Saturday, October 22, 2016

Self Defense

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stop a mugging

With all the talk right now on gun control, it is important to keep the public aware of the right ways to handle a threatening situation.

What do you do if an armed robber wants all your stuff?

In this video, an off duty police officer is robbed at gunpoint in a crowded area, but manages to take down the criminal and nobody else got hurt.

This video is graphic and does show a criminal getting shot, but it also shows the right way to draw a gun and handle a dangerous situation.

When watching this video, it reminds us why it is so important for the good guys to carry guns too.

If we ban guns then only the police and bad guys will carry and the rest of us will be helpless little victims. Sometimes the police can’t help and you need to take matters in your own hands.

The next time someone tells you that we don’t need guns in America, send him or her to this article and have them watch this video. The good guys need guns too.

Do you carry a gun on you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Lawful concealed carry and religion intersected in the news recently as Mississippi considered a law to “allow” churches to form church security committees for the protection of the congregation and, with training, for security committee members to carry concealed guns. Previous Mississippi law prohibited concealed carry in a church. The reaction was swift and shrill, with predictions of blood in the aisles. The experience of other states speaks otherwise. Congratulations to Mississippi for expanding liberty.

Laws banning guns from houses of worship violate the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits Congress (and through incorporation via the 14th Amendment, state legislatures) from making any law regarding the establishment or free exercise of religion. The “Establishment Clause,” as it has come to be known, has been liberally interpreted to forbid any sort of favoritism for one religious doctrine over another. Prohibiting the bearing of arms in houses of worship supports a doctrine of pacifism over doctrines of preparedness and righteous defense of innocent life.

Constitutional issues aside, carrying a gun at church raises important questions, both doctrinal and practical. At the highest level, it’s worth pointing out that very few religions preach total pacifism or passivity in the face of a threat. No matter what denomination or creed, doctrinal questions should be worked out between individuals, church leadership and God. Having the doctrine settled at the outset will help establish boundaries and can help dictate actions in the event of an incident. Having those questions settled beforehand will make for a more effective response.

The practical matters of guns in churches are significant. Many people have a strong visceral reaction to the idea of someone carrying a gun in a house of worship. Carrying a gun also brings with it a responsibility to maintain a heightened level of awareness and preparedness. That level of awareness can easily conflict with the desire to be totally immersed in spiritual communion. This is a personal matter, but it needs consideration. In contrast, a person who is routinely armed may find that being disarmed can also interfere with one’s worship. Someone who is more comfortable being armed may be uncomfortable and somewhat distracted if forced to go without it, especially in a place with little security and large crowds.

There is also the issue of interfering with the worship of others. Right or wrong, justified or not, many people are simply uncomfortable around guns. If they become aware that someone in the worship service is armed, it could distract them from their worship. Not being sensitive to these folks’ feelings would be inconsiderate and could be a violation of scriptural guidance. The apostle Paul exhorts Christians to avoid things which might cause a brother to stumble, but of course, that can be a difficult proposition when dealing with people with irrational fears.

In this age of the “War on Terror” and a rash of deranged and suicidal individuals taking out their rage on “soft targets” like churches, schools and shopping malls, the idea of going armed has been steadily gaining ground. It once seemed strange for a church, mosque, or synagogue to even have a security plan, much less armed security guards. It is now unusual for houses of worship not to have a plan, and armed, though usually discreet, security is common.

Anyone attending a worship service in states with a strong “gun culture” can pretty safely assume that there are people in the service who are armed. Some are armed at the behest, or at least with the knowledge and agreement of their elders, pastors, or rabbis. Others keep their arms totally discreet, not divulging their presence to anyone. In states like Arizona, which has a long tradition of open carry of firearms, it is not unheard of for someone to show up for church with a gun visible on his hip. Since Arizona lifted requirements for a license or permit to carry a firearms concealed, the typical response to someone carrying openly would be to ask if he would mind pulling his shirt over the gun so as not to disturb any of the other worshipers, but it would be very unlikely for the person to be turned away.

