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.

“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?

“If You Can’t Do It On Your Phone, It Doesn’t Matter.”

That interesting quote was from a couple of weeks ago, from Stephen Miller, aka “RedSteeze” on the Conservetarian podcast.

And it got me thinking about just how much I rely on my phone for every day use. Thanks to the internet, we’re more empowered now than ever before, and thanks to the iPhone*, we’re more empowered in our daily lives than ever before. I’ve been saying for awhile now that it was the internet that is driving the changes in society, but maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s having the internet in our hand that’s doing the changes.

Having a rifle or shotgun in the home for personal defense didn’t bring about a change in gun culture in the U.S., having own on your person outside the home brought about Gun Culture 2.0.

It’s not just empowerment, it’s personal empowerment that made the difference.


* Here’s where all you Android freaks talk about your mutant phones as if they matter. They don’t. Get over it.

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.

The Crosshairs Are Now On Us.

Al-Qaeda wants us to know their beef isn’t with the people who support Democrats, it’s with the people who see Al-Qaeda as a threat.

Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) celebrates the atrocity yet said that while targeting a gay people is ‘the most binding duty and closer to human nature,’ it suggests to ‘avoid targeting places and crowds where minorities are generally found in America,’ to ensure that terror was the focus of any attack.

If this isn’t a clear signal the next target will be a church, school or mall, what is? I’m sick and tired of this world and of the incompetency of our leaders who let this happen, but I will not let this world destroy me. This is the reality of life in America, where our leaders can’t see that the best defense to an invisible, omnipresent threat is the invisible, omnipresent response of an armed, aware and prepared American public. To borrow from Joshua Gideon, no soft targets should be our goal.