What We See As Defensive, They See As Offensive.

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I’m not 100% certain in my thinking here, so please pardon me as I write this stuff down in an attempt to clarify things in my own brain, and then, perhaps, maybe yours as well.

Hey, when they said blogging is “intellectual prototyping”, they weren’t kidding!

That quote from Col. Cooper got me thinking: I have never once thought of my guns as a means to acquire something. Instead, I agree 100% with Maj. L Cauldill Marko Kloos: I don’t carry a gun to impose my will on others, I carry so others cannot illegally enforce their will on me.

I see the gun, especially the handgun, as a civilizing force, as a means to achieve reason. The reality is, though, that the vast majority of illegal deaths caused by firearms are committed with handguns. What I use as a civilizing force, others use in an extremely uncivilizing manner.

Same gun, different results.

That means something, and I’m not sure what. It’s a loose thread in the sweater of my rational mind, and I’m sure to be picking at it some more as the weeks go by.

What Makes A Civilian Defender When Everyone Has Guns?

Golindrianas ladyConsistency and the ability to make the shot on-demand, that’s what. Consider this quote from an article which asks the question, “What makes a photographer when everyone is taking pictures?”.

“If you were there when the Hindenburg caught on fire, and you took a picture of it, that’s a great photograph. But you’re not a great photographer, because you can’t repeat that in everyday things,” he continues. “What a great photographer does is, they are consistently able to make something in a style that’s personal to themselves.”

Been there, done that, have the contact sheets to prove it. For the best (photo) shot I’ve taken, I had time to snap exactly one frame (that’s the image to the right). It was on a medical mission trip to a small town in the coastal jungles of Ecuador, and I was along to document the trip. The lady in the picture was waiting for her turn to see the doctor, and I had to be very circumspect with my photos. I rounded a corner, saw her, saw the light, ducked back around the corner, set my camera for the exposure I wanted and pre-set the focus for the estimated distance from me to her, turned back around the corner, framed the shot, fine-tuned the focus and snapped the shot. If I had taken more than one shot or filled with my camera in front of her, I wouldn’t have gotten the same expression, and it’s wouldn’t have been as strong of a photo.

The whole thing took far, far less time to do than for me to write about it up there. Think there’s a corollary here with personal defense? I do.

I knew my camera (a Nikon FG with an 105mm f2.5 lens), I knew my film (Fujichrome 100), I knew lighting, I knew the rules of composition and, most importantly, I didn’t have to stop and consider what options would be best at the moment the shot presented itself. I knew there was enough light coming in from the left side window to expose her face, I knew there was enough light coming in from the right to separate her out from the background, and I knew there’d be enough light from the window that the picture would be sharp at 1/125 at f.28. Keep in mind this was pre-digital: If you’re not ± one stop exposure on chromes, you’re toast, and so my ISO was 100, period. No cheating by cranking up to ISO12800 with the turn of a wheel, and no chimping, either.

That’s what a civilian defender does. They may have the same gear as a dilletante, they may talk about the same things as a dilettante, but when push comes to shove and they see the shot, they take it, and they take it in confidence.

Sell To The Person Behind The Gun, Not The Gun Itself.

Joshua Clafin of Garrison Everest brings up a great point here: Firearms companies SUCK at personalization of their marketing messages.

Your brand likely has a 5–20 percent chance of selling to a new prospect versus 60–70 percent for an existing consumer. Compound that with the fact that, on average, 55 percent of marketing budgets are spent on new customer acquisition, and it’s no surprise that increasing loyalty among existing users can reduce costs by as much as 10 percent. (Source: 5OneMedia)

Building a mutually beneficial relationship with your customer should be a priority that will increase profits. Why don’t most marketers engage in personalization? I think most don’t know where to start and for others it’s about getting over the hurdle of understanding who their customer is.

He mentions the amazing lack of social media savvy displayed by firearms companies, but there’s a older, more basic (and more profitable) opportunity for personalization that gun companies are choosing to ignore: Personalized, triggered emails.

I signed up for Gander Mountain’s emails awhile ago because I wanted to see how they were using the personalization features built into Bronto, their email system of choice.

Short answer, they weren’t. Bronto allows for different email messages to be sent based on customer actions. If a customer opens up an email and clicks on link, you can adjust the content of future emails based on their actions on your site, allowing for personalization and increased engagement (and more revenue). To test their setup, I signed up with one email account and didn’t do anything with the emails I received, while in another account, I opened emails and clicked away, even buying a few items to see what might happen.

