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The Hero and the Modern Man.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a satirical piece about “victim disarmament zones”.
Unfortunately, there are times that life does indeed imitate art. Last week was such an occasion.
In Oregon a social misfit sought to inflict his angst on the world by attacking and murdering innocents that he deemed in his twisted mind his oppressors.
As is all too often the case, no one was allowed to have the most basic of tools to stop this madman in his rampage. The State had deemed that all who attended Umpqua Community College be unarmed…. even the security guards.
Evidentially the Troll that came to kill people that day did not get the memo.
Yet in this tragedy… a tragedy on so many levels… a hero emerged.
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Chris is a man of massive character.
When the villain arrived, Chris… though unarmed… engaged.
He took multiple rounds, holding the killer at bay while his classmates escaped.
He moved to the sound of violence and embraced it.
He was not a coward, and the fact that he survived the wounds that were inflicted on him is a miracle.
Ares smiled upon him that day.
Chris is a military veteran that left the military and decided to attend college to improve his economic potential to better his family.
Chris now begins the long process towards healing. He may never fully recover physically, but the attitude shown on his face tells me that he has the mental fortitude to withstand anything.
What would have happened if Chris had a gun with him?
I have always said “No one needs a gun…. unless you need one really really bad.” That morning Chris needed one really really bad.
Forcibly unarmed by the State, Chris used the only weapon he had at his disposal… his body.
The other day the New York Times ran the “27 Things that make a Modern Man”.
Number 25 was interesting….
“25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.”
Sadly, I agree with the New York Times assessment.
The “Modern Man” when confronted with the Slob that wants to take as many victims with him to oblivion, would have no need for a gun.
That is because the “Modern Man” as the New York Times describes him…
Would flee or grovel.
A gun would be of utterly no use to the “Modern Man.”
For the sad truth is: the “Modern Man” is a coward.
Chris is not a “Modern Man”.
The term itself shows transience and relativism. There is no principal to the “Modern Man” because… well… to put it bluntly… the “Modern Man” is anything but a “Man”.
Fortunately… thankfully… in a world that sees more and more “Modern Men”… there are still real men like Chris Mintz.
How would you like a $5000 pistol?
What if it were not a gift… you need to get a pistol, and the only one you can buy costs $5000?
Kinda sucks huh?
That could happen… and we could be the victims of our own arrogance in allowing it to manifest.
The other day I had a unique opportunity to over hear an exchange between two clients.
We had just finished up a Defensive Shooting 101 class. The vast majority of the students had never held a gun before. By the end of the class they had established an appreciation for firearm safety, learned how to check themselves to make sure they were operating consistent with the Four Rules of Firearm Safety, learned how to properly present the firearm, and learned the basics of marksmanship.
Two things had taken place during that class: First,… new shooters were schooled in the importance of safety, Second… they had a good time!
Two other clients that were far more advanced were working on scenarios on another simulator and would occasionally glance over to see what these new students were doing.
I had to take some trash out to the dumpster and overheard the two advanced shooters talking by their car.
“Yeah… well those guys are probably all going to head straight to the gun store and buy a Glock”.
“Another group of gunslingers thinking their badasses.”
Both chuckled as they got into their car.
Let’s think about the economic implications of that.
Imagine you love hamburgers.
I mean really love them.
You have a passion for hamburgers that actually affects your lifestyle. There are others that share this passion to be sure. You’ve met them. You go onto internet forums to communicate with them. You and your other hamburger aficionados have even developed a language and protocol when dealing with hamburgers.
In a sense you have created a culture.
Cultures can either be inclusive or exclusive. Your hamburger culture has members that vacillate back and forth in this dichotomy.
They love to tell non hamburger eaters about the merits of their food choice, and even relish (no pun intended) in taking a new hamburger eater to the restaurant to show them the finer merits of this epicurean delight.
Still, when you see someone just haphazardly order a burger at McDonalds you shake your head. You swear at those that without any thought, just order the #2. Worse,… those that have never eaten a hamburger that are interested in trying one are put off by your patronizing approach to their interest in expanding their diet.
Here’s the thing… the people that make hamburgers… they base the cost on an economy of scale.
If everyone everyday ate a hamburger, the supply of hamburger makers would explode, and the innovation in the hamburger market would expand exponentially. In addition, the cost of the hamburger itself would decrease, as the supply met up with demand.
The reverse is also true.
Imagine if most people chose to have chicken instead.
