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View Full Version : Not "should I shoot?" but "could I shoot?" That is the question.


Gaxicus
February 16, 2009, 08:37 PM
There are a million threads dedicated to scenarios and legal advice pertaining to "should I shoot?" issues. This is not meant to be one of them. This thread is meant to discuss and equally important question "could I shoot?".

My apologies for other threads that confused the two issues badly.

Could I really shoot someone if I needed to?

That question can be a struggle for defensive firearm owners, new or veteran, and the trainers or experts they look to for help in their journey of answering it.

Please post your experiences, ideas, successes, and failures in going through your own, or helping someone else go through their, decision making process.

Please leave the macho stuff out, but leave the hypersensitive PC stuff out too. If you are going to criticize someone else, offer an alternative to what you are criticizing.

Enjoy

mrclean77
February 16, 2009, 09:08 PM
I would surely hate it & know I would feel bad even if was the worse scumbag. If it came down to them or my family, though...


Having a kid made me get more into the SD/PD/HD thinking of firearms, but the LARGE majority of my interest in guns is sport, just plain fun.



Tough issue, for sure, but I think: If one is not sure you can do it if you were faced w/that danger, not sure if one should carry


JMO

Keltyke
February 16, 2009, 09:16 PM
You could shoot if "in fear of imminent loss of life or severe bodily injury". The BG MUST have:

A. The ABILITY to inflict serious bodily injury. He is armed or reasonably appears to be armed.

B. The OPPORTUNITY to inflict serious bodily harm. He is positioned to harm you with his weapon, and,

C. His INTENT (hostile actions or words) indicates that he means to place you in jeopardy - to do you serious or fatal physical harm.

Gaxicus
February 16, 2009, 09:30 PM
How any particular person answers this question is just as important is when.

Most people agree that the time to do this is before prepping a bedside gun, putting your carry gun in your purse or holster, or considering using a gun for defensive purposes at all.

That doesn't mean don't buy a gun, get your carry permit, or take classes. It means that those things are not enough for you to be ready to use a firearm defensively.

The worst time to be making up your mind about whether you can actually pull the trigger is the moment when you think might have to.

Some people really have a hard time answering this under no additional stress and find themselves conflicted, unsure, and intimidated by the question.

Add all of that to a high stress defensive situation and you are just asking for panic. Panicky people with guns are at least as much a danger to themselves and their loved ones as they are to any predator.

To be able to maintain your composure, make good decisions, and assure the best chance that you will achieve an acceptable outcome in such a situation, you should really have this "Could I" question answered as soon as possible but it is important to give yourself time to do it thoroughly enough to find resolve.

This thread is all about this "Could I?". How you answer it, how you can help others answer it, or just discussing the different aspects of the decision itself.

Gaxicus
February 16, 2009, 09:37 PM
You could shoot if "in fear of imminent loss of life or severe bodily injury". The BG MUST have:

The topic isn't really about the legal "good shoot" issues.

Its about how a person prepares and pre-decides their own approach to possibly taking life to protect ones self/others.

I dont mean to be picky but you can find tons of threads for "good shoot" scenarios.

OldMarksman
February 16, 2009, 10:07 PM
I have been ready to do so on three occasions and would not have hesitated, but thankfully, I ultimately did not have to. The presence of my weapon caused the threat to retreat on each occasion. I cannot tell you how happy I am that no one was injured.

Could I? Well, I could then. Today? I surely believe so, but I hope I never have to put it to the test.

Starcheck55
February 16, 2009, 10:11 PM
react to the situation, follow your procedures and training. no hesitation.

IMO that is why you should train rigorously and in as stressful of an environment as you can safely replicate.

Years of doing training in Flight Simulators has show me how necessary it is to be able to initiate an emergency response without thinking about it...while at the same time blocking out distractions and staying on top of your situational awareness.

Performance in an emergency is a skill that needs practice. I've watched countless videos of myself and co-pilot(s) handling different inflight emergencies and there is no substitute for repetition, adherence to procedures, and experience.

When it comes to pulling the trigger if the situation calls for it, no hesitation. if I didn't feel confident in that, i wouldn't carry or even consider carrying.

I'm not one of those "if i have to pull my gun, rounds will be forthcoming" type of guys. (i hate the phrase "clearing leather") Pulling out a weapon can be an "almost" last defense as a deterrent...shooting being the ultimate last defense (debatable). That is why situational awareness is so important.

Drill, Drill, Drill. Home invasion drills, simulated ATM situations, carjacking, escorting a "date" defense, and others depending on your job and environment. You have to take your drilling seriously though, sitting at the range and plinking is not the same. (although increased familiarity with your weapons and better accuracy is good) Videotaping your training is an underutilized technique. You'll see the good things you do and bad. I've noticed that at times I get tunnel vision on my "attacker". So I work on keeping my head on a swivel. Now it comes second nature to me and the difference is noticeable when I review films. Now I'm confident that if it happens in real life, I'll be less likely to make the same mistake again...but I won't be thinking about it, it comes naturally like a reflex.

The same thing goes for pulling the trigger. People have different "breaking points" when it comes to when they'll fire. Lord knows PBP and Creature just spend about 2k posts arguing about ALMOST this sort of thing and the only thing we've determined is that:
1. everyone has their own opinion to some extent or another
2. Creature brings nothing to any discussion except for his contrary attitute. JK ;)
Figure out your "breaking points" as best you can and practice situations that meet and also fall short of those standards. I know that i've screwed up in practice and "shot" my assailant when he didn't have a weapon, and other times I didn't notice a 2nd threat and hesitated (resulting in my "death"). So I keep practicing and practicing, training myself to look at hands and not faces, head on a swivel, identify escape routes, etc. Each practice session i'll look over the video of and assess how it went. I generally have 3 cameras in use for these things. Wide angle elevated camcorder to give overall view, then I will wear one of my cycling helmets with a helmet-cam and my assailant will wear one as well.
I would cringe if i viewed some of my earlier videos, it was uuuugly. But you learn more from your mistakes.
Anyway, it took quite a while, but I'm finally at the point where I consistently follow my self defense procedures w/o thinking about them and when it calls for me to "shoot", I do so immediately. I'm confident in a "real life" situation I would revert to my training and perform as close to this as my elevated adrenaline would allow me.

I really think you should take as many weapons classes as you can. Close quarter, marksmanship, h2h combat, whatever you feel comfortable with. The more you practice the more second nature it will become to act under extreme stress and IMO that is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome in any defense situation.

FM12
February 16, 2009, 10:15 PM
Tap.

Tap Again, If Needed.

Repeat As Necessary.

grumpycoconut
February 16, 2009, 10:16 PM
If I understand you right you are not asking when is it legally/morally ok to perforate someone. You are asking if you as an individual have the intestinal fortitude/guts/blood thirst/stones/etc. to press that tiny little lever which frees another lever which smacks a pointy thing into a little cup of gas generating explosives which pushes a lead pellet across space and into the body of another human being, knowing full well that 3-8 pounds of force applied by your index finger will likely result in a bloody, painful, life altering and maybe life ending wound. Did I get it right?

The answer is I don't know and you probably don't know yet either. If you have picked up a gun and consciously thought through the possible consequences of that action and you did not put that gun back down, I would suggest that your answer is likely yes.

As a police and gun teacher of police I have learned that repetition and training preconditions most cops to be willing to shoot when needed. Thinking and talking the law and "what if" gives you the foundation for sound decision making. Playing with FATS and other simulators teaches you to recognize badness and react quickly. Force on force teaches you how to keep fighting when all your plans go into the toilet. All of this stuff helps give you more thinking space when things really do drop in the pot.

I've worked with a few guys who've had to dump someone on duty. One guy told me that he was ****** (angry) that the bad guy was trying to shoot him so he did what he needed to do to stop the guy from shooting at him. Another partner shot a bad guy to stop him from shooting at his partners. As far as I know, neither of these guys has ever had a day's heartburn over killing the guys who were trying to kill them.

One of my students once didn't engage in a gun fight not because of lack of bravery, but because he was behind his partner (who was shooting) and behind cover and would have made the situation worse had he broken cover and engaged. He told me later that something I had once said in passing kept him thinking and prevented him from putting himself in a worse situation when there was no real need.

I've pointed guns at plenty of people, fully intent on shooting some of them, but have never finally needed to shoot. I'm certain that if I need to I will, but then I'm not you.

Ask yourself, is saving your own life at the expense of another morally abhorrent to you? Can you accept wearing the mark of Cain (if you believe in that sort of thing) to save the life of an innocent? Be honest with yourself when you answer those questions. Don't use euphamisms. Say "Kill" and decide if you want to put down the gun or not.

vox rationis
February 16, 2009, 11:05 PM
Not to be Captain Obvious again, but I think that if one has any real doubts about whether one "could" or "could not", then one should perhaps refrain from carrying, until the requisite amount of introspection is done to realize that one "could" indeed, if one's life, or loved one's life, is in danger of being snuffed out by a would be killer.

But given the scenario of being in mortal danger, if one still engages in emotional hand wringing about "could I possibly shoot", then that person needs psychological counseling in my opinion.

Gaxicus
February 16, 2009, 11:28 PM
I love crusty old cop and fighter pilot speak. Awesome.

I think this stuff can be a totally alien context for some people to see the world in.

I seriously doubt most people are conscious of the risks they take each day because they don't think like criminals. They might be a brain surgeon but they take silly risks like a teenager.

This is where I encounter a lot of resistance when trying to help people get their head around "pre-making their decisions". Plenty of them, with conviction, will say "I don't want to look at the world like there is a scumbag around every corner and a rapist under every bed". Of course, that is not what they are being taught but, to someone like that, its an understandable reaction.

Its easy for many of us to dismiss this reaction as childish but it is tough to watch a 45 year old financial man lose this innocence after his bubble of denial is popped by one of those people in this world that completely ignores the rules that civilized finance men live by.

There is a medium between the cynical paranoia and the blissful ignorance. The fear of many is that this medium could never be a happy one. I like to tell them that just because they lived in one extreme (la la land where everyone is safe and no means no) doesn't mean they have to live in another where everything and everyone is bad.

You don't have to be a fighter pilot or a cop to be a very effective defensive firearm owner. Thank God for fighter pilots and cops but I don't want either of them doing my taxes. We all reach our decision in our own context, intense training or not. The finance guy I mentioned is coming along nicely, but it hasn't been easy for him.

If context is king, I suppose one of the first steps should be taking a long and objective look at the world around us and see everything, not just what we want to see, not just what we fear, but everything and decide for ourselves what our role in such a world should be.

I don't mean to get all philosophical and ethereal here but it is a big issue. Big enough that this topic is discussed in literature, history, and religion by all the big players. Some of the writing so far in this thread is pretty damn good, I didn't want to fall short.

Gaxicus

Gaxicus
February 16, 2009, 11:44 PM
But given the scenario of being in mortal danger, if one still engages in emotional hand wringing about "could I possibly shoot", then that person needs psychological counseling in my opinion.

I am sure that most people would shoot if forced like that, but probably not very well, in time, or even in the right direction.

Having this question resolved allows a person to be purposeful, focused, calmer, and more effective. Its my belief that plenty of gun owners have not reached resolve with this question.

Many will say they have but it doesn't take a lot of digging to see how shallow the decision really is.

I thought the question worth a hashing out, just to make sure.

flippycat
February 17, 2009, 12:27 AM
I look at it the same way I would if I was to get into a physical encounter with someone.