To some people, especially people in highly restrictive states in the Northeast, this might sound shocking, but to gun-folks in the South, West and Midwest, it’s just everyday life. We are generally comfortable with firearms and the people who carry them. More importantly, we understand that laws, signs, or polite requests not to bring a gun somewhere, whether it be a house of worship or a convenience store, will deter only people who represent no threat. Without secured entrances, metal detectors and bag-checks, anyone choosing to ignore the law or the sign on the door will simply do so. If they have evil intentions, they know that the law or the sign simply reduces the likelihood that they might meet any armed resistance to their plans.

Most religions recognize the sanctity of life and condone the use of deadly force in defense of the innocent. Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples have been targeted throughout history by cowards seeking easy targets. Such attacks have occurred here in the United States from the days before the Revolution right up to the present, and some of those attacks have been stopped by armed worshipers. Whether it is a Jew with the words “Never Again!” engraved on the slide of a German Luger, a Sikh remembering the attack in Wisconsin, a Muslim worried about being blamed for terrorist acts committed in the name of his religion, or a Christian volunteering to guard the flock from whatever may come, we should all consider ourselves blessed to live in a country where the right to arms is recognized and protected, and where there are people willing and able to stand against evil, even in our sacred places.

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Concealed Carry

The weather is warming and it’s time to switch to summer methods of concealed carry.

For some, it’s not a big deal. You may carry the same way all year long. For others, the shorts and T-shirts are coming out, and concealment will become more of a challenge.

Here are some methods of warm weather concealed carry. These could be helpful if you dress to stay cool but still want to stay armed.

1. Wear lose clothing. It’s been years since my children informed me that “you don’t tuck your shirt in, Dad.” Far be it from me to question the wisdom of teenagers and current style. By wearing loose fitting, baggy clothes, concealed carry becomes both simple and stylish. Oversized T-shirts, Polo, and Oxford style shirts drape effortlessly over your firearm of choice.

2. Switch to inside the waistband (IWB). Inside the waistband is my preferred method of carry, so for me there is no change. However, many friends of mine carry outside the waistband (OWB). Simply switching from OWB to IWB is often all it takes, without even downsizing the gun.

3. Carry a smaller firearm. I can hear some people cringing as I write this. But it’s better to discreetly carry a smaller firearm than not to carry at all. If you can’t wear your standard concealed carry firearm because of summer dress, don’t resort to wearing a jacket in 90 degree heat. Just downsize.

With today’s .380 and 9mm calibers, light polymer or alloy frames, small pistols and revolvers made specifically for carry, more choices are available than ever before. In addition, today’s self defense ammo is of much higher quality than ever before.

Remember, practice, practice, practice, with an unloaded firearm first. No matter how good you are with your primary firearm, your warm weather secondary firearm requires a totally different presentation and aim.

4. Try pocket carry. A gun in the pocket can be every bit as lethal for self defense as your primary firearm. I constantly remind my students that there is “no such thing as a little .38.” As long as you pick a suitable firearm, with a functional pocket holster, you’re all set for whatever life throws at you.

Once again, practice, practice, practice. Pocket carry presents a greater challenge when it’s time to draw than holster carry.

One more thing. Reserve that pocket for your firearm only. There is nothing more embarrassing, or fatal, then drawing your cell phone in self defense.

5. Use a fanny pack. Yes, a fanny pack screams concealed carry geek. But sometimes, it’s your only option. Try it once and you might find it’s what you’ve been looking for. In tourist settings, you will blend right in. And in any setting, the only people likely to know you’re carrying are fellow concealed carry advocates.

6. Open carry. With the introduction of legal concealed carry in nearly every state, open carry is not my choice in most situations. However, some of my friends regularly chose to open carry. And for those times when concealed carry is not an option, open carry is a simple solution. Just be sure to use a holster with the appropriate level of retention for wherever you’ll be. Urban and suburban areas generally call for a higher level of retention than rural areas.

Of course, check the local laws first, because in some states open carry is forbidden. And even when open carry is legal, you should consider the reaction some people may have to seeing a gun and the possibility that you could have negative reactions from police.

7. Go for deep concealment. Your choices for deep concealment seem almost endless these days, including belly bands, appendix carry pouches, and bra holsters. Some of these methods require you to get past clothing used as cover, which makes drawing more difficult. But assuming you practice and feel comfortable that you can draw effectively in a high-stress situation, these are all additional options to consider.

