Category Archives: Serious Mistakes

Breaking Contact (Part 3)

#fridayfundamentals

The CCW Safe https://ccwsafe.com/ series about my concept of Breaking Contact continues with Part 3.

https://ccwsafe.com/blog/34532

Part 2 of the series focused on situations where the concealed carrier initiated contact. Part 3 focuses on incidents where the carrier was initially approached and failed to take the opportunity to Break Contact.

I hate platitudes when they’re used in an attempt to simplify a complex topic into a sound bite. “Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six” is one of the most commonly parroted sayings in the firearms community. While many times we are presented with the optometrist’s question, “Which is better, A or B?,” decisions that are made in advance and are going to affect the rest of our lives seldom are binary. I like to think we’re smarter than parrots that have been trained to say one or two things.

As Shawn points out, the decision process has several more options.

When the goal is not necessarily to kill or disable a would-be attacker, a defender is open to other options that carry less legal risk and may produce more positive outcomes.

When breaking contact is the goal, sometimes it is better to disengage rather than attempt to de-escalate.

My personal paradigm is:

  1. Avoid
  2. Escape
  3. Confront
  4. Resist

Any attempt at de-escalation, even when benign, is a part of Confront. Disengage is part of Escape. Escaping is higher on my priority list than Confronting.

Similarly, in the Gerald Strebendt incident, he unnecessarily moved up the paradigm from Escape to Confront. A confrontation inherently carries more risk associated with it than an escape. As John Hall, former head of the FBI Firearms Training Unit put it:

Any encounter carries with it an element of chance.

My initial post about Breaking Contact (Part I) is located here:

The second is here.

If you would like to purchase my book, click on the image below. The detailed investigations and reports of incidents involving off-duty LAPD officers are very instructional for understanding the differences between Avoiding, Escaping, and Confronting.

Someone thought their car was a holster

Investigators said initial reports indicated the 9-year-old had found a handgun inside the car.

9-year-old believed to have fatally shot 11-year-old boy in car in Pleasant Grove, Dallas police say

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2021/04/11/9-year-old-suspected-in-fatal-shooting-of-11-year-old-boy-inside-car-in-pleasant-grove-dallas-police-say/

My tolerance for this kind of idiocy gets lower and lower with every one of these incidents I read about. Anyone who leaves an unsecured gun in a car is a fool. People who do it can sugar coat their reasons all they want and I’m still going to say:

If you leave an unsecured gun in your car, you’re a fool. If you consider this an acceptable practice, please unsubscribe from this blog; I don’t suffer fools gladly.

When a child gets shot because of an adult’s carelessness about securing a firearm, it’s no different than if the child was killed while the adult was drinking and driving.

Mommy and Daddy, where’s my older brother?

He’s not with us because you killed him when we left you alone in the car with an unsecured loaded gun.

Think about having that conversation any time you feel like leaving your gun in the car.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make

What is the Tactical Conference?

The Rangemaster Tactical Conference started as an International Defensive Pistol Association Major Match in the late 1990s. The IDPA Indoor Winter Championship, as it was then called, was held at Rangemaster’s facility at that time in Memphis, Tennessee. The organizer was Tom Givens, the owner of Rangemaster, a long time pistol competitor, and the leading trainer for Tennessee Concealed Pistol Licenses in Memphis. It was a large enough event to be featured as a segment on Shooting USA.

Typically, a shooting match consists of a few minutes of shooting and hours or days of idle time. However, the Winter Indoor Championship presented a unique opportunity because it was held at an indoor range with classrooms. Tom Givens’ relationship with the training industry meant that he was able to host various trainers who could present concurrent lectures about Self-Defense and Personal Protection. Some of the earliest presenters were well known names such as Massad Ayoob, Marty Hayes, and John Farnam.

The Pistol Match is still an integral part of the Conference. All attendees are invited to shoot the Match to get an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of their skills. Not everyone shoots it, though, because of the wide variety of other training opportunities that are also available during the three days.

Eventually, the demand for the tactical lectures and training necessitated moving to larger venues. The Memphis Police Academy, US Shooting Academy in Tulsa, and DARC in Little Rock have all been sites over the years. The larger venues allowed a wide variety of instructional blocks, including lectures, live fire shooting classes, and unarmed hands-on training. As the Conference grew, trainers held classes such as Managing Post-Shooting Stress and Trauma, Snub Nose Revolver Skills, Tactical Medicine for the Prepared Citizen, and Home Defense Shotgun Skills.The 2021 Conference was held at the excellent Dallas Pistol Club.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make was inspired by lessons learned in an Experiential Learning Laboratory session conducted by Craig Douglas of Shivworks at one year’s Conference. The Experiential Learning Laboratory has become a staple each year as a well-structured Force on Force exercise specifically for Armed Private Citizens.

