3 June 07
More Marxist-agenda-driven, media sewage:
The History Channel recently aired a program on the subject of modern piracy at sea. When asked, selected “industry experts” all united in adamantly recommending against arming of ships’ crews. Here is their peculiar “logic.” It sounds curiously like the same, tired arguments routinely advanced against concealed-carry permits for citizens and armed convenience-store employees.
Added is the plain-English translation:
(1) “It’s against ‘international law.’” Translation: Paranoid UN is frightened of armed peons.
(2) “It will lead to an ‘escalation of violence.’” Translation: We leftist/elitists prefer one-sided violence, whether it be by criminal predators against unarmed victims or by our personal bodyguards against unarmed peons. After all, you at the bottom-of-the-food-chain exist only to serve us.
(3) “It is dangerous to fire a gun aboard a ship.” Translation: Murdered peons we can deal with (they’re insured and readily replaceable). A ship lost to piracy we can deal with (it’s also insured, replaceable). But, the unthinkable: violent criminals who are hurt, or even inconvenienced, while trying to murder our employees will cause our insurance carrier to deny our claim.
(4) “Sailors don’t know the first thing about guns.” Translation: Peons are too stupid to be allowed to defend themselves.
(5) “Arming crews is futile, because pirates always outnumber them.” Translation: You peons need to think of yourselves as just so much expendable cannon-fodder. We do!
(6) “There are complex liability issues.” Translation: Innocent victims are blamed when violent predators get hurt. We would thus much rather bury our employees than be sued for the “wrongful death” of a violent criminal. Employees are readily replaceable. Their lives mean nothing to us.
The single member of an actual ship’s crew interviewed held a contrary view. He was enthusiastically in favor of being armed while at sea. Imagine that! I’m pretty sure, in the same situation, I’d want to be armed too, as would any sane person.
“Insurance” has robbed everything of its intrinsic value, even human lives. It has converted us all into just another commodity, like beans, with neither value, nor dignity, nor honor.
These same elitists, who so piously, self-righteously condemn “war” in any form, simultaneously find nothing wrong with merciless massacres, where only one side does any fighting. For one, when given the choice between massacre and war, I’ll choose war, every time. We “peons” need to start reclaiming our own magnificence!
4 June 07
Vicki and I just completed the 2007 NTI (National Tactical Invitational) in Harrisburg, PA. Once more, Vicki was “Sheriff” of ASTA Village all week. I shot the entire Course on Thursday. In addition to shooting challenges at the range, there were numerous lectures by noted luminaries such as Tom Givens, Marty Topper, John Holschen, Mike Warsocki, Skip Gochenour, and others, as well as a panel discussion among experts.
This year, I used my SIG/229/DAK in 40S&W, carried, as always, in my Comp-Tac/C-Tac IWB. My backup pistol was my Detonics/CM in my wonderful Lou Alessi shoulder holster. My second backup was my Kel-Tec/380 in a Comp-Tac neck holster. In addition, I carried my Cold Steel Vaquero Grande in a pocket, a Cold Steel Culloden neck knife, and a Blackhawk/HT automatic knife, also in a pocket. Finally, I carried a Blackhawk/Gladius flashlight, a Photon neck light, Fox OC, and a Boston Leather flat sap. Covering it all was my Concealed Carry Clothiers vest.
In all pistols I carried and shot Cor-Bon DPX ammunition, 140gr 40S&W, 180gr 45ACP, and 80 gr 380 Auto.
My equipment all functioned normally, that is to say, superbly!
The theme this year was air travel and getting along in places where you don’t have your normal complement of equipment. In ASTA Village, you arrive at the local airport and proceed to your hotel. Participants and actors are armed with Simmunitions revolvers.
The local DA is prosecuting a violent, criminal case, and you’ve been retained by him as an expert. The day’s activities include a lunch meeting with a female assistant-prosecutor, a stop at the local clinic, another stop at the local strip mall, and an appearance at the local school and at the courthouse. At the school, courthouse, and local bar/restaurant, you are not allowed to be armed, as you normally would be.