I am not saying I am billy bad ass at all, though I am a big guy, I know the power I posses and though not as powerful as a firearm I feel that I could inflict the same amount of harm just as a firearm.

I personally find that a physical confrontation is actually more barbaric then the use of a firearm for protection. You almost need to switch into savage mode hence throwing most of your wits and common sense out the window to be sure you will survive when attacked.

Now I know there are classes that teach some things..but well lets be honest, if you are losing....you need to step it up a notch or face the fact you maybe seriously injured or worse.

So with that being said, let me run this by and then readdress the original question. I was in a bar one night after work about 10 years ago in Rochester NY, was only there about 20 minutes.There was about 9 people there, a few old timers and a few guys my age with their ladies. Some crack head came in with a golf club smashed glasses off the bar, caught the bartender in the shoulder and head, then demanded the waitress empty the register in about 5-10 seconds.

Without even a thought I ran up behind him grabbed him and ran him into a wall at a full run his legs not even touching the ground. One of the other patrons opened the front door and I heard the shouting to bring him outside the cops were on their way. So that is what I did...his feet still off the ground I ran him outside and pummeled him into the sidewalk face first.

Some where in this he managed to reach back and grab hold of my jacket collar ..it was really not a big deal as the way I had him there was nothing he could do, until I realized I was then being kicked in the mid section by his partner who was waiting outside. Yes I was scared for my life at this point.

As I looked back to realize that no one was coming outside to aid me and as I later found out they had actually locked the door.

So there I was in a situation fighting for my life, I had used the sidewalk as a tool to knock the guy beneath me out and then rolled to my side grabbing the leg of the guy kicking me causing him to fall on his buddy.

I got to my feet and gave him the same treatment he gave me. I am not even sure how much time passed but this whole event lasted maybe a minute or two at the most for this whole ordeal to be over.

As I stood there in total shock of what had just happened and just making sure neither one got up, I realized I would NEVER want to be in this situation again. That..... although the tools I was born with saved my life even though I put it in jeopardy to aid others, I will never forget the feelings that ran through my head that night when it came down to that sort of physical encounter. The officers who showed up did tell me that what I just went through was an extremely stressful situation and that even though physically I was not hurt that maybe taking a trip to the hospital to get a volume or two would help mentally. Both bad guys were arrested and both charged with armed robbery and assault.

I will say I never paid for another drink at the bar through for the duration of my stay in Rochester lol.

Now to the original question, I guess I am lucky to have had the experience of a violent altercation like that to know that if a home invasion or burglary of some sort which justified me to use my firearm for protection over a physical altercation, I would choose my firearm and use it as the law allowed just as I would my own two hands if I did not own one.

Starcheck55
February 17, 2009, 03:05 AM
I personally find that a physical confrontation is actually more barbaric then the use of a firearm for protection. You almost need to switch into savage mode hence throwing most of your wits and common sense out the window to be sure you will survive when attacked.

+1
(super long post coming up)

The only gun confrontation I've had in my entire life was just like that. (commercial pilot here) I was stuck overnight in Atlanta, no car, at a hotel near the airport. Friday (11pm) I decided to walk and find some food. I was approached by a local man/panhandler saying how he was from new orleans and lost his house because of katrina and asked if I had any money. I told him no, but that I was going to get some food and I'd buy him dinner (trying to be a nice guy). We ended up going to KFC where no joke he f'ing ordered a 20 piece family bucket meal that came with mash potatoes, mac 'n cheese, biscuits, and a gallon of sweat tea. My bill was $38 and I used a credit card. It took forever for them to make all that food so we sat down and he gave me his life story and of course it was full of holes and BS, but it was Dec 23 and I figured giving him and and family a meal was 100 times better than giving him a handout.
Probably sat there talking for 15 minutes, and if it wasn't so obvious he was on drugs, I would have tried to help get him some seasonal work at the airport. Finally we get our food and leave, we say our goodbyes and he asks me if i can give him a couple of dollars for the bus home. Told him I was sorry, didn't have any cash that is why I charged the meal. He said "man, i'm sorry, but you sure you don't have any money for me"
At which point he pulls a gun out of the waistband of his sweatpants. He did not point it directly at me, but in his right hand had it pointed 45 degree off to the side. Immediately I stepped inside the arc of his arm and grabbed his wrist and elbow. He freaked out and dropped the gun and went straight into "sorry man sorry man" mode. He was a really small guy, like 5'4 110lb...I'm not big 5'9 175, but i wrestled through college so leverage and grappling are my friends. I proceeded to pummel him for a few seconds then flung him into the middle of the street where he was struck by a car going about 35mph. Cops told me later he broke both legs, a collarbone, some ribs and had some road rash.

Weird thing was, even looking back on it...I wasn't afraid for my life at all, it has never occurred to me, even now that he would have shot me. in my heart of hearts i think he just showed me the gun to scare me into giving him money and he was embarrassed to do it to a guy who had just bought him dinner. I don't feel bad about him almost dying, he shouldn't be pulling that sort of crap. I know that the cops would have never ever ever have arrested a "professional" white guy for assault after beating a crackhead who had pulled a weapon on him, but i wonder if theoretically if i had carried then and I shot him if I could have gotten in trouble since I honestly was never in fear of my life. The only memory of my thought process when it occurred was "how f'ing rude. my mom would be so upset at me if I did that to someone who bought me a meal."

I saw the gun and just went into full blown Kill Him Mode. I almost got hit by a car because after he was down in the street (and he slid a ways) I went in after him because I was not done. I guess I attribute it to my years of wrestling and limited krav maga training that I reacted the way i did. Until that event, i always thought of myself as a "he has a gun, here is my money" type of guy. After this event, I became a lot more serious about personal defense. I had been doing some krav maga for about 6 months at the time, and it really stresses the aggressive nature of fighting. I told my instructor about the "incident" when I got home the next week. Kind of recreated the altercation and he was so mad at me for disengaging (throwing him into the street) before he had been "disabled". Lectured me about how he could have had another gun and I was lucky the car hit him. So even though it was a "good fight" and ended favorably for me, I still messed up and will try to learn from my mistakes.

sorry for taking this a little OT

onthejon55
February 17, 2009, 03:47 AM
As I looked back to realize that no one was coming outside to aid me and as I later found out they had actually locked the door.

Haha some friends you have up there in NY!
I know plenty of people at my local bar that would be all too willing to help beat up some worthless crack head!

youp
February 17, 2009, 07:50 AM
I just had one the other day. Some fellow was having a very bad day. I was returnig from the gun range of all places. This fellow pulled out from a parking lot in front of me, actually had to pass another fellow waiting for me to cross in front of him . I was under a hundred yards to a red stop and go. It seems that after he pulled in front of me, I was not far enough behind him. So he stops at the red light and gets out of his car and comes back towards me. Screaming about following too close.

I simply rolled down the window and informed him the light was green and it was time to go. I had a 41 revolver with me. All legal and cable locked. He advanced another step and I had it on my lap, I merely showed it to him, sideways to conceal the cable lock. He promptly left, probably went home to beat his wife or dog.

Could I have shot him? No time with that trussed up revolver. It was a nice heavy black jack/brick thing. If he would not have stood down, I would have been reduced to beating him about the head and shoulders with my revolver. At least it wears a Leupy scope, the lifetime warranty you know.

Had I been armed and he decided to continue in his error, I would have had absoulutely no problem putting one in his head through the open vehicle window. Why the head? Because I wold not have percieved him to be a threat until he was at the truck door. I would have been greatly distressed after the fact. Not about popping the punk, it was approaching suppertime and the LEO would have delayed my regular suppertime by several hours.

If you think you need a firearm to protect yourself or loved ones, you better be willing to use it. That is a desision you made when you got the thing for self defense. Now you better run through senarios and decide if you really want the gun.

I wonder if the LEO would have let me order take out?

Sparks2112
February 17, 2009, 09:08 AM
You know, I always see people having these conversations, and honestly when non-gun people I know start talking about getting one I tell them they better be sure they could use it. I've never once even questioned whether or not I could. I don't know if it's because of how I was raised, or whom I was raised by (a special forces Sgt. who later went on to work for the NSA) but it was always kind of understood that guns weren't just for target shooting, and if the good guys don't do anything then the bad guys sometimes win.

When I went through Rifle training in the Army we lost a guy who suddenly decided he couldn't ever shoot someone, even if it was him or them. I thought it odd at the time, though maybe he was just in it for the college money. Who knows, we didn't talk about him more than a day after he was gone.

Maybe some people are just more desensitized to it? I've never once wondered at all whether or not I could shoot someone. I pray and hope I never have to, but that doubt really hasn't ever been there.

Keltyke
February 17, 2009, 09:26 AM
I misunderstood the question.

I think if you're not absolutely SURE you could shoot, you shouldn't carry a gun. Look at it this way:
1. An attacker puts you on the defensive.
2. Drawing your weapon puts him on the defensive.
3. Not being willing to use it puts you back on the defensive again, possibly against an attacker who is armed and is fully wiling to use it.

Never hesitate or bluff.

anythingshiny
February 17, 2009, 10:11 AM
great thread.

i will not hesitate. i will do everything in my power to avoid it..but when i decide its necessary then there will be no hesitation.

i sincerely hope it NEVER happens, but my head is not in the sand.

EricReynolds
February 17, 2009, 10:21 AM
Well said Keltyke. The problem is I think a lot of people think they're sure they could pull the trigger but when the moment is upon them, they learn a little bit about themselves. Not quite as much ice in their veins as they thought they had? Those of us who can will still find another part of the scenario. As the person is lying bleeding and praying or the corpse is on its back with its eyes open, you won't soon get that out of your head. You will most likely have nightmares. You might need some counseling to cope. It's ok. Someone whom that won't weigh on their mind is probably a little sociopathic. It would be normal to be messed up afterwords but consider the alternative.

David Armstrong
February 17, 2009, 10:21 AM
A couple of quick points. First, what one THINKS they can/will do in a situation is not a real good indicator of what they actuially will do. A fair amount of evidence over the years of those who think they can freezing up when the time comes, as well as evidence indicating those who say they can't actually perform quite well when the time comes. Second,
Panicky people with guns are at least as much a danger to themselves and their loved ones as they are to any predator.
On what do you base such a conclusion? Given the strong record of success of untrained and inexperienced people in DGU incidents, it seems that there is little danger to self or loved ones when compared to BGs.

Glenn E. Meyer
February 17, 2009, 11:19 AM
Dave is correct. The army found that a lot of soldiers froze, even though they obviously chose a warrior's profession. Thus, modern training programs are designed to reduce the automatic freezing response that sometimes occurs. It's wired into you but can be overcome with training.

Also, saying that someone needs counseling if they consider the consequences of shooting is just plain silly. We've studied the consequences of shootings by very competent and warrior types and they show emotional sequeale.

Easy to posture about this but it isn't reality.

oldkim
February 17, 2009, 11:48 AM
I'm glad this thread is doing better than the other one (for beginners to pistol).

It's a good thread.

Yes, ultimately what you do is what you do. It is good to know going in that you have thought about it... hard and as much as possible about the scenarios you will be using your handgun. Sure, in the end you may not use it but again you may.

I would rather have this discussion BEFORE you are faced with any situation.

Having a gun and using a gun are totally different topics. Just because you may own a gun does not automatically equate you using it for HD.

Bottomline: It's a personal question and totally dependent on the situation.

It's like the argument I give to gals that are against guns. Oh, your totatally against violence? Can't see yourself "ever" use a gun? Okay, you come home early and your daughter is being raped. You have a gun. Hmmm.... Let's see how long she says she won't use it.

