Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Shootings Happen Fast, #32767

So, meet Karsten Cuthair, who looks like he’s in pain. He’s in pain because he just got shot. The dry facts of his shooting are recounted in this news story about his indictment in the Las Cruces, NM Sun-News.

Shortly after 11:30 p.m. Nov. 14, two NMSU police officers, including Officer Jarod Colliver, were dispatched to the Chamisa II Village Apartments, an on-campus housing complex.

The indictment alleges that Cuthair was assaulting another NMSU student who lived in the complex with a Glock 9mm handgun.

Footage from Colliver’s body camera shows that when he made contact with Cuthair, he commanded Cuthair to drop the gun. “Instead, (Cuthair) allegedly turned toward the officer and pointed the gun at him,” the indictment reads.

New Mexico State University Police Officer Jarrod Colliver, responding to 911 calls of a man with a gun at a campus apartment complex, fired two shots, one striking student Karsten Cuthair, 28, in the right leg. Cuthair survived.

That’s a very, very dry recounting of the story. Let’s watch it in detail. We think the lead up matters, but it’s just cops in corridors until about 1:15 in this ~4 minute video.

Some impressions we had:

  • That cop had very little time to make his shot before he was back behind cover. But he hit his target.
  • Compare the dry text of the report (“turned toward the officer and pointed the gun at him… Officer Colliver fires two shots”), that sounds like it happened with all deliberation, like a chess match, with the speed in which the whole thing actually went down, on the video. No time for complete sentences or punctuation in the actual event, was there?
  • There’s a long lead up to the shooting and a bunch of stairs. So Colliver’s heart rate was up before the shooting began.
  • Compare that dry text again to the uncertainty of the encounter. Was that a gun? (It was). Did the cop hit the suspect? (He did). Is the injury serious? (It was).
  • One question not worth asking till the situation’s under control: Why? Indeed, that doesn’t seem to be answered at all. In a defensive firearms use, it’s all about the what; there is no time for why. 
  • Some people disparage campus cops, kind of the same way some LEOs disparage armed citizens. Felons are remarkably indifferent to what the lettering on a cop’s badge says. They’re equal-opportunity cop killers. Fortunately, bullets stop them just the same, no matter who’s behind the gun. Felons are also equal-opportunity bullet magnets.
  • Cuthair does not seem to have set out with the intent to commit felonies and get shot for it. It seems as if this was nuclear mismanagement of some interpersonal situation, in the megaton range.
  • Cuthair was compliant after being shot, but seemed… sluggish. Along with his original position, supine against the corridor wall, this makes us inclined to suspect Judgment Juice. In his case, maybe, combined with some Native American ancestry? Make your Injuns and Firewater and Firesticks jokes in the comments if you like, but it’s a real thing that some individuals and some entire races have problems metabolizing ethanol. We’d bet he can’t even recollect the incident clearly.
  • The questions Cuthair asks also make him sound drunk. “We’re on the third floor, right…?” and “Who’s in command?”
  • Note the cop, once he realized that Cuthair really was shot, and was shot high in the thigh, trying to deploy a tourniquet. Someone in his department has been keeping up to date. (Still, it wasn’t an arterial bleeder, or Cuthair might have been a goner). There are some new TQs and other devices coming for dealing with high-extremity and even groin and torso wounds, but they’re probably too specialized for the individual soldier or law officer to carry — something for your medic’s bag.
  • Finally, everybody’s got Glocks… cops, suspect. You can’t get away from the Tupperware Tribbles.

And, is it just our impression, but this seems like an old No-Tell Motel or something; maybe it’s our New England snobbery or something, but it looks like a beastly place to go to college.

Cuthair was booked into the Doña Ana County jail on Nov. 18 after he was released from University Medical Center in El Paso, jail records show.

He was indicted in December on two counts of assault d/w (one against a PO, and one general) and a few related misdemeanors. Maybe the why will come out at trial. We’re glad he lived, but we’re more glad he didn’t shoot the cop or anybody else.

Act like a jerk with a gun, and you’re asking to get shot. If you’re lucky, you live to go to jail.

Hat tip, old blog friend Chris Hernandez, author of the great Afghanistan novel, Proof of Our Resolve. (Update: Dang. We’re sure Chris’s blog led us to this, but can’t find it on Chris’s blog now. -Ed).