Upon arriving at my hotel room, I armed myself with a five-shot Simmunitions revolver in a concealment holster. The revolver, ammunition, and holster were in my checked baggage. I had to opportunity to arm myself in the airport restroom, but decided instead to get away from the airport and to my hotel as quickly as possible.
My first stop was at a clinic to have a skin rash examined. As the nurse was examining it, a gun-wielding thug came into the front door. We made eye contact, and he motioned to me to be quiet and then volunteered that he was looking for drugs, all the while waving his pistol in my direction. His view of my right side was blocked by a wall, so I slowly drew my gun so that he could not see what I was doing. The nurse was petrified but said nothing. As the suspect diverted his attention from me to bottles of pills he was assembling, I quickly came on target and shot him three times in the torso. I needed a two-second window, and, as soon as he gave it to me, I acted without hesitation. He collapsed immediately.
I advanced and picked up his dropped gun in an effort to get it away from him. As I did, a local deputy confronted me at gunpoint, ordering me to drop my pistol, which I did. I announced that I was a police officer and that my ID was in my rear pocket. He still searched me but upon seeing my ID, allowed me to converse with him normally. I explained that the deceased threatened me, and the nurse, with a gun. The sheriff soon arrived and began asking detailed questions. I repeated my brief version of events and then explained that I was not well, needed to go to a hospital, and wanted my lawyer personally present before answering any more questions.
It was than off to the local school where I was to listen to a lecture by another expert who had been retained on the same case. I had to leave my pistol with the Sheriff before entering, as did everyone else. In attendance were a dozen locals. As we listened, two people entered the room. One started dumping liquid on the floor from a gasoline can. The other had a cigarette lighter in his hand. They said nothing. Facing forward, I didn’t see them until I saw others looking backward fearfully. Sensing great danger, I leapt to my feet and made my way to the exit without delay. I thought about assisting others and even confronting the suspects, but I decided instead that there was only time to do one thing and, if I dithered, there would not be time even for that. Once out of the room and in relative safety, I assisted others in exiting.
Afterward, I retrieved my revolver from the Sheriff, but I noticed that, while in her care, it had been unloaded! Forty percent of participants never checked the condition of their guns as they were reclaimed, but instead glibly holstered an empty gun, unaware! They embarrassingly learned their lesson, minutes later.
At the busy strip mall, I was confronted by a thug who stuck a pistol in my face. I quickly disarmed him, but he stayed in the problem anyway, just to provide me with additional challenge! A second thug then confronted me from the rear, and I found myself backed into a corner. What to do?
The second thug turned away momentarily. As he did, I drew on the first one. He turned and ran. I then charged the second one. He fled down a corridor, gun still in hand, amid the screams of frightened shoppers. As he did , I shot him three times in the back. As he fell, I re-confronted the first thug, who had come around to intercept me, and we shot it out at five meters. I was hit at least once in the right elbow. I hit him twice in the chest with my remaining two rounds.
During a conversation with a female, assistant DA in a bar, I again was required to be unarmed. Suddenly, the criminal suspect who was the subject of the case, along with several members of his family, angrily entered the bar, confronted me, and accused me of trying to ruin his life. I looked for a quick exit, attempted to verbally disengage by saying “I’m sorry. I don’t think I can help you.” He pressed his assault, so, still moving, I verbally escalated, yelling at him to get away from me. He and his entourage were momentarily confused, and I took advantage of their disarray to make good my escape.
At the courthouse, again disarmed, I was providing testimony when a thug burst in, shot the bailiff and threatened to shoot the judge. As he extended his revolver in the direction of the judge, I successfully disarmed him. Once again, when I reclaimed my pistol afterward from the Sheriff, it had been unloaded while in her custody.
Important lessons, learned and reinforced:
Ammunition management. Most of us carry thirteen-shooters, even eighteen-shooters, as our main gun, and, as a result, we often wax nonchalant with regard to the number of rounds we expend, calculating that a reload will not be necessary until after the fight is over. When carrying a five-shot revolver, one must shift his thinking! One is well advised to keep track of his reserve, as reloading one of these is slow, tedious, and has an irritating habit of becoming acutely necessary at inconvenient moments!
