In Fear For Your Life

One of the things that constantly amazes me is how examples of bad defensive gun use somehow get bronzed and polished into examples of excellence.  One of those is found here on Brietbart.  While I get the general idea that this is an example of someone standing up for themselves, the entire sequence demonstrates how completely stupid it is to have a firearm and not be willing or able to use it properly.

Several weeks ago I wrote here about I took a course from Central Alabama Firearms Training LLC (www.caftllc.com) and how it was a tremendous help to me.  I detected errors in my approach that could get me killed, and got some excellent coaching.  I took that training (even though I have my CCW and didn’t need it for that purpose) because I believe you need training every two years to stay on top of perishable skills.  I noted that because they use Go-Pro cameras, I incorporated them into my own training, and how that has helped me improve.

Watching the surveillance video from the beginning, it’s clear that the woman behind the register is in condition white.  Otherwise, when a shotgun-weilding robber entered the store she would have grabbed the gun, aimed and fired.  Instead she is calmly eating something and then HOLY SHIT HE HAS A SHOTGUN!

Okay, genius, maybe this is why you need to be in condition yellow at all times, particularly in a place that is like a robber-magnet.  Holding up a liquor store is, after all, nearly a cliche.  She quickly goes for her gun but then is stopped by the gun-toting, hoodie-wearing thug.  Let me also note that this is why its called “conceal and CARRY.”  If it isn’t on your person, you can’t get to it to use it!

Twice more she goes for it, twice more she backs off, and the ignorant thug manages not to find and take the pistols.  Let me say that again, he knows or suspects there are guns, and he doesn’t take them.  My bet: he has had lots of time in the hospital to regret this course of action, and as soon as he gets out of prison he is going to kill the next store owner he robs.

Yeah, it’s not until around the 40 second mark that both mom and daughter grab their weapons and do the first smart thing they’ll do today: they hide.  I am good with hiding.  I am good with not chasing the bad guy who has a scatter-gun.  That’s smart.  What is NOT smart is thinking that a gun has magical powers and will protect you.

But the certifiable genius who decided to rob the store comes back around the counter one last time and takes at least one round center mass, then she fires another couple with doubtful effect.  I am not sure what the round count is here, but I think by the time she finishes with Mr. Hoodie, her gun is empty.  File that under “thank God.”

Let me editorialize for the benefit of smarter criminals.  This would be the time to run like hell, not stay around and see if you can outgun a superior force of women who, despite being ineffective marksmen to this point, have at least managed to alter your anatomy and affect your physiology.

Let me editorialize for the benefit of smarter store-owners.  It is a full 1 minute 12 seconds before the genius daughter calls 911.  Survival would have dictated an earlier call.  One might even have considered  – I don’t know – a burglar alarm?

Now, back to the action.  After chasing the robber outside the cage, she gets shot at, and has to go back behind the cage.  Instead of just leaving, Mr. Hoodie pursues. And, at 1:22 in the video we see him take two more in the guts from the wheelgun Big Mama has.  But he isn’t done yet.  Shot, wounded, probably seriously pissed at this point, he decides to wrestle Big Mama for the gun.  If you’re counting rounds, like I was, Mama is either out or has 1 round left.  So he’s grappling for the empty gun!  Is this guy a Mensa candidate or what?

At this point the daughter enters the fray, seeing that Big Mama is perilously close to getting a .38 sandwich.  She manages to violate the third and fourth rule of gun safety.  After watching the kabuki dance between Mr. Hoodie and Big Mama, while her mother is directly behind the bad guy, she fires into his back.  The daughter is not exactly going to pass the Mensa entrance exam either!

Now seriously pissed, he wrestled the gun away from Big Mama and hears the Dead Man’s Click when he fires on an empty chamber at the daughter.  Then he manages to stumble around and nearly destroy the place as he recognizes, finally, that he is about to bleed out and die.  He left a nice blood trail and the cops found him fairly quickly it looks like, working on his Darwin Award application.

