The Safety Fallacy

The Safety Fallacy

I’ll be honest: When John and Melody talked about how there is really no such thing as “safe” firearms training, I had some issues with what they were talking about. Not safe? What do you mean? Of course firearms training is safe! If it wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t do it!

However, as I was writing this post, I realized that the list of activities I enjoy which start with a five minute medical briefing are firearms training classes, and that’s about it. This got me thinking that yeah, maybe there is no such thing as “safe” firearms training.

And no, that doesn’t give us license to go full Pulkasis and send people downrange while we’re shooting.

An example:

In a skydive, even in a tandem jump, if I don’t do some essential things correctly like stance and exit position, I’m potentially in a world of hurt and may even die. Jumping out of a plane is inherently an unsafe action, (duh), so whether or not I get hurt while doing so up to me, my gear, my training, my instructor’s guidelines and the decisions I have made. For me, though, the risk is worth the reward (Memo to self: Go jump again, and soon.).

Shooting a gun at something is also inherently an unsafe action: A large, potentially life-threatening hole is going to appear in SOMETHING when you pull the trigger on a loaded gun. Where and when that hole appears is (literally) in your hands. Therefore, shooting a gun is not safe, it is the actions of the the shooter that determine whether it’s a positive experience or not. I can mitigate the risks, but I cannot eliminate them completely.

Is firearms training safe? No.

But it doesn’t mean it needs to be dangerous, either.

Deadly Serious.

Deadly Serious.

Tam talks about the importance of a medical/safety briefing before the start of a firearms class. To be honest, I’m to the point now that if a class doesn’t start with a medical brief, I seriously consider leaving right then and there, because it’s a good test of whether the instructor takes what’s about to happen seriously or not.  If they’re serious, they take safety seriously, and that means a safety AND medical briefing, including dumb stupid stuff that we’ve all heard before like the four rules. This is a great idea, if for no other reason that when someone pops a cap in their ass, the instructor can testify that yes, he/she DID do a safety briefing and YES, keeping finger off trigger why reholstering WAS covered, so as you can see, Your Honor, the plaintiff’s claim that he was not advised that such actions are stupid is clearly full of crap.

I digress.

The best med briefings I’ve witnessed go something like “The medkit is over there. It has these type of tourniquets, a chest seal, and other stuff. The backup med kit is over there. This dood makes the phone call, and if they can’t do it, this dood does. The address and GPS coordinates are written down over there. This dood is the primary care giver, this dood is secondary. This dood (usually somebody with a pickup) is primary transport, this dood is secondary. This dood is to go to the entrance to the range and wave in the ambulance, this dood is to go to the entrance to the bay and do the same. If you’re not one of the people I just mentioned, get out of the way and let things happen. If we need help, we’ll ask for it. Got it? Ok, let’s begin.”

Easy, simple and gives everybody a job to do.

The Smoking Gun.

The Smoking Gun.

The problem with using the anti-smoking model against gun owners is that the societal benefits of smoking are pretty much zero, but the societal benefits of legal gun ownership are pretty easy to find.

Whenever a honest citizen defends their life with a firearm, there’s a benefit to society. Whenever an armed policeman shows up and saves the lives of high school students, it’s a benefit to society. Whenever an NRA instructor with an AR-15 stops someone from shooting up a church, it’s a benefit to society. When a hunter harvests game and helps out with balancing the environment, it’s a benefit to society.

We are civilization and we’re winning. Let’s fight for more civilization, in a polite and civilized way.

Schwerpunkt Is Playing At My House.

Schwerpunkt is Playing At My House.

I’ll show the ropes kid, show you the ropes.

We need allies. So who should we reach out to? Everybody. Reach out to anyone even remotely related to guns and personal freedom. Vapers and Harley owners. Martial arts studios. Civic groups. Localvores who dig the idea of harvesting free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic-free meat.

Which is best? All of the above, and more. We need to press the home attack on our rights on all fronts, and then, when we find a tactic that works, we beat it like a rented mule.

This is basic von Clauswitz: You attack the entire front, and when you find a weakness, you turn it into the schwerpunkt and make the entire battle about that one spot. What tactic is going to win the war on guns? We don’t don’t know yet. What’s guaranteed NOT to win, though, is not fighting at all.

The Art Of The Compromise

The Art Of The Compromise

“Madam, we’ve already established who you are. Now we’re just haggling over price.”Anon

Let’s start with the obvious: We make compromises in how we chose to defend ourselves. A “no compromise” approach to personal defense would have us carrying around an M4gery, wearing a plate carrier and looking like this guy.

So we compromise. We don’t wear body armor and chest rigs. We carry Glock 19s and M&P Compacts in concealed holsters rather than open-carrying AR-15’s.  We don’t carry an IFAK, we carry a tourniquet and some Quikclot. We do this sort of thing because we know that, over the long haul, it’s better for us to make these compromises and fit in with the rest of society than it is for us to walk around with a rifle at low ready, acting like a freak.

As a result, when talk about carrying a .380 auto pistol in our pocket versus carrying a compact 9mm on our waist, we are talking about degrees of compromise. The compromise happened when we decided to carry a pistol, not a rifle: Anything else is just moving the needle in one direction or another.

This is why I don’t feel particularly out-gunned when I carry my LCP2, and I don’t feel unprepared when I carry around my ready-to-go improvised trauma kit rather than a flat-packed SOF-T Wide tourniquet. I’ve trained with the LCP2, I know its limitations and I know I can have it with me (and more…) pretty much anywhere it’s legal to carry a gun.

Is that gear a compromise? Yes.

Is it ineffective? No, and that’s all that matters.

Biasing Towards The Normal.

Biasing Towards The Normal.

I was chatting back and forth via email with Michael Bane this week about the shellacking we’ve taken in pop culture as of late, and he pointed out that both sides are using tried and true social manipulation strategies: They’re using the anti-smoking model to “brainwash” people into believing that guns are bad and evil, and we’re using a gay rights model to expand what is considered “normal” in polite society.

An anecdote…

Back when I was a photog, I worked with an art director named Jim who was a former NYC firefighter. He was unpretentious, laid back and easy to work with. He liked golf, had a great creative eye, was into indie music, and we got along famously.

And then we threw a Christmas party at the studio, and Jim brought his boyfriend.

Jim did more to change my mind about homosexuality’s place in our society than 10,000 people in ass-less chaps marching through the Castro District shouting “WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER, AND WE’RE NOT GOING AWAY!!!” ever could. It wasn’t a freak show of loud and proud activists that changed my mind: My mind was changed by someone who looked like me and acted like me and was like me in every way, except with who he chose to snuggle up with at night.

What will change America’s attitude on guns: Open carry marches and rants about “Freedom’s clenched fist,” or taking your friends, family and co-workers out to a shooting range?

Some people are activists to make themselves feel good. Some do it to change the world.

Take someone shooting. The world you change may be your own.

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition

I’m still recovering from the double whammy of TacCon and a 1:30am arrival time. I’ll have my after-action report on TacCon tomorrow.

Three Top Trainers Talk About Why YOU need firearms training.

The Pro-Gun Side Is Talking About Guns Wrong. Duh.

What Happens When Gun Owners Become Shunned.

NPR Figures Out That No, School Shootings AREN’T On The Rise.

The Right Needs To Learn From Parkland.

Why I Didn’t Join My School’s Anti-Gun Walkout.

The Otherization of Gun Owners. We need to fight this by showing that gun ownership is NORMAL inside the U.S. More of this sort of stuff, NRA. This is what works.