Exigent acquisition! Even when unarmed, you may have access to weapons or objects that can be pressed into service as weapons. You need to always be observant of walking sticks, guns carried by others, baseball bats, and other potential defensive instrumentalities, and you need to unapologetically get access to them, without delay, when necessary.
Watch your back! Never forget that you’re on your own. On one occasion, a VCA snuck up behind me, and I never saw him. I had been depending upon the person I was sitting across the table from to warn me. She didn’t. Shame on me!
Information gathering and threat assessment must be continuous. In ASTA Village, much valuable information is available for one who listens and observes. Don’t bumble and blunder. Keep your options open. Watch your step!
Your first shot must be a killer! Whether confronting angry Cape Buffalo or VCAs, take the time to insure a first-round, fatal hit. Use your sights. Aim your shots, even when using a snubby revolver. It is critical. Anything less, and you’re handing your opponent a pivotal advantage.
Get while the getting is good! When sensing danger, don’t paint yourself into a corner. Exercise your options while they are still available. They tend to dry up quickly. Don’t be too polite for your own good!
Don’t relax too soon! Just when you conclude danger has passed, you might discover, to your dismay, it has not!
Learn legitimate disarming techniques. When confronting VCAs armed with guns, an aggressive disarm is often the only viable option.
Practice verbal disengagement regularly. Most disengagements can be successfully accomplished through movement, posture, and verbalization, but, like shooting, techniques and tape loops must be practiced on a regular basis.
Verbal challenges, like the one we use: “Police, don’t move,” are appropriate when confronting threats of unknown potential, such as a person at distance holding and gesturing with a bludgeon in a threatening manner. Verbal challenges are NOT appropriate, indeed are contra-indicated, when confronted with an immediate, deadly threat, such as a person threatening you with a gun. In the latter case, verbal challenges only squander valuable time and initiative.
In addition to ASTA Village, there were six live-fire exercises. In some, you were permitted to use your own weapon(s). In others, you were compelled to use found weapons, which included walking canes, baseball bats, a double-barrel shotgun, a K-frame revolver, a Ruger P85 pistol, and a left-handed STAG Arms AR-15. Some guns were loaded when found. Some were not. Ammunition was usually scattered on the floor and had to be recovered manually. Tactical movement through buildings, some in low-light, was necessary in all but one station.
As in the past, targets were all mannequins that were dressed and looked real. When engaging them with gunfire, your are required to shoot accurately and continue shooting until they either fall or run away. When you shoot poorly, they do neither!
Interestingly, on the subject of ammunition management, nearly all 1911 shooters reloaded long before running to slide-lock. On the contrary, most shooting high-capacity pistols ran to slide-lock and only then discovered they had to reload. There is little doubt that 1911 shooters do a better job of ammunition management than do high-cap guys. High-capacity pistols do have drawbacks!
Movement and security are always mutually antagonistic. Move too fast, bypassing areas of potential danger, and it might come out behind you. Move too slow and methodically, and there is no point, as you will not be able to accomplish your mission in time for it to matter. As with all tactics, it is a balance. When you have all the time in the world, take it! When in a hurry, keep on the move and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by things that are not important. “Pre-navigate” when possible. In any event, don’t dither!
Hesitation is an assassin! You have to learn to act decisively, even when you don’t have all the information you want. Applying deadly force always involves the risk that you could be mistaken with regard to the actual threat presented. It is a risk we all have to acknowledge and accept. “Fire-initiative,” hitting (1) fatally, (2) fast, and (3) first carries with it an incalculable advantage, one from which most VCAs never recover.
Not all shots are easy! Eight, even fifteen-meter pistol shots are now common. Without adequate skills, you will not be up to the task.