Consider the Double Action Auto

We’re adherents of the DA auto (by which we mean the DA/SA pistol), although we gave striker-fired (Glock) a shot. Over the last nearly 40 (wow) years, we’ve daily-carried Walther P.38, Beretta M9 and M92, and the CZ-75 (pre B) and CZ P-01, with some use of small-caliber Walther, Browning and CZ pistols for summer wear.

Ernest Langdon, a former Marine Scout Sniper instructor, is an adherent of DA/SA and particularly Beretta as well, at least partly because Beretta employs him! He can shoot better than most of us, and he makes a good case for the DA autopistol, in an interesting article at Recoil (which has come a long way from its antigun gun magazine days).

He also has a lot of advice about how to shoot it well. 

One of the first things to learn is trigger finger placement. The double action trigger pull often requires the shooter to put more trigger finger on or past the trigger than you would with a 1911-type single action. When learning to pull a double action trigger, try sticking more trigger finger in and past the trigger, providing more leverage for you to pull the trigger straight to the rear. Test this in dry fire, with the goal of the hammer falling with no movement of your sight picture at all.

The key is to pull through the double action trigger at a constant speed. It can be very fast, but it needs to be consistent. The trap that many DA Auto shooters fall into is trying to finish the DA pull by speeding up at the end. We start to pull the trigger smoothly and consistently, and then try to accelerate at the end of the pull to finish and get to the shot. For proper double-action trigger control, you want to focus on stroking the trigger. Keep a constant, consistent speed.

Real success with a DA gun comes from combining the presentation of the pistol, aiming the gun, and pulling the trigger at the same time.

It’s our own observation that, when you don’t have time to prepare your sidearm and must engage from the draw, you’re most often at contact range, and the DA trigger pull is the least of your problems. When you do have time it’s nice to be able to cock the hammer. We have pistols that allow that and some pistols that don’t because they’re DAO. But there are some pistols on the market that do, technically, allow you to cock the hammer by hand, but make it awkward to do. If you have time to set up for a shot, go ahead and set up for the shot.

That said, Langdon is right about DA trigger pull. Yes, it is longer and heavier, and it can make you miss — especially if you get frustrated that it’s not like the SA pull and jerk on it. But a well-designed DA trigger can be fast, steady and smooth and not disrupt your sight picture. And the SA pull on most DA/SA guns is better than the trigger on most striker-fireds, ceteris paribus.

This next consideration is one we hadn’t thought of.

One of the key features in a DA Auto is where the trigger pull breaks. The point at which the trigger breaks in double action mode and single action mode should be as close as possible. This allows you to train your trigger finger to go back to the same spot to release the trigger and cause the gun to fire, whether in double action or single action. Some DA autos release the hammer in double action mode at a much earlier point in the trigger pull than in single action mode. This causes an excessive amount of overtravel in double action and makes the shooter hunt for the trigger prep point in single action. I believe this makes it much harder to learn to shoot well with such a handgun.

Or as one of his photo captions tells it:

One reason Langdon favors the Beretta 92 is that the positions at which the trigger breaks in double action and single action modes are very close.

Hmmm. That makes us want to dig out the trigger gage and look at where the trigger breaks DA and SA on a cross-section of DA pistols.

One of the reasons I’ve chosen to run the Beretta 92 platform is that I feel it has the best double action pull and the closest release points for both double action and single action trigger pulls.

Well, yeah, and they pay him. There is that (grin).

In his new book, Gun Guy, Bill Wilson, president and owner of Wilson Combat says, “If you look where the trigger is when the hammer falls on a Beretta, the trigger is in basically the same place double- and single-action. When you come back to the trigger for the second shot, the trigger is in the same place. You don’t have to search for it. That’s why you can transition from double to single so easily with a Beretta.” There are also many other great DA Autos out there in many different sizes, shapes, and calibers.

Thought-provoking stuff — go Read The Whole Thing™.

Now, with both Wilson and Langdon praising the Beretta, we definitely have to A/B the 92/M9 and the CZs and whatever other odds and ends we have laying about.

