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Old August 7, 2009, 09:18 AM   #1
Wildalaska
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Lessons from the Pittsburgh Gym Shooting

Havent seen much here about what pistol to wear while doing aerobics or how to carry in spandex tights?

Is that because the lessons taught by that shooting are painful for those who believe that carrying 24/7, every time, every place, everywhere... will "protect" them? Equally painful to those who carry lots of guns and BUGs and mags?

What are the lessons?

The first one is that a determined, armed adversary, acting with speed, surprise and firepower can accomplish his murderous mission before anyone, outside of a REAL military Operator, can react.....

The next one is that under some scenarios, fighting back would be more harmful than doing nothing... Consider, the lights go out and a flurry of shots ring out. The guy in the Hello Kitty leotard next to you drops down screaming I'm hit, as you fumble for the 1911 strapped to your custom made workout thigh rig....folks are running to and fro as bullets fly everywhere, some are falling, tell us how you engage?

Finally, the most important lesson is that no matter what, if you want to live life outside an armoured car and Kevlar full body armour, no one is ever fully safe. That, in conjunction with lesson first above, is why I frequently look askance at the overly armed crowd.

You can wear your lightning rod helmet and beat those head on lightning strikes, then while you are patting yourself on the back some ball lightning will whack you in the gut....

WildoneandtowandstepandheywaitihavetoadjustmythongholsterAlaska TM
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Old August 7, 2009, 09:36 AM   #2
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first lesson is that prostitutes save lives. this guy could have bought plenty and not killed anyone but decided to go so long being alone he went crazy feeling bad for himself.
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Old August 7, 2009, 09:37 AM   #3
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The first one is that a determined, armed adversary, acting with speed, surprise and firepower can accomplish his murderous mission before anyone, outside of a REAL military Operator, can react.....
This was just proven on June 10 when James W. von Brunn killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC before he was shot. And this was by an 88 (some reports said 89) year old man who managed to do this in a place with armed guards using a rifle he openly carried into the museum. The really sad thing about this is that von Brunn, unlike George Sodini, is still alive and we are going to have to waste money on a trial!

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Old August 7, 2009, 10:56 AM   #4
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first lesson is that prostitutes save lives. this guy could have bought plenty and not killed anyone
Or, he'd have ended up killing prostitutes. It's been done fairly often.

"Guns don't kill people, misogyny kills people."

If you read Mr. Sodini's blog, he was mostly focussed on his own death, on getting out of his miserable existence; you don't have to be a shrink to see that he was massively depressed, and had been for most of his life. I think the real question, as opposed to lesson, here, is this: when, and why, did suicide come to include taking other people along?? A fairly common motive of suicides is "I'll make you sorry." "I'll make you pay for making me unhappy" seems more and more to take this rather literal form, whether it's the more usual murder/suicide involving a spouse or children, or this type of rampage shooting.

It's a pity he didn't (as far as we know) get treatment for the depression, which can be a life-threatening illness. (Please note that I'm in no way implying that Mr. Sodini wasn't responsible for his actions; I'm not a fan of the argument that "mental illness," except in very extreme cases, lets people off the hook for what they do.)
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Old August 7, 2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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he was alone for decades. thats why he was depressed
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Old August 7, 2009, 11:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kyo
he was alone for decades. thats why he was depressed
He was depressed for decades. That's why he was alone.

Depression is organic, which is to say it's at least partly a function of brain chemistry. It also makes it really hard to get out and meet people or be the life of the party...

One of the best forms of "self-medication" for depression, if not the only one, is regular exercise. One of the things that's interesting about this case is that Mr. Sodini wrote in his blog that going to the gym was starting to make him feel better. I can't help wondering if there's an analogy here to the way that, in children and adolescents, antidepressant drugs increase the risk of suicide: once on the meds, it seems these patients feel just enough better to act out their suicidal tendencies. Perhaps something similar happened here, with exercise being the "drug" that enabled Mr. Sodini to act out...

