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Old December 26, 2012, 01:38 PM   #1
W.E.G.
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engaging the active shooter

engaging the active shooter.

I got this as part of an email today from Gabe Suarez.
(I am well aware of Mr. Suarez’s reputation and detractors on the internet – please focus on his message, and leave character-opinions out of any replies.)


As it pertains to the tactical response of the lone armed-citizen when confronted with an active shooter, I find it hard to disagree with one word of Mr. Suarez’s post.



Napoleon once said that a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. We can learn a great deal from what went wrong here can't we?

Here are some points for you to consider.

1). A pistol will win against a rifle IF the pistolero kills the rifleman before the rifleman sees him. Much of this has to do with tactics, but that should be part of your skill set.

2). If the pistolero fails to drop the rifleman due to an inoperative pistol, a miss, or insufficient damage caused by too few pistol rounds, the rifleman will probably kill the pistolero.

3). The surest way to stop a man in his tracks (with some permanence) is with a shot to the head delivered at close range. Some folks dislike teaching head shots. I require them.

4). Verbalizing or challenging, as in "Halt - Drop The Gun" is not a good idea. In fact, its virtual suicide in a situation like this. You cannot yell and shoot well at the same time, and yelling may alert the bad guy to your location. There is evidence that this occurred in Tacoma.

5). You verbalize and challenge ONLY when you are not certain of what is going on and then ONLY from behind solid cover (if the adversary is armed with a rifle, few things qualify as cover). If you have enough to justify shooting, then shut your trap and work the trigger.

6). There is a great deal of discussions on Defensive Shooting. Shooting in a case of this magnitude is only defensive in concept. It is pro-active and aggressive deliberate and premeditated shooting.

7). Although I like and teach point shooting (in its context), pro-active shooting like this requires traditional marksmanship. Be deliberate! Watch your front sight and press carefully and repeatedly (with your mouth shut).

8). Train with photographic targets and do force on force training. Get used to the idea that you carry your gun to potentially shoot at a human attacker. The more you get comfortable with this the easier it will be. Tommy Lee Jones' character in the movie, The Hunted, told his students that when you can kill in your mind, the physical part is easy. He's right.

9). Consider that under some circumstances you may have to make do with a knife. I'm not saying that you will attack a rifle man with your Spyderco at 50 yards, but that in the event that he is within arm's reach (which was the case with several of the Tacoma hostages) your knife may be the only thing between you and being killed. So learn how to kill with your knife.

10). Last, consider that there may be a reason why God (or fate if you wish) put you, armed and trained, at that very spot and place in time, with the ability to save innocents. This is the life-giving sword (or gun in this context) that some ancient warriors discussed in their writings.
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Old December 26, 2012, 02:47 PM   #2
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I guess if you are training to be a combatant it sounds good. However I look to leave the field of battle before it becomes a battle.
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Old December 26, 2012, 03:07 PM   #3
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Sounds correct to me. Just hope I never have to get that far, though I do believe that at some point, we'll find terrorists in our malls. Best to be prepared.
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Old December 26, 2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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It's why some of us train long distance instead of at belly button range and why some of us won't leave till everybody is safe. Those unarmed or unprepared to fight should run for concealment at least, cover preferably and a secure hiding spot best of all. That is only common sense.
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Old December 26, 2012, 04:19 PM   #5
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Very good valid points. Face it, if you carry a gun and have to use it to defend yourself; you are in a gunfight-battle-combat. If I am the one posed to stop a mad gunman, why should my attitude be anything but the destruction of the BG?

Train your body and your mind.
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Old December 26, 2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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I think you will live longer if you do all that you can to avoid an active shooter.

He will have the advantage of choosing the time and weapons and all you will be doing is reacting with what you have.

Which, if you are at the typical workplace, will be spit wads.

Your best chances are getting 1) getting out of there, 2) if stuck, find a room and locking the door, calling the Cops, and hoping the gunman will find the next open room more inviting than yours. These nut cases are against a time limit once the authories are notified.