Now, the hamburger manufacturer has less competition as other producers exit the market place. Their bulk buying also decreases as they no longer need the robust supply they once did. Still, they want to maintain their profit margins… so the twelve hamburgers that sold to generate a dollar in profit is now replaced by two hamburgers that must generate the same profit.
Less choice, less innovation, and a greater cost per unit.
We gun owners must NEVER allow that to happen to us!
We must constantly look to expand our market. We must always welcome… no… actively recruit new members to our ranks. We must not only allow access to our culture, but that culture must, without question be a welcoming one.
Good natured competitive digging is fine, we are human and as long as that approach is not powered by animus there is no harm done.
When we allow ourselves to measure up against the neophyte and draw a conclusion of our own prowess we are both fooling ourselves, and potentially excluding others.
We want,… no… we need… to produce a robust market of new shooters so that existing manufactures, and those that would enter the marketplace to compete with them, produce newer more innovative firearms for us.
We also want those firearms to have a degree of price stability.
I want to purchase a $5000 firearm, because I want the unique quality and craftsmanship of a $5000 firearm… not because it is the only gun available.
The sounds of gunfire from the line came to a stop.
“How many bullets are left in your gun?” Shouted our Range Master.
“Not enough!” Came the refrain from the line.
“Good answer! Then do a tac load! Gas up those guns!”
The students independently began working through their magazine manipulations.
One student… a proficient shooter, brought his gun back to his chest with the muzzle pointing down range. He then took the magazine from the gun, placed it in his pocket and then retrieved a magazine from this pouch and brought it up to his gun. His eyes were on the target the entire time, but his firearm was below his line of sight.
An instructor watched this and walked over to him.
“Try keeping the gun up in your workspace so you can see through it towards the potential threat. Also, you want to grab the new ammunition source first before you release the old magazine.”
“That’s not how I was taught…. I do it this way.”
“All right… explain to me why you do it that way.”
“What? Ugh.. well… I’ve taken a lot of classes and we do it this way.”
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“Hmmm… let me see one of your magazines.”
The student looked at our instructor with a perplexed look and handed him a magazine from his pouch.
“We keep our firearm in our workspace for a few reasons. First, and foremost is to keep your head up and eyes on any potential threats. Second, if you encounter a problem in your reload your firearm is up, and you can refocus your gaze to it without looking down. Finally, there is a possibility that the magazine in your gun is empty. Since there is a round still in the chamber the gun would not have gone to slide lock. As you remove the magazine from your gun; if there is no brass in it, there is no reason to retain it… you can just drop the empty magazine to the deck without going through the process of retaining it. Had your gun been below your workspace you may wind up retaining an empty magazine.”
During this little dialogue the instructor was placing the magazine back in the students pouch, backwards… with the bullets facing in to the rear.
“Yeah… I’m just going to do it the way I’ve been trained to do it.”
“So you don’t have an rational for the way you do it?”
“I’m just comfortable doing it this way.”
“Ok… well… let me see you do it again… maybe I can learn something from it.”
The student brought his gun back to his chest and focused down range at his target. He removed the magazine and placed it in his back pocket. He then reached down and pulled out his improperly stowed magazine from his pouch and began attempting to insert it backwards.
As soon as he realized he was having issues inserting it he looked down to try and figure out what was going on. His eyes were not only off target, he was literally looking down towards his feet.
“Where are your eyes right now?”
The student sighed. Ok good point.
“Alright… lets now talk about why we grab our magazine first…..”
Many of us our passionate about the training we go through. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Orthodoxy, when it comes to training or tactics creates repeatability, and while that may aid us in developing efficiencies and speed, we also run the danger of limiting the size of our tool box. An action, a performance, or a tactic done in an intellectual vacuum does little for our understanding at skill at arms. We may excel at performing a specific task, but if the task holds little tactical value, or worse… creates a greater liability, what have we accomplished?
Nietzsche, instructed us to “philosophize with a hammer”. In other words, take an intellectual mallet to the statute of orthodoxy that you believe in. One of two things will happen, the hammer will shatter as it strikes the unbreakable orthodoxy…or the orthodoxy will shatter under the weight of the hammer. Either way your position has improved.
John Stuart Mill, writing “On Liberty” took an economic approach to intellectual enlightenment. When you question a precept you receive back one of three benefits. The precept has a stronger intellectual foundation than the counter argument, in which case the counter argument fails. The counter argument is stronger than the precept, in which case the precept fails, or the counter argument simply strengthens the precept by pointing out small problems with it and allowing for augmentation of the precept. Regardless…. the questioner comes out more intellectually “rich” for having undergone the exercise.