Tom Givens confirmed that a substantial percentage of VCAs (1) are members of violent gangs, (2) are functionally mentally ill (criminally insane), (3) dropped out of school at an early age and thus do not possess any of our cultural values, (4) have been involved in criminal violence since they were pre-teens, (5) have long-term drug and alcohol problems, (6) are likely under the influence of drugs when they confront you, (7) have been shot before and are thus afraid of neither you nor your gun, (8) have been incarcerated for a significant portion of their short lives, (9) don’t expect to live long, (9) are illegal aliens and are thus not concerned with domestic prosecution as they can simply slip back into Mexico from which they have little fear of extradition, and (10) don’t confine themselves to the “bad part” of town.
For them, violent death and mayhem and not “options.” They are a way of life, the only one they know and will ever know. Expect neither mercy, nor common decency, nor any species of rational behavior from them. And, when you run into them, you’ll likely be on your own.
I know of no other place where one can learn to be prepared for such unhappy encounters than the NTI! We thank, Skip, Jim, Hersh, and the entire ASTA Crew for, once again, putting on such a superb clinic.
5 June 07
Good news in TX, from a friend there:
“The State of Texas has passed three laws of significance to gun owners and decent people everywhere:
HB 220 allows concealed weapons in the parking lots controlled by employers that otherwise prohibit them in other company areas. That way, employees can arm themselves as soon as they get in their cars at the end of the day and thus not be compelled to drive to and from work, unarmed.
SB112 prohibits seizure, by any unit of government, of lawfully-owned weapons, even during ‘emergencies.’
SB384 eliminates a ‘duty’ for anyone to ‘retreat’ from criminal assault when in any place they otherwise have a right to be. It also shields citizens from civil liability when they practice legitimate self-defense.
Violent crime is on the rise down here, especially in coastal areas, from Brownsville to Beaumont, a direct result of the (now permanent) influx of undesirables from LA. At least some of our politicians are more concerned with the welfare of decent citizens than they are with criminals, unlike the case in so many other states!”
Comment: The “criminal vote” is actively courted by some contemptible politicians. Their lust for power is their only “morality.” Happily, the are currently outnumbered in TX!
6 June 07
Fortunately, the phenomenon is rare, but I’ve see it happen spontaneously several dozen times. It happened again last week when we doing a Pistol Course in Pittsburgh, PA. A shooter attempts to rack the slide of his autoloading pistol to the rear, but he gets his support-hand too far forward. As the live round, or empty case, ejects, it hits his hand, flips around, and then drops back into the receiver. As the slide then comes forward, the round, or case, is fed into the chamber backwards, ie: base first!
Of course, the slide subsequently fails go to into battery, and our “Tap-Rack-Resume” technique avails us nothing. Even our extended stoppage-reduction technique is not efficacious, as running the slide back and forth simply pounds the reversed/wedged case further into the chamber than it was at the start of the incident.
The result is a pistol that is out of action, at least for the short term. The wedged case will have to be pounded back out, via a range-rod, from the muzzle end. It can surely be done, but not quickly.
Why even bring this up? Because it bolsters our argument for routinely carrying a backup-gun. Most “stoppages” are easily and quickly reduced via our “emergency-action” procedure, and it is taught in a similar manner by nearly every instructor I know.
A “stoppage” is, or course, an unscheduled interruption in the normal “cycle-of-operation” of our weapon. However, students need to know that, although most common stoppages are easily reduceable, there are some, like a reverse-feed, that are not and will adamantly refuse to be fixed by any stoppage-reduction technique that is commonly taught.
For these, admittedly rare, occurrences, only a back-up gun will get you back into the fight quickly.
Who thinks he needs to carry a gun, probably needs to carry two!
8 June 07
Mac and FDR:
By the late 1930s, Doug Mac Arthur had gone as far as was possible in uniform. His career had been so brilliant, so meteoric, he actually by-passed the rank of lieutenant colonel. A child prodigy and the son of a Medal of Honor winner, “Mac,” as he was called, will doubtless go down in history as the most significant military intellect of the Twentieth Century. His peers held him in great respect. Politicians feared him!
By 1937, those in the know were persuaded that war with Japan, and probably Germany too, was inevitable. FDR was trying his best to prepare the nation for yet another world conflagration, and the American people were in no mood for it!
