Category Archives: decision making

Can-May-Must-Should in One Incident

In a road rage incident on Sunday February 26, 2023, a gunowner who was driving erratically and then threatened another driver was subsequently shot and killed by yet a third party who intervened on behalf of the driver who threatened.

https://www.nashville.gov/departments/police/news/self-defense-claim-under-investigation-sundays-fatal-shooting-state-route-45-rio-vista-dr

All of the elements of Can-May-Must-Should http://modernserviceweapons.com/?p=19028 are readily apparent in this one interesting incident. It also involves Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2617872-ebooks-true-crime-serious-mistakes-gunowners-make.html I may have to add a chapter about Bluffing with Guns or “Don’t write checks with your mouth that your ass can’t cash.”

I’ll be writing more about this in my Patreon Personal Defense Incidents and Analysis Tier https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor/membership but the essential elements are as follows.

  • A 71 year old man, Alden Jones, was driving erratically and cutting off other cars.
  • At a stop light, he got out of his car with a pistol, went back to the car stopped behind him, and banged on the window with his pistol.
  • The driver of the third car in the incident, who was stopped behind the second car, got out of his car and attempted to verbally intervene on behalf of the second car’s driver.
  • The initial aggressor, Jones, then turned his attention to the third driver and began to walk toward him, pistol in hand.
  • The third driver warned Jones that he was also armed.
  • Jones continued to approach the third driver.
  • At “a very close distance,” the third driver opened fire, killing Jones on the spot.
  • The third driver remained on scene and waited for the authorities.
  • Upon the arrival of the POlice, the third driver stated he had shot in defense of himself and his wife, who was also in the car.
  • Witnessed corroborated the third driver’s account of the incident.
  • He was not charged by the POlice with any wrongdoing. The District Attorney’s Office will make the final decision.

The incident plays out almost in complete reverse of the paradigm’s order. Decisions always precede the technical aspects of shooting.

Should he have intervened? That’s a Moral choice; some people may have chosen to, others may not have. Must he have shot? When an angry person, whom you have witnessed threaten a third party, approaches you with a pistol in hand, your options are limited. As M5 said in Star Trek: The Original Series, “Consideration of all programming is that we must survive.” May he have shot? The POlice seem to think so. “The investigation thus far is indicative of self-defense.” Could {Can) he shoot adequately to solve the problem? Jones is dead and the third man and his wife are unharmed. The Can aspect was satisfied.

The proxemics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxemics aspects of the situation are also interesting. Since the cars were stopped in line at a traffic signal, the verbal warning was most likely door to door distance, making it less than 21 feet. A Toyota Camry is 16 feet long as a distance reference. The POlice media release indicates that the shots were fired at “a very close distance.” The distance from the driver door frame of a Camry to the front bumper is 7 feet. So the shooting most likely took place around the boundary between the Near and Far Phases of Social Space https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxemics#Interpersonal_distance in proxemics.

The report doesn’t indicate that the shooter had his gun drawn prior to the actual shooting. If this is true, then this incident demonstrates that you Can, in fact, draw against an already drawn gun. So much for the popular belief that it isn’t possible. That belief is usually based on scenarios where the person with the drawn gun knows you’re armed and are going to draw, is just waiting for your move, and has pre‑determined to counter your draw. The “real world” is often much different.

The incident also contradicts the popular slogan “Don’t talk to the POlice.” Better advice might be “Don’t get arrested,” coupled with “Don’t talk your way into Jail.”

Guns stolen from cars

In other relevant gunowner news, 217 guns have been stolen from cars in Nashville so far this year. https://www.nashville.gov/departments/police/news/more-200-guns-stolen-vehicles-so-far-year That is 76% of the guns stolen in Davidson County, the county Nashville is located in.

If this rate continues, more than 1,000 guns will be stolen from cars in Nashville alone in 2023. Some of them will end up involved in criminals activities. This one is a no-brainer; don’t leave unsecured guns in your car. If you have to leave a gun in your car when you go to work or other prohibited places, get a car safe and use it. And certainly, don’t leave your gun in your car outside your home at night. https://patch.com/georgia/alpharetta/entering-auto-suspects-stole-more-40-firearms-during-crime-spree-police

Mindset Beyond Platitudes

My friend and colleague Shelley Hill wrote two articles about mindset that are well worth reading.

“We hear that term quite often in the self defense world, but what does it really mean?”

https://www.shootingillustrated.com/content/what-does-mindset-actually-mean-part-1/

https://www.shootingillustrated.com/content/what-does-mindset-actually-mean-part-2/

Here are  few other short explanations about mindset.

