Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Some Assembly Required...

I was hoping to get to this assembly today. Shouldn't take any time, but...

Up to my neck in the Mass Casualty Event preplanning...you'll notice we don't even have a title for the thing, but we will be filming it in Loveland, CO Saturday, 26 March. We need extras, so here's your chance to die horribly! I mean, really...how can you pass something like this up? Details will be up on DRTV later this week.

This is my favorite story of the week:
Peaceful memorial rally in Ann Arbor honors lives of 63 deer killed
ANN ARBOR, MI — Four dozen peace activists gathered Saturday afternoon in downtown Ann Arbor for a memorial rally honoring the lives of 63 deer recently killed by hired sharpshooters in the city's parks and nature areas. 
The mood was somber, and hearts heavy. 
"Deer lives matter, and all lives matter." 
"When we kill the deer, we kill ourselves." 
They strung together and hung 63 prayer flags along Fifth Avenue, each one depicting a set of hoof prints and representing a deer killed. They also left flowers and candles around a deer-shaped topiary, transforming it into a memorial site.
Riddle me this, Batman…I wonder how many of the mourners capped off their solemn ceremony with a Big Mac from Micky-D's? Cow lives matter, too.

Anyhow, I was so deeply moved this story that I decided to create my own deer memorial. Since I totally suck at topiary, I decided to build it as soon as I get the NZ horns back from Jonas Brothers. I plan to hang my deer shrine over my desk…om mani padme hum!

My friend Grant Cunningham did a really good, really well-thought-out article on training that I don't totally agree with:
Back in the 1980s, famed shooting instructor Jeff Cooper proposed what he called the “Combat Triad”: a very military-inspired trio combining marksmanship, gun handling and what he termed the “combat mindset”. He wrote and taught extensively about those topics, and while they’re interesting from a historical perspective I don’t think they’re really appropriate for the task of self defense in the private sector. I believe that those of us who aren’t former Marines, as Cooper was, and who don’t actually live on a shooting range (as Cooper did) need to consider a different trio — the Defensive Shooting Triad.
Grant suggest that the Defensive Shooting Triad should be Resolve, Legal Knowledge and Defensive Shooting Skills.

Grant is easily among the top trainers in the world and certainly a foremost thinker on self-defense issues. I guess my unease with Grant's thoughts come after a month of being immersed in research and interviews for TBD's one-hour special later this summer on a "mass casualty event," a small-scale terrorist attack in the Heartland. Think San Bernardino, but with more competence. We've gone through videos, analyses of events, debriefs and, most importantly, interviews with first responders, civilian, police and military trainers who focus specifically on these events, psychologists, trauma specialist physicians, etc. All of us at TBD are committed to creating a teaching sim that looks into some dark corners that most people, including trainers, shy away from.

I think I can sum it up in saying all training is a series of compromises. Indeed, as Grant has noted, we don't have the time, the resources, the money, the background or in most cases even the ability to turn ourselves into faux military warriors. When we look at our own training, it serves us well to understand the nature of the treat we face and to train accordingly (I'm stealing this wholesale from Dr. William Aprill, by the way...credit there credit is due). It makes sense that the majority of our training is focused what I might term the known threat — muggings, street fight type-events, for women rape, carjackings, home invasions — those threat that we are most likely to encounter in the Real World.

However, neglecting the unknown threats, what Ellifritz and Aprill refer to as the unthinkable, we risk finding ourselves behind a very dangerous curve. The unthinkable is the province of Cooper's Combat Triad — marksmanship, gun-handling and a combat mindset. It's no secret that my background is GUNSITE/Cooper oriented, that I knew and respected the Colonel, with whom I had more than one argument, BTW. But when we step into the realm of the active shooter or terrorist, we are no longer talking about defensive shooting per se. Reread Cooper's Principles of Personal Defense, and study Principle 6, Ruthlessness, and Principle 7, Surprise.

As I have said before, I absolutely agree that you are more likely to get struck by lightning or win the lottery jackpot than be caught in a mass casualty event. And yet I know a people who who have been struck by lightning and many more win a lottery jackpot every week. Low probability does not mean no possibility. The danger is that the paradigm created by focusing solely on the post likely threats will serve you poorly when you step into the unthinkable. There are cases where armed citizens verbally challenged active shooters...command voice verbal challenges are an important aspect of the self-defense training paradigm. It doesn't, and didn't, work in the face of an active shooter.

In the face of the unthinkable, you need a skill set that is markedly different from the self-defense paradigm. And please, I am not saying "either/or" here! Do not take this as a whole invitation to learn how to run a machine-gun while rappelling from a helicopter! If you haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's article on school shooters. Threshold of Violence, from The New Yorker last year, you should. Once again, I'm not in 100% agreement, but I think there's something to Gladwell's thesis that the threshold of violence for whatever reason has been lowered, and I would argue that the lowered threshold apples to more than just school shootings.

Obviously the majority of your training is on the known threat, and Grant nails it. But a portion of your training needs to address the unknown threat.


_DonWorsham_ said...

You must be willing to engage. You must be willing to kill. Having a little marksmanship skill doesn't hurt. If you are going to carry a gun know how to shoot it.

Anonymous said...

I respect Grant G., but when I read "Grant suggest that the Defensive Shooting Triad should be Resolve, Legal Knowledge and Defensive Shooting Skills," all I can think is: Jesus wept.

It's de rigueur these days to bash Cooper. While some of his ballistics might be behind the times, he was much more, he was a philosopher and historian and brought a scholarly mind to the application of arms.

No doubt legal knowledge is good to have, but that is the fight after the fight.

We see this sort of thing with all great people, the demise of their status in the common mind after their passing, but it's more a sad commentary on the human condition than on those past.

David said...

Isn't it interesting to note how many times civilians successfully defend themselves with firearms every year? Studies estimate somewhere between 1 million and 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year...but how many of those had any training whatsoever beyond their concealed carry class? I'd be willing to bet that it's somewhere in the tenths to one-hundredths of a percent range. And though we do see some striking examples of unlawful and ill-advised "defensive" gun use that get the defender prosecuted, what do you suppose that percentage is in comparison to total defensive uses? Bet it's similarly low.

I'm not advocating ignorance of the law, or eschewing training. I teach firearms myself, and I train as often as I can. I've been to Gunsite a couple of times. I am no Navy SEAL, but I do OK. But it seems statistically that the vast, vast majority of people do just fine without ever going to Gunsite.

For the record, I think Cooper's Combat Triad is a fine model to guide a person's training, and being better trained will always be...well, better. But Thomas Sowell says that economics is the study of the use of scarce resources, and none of us have unlimited resources for training. So deciding how best to use the scarce time, money, equipment, and ammo is an economic decision we all have to make.

Jerry from pcola said...

Speaking of ---
On this date in 1977 12 Muslims took over
Three buildings in Washington DC and held a bunch
Of hostages for 39 hours!,

Anonymous said...

I read and re-read Grant Cunningham's dissertation. I also went back and read Jeff Cooper's, even though I am familiar with his "philosophies". For Grant to label Cooper's work as "fabled", is an insult to Jeff Cooper and to most others. He's entitled to his theory, but to diminish his own argument by somehow saying that his own work is the "definitive" edition is ludicrous and it makes him look awfully small.

In reality, they are both right in nearly all respects. Grant's postulate is evolutionary in that it has adjustments made to reflect this day and time. Cooper's however, is timeless. Grant's may also grow to be such.

Our motto should be "Theory and Practice", as is the motto of my alma mater. As a Boy Scout, "Be Prepared" should be our other motto.

You can't know nor practice too much.

Life Member

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