The discussion of shooting someone in your home without warning or identification has reared its ugly head again. “I’ll shoot anyone in my home” is probably the second most foolish and ill-considered dogma among gun owners today; “It’s not loaded” being the first.
During the Sack of Béziers in 1209 AD, the Abbot of Citeaux, Arnaud Amalric, head of the Crusaders, is reputed to have said: “Kill them. For the Lord knows those that are His own [Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius].” Although it is disputed whether the Abbot actually said this, it is the source of the quip, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” If you consider it for just a few seconds, “I’ll kill anyone in my house” is philosophically not very far from this. Hopefully, we’ve gotten a little smarter and humane over the course of nine Centuries.
Children sneak in and out of the house, spouses get up to go to the bathroom, friends try to surprise you, and people who are mentally challenged, either permanently or temporarily by intoxicants, enter into homes without malicious intent.
I now have close to a hundred Negative Outcome mistaken identity shootings in my database in which someone shot their spouse or child. Those people will never get another good night’s sleep as long as they live. For the ones where the shootee survived, I doubt the relationship will ever be the same. For those who think they’ll check to make sure all their family members are in bed first, that doesn’t always work, either.
And shooting some poor old geezer who has Alzheimer’s isn’t any better, just because he’s not a member of your family. In that particular case, there was no prosecution but the Cost of Killing was still enormous.
On average, my research indicates that someone mistakenly shoots their spouse, child, or other innocent person in their home every single week in the United States. Two words, “Who’s there?” and a flashlight would go a long way to prevent these tragedies. “Challenging will give my position away,” “The flashlight draws fire,” “blah-blah-blah;” that’s all foolishness parroted by people who have no understanding of METT-TC. Mission, Enemy, Terrain and weather, Troops and support available, Time available, and Civil considerations.
Veterans who should have learned about METT-TC, but didn’t, annoy me greatly when they prattle this kind of foolishness. To be fair, I really didn’t understand it until I was a Staff Sergeant and even then only vaguely. This is another reason not to listen to opinions from people whose only real claim to fame is that they qualified Expert with some weapon in the military. Someone’s ability to Qualify with a rifle has ZERO to do with their understanding of any tactics at all, much less tactics about highly ambiguous situations. A better criterion than Qualification would be “How many Operations Orders have you written?” If the answer is Less than ten or especially None, then the person’s ability to plan any operation is questionable.
The odds that the bump in the night are an intruder are low. I’ve calculated them at three percent but I can accept other numbers. More likely, it’s an innocent party. How many of us have investigated a bump in the night as compared to how many of us have then found someone who needed shooting? The stakes are very high, the life of a loved one or innocent party. Some localities are now prosecuting Mistaken Identity shootings as Manslaughter or Second Degree Murder. Even when there are no legal consequences, the psychological toll will most likely be for a lifetime.
The Flashlight chapter of Indoor Range Practice Sessions is a FREE download. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2505573-ebooks-law-indoor-range-session-11-flashlight.html Please get it, practice using your light, learn to speak while holding your gun, and think about identifying people before shooting at them.
You could even buy the whole book, if you want to learn something about shooting. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2501143-ebooks-education-indoor-range-practice-sessions.html
This is a great article. It contains many useful tidbits that can be applied to those want to improve their proficiency not only with firearms but also to a broad array of personal protection skills.
Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.
Posts Part I and Part II broke out the circumstances and tasks of the incidents of this month’s (July 2018) Armed Citizen® column. Today let’s discuss the implications of the circumstances and tasks for those who own firearms for personal protection.
The most common task (all six incidents) accomplished was:
- Retrieve the firearm from storage.
There were no incidents this month in which the firearm was carried on the person’s body. This is a subjective call on the part of editors as to which of the plethora of Defensive Gun Uses to include in a monthly column. However, only 6 percent of the adult population has a license or permit to carry a weapon outside the home, according to John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center. It’s also commonly acknowledged that among those who have a license or permit to carry, actually carrying on the person is sporadic, at best. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the majority, perhaps vast majority, of Defensive Gun Uses do not occur in public places.
One implication of this fact is that a certain amount of emphasis should be placed on retrieving a firearm from its actual storage location, be it home or vehicle, and then putting it into operation. This is especially true if the firearm is kept in some sort of safe, whether it is large or small. If an autoloader is stored with the chamber empty, the need to be able to place the weapon into a fully fireable condition is also implied. Avoiding Negligent Discharges in the process is desirable.
JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
Yesterday’s post broke out the circumstances of the incidents of this month’s Armed Citizen® column. Today’s post breaks out the tasks involved.