From Chapter III of the classic 1942 text Shooting to Live by Fairbairn and Sykes:

“The instructor will be well advised to give his pupils short ‘rest’ periods at fairly frequent intervals and to utilise such intervals to impress upon them the conditions under which they may be called upon to use their pistols eventually. … [W]hen obliged to shoot, they will have to do so with all the aggressiveness of which they are capable.”

From a presentation to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) about Violent Encounters – A  Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers (An FBI publication):

https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/violent-encounters-study-felonious-assaults-our-nations-law

Mind-set

“Thirty-six of the 50 officers in the study had ‘experienced hazardous situations where they had the legal authority’ to use deadly force ‘but chose not to shoot.’ They averaged 4 such prior incidents before the encounters that the researchers investigated. ‘It appeared clear that none of these officers were willing to use deadly force against an offender if other options were available,’ the researchers concluded.

The offenders were of a different mind-set entirely. In fact, [one of the researchers] said the study team ‘did not realize how cold blooded the younger generation of offender is. They have been exposed to killing after killing, they fully expect to get killed and they don’t hesitate to shoot anybody, including a police officer. They can go from riding down the street saying what a beautiful day it is to killing in the next instant.’

‘Offenders typically displayed no moral or ethical restraints in using firearms,’ the report states. ‘In fact, the street combat veterans survived by developing a shoot-first mentality.’

‘Officers never can assume that a criminal is unarmed until they have thoroughly searched the person and the surroundings themselves.’ Nor, in the interest of personal safety, can officers ‘let their guards down in any type of law enforcement situation.’”

From the late William T. Aprill:

“They are not like you.”

Don’t Play with Guns in Vehicles

“A student is dead after a firearm was accidentally discharged in a vehicle in the parking lot of Dalhart High School.

According to [Superintendent] Byrd, a student not enrolled in the district went to the high school at lunch and picked up three students when the firearm went off in the parking lot.”

https://abc7amarillo.com/newsletter-daily/dalhart-isd-student-injured-after-firearm-accidentally-discharges-in-vehicle#

Just don’t do it. Fooling around with guns in cars is a Serious Mistake that can easily lead to a tragedy.

If you have to put it in a lockbox, have a lockbox that’s big enough for the holstered gun and put the gun in the box without removing it from the holster.

Duel at the Dumbster (Part VII)

“Hey Claude what are your thoughts on the dad getting convicted and the son getting acquitted in the ‘Duel at the Dumpster’ Trial?”

https://www.myfoxzone.com/article/news/crime/update-defense-rests-in-abilene-murder-trial-of-father-and-son-accused-of-killing-neighbor/504-e540cfb6-e39c-4767-be59-7b20c84ea046

The “Duel at the Dumbster” saga has finally concluded after almost five years. For those unfamiliar with the incident, it started as the 2018 killing of a man in an Abilene, Texas alley over the disposal of a mattress. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tasneemnashrulla/father-son-texas-shooting-neighbor-trash-video The elder shooter will now spend the rest of his life in prison but his son will go free, except for the debts he owes to his lawyers.

As a friend of mine commented:

“We aren’t supposed to kill each other over who is king of the landfill until *after* society collapses.”

My thoughts about it are remembrances of what other knowledgeable people have said about personal protection in general. This incident shows the wisdom of their words.

“Any time you go into court, there is a greater than zero chance you will be convicted.”

–Andrew Branca Law of Self Defense

“Stupid people, stupid places, doing stupid things. Avoid them and you’ll probably be alright.” and “The best way to win a gunfight is to not be there.”

–John Farnam https://defense-training.com/

“Forget Stand Your Ground.” and “Don’t Go Outside.”

–Steve Harris http://modernserviceweapons.com/?author=12

“The process is the punishment.”

–John Murphy https://www.fpftraining.com/

Note that their combined bond was $500,000, which means they had to give a bondsman at least $50,000 to get out of jail. They don’t get that back, it’s the bondsman’s fee for posting their bail.

Also, assume that in any confrontation you will be on video, most likely from the perspective least favorable to you. The framing of the story in the media will also be as unfavorable to you as can possibly be made. The picture of the participants in the Buzzfeed story is a good example. Both the shooters are portrayed as shirtless toothless gun-armed rednecks. The shootee is portrayed as a happy smiling person, not the hulking angry foul-mouthed behemoth with “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” holding a baseball bat that the video shows.

There are so many lessons to be drawn from the incident that I wrote a series of articles about it.

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-i/

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-ii/

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/09/28/lessons-from-the-duel-at-the-dumpster-part-iii/

The year after the Duel, I made a visit to the site as part of my trip to the SHOT Show.