Whether you change your method of carry for one day or the entire season, remember the importance of becoming familiar with your method of carry. Practice with an unloaded firearm and work out all the kinks in your draw stroke. It has to become second nature.

In a life-or-death situation, you won’t have time to think. You’ll have about 1.5 seconds and will have to depend on muscle memory to deploy your weapon properly.

A smaller firearm, for example, has a smaller grip and a shorter distance between the front and rear sight, making it more difficult to score accurate hits. Dry fire practice is essential. Remember, all it takes is a little time and effort to build muscle memory with your secondary firearm or alternate method of carry. You’re not starting from scratch. You’re simply building on your existing skills to create a new skill set with different equipment.

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The number one rule for winning a gunfight is to have a gun. But even if you do, you may be doing things wrong that put you at risk both physically and legally.

If you carry concealed, here are five mistakes you definitely want to avoid.

Warning Shots and Brandishing

We’ve warned you about this before. But it’s worth repeating, because this is more common than you think. And the idea probably comes from bad habits learned from TV.

Legal self defense is based on the idea that you face imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm. If you fire a warning shot to “scare off” someone, it is proof that you do not believe your life is actually being threatened. If you really think you’re about to die, you wouldn’t take the time to fire into the ground or into the air.

Same can be said about brandishing. If you unholster your gun BEFORE you believe you are facing imminent death or serious bodily harm, you are demonstrating that you have the time and presence of mind to “scare off” someone.

While it’s possible to make an argument for the use of either warning shots or brandishing, remember that in the eyes of the law, either can get you into deep trouble.

Pants Tuck and Naked Pocket Carry

Here are two more examples of things people do on TV that you should not do in real life.

How many times have you seen a character in your favorite cop show stick a gun into his waistband or drop a gun into a pocket? It looks cool. But it’s just stupid.

The only proper way to carry a handgun is to encase it in a holster that covers the trigger and trigger guard fully and prevents the gun from falling out when you walk or run. Failure to use a holster is a great way to shoot yourself. And if your gun “goes off” when you don’t expect it to, it’s an excellent way to initiate charges and law suits for any injury or property damage.

Naked pocket carry is just as bad. It may seem inconvenient to carry a gun in your pocket with a holster, but an uncovered trigger presents a serious risk while you’re carrying and when you extract the gun from your pocket.

There are holsters made exclusively for pocket carry, and you should use one if this is how you intend to carry your CCW pistol.

Rolling Your Eyes at Safety Rules

If you’ve owned and used guns your whole life, there’s a tendency to get a little too comfortable with them. And this is when accidents are likely to happen.

If you find yourself rolling your eyes right now, or if you’re muttering “Yeah, yeah, I know,” then YOU are the one who needs to slow down and refresh your memory on the basics of gun safety.

There are dozens of rules, but there are three that reign supreme:

Assume that every gun is loaded even if you “know” they are not.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Never point your gun at anything you do not want to destroy.

Playing the Hero

You’re a good person. You don’t like to turn away when you see something bad happening to someone. You probably ARE a hero in real life. But … be very, very careful about inserting yourself into a conflict.

You may want to stop an assault, prevent a robbery, break up a fight, or otherwise play the hero. And in some cases, it may be the right thing to do. However, it’s far too easy to misinterpret a situation or escalate the violence without good cause.

If you’re walking down the street and see one man beating savagely on another man, your instinct is to protect the man getting beaten. But what is actually going on? Did the attacker initiate the violence or is he responding to an attack and defending himself? Is the “attacker” an undercover cop? Is this a drug deal gone bad and will both parties attack you if you get involved?

There are too many unknowns. Maybe the best move is to call 911 and let the professionals sort it out.

In other situations, is it really worth it to insert a gun into the situation? If a store gets robbed, so what? Introducing lethal force to prevent a scumbag from stealing a few boxes of cigarettes is probably a bad idea.

Your number one reason to carry a gun is to protect yourself and your loved ones. Going beyond that, in many cases, is a serious and perhaps unnecessary risk.

Underestimating Your Attacker

Most people who carry concealed are responsible, level-headed folks. And examples of those who think they’re Rambo are pretty rare. But most people overestimate their self defense abilities and underestimate the abilities of an attacker.

Most people who are likely to attack you are pretty tough characters who have probably been in many fights in their lives. Even if they don’t have great fighting technique, they are likely to be far more comfortable with physical conflict that you are. And they have the advantage of surprise and aggression.

