The Tactical Professor’s SHOT Show Odyssey (Part III) – Site visit to the Duel at the Dumbster (continued)
More thoughts about the Duel at the Dumbster
Legal issues aside, the Duel also demonstrated how proxemics come into play during Defensive Gun Uses. Shootings and gunfights involving Private Citizens almost universally occur in Social Space (4-12 feet) as defined in the science of Proxemics. That’s my conclusion after studying the over 5,000 DGUs in my database. When they start out with ‘Monkey Dancing,’ as this one did, it’s unavoidable that the shooting will be close. Monkey Dancing can’t be done at much of a distance. While Law Enforcement Officers need to be concerned about the Tueller Principle, the dynamics of Private Citizen encounters are far different.
Phase 1 of the Odyssey – The drive there
Since we were driving through the Southwest, I felt compelled to make a visit to the site of the Duel at the Dumbster in Abilene. Actually seeing the lay of the land always helps me gain a better understanding of the dynamics of shootings and gunfights.
For those unfamiliar with the incident, here’s a quick synopsis. A father and son confronted another man about placing a discarded twin mattress by the dumpster in the alley. After approximately two minutes of monkey dancing between two prideful fools and a man with mental health issues, gunfire erupted. A few seconds later, the individual with mental health issues didn’t have to worry about his issues anymore because he took a load of ‘scattershot’ to his head, along with other wounds. The fools are now in jail awaiting trial for Murder.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part I)
Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster (Part II)
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.
The dictionary defines ‘duel’ as a contest with deadly weapons arranged between two people in order to settle a point of honor. While the Abilene confrontation wasn’t pre-arranged, it certainly turned into a duel. The ‘Monkey Dance’ is a more commonly used term nowadays but the degree of outward emotion is the only difference between the two terms.
The Duel at the Dumpster in Abilene https://ktxs.com/news/local/caught-on-camera-abilene-father-son-kill-neighbor-over-trash can provide us with a number of lessons. Some of them relate to avoidance but other aspects of personal protection can also be learned.
- Murder definitions
- Emotional Hijacking
- Dealing with the mentally ill
- The role of Seconds or Partners
- Options – especially withdrawal
- Stand Your Ground (or not)
- Preparation and Deployment for Combat
- Using weapons adequately
- The cost of killing
- You’re always on video
It’s rare that we have video that shows most of an incident that covers from almost the beginning to the very end. Looking at it closely and objectively can show us some valuable lessons. Although one title for the video is “Two fat rednecks kill Father over Garbage,” we shouldn’t assume that any of us couldn’t get caught up in an equally consequential incident.
Going away for all day; i.e., will probably spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Aaron Howard was shot and killed Sept. 1 in the alley behind his home on Don Juan Street. His two neighbors, Johnnie and Michael Miller, have been charged with the murder.
Howard’s fiancee, Kara Box, shot the deadly dispute on her cell phone and released it to KTXS.
How do you win a gunfight? Don’t be there.
DBAD – Don’t be a wanker
MYOB – Mind your own business
SYP – Swallow your pride
FSYG – Forget stand your ground
–a very smart attorney friend
Just one of the categories of Negative Outcomes.
- Brandishing or showing
- Chasing and shooting
- Downrange failures (the only one on the list that relates to marksmanship)
- Lost/stolen guns
- Mistaken identity shootings
- Negligent discharges
- Self-inflicted GSW
- Unintentional shootings
- Police Involvement – e.g., getting needlessly arrested
- Poor judgement
- Unauthorized access
- Unjustifiable shootings
- Warning shots
Learn to control your emotions and to walk away.