And don't trust people in uniforms. The Nut in Norway dressed as a Cop and told people he was a responder. When they got close he shot them. He killed 78 people or so.
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Old December 26, 2012, 05:41 PM   #7
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The one advantage a concealed carrier has is that the murderer is unaware of your condition. You might even know his location prior to contact. A firearm you can take with you capable of a shot beyond the typical gunfight ranges might indeed put an end to a massacre, saving lives and give some backbone to our reason for carrying.

We don't get to choose the time. I hope I'm carrying more than an LCP should the need arise.
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Old December 26, 2012, 05:58 PM   #8
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I'm a uniformed cop who works a walking beat in a high school. I can't speak from the mindset of a non-sworn citizen, but I can speak from the mindset of a street-level cop.

Let me first say that I have never had any problem with a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun. Not the first problem, and in this very gun-friendly state, I assume that about half the people I talk to are either carrying, or have a gun within arms reach. SO, let me say this again; I have never had a single problem with a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun.

Now, lets go to the active shooter. If I encounter an active shooter I am going to engage the shooter. I will continue to engage the shooter until the fight is over. If I have time (while running toward the fight), I'll call my cavalry on my radio, to get them rolling, but my intent is to engage the shooter and end the fight.

If you are a plainclothes citizen, when I get to the fight, I expect you to clear my field of fire. The safest way for all concerned is for you to immediately go prone. I won't have time to short the sheep from the goats, and anyone standing up holding a gun will be engaged. I will continue to move toward the shooter, to attempt to end the fight.

If, at the end of the fight, I'm still standing, I will handcuff the shooter, regardless of his medical condition. If my cavalry has not yet arrived I will probably also handcuff anyone holding a gun. Don't take it personally, I certainly won't. I'll apologize after it's over, and if it turns out that you were trying to help, I'll see that you're given appropriate accolades. Tell reporters what a great guy you were, see if the Mayor will give you the keys to the city.

This is an event, that while I hope it never happens, I've trained for, studied, wargamed, and had long, earnest discussions with like-minded souls since 2002. Lets hope I never have to use all that training.
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Old December 26, 2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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Yardbirds & headshots.....

I disagree with training to take "headshots". That to me requires an advanced level skill set(on the level of SWAT/HRT/tier 1 spec ops). There are many, many problems with aiming at a human head unless you are at CQB distances(3-6'). The head is small & not very thick. It's not always going to work.
If the armed subject is wearing body armor or moving, I'd aim for the lower torso. It will disable the spree shooter & allow you to engage him/her then take any required follow-up shots if needed.

I'd add that skill training & use of force/spree shooters should include multiple bystanders or witnesses not involved in the event. Stress, chaos and manic behavior should be expected.
It's not PC, but I'd also say that you may expect that type of reaction in low income/poor areas. Some "bystanders" feel compelled to get directly involved in any event they see. As a security officer(armed & unarmed) I've seen it occur often. Police & patrol deputies deal with these crowds all the time at crime scenes. About a year ago, I went to the scene of a "shots fired" call at the low end hotel property where I worked. An unknown male fired a few shots then fled the scene. The parking lot was flooded with "yardbirds" who milled around causing a huge problem. I thought to myself how difficult a use of force event would be due to the ignorant bystanders in harm's way.

The US Army Rangers & spec ops troops had to deal with these situations constantly in Restore Hope. It's very stressful & annoying.
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Old December 26, 2012, 08:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Napoleon once said that a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. We can learn a great deal from what went wrong here can't we?
He may have said this but this is actually a Latin Proverb from Roman Times.

Quote:
Here are some points for you to consider.

1). A pistol will win against a rifle IF the pistolero kills the rifleman before the rifleman sees him. Much of this has to do with tactics, but that should be part of your skill set.
Maybe. A lot depends upon ranges, activity and a host of other factors. Seeing the active shooter before he sees you is merely one factor in an overly broad scenario.

Quote:
3). The surest way to stop a man in his tracks (with some permanence) is with a shot to the head delivered at close range. Some folks dislike teaching head shots. I require them.
This is very true. Heads are much harder to hit for a lot of reasons (smaller, constantly moving around with activity, etc) but are shots are most often more effective with a round that can assure either penetration or catastrophic damage to the head.

