Along with learning gun safety principles and procedures, new gunowners should begin to acquire an understanding of the Rules pertinent to defensive use of firearms. Periodically, long time gunowners should also review them. This is especially true for those who have programmed their Orient Phase with platitudes such as “Better tried by 12 than carried by six, I’ll shoot anyone I find in my home, Don’t draw your gun unless you’re going to shoot,” ad nauseum.
There are two good initial sources for this review. The first is the legal statutes for using Force and Deadly Force of your State. For instance, in the State of Georgia the use of Force and Deadly Force is covered by OCGA 16-3-21, https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-16/chapter-3/article-2/16-3-21, OCGA 16-3-23, and OCGA 16-3-24.
The Statute(s) for every State are available online with a little searching. Some States’ laws are relatively easy to read. Others are confusing tangles of legal gobbledygook. If reading your particular State’s law makes your head hurt, think about what it would be like trying to justify your actions in a criminal court using that miasma.
Keep in mind that there is a significant legal difference between Force and Deadly Force. Discharging a firearm intentionally at another person is a use of Deadly Force, even if the other person isn’t injured. The legal justification for using Deadly Force is very high in every State. Displaying a firearm MAY be a use of [non-deadly] Force in your State or it MAY be a serious felony, such as Aggravated Assault.
The second source is the pamphlet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law. https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/learn/what-every-gun-owner-needs-to-know It is a general document based on the Model Penal Code that gives an overview of what the process can be like but does not go into the specifics of State laws because they vary so much. The Network will send a free hard copy upon request and a PDF is available at the link.
I sat on the deck while having my morning coffee today. There were lots of birds out and I like watching them and listening to their calls. A group of three Cardinals flew into a small tree just beyond the deck. At first, I thought one of them was a Sparrow because its plumage wasn’t very colorful but in a little bit it came into better view. The bird had the distinctively colored beak of a Cardinal along with the crest on the head. It must have been immature, although it seemed to be bigger than the two brightly colored one. I’ll have to research the species a little more.
Dale Carnegie note
Please stop berating those who have recently bought guns in a panic, those who don’t have many everyday staples on hand, or who rushed out to buy 27 years’ worth of toilet paper. Doing so is a variation of the psychological game “I told you so.” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1177/036215377600600306?journalCode=rtaj20
It’s nicer to keep in mind Dale Carnegie’s number One principle from The Golden Book summation of How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Become a Friendlier Person
Don’t criticize, condemn[,] or complain.
Tactical Professor books (all PDF)
Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
- I am a member of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network and a local affiliate trainer. However, I receive no compensation for providing the link to it.
- I am NOT a lawyer and nothing in this post constitutes legal advice.
(second in a series)
DALE CARNEGIE’S SECRETS OF SUCCESS (nee The Golden Book) is a valuable resource for improving our relationships with other members of the gun carrying community. The hard copy I have is six pages long. I’ve kept it on my desk for over 20 years since I went through Dale Carnegie training. The book is available online as a free download.
The first part of the book is a three page section called Principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People. It covers three topics.
- Become a Friendlier Person
- Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Be A Leader
Each of the topics has a series of numbered bullet points that can guide our interactions with people. Here’s how we might apply those Principles in the situation of seeing someone whose way of carrying isn’t what we would ordinarily recommend.
Become a Friendlier Person
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
- You’re carrying a gun – Excellent!
- Your holster has a safety strap.
6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Introduce yourself
- Ask the other person’s first name if they don’t give it in return.
7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- What kind of gun is that? (Regardless if you know what it is.)
- How long have you been carrying?
- Have you done any training?
Questions are powerful, much more powerful than criticism, condemnation, or complaints. By starting a friendly interaction with a person and then asking kindly questions, we have the opportunity to be guides to people who are less knowledgeable than ourselves. It puts us in the position to Win Friends to our community and influence them to Success. Our people skills are the single most powerful weapon in our arsenal.
We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
While reviewing some files in my reading list, I came across this gem. It’s from an article called The best advice for today’s music industry was written 80 years ago
In his closing keynote presentation [at the DIY Musicians Conference] called “How to Make an Extra $100,000 from Your Music Next Year,” Martin [Atkins] ran down a long list of creative cost-saving and money-making suggestions, peppered with commandments like “Don’t be an asshole” and “Whatever the fuck it is, get the fuck over it.”
At the heart of Martin’s talk, though, was this quote:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Dale Carnegie wrote that in 1936, in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Martin’s first suggestion brought to mind a comment one of my first bosses in the real estate business made about one of the brokers in our office. “That guy needs to take a Dale Carnegie Course. Twice!”
Dale Carnegie Training has an excellent eBook abstract of Dale Carnegie’s writings available for download on its website. The eBook is called Dale Carnegie’s Secrets of Success. Here’s the link to it. I have two well-worn hard copies, from when it was called Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book, one of which I keep on my desk.
Secrets of Success is recommended reading for everyone, regardless of what you do or your personal philosophy. Those who are churned up about recent political events, on both ends of the spectrum, should take note especially.