Dual-Wielding Bozo Meets Trained Shooter w/1911

The event took place at Dixie Gun and Pawn, in Mableton, Cobb County, Georgia, on Boxing Day. The day after Christmas is apparently just another work(?) day for the criminal element.

Here, the owner Jimmy Groover (white haired guy) and his employee (blue sweatshirt guy) are confronted by two masked bozos, one of whom has one pistol in his right hand, and pulls out a second with his left to really threaten Groover.

Who shot him dead as a mackerel, and chased the other crim out with rounds flying.

The criminals in Georgia, in particular urban crime gangs, have been making an intensive attack on gun shops for several years now. Groover has been burgled and robbed before, and so he prepared.

John Correia (who has yet to weigh in on this, we think) normally tells you not to draw on a drawn gun — wait for your chance. But the criminals’ own self-absorption was exactly the distraction the shop owner needed to slab the two-gun robber.

Hat tip, Peter Grant, who also has a news video in which a customer of the shop, Terrance Coner, dryly notes, “It was amazing, to see someone come into a gun store, to rob a gun store. I mean, that was a really un-thought-out plan.” Yeah, well, Terrance, criminals don’t tend to think things out like you and the rest of us do. They tend towards the impulse decision.

Peter also does his own analysis, concluding:

Nice work, sir!  That looked to have been a head shot, too, on the fallen robber, or perhaps a hit on the spinal column.  One doesn’t collapse so suddenly unless the central nervous system is taken out.  A heart shot wouldn’t have done it.

Yep. He went down like he was poleaxed. Or like he suddenly got a 230-grain headache pill at about 950 feet per second. An impulse response to an impulse decision, as it were.

Also, see how the robber’s two guns slide away from him when he falls? Doesn’t matter in this case, as he was already learning the bitter fact that his name was not written in the Book of Life, but had he been alive and inclined to resist, a nice polished floor makes a dropped gun scoot away out of reach. Bet you never thought of that as a crime-fighting tool.

 

Lessons from a Home Invasion

The following video is a talking-head interview — raw and uncut — with a woman who survived an attack by an armed home invader.

Career Criminal Willie F. Stith III had apparently heard, mistakenly, that her boyfriend had a lot of money in the apartment. He meant to take it, even if he had to beat her, tie her up, and threaten to kill her.

wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

[Kay Dickinson] was coming home from work when she noticed a man with a bag of garbage at the end of the hallway for her apartment.

Dickinson said she went to unlock her door and the man attacked.

“He grabbed me and pushed me into the apartment,” Dickinson recalled. “We had a tussle and he choked me and gagged me, and I dropped everything right there in the kitchen.”

Dickinson said the man, later identified as 35-year-old Willie Franklin Stith III, knew her name and her boyfriend’s.

“He kept saying, ‘give me the money, give me the money,’” Dickinson said, explaining she didn’t keep any in the house.

Stith then lead [sic] Dickinson down the hall to the bedroom where he tied her hands behind her back with a belt and wrapped the cord of a cell phone charger around her mouth.

“As soon as he took me to the bedroom, I looked over and the gun was sitting there – and I was like, there’s a reason the gun was sitting there,” Dickinson said. “I was just hoping he wouldn’t see it because if he saw it he might take it and I knew that was my only chance.”

Dickinson was able to wiggle loose from the belt. She jumped on the bed, grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger.

Stith ran towards the front door and then collapsed. She called 911 and took the gun out of his hand.

“I didn’t know if he was alive or dead,” she said.

So, did Stith get his gun at your Local Gun Store? To our amazement, he did not. As it happens, he is, er, was, a many-times-over Prohibited Person:

According to the Department of Public Safety website, Stith has multiple convictions, including larceny and burglary. Stith also served multiple prison sentences, the most recent a 10-month stint for second-degree burglary that ended in August 2005.

They somewhat understated his record. County jail stuff doesn’t show up on this database, apparently, but he’s been in State of NC trouble since 1998 and has by our count thirteen felony convictions. He also didn’t get out until 2006, it says here. The only reason this isn’t a murder is because Ms Dickinson, like Han Solo, shot first.

