Friday, August 11, 2006

Buyer Beware!

I'm sitting around tonight answering e-mails from the show; this week's episode looked at home invasions, with longtime LEO, world-class trainer, co-creator of the Steel Challenge and original Southwest Pistol League Combat Master Mike Dalton (his book is LIFE WITHOUT FEAR; read it) leading us through it.

With one exception, the e-mail has been adulatory...Mike's a star!

Of course, I want to mention the exception. The e-mail was from a person who by his/her own admission saw only the last few minutes of the show, where we showed how to "work" a real live house after explaining in great detail that YOU WILL IN ALL PROBABILITY LOSE and that it should only be attempted in the direst of circumstances, ie, you can't find one of your kids. I mean, I can tell you all day that if you can't find your kid you should still hole up and wait for the cops, but that's not going to happen, is it?

Here's the e-mail:
Just caught the tail end of an episode where you go over what to do during a home invasion.

You are going to get people killed.

I teach the concealed handgun classes here in [XXXX], and had my early training from [THE MILITARY].

The way to survive a deadly force situation is to take every advantage you can, and give none in return. If you try to apprehend an individual who has entered your home under the scenario you describe on your show, and that person happens to be armed, homeowners are going to die as a result of your "expert opinions."

The homeowner, while he's busy wondering if he can use deadly force, he could end up dead.

You shoot the bastard first, thus making it impossible for him to initiate an attack against you. Then you deal with the legal aspects later. At least, you are alive.

Be assured I won't go out of my way to watch your show again.
Well, aside from the fact that he missed the entire point of the show — heck, he missed most of the show! — there's a point here I want to make.

ANYBODY can be an instructor, and it's on you as the consumer of that instruction to pick and choose. When my Sweetie was ready to get her CCW, she had to attend an NRA Personal Protection Class given in the area. I haven't taken the PPC in ages, so I decided to sign up and take the class with her.

The instructor in that class was also happened to be a former military guy, and he started the class with the words, "I can kill you with a gun, with a knife, with an arrow and with my bare hands, with a pencil...I am a dangerous man."

Well, that goes against Michael's Universal Law of Dangerous People, to wit, any person who has to tell you he or she is dangerous isn't. If that person tells you he or she is dangerous 3 or more times, Alf the Wonder Beagle can take 'em. I have been priveleged to spend time with real modern day warriors, and not a single one of them — man or woman — has ever explained to me that he or she was a natural born killah!

After about an hour of that crap — I stopped counting at 6 "dangerous man" declarations; lucky Alf wasn't with us — I told my Sweetie to do what she had to do to pass the class, but to ignore everything this blowhard moron had to say, lest he get her killed or jailed.

While I personally think KILL 'EM ALL; LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT (or, to use the correct religious terminology from the Crusades, "Slay them all and the Good Lord will know his own") is okay as a retro-70s bumpersticker, it is perhaps not the best strategy in complex times.

Suggesting you should just kill someone first, then "deal with the legal aspects later," is an excellent way to become Bubba-the-Lifer's live-in "girlfriend." No, let's not make it a's damned irresponsible. The use of deadly force is a huge responsibility — not just legally, but ethically and, for lack of a better word, spiritually. Those bullets you loose are on you, forever. The consequences of those bullets are also on you, forever. And if you kill somebody in a sutuation that the police and courts decide DID NOT warrant deadly force, you are likely going to spend the rest of your life paying for those pesky "legal aspects."

I worry that with the huge glut of "instructors" in the market are offering strategies and tactics drawn from either military or police training, which are not appropriate in a civilian context. As my dear friend Denny Chalker says, the ideal way to "clear a room" is a grenade; it is, however, impractical for home defense scenarios.

I close a lot of SHOOTING GALLERY episodes by urging you all to get training. Well, I need to add that you need to get good training from the right people I will personally stand behind any and every trainer or shooting school we present on SHOOTING GALLERY, but don't just take my word for it. Talk to other students; get on the Internet and see what other people say about the at least as much research as you'd do on some hottie from MySpace you're hoping to ask out! This is your life we're talking about here!