Okay, now, I have pointed out a number of screw ups here, but let’s look at the biggest mistake of all: not being willing to do what it takes to survive a gunfight.  My guess: neither mama nor daughter had firearms training, nor ever done any preparatory work to establish their will to win that kind of confrontation.  They trusted that a gun alone made them safe.  This is one point where I agree with the gunsense idiots. A gun does not make you safe.  Using a gun quickly and with deadly effect makes you safe. Simply put, in defensive firearms instruction, you learn to stop the threat.  If the bad guy falls and drops his weapon, fine.  But if he doesn’t, you keep shooting until he is not a threat any longer.  If someone is pursuing, armed or not, he isn’t after first aid, as this thug demonstrated.  Big Mama’s second mistake was letting him get his hands on the gun.  She should never have let him get that close.

Defensive shooting doesn’t mean you execute the attacker.  It means you have to stop him.  At 0:54 Big Mama should have kept shooting until the fight was out of him.  And if she chooses to pursue him, as she did, she needs to shoot to make sure he doesn’t have any more fight left in him.  At this point, with him having access to a shotgun, it’s “kill or be killed.”

In essence, this video demonstrates a situation peculiar to many women, and God bless them for it.  They do not want to be the instrument of someone’s death.  Certainly that’s not all women.  Women can be psychopaths too.  But criminals sense that peculiar female weakness and that is exactly why Mr. Hoodie pursued Big Mama here.  He knew she didn’t have the stomach to kill him, and he knew he had the stomach, and the will, to fight her for the gun and kill her.  But here’s the rub: the idiot couldn’t count.

If there is anything that absolutely must be drilled into women when teaching a firearms course it is that predators smell prey and thrive on displayed weakness.  They either cue on pheromones, or on facial expression, or on language, and they see someone who has a gun, not because she wants to defend her life, but because she wants to scare off someone.  And predators are risk takers.  They seize the moment.  They are unmerciful.  Once in possession of the gun, he would have killed her.  There is no question in my mind.

I have talked at length with my wife about what it takes to actually shoot a human being, about how huge that decision is, and how difficult it is to make, but how necessary it is to do it if the situation requires it.  Would I hesitate to pull the trigger if I confronted a man with a  shotgun?  Hell no.  But, yeah, I worry about my wife, God bless her.

Nobody Loves a Murdered Chicagoan

In 1967 Clare Huffaker wrote a great book called Nobody Loves a Drunken Indian.  It was a man-bites-dog story of modern Native Americans more or less turning the tables on modern America.  The title has always stuck with me because it told the truth: in the US, no one loves any marginalized ethnic group, whether it be Native Americans or African-Americans.  Discrete and insular minorities are easy to ignore.  We’re all guilty of it.

I have concluded that the media and the political elite are blind to their own rhetorical bigotry.  When white suburban kids get killed it’s front page news.  But the carnage that goes on every day in Chicago is conveniently swept under the rug until the end of the year when the media reports the statistics with a “tsk tsk.”  Let me lay out the case for this bigotry of ignorance:

In Chicago, in 2016, there were:

3550 Shootings

4349 People shot

771 People died

In 2017 in Chicago there were:

2785 Shootings

3457 People shot

650 People died

Total those figures up.  There were:

6335 Shootings inside of only two years.

7806 People were shot.

1421 people died.

75% of those killed were black.

Everytown for Gun Confiscation (their actual name) maintains statistics for school shootings and claims that there were 239 School shootings since Sandy Hook in 2004, in which there were 438 victims and 138 deaths.  I do not believe these statistics for a minute because they’re aimed at the anti-gun agenda, but I am willing to use them here to make a point.

So, let’s do the math.  Over 14 years the average number of school shootings was 17, the average number of victims was 31, and the average number of deaths was 9.8.  Now, don’t get me wrong, losing ten kids a year to school violence is awful, but is it an epidemic?  No one believes that.