Quote:
4). Verbalizing or challenging, as in "Halt - Drop The Gun" is not a good idea. In fact, its virtual suicide in a situation like this. You cannot yell and shoot well at the same time, and yelling may alert the bad guy to your location. There is evidence that this occurred in Tacoma.

5). You verbalize and challenge ONLY when you are not certain of what is going on and then ONLY from behind solid cover (if the adversary is armed with a rifle, few things qualify as cover). If you have enough to justify shooting, then shut your trap and work the trigger.
I can't think of any reason why you would want to verbally challenge an active shooter holding a rifle while you are holding a pistol.

Quote:
7). Although I like and teach point shooting (in its context), pro-active shooting like this requires traditional marksmanship. Be deliberate! Watch your front sight and press carefully and repeatedly (with your mouth shut).
I am not so sure. Again I think it depends upon a lot of things, range being an important factor as well as your load, tactical situation and a host of other things. Deliberate shooting at a target ten feet away holding a rifle sounds foolish to me.

Quote:
8). Train with photographic targets and do force on force training. Get used to the idea that you carry your gun to potentially shoot at a human attacker. The more you get comfortable with this the easier it will be. Tommy Lee Jones' character in the movie, The Hunted, told his students that when you can kill in your mind, the physical part is easy. He's right.
I like TLJ. When he acts in a movie it is not real life it is a writer's view of what he thinks life is. I don't think killing people can be made easy for most people. This does not mean that people should not learn how to deal with stressful situations.

Quote:
10). Last, consider that there may be a reason why God (or fate if you wish) put you, armed and trained, at that very spot and place in time, with the ability to save innocents. This is the life-giving sword (or gun in this context) that some ancient warriors discussed in their writings.
From what I have studied most ancient warriors were brutish, cruel, self interested and self involved. They would unapologetically hack most people to death if it met with their short term goals.
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:31 PM   #11
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What was the specific incident referred to?

I know this is probably a dumb question, but I'm ignorant of what specific incident Suarez was referring to when he said we could learn from it. (?) I admit I'm socially retarded and don't often watch the evening news, cause it's depressing..... And just a few minutes ago, I got off the phone with my pastor who said he was at that moment stuck in traffic near the local mall. Seems there was a shooting there and the mall was being closed, cleared, and traffic now diverted to elsewhere. These recent highly publicized shooting sprees seem to be consistently the work of- to borrow from Chris Rock- some crazy guy. The ones that occur locally (Salinas, CA for this/my local and current example) are generally gang-related and just don't seem to ever reach national news, even when 4 or 5 people are shot. Maybe, well, I don't know.... but I would try to use my cellphone to get back-up rather than try to be a hero first. The opportunity for a clear shot would have to present itself very clearly. Just don't know if I'd want to go looking for trouble, unless I was forced to by circumstances....
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
I'm a uniformed cop who works a walking beat in a high school. I can't speak from the mindset of a non-sworn citizen, but I can speak from the mindset of a street-level cop.

Let me first say that I have never had any problem with a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun. Not the first problem, and in this very gun-friendly state, I assume that about half the people I talk to are either carrying, or have a gun within arms reach. SO, let me say this again; I have never had a single problem with a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun.

Now, lets go to the active shooter. If I encounter an active shooter I am going to engage the shooter. I will continue to engage the shooter until the fight is over. If I have time (while running toward the fight), I'll call my cavalry on my radio, to get them rolling, but my intent is to engage the shooter and end the fight.

If you are a plainclothes citizen, when I get to the fight, I expect you to clear my field of fire. The safest way for all concerned is for you to immediately go prone. I won't have time to short the sheep from the goats, and anyone standing up holding a gun will be engaged. I will continue to move toward the shooter, to attempt to end the fight.

If, at the end of the fight, I'm still standing, I will handcuff the shooter, regardless of his medical condition. If my cavalry has not yet arrived I will probably also handcuff anyone holding a gun. Don't take it personally, I certainly won't. I'll apologize after it's over, and if it turns out that you were trying to help, I'll see that you're given appropriate accolades. Tell reporters what a great guy you were, see if the Mayor will give you the keys to the city.

