestly think that they know better about how long the board should be – fired from their jobs.

Mr. Speaker, we have one boss: the president.  You sir, are not doing what the boss wants.  It is time to quit cutting the wrong sized boards!

I realize that you have been in Congress so long you now believe (1) rules that apply to others do not apply to you; and (2) all you have to do is continue to con Wisconsin voters and you get to keep your job. This is not true.

There is a growing movement in this country to replace you with someone who will do the will of the Commander in Chief and who will work arm-in-arm with the administration to do the actual will of the people who elected you. Right now I will be contributing as much as I can to your primary challenger, and, if you succeed in conning the Republican electorate, to any Democrat who opposes you.  The voters will not tolerate their agenda being ignored;  you need to be fired!

Even should you manage to use all those corporate donations from deep-pockets companies to continue to bamboozle Wisconsin voters, I have instructed my representative to vote for anyone who opposes you for Speaker. I will continue to remind my representative frequently that you need to be replaced, and that his continued service is contingent on you not having the Speaker’s gavel next term.

I realize you think you’re the smartest guy in the room. And, in some limited respects, you may be. But guile and charisma only carry you so far. When the voters are angry that they are not getting what they were promised (remember how you said you would repeal and replace Obamacare and then blew that?) they tend to vote against the people who are screwing them.  Right now, Mr. Speaker, that’s you!

Fortunately, for you, there is still time to avoid this outcome. You could still have a reasonably successful term as Speaker if you cooperate with the administration and if you pass the bills we need passed: border wall, Obamacare repeal, tax reform, and concealed carry reciprocity.  Stop currying favor with Democrats and start doing what you were elected to do!

You badly underestimated the anger of the electorate in 2016. You may not like the President, but you owe him the duty of cooperation in his agenda because it is the people’s agenda. And if you do not discharge that duty, we will discharge you.

So, please, for your sake, and more importantly, for the country’s sake, do your damned job Mr. Speaker. Do your damned job!

Educate, Don’t Legislate

 

Today someone on Quora asked what the difference was between a 9 mm bullet and a 22 mm bullet. Okay, you all understand, this is someone who wants to know the difference between a 9 mm and a .22 caliber bullet, but they don’t know how to ask the question.  Yes, its a stunning display of ignorance, but they don’t teach this stuff in school any more.

If you haven’t looked at Quora, you’ll be amazed by the alarmingly insipid comments and the questions that betray a total ignorance of firearms. I try to dedicate an hour a week to answering some of these questions, and correcting the bad answers others give. And just like there are bad questions, there are bad answers.  But some of the answers on Quora are things of beauty.  In fact, I wish I had copied some to my “what to tell an idiot” file, because some of them are that good.  But I try to get on and answer as often as I can. I do this for a reason.

The main reason I do this is because it is far better to educate than advocate. If you can educate the public about firearms, you can get them to understand that they are no more dangerous than any other tool in the garage (in other words, harmless if used properly, dangerous if used dangerously). When you tell someone like the questioner above that gun control doesn’t work, and especially if he can find a metric to English conversion on the internet, he thinks there are people out there shooting bullets the size of your thumb on a regular basis.

If you ask the general public, what they know about guns they’ve learned on TV. What do we know about TV? We know it is rarely if ever accurate. We see Dirty Harry firing his .44 magnum one-handed with amazing accuracy. We see hoodlums holding their guns sideways (and not putting out their eyes with spent casings). We see silencers that make guns go “pfft!” We do not see reality.

Adding to this bad information about guns, there is bad information about gunshots. People shot in the chest with a .38 do not walk out of the hospital the next day with their arm in a sling. Instead they spend the next two weeks spitting up blood and trailing around a chest tube drainage device, all the while receiving pain killers because every breath is a fresh reminder they were shot. People either live or die after a gun shot wound. But you never see them in rehab. You never see them in the ICU on a ventilator. You never see them 40 pounds lighter when they finally come out of the hospital. You never see them cower every time there’s a loud noise.

We know Hollywood hates us. We know that this is purposeful disinformation that they spread. We also know that the media plays a huge role in convincing the general public what they should be very afraid of.

So it only makes sense that our job should be to teach. If you educate, you don’t have to worry about the government legislating your rights out of existence. It is never too late to start the battle to teach people about firearms. Explain why you carry. Explain why you spend at least one day a month at the range. Explain why you work hard to be able to continue to carry in confidence.

If you do this, you make it much more likely that when you’re advocating for our causes, your friends and neighbors who do not own guns (and who don’t want to) will think “Fred is a very responsible gun owner who taught me a lot. If he thinks this is a good law, it must be a good law.”

Educate, so we don’t have to Legislate.