Look at the average for the last two years for Chicago

An average number of shootings in Chicago is 3,167.  An average of 3,903 victims, and an average of 710 deaths resulted.  Now, that is an epidemic.  Why is it not front page news?  Why is not the media discussing it nightly?  Because the media is aware of the following:

  1. The crime is predominantly gang-related.
  2. It primarily involves black-on-black crime.
  3. Poverty and drugs are significant contributing factors.
  4. The city is run by Democrats and has been for decades.
  5. 90% of gang violence occurs without an arrest or prosecution. In 2011, the latest data I could find that was officially released by the Chicago Police, there were 433 homicides. Of these, just 128 (29%) had a corresponding prosecution.
  6. 71% of victims are between 17 and 35 years old. 90% are male. 75% are black.
  7. Anyone who testifies in Court is branded a “snitch” and is guaranteed a shorter life expectancy.
  8. When prosecutions do occur, they involve pleas to minor offenses.
  9. Sentences are a joke. When four toughs tortured a helpless mentally disabled invididual and put it on Facebook, they were arrested and prosecuted.  But one of the admitted criminals, Brittany Covington, pleaded guilty to the charges of committing a hate crime, intimidation and aggravated battery. Additional charges, such as kidnapping, were dropped as part of her plea deal. Covington was sentenced to four years of probation and 200 hours of community service. Cook County Circuit Judge William Hooks said that he did not sentence her to prison because “I’m not sure if I did that you’d be coming out any better.”  Thus we see that the goal of prosecution in Illinois is not punishment, it is to minimize the impact on the criminal.
  10. People in Chicago are virtually devoid of honest representation in the state legislature or at the level of governor.

Let’s compare that with Parkland, Florida, where the latest school shooting occurred.  Less than a quarter of students at Stoneman HS qualify for free or reduced cost meals, compared to 64% in the remainder of Broward county.  The median income in Parkland, which suffered only seven violent crimes in a city of over 31,000, is $128,000.  The rest of Broward: $53,000.  While the loss of life of seventeen souls is an immeasurably difficult burden for those affected, that accounts for a mere 8 days of normal life in Chicago.  Are the lives of the Parkland Florida residents so much more important than the lives of those in Chicago, or, as I suggested initially, is it more a factor of the race of the victims, their powerlessness in a corrupt system, who controls the city, and the lack of an honest or effective criminal justice system.

Let’s be honest. The real issue is race.  75% of the victims of gang violence in Chicago are black.  Who advocates for them?  The blacks on the city council?  Not so far.  The mayor?  Again, he is AWOL on this issue.  The chief of police?  Don’t make me laugh; he’s scared of his own shadow because civilians want guns to protect themselves.  Chicago is ignored because its poor, hopeless, black people being gunned down in the street, and they have no one to press their case for them at the state house.  Their congressmen and senators are sitting on their hands as well.

To put Chicago more in focus, between 2012 and 2017 the US lost 539 soldiers to combat operations in Afghanistan.  Chicago lost more than that last year.  When casualties in war are far less than casualties in peace-time Chicago, something needs to change.

Those of us who love shooting, and want to see national conceal and carry reciprocity need to step up and speak for these victims the way Maj. Toure is doing. (@majtoure on Twitter; info@officialblackgunsmatter.com)  He is trying to arm and train black men and women to give them the tools to protect themselves against gang violence.  But like the lone voice crying in the wilderness, he has not received either the support from the gun community, nor the appreciation he deserves.

One of my goals is to become an NRA approved instructor, and to help people get the training they need to be safe.  I want to concentrate on the underserved black and Hispanic communities to expand their ability to protect themselves from crime and thuggery.

We should all be doing more.  Because if 17 white suburban kids were being killed every 8 days in America, you can bet there would be a much different reaction in the media and in Congress.  Just because its people of color doesn’t mean we can say it isn’t our problem.

 

Broward Coward

Everyone considered him, the Coward of the County…

He never stood one single time, to prove the county wrong…

“No one wants to face an AR-15.”  With that pathetic rationale, one of the many faces of the “victims” of the Parkland Florida shooting (a “victim” who did not receive a single injury, by the way) excuses the cowardly conduct of the deputies from Broward who stayed outside rather than face the school shooter and bring his rampage to an end.  This is not a defense of the deputy: it is an attempt to demonize a gun.

