Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Second Rule of Gun Fighting

The First Rule of a Gun Fight is 'Have a gun.' What is the Second Rule?

There are four possible outcomes of any gun fight:
  • No one gets shot (showing a gun gets compliance).

    Now, this may be a 'win' and it may not be. If you point a gun at a bad guy and he goes face down on the ground until the police arrive to haul him away, score it a win. If the bad guy makes you comply, e.g., steals your wallet, rapes you, ties you up and throws you in the trunk of his car, you lose... and the scenario dictates how much you lose.

  • You shoot the bad guy.

    He loses. You may or may not win, depending on whether shooting him was the correct thing to do.

  • The bad guy shoots you.

    You lose.

  • You both get shot.

    You still lose, even if the bad guy loses worse.
  • So, the Second Rule of a Gun Fight is 'Don't get shot!' because winning a gun fight isn't strictly a matter of shooting the bad guy, it's surviving the encounter intact. It seems obvious, but a quick perusal through the 'Lessons Learned' archives of this site alone shows that most gun fights are lost because the good guys fail to faithfully follow the Second Rule.

    Let's look at the Miami Burger King shootout that happened today. The bad guy walks in complete with ski mask (thanks for the target identifier, buddy!) and holds up the place. A good guy, complete with concealed carry license, pulls his gun and confronts the bad guy. The bullets start flying, and when it's over the bad guy is dead and the good guy is seriously wounded. Ask yourself, did the good guy really win?

    Let's see... he won a trip to the emergency room, several hours of emergency surgery, months of painful convalescence, and perhaps some permanent disability... if he survives. Doesn't sound like much of a win to me.

    I'm not saying good guys should never fight back. Quite the contrary. What I want to emphasize here is to keep the goal in mind. The goal is not to protect Burger King's till. It is to protect your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the lives of innocents... in that order. Don't place one day's sales of a small business above your life and the well-being of a family that depends upon you.

    Before getting involved in a gun fight, ask yourself is this necessary? As Clint Smith is fond of saying, life will give you plenty of chances to show your heroism, so don't volunteer unnecessarily. Sometimes, however, there are no good choices. Sometimes you will have to get involved, because the cost of not engaging is too high. If you find yourself in such a situation, then remember the Second Rule of a Gun Fight: Don't Get Shot!

    Remember also that weapons are merely tools that we use to accomplish a task. Strategy and tactics are really what ensures success with the tool at hand. Have a plan, and develop the skills necessary to carry your plan out to a successful conclusion. In the case of the Miami Burger King shootout, the good guy had the initiative, and he had a gun. But did he have a sound strategy, a plan that would ensure success? No.

    From reading the news reports, it appears that the good guy pulled his gun and confronted the armed robber. At this point, the good guy has thrown away every advantage he has, and given the advantage to the bad guy! The lesson here: don't confront armed bad guys, shoot them... or don't get involved! If I was in a similar life-threatening situation where deadly force was warranted and felt I had to intervene in order to save my life or the life of others, rather than confront the bad guy I'd get behind cover if at all possible... something that would have a good chance to stop a bullet, like a counter or a booth partition. However, once I made the decision to shoot, I'd pull my gun out and aim it at the bad guy, and then I'd shoot him until I was absolutely positively sure he no longer posed a valid threat. No challenge, no "Drop your weapon!" or "Freeze!" I am not going to give any bad guy a chance to shoot me if I can help it.

    I understand that sometimes you can't seek cover, because there isn't time. Sometimes all the choices stink. Sometimes you have to resign yourself to the very real possibility that you will get shot, but the alternative of doing nothing and getting shot, raped, or killed is much worse. Your strategy doesn't change. Once you've made the decision that deadly force is warranted, then don't hesitate. Draw and shoot, and keep shooting until there is no longer a threat. Putting the bad guy down, now, is your best chance of minimizing harm to yourself and other innocents. It may be your only chance for survival. At the Burger King today, the first shot from the good guy could have ended it all. Make that first shot on your time, with all deliberate speed ("take your time, fast" as Bill Jordan wrote), and make it count because it may be the only shot you get.

    He who hesitates is lost. Don't hesitate. Make your decision, and then carry out your plan vigorously.

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Is The Glass Half-Empty?

    Over at The Right Coast, Maimon Schwarzschild ponders on Things To Be Depressed About, asking who is right, optimists or pessimists and more pessimists? ht: Instapundit

    I gotta go with Scott and VDH on this one. It's not even close.

    You know, the really bad thing about reality is that it has a way of catching up to people who refuse to face it, and then smacking them in the chops until they do. As my dad said, "Life is hard, but it's a lot harder if you're stupid."

    America as a nation is stupid. We elected a charismatic, attractive, apparently-intelligent person to the President, ignoring the fact that the man had very little experience actually running things and making decisions... and the experience he did have wasn't illustrative of brilliance as a leader or manager (his management of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge oversaw the spending of almost $150 million! with no apparent quantitative results - no improvement in child or school performance). We could have elected a man with tremendous experience, and proven leadership and management abilities, but as I said, America as a nation is stupid.

    Now we have this resultant mess of the economy, which a strong, confident hand on the wheel could have prevented. We have trillion-dollar deficits stretching out as far as the eye can see. We have a Congress that is too lazy to actually read legislation before passing it... and then too stupidly arrogant to realize that passing unconstitutional bills of attainder are no substitute for due diligence. We have insulted our strongest allies, left important friends who trusted us at our word hanging by themselves, and kowtowed to our sworn enemies, earning not peace but a dangerous lack of respect that will foment more trouble around the world. But give the Obama Administration credit for one thing: we did all of this in 60 days! Yep... we made history alright, and let's pray that it's the history we wanted instead of the second coming of Jimmy Carter, or worse.

    We needed the best and brightest, but instead we elected the glib and facile, the popular kids in high school who got all the dates but ended up working where they could use their connections rather than innate ability to go farther... and we are going to pay for it.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    The Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives: It's Not What You Think...

    So, I've been playing with watching streaming video over the Internet on my TV, through my XBox, and found a program called PlayOn. Playon lets you set up a PC to receive video streams from a variety of sources, including Amazon Video-On-Demand, Netflix, and YouTube. It's pretty easy to install, costs $35, and mostly works well (there are a few glitches but the PlayOn folks release updates often and the software has improved even in the past month or so that I've been using it).

    One of the YouTube channels I've subscribed to has been TEDtalksDirector, the video stream for the various TED presentations available. TED, which stands for 'Technology, Entertainment, Design' is a yearly conference series that brings together movers and shakers from a variety of different areas including high tech, education, politics, business, and entertainment. The conferences offer a multitude of presentations on a variety of subjects, from how the world began to the use of rock chords in progressive jazz... in other words, a very eclectic mix. Although some of the presentations are controversial, and others are just fluff, the occasional nugget of gold can be found.

    I'm embedding a TED Talk entitled "The Real Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives" by Jonathan Haidt. I just watched this, and at the beginning I was thinking yet another biased presentation, yet by the end my opinion switched to thinking that this was perhaps the best TED Talk I've seen yet.

    Here it is. Please watch it and then feel free to leave a comment on what you thought.

    As for me, it made me think about the various discussions I've had with my liberal friends... and the political combat that seems to be growing even harsher with every passing year regardless of who wins the White House or Congress.