During a notable and pyrotechnic meeting between FDR and Mac in the Oval Office, standing before the seated president, Mac was enthusiastically making the case for the immediate adoption and production a new infantry rifle, the autoloading Garand. Mac was convinced the Garand would be a critical force multiplier during the War to come, and he was, as always, very persuasive!
FDR, on the other hand, already had a full plate. Other generals wanted new airplanes, new tanks, new ships, new equipment of all description. He tried to get Mac to agree that there was nothing wrong with the existing 1903 bolt-action Springfield rifle. It worked fine! Everyone liked it, and everyone was trained to use it. It was being currently produced comfortably. Was this new autoloading rifle, in the same caliber, really all that critical?
Mac’s gaze narrowed, as he took center stage. “In a short time, a young American trooper in a far-away place, unable to fire fast enough to keep the enemy away, will receive an enemy bayonet in his belly. When that happens, he let out a scream, and then he will gnarl a vile curse. At the end of that curse, he will mutter a name, and I want that name to be yours, not mine!”
As he finished his sentence, Mac abruptly turned and walked out, without another word. Just as he got to the door, FDR said, “Mac! Mac. Okay, you can have your dammed rifle!” True to form, Mac never looked back, nor even acknowledged FDR’s reply. He paused only for a moment, then walked through to door.
In that brief interchange, so long ago, world history was changed! The Garand rifle immediately went in to production and was so good, it became the envy of the world and markedly contributed to a great victory. It saw noble service for decades after the War, and many copies and still stand ready to serve in Americans homes (including mine!) , even today.
Currently, we are at another historical crossroads, and, unhappily, there is no Mac Arthur to make our case. The critical need for a new, heavier infantry rifle and caliber has been well known for decades. We desperately need a gas-piston rifle, in a caliber with real range and that actually shoots through things! However, today, when the subject is brought up, all we hear is how “Impossible!” any such change would be. For the current inheritors of Mac’s mantle, it seems everything is “impossible.”
That terrible word shouldn’t even be in our vocabulary!
12 June 07
S&W M&P Revolver!
Today, I handled a copy of S&W’s M&P, eight-shot, 357Mg revolver. It comes complete with a rail under the barrel and is clearly designed as a police/patrol sidearm.
One may load/reload it using eight-shot, full-moon clips that come with it. The clips also make policing brass a good deal quicker and easier than picking up individual cases.
Police departments and individual officers who never fell out of love with revolvers may well abandon their autoloaders and gravitate back to this updated version of the traditional American police workhorse. I like it!
S&W is clearly a player again!
13 June 07
The Luddite Fallacy:
In the early 1800s in England, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Ned Ludd led a leftist movement intent on destroying new industrial technology, on the theory that technological advancement would lead to massive unemployment. His band of followers became known as Luddites, and the “Luddite Falacy,” was, of course, that new technology, far from causing unemployment, actually creates new industries, new wealth, and new jobs.
However, the term “Luddite Fallacy” assumed another, more subtitle, definition during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries and continuing into the current Century. The British Army adopted a new explosive in the late 1800s. It consisted mostly of picric acid and was named “Lyddite,” after the Lydd Proving Grounds where it was tested. So much more powerful was this new compound than anything previously used as shell-filler, it was, laughingly, slanged to “Luddite,” in honor of the nation’s turbulent political history. The British quickly convinced themselves that Lyddite (or Luddite) would so revolutionize warfare that all previous ideas about tactics would have to be instantly revised.
Infantry was to become all but irrelevant! Heretofore, foot soldiers used fire and maneuver to identify, close with, and seize objectives through direct fire and close combat. No more! Now, such objectives would be casually vaporized as soon as they were located. Nothing could live through an attack of Lyddite artillery! Infantry soldiers would be relegated to merely mopping up after enemy positions were reduced to so much detritus by this new, frightening weapon. From this point forward, infantry would engage in precious little, actual fighting. Most of them probably didn’t even need to be armed, or, at least, so went the hypothesis!