You can create almost any scenario, even illogical ones but you can come up with any scenario to force someone to do something they never thought they would. But, that's not real life is it.

Its also not the end of the story. It's the beginning of a nightmare.

After the shooting. It only begins from there. Legally and morally. Even if you were justified that event may haunt you for the rest of your life.

It's called preparedness: Prepare your mindset and mentally practice so it becomes automatic. Running thru the scenarios you are willing and not willing to use your gun.

I've come to term with my God. I was "dead" set (sorry to use the pun) on not coming home. I knew I had a duty and I would fulfill it with honor. I had my letters home all set aside and ready to be mailed. Fortunately I didn't die for my country but I was ready. Everyday now life is good.

Everyone needs to at their own pace come to some realization what their gun can do and their willingness to use it. At their OWN pace. It's good to ask and discussion but each one of us has to come to terms on their own.

Starcheck55
February 17, 2009, 12:13 PM
oldkim is spot on IMO

ZeSpectre
February 17, 2009, 12:52 PM
If I had a dollar for every time I've covered this topic I'd have paid for my house by now :D

I just helped to run a "gun rights week" at a college campus. The overall theme was a desire to allow on campus carry and how the students could work towards that goal if they so desired. The event finished with a sign up for some free firearms training and a half hour on the range in a one-on-one situation with an instructor.

We had a pretty darned good turnout and a lot of support.

However, after the range session I was standing with a group of students who were discussing firing a gun (for the first time) and although I didn't want to put a wet blanket on their enthusiasm I could tell that someone needed to clarify the difference between the "fun target shooting" they'd just done versus the full ramifications of owning and carrying a firearm for self defense.

So we had a discussion about what, ultimately, it might mean to have a firearm for self defense (namely that you might actually - maker forbid - have to shoot and possibly even kill someone). It was almost painfully obvious that they'd never considered it in the context of "deadly earnest".

I tried to be gentle, but also very firm, in explaining that the thought "could I really shoot someone and possibly kill them" is a serious question that needs to be considered very carefully and over some time.

If, after thought, the answer is "yes I can defend my life at the cost of taking another" then a firearm can be an excellent self-defense tool (along with the necessary training).

However if the answer is "no I don't think I could live with that" then you need to find some other plan for protecting yourself and leave the firearms to "fun" target shooting and plinking.

It sobered them up pretty quickly and I felt a little bad about raining on their parade. However I ran into one of those students today and he said to me "you know, you gave me a lot to think about and I'm really glad you said something because my girlfriend and I have been talking a lot about what you said".

Makes me proud of the younger generation!

EricReynolds
February 17, 2009, 01:00 PM
Glenn you misunderstood me. What I meant was you may need counseling to deal with it. A person may even have thoughts of remorse or guilt. It's normal to feel like that. It wouldn't be normal to deal with it like nothing happened. What I meant by considering the alternative is it would be better to deal with it later than not being able to deal with it because you were the deceased. Sorry for any confusion, but this is a subject I definitely know a little about.

Gaxicus
February 17, 2009, 02:09 PM
You will most likely have nightmares. You might need some counseling to cope. It's ok. Someone whom that won't weigh on their mind is probably a little sociopathic. It would be normal to be messed up afterwords but consider the alternative.

The aftermath.

Some folks have an easier time of this than others. Warrior types (cops, military, emergency, etc) have sort of a built in defense mechanism and support structure within their culture that allows them to function fairly well immediately following an event and for a while after. They also have a lot of experience contemplating, training, or actually dealing with conflict and have usually answered this "Could I?" question to a higher degree than most.

I am totally generalizing here of course. After a trauma, in these professions and others like them, they are able to "suspend" their feelings about it in order to do what they need to. When things settle down is when they actually "deal with it". Paperwork, debriefing, then finally a few moments alone to sit and think about it. Then off for a beer with a close friend or two that is "in the business".

These professions, and the culture they create have institutionalized attitudes and traditions, even ceremonies, going back a long time that help their members cope. They wouldn't exist if this wasn't a "big deal".

I brought all of this stuff up is because your average civilian doesnt really have any of the above support or institutionalized attitudes. Friends and family are only so much help because they "haven't been there" so to speak. Sometimes a member of one of these "warrior professions" will step up and take a civilian aside for a talk but there usually isn't a lot of common ground. Sometimes its a complete culture clash. (Thanks to all of the Military, LE, Paramedics, Fireman etc that take the time to do this, its clearly not easy). The civilian is left mostly to themselves and people who have never "been there" to help them. Pretty sad. Even if they can afford therapy.

This is topical because one of the toughest emotional obstacles for someone going through the post trauma of a defensive situation is guilt, real or inflated, and all of the associated self recrimination. "Why me?", "What should I have done different?", "Why did I ever get that gun in the first place?", "Am I a killer now?", "How can I face my friends and family? They will never look at me the same again.", etc.

Having pre-decided your decisions about this stuff and being "OK and resolved" to your place in a defensive situation can go along way in getting through the aftermath because it directly addresses the biggest emotional obstacle, guilt.

Acting with purpose and unapologetic acceptance of the situation is likely to reduce your risk of finding yourself asking "What they hell was I thinking?" because you know exactly what you were thinking and you were OK with it. I believe that it will also help you be OK with it afterward too.

So my thinking is that, in addition to helping you stave off panic and function better in a defensive situation, being "OK and resolved" to your place in a defensive situation can also help you get through the aftermath.

For a civilian (as in non-warrior types) with very little institutionalized and cultural support, I view answering the "could I?" question as thoroughly and realistically as possible as paramount.

There are new reasons to seriously address the "could I?" question coming up as this thread progresses. Agree with them or not, does anyone really see a downside to really exploring it?

Glenn E. Meyer
February 17, 2009, 02:52 PM
Eric - me - misunderstand? You been talking to people who know me? :D

Sorry, if I got it wrong. Duh.

BTW - there is a large and technical literature on dealing with after incident stress disorders in emergency personnel and the military. While it is nice to speculate on what works or doesn't work based on what one thinks is common sense or your own personal philosophy - I will suggest that if you are in this position, you get competent professional help.

When I get the chance - I might post some good readings. Busy now.

EricReynolds
February 17, 2009, 03:35 PM
Thanks Glen. I appreciate your support. I'm ok now and it's a funny thing, as that I was able to cope immedately but it weighed on me. Combat situations are surreal though. Kandahar might as well be the moon. If I were a sniper and shot from a mile away, it would be different. More traumatic than pulling the trigger is watching the man die. When you come home and decompress, life gradually returns to normal. As a civilian, to shoot a person on your own block where you live, that would be a world of difference.

Gaxicus
February 17, 2009, 03:40 PM
Can you accept wearing the mark of Cain (if you believe in that sort of thing) to save the life of an innocent? Be honest with yourself when you answer those questions. Don't use euphamisms. Say "Kill" and decide if you want to put down the gun or not.

I wanted to address this early because it can be a pretty sticky wicket.

First, let me say that I am completely on board with the above quote. Some of you from other threads will note that I got a thorough flogging for using the word Kill or Killer in my posts in this kind of way. I don't want to drag one closed thread into another so lets just talk about this one..... Please?

Read the quote again, what is it he is saying?

Can you accept wearing the mark of Cain (if you believe in that sort of thing) to save the life of an innocent? Be honest with yourself when you answer those questions. Don't use euphamisms. Say "Kill" and decide if you want to put down the gun or not.

Pretty strong stuff. Harsh, even brutal language. The mark of Cain even. I believe he, a police officer and a police firearms trainer, used this powerful language because he wanted the reader to break through shallow rationalizations of the issue and really face it.

He says so with:

Don't use euphamisms. Say "Kill" and decide if you want to put down the gun or not.

I don't think for a second that he is trying to tell everyone to be a hyper-aggressive killer but it can be pretty easy to jump all over this guy with this perspective of what he wrote. Lets don't. It doesn't address the point he is really trying to make.

None of us wants to think of themselves as a killer in the way that word is typically used in our culture. For a police officer, its probably a bigger deal because the implications of this word in its common usage could blur or even remove the line between himself and the the people he struggles against every day. He uses it anyway, emphasizes the word kill, insists on its usage even. Bold stuff and I think I know why.

If the word "kill" is the proverbial monster in the closet, I think he is kicking us in the backside to get us to open the door and really take an unflinching look around instead using rationalizations to learn to live with our fears. He doesn't want us pretending its not there or re-imagining the monster in the closet into cute little fairies and twinkling elves, he wants us to throw the door open and face the monster. I really like this approach because it is simple, direct, and honest.

It follows the classic adage that when its important, Keep It Simple Stupid, or K.I.S.S.

I don't claim to speak for the original author, this is just my take on what he said. If I completely butchered what he was trying to say, I hope he accepts my apologies and will post back to clarify.

Again, new thread, lets keep it about this one.

David Armstrong
February 17, 2009, 04:12 PM
I don't think for a second that he is trying to tell everyone to be a hyper-aggressive killer but it can be pretty easy to jump all over this guy with this perspective of what he wrote. Lets don't. It doesn't address the point he is really trying to make.
There is a lot of difference between having to kill someone in self defense and being a killer. Some seem to confuse the issue. "Killing" in self defense is an unwanted, yet sometimes necessary, outcome over which the individual has fairly little control. Stop the threat and such terms are not euphimisms, they are goals. Sometimes killing is a side effect of achieving that goal.

#18indycolts
February 17, 2009, 04:12 PM
my thoughts about the critical incident stress debriefings: I never liked them, because you've got a counselor type telling you that what you're feeling is normal, that its ok to have certain feelings..etc. After a traumatic experience thats the last thing that I want to hear. Especially from someone thats trained to tell you that and wasn't even there.
Talking with the guys and gals that were there always helped me...because we're there seeing and doing things most people only watch on tv, and then having to deal with it later. I've only been a firefighter/paramedic for 5 years but dead babies and nasty suicides are still hard to deal with sometimes, especially the ones that haunt me.

jg0001
February 17, 2009, 04:35 PM
I think the only thing that would give me pause is if I had to measure up my own competence in the actual shooting... i.e. if the assailant was holding my wife or child in front of him, and a MISS could be deadly to someone I cared about. That, I'm not so sure I could do, without being very very certain of my skill. If you imagine that you believed the assailant was going to kill everyone in the house once you gave up the gun, well, then maybe I'd be shooting away anyway.

I've actually thought along the lines of WHERE to shoot someone that wouldn't be immediately fatal, such that if I hit my wife/child instead (and the bullet passed through them on the way to the assailant, possibly), what area would be best. Obviously, a head shot would be out of the question unless at close enough range or my wife/child was not being used (at all) to conceal the BG's head. I keep getting reminded of the scene in Die Hard 4 where Bruce Willis shoots himself in the shoulder to effectively shoot the BG in the center chest area. Something enough to disengage the BG from my loved one, but not something enough to immediately kill my loved one if I wasn't good enough to make a precise shot.

This is the scenario that bothers me most... not the BG out in the open stuff. Ever since I had a kid, I think my 'protection' gene has kicked in and I'd be fiercely defensive. Sure, I may second guess myself afterwards, but going in, if it's them or me (and mine), the choice will be easy.

