I shouldn’t have gotten in trouble for it but I did get in trouble.
– my cardiologist
I had to make a visit to my cardiologist last week. We had an enlightening conversation about the gun story of his childhood. He comes from a country where there is no gun culture to speak of but double barrel shotguns are sometimes found in rural homes. As a young boy, he visited his uncle’s country house. There, unsecured in a mud room, he found the uncle’s shotgun. Being an intelligent and inquisitive young child, he picked up the shotgun and brought it into the house. The gun was loaded. Fortunately, a family member came from behind him and took the gun away from him before any harm resulted. Then, he got in trouble. Although incidents where a child causes an unintentional discharge tend to be well publicized, the ones where a small child gets hold of a gun but doesn’t fire almost never do. I’m willing to bet there are many many more incidents where the gun doesn’t go off, fortunately.
What probably happens in those cases is the same thing that happened to him; the child ‘gets in trouble’ and is either scolded and/or punished. In our times of constant media bombardment that guns are bad, per se, having an Early Childhood Trauma https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma/trauma-types/early-childhood-trauma involving a firearm is likely to prime the platform for that child to dislike and fear firearms. I would call that a long term Negative Outcome for our Second Amendment right.
Every time we pull a gun on someone, a binary decision, ‘Shoot or Don’t Shoot,’ immediately ensues and continues until the gun is put away. That decision is not necessarily either conscious nor intentional. Because of that, we need to be very mindful of when we choose to place ourselves into that position. Two recent incidents, one involving a personal friend and one involving a gun celebrity, have reinforced that to me. In fact, we probably should change the common usage to Don’t Shoot/Shoot instead of vice versa.
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.
- The drive from Atlanta to Las Vegas.
- The Show itself.
- 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)
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.
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.”
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. ☹
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.
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
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.
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  stood in stark contrast to the single, fatal shot from Kirkman’s antique, bolt-action .22-caliber rifle.
Someone 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.
In lieu of #wheelgunwednesday, an interesting and sad case study came up on Facebook. It is a personal experience and something I have never forgotten.
While I was still living in Chicargo, I often took public transit, especially the Elevated trains. One Sunday morning, I was going to play a softball game. However, the POlice had closed the Elevated station. A woman had been raped and murdered and a would-be rescuer stabbed within an inch of his life at 10AM on an otherwise beautiful Sunday morning on the platform.
A rare second cup of coffee kept me out of that situation. I never have a second cup. To this day, I still wonder if I could have done a hip throw (a Hand to Gland Combat technique) on the criminal onto the third rail. Or maybe I would have ended up like the would be rescuer. He was a runner; the paper said if he hadn’t been in such great shape he would have died too.
My Guardian Angel was looking out for me, as is often the case.
The circumstances of the incident were as follows:
This popped up as popular in my stats today. I don’t know why but it’s certainly worth repeating.
The attacks in Paris by Radical Islamists have captured the attention of the world and obviously people in the United States. Over 100 people were killed and several hundred more were wounded. Along with many people, I mourn for the casualties of these horrific and barbaric events.
In the aftermath, numerous articles are being written about surviving active shooter events, etc. In addition, some folks are saying they’re going to make some massive changes in the way they socialize. It’s always good to examine our vulnerabilities. However, let’s look at things in perspective.
In 2014, the estimated number of murders in the [United States] was 14,249.
In 2014, there were an estimated 741,291 aggravated assaults in the [United States].
There were an estimated 84,041 rapes (legacy definition) reported to law enforcement in 2014.
The FBI definition of Aggravated assault is:
An unlawful attack by one…
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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.
Thanks to Rob Pincus, I have found a cleaner copy of Colonel John Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study (AAS). It was recreated by Mr. Mark Hart from the declassified 1964 version. The recreation is much easier on the eyes than the reproductions of the original mimeographed edition that are generally available.
Prior to Colonel Boyd’s AAS, fighter combat was viewed by the majority of fighter pilots as an intuitive skill rather than one that could be codified. Some conceptual principles had been developed along with elementary tactics such as the Thach Weave, but Boyd was the one who wrote the definitive book. Only Major General Frederick “Boots” Blesse had preceded Colonel Boyd in writing a book, No Guts No Glory, about jet fighter combat. Major General Blesse’s book wasn’t the exhaustive treatise on the subject that the AAS was.
A friend of mine shared a memory of this article on Facebook. I’m glad that he did.
I’ve evolved my thinking about Orient to include more nuance but the article is still a good primer on the depth of Boyd’s concept and how we can and should apply it.
“Orientation is the schwerpunkt [focal point]. It shapes the way we interact with the environment—hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act.”
— John R. Boyd, Organic Design for Command and Control (1987)
And please keep in mind that it does a disservice to Colonel Boyd’s ideas when they are reduced to a simplistic four point circular diagram.