The naive British got a chance to test this theory at Magersfontein, South Africa, in December of 1899 during the Second Angle-Boer War, and just a few years later at the Somme River in northern France in the fall of 1916. To their dismay, they discovered that believing in this new “Luddite Fallacy” had been a foolish blunder indeed! Warfare had not been “revolutionized” by this new weapon after all, as so many had hoped. And, after all this, infantry soldiers still had to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy, on a most personal level!
In my time, I remember then Secretary of Defense MacNamara, then President Johnson, and a host of others, who should have known better, seduced by a modern-day version of the “Luddite Fallacy.” So persuaded were they that a tough and cunning enemy in Vietnam could be effortlessly defeated via a host of new, high-technology, mostly untested, gadgets, that the role of individual infantry and Marines could be degraded, once again, to mop-up status and little more. Soldiers and Marines no longer needed robust, long-range rifles, pistols, and machine guns in heavy calibers. They could now be issued light, short-range, impotent weapons, since they probably wouldn’t have to opportunity to actually shoot anyone anyway!
How naive can you get? Like the British before us, we quickly and unhappily discovered that, to defeat VC and NVA, we indeed needed to “actually shoot” them, one at a time! All the high-tech stuff was helpful, but it did not “revolutionize” that war, just as it has failed to revolutionize any other! And, soldiers and Marines, now armed with underpowered, short-range weapons that were unable to penetrate much of anything found the job of closing with and defeating the enemy all that much more difficult.
That was forty years ago, and today, we see that the “Luddite Fallacy” is still alive and well! Last weekend, Vicki and I had the honor, once more, to train young, Marine instructors. They do their level best with the underpowered rifles and pistols they’re issued, but the weapons’ fateful limitations are painfully obvious.
Infantry needs to be restored to its rightful role as “Queen of Battle.” The false thinking that technology has made foot soldiers obsolete and that “casualty-free war” is somehow possible is as naively delusional today as it was in 1899! And, issuance of impotent, individual weapons and calibers needs to be recognized as the foolish error we now know it to be.
Western Civilization is currently tottering at the brink of oblivion! If we ultimately fail and are brushed aside by less sophisticated but more aggressive civilizations, it will be because of the “Luddite Fallacy” that we were, and are, too proud, too timid, and too afraid to confront honestly!
15 June 07
“Wrong,” or just inferior?
Any weapon operational procedure, administrative or tactical, “works,” to one degree or another. However, we instructors gravitate toward those methods that are (1) quickly learned/absorbed/practiced, (2) easy to teach, (3) forgiving, that is, the technique will “work,” even when not done exactly right, (4) universal, that is, the technique is neither gun-specific nor situation-specific, and (5) can be accomplished with gross, body movements, rather than precise, finger movements.
Complicated, unforgiving, gun/situation-specific techniques may look great in the movies, but, in the inadequate amount of time we have to work with students, they must come away with something that has at least some chance of being successful, even when they are involved in a gunfight that very night!
An example is teaching students to close a locked-back pistol slide by depressing the slide lock/release lever. The technique “works,” but the slide lock/release lever varies from pistol to pistol in both shape and location. Once you teach your thumb to sweep down the lever on a Glock, then you are subsequently compelled to use a SIG, you’ll unhappily discover that the same lever on the SIG is in a location with which you are not acquainted. In addition, when the slide is forward on an empty chamber, depressing the lever, in any fashion, will accomplish precisely nothing! So, this technique is not only gun-specific. It is also situation-specific. Thus, not recommended!
As such, the technique is not “wrong,” but it is inferior to yanking the slide all the way back and then letting it go. That procedure involves only a gross, non-precise, body movement, will chamber a round on any pistol I know of, and the starting position of the slide will be irrelevant.
I rarely accuse a technique of being “wrong,” and, even the best techniques, the ones we currently teach, are still not perfect. It is incumbent upon us instructors to identify the best of the best, even when we didn’t personally invent any of it, always acknowledging that better methods are doubtless still yet to be discovered. Of course, we need to avoid superficial fads, but, in order to relentlessly advance our Art, which is our charge, we must instantly recognize genuine advances, no matter what their source, and be prepared to embrace them.