EricReynolds
February 17, 2009, 05:38 PM
IndyColts, I hear that bro. I really don't think getting any kind of help should be mandated at all. In all fairnes though, the individual shouldn't play tough and refuse help if he really does need it. However, if the person does need it, whom he sees and when he sees them should be up to him. As opposed to talking to a department psychologist, what if he'd be more comfortable speaking with his parish priest. Maybe he has a regular shrink he sees and trusts. Maybe he'd be ok dealing with it on his own. My point is, seeking help isn't something a person should be pushed in to. It could do more harm than good.

Gaxicus
February 17, 2009, 05:53 PM
I think, rather than a "why (or should) you shoot" issue, his post is about coming to terms with the fact that you have an undeniable risk of killing someone using a firearm for defense. In this context, addressing the word "Kill" directly makes a lot of sense.

Its pretty easy to say:

"I could use a firearm to stop an attack"

Its entirely different to fully own the statement:

"I am willing to kill to stop an attack."

The chances of actually killing are up to debate but, however you rate the chance or the intent, its the kill part that gets to people.

If people are using a lethal weapon to protect themselves, its my position that they must be willing to accept the fact that a lethal weapon has reasonable chance to kill and they must address that directly.

To drop the word kill or lethal out of the discussion is sanitizing it to the point of irrelevance and doesnt help someone become OK and resolved with what they are choosing to do.

grumpycoconut
February 17, 2009, 06:44 PM
Gaxicus understood my point. He also recognized that I used harsh language for a very pointed reason. I'm not advocating that anyone stop using terms like "stop the threat" when those terms are called for. Gentle folks don't want to hear hard words and lawyers want to hear them so that they can use them to win their cases. Words are tools that need to be used every bit as carefully as table saws and guns. All I'm trying to say is that we have a duty to be blunt/honest/crude/real in our choice of words/concepts/images when we have this discussions inside our own skulls.

Glenn E. Meyer
February 17, 2009, 06:47 PM
When I get to work, tomorrow - I'll post some good references. BTW, the profession doesn't look favorably on critical stress debriefing. It has surface validity and fits into a military or paramilitary culture but its efficacy is suspect.

spacemanspiff
February 17, 2009, 06:55 PM
The question of being able to actually pull the trigger when faced with the situation should have been answered by the individual gun owner who carries for protection or has firearms readily available in their home for defense.

If the answer was a 'maybe' or leaning towards the negative, then in my humble opinion they should have sold all their guns and invested in Brinks Home security systems.

Having doubts about being able to do whatever it takes to survive is not something that should be contemplated after you have found yourself in a bad situation.

What comes first (or at least did for me) was educating myself on my states laws regarding the use of deadly force in self defense, and what constituted 'assault' in all its various forms. After I was satisfied I understood the laws of the land, then I had to figure out how I interpret the laws of my conscience.

Sometimes the chestthumping clouds everyones judgments, even those who have clear heads.

Gaxicus
February 17, 2009, 07:04 PM
We had a pretty darned good turnout and a lot of support.

However, after the range session I was standing with a group of students who were discussing firing a gun (for the first time) and although I didn't want to put a wet blanket on their enthusiasm I could tell that someone needed to clarify the difference between the "fun target shooting" they'd just done versus the full ramifications of owning and carrying a firearm for self defense.

So we had a discussion about what, ultimately, it might mean to have a firearm for self defense (namely that you might actually - maker forbid - have to shoot and possibly even kill someone). It was almost painfully obvious that they'd never considered it in the context of "deadly earnest".

I tried to be gentle, but also very firm, in explaining that the thought "could I really shoot someone and possibly kill them" is a serious question that needs to be considered very carefully and over some time.

It sobered them up pretty quickly and I felt a little bad about raining on their parade. However I ran into one of those students today and he said to me "you know, you gave me a lot to think about and I'm really glad you said something because my girlfriend and I have been talking a lot about what you said".

Nice work. No problems in the mirror next morning either I bet.

I've has some in depth discussions with some instructors that had various reasons for NOT doing what you did.

After hearing a bunch of them, I took away from it that they were worried about scaring people out of taking the classes they offered and/or they were worried about legal exposure.

I think both are legitimate concerns but I dont think either of them is a barrier to doing what you did, just an obstacle. Exposing people to the "Could I?" aspects of firearms was the responsible thing to do IMO.

Golf Clap

Deet
February 17, 2009, 08:24 PM
Could I shoot a BG, yep. But so many anti gun advocates on this forum have convinced me that in an encounter with a BG my shot will miss him, and even if I hit him my handgun is underpowered and he will live. So I guess I'll just call 911 instead.

Gaxicus
February 17, 2009, 08:57 PM
Could I shoot a BG, yep. But so many anti gun advocates on this forum have convinced me that in an encounter with a BG my shot will miss him, and even if I hit him my handgun is underpowered and he will live. So I guess I'll just call 911 instead.

I ran into that too. I think its kind of a game for them.

They will claim to be professional trainers with all kinds of credentials and, when not just openly mocking people, they start spitting out stats.

Hell, according to what statistics you want to believe, far less than 1% of us will ever be involved in a situation where you need a firearm and of those, 91-99% of those situations will be resolved by just showing the gun. I'll leave the math to you but it basically means that we dont need to know how to shoot, or ever really pull the trigger at all. We don't even need bullets!

Didn't pass the smell test with me either.

Put your faith in yourself and what you know. When someone starts claiming to be this or that, its usually because they said something stupid. If what they say doesn't hold water, it doesn't hold water. Even if they are who they say they are (and you can bet their not), smart and highly educated people are just as full of &$#@ as the next guy. Sometimes even worse. If their credentials were enough to prove them right, why do so many smart and highly educated people vehemently disagree with each other?

Get an instructor but an Internet Forum isn't where I would go to find one.

The internet is good for a lot of things but I wouldn't trust anyone to be who they say they are.

Just picture the phone sex chicks, only with a gun....LOL

No offense meant to anyone in particular but I think its good advice in general.

Nnobby45
February 17, 2009, 10:08 PM
There is an old saw in the army that teaches that you can never know a man until you have made a scout with him in bad weather. All the good qualities and bad in the human makeup force their way to the surface under the stimulus of privation and danger, and it not infrequently happens that the comrade who at the military post was most popular, by reason of charm of manner and geniality, returns from this trial sadly lowered in the estimation of his fellows, and that he who in the garrison was most retiring, self-composed, and least anxious to make a display of glittering uniform, has swept all before him by the evidence he has given of fortitude, equanimity, courage, coolness, and good judgment under circumstances of danger and distress.

John G. Bourke, Captain, 3rd Cavalry U.S.

From the book: On the Border With Crook
U. Neb. Press

We can talk about what we'll do all we want, and many do, but maybe we really don't know until the time comes.

mikejonestkd
February 17, 2009, 10:11 PM
Gaxicus, after your last post all I can say is - wow!!!

Do you know the definition of Irony? Please read your last post as a reference.

Thinly veiled attacks are still attacks on a forum member and are generally frowned upon.


enough of the chest thumping ( as already stated by spacemanspiff )

Gaxicus
February 17, 2009, 10:48 PM
Gaxicus, after your last post all I can say is - wow!!!

Do you know the definition of Irony? Please read your last post as a reference.

Thinly veiled attacks are still attacks on a forum member and are generally frowned upon.

enough of the chest thumping

Im not sure where the irony is, I have never claimed to be an expert or anything, quite the opposite, I dont claim to be anyone but some person that can surf the net and type.

Im just typing my mind here. Saying that people should never rely on anyone to be who they say they are on the internet is not insulting, its not mean, its just darn good advice. If its good enough for my kid in computer science class, its good enough for me.

The biggies-

No personal information. Im not posting my resume on an internet forum....sorry.
Don't rely on anyone to be who they say they are.

I didn't really feel any malice when I posted it. I laughed about the phone sex girls. You know the TV commercial when you hear their voice and they sound all sexy and stuff but then they show the person that is actually on the end of the line it is really not a very sexy person?

I was honestly just responding to another person here that has clearly shared in the experience I have had here. I meant it when I said "no harm to anyone in particular" but I don't think the subject I was replying to should be off limits.

I did read it again.. and again. Ok. I see what you mean. Not what I had in mind when I wrote it but I can see what you mean. Errghhh Let me think about that for a while. If it detracted from the thread or broke the forum rules I am sorry. Really.

David Armstrong
February 18, 2009, 12:05 AM
To drop the word kill or lethal out of the discussion is sanitizing it to the point of irrelevance and doesnt help someone become OK and resolved with what they are choosing to do.
We've been through this before, and nothing has changed. It is not sanitizing anything, it is presenting a valid and practical consideration. When you are shooting in self defense you don't care (or at least should not care) whether the person is killed or not. It is totally irrelvant to the situation. The goal is to stop the threat, to protect yourself. Sometimes (not often, BTW), that might result in a death.

All I'm trying to say is that we have a duty to be blunt/honest/crude/real in our choice of words/concepts/images when we have this discussions inside our own skulls.
I agree, but the eis nothing about that duty to suggest someone has to want/be ready/actively consider/etc. trying to kill someone. That is not the goal. Emphasizing the kill part of the equation distorts the picture, IMO, rather than helping clarify it. My duty is to protect myself and my loved ones. My clients duty is to protect themselves and their loved ones. That is the reality.

David Armstrong
February 18, 2009, 12:10 AM
They will claim to be professional trainers with all kinds of credentials and, when not just openly mocking people, they start spitting out stats.
Can you identify anyone on this forum who has claimed to be a professional trainer who does not have any of the credentials they have said they have, or that is not a credentialed trainer? I'm sure lots of us would like to know who that is, if you have anything to support it, of course.

Gaxicus
February 18, 2009, 01:49 AM
Can you identify anyone on this forum who has claimed to be a professional trainer who does not have any of the credentials they have said they have, or that is not a credentialed trainer? I'm sure lots of us would like to know who that is, if you have anything to support it, of course

As you probably know, I was responding to a person that posted about his experiences. He didn't name any names and, to me, seemed to speaking in general terms. For me to speculate as to specific names he was talking about would be futile. He spoke generally, so did I. He brought up a point and I responded to it. He mentioned no names, so how could I be specific to a person or persons at all when only the original poster knows the answer to that question?

If the shoe fits and it hurts, its not my fault for making the shoe. Its your fault for jamming your foot in it.

Gax

Noob101
February 18, 2009, 02:05 AM
I've thought about this both from my own thoughts and the obligatory discussions with family and friends when I stated my intention towards getting a rifle for range/hunting and a gun for the home.

In the cold light of day and imminent attack far from likely I wrestle with this and it scares me no end. However, in the situation, if the need is apparent and the consequences of not shooting are dire to myself or those looking to me for protection, then I think I would do it without a being even able to think.

I've been in a couple of situations where I was under attack and another where someone was breaking into my home (both were years ago when I was a student and living in not so great part of the world). I'm no Rambo, but in both situations I surprised myself with the speed and effectiveness of my response - fast, instinctive and brutal - in both cases I think I won because they were just as surprised as me!! I think/hope I haven't lost that instinct.

Now, ask me how I would feel AFTER shooting.... that would be a dark time I think. I hope this never becomes more than just an academic exercise!

ElectricHellfire
February 18, 2009, 09:44 AM
I could and would if myself or those I care about are threatened. Unfortunately, EMS won't arrive in time.

Glenn E. Meyer
February 18, 2009, 10:11 AM
Two things:

1. If you are going to disparage credentials - then it seems to me that you post yours. Also, if your post isn't to the discussion but to make snide remarks - you are at risk here.