We’re not going to give this the full John Correia analysis here, but there are some things our gal did right:

  1. She elevated her awareness when something (hulking black guy with a garbage bag) was out of place in her world;
  2. She didn’t become hysterical, not while under attack, not while gunfighting the invader, not while on the phone to 911, not when the cops came.
  3. She freed herself from restraints. Very Important. Do not let them restrain you. Do not let them transport you. If they do restrain you, free yourself as soon as you can. Time and distance are mortal enemies.
  4. She kept thinking, and kept looking for an opportunity.
  5. When she saw her opportunity, she took it without hesitation.
  6. She shot the guy without a command or warning. When he’s armed, that’s just tipping him off and asking to get shot. “If you’re going to shoot, don’t talk. Shoot.”
  7. She hit with her shot.

There’s a couple of things she might have done better:

  1. The pistol on the Bible would have been of no use to her, if Stith hadn’t taken her to her gun. Better to carry it holstered (yeah, most people don’t).
  2. The hallway is exactly the sort of “transitional space” that John Correia talks about. It feels like home but it’s not as safe as home. People are complacent here; criminals exploit this. If some guy in the hall tingles your spidey sense, back out and wait for him to leave. If he doesn’t, call the cops. Wilmington, NC’s finest would have cheerfully put the habeas grabbus on Stith for his unlicensed, prohibited pistol. He’d be headed back to prison, but alive.

And that’s about it, really. Overall, a very good job of self-hostage-rescue.

Now, bear in mind that we’ve only heard one side of this story, and perhaps other things will emerge. But this looks like a clean shoot from the information at hand, and it would be hard to argue that society has lost a beacon of luminosity and pinnacle of humanitarian virtue, with the abrupt end of Willie Stith III’s life.

It Happens This Fast

It’ happened Monday, 19 December: such a routine stop that the younger, less experienced cop (Officer Jeffery Martin, 22, of the Lavonia, Georgia PD) turns his back on the guy, who’s just mildly noncompliant.

Coming on the scene, Captain Michael Schulman, 50 (whose body cam we’re watching), expresses concern that the guy keeps putting his hands in his pockets. His concern was well placed. The cops knew that the car the man had been driving was reported stolen. At the start of the video, neither cop knows, yet, that the nervous young man who keeps putting his hands in his pockets, Khari Anthony Dashaun Gordon, has a .40 pistol in there… and he’s a career violent criminal, out on bail in an attempted murder case.

The situation goes from contained to desperate in seconds. We’ve replayed the video and still only hear one shot, but Schulman was shot in the chest (under the armpit) and Martin in the right hand. Neither cop got a shot off; they weren’t DRT only because Gordon didn’t finish them off before running.  The shots take place outside the camera’s field of view.

Police from across the region went into high gear to run Gordon down, which they did within a couple of miles from the scene of the crime. Meanwhile, Schulman and Martin were rushed to the hospital, where Schulman had immediate surgery and was, for a time, on the critical list. Martin was treated and released, but will need surgery to remove a bullet from his hand.

Schulman recovered well enough to be released on Tuesday afternoon (20 December), and his recovery is continuing at home. Both officers will spend Christmas & New Year’s with their wives, a pleasure Khari Gordon came this close to denying both families.

Some comments:

  • As noted, it happens very fast and without much warning.
  • Schulman is a tough guy. But his and Martin’s wounds took them out of the fight.
  • Schulman was right to worry about bleeding out. It’s several minutes before the EMTs arrive, and he neither practices self-aid, nor does Martin give him buddy aid.
  • Martin’s initial attempt to drive Schulman to the hospital fails when the wounded man can’t get all the way into the car.

It’s kind of amazing. Two cops, with at least one (Martin) being a recent vet, and neither seemed to have an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) or know what to do with one.  It’s true, cops have a lot of skills they have to master in limited training time. It’s also true that in some jurisdictions firefighters or EMTs have a turf-protective attitude, and fear cops knowing “too much” first aid threatens their job security (not likely, but we’ve heard that expressed). These obstacles must be overcome — a police officer is often the first authority figure on scene, and ordinary citizens look to them for help. They need to be able to help those citizens — and themselves.

  • After all this, Gordon and his attorney had enough chutzpah to ask a judge for bond… you know, like he was on when he shot the two cops. The judge… uh… declined that request. With any luck, Gordon will never again be able to threaten anyone but corrections officers.