Starting from just a few lectures at its inception, the Conference has grown to an extravaganza of educational offerings attended by hundreds of people over a period of three days. A vast number of training opportunities are made available for the prepared individual. The 2021 Conference featured 54 different blocks of instruction by dozens of different trainers. Some of the sessions repeated to allow attendees access to them because there is so much going on at the Conference.

There is no other opportunity like it available for the Armed Citizen who wishes to be prepared to prevent criminal violence against themselves and their families. The Conference is held in late March each year. The 2022 Conference will be held at the Dallas Pistol Club in Dallas, Texas. Registration opens in May and sells out by October every year.

Avoiding Errors

Gary Klein, Ph.D.

Dr. Gary Klein, one of the world’s foremost authorities on decision-making, created the above model about performance improvement. Since much of my work is helping clients develop physical skills, I add ‘Knowledge and Ability’ to ‘Insights.’ Not enough effort is placed on ‘Avoiding Errors’ in our training despite the fact that Self-defense and Personal Protection are riddled with minefields we have to navigate.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is all about avoiding errors. To gain different perspectives about the topic, I posed a question to several of my colleagues at the 2021 Tactical Conference. “What single piece of advice would you give to new and inexperienced gunowners about ‘avoiding errors’? ” The condition I imposed on their answer was that it couldn’t be a platitude such as ‘Get some/more training’ but had to be something that a gunowner could actually understand and do.

John Farnam:

A fight avoided is better than a fight won.

Michael Bane:

Don’t think you’re better than you are. If you have no metric to measure your performance, you don’t know what you can or can’t do.

Kevin Creighton related his takeaway from John Murphy’s class:

When in doubt, don’t shoot.

Dr. Klein’s little model has stimulated my thinking a great deal lately, so I’m going to be pursuing this line of inquiry more in the near future.

One of my colleagues who has retired from two different POlice agencies made the following comment when he finished reading Real Shootouts of the LAPD.

It’s interesting how even highly trained cops screw up when they get out of their familiar environment.

Thinking ahead about how to Avoid Errors is an important part of our defensive skillset.

Click the image to purchase the book.

CCWSafe Podcast – Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make

The podcast I did with Shawn Vincent, Don West, and Steve Moses of CCWSafe https://ccwsafe.com/ is now available. Here’s the link to the podcast and a transcript. https://ccwsafe.com/blog/34358

For those who have a hard time listening to podcasts, like me, Shawn has provided an excellent transcript that makes the topic very easy to follow.

This is the perspective about the subject that makes it relevant to anyone who owns a gun.

I want to emphasize the fact that they’re actually very rare. There’s 80 million gun owners, and over the past six years I’ve gathered about 2,000 incidents of these Negative Outcomes that occurred. So, actually driving a car is a lot more dangerous, or more likely to cause casualties. But, as my late colleague William April said, ‘It’s not the odds, it’s the stakes.’ Because the nature of the kind of incidents that I describe in the book, in many cases, permanently changes someone’s life. [Almost never for the better.]

To purchase the PDF ebook Click on the cover

A PDF can easily be uploaded to a Kindle. The instructions are here.

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2019/09/02/serious-mistakes-gunowners-make-the-book/

Duel at the Dumbster (Part VI)

Something similar to the Snow Murders happened several years ago. I call it Duel at the Dumbster and wrote a series of articles about it.

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

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

Part III https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/28/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-iii/

The Snow Murders prompted me to find out what had transpired for the shooters in the meantime. Whoops, Covid affected the father and son also. Their trial has been delayed indefinitely.

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/crime/article242568611.html

The Dumbster Fire video was previously available on LiveLeak, entitled Two Fat Hillbillies Kill [Man whose mouth writes checks that his ass can’t cash] Over Garbage but it doesn’t seem to be available there anymore. Fortunately, the star-telegram update article also includes the full video of that foolish confrontation and killing.

Unlike Jeffrey Spaide, who committed suicide after killing the Goys, no doubt the legal fees for the Millers are continuing to run. Even if they are found Not Guilty, they will be in hock to their lawyers for the rest of their lives.

The year after the Duel, I made a visit to the site as part of my trip to the SHOT Show.

Duel (Part IV)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/the-tactical-professors-shot-show-odyssey-part-ii-site-visit-to-the-duel-at-the-dumbster/

Duel (Part V)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2019/01/29/the-tactical-professors-shot-show-odyssey-part-iii-site-visit-to-the-duel-at-the-dumbster-continued/

 “There are men in this world,” [Don Corleone] said, “who go about demanding to be killed. You must have noticed them. They quarrel in gambling games, they jump out of their automobiles in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender, they humiliate and bully people whose capabilities they do not know. I have seen a man, a fool, deliberately infuriate a group of dangerous men, and he himself without any resources. These are people who wander through the world shouting, ‘Kill me. Kill me.’ And there is always somebody ready to oblige them.”

–Mario Puzo in The Godfather

More surreal than I thought

I rewatched the video of the Snow murders. It was even more surreal than I initially realized.