2. To avoid folk wisdom on dealing with after incident stress - here's a list of articles relevant to police dealing with such. There is a good deal of overlap with what a civilian might face after a shooting. The books Cop Shock, Deadly Force Encounters and Klinger's are good easy reads. If you are serious, they are better sources of info than Internet rambling or anecdotes

Addis, M. E., & carpenter, K. M. (1999). Why, why, why?: Reason giving and rumination as predictors of response to activation- and insight oriented treatment rationales. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55(7), 881-894.

Adler, A. B., Litz, B. T., Castro, C. A., Suvak. M., Thomas, J. L., Burrell, L., McGurk, D. Wright, K. M., & Bliese, P. D. (2008). A group randomized trial of critical incident stress debriefing provided to U.S. peacekeepers. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21, 253–263.

Angelo, F. N., Miller, H. E., Zoellner, L. A., & Feeny, N. C. (2008). “I need to talk about it”: A qualitative analysis of trauma-exposed owmen’s reasons for treatment choice. Behavior Therapy, 39 (1), 13-21.

Artwohl, A., & Christensen, L. W. (1997). Deadly force encounters: What cops need to know to mentally and physically prepare for and survive a gunfight. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press.

Becker, C. B., Darius, E., Schaumberg, K. (2007). An analog study of patient preferences for exposure versus alternative treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 45, 2861-2873.

Becker, C. B., Zayfert, C., & Anderson, E. (2004). A survey of psychologists' attitudes towards and utilization of exposure therapy for PTSD. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 42, 277-292.

Cahill, S. P., Foa, E. B., Hembree, E. A., Marshall, R. D., & Nacash, N. (2006). Dissemination of exposure therapy in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19 (5), 597-610.

Devilly, G. J., Gist, R. & Cotton, P. (2006). Ready! Fire! Aim! The status of psychological debriefing and therapeutic interventions: In the work place and after disasters. Review of General Psychology, 10 (4), 318-345.

Dowling, F. G., Moynihan, G. & Genet, B. (2006). A peer-based assistance program for officers with the New York City Police Department: Report of the effects of Sept. 11, 2001. American Journal of Psychiatry, 63, 151-153.

Foa, E. B., Cashman, L., Jaycox, L., & Perry, K. (1997). The validation of a self-report measure of posttraumatic stress disorder: The Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale. Psychological Assessment, 9(4), 445-451.

Foa, E. B., Keane, T. M., & Friedman, M. J. (Eds.). (2000). Practice guidelines from the international society for traumatic stress studies: Effective treatments for PTSD. New York: The Guilford Press.

Foy, D. W., Kagan, B., McDermott, C., Leskin, G., Sipprelle, R. C., & Paz, G. (1996). Practical parameters in the use of flooding for treating chronic PTSD. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 3(3), 169-175.

Freiheit, S. R., Vye, C., Swan, R. & Cady, M. (2004). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety: Is dissemination working? Behavior Therapist, 27, 25-32.

Gersons, B. P. R., Carlier, I. V. E., Lamberts, R. D., & van der Kolk, B. A. (2000). Randomized clinical trial of brief eclectic psychotherapy for police officers with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13(2), 333-347.

Gist, R., & Devilly, G. J. (2002) Post-trauma debriefing: the road too frequently traveled. The Lancet, 360,741-742.

Kates, A. R. (1999). CopShock: Surviving post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Tucson, AZ. Holbrook Street Press.

Klinger, D. (2006). Into the Kill Zone: A cop’s eye view of deadly force. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lilienfeld, S. O. (2007). Psychological treatments that cause harm. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(1), 53-70.

Lindauer, R. L., Gersons, B. P., van Meijel, E. P., Blom, K., Carlier, I. Vrijlandt, V. I. & Olff, M. (2005). Effects of brief eclectic psychotherapy in patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Randomized clinical trial. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 205-212.

Miller, L. (2006). Practical police psychology. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher.

Najavits, L. M. (2006). Present- versus past-focused therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder/substance abuse: A study of clinician preferences. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 6(3), 248-254.

Resick, P. A., Ni****h, P., Weaver, T. L., Astin, M. C., & Feuer, C. A. (2002). A comparison of cognitive-processing therapy with prolonged exposure and a waiting condition for the treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder in female rape victims. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(4), 867-879.

Resick, P. A., & Schnicke, M. K. (1992). Cognitive processing therapy for sexual assault victims. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 748-756.

Rosen, C. S., Chow, H.S., Finney, J.F., Greenbaum, M.A., Moos, R.H., Javaid, I.S., Yesavage, J.A. (2004). VA practice patterns and practice guidelines for treating posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17, 213-222.

Rothbaum, B. O., Astin, M. C., Marsteller, F. (2005). Prolonged exposure versus eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD rape victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18, 607-616.

Tarrier, N., Liversidge, T., Gregg, L. (2006). The acceptability and preference for the psychological treatment of PTSD. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(11), 1643-1656.

van Emmerik, A. A., Kamphuis, J. H., Hulsbosch, A. M., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (2002). Single session debriefing after psychological trauma: a meta-analysis. The Lancet, 360, 766-771.

Volanti, J. M., Andrew, M. E., Burchfiel, C. M., Dorn, J., Hartley, T., & Miller, D. B. (2006). Posttraumatic stress symptoms and subclinical cardiovascular disease in police officers. International Journal of Stress Management, 13 (4), 541-554.

Wright, L., Borrill, J., Teers, R., & Cassidy, T. (2006). The mental health consequences of dealing with self-inflicted death in custody. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 19 (2), 165-180.

Young, J., Connolly, K., & Lohr, J. M. (2008). Fighting the good fight by hunting the dodo bird to extinction: ABCT’s dissemination effort. Behavior Therapist, 31(5), 97-100.

Zoellner, L. A., Feeny, N. C., Cochran, B., & Pruitt, L. (2003). Treatment choice for PTSD. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 41, 879-886.

David Armstrong
February 18, 2009, 10:15 AM
He didn't name any names and, to me, seemed to speaking in general terms. For me to speculate as to specific names he was talking about would be futile.
Oh, I see. So, when you say "They will claim to be professional trainers with all kinds of credentials ..." you actually have no idea if the peson being discussed is a trainer or what their credentials are. Basically, you are just making stuff up instead of basing your comments on any real basis of knowledege or facts. Thanks for clarifying that.

pax
February 18, 2009, 10:17 AM
Good post, Glenn.

I'd like to second the recommendation for Klinger's Into the Kill Zone. Have it sitting next to my elbow this morning for another project, and have to say that in addition to being a useful resource, it's very much a great read.

pax

pax
February 18, 2009, 10:17 AM
<pulling the Moderator hat on>

No more personal remarks in this thread, please.

</moderator hat>

pax

noyes
February 18, 2009, 11:15 AM
Has anyone started off using guns for hunting ? Hunting will teach you many things. How to take a life is part of it. How you may or may not feel after taking a life. People i.m.o. are just another form of animal.

ZeSpectre
February 18, 2009, 11:18 AM
Glenn,
Beautiful post.

and I can add a +1 for....

Artwohl, A., & Christensen, L. W. (1997). Deadly force encounters: What cops need to know to mentally and physically prepare for and survive a gunfight. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press.

Gaxicus
February 18, 2009, 03:52 PM
We just moved into a home with 3 floors. Typically, the master bedroom is upstairs along with the others. Not in my place. The previous occupants made kind of a suite out of the entire basement. Its a heck of a master bedroom and my sweety loves it. However much we like it down there, it presents some interesting home defense issues.

Ill just start with the classic home defense scenario where there is the sound of breaking glass etc. we are in our little basement suite and hear it.

Its very difficult to break in the basement quietly because of the way the window wells are constructed and the top floor would be very difficult because any points of entry are up very high and there is no concealment or good climbing holds. Chances are very good that a forced entry would occur on the main floor above me.

I haven't lived in a basement since I was a kid so its kind of a rethink.

The rest of the bedrooms where my kids sleep are upstairs. This puts the bad guy(s) between me and my kids from the moment they break in. This bothers me and introduces some real problems to say the least.

After a lot of thinking and a long hard look at what I could live with and what I couldn't, I reached the following conclusion:

I will secure my kids. There is no way I can sit downstairs with the phone and let people that just broke into my home have unrestricted access to my children. Smart or not, I just cant realistically see me being able to do it.

If I have to go through the bad guys to protect my kids, so be it. The bad guys put me in this position and I don't owe them anything. No macho chest beating here. I would rather have my kids in the room with me and the phone and let the cops clear the house believe me. As you can see, the layout of the house isn't very likely to allow that.

So, back to the scenario, there I am in my BVDs and kevlar ready to go upstairs and clear my way to my kids. An ugly visual for you to match an ugly situation. The basement stairs come up into a very central part of the main floor. This puts me in a very exposed position the very moment I reach the main floor where, hopefully, the bad guys still are. I may be exposed but I can see a lot of the house and anyone on the main floor would be even more exposed.

I believe that legally/morally I am still defending my home and family but I think its worth discussing that when I am steeling myself to go upstairs, I have changed to an offensive mindset. I have to clear my may to my kids. I am advancing against/through the threat. That is offense is it not? My tactic isnt "hold ground and secure" it is "take ground and secure".......offense.

I know there is kind of a militant insistence on always talking defense and any thought of offense or attacking is seriously frowned upon...for good legal reason but in this discussion of "could I?", I think it makes sense to discuss an offensive mindset.

What would be going through your mind when you are standing at the bottom of the stairs in your BVDs and kevlar?
What do you need to focus on? What can you give? What cant you? All that.

This is seriously the layout of my house and I dont see it changing for a while. Baby loves it. I have some ideas to help security etc, but I thought my situation might be good food for thought when you imagine readying yourself to go upstairs. Could you go on offense?

Gaxicus
February 18, 2009, 05:41 PM
Has anyone started off using guns for hunting ? Hunting will teach you many things. How to take a life is part of it. How you may or may not feel after taking a life. People i.m.o. are just another form of animal.



I started hunting when I was pretty young. I hunted a lot. Things happened in my life as I got older that kind of made hunting not as appealing to me anymore. I will still hunt if it is indeed a hunt and not just sniping and/or killing but the urge just isnt there very often anymore. I will still take my kids so they can hunt rabbits but I stick mostly to handgun hunting on the rare occasion that I hunt myself.

I had some pretty good discussions with a guy that insisted that it is unethical to eat meat unless, at least once, a person had killed and dressed their meal.

I know its not exactly what you are talking about but I think hunting does really push people to explore and own that part of their nature, if thats what you are getting at.

BTW I agree with the guy I mentioned. I agree with him more frequently than ever. Good outlook on things. Everyone needs a guy like that in their life.

Gaxicus
February 18, 2009, 07:32 PM
To avoid folk wisdom on dealing with after incident stress - here's a list of articles relevant to police dealing with such. There is a good deal of overlap with what a civilian might face after a shooting. The books Cop Shock, Deadly Force Encounters and Klinger's are good easy reads. If you are serious, they are better sources of info than Internet rambling or anecdotes

The list you posted is a keeper. Pasted into an email to myself.

Right now I am in the middle of reading some Richard Marcinko books that I have been promising to read since I was given them for Christmas. They are ony loosely topical to whats being discussed here but good reads anyway. Rogue Warrior was a page turner. Loved it.

Thanks for putting the time in to make such a list.

cjw3cma
February 19, 2009, 07:53 PM
Many years ago (when my daughters were 3 & 4 - now 38 & 39) two BG's broke into my house while we were home watching TV. I grabbed my 357 and held them at gunpoint until the police arrived (was in San Diego county so LEO's arrived within 5 minutes of my wife calling. No shots fired by me thank God.

