Setting The Narrative.

You see what you expect to seeBreach, Bang and Clear posted a photo from the North Miami police department on a recent police-involved shooting that went really, really wrong.

The police shooting of an African-American caregiver, who was lying in the street trying to help an autism patient, was accidental, according to the local police union representing the North Miami officer.

The officer had intended to shoot the patient, whom he thought posed a danger, but accidentally shot the caregiver instead, said John Rivera, the President of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association.

Now, the question is, why did the cops roll in there thinking that there was a danger of someone getting shot? Because the dispatcher told them there was a man with a gun on-scene threatening suicide.

Turns out it was a toy truck.

There are lots and lots of things to talk about here regarding police training and use-of-force, but I’m going to let others talk about such things. My takeaway from this is different: Because of the bad information that was sent to the dispatchers from the calling in the incident, the cops rolled up expecting to see certain things, and reacted as if those things were occurring, even though they weren’t.

Still think you shouldn’t call the cops and be the one to set the narrative in their minds after a defensive gun use?

I don’t. The first narrative is always, always the one that tends to stick. The sooner you get your story out in front of law enforcement (under the guidance of a lawyer, of course), the better off you’ll be.

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.

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.

“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?

All Things Be Ready If Our Minds Be So.

As Alcoholics Anonymous says, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem, and that’s true of personal safety as well. Like some of my colleagues, I became aware at an early age that there were predators in the jungle, so I never really lived in what some call “Condition White” for any great length of time. Some may see that as living in fear, I call it living in reality, because we’re only fearful of the unknown.

With that overly-long introduction out of the way, here’s three good articles on staying aware of what’s going on around you and what you should do about it. Stuff like this isn’t as sexy as dressing up like The Punishera six second El Presidenté or a $3000 1911, but its more important.

Grant Cunningham on finding out what the real threats are in your life:

Consider the threat of a job loss or severe economic downturn; what would happen if there were a drought in your part of the country? How about an accident that closes the only road into your town for a couple of weeks? A monthlong power outage? These are all things that have happened somewhere in this country just in the last year! How about having your gas main, electrical service, or water cut off during a major storm? (My wife and I had to deal with a widespread week-long power outage, in the middle of winter, twice in our lifetimes — once when we were living in one of the most affluent cities in our state!) Finally, a big risk might be unresolved health issues that are under your control.

How to listen to what someone’s body language is telling you:

  • Don’t make the usual mistakes: Take context, clusters, baseline, and biases into consideration.

  • First impressions are often accurate: With a number of traits you can trust your gut. But know which ones.

  • Trust mimicry and emotional expression: But they have to be sustained and consistent.

  • Awful people have tells: Pay attention to notice them. And look for narcissists in flashy clothing.

Dr. Sherman House on becoming a “civilian defender”.

… here is what I feel should constitute the undergraduate education of the civilian defender:

  1. Criminology/Street Smarts/Physical Preparedness

  2. Defensive Driving

  3. Emergency Medical

  4. Legal Preparation, Aftermath and Rules of Engagement

  5. Less Lethal skills

  6. Handgun Carry Course

  7. Handgun Skills and Tactics Course

  8. Defensive Tactics

Note: Dressing up like Batman is NOT listed there.

Mind The (Training) Gap

A truly great post on the importance of firearms training by Rob Morse:

Here is a sad and revealing fact.  Most gun owners have not taken any training.  Perhaps that made sense for gun culture 1.0 who grew up using a firearm for hunting.  Maybe it made sense when firearms habits and skills were handed down from generation to generation, but times have changed for most gun owners.  Learning to handle a firearm is critically important for gun culture 2.0 where gun ownership is centered on self-defense.  We don’t want to learn that skill on our own.

As I’ve said before on numerous occasions, there really isn’t a way to train yourself to hunt. Either you do it, or you don’t, and for a city-dweller like me, that means I don’t hunt. I’m not living on a farm, so that means I can’t sit out in a field and shoot gophers and hoping that I win a lottery ticket so I can go off into the woods and blast Bambi to bits seems a little silly, given the fact I can show up at a local USPSA match and shoot, not put in for a tag which allows me to to a range and maybe shoot a match sometime in the future.

Gun Culture 2.0 is “Shall Issue”. Gun Culture 1.0 is “May Issue”. There are no real barriers to shooting a match or taking a class other than the ones we create.

Just do it.

You Know What Happens When You Make An Assumption?

You make an ass out of “u” and… mption.

Ok, that didn’t work.

I shot a lightweight, casual indoor match at Naples Gun Range on Tuesday, and I was unpleasantly surprised by how much I sucked. I shot it with my carry Shield, and I was slow, slow, slow. I made up for it, though, with a lack of accuracy.

While I am in no ways satisfied with how I did there. However, it points out that, despite my confidence with this gun, I need a LOT more practice with my Shield, and I also need to take it to a gunsmith because it is not locking back on the last shot.

Look, if Michael Bane can trip himself up with some assumptions about his carry gear, so can I. Fortunately for me, all I need to do is head to the range more often, not subject myself to physical therapy multiple times each week.

I’ll take it. Yes, it sucks knowing I have such a long way to go, but it’s better to find out I suck now than find out when I’m on a two-way range and the stakes are much higher than a match win.

Also, this was first time I shot a match indoors, and I recommend everyone who’s serious about this sort of thing try it at least once. The physicality of shooting indoors, where you feel the muzzle blast as well as hear it, brings a new level of awareness to what’s going on. The odds are very, very slim you’ll be on a pistol bay when the balloon goes up, and if you are, brother, are you at the wrong shooting range!