Women have been buying an increasing number of firearms in recent years, and that trend is starting to make itself felt against those who try to commit criminal acts. In Arizona, for example, a shopper was getting ready to get into her car and drive home. While she was attempting to close the door of her vehicle, a man armed with a hatchet approached her vehicle, demanded that she hand over her keys and get out of the car. The woman drew a sidearm and told the man to back off. Instead, the assailant raised the hatchet. The shopper proceeded to shoot him, holding him at gunpoint until the police and medics arrived. The suspect was hospitalized, and charges were to be filed later. (Tucson News, Tucson, Ariz., 4/14/18)
Tasks accomplished by Citizen
- Retrieve from car (handgun)
- Challenge from ready
- Engage from ready (handgun)
- Shoot with handgun
- Hold at gunpoint until police arrive
Location of Incident
- In or around Vehicle
- Challenge criminal
- Shot(s) fired
- Held at gunpoint
Result to Criminal
- Criminal wounded
- In Vehicle
Number of Shots fired
Number of adversaries
- 1 adversary
Gaffney Continue reading →
JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
Looking at circumstances and tasks involved in the Monthly Armed Citizen® column of the NRA Official Journals provides us with some food for thought about personal protection. The incidents are summarized in the column for copyright reasons. I have provided links to the original stories for further study.
We can look at the incidents from two perspectives; circumstances and the tasks involved for the defender. This post will categorize the circumstances for each incident. Tomorrow will analyze the tasks involved.
‘Until I actually saw the video of him running up to my house and getting in my vehicle, it was just extremely unsettling,’ said a woman whose Land Rover was stolen from her driveway. She said she had accidentally left the keys in the vehicle.
… Besides her surveillance video, her neighbors’ cameras caught what could be the same suspect trying their car doors and rifling through vehicles for valuables.
The Woman’s Gun Pamphlet came up in conversation during The Mingle yesterday. Since the original source is no more, I’m republishing this post for interested parties.
Through an oblique reference, I recently found a link to The Woman’s Gun Pamphlet.Edit: The link and the server appear to be gone. A PDF of the Pamphlet is available at the edit of this post.
It’s a very interesting publication that was written and published by a colloquium of radical feminists in 1975. The intent was to provide information about both guns themselves and about personal protection attitudes to women of that era who knew nothing about guns or personal protection. As such, I consider it an historically significant document. There’s quite a bit of political rhetoric in it but also a goodly amount of information. Even dry practice is touched on. Some morsels of dry wit are quite entertaining.
Especially interesting to me is that it was written from the perspective of self-taught women of the time with some input from men and by doing primary…
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“This is the first year since I have been tracking that 100% of vehicle thefts occurred in unlocked vehicles. Not a single car window was broken to steal anything.”
I learned my lesson about this when I was 17 in Chicargo. It only took one occurrence for me to get the message. One response to Greg’s post on Facebook was:
In that 3 month period my next door neighbor had his UNLOCKED car broken into IIRC 4 times.
Locking your doors is part of what’s called Defense in Depth. Sure, some criminals could still get in but the harder you make it, the more of them will just go somewhere else.
And please don’t leave firearms in your car, either, even if it’s locked. Your car is not a holster, as Pat Rogers put it. If you sometimes have to go into places where you aren’t allowed to have your firearm on your person, get a lockbox or safe for your vehicle. The ‘truck gun’ concept is a load of Horse Hockey.
Last weekend, I traveled to Florida to take the NRA Instructor Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home Course (PPOTH). I was asked by several people why I would want this particular “Basic” Certification in light of my background and training experience. It’s simple,
I like training new shooters.
My colleague Grant Cunningham made a pertinent blog post about this shortly after I took the PPOTH Student Basic and Advanced Student Course. Experienced instructors often shy away from training the newest students. There has been a massive increase in people licensed to carry firearms over the past few years. In addition, several States have adopted Constitutional or Permitless Carry. That market base probably needs experienced trainers and coaches.
And I don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel. It’s unfortunate that the NRA Training Department’s best marketing statement for its Personal Protection training is contained in the PPOTH Instructor manual. “The NRA Basic Personal Protection Series is based on the building-block approach, moving from the simple to the complex.” The most effective training courses I have taken over the past two decades have used a step by step approach to skill building.
The Training Department sees the progression of the courses for new gun owners interested in learning how to defend themselves and their loved ones as follows.
- NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course, the first course, develops the basic skills of handling, shooting, and cleaning the firearm, as well as a thorough grounding in firearm safety.
- NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course, the second course, teaches:
- the defensive or flash sight picture,
- firing single shots and/or aimed pairs from various shooting positions
- shooting using a center-of-mass hold,
- effectively using cover and concealment,
- employing point-shooting and multiple target engagement techniques.
- techniques for improving awareness and promoting mental preparation,
- methods of enhancing home safety without a firearm, and
- legal aspects of the use of deadly force in self-defense.
- NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home, the third course in the series, covers:
- Introduction to Concealed Carry Safety and The Defensive Mindset,
- Introduction to Self Defense and Concealed Carry,
- Legal Aspects of Concealed Cary and Self-Defense,
- Carry Modes and Handgun Concealment,
- Presenting the Handgun from Concealment, and
- Presentation, Position and Movement.
- Another offering in the series is the NRA Defensive Pistol Course. This is a shorter course than PPOTH. It teaches:
- How to apply the NRA Rules for Safe Gun Handling when carrying a concealed firearm,
- basic principles of concealment,
- drawing from a hip holster
- levels of mental awareness,
- developing the proper mindset when using a pistol for personal protection,
- flash sight picture
- clearing common stoppages,
- shooting a qualification course,
- use of pocket pistols,
In addition to the Courses themselves, the Training Department provides additional Skill Development Exercises for NRA Instructors to use with students after PPITH and PPOTH.