You should always plan for the worst case scenario, get practical self defense training, and be ready for absolutely everything to go wrong.

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An armed robber was shot and killed while trying to rob a corner store in Chicago on Halloween—thanks to the quick-thinking of a customer with a concealed carry permit.

The would-be thief, Reginald Gildersleeve, 55, was pronounced dead at 7:10pm.

According to police, Gildersleeve walked into the store at around 7pm, and pulled a handgun on the store’s female cashier.

He then demanded she go to the back of the store and give him the store’s stock of cash—believed to be a substantial amount, considering the store also functioned as a currency exchange.

Unfortunately for Gildersleeve, he wasn’t alone in the store—and another customer pulled out a gun and opened fire.

The customer, who hasn’t yet been identified, had a valid concealed carry permit. It’s not clear whether or not he or she will face charges for the crime—but it’s not likely.

“We’re looking at it as a self-defense issue at this point,” a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department explained.

With a rash of high-profile shootings over the last few years, gun control has been a major talking point on the liberal Left—from President Obama, on down.

But the Left continues to ignore the fact that, in most situations, a litany of gun restrictions doesn’t keep guns out of the hands of bad guys—but, rather out of the hands of law-abiding good guys, who sometimes are called to use their guns to take action.

Because of the actions of a quick-thinking customer, no one was hurt (except for the thief) in the robbing of one Chicago store on Halloween.

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Three Colorado teens were shot earlier this week – one fatally – as they attempted to rob three moving men at gunpoint as the victims were moving furniture into at the Bayberry Condominiums on Kalispell Way near Alameda Avenue and Chambers Road in Aurora police reports say.

Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said the three robbers approached the movers and attempted to rob them at gunpoint in the foyer area of the apartment building. The three robbery victims were described as men all in their 20’s.

“Two of the movers started to hand over their money, the third mover who was in fear for his safety of his friends, pulled out his weapon”, Metz said. Metz added that all three robbers were shot in a 10-by-6 foot space between two doors late Friday night.

The robbery victim who used his firearm in self-defense had a concealed to carry weapons permit and put the gun down when he saw officers arriving.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler held a press conference about the shooting saying that the case should get serious attention because three people were shot. According to Brauchler, Colorado’s self-defense law allows the use of deadly force.

“If you have a weapon on you and you are placed in imminent fear of serious bodily injury or death, you are entitled to defend yourself,” Brauchler said.

“I don’t think we would call this necessarily a make-my-day issue” referring to a state law similar to the “stand your ground” law on the books in other states. “This is a straight up regular common sense statutorily codified self-defense,” Brauchler added.

Brauchler clarified that Colorado’s self-defense law still applied to the shooter even though the attack occurred just outside the apartment.

Police are seeking help in identifying the assailants. Police questioned the movers and allowed them to leave without pressing any charges.

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Did you see the story about the Uber driver who shot a man in Chicago’s Logan Square on a Friday evening, April 17. The story blipped across newspapers and TV screens on Monday, but little has been heard about it since. The unidentified driver of an Uber rideshare car was parked when he saw a young man across the street open fire on a group of pedestrians. The Uber driver jumped from his car and fired at the attacker, hitting him in the legs and back. No one else was injured.

This is exactly the sort of story that Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts keeps insisting never happens. That it happened in Chicago, where until recently, thanks to multiple lawsuits from citizens and rights organizations, possession of a handgun in one’s own home, much less out on the street, was totally prohibited, adds another interesting angle to the story. The fact that the hero in this story was one of the few who have successfully gone through the complex, expensive, and invasive process of acquiring the necessary government permission slips to legally carry the gun, and that he actually had it when and where he needed it, should be particularly newsworthy. If this story had happened in Phoenix, where concealed carry is routine, and where citizens aren’t required to have any sort of permission slip to exercise their right to arms, it probably wouldn’t have been reported nationally at all. Even so, the short shrift given the story by local and national news media reveals why the public is so misinformed about defensive gun use.