Weapons training is no different.
We must constantly test our tactics against competing methods to determine if we are performing an action with the most tactical efficiency...
… we must also be prepared to accept the possibility that we might not be.
California Legislature sends Active Shooter Protection Act to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature
Sept. 16, 2015
Last week the California State legislature sent to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature SB 707, the Active Shooter Protection Act. A modification to the School Victim Disarmament Zone Act.
When the School Victim Disarmament Zone Act was first introduced in California it was considered one of the toughest guarantees that an Active Shooter (or as many in the gun lobby prefer to call it Active Murderer), would have uninterrupted access to victims for a minimum of five to seven minutes.
With the large number of Concealed Carry Permit holders now in California the reaction time has potentially shortened to the point that the Active Shooter might be stopped by someone else with a gun before they are able to carry out their full vendetta against students and teachers.
“We simply did not account for CCW holders when we first crafted this law.” Said State Assemblyman Richard Castrati-Rodriguez.
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“We had two separate goals in mind when we crafted that law. 1) Make the gun a symbol of violence not the individual, 2) Allow the Active Shooter as much time as possible to cause as much mayhem as possible so we in Sacramento would have an easier time passing stricter gun control laws.”
Castrati-Rodriguez sited “emotional impact” as one of the chief goals of the legislation.
“Look, when someone shoots or kills with a handgun and is stopped before they can do anything else we have a missed opportunity. We have seen time and time again, when one person is able to have uninterrupted killing sprees we in the legislature, both here and in other states, and even on a federal level, are given the political capital we need to push for restrictions on regular gun owners.”
The law has had mixed results. While there have been highlighted cases of Active Shooters establishing high casualty rates in their acts, the response times of law enforcement as well as victims themselves fighting back has lowered over all killings, and by extension removed some of the impetus for new gun control measures.
Chief among these counter measures against active shooters are concealed carry licenses.
California Senator Misty Rose-Ginsberg stated, “We just never envisioned it. We could not have predicted that despite all of our efforts to demonize guns and gun owners people would still want to buy these things, let alone carry them.”
“The fact that the law, the way it was written created an unintended exemption for CCW holders was an oversight. The last thing we need when we are so close to finally getting a casualty count that might take us over the top for more gun control is some cowboy being on the school campus and messing the whole thing up.”
When the School Victim Disarmament Zone act was first passed both on a federal and state level, there were certain exemptions built in. Law enforcement was one, but so were individuals that have permission to carry issued by local law enforcement. This exemption has been read as covering Concealed Carry Permits issued by local sheriffs.
“It was just never intended to be that way.” said Senator Rose-Ginsberg. “When we crafted the law we need to make the public believe that the only way to stop an Active Shooter were for highly trained law enforcement personnel to make contact with the shooter and end his rampage. The exemption to the law was meant to protect them not regular civilians. You just need to study our intent. We want to make firearm ownership and use more difficult for civilians, not easier.”
The bill is now on Governor Jerry Browns’ desk and is expected to be signed into law.
Those of you who know me, know that if I am wandering around our facility with a confused look there is probably a good chance that I’m looking for my coffee cup.
That damn thing is always walking away from me.
A while back I was given a really cool French Foreign Legion mug that I sort of lug around with me each day with what seems a perpetually half full cup of luke warm coffee.
This has unintentionally generated a unique backstory for me.
A while back during one of our law enforcement training days I had to jump in and work as an operator on our VirTra 180 system. This involved me navigating past a bunch of patrol deputies standing in front of our mag refill station to re-charge some of our magazines.
As I was in the process of refilling the mags I was able to over hear a conversation between a few of the deputies.
“That over there is one of the owners.”
“The bald guy?”
“Yeah… I heard he was like some professional hunter in Africa or something, then he went into the French Foreign Legion… something happen though and he came back to the states and got a law degree.”
“Yeah… I know… his wife, she’s the one that started Artemis, I heard she met him while she was doing some private contractor work in Africa.”
Wow… I’m much more of a badass than I realized!
We tend to create backstories to fit stereotypes. That is part of the human condition. We see a heavily tattooed guy in great shape with a zz top beard our first thought is… this guy must be some special forces dude.
