Category Archives: Serious Mistakes

When things go wrong

This post is a little different because the subject is a submarine, specifically the USS Connecticut, a US Navy nukuler attack submarine. The Connecticut had an incident in the South China Sea on Oct 2, 2021. Initially, there was speculation on the internetz that it had collided with a Chinese submarine. However, it turns out that the boat simply crashed into an underwater terrain feature, which the Navy calls an “uncharted bathymetric feature.”

The Sub Brief YouTube channel has an excellent video on what happened and what went wrong.

What does a submarine running aground have to do with Personal Protection? The stack up of numerous problems, some of which had been going on for quite a while, and others that were immediate, caused the grounding.

Just one thing after another and this is how casualties happen. Casualties are very rarely isolated incidents, they cascade. This casualty, this collision cascaded all over the boat from the sonar being destroyed forward to the engine room believing they had lost propulsion to the machinery room catching on fire. Everybody’s having a bad time all of a sudden because casualties will cascade and that’s what’s happening here. Immediate actions of this crew is outstanding and probably is what saved the ship because whenever they were losing … buoyancy, sinking past 74 feet without propulsion, they were screwed. That is a dying submarine. Whenever you do the emergency blow and you still have negative buoyancy and you don’t have propulsion, well guess what, you know you better start making plans for the next life because you’re almost done with this one.

https://youtu.be/IPr7Yrwgly4?t=2396

Laxity, failure to pay attention to detail, and poor or absent communication all contributed to what could have been a tragic loss of a submarine and its entire crew.

Executive Summary [from the Final Investigative Report]

14. (U) On 2 October 2021, CONNECTICUT grounded on an uncharted bathymetric feature while operating submerged in a poorly surveyed area in international waters. This mishap was preventable. It resulted from an accumulation of errors and omissions in navigation planning, watchteam execution, and risk management that fell far below U.S. Navy standards. Prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in any of these three areas could have prevented the grounding.

Here is a short summary of the incident and findings of the investigation. https://news.usni.org/2022/05/24/investigation-uss-connecticut-south-china-sea-grounding-result-of-lax-oversight-poor-planning

The link to the full redacted investigation report is here. https://news.usni.org/2022/05/23/command-investigation-into-uss-connecticuts-south-china-sea-seamount-grounding

Consider how many things can stack up to cause additional problems in a Personal Protection incident as you watch the video.

Gun Safety 2022 – Part V

#mindsetmonday

In addition to the Four Rules, store firearms and other weapons where they are not accessible to unauthorized persons. Guns are not boxes of Kleenex and require a higher level of security for their storage.

My personal ongoing data gathering indicates that every single day, on average, a child gains access to an improperly stored firearm and then incurs or causes a gunshot wound. While this is small number compared to some other types of ‘accidents,’ the other types don’t generally result in large amounts of blood that has to be cleaned up. The level of psychological trauma to the responsible parties cannot be imagined by the rest of us.

The saddest aspect of these incidents is how preventable they are. Numerous easy and inexpensive ways to secure firearms either at home or in a vehicle are readily available. There’s no excuse for not using them.

The balance of the post is on my Patreon page and is publicly available.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/65905696

Serious Mistake – Chasing and Shooting

#shortbussunday

#yourenothelping

Girl, 9, shot at mall while awaiting Easter bunny; police say shopkeeper fired at thieves

https://www.vvdailypress.com/story/news/2022/04/12/mall-evacuated-after-shooting-leaves-one-injured-another-hospitalized-victorville/7299326001/

The initial report is that the shopkeeper chased shoplifters into the mall and shot at them. The shoplifters were not hit but a little girl bystander was.

CHASING AFTER THE END OF A CONFRONTATION

When a criminal confrontation ends and the criminal flees, there’s a strong instinct to chase the attacker and continue the conflict. Armed Citizens need to recognize that this instinct exists and resist the urge to chase. Instinctive as it might be, chasing and prolonging the confrontation can result in legal problems and has the possibility of a tactical failure.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make

There’s a reason I include Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make free with all my books. If you would rather just purchase it at the reduced priced price of $4.99, here’s the link.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make https://store.payloadz.com/go/?id=2617872

The Oscar Slap

The timeline of the Oscar Slap has much value in the study of Personal Protection and Self-Defense. It has been preserved for posterity and study on video. The Guardian provides a short clip that shows it.