And the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program has even more exercises that interested shooters can use to increase their skills and earn awards from the NRA.
Looking at all the topics covered, that’s a really comprehensive training program. Those who are interested in a defensive firearm as more than a talisman to ward off evil can really get a lot out of such a “Basic” program.
There are a number of aspects of the NRA’s series that I really like. First of all, the classes are between 4 to 9 hours long. Because they’re constructed in modules, even the 9 hour classes don’t have to be conducted in a single day. Most people’s lives are quite busy and asking new shooters to take an entire weekend or even week of training is both difficult and sometimes counter-productive.
The NRA’s program is really the only one in the industry that is built around the student’s capabilities and time constraints rather than a trainer’s weekend convenience. Mea culpa; I’ve done both the traveling trainer and hosting trainer routines, so I’m as guilty of it as any of my colleagues. It’s something I want to try a different approach to.
There’s a place for both newer trainers and experienced trainers in the NRA’s Personal Protection Series. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how I can implement that.
The man went inside and confronted another man he found in his shower, deputies said. The homeowner left after the two exchanged words.
‘He returned home, retrieved a firearm, came back over to the residence and fired multiple rounds into the shower … killing the intruder,’ said Mason County Sheriff’s Lt. Travis Adams.
The homeowner called 911 and told dispatchers that he had just shot and killed an intruder, Adams said.
It’s not clear how long [the intruder] had been inside the home, but detectives don’t believe the homeowner gave him any warnings before he fired his gun, they said.
Deputies later arrested the homeowner for second-degree murder. They believe he had ample time to call for help when he went back home.
The odds are that the shooter will spend a significant portion of the rest of his life in prison. This is a Negative Outcome. It’s a clear example of how foolish the “I’ll shoot anyone I find in my house” ideology is.
I’ll shoot anyone I find in my house.
When I posted the link to the story on my Facebook page, one person replied that he SHOULD have been allowed to kill the intruder. My response was: “No, adjusting our response to the context of the situation is what keeps us from being savages.” Usually, it makes me cringe when news stories refer to someone being ‘gunned down’ but in this case, I think it would be appropriate. What the shooter did was a savage act of unnecessary lethal violence. It wasn’t motivated by fear for his safety or the safety of his loved ones; rather, it was a senseless expression of emotional outrage. We shoot people only when we have to not because we want to.
Another person commented that it was his property and the intruder had committed the offense of breaking and entering. The question was why wasn’t this a Castle Doctrine case. The Castle Doctrine is not an absolute defense. Reasonableness of your response will almost always be applied as a test of the response’s legality. Gunning someone down while they’re taking a shower isn’t likely to be viewed as ‘reasonable.’ As Massad Ayoob put it in the linked article:
Yes, your home is that castle. However, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to install an execution chamber.
The number of people who own firearms or other deadly weapons and yet haven’t the slightest clue about the legal ramifications of their use is astounding. Know the Rules needs to be a standard of our conduct just as much as the physical ability to use the weapon. What you might think the rules are or should be is irrelevant. The actual rules are all that are important.
It used to be that reliable information about the legalities of personal protection was hard to come by. Not anymore. There are numerous readily available sources of information about the law. Without leaving the comfort of your home, several good sources are available.
- What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law (free download)
- Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense
- The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen
- Law Of Self Defense online course
For the lack of reading and understanding a book, the Washington shooter will pay dearly. His legal fees for the trial will most likely cost him everything he owns and he’ll still probably go to prison.
I recently attended the Law Of Self Defense Level I and II classes. They were an excellent legal education resource, tailored specifically to the State I live in, Georgia. The law does not necessarily make sense nor does it have anything to do with what you think it should be. The cost of such training is minor compared to the cost of a trial or even just being arrested on a charge that is later dropped. The optional simulator exercise at the end of the day was also a sobering demonstration of how poorly unpracticed people tend to shoot under stress. LOSD classes are available all over the country and are specifically tailored to the laws of the State they are given in.
A benefit of membership in the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network is the training DVDs provided with membership. Once again, you can learn a great deal about the appropriate and inappropriate uses of forces without having to leave your living room.
Don’t guess, don’t listen to the foolishness you read on Internet Forums, and don’t make decisions based on what you think the rules SHOULD be. Invest at least a little of your resources and find out what the rules really are. It’s true that most situations are fairly cut and dried and work out legally for the defender. The issue is that when things go bad, they tend to go really badly. The rest of your life can easily be at stake. Very few of us would look forward to spending decades in the can (prison) without a Man Lock by McGard.
Also, if you’ve taken a State CCW class, the one hour briefing when your eyes glazed over doesn’t count as any kind of meaningful legal education. Don’t confuse that with education that actually teaches you how to apply the law to your personal situation.
Fair disclaimer: I was a guest of LOSD for the classes and didn’t have to pay for them. However, no promotional consideration for my recommendation was offered nor accepted by me.
Endnote: The intruder in Washington was probably a confused drunk. That’s not going to go over well for the shooter, either.