Actually, he’s a video game designer… but ok.
We do have quite a few members of the Special Forces community come through here on a regular basis. Both enlisted and officers. For the most part… other than being in good shape, you would probably not be able to identify them as special forces operators.
People will invariably throughout our lives misjudge us. That is inevitable… especially as we become more proficient at our avocations. Do we have a duty to proactively set the recored straight?
Yes… but only too a point. If people think that I was a mercenary in Africa I am under no obligation to make it a point to inform every stranger I meet that in fact I only hunted animals in Africa… not people.
If however someone in conversation with me brings up my “mercenary” past… or my “time with the French Foreign Legion”… or my supposed military service and I purposefully do not correct them, that is lying… or worse, stolen valor.
The other day one of our instructors was working with a young couple on the 300. It was fairly obvious that the guy was in the process of wooing (or at the very least attempting) to woo the girl.
Craig… one of our newest instructors, and someone with decades of Marine and Law Enforcement experience was working with them. The guy made a comment about “how things were in Iraq”.
This got Craig excited.
“Ugh.. no… he said sheepishly… I, ugh… I know people who served”.
True,… he may have been trying to offer his female companion the story,… or at least the insinuation that he had been a service member. Still… when it came time for the rubber to meet the road, he did not promulgate the fiction.
You came close son….. but in the end, nicely done.
“You have the RIGHT to bear arms… You have the RESPONSIBILTY to train.
Before we opened our doors we had adopted that phrase. We felt… and still feel… the philosophical underpinnings of the cliche raises it from “tag line”, to “statement of principle”.
It should also be read in the broadest context possible. This includes making sure the next generation is as dedicated to pursuit of skill at arms and personal responsibility for self protection as we strive to be.
….and when we gaze upon that “next generation” we must absolutely refrain from chauvinism or sexism.
Both of our daughters… Carolyn who is now 22 and Chaney who will be turning 14 this month began shooting at an early age. When they were old enough, they went afield and learned the fundamentals of hunting, and the bitter-sweet experience of participating in the food chain as an apex predator.
Both developed an inner confidence and sense of self… not because of the gun… (the gun is an inanimate object), but rather because of the progressive amount of control they were afforded with “the gun”.
When Carolyn was first introduced to the .22 rifle it was under extremely controlled circumstances. After, multiple trips to the range, a firm understanding of the principles of shooting, as well as a religious adherence to the four safety rules, the parental controls began to be eased off. She could be trusted with a weapon.
Chaney started shooting earlier, and her exposure to firearms was decidedly more “tactical” than her older sisters’. With each trip to the range, each “gun cleaning night”, and each discussion on defensive tactics her “freedom” with the gun grows.
A father came into Artemis and was shocked to see that Chaney was practicing with the AR-15.
“You let her shoot that?”
“Of course! Why wouldn’t I?
"I don’t know,” he said shaking his head… “my daughter would never have any interest in training with firearms.”
“Have you told her you want her to learn?”
“It’s a moot point… she doesn’t have the fortitude for it.”
Hmmm… let’s deconstruct that dialogue.
Dad is first shocked that I “let” my daughter shoot in the first place.
Then Dad imposes his viewpoint on his daughter by proclaiming that this is something that she would have no interest in.
Finally he belittles her by saying that she would have no fortitude.
Perhaps she doesn’t…after a short lifetime of being “taken care of” by her father.
Each one of us is different.
There is a chance that his “protection” of his daughters sensibilities is based on information he knows about her that he chose not to share with me.
That is entirely possible.
His reaction to seeing Chaney shooting the AR-15 though makes me think otherwise.
I received the distinct impression that he felt that girls and guns simply don’t mix.
This is not only misguided, it is dangerous.
Dangerous for us.
Our passion for the shooting sports is only one generation away from obliteration. It is imperative that we develop not only an appreciation among our youth for the shooting sports, but one that transcends gender.
Women make up the fastest growing portion of new entrants to the shooting sports, and a whole bunch of women vote. We need to make sure that if a passion is going to develop among our female youth, it is done so responsibly, with a dedication towards their own empowerment, and without the paternalism that many of us are pre-programed to give.
Girls are not the delicate creatures that many of us would like to think they are. With a firearm at their disposal they can completely balance the combative equation.
We accept the responsibility to train ourselves… now let us ensure that future generations do the same.
Sheepdogs protect the sheep from wolves.
They are hated by the wolves for protecting their prey. They are also usually hated by the sheep.