The deputy, who resigned when his conduct became publicly known, has now set out to “rehab” his image by claiming that he thought the gunfire was coming from outside the school.  As those of us who have shot firearms, and had them fired at us in anger know, the sounds of gunfire inside a building are decidedly different from those sounds outside a building.  He could not have been confused.  There is no excuse for letting innocents die when you are charged with protecting them.  There is no euphemism for “coward.”

The sheriff seeks to mitigate the harm this cowardice has inflicted on his department by claiming that there is no “evidence” that deputies waited outside.  No evidence, of course, other than statements made by Coral Springs police who arrived on scene to find Broward deputies hiding outside.  They must have been very easy to spot with those yellow streaks running down their back, and the puddles of urine underneath them.

I would agree with the student “victim” to the extent that no one wants to face down a person with an AR-15 when the rifleman is outside and you’re firing a relatively underpowered 9mm pistol.  But inside a school, where walls and hallways limit freedom of movement as well as point of aim, a handgun is a superior tool to an AR because a shooter need expose much less of his body to the attacker.  Even if this tactical advantage were not reason enough to merit a full-scale assault on the shooter, the fact that children were being killed certainly was.  It is never defensible to claim that waiting for backup in that situation was “policy” because while a criminal is expected to be rational and not attempt to run from police in large numbers, crazy people who hear voices and shoot up schools genuinely may not care if they live or die.  They are interested in a body count, and the sooner they are interdicted, the better.

Worse, the longer the wait, the more likely you will have a hostage situation, and hostage situations never work out well for the hostages when the hostage-taker is batshit crazy as Nicholas Cruz clearly was.  Perhaps not crazy in a legal sense — he knew what he was doing — but he did lay off the shooting to hearing voices.  And he wound up surrendering peacefully, and thus was likely searching for that 15 minutes of fame that comes with acts of infamy.

As I have thought about it, the key difference between someone like me, a civilian, and someone like the deputy that peed down his leg while waiting for help, is that I have not taken an oath to enforce the law in Broward County.  I have not voluntarily bound myself to place myself between evil and the innocents.  I do not draw a paycheck every month specifically because I have professed that willingness to confront evil.  American history is full of men who assumed the burden of taking on evil and made great sacrifices in that cause.

On the island of Iwo Jima the Japanese during World War II had large concentrations of men and rifles trained on a relatively smaller contingent of US Marines.  Those marines did not “want to go up against” men with Type 96 machine guns firing 6.5 mm bullets at them.  They did not want to crawl up on beaches while being shot and mortared.  They did not want to get shot and killed.  But they did not stay on board the ship and let the other guys do it.  They did not wait for the Army Air Corp to bomb the island into submission.  No, they moved forward, into the line of fire, and they fought as units against an organized and lethal evil.  And they prevailed only at great cost.

Some will say that these men did not do this voluntarily.  They were compelled because not advancing under fire would have seen them court-martialed and imprisoned.  But men do not fight because they fear the consequences of dishonor, they fight because they do not want the unwashable stain of dishonor attached to them.  They fight for their brothers, and yes, they fight for their country and the ideals of freedom, justice, mercy and love.  They fought because they knew that unless they did, evil would triumph.  They took an oath.  They honored that oath.

The Broward deputy took an oath too.  Specifically, he took this oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the State, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of deputy sheriff on which I am now about to enter, so help me God.

A sheriff does not “well and faithfully perform” those duties when he hides like a screaming 13 year old girl until the shooting stops.  The deputy was a coward, and he did the right thing by resigning.  He had not well and faithfully executed the duties of his office.

Now the sheriff himself must resign.  He went on live television and never revealed the role of the deputy who was cowering behind a concrete wall sucking his thumb and saying “mamma.”  He did not disclose the statements by the Coral Springs police officers.  He did not admit the dozens of missteps by officers in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting.  He has continually said that Broward County did not drop the ball.  The man is either an idiot, or the most cognitively dissonant individual since Baghdad Bob.  The buck stops with him, and just like the deputy, by allowing cowards to serve, he has not well and faithfully executed his office.  He needs to resign.

Governor Scott should fire him if he fails to resign.

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:

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 1.45.01 PM
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)

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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.

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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.