This is an event, that while I hope it never happens, I've trained for, studied, wargamed, and had long, earnest discussions with like-minded souls since 2002. Lets hope I never have to use all that training.
Best. Answer. Ever.
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Old December 26, 2012, 10:42 PM   #13
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^^^^^ x2
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Old December 27, 2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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^^^^^^^^ Great answer PAWPAW.
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:50 PM   #15
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Words of wisdom indeed. I most certainly take them to heart.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:35 PM   #16
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The sad part

I'm at 26 years of EMS service, after my army stint, and some side by side training with LEO on active school "situations"....
Paw Paw...God forbid should we have to face this together, I may end up shot in the AZZ but will thank you as you put on the cuffs cuz the shooter is done and down. Unless its a known person to you,uniform or not you will look at them as a hostile IF they show any aggressive or defensive actions.

As far as head shots.....IF you want to be ready to face this possibility you had better train to camly aim at what you want to hit while stressed and moving...chest, head or to just to knock the gun out of its hand.....{DUH}
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Old December 28, 2012, 12:07 AM   #17
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There are other considerations we should consider. The AS is not likely to be well-trained. He will probably experience tunnel-vision and may have a weapon malfunction, as in Aurora. He is also not expecting a fight, which is why he chose a soft-target. All of these things work to our advantage, even if his has a more powerful weapon than we do.

See the Jeanne Assam interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sGx_acSmzw

There are things in our favor, even is the situation is far from optimum.
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Old December 28, 2012, 12:50 PM   #18
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Run-Hide-Fight/FEMA 2011 training clip/active shooters....

I disagree with the one recent post. Some of these "active shooters" may not have formal skill training or be ex-military/LE but their mental state & skill with video games(first person shooter) may aid their marksmanship.
As I posted in the past(before the awful Sandy Hook school shooting), there was a young boy who shot 15 of his 17 victims in the head. He later told investigators he never fired a real weapon but played a lot of video games.

I'd add that on YouTube.com is the office worker/labor response to a spree shooter/active shooter. It was produced by the city of Houston TX. It's called Run Hide Fight. I dont agree with all the points but it's a good way to open up or plan for any events in the workplace.
FEMA, www.training.fema.gov , has a few free online courses about active shooters & emergencies too. The video was made in 2011.

I'd add that I saw a YouTube.com video last night of author/instructor/match shooter Massad Ayoob discussing use of force training. He told the host about a big training seminar in 1995 of top level instructors/LE-spec ops/intel officers who used Simunition in a training drill. 120 out of the 130 were KILLED! Only Ayoob and 1 other member(a criminal psychologist) were able to eliminate the threat. Why? Because they were AWARE of their surroundings & watching out for danger!
As the US Army MP school cadre & staff always told us; Stay alert! Stay alive!

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Old December 28, 2012, 01:37 PM   #19
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Besides him being a total tool. The few things I agree in his statement seem to just be common sense ideas. No revelations there...
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Old December 28, 2012, 02:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClydeFrog
He told the host about a big training seminar in 1995 of top level instructors/LE-spec ops/intel officers who used Simunition in a training drill. 120 out of the 130 were KILLED! Only Ayoob and 1 other member(a criminal psychologist) were able to eliminate the threat.
Yeah, I've been to training seminars like that, and while I like force-on-force training, many times the instructors will set up a scenario that can't be won. Especially if they set up the scenario and don't let you use all the tools, all the maneuver, all the things that are commonly available in a fight. I've been subjected to some of those and all it teaches you is soak up bullets valiantly.

The best scenarios have the fewest rules, and teach you to think under fire. They also have good debriefs, where others can learn from your mistakes. The place to make mistakes is in training.
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Old December 28, 2012, 03:08 PM   #21
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I'm not a Suarez guy, Ayoob guy or anybody but a Sarge guy. When the balloon goes up, none of them will be holding my hand. But Gabe is dead right on all counts here. This stuff, and incidents like the North Hollywood Robbery, are precisely why some of us zero our carry guns for 50 yards and work hard at that distance.

