Category Archives: deadly force

Walking Back the Cat

Walking Back the Cat is a term used in the Intelligence community for deconstructing events to learn from them. This is the first in a series I’m calling #Walkbackwednesday. It’s useful just to have an idea of how events unfold even from a simplistic viewpoint. A visual representation often leads to a better understanding of what occurred. Veterans will recognize this as a ‘sand table’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_table#Military_use exercise.

There are a number of lessons to be learned from this incident. These will be discussed in the future. The original story is here. https://myfox8.com/news/juvenile-shot-taken-to-hospital-after-burglary-attempt-in-winston-salem-police-looking-for-2nd-suspect/

Who’s there?

“Who’s there?”

Learn to say it in your sleep.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/breaking-news/2020/11/05/stuart-man-thinks-he-hears-an-intruder-fatally-shoots-pregnant-wife/

“When you have a home where you have family members, you have to be even more careful and wait that extra second and do everything you can to make sure you know what you’re dealing with when you’re about to use deadly force,” [Martin County Sheriff] Snyder said.

Well said, Sheriff Snyder.

Many of my colleagues disagree with my assessment that decision-making is far more important than marksmanship and technical proficiency but I’m sticking to my guns on the subject. Every incident like this I read about makes me more of a ‘bitter clinger’ to my opinion.

“Daddy, where’s Mommy?”

“I accidentally killed her before you were even born. I’m so sorry I took your Mommy from you.”

If anyone thinks that man will ever sleep through the night again, they’re wrong. My prediction is that he will also die young, leaving his child without any parents at any early age.

Have a plan

As the late William Aprill was fond of saying,

Spontaneity is overrated.

“That’s what heart surgery is,” he said with a soft laugh. “It’s a script. To you, it probably looked like I was just sewing those collars into Meeko’s chest any old way. But every motion was planned, tested, practiced. Turn my hand eight degrees and poke the needle through; swivel my hand back 22 degrees and draw the needle up four inches; turn my hand back just so and bring it to the left a half inch: a precise number of stitches, pulled just so tight and no tighter. What heart surgery takes is remembering an incredibly long and complicated script and following it exactly, step by step.”

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/no-pulse-how-doctors-reinvented-the-human-heart

The idea of having a script, i.e., a very specific game plan, doesn’t just apply to heart surgery. One of the learned aspects of firearms competition is to develop a plan ahead of time and then follow it through.

https://www.20min.ch/story/schusswechsel-nach-einbruch-in-geschaeft-eine-person-verletzt-108142673425

The quaint Google translate version of the story’s precis reads:

That’s what it’s about

* On Friday [note that the incident actually occurred the previous Wednesday] night there was an exchange of fire between the owner of a gun shop and burglars who had tried to gain access to his shop in Wallbach AG [Switzerland].

* What the perpetrators did not expect: The owner is a marksman and former Swiss champion in dynamic shooting [IPSC].

* One person was injured in the shooting. The POlice assume that this is one of the perpetrators, as no injuries were found on site.

Whether it’s IPSC, IDPA, GSSF, ICORE or some other form of competition is largely irrelevant. What is important is the concept of having a game plan ahead of time and then putting it into action when you get the ‘GO’ signal.

Before there was an FDIC

In the days before the FDIC, if banks didn’t protect their assets they had no assets.

“They aim to welcome bandits with hot lead.”

https://www.mcall.com/la-me-fw-archives-1928-pistol-training-for-bank-tellers-20171120-story.html

Feb. 18, 1928: Los Angeles Police Chief James Davis, left, with First National Bank teller Madeline Morneau at the police shooting range in Elysian Park. (Los Angeles Times)

Thanks to Michael de Bethencourt of I’m With Roscoe for pointing out the article.

Once you can shoot…

Some instructors, including myself, had an interesting discussion on Facebook about the phrase “once you can shoot.”

My question to the group was ‘What does that mean?’ I asked it as a serious question. The personal journey I’ve made in answering that question over time has been interesting. My answers to myself about it have changed dramatically as a result of some related research I’ve done. The two most significant areas of research were Negative Outcomes and what higher level thinkers in the POlice community had to say. The discussion was involved enough that I wrote a Patreon post about it.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/43213970

I’m making the Patreon post public because I think it’s a much neglected philosophical discussion. At The Mingle this month, I asked the ladies present to write out their personal policy about when to draw or present a weapon. It was the first time that many of them had ever been asked to do that. We need to realize that ‘Have Adequate [Hard] Skills’ is only one aspect of the issues we face.

