Category Archives: Negative Outcomes

The Tactical Professor’s SHOT Show Odyssey

I just returned home after a two week Odyssey to and from the 2019 SHOT Show. My approach to the Show this year was completely different from previous years. After two weeks on the road and the Show, I have 21 pages of notes with many more yet to be written. The chronicles of my journey will be the subject of quite a few blog posts over the next two weeks.

My Odyssey had three phases.

  1. The drive from Atlanta to Las Vegas.
  2. The Show itself.
  3. A 52 hour bus ride back to Atlanta from Las Vegas.

Phase 1 – The drive there

A friend wanted to make it into a road trip to see part of America, so he rented a large comfortable SUV for the trip. We spent seven days on the road driving from Atlanta, through the South and Southwest parts of the USA, to Las Vegas. It was quite an interesting journey. To put things in perspective, it was a longer distance than from the Nazi submarine pens at La Rochelle on the coast of France to Moscow.

Phase 2 – The SHOT Show itself

This year I was on a ‘jihad’, as my colleague Tamara Keel calls my occasional bursts of enthusiasm, at the Show. The jihad was about storage solutions for firearms because I am tired of collecting articles about children shooting themselves with nearby adults’ guns. While we often think as security solutions to ward off theft, my focus was more about preventing unauthorized access. Although the topics are akin, they aren’t the same and I wanted to address the latter. A chance hallway encounter with my colleague John Holschen yielded this gem.

Don’t buy a gun until you have a way to secure it, even if it’s just metal toolbox and padlock.

Another thing I wanted to do was to interview people who aren’t ‘equipment obsessed’ about their experiences with firearms. Many of them come from Gun Culture 2.0, as Professor David Yamane calls it. The process of interviewing, rather than informing, was tremendously enlightening and useful to me. It was perhaps the most useful part of the journey, overall. Several of the conversations highlighted how important and useful some form of distance learning, such as my ebooks, is to many shooters who have very valid reasons for not attending training. Links to my books are at the bottom of the page.

Phase 3 – The journey home

It’s easy to get into the habit of always being comfortable when traveling. However, ‘the worst possible case’ doesn’t always involve having a deadly encounter with TODD or a band of ninjas armed with automatic weapons descending from the ceiling. For example, my friend was in one of the Baltic countries when Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted in 2010.  His adventures getting back to his home in Western Europe were not unlike a grand Escape and Evasion exercise covering thousands of miles.

We often talk about ‘Bug Out Bags,’ but what if you’re faced with having to get home while living on your wits? Another of my friends was caught on the other side of the US when air travel was grounded by the 9/11 attacks, so this isn’t something that only happens to Special Forces soldiers in Denied Areas. I thought a little practice might be in order so I seized the opportunity.

Highlights (for now)

Phase 1

One of our stops was Vicksburg National Military Park. It is the site of one of the pivotal campaigns of the Civil War or War of Northern Aggression, depending on one’s preferred terminology. The underlying reasons for the four year conflict are still being debated but the motivation displayed by the participants committed to their causes remains amazing to this day.

3d Battery OH Lt Arty.jpg

3 overwhelming firepower

We also made a visit to the site of the Duel at the Dumbster in Abilene so I could get a first hand feel for the terrain of the shooting. Someone asked me at the Show if there were lessons to be learned from the incident. My immediate reply was “About foolishness and stupidity, a great deal.”

Phase 2

There were many interesting devices for securing firearms available at the Show, some new, some old. There was not much activity the several times I visited the Project ChildSafe booth, which I found disheartening. The folks at the booth were very friendly and had a lot of information. Similarly, there wasn’t much activity around the areas that displayed securing devices. Not many people seemed interested in preventing kids from shooting themselves in the face with an adult’s gun. I has a sad because of this. ☹

project childsafe edit

zore gun lock booth

Phase 3

It was a long and sometimes arduous journey home. My friend bought me a nice dinner of Linguine alle Vongole before my departure for which I am very grateful. Finding decent food during the trip wasn’t easy and I was glad I had eaten a good meal before leaving. As a thought reconnaissance in preparation for a lengthy and difficult return trip home, it was very useful and I learned a great deal.

bus itinerary crop

linguine alle vongole

More about the Tactical Professor’s Odyssey tomorrow.

For those interested in improving your skills with a handgun, I have written two books.

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills downloadable eBook. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions downloadable eBook. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

For those who wish to avoid Serious Mistakes and subsequent Negative Outcomes, I have made a downloadable recording.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, downloadable audio recording. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Multiple categories of Negative Outcome

This could go into three different categories of my Negative Outcomes database; ‘Poor Judgement,’ ‘Unjustified Shootings,’ and ‘POlice Involvement.’ For now, it gets filed in Poor Judgement.