And that brings us to the interesting fact that Khari Gordon, a man whose disappearance from the face of the earth would be celebrated by many and mourned, if at all, by his mother alone, didn’t disappear. Cops, knowing that he was wanted for shooting two of their own, tracked him down and, in complete contravention of the Black Criminals’ Lives Matter narrative, took him into custody without incident. It’s almost like the fuzz are not the monsters that a lot of people who known no cops, and whose experiential range stretches all the way from college to grad school, seem to think they are.

Like we said, interesting.

Self-Defense Lessons from a Mass Murder

Here’s John Correia from Active Self Protection again, with a grim set of lessons from a mass murder that took place at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington on 23 Sep 16. The police still express puzzlement about the motives of the shooter, Arcan Cetin (AR-zhahn SHEE-tin), a naturalized or derived citizen of Turkish birth. Several factors include his expressed admiration for ISIL (although he does not seem to have been an observant moslem), a lengthy violent criminal record, and possible mental illness. He concentrated on women, and some media reports say he called out the names of one victim he knew, Sarai Lara, to get her attention before he killed her.

His chosen weapon was a Ruger 10/22 (a rifle that even before this crime, Washington AG Bob Ferguson had demanded be banned). He stole the gun (and two others that he did not use) from his father. Cetin killed by getting close to his victims and plying them with multiple shots. When he finished, he dropped the weapon and exited the mall. Surveillance video led police to his car, and him, within 24 hours. He is now awaiting trial for the murders you are about to see.

We do not normally say this, but this video shows actual homicides. Consider that before you decide to watch it.

John makes great points, framing it with the Run, Hide, Fight methodology as well as his usual expectation that people frame desperate-situation survival with his own mantra: Attitude, Skills, Plan.

We were going to add a comment about how unfortunate it is that no one was armed in the mall that night, and how we were surprised that John (who misses little) would have missed that. But we found this in his description of this video on YouTube:

An additional lesson on this mass shooter…there was an off-duty Sheriff in Macy’s that night, but HE DIDN’T HAVE HIS GUN ON HIM. That makes me so upset. Carry your dang firearm, friends. Everywhere.

Amen.

It’s worse. Island County Sheriff Mark Brown was in the mall with his wife, unarmed, and so his decision was to hide. And he was so embarrassed about that act of cowardice — which is exactly what it was — that he kept that fact secret for a month. Embarrassed? He should be.

More of John’s always sensible and frequent analyses — the guy posts a video every day, for crying out loud! — at his website at ActiveSelfProtection.com and his YouTube channel.

 

Join the Force

 

“Join the Force!” Says the Fort Worth, TX, PD.

Some of you may relate to the travails of the firearm instructor.

We’d say, “Use the Force,” but before you get to Jedi level you might be well-advised to begin with, “Use the sights.” Just sayin’.

Also, who has seen that look of blank shock and dismay, directed from the guy who just ND’d at his weapon, as if the machine done did it?

Update

We replaced the embed, which was working here, but apparently nowhere else, with one direct from FWPD’s you tube channel. Let us know.

They’ve used this theme before. Here, last year’s recruiting cycle: Darth Vader interviews for a patrolman job.

And this spring, an attempt to bring in a lateral hire didn’t quite work out. They sized up the guy on a ride-along and it went… well, just watch.

Armed Self Defense in Wisconsin

Here’s a video from John Correia over at Armed Self Defense (they have a new website, so new it still has greeked text in places! No doubt they’ll fix it. On the downside, the new site has broken all the old ASP links). John talks not about the legalities of the situation, but about the tactical decision making by the defender. Most of the decisions are good, in that the defender and the bystanders didn’t get shot or dead, but as always there are lessons to be learnt from what he did wrong as well as what he did right.

Note that he got something tyro hunters are warned against: “buck fever!” In this case he didn’t have a nice eight-pointer in his sights (they always grow a few points when you miss or don’t get the shot off, don’t they?) but a guy who could have actually killed him. John has other videos where things don’t end well for the licensee or undercover cop when the criminal has the drop on him.

We never draw a pistol without hearing Paul Poole’s voice: “Bwaw-haw-haw! Dumbass dry-fired in a firefight! Bwaw-haw-haw, you’re daid!” This guy didn’t end up “daid,” but if the criminal had been less of a bozo than the usual run of his ilk, he might have been. One begins to see the appeal of safetyless Glocks. (Well, we’re on the side of the angels with a decocker-only DA/SA. And yeah, that means doing lots of controlled pair drills DA first).

