Posted by – August 31, 2009
After the comments in this post, I felt I should explain a few concepts again that some people seem to be confused about.
Disengagement. This is a complicated way of saying “running away” (or used preemptively, “don’t be there.”) Obviously this perfectly sound advice and I am in complete agreement that this a very good idea for staying out of both danger and legal trouble. It is not the ultimate trump card that some make it out to be simply because there are situations where you cannot run away from, either for practical reasons (no available path of escape) or moral reasons (running would mean you leaving your child or spouse to face the danger alone.) In terms of self defense as a private citizen we are always working towards disengagement, but we must recognize that there might need to be intervening steps between the beginning of the confrontation and our finally being able to disengage.
Deescalation. Deescalation is the process of being (or at least appearing to be) reasonable and or conciliatory, in the hopes of diffusing a potentially dangerous situation. This is what is known as “talking your way out” of fighting. Most people have some basic idea of how this works, and the better and more practiced at it you are the more applicable it becomes. I consider deescalation to be a core self defense skill and should get at least as much thought and attention as learning to shoot or fight. Unfortunately many situations cannot be deescalated through reason, compromise, or dialogue. This is where pacifism fails: some people are ideologically bent upon causing you harm and they are not going to be dissuaded by discussion.
Verbal Commands. A verbal command is a stated demand for compliance. This generally implies that there will be consequences for non-compliance and those consequences include the application of a higher level of force than verbal commands. I think this is where a lot of generic self defense curriculum goes awry, because if there isn’t a credible ability to use force after issuing verbal commands it simply amounts to a bluff. Should a subject comply with the commands then that might create an opportunity for using deescalation and/or disengagement.
Application of Violence. Hopefully, there was an opportunity in a developing situation to apply the previously mentioned steps and something (or some combination) was effective. Other times a situation can require the immediate application of violence because of the nature of the threat and the circumstances. Ideally the amount of violence will be the minimum that is sufficient to stop the attack. In the wider self defense community the martial arts purists seem to think that they can fight their way out of every situation (except for those that believe an armed assailant is instant death) and the firearms purists who believe that any physical altercation is justification for gunfire. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. As a general guideline, you will have an easier time (legally speaking) if you can stop an attack using something less than lethal force – even if you are not required by law to do so.
Posted by – August 27, 2009
Ironically this is not going to be commentary on crime, but rather on the gun rights movement. I found this little rant in a Seattle alternative weekly. All of the emphasis is mine.
… It scared me to no end. It also pissed me off. If you all four hadn’t had guns, we would’ve had a completely different situation. Instead, you got all six of us tied up while you stole what you deemed worth jacking. What also pisses me off is that you were all black. Why the fuck would you feed the stereotype? I couldn’t see more than your eyes and a little bit around them, so I found myself racial-profiling out of fear. I stopped doing that, because I’m stronger and better than that…
…I work hard as an attractive woman to be intelligent and interesting, because I don’t like perpetuating negative stereotypes. I wish you would work just as hard to rid the world of the stereotype that black men should be feared because they’ll put a gun to your head and steal…
I cannot read this article without wondering if the author would have been happier if her home invaders were more racially diverse. Now for the gun rights portion of the post. When we talk about “normalization” or similar sentiments regarding gun rights, this is part of the audience we are trying to convince. These are people who worry about ethnically stereotyping the home invaders that victimized them. I don’t think they get reached by shock therapy (or even lobotomy.)
The idea that people would have some kind of practical (or tactical) answer to a home-invasion robbery (regardless of race) is totally alien to those of the authors ilk.
Rustmeister has a clever business card to be dropped off at restaurants in Tennessee sporting the “No Guns” signs. I think this is a great idea. Going one step further: make several designs with or without links to firearms organizations. If a business owner gets ten identical cards he will assume he is being spammed by a small number of people. If he gets ten different cards it might make him realize the amount of business he is missing out on.
I live in a state where you are allowed to carry your concealed firearm into restaurants that serve alcohol and you are allowed to drink. You are prohibited from carrying a firearm into any areas of the restaurant (such as the bar) that are off limits to people under 21. Strangely this doesn’t seem to generate any sort of “wild-west” behavior. The nightclub shootings seem to center around areas of high gang and drug activity (to include “underage” dance clubs.)
Posted by – April 13, 2009
Snowflakes in hell has some analysis of the 20/20 piece “If I only had a gun”
A couple of quick thoughts:
The police don’t normally get as much training as the show says they do. Typically, basic law enforcement training is 720 class hours. This includes all of the law, driving, procedures, and firearms training. In my state the firearms portion of this is about 40 hours. I don’t know that they teach some zen-like control of heart rate.
Active Shooters don’t tend to be trained firearms instructors. While some active shooters have gone to the range and practiced with their guns, none of the recent ones that I know of were trained shooters.
Armed students wouldn’t always sit in the same seat in the classroom. From the video it appears that the defensive shooter was always seated in the same spot in the classroom.
There is no guarantee that there is only one defensive shooter. In the general population of my state roughly one person in twenty has a concealed weapons permit. I can’t speak to what is a normal class size, but I don’t recall many courses where we only had roughly eighteen or twenty students.
Some people in the classroom might have more training than law enforcement. There are a lot of students and teachers in colleges right now that have recent combat experience. For many of these people the active shooter scenario wouldn’t even be the second gunfight they were ever in.