  • Chris Rock makes his joke about “GI Jane 2.” = O second
  • Will Smith laughs  = +1 second
  • Jada Pickett Smyth rolls her eyes = +3 seconds
  • Chris Rock says, “Uh oh,” meaning Will Smith was already on his feet = +10 seconds
  • Will Smith slaps Rock = +15 seconds

From the first indication something was going to happen, five or at most six seconds transpired.

Note the distances involved. Smith and Rock were no more than 25 feet (Near Phase of Public Space) apart.

Note also that Smith didn’t do a “Tueller Drill” on Rock. He walked purposefully but not even at a rapid pace to cover the 20 to 25 feet of ground.

Dr. Phil says “What bothers me? No one – no security or anybody came on the stage to protect Chris, and no one in Will’s camp – nobody stepped up to save him from himself.”

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/dr-phil-reveals-bothers-him-080152453.html

Dr. Phil’s guest Exavier Pope, an attorney, legal analyst, and host of the podcast SuitUp, common tated, “He had a whole runway. That’s a lot of cooling time, not just for Will Smith but for anyone to have stopped him.”

Five seconds is NOT “a lot of time,” especially for something as unexpected as a Battery (Cal. Penal Code § § 242, 243) during a high profile televised Black Tie event.

https://www.imagebaseddecisionaldrills.com/

Also observe that it took less than 10 seconds for Will Smith’s laughter at the joke to turn into violent action. The term “trigger” is appropriate.

When it’s least expected, you’re elected.

–John Farnam

For anyone who thinks this was staged, look at Will Smith’s face when he shouts “Keep my wife’s name out your f**king mouth” near the end of the clip. That’s genuine anger. BOLO for it and keep your distance.

A conversation I’m glad I will never have to have

“Mommy, where’s Daddy?”

“I’m sorry, sweetie, you killed him with his own gun when you were just a little boy because he didn’t believe in securing firearms.”

A conversation I’m glad I will never have to have with a child.

The Baldwin Killing (Part I)

Since I’ve been asked several times my opinion about the Baldwin Killing, I’ll address those questions from the perspective of firearms safety only. The incident is a high profile example of a Serious Mistake leading to a Negative Outcome. Such a tragic event bears analysis to see what are the lessons that can be learned to prevent other such incidents, either on a movie set or in our personal lives, in the future.

For those who haven’t read the news lately, actor Alec Baldwin unintentionally discharged a revolver on a movie set last week. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/alec-baldwin-shooting-halyna-hutchins-latest-b1945263.html The film’s Cinematographer was killed by a single bullet that struck her in the torso and the Director was injured. RIP Ms. Hutchins.

Those who are interested in a legal aspects of the case can find my colleague Andrew Branca’s initial legal analysis on YouTube. https://youtu.be/upDuj8Ec Such an analysis is out of my league, so I will stay in my own lane and confine my comments to safety.

What occurred points out a very simple fact of life:

Firearms, like electricity, are relentlessly unforgiving of the slightest lapse in attention

The Tactical Professor

One of the slides in the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course states that Ignorance and Carelessness are the causes of firearms accidents.

NRA Training Department

The concept of ‘tolerance stackup’ often applies when an Unintentional Discharge occurs. By this we mean that when Ignorance and Carelessness overlap each other, the possibility of a Negative Outcome dramatically increases. Sadly for Ms. Hutchins, she was downrange when that overlap occurred.

A comment was made on an earlier version of Andrew’s video about the probability that the gun being used was a single action revolver. The commentator noted that the manual of arms of a single action is more complicated than a modern autoloading pistol. The extra steps involved in clearing a single action may have contributed to the discharge. For once, a comment was worth reading. Extra caution needs to be taken when handing firearms that have an unfamiliar and perhaps difficult manual of arms. That’s definitely a lesson that can be taken away from the incident.

There is no standard manual of arms that can be applied across all firearms, even modern ones. For instance, the Ruger LCP has a manual device for locking open the action but it does not lock open automatically. Conversely, the KelTec P-32 and P3AT do not have an external device to lock open the slide and require an empty magazine to do so. Despite the fact that the guns look very similar, they operate differently and require the operator to understand how to work them.