At 3:28 in the video, John is explaining that Our Hero is monkeying with his safety, but also, look where he is, where his attention is, and where the robber is. Are there two robbers?! He’s face down in the mechanics of the gun — people, that old military thing of handling the gun blindfolded, assembling it inside a laundry bag, etc. is not hazing but valuable training — while the guy who pushed up the adjacent aisle is behind him at his approximate 7 o’clock. Meanwhile, one guy is in front of him, off camera to our right (defender’s left). It was a near run thing. 

He did well to holster his sidearm after firing (no doubt, police are responding, and you do not want to have it in your hand when they arrive). His decision to follow the criminal towards the door was arguable, but we call it a mistake. A robber, confronted by armed force, is not coming back. He’s running, and probably in soiled pants. Remember, chasing these guys is not your problem. It’s why Officer Friendly gets the big bucks (hah). When the bad guy bolts, your mission, to protect your, your family’s and (maybe) others’ lives, is complete.

The criminal here made some really bad decisions (apart from the obvious one of being a criminal). The first is trying to take on, solo, a group of people in a broken-up space, with multiple entrances, exits, and points of cover and concealment. Probably not the first time this Wealth Redistribution Technician has done that. (In our limited experience, robbers tend to pick one kind of venue to rob — banks, groceries, sandwich shops, small-time dope dealers, convenience stores — and stick to it until their Robin Hood life gets harshed by the agents of the Sheriff of Nottingham, or wherever). Every time this brain-dead robs a place like this he’s rolling the dice that there won’t be a guy like this carrier in here — math that was encouraged by Wisconsin’s former no-carry laws — and this time the dice came up snake eyes.

This case is also interesting because this was the first defensive gun use by a licensed carrier since Wisconsin left the dwindling ranks of no-carry states a couple of years ago. (It was the last holdout, apart from Illinois (since issuing) and DC, although there are still states like New Jersey and some jurisdictions in New York, California and Massachusetts that treat may-issue as de facto no-issue).

Run, Hide, Fight… and You

osu-good-somali-2In the recent Ohio State terrorist incident (you know, the one for which the press is still assiduously trying to unlock the mystery within an enigma of the attacker’s motive), campus public safety officials sent a message to all hands: Active Shooter, Run Hide Fight.

We know now that the “Active Shooter” was an error, an error that, predictably, spawned giddy glee in the gun control camp. The jihadi had a car and a machete, and followed an ISIL attack protocol we’ve seen several times in Europe this year already, but he wasn’t a shooter. However, we think that (1) the campus cops were right to send that message and (2) run, hide, fight, is good advice, and it’s probably better advice for us (licensed or authorized gun carriers) than it is for the usual defenseless collegiate population.

Let’s take those two assertions one at a time.

The Campus Cops were Right to Send, “Active Shooter, Run Hide Fight”

“But Hognose,” we can practically hear you as we write this. “There was no active shooter.” We know now that there was not, and the cops may even have had a hint that there was not. (Or not; next paragraph we’ll explain). But even if they didn’t think there was an active shooter, it was a good call for several reasons.

  1. It helps produce the desired defensive behavior (run, hide, fight);
  2. It’s a lot easier to assume that there is a shooter than to know that there is not;
  3. Historically, jihadi attacks have often involved coordinated attacks, whether it’s bombings or small arms attacks. The first thing to look for when you have one attacker is his confederates! If he hasn’t got any, you’re not as badly off for your false reaction than you would be if you didn’t do anything, and he was one of a cell of ten like we’ve seen in some attacks, or even a pair, a more common thing.
  4. And they might have thought there was an active shooter.

Why would they think that there were more shooters at large? Well, they had, apart from the room-temperature suspect, an innocent person with a gunshot wound. (This was apparently a lost round from the policeman who neutralized the suspect).

Could the campus have done some things better? Sure. But they were right to warn the campus.

“Run, Hide, Fight” is Actually a Good Protocol

A lot of armed self-defenders see themselves rushing across campus to confront an attacker in a scenario like this. We think it’s a bad idea. Better to run if you are in “escaping distance” from the threat, hide if you are invisible and unknown to the threat, and only fight if you must.