“If it bleeds, it leads.” Carnage and controversy attract eyeballs to newspapers, TV news, and increasingly, to web sites. Crimes that don’t happen, or are stopped before reaching the requisite level of carnage, don’t attract much media attention, even when it’s clear that many would have been injured or killed had the armed citizen not been present and prepared. Chicago, with its long history of repressive gun laws and high crime rates, added just enough uniqueness to the story to capture a little bit of national attention, but even that was brief and sketchy. A full week later, we still [didn’t] know much beyond the description above. We’ve been told the attacker’s name and that he lived near the area of the shooting, but still have no idea about his background, his motives, or the targets of his assault. It’s been reported that he used a shotgun, but we don’t know where he acquired the gun, which he illegally possessed and used in the attack, or whether he might have had an accomplice. Was his attack a random act? Was he planning to kill as many people as possible before taking his own life or being killed by police? Was he a gang member settling a grudge or trying to prove himself a tough guy? Did he have a criminal record or a record of mental illness? We still don’t know.

In addition to the remarkable lack of curiosity about the story itself, the editorial writers and analysts have been remarkably quiet. No editorials have pointed out the waste of millions of tax dollars spent by the city and state fighting the lawsuits that restored some rights. No Big Media analysts have pondered the number of lives that were saved by a mere “civilian” with a gun who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The truth is, the vast majority of Big Media opposes the very concept of the right to arms. It isn’t just the lack of carnage that keeps these stories out of the news. Reporters, editors, producers, and publishers have personal biases against guns and armed citizens, and they don’t like reporting stories that conflict with their agenda. Stories of successful defense against armed criminals happen every day around this country, but they are rarely reported beyond the local ZIP Code because they don’t fit the narrative that the media elites prefer to promulgate.

Over the past year I participated in a project collecting some of the most compelling stories of armed self-defense by civilians into a feature we called “The First-Responders Report.” We pointed out that it’s people like the unnamed Uber driver in Chicago, the mom in Detroit who repelled a gang of armed home-invaders, and the Pennsylvania psychiatrist who stopped a murderous rampage in a hospital, who are the true First-Responders. Police usually don’t show up until well after the crime has been committed, but victims, potential victims, and bystanders, are the first in the line of fire, and the first with an opportunity to stop or mitigate the severity of the crime.

In each edition of “The First-Responders Report,” we document the facts of the incident, and a local news source that reported on the matter. You would think that a feature like this, which is very popular among readers, would generate enough interest to a newspaper publisher to pay for the right to publish it, but the only way we have been able to get the feature published in a major newspaper is to pay thousands of dollars for the space and label it as an advertisement. We’ve run five editions of the report in USA Today in the Washington, D.C. area so far. You can read “The First-Responders Report” online at

Meanwhile, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia Journalism School, is hosting a 3-day workshop in Phoenix [this] month, sponsored by Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. All indications are that the workshop is designed to teach journalists how to be more effective at spreading anti-rights propaganda “in an ethical way.”

No wonder the public has lost confidence in the media.

©2015 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement.

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A concealed carry permit owner used his firearm to fatally shoot a 27-year-old man in the parking lot of an Orem, Utah grocery store this past Saturday during a carjacking attempt against a woman getting into her SUV.

Capt. Ned Jackson of the Orem Police Department said the man who shot the would-be carjacker, who did not wish to be identified at this point in the investigation, said he had stopped at the store to purchase food on his way to a planned target-shooting outing.

The identity of the deceased, who was also suspected of assaulting a woman earlier in the day, was not released.

The permit holder who ran the aid of the woman was only described as 31 years old who had parked near the woman’s SUV and heard her scream as she was being pulled her out of her Mercedes SUV. The shooting occurred around 11:20 am. Capt. Jackson said that:

“According to the citizen’s statement, the suspect starts to walk to the back of the car and lunges at him trying to grab the gun. The citizen shoots one round, shoots the suspect in the chest…”

Paramedics attempted to save the injured man’s life but he died at a hospital a short time later.

Jackson said it did not appear that the man who was shot was armed. Jackson said all of those involved were interviewed at the Orem Police Department Saturday afternoon and that police did not anticipate that the shooter would face charges although the altercation is still under investigation. Capt. Jackson said:

“He’s trying to assist this lady whose car is being stolen. He was fighting with her, he was trying to protect her. Then at the point the suspect comes to him and he’s trying to take the gun from him, then he’s trying to protect himself…”

In unrelated incidents that occurred earlier in the day, police received multiple calls regarding the man who was later shot and killed. 911 callers said a man had reportedly assaulted a woman and was driving about Orem with two passengers.