They are hated by the sheep because the serve as a reminder that there are wolves that they need to be protected from.
This intrusion of reality is both tiresome and annoying…. until the sheepdog is needed… then they are loved.
Col. Grossman once said that in the aftermath of 911 there were two types of people in America. Some…. most… looked at the images of the planes slamming into the towers and the Pentagon and said a silent prayer to themselves… “Thank God I was not on those flights”.
Others… a small handful got angry and said to themselves.. “God, I wish I had been on one of those planes… I might have been able to do something.”
That is not bravado… it is a mentality.
We saw an example of this during this past week.
Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, and Alek Skarlatos were doing what young men from America often do… they were traveling by train in Europe.…France specifically.
Things were going along just fine when an alleged Jihadist decided that the train they were riding on would make a perfect soft target.
When the Jihadist went operational, so did they.
Spencer Stone literally was the first to go into harms way and took the brunt of the Jihadists counter attack. The fanatic was also armed with a knife in addition to the AK-47 and slashed at Spencer leaving him seriously injured.
His response was to fight harder.
Monday I was at Pala range doing a little live fire work with Sandy and our daughter Chaney. While we were loading our pistols a woman screamed behind us. I looked back and saw her cowering in fear. She was being “terrorized” by a garden snake that had coiled up by her car door. Now, snakes… reptiles in general… don’t bother me at all. (Insects… well… that is a different story.)
I was frankly more concerned for the snakes welfare than the woman’s. With no tools around to secure the offending reptile I reached down and grabbed the snake as close to the head as possible.
Terrified, it struggled and wormed its way loose enough in my hand that it was able to open its tiny month and bite me on the hand.
Yeah… it hurt.
The emotion that I felt was not anger… rather respect.
This reptile… an animal 100 times smaller than me… was not going to take this offense lying down. Flight was not an option in my grasp, so it chose fight… and with virtually no chance of success available to it, it fought with all it had worth.
Spencer Stone, and those other brave Americans on that French train fought with all they had worth too. Unarmed, except with their righteous indignation that someone would attempt to victimize them as well as all of the innocent people on the train they launched themselves into the fray.
Stories have been circulating that the French employees of the train fled in fear into their crews quarters leaving their passengers to fend for themselves.
Sheep ran from the wolf.
Sheepdogs… American Sheepdogs… ran in to protect the sheep.
As they have always done… as they will always do… with little care or concern for their own safety.
We drill and practice to become masters of skill at arms… this must by its very nature be a holistic endeavor. We must train our minds and our mentality to combat the evil that will launch upon us with as much vigor as we practice our weapon-craft.
Well done heroes.
I did my undergraduate work at the University of San Francisco.
The location of my alma matter is important to understanding the structural forces that guided the academics that were taught there.
San Francisco in the late 80’s and early 90’s… before the internet had even made its way into academia… and certainly before it became a commercial platform was at best a bifurcated society.
There were those that had tremendous amounts of money, and those that were spectacularly poor… the middle class lived provincial lives outside the city limits and were collectively looked down upon by the “city” dwellers.
This was a city of wealthy benefactors and starving artists and academics…. and as such all of life's problems could be diagnosed through the lens of exploitive capitalism.
“Evil” was a bourgeois concept.
The struggle for self identity was a struggle against racism, which in and of itself was a struggle against exploitive capitalism.
They were all intertwined… those “isims”.
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They were also fundamentally grounded in the belief that a small group of selfish businessmen established a status quo for the purposes of exploiting others for personal gain.
“Evil” may have been a bourgeois concept as it applied to other “victims” of exploitation… but it was a perfectly acceptable adjective when used to describe wealthy industrialists, capitalists, or political leaders that did not share the Bay Area Collective’s political view point.
When President Obama was speaking to a group of San Francisco supporters and referred to middle class Pennsylvania voters who had the temerity not to support him as “misguided voters who cling to their religion and their guns” and don’t see that his policies would elevate their own self interests he was not speaking to San Franciscans… he was speaking as a San Franciscan.
While I was at the University studying politics I was provided a roadmap to understanding why conflicts existed between nations: Nations sought each others scarce resources.
There was also an explanation that was readily available for the actions of criminals…even international terrorists… a lack of economic opportunity.
The driving force that inspired the PLO to detonate a bomb at a jewish elementary school was the lack of a Palestinian homeland. Not that there was anything particularly important in real estate per se… its just that with a homeland came economic opportunity… since the “evil” Israelis were against granting Palestinian statehood it stood to reason that lack of economic opportunity would lead to “crime”.