Visit to the Site of the Duel (Part IV of the series)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/the-tactical-professors-shot-show-odyssey-part-ii-site-visit-to-the-duel-at-the-dumbster/

Visit (continued) to the Site of the Duel (Part V of the series)

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2019/01/29/the-tactical-professors-shot-show-odyssey-part-iii-site-visit-to-the-duel-at-the-dumbster-continued/

This is a quote from The Godfather that is worth repeating.

“There are men in this world,” [Don Corleone] said, “who go about demanding to be killed. You must have noticed them. They quarrel in gambling games, they jump out of their automobiles in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender, they humiliate and bully people whose capabilities they do not know. I have seen a man, a fool, deliberately infuriate a group of dangerous men, and he himself without any resources. These are people who wander through the world shouting, ‘Kill me. Kill me.’ And there is always somebody ready to oblige them.”

That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for such a killing, as the Duel at the Dumbster demonstrates. In The Godfather Sollozzo noted:

“Blood is a big expense.”

How to Make a Bad Decision

A woman in Chattanooga detected a bum aka ‘homeless person’ in her backyard Monday morning (2/6/23). After verbally warning him to leave, she decided to fire a ‘warning shot’ at him. However, the shot hit the man in the ankle. When the POlice arrived, the man was taken to hospital in an ambulance, the woman made a statement to the POlice about the incident, and she was arrested for Aggravated Assault. As in every other State, Aggravated Assault is a felony in the State of Tennessee.

https://fox17.com/news/local/chattanooga-homeowner-charged-with-shooting-stranger-in-her-own-backyard-monday-priscilla-teem

All three of the inputs to Bad Decision-Making were part of this incident.

She didn’t Know the Rules – In most places, you can’t shoot at people who are trespassing without having some consequences. The consequences may only be getting arrested but the bail bondsman’s fee (10-15%) comes out of your own pocket. Fortunately for her, Affordabail Bail bonds is nearby. $50,000 bail means that decision costs at least $5,000 just to not spend a night in jail surrounded by ne’er-do-wells.

Her Skills were Inadequate – She didn’t intend to shoot the bum but managed to hit him anyway. A ‘warning shot,’ by definition, is intended to miss.

She didn’t Understand the Situation – at 4:30 am in your backyard where there is no lighting, you can’t tell what’s going on 20 yards away without a flashlight.

“the distance between Teem’s back porch and the place where the victim was shot was about 60 feet.”

Bottom Line: Don’t go outside.

My thanks to Reed Martz of Freeland Martz PLLC https://freelandmartz.com/ for the heads up about the incident.

Don’t go outside and don’t chase criminals

Since it’s a recent theme in the training community, let me reinforce the principle that going outside your home to confront thieves and other criminals is a bad idea. Stay inside and let them come to you. Conduct a Defense not a Movement to Contact. A military axiom is that the defense has at least a 3 to 1 advantage over the Offense.

http://modernserviceweapons.com/?p=18502

Not only does it make justification iffy but you could become a casualty in the process.

Another bad idea is chasing criminals you encounter while driving around when you suspect them of having stolen your property.

Shooting at them makes it even worse.

“At about 4:45 p.m., a man spotted his stolen Chevrolet truck in the Mt. Baker neighborhood while he was out driving in his Toyota Camry. He followed his stolen truck until it stopped, and then confronted the driver. When the driver sped away, the man fired two shots, striking two nearby residences.

Officers booked the 27-year-old man into King County Jail for drive-by shooting and submitted his firearm as evidence.”

Drive by shooting in Washington State is a Class B felony. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.045 It is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine. Odds are that since no one was injured, he won’t do hard time but, as a felon, his Second Amendment rights will be gone.

Thanks to one of my correspondents for bringing the incident to my attention.

Terms

MOVEMENT TO CONTACT

2-8. Movement to contact is an offensive task designed to develop the situation and establish or regain contact. (Refer to ADRP 3-90 for more information.) It creates favorable conditions for subsequent tactical actions. The leader conducts a movement to contact when the enemy situation is vague or not specific enough to conduct an attack. Forces executing this task seek to make contact with the smallest friendly force possible. A movement to contact may result in a meeting engagement, which is a combat action occurring when a moving force engages an enemy at an unexpected time and place.

THE DEFENSE

4-1. A defensive task is a task conducted to defeat an enemy attack, gain time, economize forces, and develop conditions favorable for offensive or stability tasks. (Refer to ADRP 3-90 https://www.benning.army.mil/Infantry/DoctrineSupplement/ATP3-21.8/PDFs/adrp3_90.pdf for more information.) Normally, the defense alone cannot achieve a decision. However, it can set conditions for a counteroffensive or counterattack that enables Army forces to regain the initiative.