Marksmanship is a hard skill but soft skills are important too.

Your Best Defense: Staying Out of Trouble

I was able to spend some time talking with Michael Bane last week about ‘Staying Out of Trouble.’ That means emphasizing the ‘Avoid’ and ‘Escape’ steps in the Avoid, Escape, Confront, Resist paradigm.

We had a great conversation that will be of interest to new gunowners, those who have been at it as long as Michael and I, and everyone in between.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

The Law is what it is

I shared this on my personal Facebook timeline and from there dozens of other people have shared it.

Texas grand jury: No action against killer of church shooter
https://apnews.com/article/fort-worth-shootings-archive-texas-f38e8ef6437e96a9e60fb44662c71494

Several questions and comments have repeatedly been raised as a result.

  • He should never have been charged.
  • Why did it go to a Grand Jury?
  • Why is this even an issue?

He wasn’t charged. The issue went to a Grand Jury because Texas requires homicides, and all potential felonies, to be presented to a Grand Jury.

Another issue to consider is that the incident occurred December 29, 2019. The Grand Jury returned a No-Bill yesterday, September 28, 2020, nine months later. Because all potential felonies have to go to a Grand Jury in Texas, they’re busy. Although in this case there was little doubt of the outcome, Mr. Wilson still had potential legal action hanging over his head for the better part of a year. It is likely that his family thought about this just as much as he did, perhaps more so.

The Law is what it is, not what we think it is, nor what we think it should be. Many people don’t understand the importance of that distinction.

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Downrange drill target

My only question is whether you might have an alternate suggestion for target set up comparable to the one in this post and the one before. I shoot at two restrictive ranges without the ability to shoot targets spaced as indicated in your diagram.

Almost all indoor ranges are restrictive that way. There are still things you can do even if you can’t accomplish everything you’d like.

This is a target from my upcoming Dry Practice book you can print on letter size paper.

Downrange drill target

Tape it to the head of a silhouette target. It is anatomically sized correctly by using the ocular distance indicated by the line with arrows on the male mugshot of Dennis Rader, the notorious BTK Killer. https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/dennis-rader The dashed circle is sized to four inches in diameter. The pretty lady is a mug shot too, unfortunately, but she serves the purpose of occupying the place of a NO SHOOT.

Place the target at 10 feet, which is the mid-point of the far phase of Social Space in Proxemics. The object of the drill is to place one round in the circle as rapidly as your can. Do it five times in a row. If you hit the lady, you’ve shot a loved one; consider that in your evaluation of your abilities. As Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Even if you don’t have a lot of flexibility at your practice range, there are still things you can do to up your game.

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Why we practice marksmanship – number 2

Investigators say Mills walked into the bathroom where the female homeowner was showering. She screamed and her husband ran in to confront Mills. Police say Mills had a knife and stabbed the husband in the face and stomach before running from the home.

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/brookhaven-couple-attacked-their-home-yesterday/VFLHWHIBVNANFJ4JIF5NEGR6OY/

A downrange drill including standoff.

Once again, we’re more likely to need to do a close range precision shot on a predator than a 25 head shot on a terrorist. Let’s use ‘hit a 4 inch circle at 10 feet’ as a definition of ‘close range precision shot.’ That’s the standard to pass the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course. Just like BOPS, our standard should be 100% hits for a five shot string.

Why we practice marksmanship

Man shot multiple times while trying to steal couple’s SUV at gas station

https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/09/17/man-shot-while-trying-to-steal-couples-vehicle-at-gas-station-police-say/

“The suspect walked away from his truck and toward a couple that was at a gas pump with their SUV, investigators said. Officers said the suspect then entered the driver’s seat of the SUV while a woman was in the passenger seat.

At some point, police said the man saw the suspect inside of the SUV. He then fired at the suspect sitting in the driver’s seat, striking him multiple times, investigators said.”

Note the position of the bullet holes in the windshield.

Hopefully, the wife exited the vehicle before the shooting started. If not, that was a scary downrange drill, i.e., friendlies or non-threats somewhere downrange between the defender and the criminal. Scary for both the shooter and the downrange friendly. Consider the position of the shooter when the shots were fired.

Armed Citizens are far less likely to have to make a 25 yard headshot on a terrorist than we are to need to make a close range precision shot with no-shoots downrange. It’s something that very few gunowners practice but ought to. In this situation, the hit ratio needs to be 100%, not 70% or 20%.

Even during the Beer Plague, we’re often out of our homes with our loved ones and there’s no guarantee that they will be behind us when trouble starts.

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