Category Archives: Negative Outcomes

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.”

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?”

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. 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

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

–Steve Harris

“The process is the punishment.”

–John Murphy

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.

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)

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

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.

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 for the heads up about the incident.

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 pamphlet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know about Self Defense Law. The latest 2023 version can be downloaded at 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 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

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 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’:

Chasing Criminals -Serious Mistake

This past Sunday a man decided to commit an armed robbery of clerk working in a California convenience store. When the robber fled with the stolen goods, the clerk retrieved his own gun and pursued, firing at the fleeing robber. The robber then used his own gun to shoot and kill the clerk.

Branca – Law of Self Defense

Both tactically and legally, this is a problem. Although it usually doesn’t result in getting killed, I have numerous incidents in my database where the victim was then charged with a crime for various aspects of the pursuit. Like it or not, it is what it is.

Many were surprised when Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton then decided that she would not press a murder charge against the armed robber, on the grounds that the robber was acting in lawful self-defense when he killed the clerk.

Branca – LOSD

I’ll let Andrew comment on the idiosyncrasies of the decision but this would be the ultimate indignity to me personally. My sympathies to the victim’s family.

Negative Outcome from Holsterless Carry

“A man has died after a gun accidentally discharged while in the pocket of a sweatshirt”

Brown County Sheriff’s Office

The man was found dead by his girlfriend in the backyard with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. That single wound resulted in his demise.

“Authorities say a 9mm handgun was found in Hauser’s front sweatshirt pocket, with a single shell casing found in the same pocket of the sweatshirt. Officials added that fabric from the sweatshirt was found to be lodged in the [ejection port] of the firearm and the gun appeared to have gone off while inside the pocket of the sweatshirt.”

I have carried double action revolvers using a Barami Hip-Grip with an uncovered trigger guard for many years without incident. As my colleague Chuck Haggard has noted, both the trigger and cylinder have to move through a relatively long cycle to make the gun fire in that configuration. Striker Fired Autoloaders are a completely different story. As Massad Ayoob noted many years ago:

“What’s the good thing about a Glock? It’s easy to shoot. What’s the bad thing about a Glock? It’s easy to shoot.”

It takes very little to make a Striker Fired Autoloader go off. Holsterless carry with them is foolish. Numerous manufacturers make trigger guard covers for SFAs. If you need a minimalist carry option, at least use one of them.

Shooting in the leg

Investigators say Marquez claimed the shooting was self-defense and that he only intended to shoot his brother in the leg after his brother assaulted him during a fight. Instead, Marquez shot his brother in the stomach.

Bad decision. The brother died.

Marquez was arrested and booked into jail. He is accused of multiple charges, including second-degree murder.

This was a Serious Mistake that resulted in a Negative Outcome. To purchase my book about Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, click the link below.

The perils of holsterless carry

“The gun was in his waistband not holstered and loaded. The gun slipped down his leg, he attempted to grab it, and was somehow manipulating the weapon and discharged the firearm,”

Sgt. Akeem Turnbull with Lovejoy Police

Hit himself and three other people with one Unintentional Discharge. A modern day William Tell.

Firearms are relentlessly unforgiving

Firearms are relentlessly unforgiving of the smallest lapse in attention or good judgement.

The shooting of a special police officer during a training exercise at a D.C. library came as the group of trainees had gathered to take a picture and were ‘joking around,’ according to court documents.

[The shooter, a retired POlice lieutenant], who conducted the training as a private contractor, was arrested Friday and has now been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Manyan’s death.

Before, during, and after training or dry practice, there’s no room for “joking around.”

One of the very first things I learned in the Army from the men who had just returned from Vietnam was:

F8ck around, f8ck around, get yourself or someone else killed.

It’s a lesson I’ve kept in mind for 50 years. RIP Officer Manyan.