This thinking also extended to domestic affairs.
Prisons were not filled with evil people that sought to victimize others… they were filled with misguided individuals that were simply attempting to survive in an economic environment that sought to exclude them from self empowerment. These prisoners were not bad people… just individuals that had never learned how, or refused to participate in an economic system that sought their exploitation until they were no longer useful to the powered elite.
If only the rest of the world saw what the intelligence of San Francisco saw the world would have no wars… no terrorism… no crime… because the evils of capitalism would be vacated for a non exploitive economic arrangment that would bring peace to all.
Then something interesting happened.
Well educated, well financed, middle and upper middle class… and in some cases flat out rich… individuals began a series of attacks on western civilization.
The September 11 attacks did not take place at the hands of poor starving beggars from the Arab street… the terrorists were well educated and financed by one of the richest men in the middle east.
The monsters of Isis… barbarians that behead others in the name of religious ideal are not flying the banner of economic egalitarianism… they are religious fanatics that have institutionalized a death cult.
Evil is not a product of economic manipulation… though the truly evil could certainly use the destabilization of economic systems to their own end.
Evil is the continuation through force of an argument that the the presenter could not win through persuasive dialogue.
When a sub-human Isis thug raises a sword to behead a little christian girl for the audacity of being a Christian he is and must be declared as evil.
He is not economically exploited… he is not a victim… he is also no longer worthy of being dignified with the moniker of human. Like the serial killer, the rapist, or the pedophile… they have abandoned humanity and as such humanity has every right… perhaps even a moral obligation… to abandon them.
The intelligencia of San Francisco would sill like to believe that economic exploitation is the root of all evils. In a sense I can understand them, and to a degree I feel sorry for them. They have built a paradigm on a precept that has crumbled literally before their eyes.
There are those that say that the study of evil is unnecessary…. evil must be defeated, and defeated quickly lest the innocent be harmed. This is also misguided… we must study evil… we must be able to identify it, contain it, and ultimately defeat it.
We must also be prepared to dispense with theories about it when they are refuted by evidence.
Negative training scars
The following events took place in our lab during one of our CCW Classes:
When we take our CCW students into the lab we begin with their own pistols that they are preparing to qualify with at the range. We do a safety check to ensure that there is no ammunition present, then we have the students run a few dry fire drills using our digital targets as reference points to aim at.
“Ok shooters. On the command of ‘gun’ you will do a five count presentation onto your target. All we are doing is practicing that five count presentation and making sure it is right. Don’t go ahead of me… I’ll call out each step and move you along.”
“Gun! ...Ok shooters… begin at count one, move to count two make sure that your gun has cleared the holster, count three… drop your elbow and get the gun oriented down range, make sure there is a 10 degree cant to the gun to clear your clothing… four… move your hands together and get a good grip… five come out on target.”
What? was that the sound of a trigger being pressed on an empty chamber?
“I did not give the command to engage the targets… we are only practicing the five count presentation. No one should have made the decision to shoot, so all fingers should be off the trigger and outside the trigger guard.”
I noticed a bit of a commotion taking place between one of the students and another instructor on the line.
I decided to head over.
As I approached I heard the student talking:
"I Know I pressed the trigger… I do that because of my laser bullet”
Hmmm… this is going to be interesting.
“Whats up?” I asked raising my coffee cup to my mouth.
“I was getting chastised because I pressed the trigger… I do that each time. I have this laser bullet and I use it.”
“Ok… your going to have to help me on that one… you have a laser bullet?”
“Well… no.. its a.. its a thing you put in the chamber, when the firing pin hits it it sends out a red laser.”
“Oh… got it.”
“I do that each time to make sure that my grip is proper.”
“Yeah…. that is a problem.”
“Why?!? I think it is a good thing. If I’m coming out of the holster it is because I’m going to shoot. I’m not coming out of the holster because I’m going to wave my gun around. Besides… I’m using it just to check my grip.”
“Ok.. first off, there is no guarantee that every time you come out of the holster you are going to shoot. In fact, I would hope that each time you put your gun away at night you do a five count presentation to take it out of the holster. Your neighbors might get upset if each time you put your gun away at night you launch off a round.”
“Well… of course. I’m not going to do that.”