“If thou would not be forgotten
when dead and rotten
Write something work reading,
or read something worth writhing.”
18 June 07
More sterile guns and “gunmen”!
In looking through a recent issue of a popular American gun magazine, I noted an article on the subject of plains-game hunting. A smiling hunter is pictured with his deceased quarry ( an antelope) and his Ruger single-shot rifle, presumptively the one used to down the animal, obviously unloaded, out of his control, and leaning nonchalantly against the reclining beast.
It must the new, accepted norm for “hunters” to pose for photographs with empty guns! It is as if they were saying, “It’s okay! My gun is unloaded. I’m harmless/helpless/defenseless. We can all relax now.” And, among gun-magazine publishers, it is apparently the new, unwritten rule that hunters may pose with guns, so long as all are obviously unloaded, sterile, and not being held in a way where one could possibly use them for any serious purpose.
I had the unhappy experience of hunting with a British PH in South Africa several years ago who had this same pernicious habit of unloading rifles the moment the beast went down and the hunt was supposedly “over.” After shooting a large Oryx with a borrowed 270 bolt gun, this PH indicated that he could now take the rifle from me. We’ll, I couldn’t very well tell him he couldn’t have his own rifle back, but I was dismayed and not a little concerned when he promptly unloaded it, all the time complementing me on my accuracy.
His congratulatory comments were, as is turns out, premature! After thirty minutes, the “dead” Oryx got back up, looking at the two of us and displaying very little discomfort! We had both been guilty of “relaxing too soon.” I drew my G19, which was the only gun I still had. In an embarrassed panic, my PH tried clumsily to reload the rifle. Meanwhile, the animal, apparently bored with both of us, ran away! It was hours before I got another shot at it and finally brought it down for the final time. My PH never asked me to surrender the rifle the rest of that day, and it thus stayed loaded and under my direct control.
During WWII, a far wiser General “Vinegar” Joe Stillwell, assigned to the Far East, never allowed himself to be photographed while unarmed. Every picture we see of him today shows him with M1 Carbine in hand. A fifteen-round magazine is unfailingly locked in the magazine well, and I have every confidence there was always a round chambered. Joe Stillwell obviously didn’t feel a need to apologize for being ever ready to act, unlike many in today’s generation of hunter/writers.
Like Vinegar Joe, I have made it a habit of not allowing myself to be photographed on a hunt while holding an obviously empty gun, nor with my rifle or shotgun out of my direct control. I believe such photographs convey an arrogant, overly-casual attitude that simultaneously dishonors our quarry and does a disservice to our Art.
Nor do I allow myself to be photographed using an autopistol, with slide locked to the rear, as a pointer, calling attention to bullet holes in a paper target. It’s a pistol, not a pointer, and such an airheaded stunt does our Art no good service!
Decades from now, I, for one, don’t want my descendants to look at photos of me, as I am unarmed, clueless, inattentive, and arrogantly assumptive that the fight is over. No, I want all to say of me, if nothing else, “… now, there’s a Warrior!”
“A mousetrap is an example of excellent “conditioning.” It’s coiled spring sits expressionless. It has no personal animosity toward mice, any more than it does toward careless index fingers. So long as neither touches the cheese, there is no problem! But, when the cheese is molested, it’s reaction is fleet, remorseless, and absolutely invariant.”
21 June 07
Sage advice from criminal defense attorneys with whom I work:
When I am asked by lawyers to provide them with expert consultation in shooting cases, I always make it a point to ask several, general questions about strategies for gun owners/carriers. This advice I, in turn, pass on to my students:
The most dangerous and damaging single thing one can do in the wake of a lethal confrontation, the one act that fatally damages most claims of legitimate self-defense? Answering questions asked by police investigators, at the scene, without first insisting on having your attorney present.
Even seemingly innocent-sounding statements like, “I didn’t mean to….”, “It was an accident…..”, “This is terrible….”, and “I can’t believe I did that….” are, in fact, monstrously incriminating. Attorneys tell me that the strongest part of the prosecutor’s case is almost always directly founded upon indiscreet statements made, at the scene, by the accused, to police.