And if anybody tells you not to worry about those deadly force criteria and you can deal with the legal stuff later, don't walk — RUN! — in the other direction! You're in the presence of!


Anonymous said...

Well said, Micahel.

Anonymous said...

Too often, I hear people say "better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6." I always felt that this is equilivent to saying "Shoot first and ask questions later." When I was in the army, I heard soldiers say it. When I was a cop, I heard cops say it. Now, I hear too many gun owners saying it.

I hope you don't mind that I posted this link on my RI hun forum.

Not Available said...

Correct me if I'm wrong. The intruder in the episode was not armed and reacted to the commands to go down on the floor quickley.

The home owner's life was not threatened, thus you "shouldn't" shoot the guy.

Had the intruder been armed, I expect Michael would have put 3 or 4 rounds into him.

Anonymous said...

I just watched a lot of action movies including several with Steven Segal and I can safely say I consider myself a dangerous man based on what I learned from those movies. I am offering "Become a Dangerous Man" classes limited to men only. You must only wear tactcial gear in my class as anything else would mean you're not serious about learning. The course will cost $350 a day. To sign up for a course go to or call toll free 1-800-4-DAN-GER xMAN. Tactical operators trained in the deadly arts are standing by.

Danger Man
-personal threat level ellivated to PINK (one level above RED)


I caught ha'f the show on monday, and I got where you were going with it, shoot you wrapped the with buy an hour with a lawyer.

There always are going to be those that want to hear what they want, unfortunately.

People that don't listen, or there situational awareness is lacking may be SHOULD re-evaluate wheither or not they should carry or have a weapon for home defense

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should tape 2 or more shows on the subject. One for states where you can be jailed for shooting an intruder and one for the other states, like Texas, where retreat and concern for the intruder are not written into law. I agree that shooting someone may cause you damage to your "spirituality". FAILING to shoot someone because you are weighing the possible future legal costs can cost you your LIFE and then you won't be around to worry.

One thing I did not hear on the show was in the aftermath of a shooting the primary thing to remember was to SHUT THE HELL UP and call a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

"FAILING to shoot someone because you are weighing the possible future legal costs can cost you your LIFE and then you won't be around to worry."

And failing to call the cops and retreat to a safe position and instead just shooting it out because it "can cost your LIFE" could get you into prison and repeated ass-raped by your cell mate. But hey, you have your life and that's really all that matters. So what if you're a pin cushion for the big boys on the cell block. They probably like to talk about 2A rights and home defense just as much as you do. Just don't think them impolite if they are talking to the back of your head.

Anonymous said...

There are no "dangerous" men. There are only live men and dead men with fifty cents worth of ammo the only difference between the two.

Sigivald said...

Jim (just Jim, that is): I'm sure people use that saying in unsupportable ways, but there are times when it's absolutely true.

In a very restrictive jurisdiction, one may well get tried (and even convicted) if one shoots someone (in a case that is both moral, and would be legal in another jurisdiction).

However, if the alternative is them killing you, well, that's certainly not an improvement, is it?

(Nor is it if the "Carried by 6" refers to your immediate family rather than yourself. This also ignores the question of avoiding getting to that point, which is always preferable, but not always possible.)

The quote, read strictly - as it should be - reminds us that life is more important than blind respect for the law.

(If we also remember that the legal and the right are not synonymous, that helps. But this should never be taken as an injunction to ignore the rule of law at will, either.

Nobody said this sort of thing was easy.)

Anonymous said...

If I see something at the end of a show that seems wrong, I will try to see a repeat from the beginning before spouting off uninformed.

Sending you a nasty letter over the last part of the show is like shooting someone dead without first finding out who he is and what he is doing (ok, not the same magnitude, but the same error on a smaller scale).

I wouldn't want to be trained in defensive handgun use by such a person.

For the protection and well being of everyone in that area, you should publish the name of that so-called "expert" so people will consider going somewhere else.