I now live in rural southern Oregon and have my carry permit and knowing that law enforcement is not available for close to an hour from the time you call 911 (unless they happen to be in the area - highly unlikely) I do not think that I would hold them at gunpoint. With my training and my personal beliefs today, if a similar situation happened I would defend my person and my family with necessary force to end the situation.

I am not advocating this stance for anyone else but at soon to be 60 years of age and knowing what I do now I would be 100% prepared to end the situation with all of the force deemed required.

BlayGlock
February 19, 2009, 08:57 PM
I haven't read all of these post, but I will agree with something Kel said earlier.

If you are not prepared to use that gun, you had better not pull it on someone. And, If you have not seriously decided this question within yourself, you should not carry a gun.

Personally I would never take someones life over any of my personal property or "stuff", but I would not hesitate one second if my loved one's life was at stake.

supergas452M
February 19, 2009, 09:33 PM
Well its a decision I wont have to make should I be faced with a SD situation. That decision has already been made. I live with it every day. I dont know how I would feel afterwards as I have never had to deal with it and I pray to God I never do. I imagine after the initial mental trauma, I would sleep very well. I'm not going to be the reason I shoot a BG, that BG will have brought it upon himself.

Glenn E. Meyer
February 20, 2009, 10:43 AM
The problem is that folks sometimes do have problems after a shoot, despite what you think on the way in. That's what the literature says and you can find if you talk to some people who've been in them. So, part of preparedness for folks in shooting situations is to be aware that there might be psychological consequences and deal with them efficaciously.

A few classes I've taken specifically mention that and my police psychologist colleagues lecture the cadets to that point.

Gaxicus
February 20, 2009, 01:40 PM
The problem is that folks sometimes do have problems after a shoot, despite what you think on the way in.

A life threatening situation, especially when it involves shooting, is a bad time that will likely leave its mark on you to some degree no matter what. Ive heard people claim to have "no problem" after stuff like that but time tended to prove otherwise.

Im suggesting that just relying on bravado and not really exploring and owning ones choices and their results before an event like this could put someone at a disadvantage during the event and may have them asking the question "what the hell was I was I thinking?" afterward. Not good. I think we will all agree its better to know.

Knowing ones role in conflict, thinking through likely scenarios before hand, accepting the likely or possible outcome, and doing ones part to train for an event like that is a solid approach that should enhance performance, reduce risk of mistakes, and assist in recovery from the event.

Agree with above statement or not, I don't see how it could hurt.

David Armstrong
February 22, 2009, 05:38 PM
I have changed to an offensive mindset. I have to clear my may to my kids. I am advancing against/through the threat. That is offense is it not? My tactic isnt "hold ground and secure" it is "take ground and secure".......offense.
Why offense? You are acting to defend your family. That is a defensive scenario. You don't care if you capture, beat,or overpower the BGs, which would be the issue for an offense. Advancing against the threat is irreleveant, IMO. The concern is to secure your family. Seems awfully defensive to me. If you can save your family by yelling "Go away, I have a gun" and the BGs go away, you have accomplished your goal. We can get into the wisdom (or lack) of attempting to fight it out in the scenario given some other time.

I know there is kind of a militant insistence on always talking defense and any thought of offense or attacking is seriously frowned upon...for good legal reason but in this discussion of "could I?", I think it makes sense to discuss an offensive mindset.
I don't think it is anything like a militant insistence, it is more of a collective wisdom based on experience and training. Willingness of "could I do it" is not based on an offense or defense mindset.

Runswalking
February 22, 2009, 09:24 PM
It’s funny what I remember about “would I kill” if pressed to do it. Being military trained and a hunter from an early age I had no trouble “shooting”. I was a top rated Expert marksman. I could hit what I wanted to hit. However in a combat situation for the first time I was eating mud and thinking what the hell, somebody is gonna get hurt if they don’t watch where they’re shooting! It took the sight of blood to kick my arse in gear. For years after returning I didn’t have much to do with guns. But then I decided to get a CCW and really battled with the legal stuff involved after the killing. That bothered me more than the decision to kill. What would I be putting my family in for?

Ginger
March 4, 2009, 11:15 PM
I cannot fathom that anyone would break into and enter my home without being armed, unless they were crazy, in which case if I am armed and fail to neutralize them they might disarm me. I don't have much experience or skill, and don't even have a gun yet, but from the moment my home has been violated any moral issues about preservation of human life go out the window. There isn't a people shortage, and the benefit of the doubt ends between my no tresspassing signs and my front door. I'm a small woman with kids, and frankly I've had enough in my life of protecting the rights of others to be in a position to harm me or my kids. I picture my home like my web, and I'm one fed up spider. Once I know an intruder isn't a confused plumber or a neighbor with alzheimers, they have forfeited their humanity in my eyes.

A better question, could I not do it? How could I not do it? Mitigating violence is non-violence. Allowing someone with violent intent to carry out those intentions is violent. I'm over being an accessory to my own victimization.

tshadow6
March 5, 2009, 06:58 PM
The one time I drew my weapon on duty, I was all set to put 6 in the bad guy's chest, reload and put 6 more in. It happened so fast I don't remember actually pulling my gun out. I looked into the holding cell, didn't see my prisoner. I thought he was hiding behind the door, ready to jump me in order to escape. In a nano second, I made the decision I was going to "take him off the count". Fortunatley, he was only trying to hang himself off the fire sprinkler. I yelled at him to get down from there, backed out of the room and called for back-up.

Brian Pfleuger
March 5, 2009, 08:10 PM
The rest of the bedrooms where my kids sleep are upstairs. This puts the bad guy(s) between me and my kids from the moment they break in. This bothers me and introduces some real problems to say the least.

Holy smokes! That would bother me a whole lot. Not just BGs but fire also. I would seriously consider finding a way to get an enclosed stairwell from basement to top floor. It may not be practical but it's the solution I'd be looking at most closely.

Mello2u
March 5, 2009, 08:55 PM
Runswalking

Would do it!
It’s funny what I remember about “would I kill” if pressed to do it. Being military trained and a hunter from an early age I had no trouble “shooting”. I was a top rated Expert marksman. I could hit what I wanted to hit. However in a combat situation for the first time I was eating mud and thinking what the hell, somebody is gonna get hurt if they don’t watch where they’re shooting! It took the sight of blood to kick my arse in gear. For years after returning I didn’t have much to do with guns. But then I decided to get a CCW and really battled with the legal stuff involved after the killing. That bothered me more than the decision to kill. What would I be putting my family in for?

I have had to point my pistol on two occasions while on duty as a deputy sheriff and in uniform. There was no shooting.

I think that I would have the most "trouble" with shooting someone as Runswalking noted above. It is what our government puts you through after a justified shooting that concerns me most. I decided I COULD shoot when I decided to carry a gun.

If you carry and are undecided you are in a bad place.

Gaxicus
March 6, 2009, 12:11 PM
I don't mean to be a doom and gloomer but I think things are going to get worse before they get better. People are already burning their houses here to avoid foreclosure. White collar joes are becoming felons.

As this stuff gets worse and layoffs or business closings really start kicking, your going to have a lot of desperate people out there. The people on the margins now will have a hell of a time. One of the few recession proof businesses is drugs. The news is full of stories involving Mexican drug cartels.

Time to check the locks and latches. I think its going to be a bumpy one. If you cant make the decision to get a gun, I would at least get mace and a Louisville Slugger.

bugs
March 9, 2009, 11:01 AM
A couple of quick points. First, what one THINKS they can/will do in a situation is not a real good indicator of what they actuially will do. A fair amount of evidence over the years of those who think they can freezing up when the time comes, as well as evidence indicating those who say they can't actually perform quite well when the time comes.

Dave is correct. The army found that a lot of soldiers froze, even though they obviously chose a warrior's profession. Thus, modern training programs are designed to reduce the automatic freezing response that sometimes occurs. It's wired into you but can be overcome with training.

I agree with these two. Its not necessarily a matter of values, or morality, or reluctance to take a life - its more a matter of being able to function in a crisis situation where things are happening fast and the heart is racing. A few folks seem to actually perform better in a crisis, but most have a tendency to either freeze or go into a panic mode. Maybe training can help - but I suspect there is a limit to what training can do. It is difficult to simulate life or death situations.

Sergeant York was a concientious objector in WW1, yet once on the battlefield he performed like the hero he was. He seemed to have no more trouble pulling the trigger on a German soldier than he did shooting a turkey back home. But then, when you need to make that turkey shot in order to eat, that is a lot of pressure too.

Ginger
March 9, 2009, 11:39 AM
I have a question. I've never had to shoot anything, so I'm wondering about the "freezing" being discussed, and if anyone can make an analogy to something I am experienced with, like driving, perhaps? I have been in situations where some violence or wrongdoing is taking place and others watch stunned while I have intervened, little tiny loudmouthed me, I think the bg's have been scared because they think (know?) I must be crazy, anyway, other than being in a situation where you actually have to shoot someone, how can you know if you'll have this problem and what can you do to prevent it? From a civilian standpoint?

Sparks2112
March 9, 2009, 12:08 PM
I have a question. I've never had to shoot anything, so I'm wondering about the "freezing" being discussed, and if anyone can make an analogy to something I am experienced with, like driving, perhaps? I have been in situations where some violence or wrongdoing is taking place and others watch stunned while I have intervened, little tiny loudmouthed me, I think the bg's have been scared because they think (know?) I must be crazy, anyway, other than being in a situation where you actually have to shoot someone, how can you know if you'll have this problem and what can you do to prevent it? From a civilian standpoint?

I don't think there is any way to know for sure. As far as training, I'd get a lot of practice shooting at realistic human targets. It's why the army switched from Bullseyes to pop up targets. If you train until it's second nature to draw and fire (also practice drawing and not firing so you don't get in the habit of shooting no matter what) then hopefully you'll cut down some of that hesitation.

David Armstrong
March 9, 2009, 12:25 PM
other than being in a situation where you actually have to shoot someone, how can you know if you'll have this problem and what can you do to prevent it? From a civilian standpoint?
You can't. interestingly, IME just because you have been able to do it once doesn't mean you will be able to do it again. Probably the best things are visualization and actual FoF training. Often the "freeze" is the brain trying to figure out what it should do.

Glenn E. Meyer
March 9, 2009, 12:28 PM
It is thought that a fear evoking stimulus is quickly processed by the amygdala to generate an emergency response. One of those is to freeze as freezing makes you harder to detect in our past nonurban, outdoors surroundings. When you move, you easily attract predator vision due to one of the mammalian visual systems specialized for such.

Thus freezing as some ecological validity. The armed forces have programs that through repeated exposure to such, try to teach you to move and react by programming other automatic motor responses. The use of FOF for civilian and police training uses the same idea.

Another conceptualization is that we are in a state of disbelief when the emergency happens. That paralyzes action choices. Training to act dispells that.

Are there individual differences in response? That's being investigated and, duh, the predictive factors are in a book that is at work and I'm on Spring Break.

Sparks2112
March 9, 2009, 12:34 PM
the predictive factors are in a book that is at work and I'm on Spring Break.

I should have stayed in academics :-(

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 01:43 PM
Mentioned earlier is that at my place, a home defense situation at night will likely have the intruders in the middle floor, with me in the basement, and my kids on the top floor.

I will have to "clear" the main floor to get to my kids.