On the other hand, saying nothing to police carries risks also. When those on one side of the incident talk freely to the police, and those on the other side say nothing, talkers automatically go into the “victim” column in the investigator’s notebook, while the silent go into the “perpetrator” column. Those assigned distinctions tend to be permanent and will color the investigation from that point forward.
The best compromise is to have your well-rehearsed tape loops ready to go. Tape loops need to be emphatic and unmistakable, but neither rude nor insulting: “Officers, I want to cooperate, but I want my attorney here first” , “I’ll be happy to answer all your questions just as soon as my attorney is here.”
At that point, police are obligated to stop questioning you. However, they may say something to you like, “You can go the ‘lawyer-route’ if you want, but it won’t do you any good.” , “You better start answering questions now, while you still have the chance.” , “All we want to do is just clear this up.”, “You’ll feel much better after you talk with us.”, or “We only have a few questions, strictly routine…”
What they are trying to do is persuade you to definitively rescind your demand that you have a lawyer to represent you during questioning. Once you say, “Okay, I’ll talk with you,” they will assume, correctly, that you’ve changed your mind and no longer want a lawyer. Don’t do it! Continue to remind investigators that you still want a lawyer and continue to politely decline to answer questions.
So, when first confronting arriving police officers, (1) assume a non-threatening posture, with both palms turned outward and clearly visible. Make sure no guns or other weapons are visible. (2) Get into the “victim” column” right away with, “Officers, thank God you’re here!” Then (3) identify yourself by saying, “I’m the one who called.” VCAs don’t call the police very often!
When asked what happened, say: (4) “That man tried to murder us,” pointing in the direction of the perpetrator. Then comes (5) “I’ll be happy to answer all your questions just as soon as my attorney is here.”
Beyond that, shut your mouth. Don’t sign anything and don’t “consent” to anything. If arrested, submit peacefully and without comment. When asked if you understand your rights, say “No.” When asked what part you don’t understand, respond with, “I don’t understand any of it.”
Tape loops need to be practiced every time we go to the range. None of the foregoing may seem important, until the unthinkable happens. Then, I promise you, the nightmare will begin, made all that much worse when you don’t know your lines!
23 June 07
Why do we adamantly refuse to learn? This, from an LEO friend in the SE:
“I attended a one-day conference on LE Crisis Negotiation last week. The session focused on active shooters. One hundred local LEOs attended, along with military MPs and others. We were on a college campus.
Most attendees were dressed in BDUs or ‘duty-casual’ (511 pants, golf shirt w/department logo). Many were in full uniform. Others wore logo-emblazoned blazers.
Precious few attendees were armed! I was just about the only one. Most displayed a shiny badge clipped next to an empty holster. Even those in uniform showed up with empty holsters.
Nearly all left their guns in their cars before entering the campus. They apparently look upon personal weapons as inconsequential accouterments, to be discarded at a whim when in a ‘safe’ environment, and this in the very wake of the VA Tech shootings!
Unbelievable! Will we ever learn?”
Comment: So long as this civilization looks upon helplessness/defenselessness as “virtues,” we will continue to see this kind of institutionalized stupidity, this lemming-like allegiance to enforced impotence, even among LEOs. And, few even question it!
27 June 07
Airguns are toys? This from a friend with LAPD:
“A two-month-old infant was shot to death when her juvenile ‘uncle’ negligently discharged an airgun last Monday. The young man was sitting on a porch carelessly fumbling with a pellet rifle. His sister, who was carrying his two-month old niece, was walking toward him when the pellet gun discharged and struck the baby. The two-month-old subsequently died from her injuries at the hospital.
Idiot was, of course, taken into custody. There is no suggestion that the shooting was anything but an accident.”
Comment: Airguns are eminently capable of inflicting serious, even fatal, injuries! Careless gun handling is as contemptible with airguns as it is with any gun. Careless gun handling is a remorseless and ruthless assassin! See that you’re never guilty of it, no matter what kind of “gun” you’re handling!