Category Archives: Weapons Usage and Employment

Traveling with a Gun, More Lessons Learned

Thanks to everyone in the comments of the last post a couple of days ago. Here are some follow-up lessons learned from the wisdom of the commentariat, plus the evolution completed this week.

  1. How the airline handles firearms varies from airport to airport, as does how the TSA handles it. In FLL, TSA does not want to see it, and all the airline counter staff have to find one who is not a felon or another prohibited person (really!) to observe your demonstration that the firearm is unloaded).
  2. TSA is not going to be anybody’s model for organizational excellence or personnel selection any time soon, but their inspection was more effective that the cursory glance the clearly disgusted-by-gun-things airline clerk offered.
  3. Despite the worry engendered by the irritable and felonious ground staff in Fort Lauderdale, the Pelican full of bang came home without incident.
  4. We’re going to go with the recommendation of a secure case in a crummy looking bag, for those flights where the line will accept a bag within a bag.
  5. We’re also going with the recommendation of printed-out airline policies, as it seems like the airline clerk’s detailed knowledge of these policies is in inverse proportion to her conviction that she knows these policies.
  6. The confidence you get from a high-quality gun case pays off when you arrive in a light snowstorm and your pickup bed is entirely full of a week’s snow. Just peg the Pelican in the snowbank, and sort it out at home.  (Would we still do that if we had, say, a 1902 Luger carbine with its off-the-charts proneness to rust? No. We’d have thrown Small Dog in the snowbank in the pickup bed, and sorted him out at home).

Funny thing: arriving at PSM, there was a sign up that all but one the rest rooms were out of order — pardon the inconvenience, right? Except, a jet had just arrived from Iraq and there was a line of about 200 guys out the one rest room’s door… most of them Army troops wearing the patch of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Every one of them was on a phone, tablet or other device with “home,” and  it made us grin to see them. They all looked lean and tired and had a whole other flight to go, then the joys of property accountability before

Incidentally, traveling with Small Dog Mk II? Piece of cake. Allegiant is a line that doesn’t make you keep your pet cased up, unlike American, JetBlue or Southwest, and so he was able to enjoy the miracle of jet travel:

It is most convenient to bag him during takeoff, landing, boarding and debarking, and any time we were not in the seat with him. Each time we had to stuff him back in his travel bag he went a little easier than the previous one, but he never went entirely willingly. (Really, would you? Nobody likes to be confined, except for some incorrigible criminals and a few weirdos with a paraphilia).

At one time, we stuffed him back in and went to the restroom, only to emerge to a laughing cabin and another traveler holding a wriggling dog — he’d Houdini’d his way out of doggie durance vile, and charmed the other passengers and flight attendants.

Flying With a Gun

We could use loaner guns when we travel, and sometimes it makes the most sense. At least it brings us into compliance with the First Law of Gunfights. But we have some very carefully crafted firearms and it is a comfort to have them in any locale, so we prefer to bring our own.

It’s been interesting to transport our guns on commercial air, as an ordinary muggle, compared to the way it used to be as a servant of the sovereign. In the old days it was pretty straightforward:

  1. Show up, show your ID and travel orders, with the magical line to the effect that “carriage of government firearms is authorized and required”;
  2. Wait for those at the counter to summon superiors;
  3. Wait for those superiors to summon or contact their superiors;
  4. Repeat Step 3 recursively until they actually reach someone au courant with airline and government policy;
  5. Graciously accept their apologies for the delay;
  6. Escort, or detail one man to escort, your container of weapons to the airplane and see it stowed. They are also escorted by a retinue of airport hangers-on that can include airport, state or port authority police, airline personnel, and TSA mouth-breathers;
  7. Be escorted through a door into the airside, and walked to the jetway, where you can enter the jetway from the airside and take your seat with sidearm, when so authorized, without making any magnetometers or Rapescan machines beep and whir.

Often there would be minders to meet us and whisk us through destination airports… that’s something we’ll never have again, and you don’t realize what a convenience it was until you’re shut off from it.

There are some details of more recent procedures that we’re leaving out for reasons the astute readers of this blog should be able to deduce without strain to the brain.

Here’s how it went for the first leg of this week’s trip:

