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.

TacCon 2018 AAR

TacCon 2018 AAR

I’m still trying to sort out all that happened… did I *really* get four hours of DA/SA instruction from Ernest Langdon? Did I *really* get the skinny on tactical trauma care from Lone Star Medics? Did I *actually* get to listen to Karl Rehn hold forth on the history of handgun training? Did Lee Weems lay out some drills on staying sharp and reacting to threats while we’re less-than-attentitive? Did I, in fact, get to meet a bunch of cool people from all over the country and train with them and break bread with them?

I must have, because that’s what these pictures say I did.

A few thoughts…

Ernie Langdon‘s Double Action course was *amazing*. Not only did he correct some basic flaws in my grip and stance, he taught me more about how to pull the trigger correctly since I took a class with Rob Leatham.

One of the nice things about Chuck‘s class was that he had us shoot the Georgia Backup Weapons Atlanta PD Secondary Weapons Qualifier, giving me yet another chance to establish my credibility in the courtroom. The stuff he taught adapted the techniques that we know work with a bigger gun and plopped them down onto the pocket rockets, with great success. Really want to take more pocket-gun classes now.

Karl Rehn spoke for two hours on how handgun training has evolved in the past 100 years, and it was interesting to see how much influence Jelly Bryce had on things (and probably not for the better). In Jelly’s defense, the sights on the guns of the 20’s and 30’s were at best marginal (and at worst, non-existent) so yeah, point shooting did make some sense.

Caleb Causey‘s medical class was a hoot. He can make the gruesome topic of dealing with blowed-up people and loose body parts a lot of fun, and it made us really WANT to listen to what he had to say.

I shot a 199 out of a possible 200 on the course of fire for the shooting match, and right now, I will take that walking away. Gabe White won the match, and Chris from Lucky Gunner has some slo-mo video of the winning relay that is just INCREDIBLE to watch. Gabe’s draw and presentation were absolutely flawless, and I hope Chris publishes it someplace where it can be linked to because it shows an absolutely textbook draw from AIWB. Update: Chris’s video is here. Skip to 1:10 if you want to see how to draw from AIWB.

TacCon left me with a LOT to work on, especially grip and trigger techniques from Ernie’s class, and based on what I learned in Caleb’s class. I’m also going thru and updating my trauma kits and replacing the SWAT-T tourniquets that are in there now with SOFT-T tourniquets.

All in all, it was the most intensive training experience I’ve had in my life, and yes, I want to go back.

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.

Where Is Your 2nd Amendment God Now?

Where Is Your 2nd Amendment God Now?

I come down on the “pro life” side of the abortion issue*. I realize that is a shocking revelation to you all, knowing that a) I lean conservative and b) I’ve been pretty open about my faith here. However, I hope you’ll overcome your surprise and bear with me here for a sec.. this isn’t going to be a post on the merits/problems of abortion, it’s a post on how the two sides talk (or rather, don’t talk) to each other.

One thing that annoys me is how we Christians prepare ourselves to talk about this issue: We load up on Bible verses which defend our point of view and then are shocked, SHOCKED that they’re not a persuasive argument in the debate with people on the other side of this issue from us who don’t believe in God. Bible verses supporting the pro-life side work GREAT with us evangelicals, but they’re not that useful when debating abortion with an atheist.

Similarly, we gun owners can say “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!” and wrap ourselves around the Constitution, but if we’re debating gun rights with someone who thinks the Constitution is an outdated, antiquated document that has little to no importance to today’s world, those arguments are pretty much useless.

We need to develop good arguments for gun ownership that are based on the principles of the Second Amendment, but don’t quote it directly. People are scared, and they’re scared of what guns can do in the wrong hands. This is a very real and very healthy fear… heck, I have that same fear. Rather than relying on some politician to pass a law that will make the scary things go away (good luck with that…), I chose to do something about it by doing what it takes to not be a victim of violence.

Everyone wants to FEEL safe, the question is, what are you willing to do in order to BE safe? Not someone else’s doing, not a legislator, not gun owners, not the NRA… you. You are, and always will be, your own first responder.

Deal with it.


* Don’t even bother arguing abortion in the comments: I’ll delete your comment right away, because that’s how I roll.

Promote School Safety And Win A Rifle. What’s Not To Love?

Promote School Safety and Win A Rifle. What’s Not To Love?

After Parkdale, there has been a lot of proposals floated around about how to stop school shootings. Some of them good, some of them flat-out unconstitutional and wrong.

One thing that might actually work, though, is if teachers were empowered to deal with the effects of a mass shooter right away, rather than wait for the police to secure the scene and THEN wait for the EMTs to roll up.

Which is why this initiative to train the teachers of Collier County Schools in trauma care and first aid and equip them with the gear they need to accomplish this goal is so cool. For just $5, you get a raffle ticket for over $2300 in cool stuff, and your money goes to help provide gear that will save lives.

What Would Billy Graham Shoot?

What Would Billy Graham Shoot?

As threatened yesterday, I have a few thoughts on this rather provocative article from Bitter Sebastian over at Snowflakes In Hell PA Gun Blog.

I spent some time overseas as a missionary, and even though Christians are given a direct commandment to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”, very few of us get off our @sses and do something about it.

Is it tough being a grassroots organizer for the NRA? Yep. It’s tough being a missionary, too. Very few people who serve in the field see ANY fruits from their labor, but yet we still go.

Why? Because while there’s a very slim chance we’ll see any success if we go to the mission field, there is a 100% chance we will have no success if we DON’T go.

There’s a step that’s missing there: Getting the grassroots to write their local congresscritter is good, but taking someone shooting is better, because that is how we win. To the best of my knowledge, the NRA has never put out any materials on how to get your friends and neighbors out the range, and that has to change. We need more than just advocates for political action, we need advocates for everything about the shooting sports, from hunting to plinking to whatever. Getting more people into shooting will, by its very nature, get more people into political advocacy for guns.

Where do “Come to Jesus” moments happen? In church. Where do anti-guns find out how much fun it is to shoot? On the range. The NRA (and the NSSF too) need to do a better job encouraging their members to go shooting with a friend, because once people go shooting and find out that guns are fun, we win.

Simple as that.

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition.

Flash Site Pictures – Monday Edition.

Links. It’s what you do instead of content.

10 Reasons Why You Want To Shoot Practical Pistol.

.22 Rifles Are A Lot Deadlier Than You Think.

Get Back To The Grass Roots (more on this tomorrow).

Top Firearms Experts (and me) Talk About What Americans Don’t Know About Gun Control

I kinda like this idea… it says right on the 4473 that improperly filling it out is bad juju, so why not let the cops know someone’s trying to skirt the law?

Get Back Into The Fight

Get Back Into The Fight

It’s no coincidence that Americans attitudes of guns changed for the better while Top Shot, Duck Dynasty and other gun-related shows were on the air. Those programs showed gun ownership as safe, fun and above all, normal.

Gun owners know how to fight and occasionally win political battles. Where we suck and are losing is fighting cultural battles, and no, putting on yet another country music show is NOT going to move the needle in our favor. We need to find allies to our cause, not create an echo chamber. The NRA is useful for keeping the faithful inline and celebrating gun culture, but because of the negative press it’s getting right now, it is a toxic brand outside of the world of gun owners.

There’s a few easy wins we can pick up here: The tagline of this blog is “Guns are the new Harley Davidson,” so reaching out to motorcycle riders and tying the freedom of the open road to the empowerment of safe gun ownership is an obvious win. Another quick win that seems obvious to me is using the trust icon of the military to promote competitive shooting to video game players, which would be a win-win for the military’s recruiting efforts and practical shooting.

Duh.