Also, kudos to PawPaw, especially for post #8.

I have no truck with any private citizen who avoids a confrontation with a rampaging active shooter. If you do make that decision, channel Crazy Horse:

"Hokahey, today is a good day to die!"

Then fight like hell until it's over.
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Old December 28, 2012, 05:23 PM   #22
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training/use of force lessons..

The Ayoob clip wasn't that complex & the training drill was not slanted.
As Massad Ayoob explained, the students(all veteran LE trainers, armed professionals or military spec ops) had to take a older family member to the airport in a SUV & be ready to engage a threat at any time.
What the seminar members did not know was that a cadre was hidden under a pile of gear & bags. Only Ayoob and a medical professional who deals with LE, quickly IDed the threat(bad guy). That's out of 130 students.
A few students did engage the armed subject but were "killed".
Some did nothing & complied with the "bad guy". They were murdered at point blank range. Ayoob remarked that the training drill left a few of the seminar members with PTSD & mental health issues.
The video clip is worth viewing. Ayoob is a "straight shooter" & has taught 100s of armed citizens/sworn LE officers.

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Old December 28, 2012, 06:01 PM   #23
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To each their own, but I'm thinking you're all smoking something funny along with a tinge of John Wayne fueled fantasy of how it's actually going to go down.

Having seen trained Infantryman freeze up in react-to-contact, 99% of you who have no formal training are going to quickly vacate your bowels into your pants (mostly figuratively but also literally in some cases).

Best thing for you to do is runaway and runaway fast as some numbnuts strolling around a shooting area with a weapon is liable to get himself shot by the professionals responding to the situation or by another numbnuts trying to be a hero.

The last thing I'd do is try to take on an active-shooter (especially one armed with a rifle) with a handgun and only engage in gunplay as a last resort.

I know my ideas aren't very heroic, nor fit into people's John Wayne fantasies, yet having done a thing or two in regards to using weapons under pressure and stress, it would be a rare man who can pull it off, especially when confronted with an unexpected ambush.
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Old December 28, 2012, 08:42 PM   #24
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harsh: Inside Edition...

Those remarks are a bit harsh. I'm not quite sure who they were directed towards. As I posted; the city of Houston TX video is called RUN Hide Fight.
Run being the first proper response for a employee or unarmed citizen.
The long time airing news show; Inside Edition, had a New York area security expert say you should; "hide" in a mall or active shooter incident. I disagree.
I've seen other critical incident videos by highly trained instructors who also say it's best to flee. You become a smaller target & may be harder to hit.

I'd agree that some victims may lose control of their bowels or may vomit due to stress but I'd be ready to haul Paul's balls if required.

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Old December 29, 2012, 01:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
To each their own, but I'm thinking you're all smoking something funny along with a tinge of John Wayne fueled fantasy of how it's actually going to go down.

Having seen trained Infantryman freeze up in react-to-contact, 99% of you who have no formal training are going to quickly vacate your bowels into your pants (mostly figuratively but also literally in some cases).
Really?

Quote:
I know my ideas aren't very heroic, nor fit into people's John Wayne fantasies, yet having done a thing or two in regards to using weapons under pressure and stress, it would be a rare man who can pull it off, especially when confronted with an unexpected ambush.
Many thoughts here are not intended as heroic, nor fantasy. There are many people here who have trained, and have carried guns into harms way. You are not the only one here to have operated in a dangerous stressful environment.

Speaking for myself, I feel that I have been trained quite well at great expense to the people by the GOV. I feel that being trained, equipt and prepared that I have a moral obligation to stop slaughter.

Quote:
The last thing I'd do is try to take on an active-shooter (especially one armed with a rifle) with a handgun and only engage in gunplay as a last resort.
A man has got to know his limitations.

FYI - Loss of control to bowls and/or bladder have nothing to do with fear. It is your bodies natural reaction and preparation for fight or flight. If you were as well trained as you profess you would know that.
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