  1. Learn the airline’s policy. These policies vary from line to line.
  2. Know the gun control laws in your airports of departure. For example, Your Humble Blogger travels frequently between FL (where he’s legal) and NH (ditto). One way to do that is to fly from Boston Logan airport — where they will arrest you for trying to check a gun in a bag. Needless to say we don’t give BOS (or JFK, LGA, EWR or ORD, where similar policies reign) our business.
  3. Commit to a checked bag whilst ordering tickets. That’s the “gun bag.” (Some lines require ammo to be in a separate bag; we chose to simply buy fresh on arrival).
  4. Secure a sturdy, lockable bag. We use a Pelican case with two heavy-duty padlocks.
  5. Empty everything, including the foam, out of the gun bag. This is to make sure there is no ammo or casing in there. We then pack the gun bag, our objective being to keep “gun stuff that makes TSA freak” out of other bags, whilst having minimum stuff in the gun bag to facilitate fast inspections:
    1. The gun. We also use a piece of day-glo weedwhacker cord through the barrel to demonstrate clear, and leave the magazine out.
    2. Spare magazines;
    3. Holster, optics, other must-have accessories;
    4. Owner ID. We use a business card and a printout of the boarding pass.
  6. Show up about two hours early, because checking the gun bag is a bit more involved than checking the usual Samsonite.
  7. Declare the gun bag to the airline employee at the counter. He or she will ask if it’s loaded (there is only one right answer to this question in this situation; here, Rule 1 does not apply). Airline depending, they may want to see it. They may place a copy of the baggage check ticket inside, and attach one to the outside. (That one is very important: the barcode on it manages the routing of your bag). Then…
  8. An airline official will escort you to the TSA station where checked bags are inspected. TSA will advance one agent — in this case, it looked like he was selected by that process where penguins push one off the floe to test for Orca — to see that it is, in fact, empty. The agent may ask you to remove any foam, etc. in the case. It is a great help to have bare minimum stuff in “the gun case.” Most agents will not want to touch your firearm. Once in a while, one is a gun guy or vet and will have questions.
  9. When TSA is happy, which only takes seconds or minutes, they’ll ask you to secure your bag. Then they’ll run it through the x-ray machine. But they’ve already inspected it manually? Never mind, procedures. Once they take it, your escort will bring you back out of the station and turn you loose to go to your boarding gate.
  10. On arrival, some airlines want you to go to an office to receive your firearm, but almost always the baggage busters just throw it on the conveyor with the other stuff.
  11. Before departing your plane, ask your Flight Attendant to get you the baggage carousel number or code. She or he can usually get this as you taxi in or before the doors open. Since FAs are extremely busy at debarking, it helps to prime your attendant inflight for this coming request.
  12. Have a concrete plan, if you travel without ammo as we did, for picking up defensive ammo on arrival. (We didn’t, went to the first gunshop we found, and had to select a new brand and loading).

Traveling from Pease International Tradeport to Fort Lauderdale with both a cabin pet (Small Dog MkII) and a checked firearm, last week, was … interesting. Allegiant Airlines is a small, low-cost carrier that operates on thin margins, but they handled both the gun and the dog professionally — until arrival at FLL.

There, the system broke down because Allegiant wasn’t updating baggage carousel information in Fort Lauderdale’s computers. The Blogbrother had to go hunt down an Allegiant worker to find out where the bag was… and since relatively few bags had been checked, the firearm case had been sitting unattended for ten minutes on a stopped conveyor. Now you know where recommendation #11, which wasn’t in the first draft of this post, came from.

Traveling with your firearm is well within the penumbras and emanations of the natural right to life, and therefore, to self-defense. But there is an arcane and complex public-private regulatory labyrinth that seems maliciously crafted to discourage you from exercising that right. The more we do it, the less strange it will seem to airline and security personnel, and the more smoothly it will go. Stay within the law (even the questionable interpretations pushed in backward boroughs like Boston) and in time, we can address the laws. Win the culture first: make travel with arms something to which everyone is accustomed.


This post has been updated. Images have been added and one verb has been changed (from “maliciously crafted to prevent you” to a more accurate-feeling “maliciously crafted to discourage you from”).

Two Questionable Self Defense Cases

Now, we’re not Andrew Branca, and we don’t have a Barracks Lawyer License, even, but we’re thinking that these two cases of claimed self-defense have… problems.

ITEM: Zero-Dark-Twenty-Five. And Drunk.

The first is the weakest. It begins at 0125 hours in a strip club in Key West. The shooter, one Derek David of Denham Springs, LA, is out on bail pending trial. (His bail was almost $600k surety). He has invoked the Florida Stand Your Ground law, which (contrary to most media reporting) gives him a chance to get the charges dropped early, or at least to make that argument in a pretrial hearing. It’s a big rock for his lawyer to push uphill:

Derek David, 34, pulled out a .380 handgun while on Charles Street, a short alley off the 200 block of Duval Street, at 1:25 a.m. March 21, 2016, his attorney says, but only after he had been beaten by four people who included one of the so-called victims and his wife.

“Mr. David found himself in the middle of a violent, unprovoked attack,” according to a defense motion asking a judge to dismiss all charges, including three counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon, firing a gun while intoxicated and resisting arrest.

The alcohol and resisting arrest seem rather… incongruent with self-defense and are facts that will certainly complicate the case. He will, however, get his hearing in a couple of weeks.

Key West police have told a much different version of the shooting, depicting a couple that was “obnoxiously drunk” before they got into a fight in which David pushed his wife down and strangers tried to separate them. Officers said David, who had been staying on Sugarloaf Key with his wife Jodie David, drunkenly brandished a pistol and fired four times into a crowd near Duval Street after bystanders intervened.

David is also accused of pointing the gun at two people before fleeing the scene.

David ran off but was followed by a strip club manager who waited until police arrived to take the gunman into custody. Police used a Taser stun gun to get him to comply.

But David’s lawyers, Donald Barrett and Dustin Hunter, say David was only protecting himself and his petite wife after being knocked to the ground and further harassed by four strangers.

