And on a related note…

I was VERY pleased to see at least a half-dozen other people besides myself eschew the “shoot me first” vest at this month’s IDPA match and shoot the thing with real actual concealed carry gear, just like Bill Wilson intended.

Cool.

Am I Being Careful Enough?

The Sig Sauer Academy has a class in “Civilian Response to Terrorist Threats”.

No, really.

“This one-of-a-kind course is specifically designed for the responsible citizen and will educate the student about Islamic Extremist Terrorism. The student will be taught the mindset of a terrorist, the methods and places in which we are most likely to be attacked and then the tactics and weapons skills that can be used to save the lives of their families and themselves. This training school is a balanced program that will not only give the student a wealth of knowledge but it will also teach and improve the student’s firearms and tactics abilities. The lessons learned from this school can be utilized not only in countering terror attacks but also in other deadly force encounters. The attendee will be given the latest information/intelligence available in regards to terrorism tactics, plans and methods of attack.”

Now, I don’t even own a Glock, much less one with a Bar-Sto barrel in .357 Sig, but I can see the attraction for such a course. And I can also see that my money and time would be better spent in other training courses out there.

Unless your business is getting paid to counter terrorist threats, you’re not going to be up-to-date on “the latest information/intelligence available”  because that information is going to change the instant you leave the class.

For me and who I am, it’s much more important for me to have a skillset that is flexible to be adapted to a worst-case scenario like a terrorist attack or a mass shooting than it is to know what Al-Qaeada may be up to at this very moment.

One thing I learned as a photographer is how to improvise on the spot. If your location shoot is on hold because of a broken lighting accessory, a few A-Clamps, copious amounts of gaffer’s tape and a Leatherman on your hip are MUCH more useful than a big tool kit back in the studio.

A class in civilian counter-terrorism is the photographic equivalent of learning to light automobiles. Sure, it’s fun, and sure, you get some amazing results, but the fact is, the people who are good at specialized areas of photography tend to be good at just that area of their business, and no, you and your Nikon D70 will probably never be called on to shoot a bevy of supercars (Although I will say that having done such a shot in my career, they are a TREMOUNDOUS amount of fun and really push the limits of your logicstical and photographic abilities.).

Anyways…

Play the numbers. “Black swan” events like Aurora or Mumbai are horrible, but they are not likely (thank God!). Despite that, there’s probably going to be a lot of people out there signing up for a class in counter-terrorism abnd they’ll probably have a rockin’ good time doing so, but that sort of thing is not my bag, baby. It seems to me that if you’re concerned about counter-terrorism, CPR certification, a CERT class and an alert mind will go a long, long way to keep your community safe, and leave the counter-intelligence to the pros.

For me and mine, I think some time on the range with Massad Ayoob or Larry Vickers would do me a lot more good than learning specific counter-terrorist techniques…

… at least until Mrs. ExKev finishes sewing that extra ballistics plate onto the back of my armored vest, that is.

Two questions

For those who think a CCW holder would have had no effect on the Aurora shooting

1. Would a lone policeman have made a difference in that theater? If so, why? *

2. What would be your best option for survival for you and your family in that situation other than huddling in a corner, praying you don’t get shot? 

I refuse to play the victim card and let life just happen to me. You may chose differently, but please allow me the right to defend my family’s lives, even if you chose not. 


* I’ve stood side by side on the firing line with a Maricopa County SWAT officer and a Federal Air Marshall and matched them shot for shot, and that was 2 years ago: I’m a MUCH better shot now. Tell me again how cops are better-trained than a CCW holder… 

It’s not the guns.

The shooter in Colorado used an AR-15 rifle, a Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun and a .40 Glock pistol to further the needs of his insanity. The thing is, I’m going to use essentially the same gear tomorrow to participate in 3 Gun, a popular sport with nationwide TV coverage, namely…

an AR-15 rifle, 

AR-15 for Competition

a 12 gauge shotgun (a semi-auto Mossberg versus a pump-action Remington) 

Mossberg 930

and a 9mm CZ versus a .40 Glock. 

CZ-75

Same devices, different outcome. 

Now, I will confess that I’ve had some twinges within my soul over the last 24 hours as I deal with the fact that tools that I love and enjoy so much can be used to do such a horrorific act. 

How could I not?