Another comment on the earlier Branca video came from a POlice firearms instructor who said there were at least 11 different firearms safety rules that have to be observed on any firearms range. While a case can be made for that argument, 11 or more rules constitutes a checklist that has to be written down. The need for long lists to be written down, i.e., a checklist, was learned in aviation somewhere around a century ago. While appropriate for range operators, and perhaps the film’s armorer, it’s not compatible with the way the human mind works. A memory aid has to be short, e.g., the Four Rules, or organized as an acronym, e.g., SALUTE.

The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling are a good memory aid. However, we need to keep in mind that a memory aid is not a full explanation of the concepts being remembered, it is merely a way to jog our memories about what the base concepts are so we can apply them fully. The distinction between checklists, memory aids, and the concepts either are based on is another lesson we can take away from The Baldwin Killing.

“That could never happen to me” thinking is one reason I developed the underlying concepts contained in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com years ago. I didn’t intend it for Hollywood actors but in retrospect, I wish the entire crew of the movie had read it. I’m not trying to be facetious or unkind to Ms. Hutchins’ memory by saying that.

More thoughts about The Baldwin Killing tomorrow.

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Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference

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Defense of Others

#fridayfundamentals

‘Self-defense’ is only one subset of Personal Protection. Defense of Others is the other subset. September’s Armed Citizen column of the NRA Journals Shooting Illustrated – September 2021 has two incidents involving Defense of Others. Both occurred in public places outside the home. One was successful, the other Not So Much. Defense of Others situations often do not fall in the 3 shots, 3 seconds, 3 yards paradigm.

In the successful incident, a man and woman were in a Madera, California Wal-Mart parking lot. The man was attacked, the woman pulled out her pistol from her car, fired one round, and dropped the attacker in his tracks at 10 yards. In the words of commentator Raymond:

In the Not So Much successful incident, Calvin ‘Mad Dog’ Gonnigan shot at three people in Chicargo who were celebrating Independence Day. A nearby Concealed Carry Licensee shot at ‘Mad Dog’ but only peripherally wounded him several times. ‘Mad Dog’ left but then came back to murder one of his victims by shooting her in the face and even further seriously wounding the other two victims. Eventually, the POlice arrived from the District Headquarters, which was a block away, and took ‘Mad Dog’ into custody.

Photo: Chicargo POlice Department

Madera County is largely rural. It’s a likely bet that the woman had practiced her aim before. Chicargo, being an urban area, is unlikely to result in much practice. That’s probably why ‘Mad Dog’ did most of his shooting at close range and probably why the CCL was not particularly successful. The Illinois qualification course can be passed by only hitting one shot out of 10 at 10 yards and that only has to hit an arm of the silhouette target.

For those who carry a gun not only to protect themselves but also to protect their loved ones and friends, getting in a little structured practice can be useful, maybe even life saving. Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com has a series of drills that could be done even in Chicargoland. And Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is included with your purchase.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/ https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Serious Mistakes – Unintentional Discharges (Part III)

Teen finds mom shot to death after stray bullet hits her in her sleep

https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/apartment-shooting-woman-killed-stray-bullet/85-5c3bb691-c868-48d6-bae6-fac915372686

Police said the 22-year-old neighbor told them he had an ‘accidental discharge’ while he was loading [sic] his firearm. His attorney, Jeff Sliz, said his client was cleaning his 9 millimeter pistol at the time.

‘He didn’t have the magazine in it, but he was cleaning it and apparently there was a bullet [sic] in the chamber and it accidentally discharged and went through the wall,’ Sliz said.

My colleague Chuck Haggard made the comment: “I see people using random walls as a ‘safe direction’ way too often.”

I believe it was Mas Ayoob who said many years ago that the only reasonably ‘safe direction’ in an apartment or motel is the bowl of a terlet. The combination of water, porcelain, and pipes are far more bullet resistant than two sheets of drywall. Shooting it would be a mess but less likely to kill someone else than sending a bullet through a wall into an adjacent unit..

The man who fired the shot has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. Odds are that he will do some prison time. So much for the idea of joining the Navy and becoming a diver.