You can read his lawyers’ version of the story at the link. One more confounding fact that they will undoubtedly try to keep out of this trial, and prosecuting attorneys will doubtless attempt to have admitted:

Six months before the shooting, David had the same handgun confiscated by Key West police, who said they found him drunk on Duval Street, angry that a friend had taken his truck without permission.

It’ll also hurt that of his four shots, two struck people who were not involved in the fight. Not good. Nobody’s a lawyer around here, but we’re thinking the Stand Your Ground hearing is not going to call this self-defense, and at trial time he might want to bring a toothbrush.

ITEM: That’s Putting the Dead in Deadbeat

Moncrief from social media

Anthanasia “Nasia” Moncrief, 28, left, had an argument with Richard Spadel, who rented a room in her home, over rent. There might be two sides to the story, but Spadel’s not telling his: he’s dead. Moncrief shot him; she’s claiming self-defense in a fight that started as a pushing match.

Whether there was a pre-existing relationship between Spadel and Moncrief,  other than landlord and tenant, is unclear: they lived at the same address in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. Spadel, for his part, had been in trouble with the law.

But now it’s Moncrief who finds herself in trouble with the law. Here’s how explained it:

Spadel, prior mug from He’s officially out of mugshots now.

Early Saturday, Anthanasia Moncrief, who lists herself on Facebook as a former real estate sales agent, got into an argument with Richard Spadel, 32, who rented a room in Moncrief’s house on the 4300 block of Boone Street, Clark said. The argument was over Spadel’s failure to pay rent, according to Clark.

The dispute escalated to pushing and shoving, and Moncrief retrieved a gun and shot Spadel in the upper right back, police said.

When officers arrived, Moncrief directed them to the second floor, where a third person was trying to help Spadel, police said.

But that man’s efforts were futile. Spadel was pronounced dead there by medics at 2:55 a.m.

Moncrief went to the Homicide Unit and gave a statement, Clark said, and the District Attorney’s Office subsequently approved murder and related charges against her.

With so many facts still out in this case, it;s hubris to draw any conclusions. But as the cops tell the story, murder charges were a near inevitability. You can use self-defense to protect human life from imminent mortal threats. But how imminent are they if you can go get a gun ad come back? That looks bad for Ms Moncrief, as does the location of the fatal wound (in the victim’s back) and the hour of occurrence (who has a rent discussion at quarter to three in the morning?)

Moncrief current mugshot

We can say with confidence, though, that de-escalation is always a wise move, if you can pull it off. Also, good judgment is in short supply after 0200.

But one other thing. Compare the picture of Moncrief at the top of the page to the one on the left — her booking mugshot from this charge.

Now, no one is at his or her best whilst bring arrested at 0300. But are we right in seeing some direct changes between the two pictures? Changes that might explain how a gal who used to be, but isn’t anymore, a real estate agent, winds up arguing over a few dollars with a guy who’s got sex crimes on his rap sheet?

A Murder in Public

We don’t know, yet, what Gary Wallock was mixed up in. If he was mixed up in the kind of thing where you can get whacked, he should have been a lot more keyed towards Condition Yellow than he was. As it was, the guy never had time to grasp what was about to hit him.

It looks like a street gang or drug-dispute related murder, for sure. Wallock was likely hit publicly and messily to send a message.

Lauderhill [FL] police are searching for the killer in Monday afternoon’s fatal shooting of Lauderdale Lakes resident Gary Wallock. As Wallock left The Lobster and Seafood Warehouse in Lauderhill, a man ran from around a corner, shot Wallock in the head, then fired several more shots into Wallock’s prone body. Investigators also want to find a 2010 blue Nissan Altima with license plate EZX-F13.

via 40-year-old Bradenton woman accused of sex with teens at her child’s party | Miami Herald.



It sure looks like a hit. The assailant is about six feet from Wallock as he opens up — his torso maybe a foot further back than that, the pistol, extended, maybe a foot closer than that — and has rushed up to him from behind. It’s not a gunfight, or a robbery “gone wrong”, or any kind of heat-of-the-moment domestic tangle. Sumdood wanted Wallock dead, and got what he wanted, directly.

But consider this — what if Wallock wasn’t specifically targeted? What if the murderer was just a nut job looking for nobody in particular? (That seems unlikely, but not impossible. Drug gang members are not known for clarity of thought and judgment). Or what if he was gunning for somebody else, and an innocent Wallock, just minding his own business, was targeted by mistake? That’s why you need to maintain superior alertness and situational awareness at all times. Wallock was engaged in an innocuous activity with a non-threatening friend when he was shot and killed from behind, and several insurance shots burned into him point-blank.

John Correia would have some points to make here on transitional spaces, but a broader point is that you are always at the greatest risk when something in front of you has your focus and you’re mostly on automatic, with your surroundings in that part of your perceptual field that’s out of mental focus.

Like when you’re walking back to your car with a doggie bag in hand, thinking about going home — the last thing that Gary Wallock, whoever he was in his life, ever did.

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. 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.


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 and his YouTube channel.