Lisa Goy got her phone out of her pocket after Spaide re-emerged from his home. Once she had the phone out, she said “Go ahead” three times as she closed the distance toward Spaide. She held the phone up in the air. Between Spaide’s sixth and seventh shots, she said, “You’re on video.”

Spaide then fired his seventh shot, which hit James Goy. Lisa Goy then holds the phone even higher as she takes another step toward Spaide. Note her foot placement as compared to just before her husband was shot.

Spaide then shoots her with his eighth shot.

As someone said, it’s like they were in separate realities at the moment. Sort of like Tenet.

Someone correctly commented on my Facebook post, “Your last words shouldn’t be ‘Go Ahead!'” To which I added, “Or ‘You’re on video.'”

Nuances

The Spirit of the Bayonet

The Guard Position

“The will to meet and destroy the enemy in hand-to-hand combat is the spirit of the bayonet. It springs from the fighter’s confidence, courage, and grim determination, and is the result of vigorous training. Through training, the fighting instinct of the individual soldier is developed to the highest point. The will to use the bayonet first appears in the trainee when he begins to handle it with facility, and increases as his confidence grows. The full development of his physical prowess and complete confidence in his weapon culminates in the final expression of the spirit of the bayonet — fierce and relentless destruction of the enemy.”

Field Manual 23-25 Bayonet –October 1943 edition

Note the subtle distinction between the ‘spirit’ of the bayonet, “The will to meet and destroy the enemy in hand-to-hand combat” and the ‘final expression’ of the spirit of the bayonet, “fierce and relentless destruction of the enemy.” The first is philosophical, the second operational.

Recognizing how to put a concept into operation is an important step in turning information into knowledge. For instance, how can we operationalize the “O-O-D-A Loop?” My colleague Melody Lauer once asked me:

How do I use the OODA Loop? That’s not clear to me.

At the time, I didn’t have a good answer for her.

Now, I would say that the basis for making Boyd’s process operational is to dig deep into Orient. Boyd himself said:

Orientation is the schwerpunkt. It shapes the way we interact with the environment–hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act. [emphasis mine] –Organic Design for Command and Control, slide 16

“I’ll shoot anyone I find in my house” is an example of an input to Orientation, probably a Cultural Heritage artifact from English common law of centuries ago. When we acquire New Information through training, observation, or experience, that also becomes an input to our Orientation. Then comes the hard part, Analysis / Synthesis. All the other inputs to Orientation coalesce through Analysis / Synthesis into decision-making that occurs ahead of an incident rather than during the incident. We may need to modify the plan and decisions as an incident unfolds, but that’s much easier and faster to do than making a plan up on the spot.

Examining, expanding, and integrating all of our Orientation inputs is what allows us to ‘make’ good decisions quickly. When we have formed a solid Orientation, we are actually not making decisions in the moment, rather we are ‘choosing’ from a menu of pre-made decisions available to us because we’ve already considered the benefits, objectives, and consequences and made a rational decision about what’s in our best interests. It’s how we avoid making Serious Mistakes. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com/

My thanks to Melody and Joseph Edward Timbs for provoking me to write this post. Also thanks to Steve Moses, Shawn Vincent, and Don West of CCWSafe for inviting me to participate in a thought provoking podcast about the topic.

Your car is not a holster (again)

Someone entered the unlocked vehicle

Gun, other police equipment stolen from Salina officer’s personal vehicle

https://www.ksal.com/police-equipment-stolen-from-unlocked-car/

“Meanwhile, two more unlocked vehicles were broken in to [sic] in Kipp overnight, as well as one parked in front of a rural Kipp residence. “

In case anyone wonders what ‘Kipp Kansas’ (population <500) looks like, here’s a Google satellite view.

Kipp is part of the Salina, Kansas micropolitan area, a Census Bureau area consisting of two COUNTIES of Kansas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salina,_Kansas_micropolitan_area The two counties had a total population of 61,697, according to the 2010 Census.

My mother used to tell us “Nice people keep their doors closed and locked.” That includes your car and garage door, too. Please don’t leave your gun in there either, just because you’re too lazy to take it into the house with you. Being a POlice is irrelevant.

Chasing and shooting

Chasing a criminal after they have attempted to break contact is not the way to set yourself up for success. Shooting the criminal at the conclusion of the chase is a good way to end up in prison. It’s common enough to be one of the 11 categories of Negative Outcomes in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2617872-ebooks-true-crime-serious-mistakes-gunowners-make.html

A Miami man who allegedly chased an unarmed burglar and shot him several times as he begged for his life is facing an attempted murder charge.

https://nypost.com/2020/12/04/miami-man-charged-with-attempted-murder-after-shooting-burglar/

Prior planning prevents poor performance. If you have a firearm for Personal Protection, don’t just think about the incident, plan for the aftermath.