What does Dale Carnegie have to do with personal protection? Let’s keep in mind that unlike natural disasters, personal protection against criminality involves a social transaction between two people. Those two people might be:
- You and a Violent Criminal Actor
- One of your loved ones and a Violent Criminal Actor
- A trainer and you
- You and someone you are trying to teach, either formally or informally
- You and someone you are trying to influence to make decisions about personal protection
Since I am a trainer and educator, I’ll address the last two points first. Recently, a trainer and blogger posted a 4,128 word rant about numerous shortcomings an acquaintance of his had. The rant was very pompous and disdainful. Some of the shortcomings related to personal protection and some were general life ‘flaws.’ No doubt the trainer’s object was to give his readers some food for thought about how they might have shortcomings similar to the acquaintance’s. However, Atkins’ first comment, “Don’t be an asshole” immediately came to mind as I read it. The overall tone of the blogger’s post was “this guy’s an idiot and I’m sooooo much smarter and better than him.”
No one likes or is influenced by a pompous asshole. Unfortunately, I see a lot of pompous assholiness in the training community. I’m not immune to being that way, either.
The Be a Leader section of Secrets of Success makes several germane points.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Another aspect of the training community I often see is a lack of connection to the everyday lives that our students live. There are several worthwhile items from Secrets of Success in this regard.
Become a Friendlier Person
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Throw down a challenge.
So, I’m going to throw down a challenge to the training community.
Get a job; a real job where you have to fill out a W-4 when you get hired. Just like the jobs your students have.
Right now is a golden opportunity, no pun intended. The end of the year is a relatively slow time for training and there are numerous seasonal positions available in the retail sector. Target, WalMart, and Sears, among others, are all hiring for temporary positions through the end of the year. If you don’t like wearing a uniform, Macy’s and other high end retailers are hiring and will give you an even better environment to test your hypotheses. Get a temporary job in a retail store for a couple of months. Walk a mile in your students’ moccasins while carrying the heater and all the gear you tell them to EDC. See how it works out for you.
If you get fired (or arrested) for a weapons violation or you decide you can’t carry all that crap while working and interacting with people all day without getting made, you owe me a drink. If you work at least 30 hours a week for six weeks in the retail environment with your full EDC loadout, I’ll buy you dinner. Full time sworn LEOs, 16 hours a week will fulfill the challenge. Totally on the honor system; I’ll accept whatever outcome you tell me you had.
In our Violent Criminal Actors class last month, William Aprill talked about the difference between odds and stakes. The payout odds for my offer are about 5 to 1 in your favor. The stakes; well that’s a different story.
Next time, we’ll discuss the relevance of people skills to The Deadly Mix and Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted 2015. Until then:
Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.
Of all the things Jeff Cooper said, the above saying has become the most prevalent mantra within the firearms training community. It has been memed in many ways. The latest I saw was ‘Without training, you are just pretending.’ The original saying and its various memes allude to the need for gun owners to be trained, ‘regulated’ in the sense of the Second Amendment, in order to be able to effectively use their weapons for personal protection. Why, then, don’t more gunowners pursue training beyond the bare legal minimum, where required?
First of all, let’s confront the validity of the statement itself. We should note that there are quite a few capable musicians and singers who are self-trained. With regard to firearms, the firearms training industry has really only existed since the mid-1970s, when Jeff Cooper founded the American Pistol Institute at Gunsite. Before then, even many police officers didn’t receive much in the way of training. There were virtually no venues available for formal training for Private Citizens, other than the Boy Scouts or Camp Perry. Does this mean that in the 200 years of US history preceding the foundation of API, the American people were ‘unarmed?’ Of course not. Americans have a rich history of shooting predatory no-goods without a moment’s hesitation, even before the foundation of the Republic.
On an almost daily basis, we read and circulate reports of Armed Private Citizens defending themselves, their families, and their neighbors with firearms. The vast majority of these incidents are successfully solved by people who have not one bit of formal training. What this means is we trainers can’t have our cake and eat it, too. Every time we celebrate a successful defense, and rightfully so, we essentially invalidate Cooper’s saying.
What are the reasons a gunowner might cite for not taking training, assuming it’s available, which is a separate issue? There are any number of reasons, such as:
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of incentive
- Lack of understanding
Time and expense should be discussed together because they are both personal resource constraints. The time demands on most people are extensive, especially in a single parent family. Similarly, money is tight for the majority of Americans. The question “How much is your life worth?,” another popular meme in the training community, is moot when the rent is due tomorrow and your kids want to eat.
Accessibility and scheduling are another pair of related issues. According to the US Census, 80.7 percent of Americans live in urban areas. Where are most training facilities? Out in the boonies, in what the Census describes as ‘rural areas.’ While there is some instruction that goes on at indoor ranges, my experience is that it is best described as ‘familiarization’ rather than training. This is a huge disconnect. The location of training facilities is a factor that impacts the time issue I previous mentioned. If a person has to budget several additional hours or days, just for travel purposes, that becomes yet another resource constraint.
To its credit, the NRA Training Division is trying to address this issue through the use of a ‘Blended Training Model’ of both online and in-person training. The result among the NRA Instructor community has been mostly anger and serious pushback. Much of the dissension is based on pure economics. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that.
With regard to scheduling, when do trainers tend to schedule training mostly? I submit that we schedule when it’s convenient for us, not for the students. That’s one reason I have gone exclusively to short evening classes and one day only weekend classes. Asking people to spend both days of a weekend, out in the sticks, is simply an unreasonable demand on their time.
Lack of motivation, incentive, and understanding are allied factors, as well. About them I will say we in the community simply haven’t made a good case for what we teach and why we teach it. This is especially true in light of the regular reports of people who successfully defend themselves and their families without any training. Although we trainers spend a certain amount of time talking about what we teach, we still haven’t made a good overall business case for “What is the value of training?” Until we do, folks just aren’t going to come. I think the training community might benefit from some Dale Carnegie training for itself.