“You might…. You are training yourself to develop a muscle memory pattern that involves a trigger press with each draw. You may very well do that when you are not intending to actually fire.”
“Nonsense… I just use it to check my grip.”
The next day we were at the range for our live fire qualification. When we do this each of us instructors stand behind a student to make sure that they are performing their actions properly and staying safe. Like in the lab, the first “round” is a dry fire exercise.
Since this student was “mine” on the line I leaned in and told him, “Don’t put your finger on the trigger as you come out of the holster.”
The live range exercise always makes students a little bit more nervous so he was already a little amped.
He nodded, understanding my range command.
He drew his firearm, and as I suspected his finger went to the trigger and began a press.
He looked at his hands and became visibly shaken.
“Oh my God… I can’t believe I just did that!”
“I can… you’ve trained yourself to do that, and right now you are under a little bit of stress. When we are under stress you default to the muscle memory that you have burned into your psyche during training. You’ve literally trained yourself to do that.”
“But if we were loaded right now, not doing dry fire I would have sent a round down range!”
“Yes… or into a dresser, or drywall, or desk.”
“Some draws do require a trigger press.. but not all. If you train that they all do then you will do it each and every time.”
“Point taken counselor… I’ll start using something else to check my grip.”
Late last weekend the LA City Council made a bold move.
They announced a city wide ban of vehicles capable of reaching speeds over 10 miles an hour.
State law mandates that all vehicles must not be driven in excess of 55 miles per hour… far less in specific areas where excessive speed might result in injury or death to the driver or to innocent bystanders.
Effective immediately vehicles that are capable of traveling more then 10 miles an hour will be confiscated, and the owner cited with a misdemeanor possession charge.
LA follows the city of Sunnyvale in seeking to protect it’s residents from the dangers of vehicles equipped with excessive speed.
In 2008 the City Council of Sunnyvale discovered a loophole in the California Motor Vehicle Code. While State law prohibits the operation of a vehicle above 55 miles an hour, manufacturers are not prohibited from selling vehicles capable of reaching speeds far in excess of the speed limit.
Sunnyvale, seeking to protect its citizens from those that are not properly trained, or the mentally ill, sought to create a balanced approach in protecting the desires of those that felt they needed to own vehicles, with those that wanted to be protected from those that would use their vehicles in a reckless or malicious fashion.
Their solution was a progressive law that would still recognize legal vehicle ownership, while at the same time protecting the population at large by limiting the speed available to 10 miles an hour.
As was expected special interest groups, led by “Big Auto” sued. The case made its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Leadfoot v. City of Sunnyvale.
The 9th Circuit sided with the city council.
They found that while the Constitution does confer a fundamental right to free travel, it does not grant a specific right to automobile ownership. More specifically, there is no inherent right to a vehicle capable of excessive speed.
With the law settled, the LA city council decided to take action.
Anyone found in the city of Los Angeles with a vehicle capable of achieving speeds in excess of 10 miles per hour will have their vehicle confiscated and will face of fine of $1000 and no more than one year in jail.
This is not just a law for LA residents. It applies to anyone found in the City of Los Angeles with a vehicle capable of excessive speed.
Councilwoman Cindy Crow-Lipshitz stated, “We have an epidemic, not just in the city of angels, but across this country. Last year over 32,000 people died as a direct result of vehicle speed. No one needs to go fast, and often times these dangerous death traps find their way into the hands of criminals and the unstable. Others are just simply not trained enough to use them properly. With this new law we finally take a common sense step in protecting our streets and keeping our children safe.”
Predictably, car owners responded to the laws passage with indignation.
One car owner who wished to have his name withheld, responded “Who the hell do they think they are? It’s not the car that’s the problem, it’s the person behind the wheel. I drive my car responsibly and have never had an accident… heck I’ve never even had a speeding ticket, why should I have my car taken from me and be forced into a vehicle that I don’t want?”
It would appear that the feelings of the car owner do not reflect the feelings of a majority of voters though. Most of the people polled while waiting for city busses responded that they thought this was a good idea.
One passenger, Jordan Thomas stated, “It’s about time. I have never understood what those car nuts were arguing for. I have never had the need for a car. I frankly prefer to leave driving to the professionals like bus drivers and taxi cab drivers. I just don’t feel comfortable driving, and when I see someone driving a muscle car or something like that it makes me nervous.”
The new law does specifically exempt both on duty and off duty law enforcement personnel.
it is not clear if the new law will be copied by other city councils.
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