Why run? If he can already see you, moving targets are harder to hit than stationary ones. Targets further away are harder to hit than nearby ones. Opening the distance may not bring you to cover, but it does improve your odds, as does giving your assailant a target that is in relative motion, especially laterally.

Why hide? If you can access a hiding place where you are invisible and unknown to the assailant(s), you don’t ever come up in his target array.

Why fight? There’s really one best reason: if you’re cornered and must defend yourself or others’ lives. Don’t go hunting the guy; first, you moving lets him ambush you. Second, if police or a hostage rescue force strike, and you’re on the X with a gun in your hand, guess what prize you just won? Finally, if you must (or get the opportunity to) pop the guy, one of the key questions prosecutors will ask as they review the case is, “Who was the aggressor?” Don’t be that guy. It’s potentially not self-defense if you’re the one attacking.

Mental Rehearsals and “Run, Hide, Fight”

It’s important to form a mental picture of what each of these steps would look like in any place where you could potentially be attacked. We have found the drill of “mental rehearsal” worthwhile. Consider, as you go about your daily business, what would you do if this place turned into the San Berdoo social services office, or the Bataclan venue in Paris. Which way would you run? Where might you hide? Where would be the most effective place to fight?

So, as you can see, the “Run, Hide, Fight” mantra also provides you a handy mnemonic for worst-case-scenario planning and preparation, or for your “mental rehearsal.”

It’s likely that you will never face such a serious incident as the faculty, staff and students of OSU did. If you do not, the time and effort spent on preparation is a sunk cost. But if you do, nothing but time and effort spent now on preparation can avail you anything at all.

Take care out there.

Vintage Self-Defense

colt-self-defense-gunThis vintage Colt Pocket Hammerless, made before the US entered WWI, by the serial number, and definitely over 100 years old, is still doing what it was designed to do: keeping the good safe from the world’s evildoers.

Evildoer Dejuan McCraney, 38, is a career criminal who caught the usual short sentence after a 2001 attempted aggravated murder conviction, and returned to his life of crime thereafter.

One Saturday in October, McCraney armed himself with a 9 mm pistol (believed to be stolen in an earlier burglary) and kicked in the door of an occupied home on Cordova Avenue in Akron, OH. His intent, while committing this violent home invasion, has not been clarified: was he intent on homicide, or simply planning armed robbery, with homicide reserved in case he met resistance? But he wasn’t expecting armed resistance.

The 61-year-old homeowner surprised McCraney with this gun, and held him at gunpoint while his wife dialed 911, and got her gun, a modern 9 mm.

The  cops came quickly, by modern American urban police standards — eight minutes. Imagine what a violent criminal like Dejuan McCraney could have made happen in those eight minutes, if he wasn’t being held at the point of two guns, neatly gift-wrapped for five-oh?

McCraney has a new zip code for the time being, at least, until the Ohio courts tap his wrist again and send him forth to commit more crimes.  He’s charged with aggravated burglary (the “aggravated” presumably being “armed,” in this case) and “weapons under disablity,” which is the OH state charge for Felon In Possession. Technically, he’s a violator of 18 USC § 922(g) and probably 18 USC § 924(e) (Armed Career Criminal Act) also, and the prosecution is a slam-dunk (all the elements of the crime are in the police report), but the ATF doesn’t think the easy stat is worth the paperwork, in part because they know the AUSAs can’t be bothered with these cases, and even when they are, they do such a listless job that the average sentence for these convictions is below Federal guidelines’ minimum! (.pdf)

Now, we don’t recommend vintage or heirloom guns for self defense, even though those early John Browning designs like these Colts and the FN M1910 that’s a kissing cousin are really excellent firearms — for their day. But the bullets of the day were roundnose, and these oldsters may not feed modern defensive loads well. Still, you cannot deny that this homeowner got the job done and did what the State of Ohio seems to be unable to do: interrupt Dejuan McCraney’s life of crime. For now. No doubt he’ll be out in a few years, and will keep it up until he commits a crime like murder for which he’ll finally go away for good, or until a cop or citizen pops him in commission thereof, and provides society with a Final Solution to the Dejuan McCraney problem.