It’s hard to imagine what life will be like for the son who found his mother dead. Let’s face it, a close range bullet wound to the head was probably an ugly wound. That’s a psychological scar that will be with him as long as he lives.

This is an example of why I believe the commonly taught sequence of ‘magazine out then clear the chamber’ is incorrect. I lock the gun open first thing, then remove the magazine, and finally visually and physically check the chamber for no ammunition. The magazine is not the source of ammunition, it’s the source of follow-on ammunition. The chamber is the source of the fireable ammunition and should be dealt with first. But that’s just me.

There are so many Negative Outcomes that will result from one Serious Mistake. It’s very sad.

Click on the image to purchase my book Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

Suspect Held at Gunpoint (temporarily)

https://www.foxnews.com/us/caroline-schollaert-murder-florida-man-charged

Sequence of events

  • Perp establishes Line of Business consisting of checking car door handles for unlocked cars to burglarize
  • Perp finds gun in unlocked car and steals it
    • “The firearm used by the suspect in this murder was found to be stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the same neighborhood just eleven days prior.” –JSO
  • Eleven days later, perp is carrying said stolen pistol while burglarizing the car of a USCG Servicemember
  • Servicemember detects the burglary in progress
  • SM calls 911
  • SM gets own pistol and confronts would-be burglar, ordering him to remain in place until POlice arrive
  • Perp refuses to comply and instead draws stolen pistol
  • Perp fires several shots and hits SM at least once, incapacitating her
  • Perp departs
  • POlice arrive and ‘attend’ to SM
  • SM dies from wounds
  • POlice identify perp
  • Perp turns himself in
  • Family, friends, and fellow SM are heartbroken
  • Perp is charged with murder in the second degree
  • Family, friends, and fellow SM are still heartbroken

Negative Outcome for everyone involved

“Don’t go looking for trouble not expecting to find it.” –John Farnam https://defense-training.https://defense-training.com/present-tense/com/present-tense/

Possible tactical alternatives

  • If you feel compelled to challenge a criminal, do so from a position of cover (concealment does not count as cover). If no cover is available, do not challenge.
  • Use a high intensity flashlight to illuminate and blind the perp before issuing the challenge.
  • If your car door is locked, illuminate the perp with your flashlight from a considerable distance without issuing a challenge.
  • At your own residence, have a large bear-spray type canister of OC close at hand. Spray the perp, without warning, at the maximum range of the container. Be sure to saturate him from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. Then immediately seek cover if you’re not already behind it.
    • “Begin to attrit the enemy at the maximum effective range of your weapons.” –Infantry maxim

Facebook link to Sheriff’s Office Press Conference

https://fb.watch/7l5H9RudgH/

We strongly recommend citizens lock their vehicles and absolutely remove their firearms when exiting. Please do not provide criminals with easy access to a gun that will only be used in more criminal, and as in this case, violent acts.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Very sad. RIP Airman Schollaert

Serious Mistakes – Unintentional Discharges (Part II)

The Unintentional Discharge (UD) into the Florida Representative’s office Bullet fired into Representative’s district office, which caused six people to UNsubscribe from my blog, provides a good backdrop for further exploration of the topic of Unintentional Discharges. Part I Serious Gunowner Mistakes – Unintentional Discharges (Part I) began the discussion of definitional issues. This post will explore the categories of UDs in Serious Mistakes and make some observations about preventing this undesirable phenomenon.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make divides Unintentional Discharges into three categories. There’s a fourth category that needs to be added because of its implications and long term effects. The first category in Serious Mistakes is UDs that cause some kind of property damage. The shot into the Representative’s office is an example of this. No one was physically injured but there was obvious property damage. Coming into your office and finding a bullet hole in the wall is not how anyone wants to start their day. Such a discharge can occur in tactical situations with undesirable results. The LAPD Board of Police Commissioners refers to these as “Tactical Unintentional Discharges (TUD).”

http://lapd-assets.lapdonline.org/assets/pdf/032-20%20PR%20(TUD).pdf

According to Officer A, after stopping his/her police vehicle near the location of the call, he/she utilized his/her left hand to open his/her door and remove his/her safety belt while simultaneously utilizing his/her right hand to unholster his/her handgun. Once the handgun was out of its holster, he/she held it in front of his/her body in a close-contact position, while simultaneously using his/her left hand to grab the top of the pistol’s slide. He/she did this in order to safely control the handgun with his/her left hand while freeing his/her right hand to place the vehicle in park and turn off the ignition. After turning off the ignition, Officer A began exiting the vehicle while simultaneously transitioning the handgun back into his/her right hand. As he/she did so, he/she unintentionally placed his/her finger on the trigger, causing the handgun to discharge a single round into the driver’s door.