Pure speculation, of course, and off topic.
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Old August 7, 2009, 12:15 PM   #7
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I believe the lessons articulated by the OP make a lot of sense.

Arming yourself only represents part of the equation. A gun is not a talisman.

For me, the lessons of defensive driving apply to everyday life:
Always have an escape route
Pay constant attention to those around you
Try to predict the actions of others
Control yourself when confronted with aggression

Yes, you can always be blindsided. But let's say you survive the first few shots, and returning fire isn't possible. Do you stay calm, trying to quickly escape or find cover, or do you run around in circles screaming and waving your hands in the air?

Pardon me, I just put down my copy of The Teaching of Buddha,
but let me just say this: attachment to worldly things (guns)=bad, mind control=good. Furthermore, one shouldn't take pride in good health. To expect to stay in one piece is to suffer. As such, I try not to worry about the eventual shredding of this body.
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Old August 7, 2009, 01:42 PM   #8
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When I go to the gym, I carry a small bag that holds my wallet, car keys, cell phone, workout log and some other stuff.
If I went to a regular civilian gym, that bag would also contain my P3AT, but I go to the base gym. No concealed weapons on base.

I can only hope that, if anyone decides to shoot up the gym, they'll do it on a weekend when it's crowded and not on a weekday morning when most of the folks are dependant wives or retired guys like me.

Quote:
Furthermore, one shouldn't take pride in good health. To expect to stay in one piece is to suffer. As such, I try not to worry about the eventual shredding of this body.
I'm going to be dead for billions of years.
No use rushing into it!!
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Old August 7, 2009, 01:43 PM   #9
ezenbrowntown
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Lesson learned? "Anyone can get got......."

A concealed weapon is an extra tool in the tool box. It increases my chances, not guarantees them. Even with mental awareness, proper training, familiar equipment, etc., someone can still get the jump on any of us.

I'm not going to let fear dictate the way I live my life, as it's not life then. Do I stay prepared? Sure. Do I stay aware of my surroundings? Sure. But I'm also not going to go live where I can't enjoy things due to a fear of something happening. What's the point of going out with friends and watching the game if I can't enjoy either because I "have to" constantly scan my surroundings? For me at least, there's got to be a balance. Excellent drivers still get run into, but that doesn't keep them from driving ever again either.

Last edited by ezenbrowntown; August 7, 2009 at 01:45 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old August 7, 2009, 01:49 PM   #10
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So now we have to be a "real military operator" to defend ourselves reliably? Sounds like more Obamanism to me. How sad: we've become a nation of scared, blind sheep.

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Old August 7, 2009, 01:56 PM   #11
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So now we have to be a "real military operator" to defend ourselves reliably? Sounds like more Obamanism to me. How sad: we've become a nation of scared, blind sheep.
Just what we need....off topic reductio ad obamamum screechsloganeering to add noise to the signal here.

Perhaps you need to reread the thread

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Old August 7, 2009, 02:03 PM   #12
Shawn Thompson
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The next one is that under some scenarios, fighting back would be more harmful than doing nothing...
Really?...Interesting perspective. At what point, or how long do you propose waiting before determining that doing nothing is now too late? As a whole, waiting and doing nothing is what took a terrible thing that happened at Virgia Tech, and turned it into a tragedy!
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Old August 7, 2009, 02:36 PM   #13
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Wild, I think the only thing that Pittsburgh really teaches us, is to embrace a warrior ethos that despite all your training or lack thereof, you can die. You can be happily sitting at an ice cream shop sharing a banana split with your lady fair and the clerk behind the counter just snaps from too much happiness and whips out a shotgun. Bang-boom, you and your girl are dead and you had no idea it was coming.

Lots of places in this world where you just aren't in "condition yellow/orange/red/brown/muave/sage/coyote." More than likely, most of us are in a dusty chartreuse state of mind in our daily endeavors.