Florida man shooting at target in backyard hits neighbor sitting at dining room table, deputies say

https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/man-shooting-at-target-in-backyard-hits-neighbor-sitting-at-dining-room-table-deputies-say/1682358419

This is a Serious Mistake and a clear violation of Rule #4 “Know your target and what is beyond and around it.” ‘Target’ includes the target’s backstop.

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills downloadable eBook. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions downloadable eBook. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, downloadable audio recording. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Downrange Failure

As [the Officer] struggled with Villalon, [the homeowner] drew a handgun and fired in their direction, striking the officer on his right arm, according to police.

Homeowner shoots McAllen officer who responded to burglary

This is the Negative Outcome I categorize as ‘Downrange Failure,’ i.e., hit someone downrange who wasn’t the criminal. It’s the smallest category of Negative Outcomes but the consequences tend to be high.

Continue reading →

The odds and stakes of home protection

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.

Tragedy: Florida Man Shoots, Kills Fiancée Day Before Wedding

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.

australianparrots-crop

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.

staff-sergeant

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

Revisiting Negative Outcomes

I wrote this Guest Editorial: Avoiding Negative Outcomes for The Tactical Wire four years ago. Given the number of Negative Outcomes that have shown up in my Google feed lately, it’s worth reviewing.

http://www.thetacticalwire.com/features/229266

Complacency Kills. It can happen to any of us.

Followup on Negative Outcome (Part I)

It’s useful to track a Negative Outcome incident from start to finish. In this case, the Negative Outcome was an Unjustifiable Shooting.

Man who killed teens trespassing on property sentenced to prison

A quick summary of the events is:

  • Two individuals were on a Michigan man’s property, early in the morning.
  • Most likely their intent was to steal. They were on a ‘crime spree.’
  • The man heard them and came out on his porch with a .22 semi-automatic rifle.
  • He challenged them.
  • At least one of them began to run away.
  • He shot both of them and killed them.
  • An investigation followed.
  • Months later, he was arrested and charged with two counts of second degree murder.
  • More than two years later, he was convicted and sentenced to a long prison term.

Continue reading →

Equipment is not a proxy for skill

Yesterday, this article showed up in the search that I continually have running for personal protection incidents and I shared it on Facebook.

Prosecutor: 13 bullet holes showed self-defense for man cleared of murder charge https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/counties/dewitt/prosecutor-bullet-holes-showed-self-defense-for-man-cleared-of/article_def55934-d637-11e8-9546-637075a1ed02.html

When I share things, I often quote what I consider an important point of the story. For this incident, I thought this was important.

The number of bullets fired by Martinez [27] stood in stark contrast to the single, fatal shot from Kirkman’s antique, bolt-action .22-caliber rifle.

winchester 22 rifleSomeone immediately took me to task about the .22 caliber aspect. Apparently, they thought I was advocating carrying a single shot .22 rifle for personal protection. I don’t recall saying that, I merely used the quote as an illustration of the difference between being a spray and pray artist vis-à-vis aiming and getting a good hit. Perhaps that wasn’t clear from the quote.

antonio shooting giphy

Continue reading →

Consistency

Consistent. Merriam-Webster defines it as:

marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity: free from variation or contradiction

During his Technical Handgun: Tests and Standards class last weekend, John Johnston of Ballistic Radio commented to me that the class had been heavily influenced by two conversations he and I had. In one, I said

You’re a good shooter but your consistency sucks.

He took that to heart and developed a personal program to increase his consistency. Technical Handgun is his road show about how shooters can use a personal program to increase their consistency and competency. Good shooting, even decent shooting, is the result of consistency. By that I mean the ability to perform at some level with a high degree of regularity. As we develop our consistency, the level we are able to perform at ‘on demand’ increases. Many shooters are perfectly content with being incompetent. Many others are not but don’t know how to go about increasing their competency.

Continue reading →

Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part III)

garbage buffet dumpster crop

An unedited version of the Dumbster Fire video, entitled Two Fat Hillbillies Kill [Man whose mouth writes checks that his ass can’t cash] Over Garbage, is available on LiveLeak.

https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=9SIw5_1537458941

Note that the LiveLeak video is raw footage and contains language that some may find offensive. While the first minute and a half is woofing and Monkey Dancing, after that it starts getting very serious.