A short time later police said the man who was killed during the attempted carjacking had reportedly stolen a Ford pickup at a residence and that the owner chased the thief in another vehicle with Orem police in hot pursuit.

Through a translator, pickup owner Luis Zarate said a man on a bicycle stopped at his truck while Zarate was doing some yardwork. Suspicious, Zarate called out to him. At that point, the man dismounted the bike, entered the truck with the keys inside and drove away.

Zarate and members of his landscaping crew gave chase and called police during the pursuit. The man drove the stolen pickup into the Macey’s grocery store parking lot at 880 N. State Street where he exited the truck and attempted to carjack the SUV. At that point he was fatally wounded, police said.
Police said there were several outstanding felony warrants for the attempted carjacker and that the fear of getting caught may have been why the situation escalated from crime to crime throughout the day.

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Last week, residents of Ferguson, Missouri might have noticed a strange sight amidst the scenes of burning buildings, overturned cars, crazed rioters, and police in full military dress. Standing stoically on the rooftops of buildings in areas threatened by prolonged rioting were men dressed in masks and camouflage, armed with buckets of water, fire extinguishers, and occasionally AR-15 rifles.

These men were not members of the Ferguson Police Department or the Missouri National Guard. They were members of the Oath Keepers, a nationwide collective of military veterans, former law enforcement officers, first responders and other concerned citizens who have sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. They were drawn to Ferguson to help protect the people and property of the town from the rioters and criminals, who largely had avoided being stopped by the police and National Guard troops.

While the appearance of the Oath Keepers came as a relief to citizens and small business owners affected by the riots, to the authorities they posed a threat. That’s right. Within just days of arriving, rather than being thanked by the police for volunteering to help protect lives and property, these law-abiding volunteers were ordered to get out of town, apparently for “operating without a license.”

Absurd as it is that a person would need a “license” to do nothing more than protect private property from wanton destruction — especially when the police force’s apparent “best efforts” to do so were woefully deficient — that is exactly how government views the right to self-defense in the Bizarro World of 21st Century America.

While the government’s assault on the principle of self-defense underlying the Second Amendment is nothing new, the degree to which federal and state officials misunderstand or simply choose to ignore the fundamental principle of self-defense, is truly disheartening.

Many people consider that the modern era of gun control began in the late 1960s following the assassination of Robert Kennedy; but it actually dates to 1934 when the Congress passed the 1934 National Firearms Act. Since that seminal event, a distinct anti-firearms philosophy has taken hold in large segments of society; one that considers personal ownership of a firearm not as an exercise of a God-given right to defend oneself, but rather as a direct threat to “public safety.” Adherents of this group-centric philosophy consider the right to defend oneself with a firearm as something separate from — indeed, inferior to — the collective responsibility of government to protect society. In this world view, “public safety” trumps both individual responsibility and individual liberty.

Employing footholds gained through advocacy in the legislative, judicial and executive branches at all levels of government, these anti-gun forces have worked steadily to transmogrify the Second Amendment into a public-policy commodity, subject to the at-will regulation of government officials. The ultimate goal of this movement is to empower government as the exclusive owner of the means to personal defense; thus relegating citizens to a position of absolute reliance on the government for their personal and property protection. It is all about Control.

The historically-sound notion that citizens possess primary responsibility for protection of their persons and property, is reflected not only in the clear intent of the Second Amendment, but as well in federal court decisions. For example, in 1981, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit noted in Warren v. District of Columbia, that “. . . government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular citizen.” This assertion was reiterated a year later by the Seventh Circuit, in Bowers v. DeVito, when that Court held “there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state.”

Government, of course, wants to have it both ways. While accepting it is under no absolute obligation to protect citizens from harm (thereby avoiding liability for failing to protect against criminal actions), government officials constantly seek to acquire and maintain a monopoly of the means by which individuals are able to exercise their responsibility to protect themselves – that is, by remaining free to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Thus the bizarre spectacle of police in Ferguson rejecting efforts by citizens to protect lives and property when most critical to do so.