LAPD Board of Police Commissioners

Don’t think that TUDs are limited to POlice service only. The recent episode of the attempted home invasion in California where the assailant peed his pants is a good example. While narrating the video of the incident, the homeowner stated “That was a misfire” when referring to the first shot of the gunfight. It wasn’t a ‘misfire,’ it was an Unintentional Discharge and it escalated what had been a verbal confrontation into a gunfight.

The second category is self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The pictures and videos of such unfortunate incidents are so numerous that they can’t even be listed adequately. This article https://theweek.com/articles/467814/8-famous-people-who-accidentally-shot-themselves lists nine celebrities who unintentionally gave themselves lead injections. Within the gun community, Tex Grebner is one of the most famous self-shooters. Tex deserves credit for admitting his mistake and posting a cautionary video about it.

The worst of these three categories is Unintentional Shootings. This doesn’t mean Mistaken Identity Shootings but rather when an Unintentional Discharge results in injury or death to another person. The repercussions of such an incident can be severe. A very sad incident recently occurred in Oklahoma in which a boy was ‘playing with a pistol’ in his living room and had a UD. The bullet travelled through the wall to the adjacent room and struck his mother in the head, killing her instantly. The boy was so distraught that he then went outside and killed himself with the same pistol. https://people.com/crime/oklahoma-teen-accidentally-killed-mother-playing-with-gun-then-died-suicide/ Interior walls in most homes are as bullet resistant as a sheet of paper, which is to say, not at all.

A fourth category needs to be added to the Second Edition. It is UDs that cause no reportable property damage. For instance, at a range into the walls, ceiling, backstop, or off into the sunset. This is probably the most common UD of them all, occurring thousands of times EACH DAY. The major problem with these non-reportable UDs is that they insidiously create a ‘practice scar.’ That scar is the subconscious thought that UDs don’t have consequences. The scar is a bigger problem than is generally realized.

Best Practices to prevent Unintentional Discharges and minimize damage

Practice keeping the finger outside and above the trigger guard whenever you’re not prepared for the gun to fire. Rule 3, keep your trigger finger above the trigger guard as a default position. Placing the finger on the front of the trigger guard used to be considered acceptable but we have come to understand that it’s not much better than being in the trigger guard.

“That was a misfire” from the California ‘Home Invader Pees His Pants’ incident most likely resulted from having his finger in the trigger guard while chambering a round.

For guns that are not carried in a holster, some form of tactile indicator, e.g., Velcro, is worthwhile as an aid to keeping the finger in the proper position.

Velcro applied as tactile indicator for correct trigger finger position.

Smith & Wesson’s SD9VE is factory equipped with a tactile indicator above the trigger guard. This is a feature more manufacturers should emulate.

Muzzle direction is the primary safety. Always has been, always will be.

–Bill Rogers

Practice muzzle awareness at all times. Rule Two, keep guns pointed in the safest possible direction. Parts of your body or other people’s bodies are not on the list.

Complacency injures and kills. Many otherwise good and informative videos are ruined by lack of muzzle awareness.

The recent video of a Fourth World person shooting his hand during a wedding is an excellent example of why keeping the muzzle away from our hands is a best practice. The aftermath shown in the video is gory but this is the moment that immediately precedes the UD.

He removed the pistol from the holster, chambered a round, and then fired a shot in the air immediately before this. Most likely because he uses chamber empty carry, he forgot that removing the magazine after firing a round does not clear the chamber. As a consequence, his left hand will never be the same again.

Firearms are relentlessly unforgiving of carelessness, just like electricity. We don’t stick our fingers in electrical sockets “even when it’s not plugged in” because we learn at any early age that electricity, while a useful servant, can also kill. Firearms need to be given the same respect for the same reason.

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Note that Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is included with the purchase of any other book.