Nothing changed. I got the same emails in both accounts, no matter what my activity was. Look, eBay and a bunch of other companies understand that a tighter relationship with the customer equals more revenue, why can’t the gun industry understand that as well?

France Calls For More First Responders.

Rocked with wave after wave of Methodist Presbyterian Huguenot youth of indeterminate origin violence, the French Interior Minister is appealing to the people of France to help prevent more attacks on French soil by becoming reserve police officers.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Saturday called on young citizens to become reservists and help boost security forces in the wake of the country’s latest terror attack.

France’s “operational reservists” include French citizens with or without military experience as well as former soldiers.

“I want to call on all French patriots who wish to do so, to join this operational reserve,” said Cazeneuve.

If only France had some organization out there to train civilians in the marksmanship needed to defend their country, and if only French citizens had to keep and bear arms in their own defence as well as the defence of their country.

If only… if only.

You are, and always have been, your own first responder. The cops don’t get there first, you do.

A Little Respite Would Be Nice.

Can we please go a week without hearing about an Islam-inspired mass murder somewhere in what little remains of Western Civilization or a cop-shooting rampage inspired by a racist hate group?

My thoughts and prayers are for our police officers tonight, and especially for the members of the Baton Rouge police department affected by this mass murder. May justice be swift and sure for those who did this.

With the Republican National Convention starting up, and with more promises of violence at the convention from the people who inspired the attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, my advice to people of Cleveland is simple: Be your own Roof Korean.

“When a man with a pistol meets a man with a rifle, the man with a pistol is a dead man!”

Ramon Rojó

Or, you know, not.

A robber armed with an AK-47 assault weapon stormed a Texas Waffle House, only to be shot by a pistol-packing customer, police say.The suspect, whose identity police are still trying to confirm, was in critical condition Monday after last week’s gun battle in a Dallas suburb…

…One customer, who was legally carrying a concealed handgun, followed the robber into the parking lot because he was afraid for the safety of his wife, who was on her way to the Waffle House. The customer called out to the robber, who turned and pointed the rifle at him, police said. The customer then shot the robber several times.

It’s been a tough few weeks for the civilian defender. The increased threat of active shooters armed with rifles has meant that we’ve had to seriously re-assess our skills and apply ourselves to the daunting task of making 25 yard headshots on-demand, and the massacre in Nice is a warning to us all. It’s good to see that in at least one case, a good guy with a pistol beat a bad guy with a rifle. Having the skill to stop the bad guy is good. Having the skills and the confidence in your ability to use them on-demand is better.

How Good Are You Now? How Good Do You Want To Be?

And, most importantly, how do you know?

I love this article over at Lucky Gunner on competing with your everyday carry gear.

I’m sure you’ve seen it at your local indoor range: the person in the stall next to you blasting away at a full-sized silhouette. Rounds are all over the target in no discernible group, and at some fairly modest distances. What makes this even more frustrating is I see the same people, week after week, duplicating the exact same session. These individuals, like many, go to the range with no clear training goals and no metric of improvement. Competition will change that by giving you some very definitive goals to work toward.

I tried it a few days ago, and I found out how bad I am and how far I need to go. I’m ok with that, because I’m ok with failing when it doesn’t matter so I don’t fail when it does.

What disturbs me, though, is how many trainers don’t include measurable standards as part of their training process. How do they know if their students are qualified for their more advanced classes if they can’t judge their progress? Is having the check clear for a Tactical Shooting 101 class all the requirements for entrance into the Tactical Shooting 202 class? If so, what is the purpose of that first class: To improve the student’s skills, or to provide more opportunities for the student to spend more time (and money) with the trainer?

Rio Loco.

Just because the hype machine is warming up for what is sure to be one of the biggest debacles in the history of international sport, here’s a look back at my suggestions for bringing “Modern” Pentathlon up to modern times. They probably won’t happen, because the current sentiment of the IOC is more like “What, use sport as a means to prepare for war? Are you mad? That’s not what the Olympics are all about!“.

However, if the cops in Rio DO go on-strike and order breaks down, look for the members of the various shooting and martial arts teams to become THE most popular people in the athlete’s village.