Deploying and Preparing for Combat

About 1:30 into the LiveLeak video, the son Deploys into a position where he can use his weapon. He still has his weapon across his shoulders. The Father and Son have at that point achieved a Position of Advantage because they can both use their weapons from where they are at but Orange Shirt can only get one of them before the other gets him. Prior to deploying to his right, the Son’s position wasn’t good because he is right handed and his Father was obliquely to his right. While this positioning isn’t exactly an L-shaped Field of Fire, it’s reasonably close considering the terrain. Being in the beaten zone of an L-shaped Field of Fire is not where you want to be when the loud noises start.

Approximately 30 seconds later (2:07), the Son takes the weapon off his shoulder and assumes a ready position with it. He is now Prepared for Combat. He has achieved a Position of Advantage and has his weapon in a position to use it quickly. Preparation for Combat doesn’t have to involve readying a weapon. The POlice often encounter criminals who take their shirts off at some point in an interview or confrontation. By doing so, the criminal has removed something that an Officer could use to restrain him or gain an Advantage. This is another example of Preparation for Combat.

When one side Deploys and Prepares for Combat, that means the situation is going to go bad VERY SHORTLY. If you have any way to withdraw at that point, you need to take it immediately because the action WILL begin within a matter of seconds, as we can see from the timeline of the incident.

  • 1:30 – Son Deploys to Position of Advantage.
  • 2:07 – Son brings his weapon to Ready. Preparation for Combat complete.
  • 2:10 – Father fires first pistol shots.

Using weapons adequately

At 2:10, the first pistol shots are fired by the Father. At 2:13, two things happen simultaneously; the Father bends to his left, leaving a clear shot for the Son. The Son chambers a round, brings his weapon into his eye-target line and fires two rounds. The smoothness, rapidity of movement, and effectiveness of his fire leave little doubt that he had practiced this before.

The Son’s weapon was a Shockwave, a weapon that fires shotgun shells but because of a clever design, is not categorized by the BATF as a ‘Short Barreled [i.e., sawed off] Shotgun.’ The Shockwave, its Remington counterpart, and pistol gripped shotguns are almost universally ridiculed among the ‘cognoscenti’ of the firearms community. However, Orange Shirt is now in no position to either agree or disagree with that Point Of View because he took a devastating hit in the head from it.

His son fired with a shotgun [sic] and I guess it was a scattershot because it took his eye, the top of his head, his ear

–the fiancée

Say what you will about the Shockwave but the Son understood the importance of getting his weapon into the eye-target line to use it effectively. He must have worked with the gun to the point where he was competent with it.

shockwave howardmurder crop

Don’t be deceived by appearances, just because someone looks like a goof doesn’t mean he can’t kill you with gear he is capable of using well. As my colleague Tamara Keel commented:

This is, however, tangentially related to the maxim that just because you’re carrying a Roland Special, [a high end pistol tuned for fighting] it don’t mean the bullets from a Hi-Point .380 are gonna bounce off you. A dumb [person] can kill you with crap gear adequately wielded.

The cost of killing

Regardless of the legal proceedings and outcome, the Father and Son will have a tough row to hoe for a long time. They’ve both been charged with murder, there is damning video evidence of the incident, and whether they win or lose in court, they’ll most likely be broke for the rest of their lives. The Cost of a Killing is always high, whether it is righteous or not.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride and ego caused the whole mess. Recognize the pitfalls they can lead to ahead of time and stay out of trouble.

I’ve written two different eBooks for those who are interested in improving their skill with handguns. They provide a roadmap to improving your competency at your own pace and within the resources you have available to you. For less than the price of a box of ammo, you’ll be able to use your time and other resources much more effectively.

For those who carry a concealed firearm, Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, is appropriate for you. The link to the downloadable eBook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

For those who don’t carry a concealed firearm but keep a handgun for home defense, Indoor Range Practice Sessions, is appropriate for you. The link to the downloadable eBook is here. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

My downloadable recording, Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make,  http://seriousgunownermistakes.com is particularly appropriate when analyzing this incident.

Previous posts about the Duel at the Dumpster

Serious Mistakes – Unjustified Killings

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/serious-mistakes-unjustified-killings/

Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part I)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-i/

Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part II)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-ii/

Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part II)

dumpster fire

There are even more lessons we can take away from the Duel at the Dumpster, which we probably could also call the Dumbster Fire. Perhaps the most important lesson of them all relates to the human dynamics of confrontations.

You’re always on video

We have to assume we’re always going to be on video. This is especially true when there are other parties nearby, whether they’re Seconds or just bystanders.

Here is a reasonably good transcript of the first minute of the confrontation.

Continue reading →