Your Dream is my Nightmare

John McCain: @POTUS’s decision on #DACA is wrong approach at a time when both sides need to compromise on #immigration reform mccain.senate.gov/public/index.c…

AJ: Regardless of what President Trump says or does, #DACA recipients still have rights

Harry Shrum Jr. Cruelty on display and hidden agendas from this administration. I stand with you #DACA Dreamers. Your voice is louder now, more than ever.

Allan Marshall: 100% #Dreamers have NO criminal record. 91% have jobs. Find me a single Trump rally where that’s the case.

Anthony: #EnoughIsEnough ending #DACA is plain out Racism! DEFEND DACA or pay the price of your job in 2018 @SenDeanHeller @SenWhitehouse

 

These are just a sampling of things people have said on Twitter in the last 24 hours about the fact that DACA is ending. These tweets evidence a number of terrible misunderstandings about law and politics

McCain is Wrong…. Again!

First, the idea that what is needed is compromise is a ridiculous notion. Compromise is something that happens when people want to achieve a goal that is shared, but the method of achieving the goal is up for discussion. It’s a win win strategy that says “you get something, and I get something.” The idea being we can get a border wall if we let these “dreamers” stay. McCain’s brain cancer has started to muddle his thinking, that much is clear.

DACA folks have due process rights only

The idea that DACA people still have rights is correct as far as it goes. They have the right to due process. But they have no right to stay in the country because DACA was never constitutional, a fact that even Obama admitted to Univision before he engaged in his pen-and-a-phone approach to dictatorial rule making.

Congress is Cruel, Trump is Kind

But the idea that ending DACA is cruelty, and that the cruelty has Trump’s name on it, is just plain stupid. First, Trump did not come up with DACA. Second, he did not ever say he wanted to keep it. His promise was to get rid of the lawbreakers and get them the hell out of the country. Something he’s clearly doing.  But more importantly, he is not throwing them out today, he’s putting them and Congress on notice.  Fix this mess Obama created, and that  you ignored and let fester, or I will let the Courts fix it for you.

Criminality Abounds!

The idea that 100% of dreamers have no criminal record is not only wrong, it’s woefully, painfully, embarrassingly wrong. DACA participants have knowingly engaged in criminal activity and been caught. For example, look here, here, here, here, and here for reports of people in the DACA program who have not only engaged in criminality, but engaged in rampant criminality.

Congress Couldn’t Fix a Flat

The idea that Congress is going to save DACA is similarly stupid. Congress could not agree on health care, and it’s unlikely to agree on taxation. In point of fact, Congress is not likely to agree on much of anything in the six months Trump has given them. In fact, what will likely happen is that they won’t even get serious about it until 5 and a half months have passed, and then they’ll ask for more time. And you can count on comprehensive immigration reform being something that can’t even get out of a committee, let alone get voted on.

You see, while the Democrats and their pet projects, the 800,000 people they assume are in the bag for their votes in 2020 are all sure that Congress should do this, there are a lot of people who are subject to the will of the voters, and the voters are making it painfully clear to all of them that they don’t want immigration reform. They want immigration enforcement. They want illegals out. They want the border protected, and they want the crime that goes with illegal aliens out of this country.

I will personally work against and contribute to the primary campaign against any Republican that votes to keep Dreamers here.

Republicans need to understand they’re voting to cut their own throats. These people are unlikely to vote Republican, and more importantly, they are very likely to try to back door every one of their shirt-tail relatives including the lousy bastards who brought them here in the first place.  It will never end.  We need a permanent solution that ensures our border security.  A big bold, beautiful wall!

So, ending DACA was the right call.

Now stand back and watch the fireworks. Congress will once again display that it is completely non-functional, and it will be up to the voters in 2018 to fix it.

End DACA Now!

Imagine this…

In every state there are laws against theft. Theft is usually described as the taking of the property of another. Similarly there are laws in every state specifying that employees shall be paid a minimum wage for relatively unskilled work. Employees who feel underpaid are free to leave.

Now, let’s suppose that a group of McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, and Pizza Hut workers get together and they decide that since the companies won’t support a $15 minimum wage, that they are simply going to supplement their wages out of the till. So every night at the close of business they take $100 or more to “compensate” for what they consider “stolen labor.” They are caught on videotape in the act. The thefts amount to more than $500, so they’re felonies. The police take all this to the prosecutor in the belief that he’ll take it to a grand jury.

But the prosecutor says “I know we have laws against theft, but I worked at McDonalds in high school, and I’m sympathetic to these kids. I’m not going to prosecute them.”

What do you suppose would happen with that local prosecutor? If he was in any state other than California, Washington, Oregon, New York or Illinois, my guess is he’d be thrown out of office in a recall election. Laws exist to protect everyone. If employees can steal from Ronnie’s place, they can steal from the Orthodontist, the Ace Hardware Store, and the movie theater too. Lawlessness would abound.