In other news, don’t defraud school systems of $1.5 million dollars’ worth of chicken wings. Even in Ill-Annoy, it will get you in trouble.

https://wgntv.com/news/wgn-investigates/suburban-school-worker-charged-with-stealing-1-5m-worth-of-chicken-wings/

“District funds were used to pay for the food, according to prosecutors, who did not reveal what became of the chicken wings.”

Boyfriend Wants a Gun

A few days ago, a customer said to me:

“My boyfriend wants to get a gun but I don’t like the idea. He says he was a Marine and knows how to use it.”

Since I have heard something similar somewhere between 100 and 1000 times, I gave her the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/ pamphlet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know about Self Defense Law. The latest 2023 version can be downloaded at https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/images/stories/Hayes_SDLaw.pdf or you can request a free printed copy.

What does “knows how to use it” mean? For most veterans, it means that they, at one time, were reasonably capable of acceptable marksmanship on a firing range with the service rifle at the time they served. Unless they were Military POlice or members of a Special Operations unit, it is unlikely they had more than a Familiarization Fire with the service pistol of the time and perhaps not even that. Familiarization in the military means firing one magazine or less on an unscored basis.

FamFire hardly even fulfills the CAN requirement of the CAN/MAY/MUST/SHOULD http://modernserviceweapons.com/?p=19028 paradigm. The MAY part gets people in trouble much more often than the CAN. The ACLDN pamphlet focuses on the MAY. It’s free and consists of 5676 words of content. At the average adult reading rate of 238 words per minute, that’s 24 minutes to read. While the pamphlet is certainly not the be-all and end-all of knowing self-defense law, it’s an excellent start and provides food for thought.

I know my readers get tired of me harping about knowing more than just how to shoot yourself but I wouldn’t be much of an educator if I didn’t.

I’m reasonably certain she will read the pamphlet. Whether he will or not remains to be seen.

Fair disclaimer: I am a member of the Network, however I receive no commission nor other remuneration based on anything you do as a result of reading this post.

Don’t Shoot Through Windows

Another sad and unnecessary incident for the Negative Outcomes database.

Texas maintenance worker checking pipes killed after he was mistaken for intruder

https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-maintenance-worker-checking-pipes-killed-after-mistaken-intruder

The resident, mistakenly believing his apartment was being burglarized, grabbed a gun and shot Montelongo through the window.

The only element of the Can May Must Should paradigm http://modernserviceweapons.com/?p=19028 that was fulfilled was CAN. There’s a good chance now that the shooter will end up doing time in prison.

Serious Mistake and Negative Outcome

To paraphrase ‘the great Morpheus’:

Failure Drill?

A friend of mine sent me a link to the Maine [POlice] “Plain Clothes Course of Fire” Pistol Qualification.

https://www.maine.gov/dps/mcja/forms/documents/PlainClothesPistolQualificationCourse2019.doc

As with many current POlice Qualifications, it includes a “Failure Drill = (2 to the chest and 1 to the head),” in this Course three times. The terminology evolved from what was originally called the “Mozambique Drill.” https://www.shootingillustrated.com/articles/2017/5/18/the-mozambique-drill-a-history-and-how-to/

Consider the “Failure Drill” as it’s currently taught and evaluated. It has been bastardized the same way the “OODA Loop” has been. The drill isn’t actually structured to deal with a Failure. The concept of Failure requires an assessment of the efficacy of the original effort. Assessing the target’s reaction or lack thereof to the first two shots was an explicit part of the drill as originally taught by LAPD Officers Larry Mudgett and John Helms.

When the structure of the drill is such that the transition from the two chest shots to the head is immediate and pre-programmed, no assessment is involved. Rather such a drill is structured to ensure the recipient is killed from the get go. It should be called the “Anchor Drill” or “Kill Drill.” That’s not to say there might not be a justifiable reason to anchor the adversary. However, let’s not have any illusions about what the object of the exercise is and call it something it’s not.

Improvised Weapons Found

This video shows various improvised weapons I have found over the past year on my daily walk. Don’t assume vagrants are unarmed or harmless. As my colleague Chuck Haggard commented:

Every single “homeless” person I’ve ever arrested or had to pat down was carrying a knife, or knives. At minimum.

Someone who completely missed the point, no pun intended, was this YouTube common tater.

Or or [sic] just maybe Cary a knife / a gun if you are that worried you need a weapon and not use some random rusty screwdriver that probably won’t do shit

The slender 4″ shaft can easily penetrate a ribcage. While a pneumothorax https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pneumothorax/symptoms-causes/syc-20350367 is not an instantly fatal wound, it can definitely become one if not treated promptly.

Just because someone is a disgraceful vagabond doesn’t mean they can’t do something to you. You never know what will set them off.

They are not you.

–the late William T. Aprill

And what they do might involve more than just a cream pie.