Unfortunately, the reaction by state and local authorities in Ferguson to citizen-based self-defense represents not the exception, but the prevalent view of “public safety”; and not only in the United States but throughout western society generally. It is, however, particularly discouraging that such a fundamentally flawed understanding of individual rights and constitutional history are run amuck here, in what Ronald Reagan correctly described as “the last best hope of man on earth.”

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If you’ve been following the story about the shooting in Ferguson, MO, you may have noticed a familiar pattern.

While the general public knows very little about the reality of violence or the use of lethal force, that doesn’t stop people from having strong opinions anytime someone gets shot. This is especially true when it comes to how many shots are fired.

According to one long-standing statistic, most self defense shootings involve an average of two shots. But that’s an average, meaning there are a lot of incidents with fewer and a lot with more.

Anyone who has ever taken a firearm defensive class from a competent instructor knows that in a life-or-death situation, you should shoot until you perceive the threat is over. That means shooting multiple times to the chest and/or head. At the very least, students are told to do a “double tap,” meaning two shots minimum.

But to listen to some of the news coverage of the Ferguson case, you’d think that multiple shots are evidence of murder.

Here are the basics of this case.

On Saturday, August 9, 2014, there was a confrontation between 18-year-old Michael Brown and 28-year-old police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. Details are still a little fuzzy at this point about what happened and why. It may have been related to a convenience store robbery or it may have resulted from a chance encounter between the officer and the young man.

According to a report in USA Today, St. Louis County Police Chief Joe Belmar said “Brown physically assaulted the officer, and during a struggle between the two, Brown reached for the officer’s gun. One shot was fired in the car followed by other gunshots outside of the car.”

Some alleged eye witnesses, on the other hand, claim the shooting was unprovoked and the officer shot Brown as he ran away or as he was surrendering.

Regardless of how the facts play out over the coming weeks or months, let’s assume just for the sake of discussion that the police officer was honestly in fear of death or great bodily harm and shot Brown in self defense.

A preliminary autopsy report released on Monday, August 18 showed that the police officer fired at least six shots, four landing in the arm and two in the head. It’s unclear whether other shots were fired and missed.

Is that too many shots?

In response to the autopsy report, Brown family lawyer Benjamin Crump said, “It verifies the worst that the family thinks happened — that he was executed. It confirms what the witnesses said, that this was an execution. That’s what the witnesses said from day one.”

You might expect a prosecuting attorney to bend facts in his favor, but the idea that six shots are too many and indicate evil intent has been a regular theme of the media coverage and “man on the street” interviews even before Crump’s statement.

Why? Is it because movies and TV teach us that one shot is all it takes to stop someone? Maybe, but whatever the reason, reaction to multiple shots is almost universally negative regardless of the facts.

How many shots does it actually take to stop an attack? Maybe one. Maybe 20. It depends on many factors, including shot placement, the physical condition of the attacker, whether or not certain drugs are involved, etc.

Medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden claimed in a public statement about his own autopsy in the Ferguson case that five of the six shots were survivable. It was, in his opinion, one shot to the head that stopped and killed Michael Brown. He also said he believed the head shot was the last shot fired.

So one shot was required, but apparently it took six shots to land the one critical hit.

If you believe the police statement about the shooting being self defense, we could say six shots were reasonable. If you believe the alternate scenario, that the officer “executed” the young man, then even one shot was too many.

There are negative perceptions about more than just multiple shots. The media constantly refer to the teenager as “unarmed,” suggesting that only those with firearms pose a threat. The lethal shot to the head prompts many people to suggest that the officer purposely administered a coup de grâce shot. Even a video showing the officer pacing up and down the street following the shooting says to some self-appointed experts that the officer was guilty of murder because, they believe, he should be reacting in some other way.

Again, we don’t have all the details about this incident so it’s unfair to arrive at opinions just yet. But there are two takeaways from this shooting.

First, most people are terribly misinformed about the reality of self defense. This includes not just the general public, but unfortunately, the media and many legal “experts” and prosecutors who give credibility to bad information.

Second, while you need to be willing to do what you have to do to survive an attack, you need to also be prepared to deal with the ill-informed opinions of those who may become involved in a legal case against you.

If everyone were truly reasonable and well-educated about self defense, you would have nothing to worry about. Sadly, this isn’t the case.



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