Honestly, though, if I thought for ONE SECOND that not owning firearms would instantly and forever banish such crimes from our world, I’d turn them in with pride. 

But I can’t, and I won’t. The problem is not the gun, it’s the evil in mankind’s soul. That evil’s been with us since Cain and Abel, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Banish guns will not change that fact, they will only disarm the people trying to proctect themselves from that evil.

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Quote of the Day

“Took my kid to see Spiderman yesterday evening. That could have been us. And California refuses to let a 25 year Army infantryman carry a weapon. I shot expert with the M9 last time. I don’t know if I could have stopped it if I was there & armed. I just know I couldn’t unarmed.” 

- Kurt Schlichter 

In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Colorado today. May they find the solace they are looking for, and may justice be swift and sure for the (alleged) person who did this crime.

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As requested…

My friend Vox asked me on Twitter earlier this week:

In the (slim) chance you haven’t seen it, this is what she’s talking about.

And here’s a link to the story.

I’m not a big fan of Monday-Morning-Quarterbacking this sort of thing because violent encounters are chaos situations and no two incidents will EVER be the same, but based on what I saw here, my initial reaction is Mr. Williams (the CCW holder) did almost everything right.

1. He walked away from a gunfight with the same amount of holes in his body he started the gunfight with.

2. He saw that the biggest threat was the guy with the gun close to him, saw an opening, and took it. The INSTANT he saw things were happening, he went to his gun, but did not draw until the opportunity presented itself. This is one advantage of a pocket pistol: Until you draw it, it looks like someone putting their hand in their pocket. I’d also note that he had a clear shot from less than five feet at center-mass with a .380ACP, and the shootee was able to scamper away.

3. He shot until the threat was stopped and then stopped shooting, which is EXACTLY what we’re supposed to do. Could the shots at the fleeing crooks be considered excessive force and come back to haunt him if one of the bad guys didn’t survive this encounter? Maybe. But in this case, Mr. Williams thought it was needed, and it worked.

4. I will say that Florida Internet cafes (which are really nothing but small legalized gambling halls) seem to attract a lot of armed robberies as of late, and that means you have a higher chance of being robbed if you go to one than if you go to, say, a library. That’s a risk/reward decision we all have to make for ourselves.

I could ding him on sitting with his back to the door and his lousy grip and stance, but I won’t: Unless we walk around in a state of quasi-paranoia, sometimes we do stuff like that because life happens. And that funky Weaver grip and point shooting at the end? Well, not everyone is Rob Leatham.

As to when and if to respond to a threat like this, that depends. In this case, given the outcome, I’d say Mr. Williams got it right because he and everyone else who wasn’t a crook walked away. In other cases? Don’t know, and I can’t know, because the next situation will be different. What I do know, to quote the Bard, is the readiness is all. Rather than say “Ok, if he does THIS, I’ll do THAT”, work on a set of loose guidelines. What are your options for an armed attacker at 21 feet or more? Less than 21 feet? What about a unarmed attacker? Do you know how to de-escalate an encounter with an irate drunk?

As for situational awareness, that didn’t really come into play here as the encounter went from peaceful “Condition Yellow” (or White) to bright shining Red in just a few seconds. Not a lot to be aware of here besides “Ok, do I do something or not?”, and in this case, doing something worked. In other cases, giving up your wallet and letting the robber walk might work. Which one is best? That depends on what is going on, and how you perceive the situation.

And look how many people JUST SAT THERE as a gunfight happened right in their laps. Their brains just weren’t up to the task of dealing with what was going on, and they were stuck in the “Observe” part of the OODA loop.

In this case, what Mr. Williams knew, he used to his fullest extent and came out on top of a close-range gunfight. That’s a win in anybody’s book.

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You never know how green your grass is until you peek into your neighbour’s yard.

Wait, doesn’t EVERYONE spend at least a week each year hanging out with the top dogs of shooting world? Last year at the Classic was a sucky year for the Super Squad because of the big 3 Gun Nation shootoff on the same weekend, and we still had John Bagakis, Vic Pickett, Nils Johansson, Angus Hobdell, and Rob and Kippi Leatham. 

And then there’s the Superstition Mountain Mystery Three Gun, where Daniel Horner and Robbie Johnson and Jerry Miculek and Michael Voight and Taran Butler and Mr. Headlicker himself are regular competitors. 

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