The DACA Debacle

So, let’s see if I get this right.

We have laws that say if you want to immigrate here and work here, you have to come here through our immigration process, wait your turn, learn our ways, support our constitution, and keep your nose clean. Break any of the rules, you go back where you came from.

We have senators and congressman from both parties who say “well, I know we enacted those laws, but they’re so mean, let’s just not enforce them.” Note, they don’t say “let’s change them,” they say that we should not enforce them. So our former president, Barack Obama, did just that. He said he would institute this ridiculous “dreamer” program and just not enforce the law of the land.  Not only that, he’d grant them work visas.  Why?  So they would vote Democratic.

But, there is a problem with that.

The problem is found in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution which, among other things provides that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…” In other words, once a law is on the books, the Constitution requires the president to “faithfully execute” that law. Faithful execution means you execute the law as it is written and interpreted, not on the basis of your individual whims.

But but but…what about discretion?

Now, there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion. An executive officer can choose which battle he fights. In certain select cases he may forego prosecution of a criminal offender if the law and public policy favor a different approach. Many state prosecutors use this power to do “diversion agreements.” Prosecutors use this where a person like a school teacher who may have driven impaired. The teacher is well respected, everyone knows children can drive you to drink, and the teacher has sought professional help. If prosecuted, she would lose her job if she was convicted. Prosecutorial discretion in a particular case can be a good thing (although it often winds up being a sweetheart deal for the rich and powerful in many jurisdictions). But not for a class of wrongdoers.

Everyone makes the assertion that coming here illegally is a “civil infraction” as opposed to true criminality. The fact is, it doesn’t make any difference. If you do not belong here, we have a right to make you leave.

The Threat versus Reality

The Governor of New York has made the ridiculous statement that if President Trump does not stay with the DACA program, he’ll sue.  Perhaps he doesn’t read the papers. A whole bunch of red state governors beat him to it; they already have sued to overturn DACA. This is the argument the red state governors make:

  • Congress passed a law
  • Presidents must faithfully execute the law
  • Not sending illegal aliens packing is not faithfully executing the laws; therefore
  • We demand that the president kick the illegals out.

Here is the argument the governor of New York will make:

  • Dreamers came here with their parents.
  • They had to obey their parents.
  • They did not have any choice.
  • They are as American as apple pie and baseball.
  • It would be so mean to send them back
  • Make the president do what I want to or I’m going to cry!

Now, when the left-wing lawyer-zealots get done, there will be a lot of “due process” and “liberty interests” and “detrimental reliance” all woven in there, but the argument will still be that the governor of one state can insist that the federal government not enforce laws validly on the books because “the children” (all of whom are roughly 25) didn’t come here on their own.  Oh, and let’s not forget that the end game is to lock in 800,000 additional Democratic voters.

Who cares why they are here?  That is not relevant.  They only relevant question is “are they here legally?”

They are not here legally. They have no right to be here. They have no right to work here. To obtain those rights, they must return to their country of origin and go about it the right way.  I don’t care if they were six months old when they left, and if their younger brother is a citizen by birth.  Doesn’t matter.  An American in their country of origin would have no right to remain there unlawfully and work unlawfully. Why do we have to accommodate people who are not here lawfully?

True Story

I knew a family that came here from a country south of equator.  We’ll call them the Smiths so as not to give away their ethnicity.  The Smiths had three kids, all born in that far away country.  The oldest, we’ll call him Ab, was a stand up guy.  Did very well in high school, graduated, and went out west to pursue a life in a state that is very fond of illegal aliens.  Ab has never been in trouble with the law.

Ab had a sister, we’ll call her Belle.  Belle distinguished herself, became an entrepreneur, and has made a life for herself, albeit outside the ambit of legal immigration.  Whether she pays taxes or not, I do not know.  I just know she is a good person.

The third Smith child got involved early on with drugs.  He involved himself in petty theft initially, nothing that would go outside of municipal court.  He had a number of driving offenses because he could not get a license (he was not a citizen).  Finally, his interest in drugs eclipsed even his commitment to his family, and after a felony arrest he arranged to have his sister post bail and then skipped on the bail, leaving his sister holding the bag.  I never heard what happened to the third Smith child.  I assume he is still actively engaged in criminality, or rotting in a prison cell somewhere.  It doesn’t matter.  It illustrates my point.  Even if some of the “dreamers” are good people, all of them are not.  And none of them have the right to be here.

Ending DACA is Right

The answer to President Obama’s breach of the constitution is a simple one for the Supreme Court. The courts will simply say “DACA is the textbook example of the president not faithfully executing the laws of the land.”  The red state governors will will.  Everyone will laugh quietly at New York.

And the rest of us normals will say “thank God for Justice Gorsuch.”