While I may be defending my home and family (a defensive strategy) I will have to advance into the main floor to get to the upstairs to secure my kids (an offensive tactic). This is far different than herding everyone into a room, covering the door, and waiting for the police.

Since this is more of a psychological "could I?" thread rather than a legal one, I think it is important to discuss that at one point or another it may be necessary to advance from a defensive position and take or deny ground from/to the threat. I believe this to be a significant psychological shift that should really be part of the “could I?” self-discussion.

Getting troops to leave a bunker, trench, or foxhole and advance has been the subject of a lot of study, thought, and training since the beginning of ranged conflict. I think defensive firearm owners need to face it head on and become comfortable and resolved in their approach to this situation.

Stealth may also be important because it makes a lot of sense to achieve an advantageous position before announcing ones presence. Just yelling up the stairs to them that we have guns and the cops are on their way may result in them making hostages of my kids. I don’t plan on announcing my self until I have achieved entry to the main floor, have at least one other location to retreat to, and I have a BG in the sights. It would be nice if I can sneak to the kid’s rooms without incident and just sit tight with them till LE gets there but the layout of the house makes this incredibly unlikely.

I’ve seen on this thread where people who thought to employ body armor as “mall ninjas” and what not but if you must advance against the threat as I must, it makes a lot of sense, especially if your honey can cover the door to your room as well as mine can while you put it on. Mine sits under the bed ready to go. I can realistically be armed and armored in much less than 30 seconds.

The “Could I?” discussion applies to more than just “Could I shoot someone?” it applies to:

“Could I sit downstairs leaving my kids at the mercy of intruders while we wait for the police?”

“Could I leave a relatively safe position and advance against the threat to deny them access to other people in the house?”

“Could I keep quiet until I reach the other people in the house or achieve a decent position to protect them?”

“Could I coherently explain to law enforcement what and why I did what I did when they finally get there?”

“Could I resist attempts by law enforcement to get me to make statements before consulting an attorney?”

Thinking it through makes sense but even the best plans usually don’t survive first contact with the enemy. At least from a tactical point of view you will be clear as to what your goals are, what you can live with, and what you are willing to die for when your plan goes to hell in a hand basket.

From a moral/psychological point of view you will know what options are realistically open to you and have some alternatives in mind to get around your “sticking points”.

Being an analytical type A person, “thinking this through” came natural. The necessity of “feeling it through” became clearer as I started getting into some of the details. The bottom line is that I am much more comfortable and confident in my role as a defensive firearm owner. I hope my situation and experiences in finding the proper approach to it might be helpful to others here as well. I am sure others have plenty to contribute.

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 04:52 PM
Ginger-

I have a question. I've never had to shoot anything, so I'm wondering about the "freezing" being discussed, and if anyone can make an analogy to something I am experienced with, like driving, perhaps?

I’m just some guy typing away on a gun forum. I can claim to be anyone from anywhere. Ill do my best to give you my take on it but you need to do your part to get direct information from real and accountable sources. That said, here goes.

I believe the "freezing" you mention to be a result of the cumulative effect of many factors. A lot of effort has gone into methods of identifying and desensitizing people to “panic button” triggers for military, police, athletes, and even public speakers.

In my experiences and in my reading, there seems to be a general consensus that while these triggers are unique to the individual, there are some common things that come up in almost everyone.

It’s not just “panic button triggers” that must be addressed. There are habits that people develop from a very young age that can stampede through your panic triggers like a bull in a china shop. The most common is Fear Escalation or "Heaping".

My best short summary of fear escalation is that when something happens that evokes fear, the person will pile other fears on top of it. You mentioned driving. I’ll try a realistic example:
_________
Ah, quitting time. Out the door into a stinging snowstorm. She reaches the car and starts it up. The radio is awash in reports of traffic accidents and delays as she waits for the windows to defrost. “This sucks” she mutters to herself as she looks out the frosted windshield at the storm. The radio breaks in again with a report of an accident with injuries. “This really sucks” she says out loud, trying to remember which one of her friends lost a sister in a storm like this a few years ago.

“I can’t just stay here; the kids are waiting for dinner. I hope they made it home ok. Maybe Bill can grab something on his way home."

She fishes her phone out of her purse and dials home. “All circuits are busy, please hang up and try again” is all she gets. She tries again, and again, same results. Blurting out obscenities about phone companies, snowstorms, and about why she still lives here, she puts the car into reverse, it barely moves. She has to pull forward and back a few times to get enough momentum to break through the pile of snow behind the car.

Finally she eases the car into drive. Clutching the wheel with a big sigh she eases the accelerator down while trying to remember what Bill said about front wheel drives versus rear wheel drives in a slide. The continues talking to herself as she exits the parking lot.

“I wonder if the kids or Bill have been trying to reach me.” “How long has the service been down?” “God I hope they made it ok.” “Where did I put that phone?” “Oops can’t look a way from the road.” “Ok, just stay focused”. “Do I steer into a slide or out of one in a rear wheel drive?” “The freeways are usually the first to get plowed but oh man, I hope people aren’t being idiots and driving too fast.”

As she pulls on the freeway it pops into her head. “It was Candice’s sister!” she blurts aloud. “Oh how bad that must have been for her and her kids.” “How did her husband cope?” “Bill couldn’t get out the door for work if I didn’t get everything ready for him, how could he ever raise the kids alone?” “What if he remarried?’ “What kind of woman would he marry, one of our friends?” “I bet Amy would be all over him with her fake boobs and her stupid laugh.” “The kids would never.”

Whoosh! A semi speeds past her at 70MPH blasting heavy slush and ice into the side of her car. The car shifts and starts to slide sideways. She hears herself scream and feels her foot stomping the break. BOOM, boom boom BOOM boom.

Tap tap tap. “OMG what happened?” Tap tap tap. Her hand reaches for the window switch on its own. Tap tap tap. The icy window goes down revealing a police officer. He is saying something but it sounds like he is talking into a pillow.

“Mam, I am going to need you to pull your car over to the side of the road.”
______

Okay, with my terrible attempt of writing there I tried to illustrate how a typical person can escalate fears or “heap”. By the time the semi truck whooshed by she had dozens of fear triggers loaded with tension ready to trip. When the event happened they all went off causing a panic and a freeze.

Once she had made the decision to drive, the answer to the stress was to just focus completely on driving and not allow other fears into her head. “Just drive” should be the only thing she allowed herself to say to herself. Just drive as in I am only going to drive, the other stuff is beyond my control. I am just going to drive.

Triggers

Killing is a concept that is almost a universal trigger. It’s a huge thing no matter how grizzled you are. Firearms are lethal weapons and should be treated as such. To take the steam out of this monster, I think you should really look at it with both eyes open. Face it. There are many ways ranging from a shrink to game guide.

In lots of interviews with combat vets where the question comes up of how they can kill, the subject of hunting comes up almost immediately from those with hunting experience prior to military service. If you aren’t a vegetarian, it seems only ethical that you kill, dress, and eat your own meal at least once in your life. We all know that meat comes from animals, not Styrofoam and plastic wrap, but how many of us really own that? Hunting changes people, I think for the better, even if it is only once. A new respect for life and ones place in nature (which includes man by the way). There are plenty of people at hunters safety class that would be more than willing to tag along with you and a friend on your first hunt. Fowl or ruminant, professional guides can help a lot too.

The next trigger is kind of two sided. The threat of death of ones self or a loved one. I think it is a testament to the good in human nature that most people seem to make peace their maker or with “fade to black” when it comes to a threat to themselves much more easily than they do when it comes to a threat to their loved ones. Both can cause panic and stupid decisions or non-decisions.

If some criminal has a gun to your kids head and tells you to drop your gun, the question you need to ask yourself is what is he going to do to your kid once you are disarmed? I will almost always take the shot but it’s a decision you are going to arrive at your own way. The best way to deal with any fear is to take as much of the unknown out of it as possible. Look at it naked with both eyes open and see what you find.


As I said before, Im just some guy that can type and post stuff to a gun forum. If this stuff makes sense to you or not, its up to you to use credible, accountable people and information to address it for yourself. I hope this stuff can at least get you started.

Best wishes,

Gax

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 05:52 PM
Ginger-

I'm over being an accessory to my own victimization.

I just loved reading that. I obviously had some time on my hands today with all of the posts. Its just the best thing I read all day.

Ian0351
March 9, 2009, 06:10 PM
I would kill to defend myself, another or sensitive property. I have fired weapons in combat situations, am familiar with the emotional response and do not think that it would be any harder to rationalize/justify doing so to protect yourself/loved one/domicile than it is to protect "democracy" in a country that isn't interested in personal freedom. Just my $0.02... lots of good marines I served with did have some problems after taking the lives of people who were actively killing our brothers.

I don't want to look at the world like there is a scumbag around every corner and a rapist under every bed

Where I live there's a meth dealer on every corner and a child molester in every neighborhood, and as has been posted by the OP things are probably going to be getting worse before they get better. For that reason I am armed and ready.

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 06:38 PM
I have fired weapons in combat situations, am familiar with the emotional response and do not think that it would be any harder to rationalize/justify doing so to protect yourself/loved one/domicile than it is to protect "democracy" in a country that isn't interested in personal freedom. Just my $0.02...

What you said above about democracy is true but its weekness is also its strength. As stupid as "we the people" can get sometimes at least we can make these mistakes without needing a revolution to fix them.....I hope.

Marines have had to endure and pay for in blood the stupidity of politicians and civilians, foreign and domestic, since they were founded. They suffered it with pride and faith that we would eventually get it right. All I can say to you and your brothers is GOD BLESS THE MARINE CORPS and THANK YOU! Keep the faith. We'll get there.

Where I live there's a meth dealer on every corner and a child molester in every neighborhood, and as has been posted by the OP things are probably going to be getting worse before they get better. For that reason I am armed and ready.

Well, with you guys coming back theres going to be at least 10 marines for every meth dealer and probably one funeral for every child molester (just kidding but you know what I mean). 10 marines setting the example in every neighborhood is going to go a long way toward setting the neighborhoods and the politics in this country right. Mission isnt over yet I am afraid. Welcome home. We need ya here!

Ginger
March 9, 2009, 06:58 PM
Hey Glaxicus, glad I could make your day! I've spent alot of time thinking these things through, and continue to. I feel that having come from a profoundly anti-violence background, in which being anti-gun was just a fact without question, I've made radical strides, no pun intended. Fear gets on my nerves. Have I been fearful? As a victim of stalking, who has suffered profoundly as a result, yes. And let me tell you, the stalking, no matter how dangerous, was not nearly the problem that the fear it instilled was. Today I went grocery shopping. I grew up in the flatlands of Oakland and spent my college years as a pedestrian in SF. I know how to handle myself in public areas. Now I live in a seemingly safe and benign Idaho town, although there are violent criminal acts reported here occasionally. I should be posting this in the Parking Lot thread, but here I am. Keeping the thread in mind, I observed my surroundings, van parked next to my car, the guy just sitting in his car a few spaces down with the open drivers side door, the two loading groceries across the lane from me, my money on their being adequately armed, and I thought about the single most important safety feature to me in this parking lot, or any other for that matter, and it is unequivocally the absence of fear. I know to never allow myself to feel fear in the presence of Law Enforcement or BG's, just the same as around bees. I might be aware of risk, jeapardy, etc., but I always consciously control myself from feeling and therefore exhibiting any fear. I sincerely think my absence of fear in dangerous situations has saved my piddly little ar*e on many occasions. That said and out of the way, with all I've been through, I've been left with a sense of self righteous indignation. Will that be enough to let me pull a trigger when I need to? I don't know. I hope I don't find out. Unless I have to, in which case I hope to have practiced enough and visualized enough to be comfortable with my conscious gut level reaction to being intruded upon or violated in any way, which is to push back just harder than I got pushed, this is where you end and I begin, and it's a sacred place.

Ginger
March 9, 2009, 07:12 PM
Here's more. Are there other correlaries one can draw from to determine one's ability to fire when needed? This makes me consider the different times I've been attacked, and my own different responses. The first time was a gradeschool duel, pre-arranged, with a boy a bit shorter than me, 7th grade. Students and teachers looked on, as we faced each other. He punched me in the eye. I remember thinking as this went down how incredibly stupid it was. I stood there and didn't hit back, end of story, one day missed from school. Then a couple of domestic incidents, each time with someone bigger, stronger, and way more crazed. I didn't fight back, and probably escaped without further injury as a result. Then, a stranger mugging. I was cruising semi-loaded down a street in the south of France with a friend who didn't speak French. An Algerian chick rushed us from behind, grabbing my over the shoulder money belt which was foolishly exposed. This ticked me off. My ensuing stream of expletives being in French, my friend thought the other woman was my friend. But she had my ticket home, my passport, phone numbers, and money. So I chased her down, screaming my head off, and tackled her on a busy roadway, holding her down in oncoing traffic and recovering my stuff. I was highly angered. Since then I've twice been attacked by drugged out wacko females. Each time my reaction was utter calm, and concern for my attacker and what was wrong with them, and I did not engage. They were in each case removed by their respective associates. Is there any way to know from the variables of one's own responses one's ability to appropriately hold or not hold fire?

I would hope to fire when necessary. My fears as I presently contemplate using deadly force are primarily around injuring someone who didn't have ill intent. In a home defense situation I cannot imagine not firing at someone I have determined to be a legitimate intruder. I'm really looking for any information to determine if not firing could present as a real problem, because if it could be I need to address it or having firearms in my home is going to put me and my kids at greater risk.

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 07:15 PM
Hey Glaxicus, glad I could make your day!

Just one minor thing first. Its Gaxicus.

I can really tell by your story that you have turned a corner. You have a lot of inertia pulling you toward the way you were before but you have twice as much will and conviction to counter it.

When the intertia finally starts pulling with you instead of against you its like being reborn isnt it? Good day to be in the parking lot eh?

Take your time with the decision about the gun if you can. Stick with your convictions about your new direction. Right now it is your "single most important safety feature". You should be proud of yourself. Congratulations. Enjoy your victory.

Gax

Ginger
March 9, 2009, 07:23 PM
Thank you for the excellent advice, Gaxicus, and my apologies on my error. Got my CWP 11/05/08 and still haven't made a purchase, so you hit that nail on the head, and I am taking time growing in to my newfound enthusiasm. I just wish it was issued 11/04 ;)

#18indycolts
March 9, 2009, 07:28 PM
What you said above about democracy is true but its weekness is also its strength.

Not to stray from the point, but is this directed at the U.S.? Just curious because the U.S. is NOT a democracy. Again, not to stray, but if people knew what this country was founded upon, then we still wouldn't be saying that.

vox rationis
March 9, 2009, 07:36 PM
Not to stray from the point, but is this directed at the U.S.? Just curious because the U.S. is NOT a democracy. Again, not to stray, but if people knew what this country was founded upon, then we still wouldn't be saying that.

It is a Republic based on Constitutional Law! Do I get a twinkie!?

sorry, back on topic.

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 07:45 PM
Ginger-
I was highly angered. Is there any way to know from the variables of one's own responses one's ability to appropriately hold or not hold fire?

Most of the time people do one of two things. What has worked for them in the past (whether it was good or not, sometimes taking a beating is sadly a method some use for peacemaking), or what they have to.

From what I can read you spent a lot of time doing what "worked" for you in the past. In france and in your new life you are doing what you decided you had/have to.

(pours us both a cup of coffee and leans in)

A word of caution. That inertia can run deep. Some women I have known that were atracted to and were attractive to abusive men had a real hard time understanding how the transition to their new life was effecting their love life and sense of femininity.

As you get more miles under your shoes in your new life it can be a catch 22 depending on where you are that day. Sometimes a guy that would normally be buying you a drink wont give you a second look and sometimes you cant keep the guys that have been traditionally "your type" away with a can of bear spray. It can be rough on a persons self esteem and hard to stay the course on your new life.

It takes time for the new you to develop a "type of guy" that is attracted to you and you are attracted to. No guys are better than the wrong guy. It will take time for you to start attracting and be attracted to the right kind of guy. Times they are a changin......go for it.

I have to throw some gun stuff in here to keep it topical so I will just reiterate my advice to take your time getting a gun if you can. This is about you and where you are. Keep it about that. Your new self will be your best protection until you are ready.

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 07:51 PM
Not to stray from the point, but is this directed at the U.S.?

The orignial poster put the word democracy in quotes. I responded in with that in mind. Sheesh, like 5000 words today and you guys are bustin my bricks over this?

Catfishman
March 9, 2009, 07:55 PM
Post #16 bothers me. You shouldn't show someone a gun you can't use. If the other guy had been armed it would have been too bad.

Showing a gun can lead to bad things. I don't think someone should use a gun to win verbal confrontations. The old saying "don't point a gun at something unless you are willing to shoot it" is correct. Do you really want to shoot a guy for being a loud mouth. I would recommend staying in the car with the windows up or getting out and fighting.

If carrying a gun changes your personality leave the gun home.

Ginger
March 9, 2009, 08:01 PM
I don't know how to quote here yet, but in response to your post, Gaxicus, there is alot of truth to what you are saying. I went through a phase of only dating LEO's, or affiliates, then a long phase of not dating at all. I'm good with it all. I'm an odd bird, to say the least, so I don't think it is even as simple as all that. I'm older now, and comfortable with myself. I've got a dog I love, and am really good with that. Ultimately, I would never let a man or any other for that matter give me my own sense of safety or take my own sense of safety. And that is the way it should be. I'm self reliant in every aspect of the word, and anyone I'd be attracted to going forward is going to have to be secure in themselves and not looking for a good guy or a bad guy crutch in me. How's that for stretching the thread topic :eek:

What you may touch on though, however inadvertently, is what I would assess to be in some victims - read survivors - a need to be sure they can hold fire, just as much as a need to be sure they can fire.

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 08:03 PM
If carrying a gun changes your personality leave the gun home.

Amen to that brother. How do we get the soccer moms to leave their minivans home. They might be the sweetest woman in the world in person but wrap that machine around them and its PAYBACK TIME!

Mostly joking but not quite

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 08:09 PM
How's that for stretching the thread topic

There are so few women here, and even fewer I havent offended, that a little flexibility is in order at least in my opinion. You posted some stuff I think others will/should find interesting that is plenty topical.

Ginger
March 9, 2009, 08:12 PM
I hope the offense speaks more of others sensibilities than your lack thereof! ;)

Gaxicus
March 9, 2009, 08:16 PM
I hope the offense speaks more of others sensibilities than your lack thereof!

Oh its both, I am a sexist neanderthal sometimes but I will fess up to it.

Ian0351
March 9, 2009, 09:00 PM
I posted democracy in quotes because the term is unilaterally misused in modern society... there has not been a true democratic state since ancient Greece, and they only had the idea correct, not the execution.

However, I was referring to our republic's fascination with spreading "democracy" at the muzzle of a gun, not the political realities of living in this, the greatest country in the world.

That said, I was drawing a corollary to the instinct/urge to defend oneself being stronger than the compunction to defend an idea or way of life, not trying to start an off-topic political discussion, there are other threads for constitutional banter.

Mike Giambroni
March 10, 2009, 09:49 PM
I can honestly say this is an open scab.
Several years ago when I was enlisted in the Marines I was faced with this same moral question. Could I shoot all those kids holding those AK-47s?
Some time ago the Albanian government set up a plan (pyramid scam) for the public to invest there life savings into the treasury and in return the government would build the investers new houses. The highest paying job there was $82 a month so this was a great deal to them. The govt. faulted on the plan and the investers were a bit upset. Needless to say police barracks armorys were ransacked and the public fought back. Seeing this the govt. made a public statement saying that it was the US then they turned the gun fire onto the embassy and the compound where the embassy workers lived in 6 digit homes.
The press say that there was no casulties but I beg to differ.
The parents came out at night and then they sent the children out during the day for supplies.
I had to sight in on a couple possible targets during the day.
The only possible positive thing that I have to say about my experience is that I lived another day to have married my beautiful wife and to have a full of life daughter which whom I would do it all over again for now.
The question shoud be do you believe in what you're fighting for.

bugs
March 11, 2009, 12:02 PM
I have a question. I've never had to shoot anything, so I'm wondering about the "freezing" being discussed, and if anyone can make an analogy to something I am experienced with, like driving, perhaps?

I think freezing on the trigger is somewhat analogous to other high pressure situations, esp. those where your life is at stake. So a person who would freeze on the steering wheel as the car went into a high speed slide, would be likely to freeze on the trigger too. But I suspect individuals will vary - depending on the way the situation/threat impacts that bundle of cross-wired matter between the ears.

IMHO, if a person has a history of freezing in high stress fast moving situations, having a gun for self-defense may not be a good idea.

Ginger
March 12, 2009, 07:54 PM
I thought about the single most important safety feature to me in this parking lot, or any other for that matter, and it is unequivocally the absence of fear. I know to never allow myself to feel fear in the presence of Law Enforcement or BG's, just the same as around bees. I might be aware of risk, jeapardy, etc., but I always consciously control myself from feeling and therefore exhibiting any fear. I sincerely think my absence of fear in dangerous situations has saved my piddly little ar*e on many occasions.

Here is an article on the fear phenomenon: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090312/sc_livescience/humansrespondtoscentoffear

Mike Irwin
March 13, 2009, 12:18 AM
"Could I really shoot someone if I needed to?"

Anyone who is still struggling with that question and who is carrying a gun at the same time has absolutely NO business carrying a gun in my opinion.

They are a disaster waiting to happen, either to themselves or someone else.

The FIRST thing that anyone who entertains the thought of carrying a gun should do is some serious soul searching to answer that very question.

I did that back in 1986 in the months leading up to my 21st birthday. I concluded that yes, I could, and would, shoot someone who posed a threat to either me or someone I cared about, and I would do so unhesitatingly.


But if you (collective, not necessarily you specifically) are carrying a gun and are still wrestling with that question, I urge you to lock the gun in the safe and go to an alternative means of self defense until you come to a resolution.

BuckHammer
March 13, 2009, 01:12 AM
Here's the way I look at the shooting to stop thing.

If it comes to the point where I need to discharge a firearm in defense, I will shoot for vitals (chest area and center of mass).

I will do this because I believe that I can most reliably stop a threat against my life that way.

I feel that I can most reliably stop a threat that way because it is very likely to kill the threat-bearing individual (I have hunting experience in the arena of vital shots being likely to kill), or at the very least seriously incapacitate them.

Honestly, I'd rather have them survive to be prosecuted, but I'm only going to be worried about what most reliably protects me from serious bodily harm or death.

This entire post was concerning the scenario where I'm already in the scenario in which I can and should shoot (legally and morally), in order to protect my life or that of others. It assumes any such actions are lawful. Void where prohibited and all that crap.