You dive into Buddhist philosophy (or even some of the eastern European orthodox christianity stuff like "The Way of the Pilgrim") you see a lot of reference to re-birth and re-death. They don't mean that in terms of actual physical death, but more along the lines of a loss of daily awareness and cognizance.

If you switch on the autopilot and lose focus of your control (or is that control of your focus?)... are you really alive? Nope, you're in condition white or green or whatever.

Much of this translates to the warrior ethos written about most famously by Miyamoto Musashi, but also Gichin Funakoshi and even by some boring old white guys too.

Ultimately, the warrior embraces death in order to deliver it most quickly and win the battle. Detachment from his desires in life. Takes considerable training to maintain that mindset. Pretty much a full time job.

As for the Pittsburgh situation... Musashi himself would have been in spandex and sweatin' to the oldies and caught unawares, without his swords. About the only thing he might have done is thrown himself onto the gunman bare-handed, take the wounds that would result and try to kill him anyways.

Not many among us are that refined of a warrior. Not many among us have the desire or the discipline to reach that level of reaction, nor want to gamble and pay the price for the outcome.

It's best to come to terms with the fact that you can be caught unawares, in spite of the Deagle, matching colt commanders and ankle LCP you carry to the gym. Maybe make accommodation for places where carrying just isn't logistically possible by adding a pistol to your gym bag if discretely possible.

Aside from that: You can still be the first/second/third/fourth target before you react quickly enough to stop the shooting or at least make him go for cover. You can get hit. You can die.

And, in that reaction time you spend drawing a gun, you "could" run away instead or put bodies between you and the gunman.

Lots of choices, all of which can turn out bad. But it still boils down to the fact that a pistol doesn't grant cognizance of your surroundings, nor bullet proof status for the first rounds of a crazy shooter. You can die.

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Old August 7, 2009, 02:40 PM   #14
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I doubt it.
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Old August 7, 2009, 02:44 PM   #15
Kyo
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if i had to take a lesson from this it would be to live life as best you can cause you don't know when your deadsauce. and I mean that.
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Old August 7, 2009, 02:52 PM   #16
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Lots of choices, all of which can turn out bad. But it still boils down to the fact that a pistol doesn't grant cognizance of your surroundings, nor bullet proof status for the first rounds of a crazy shooter. You can die.
Bingo.
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Old August 7, 2009, 03:15 PM   #17
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Too close to home to put any real thoughts in place. Bridgeville really is not Pittsburgh though I guess it will now be remembered as the Pittsburgh shooting. So it is still a little hard to put everything in perspective when it hits close to home, after all aren't these things suppose to happen in the big cities. It is this last statement that may be the one to worry about.

Did we learn anything? I doubt we learned anything that we didn't already know. Crazy stuff can happen anywhere any time.

The only thing we can do is be aware of our surroundings the best that we can. The next is to expect the impossible in any place we may go. We certainly can't live in a bank vault but that doesn't mean that you can't start looking more at your surroundings.

I know I often find my self looking for exits and places that provide protection if only for a second when I'm out with the family. I often give a person with a large bag a little more attention, such as a duffel bag. I know I watch someone new that walks into a place that I have never seen or just doesn't fit.

I'm not paranoid but I certainly don't take too many things for granite today. After all my best defense to trouble is my self and the actions that I take.

Just remember Wild Bill sat with his back to the door. I try not to make the same mistake in life.

Last edited by Farmland; August 7, 2009 at 03:29 PM.
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Old August 7, 2009, 08:44 PM   #18
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Active Shooter Timeframe

Keep in mind that George Sodini was an Active Shooter, and had a timeline in his head to indicate when shooting others stopped, and shooting himself was to take place.

My guess is that he had a short window of time, and was more concerned with making sure he ended up dead, and not wounded and arrested.

If you had a gun with you in the room, and he did get you in the first few shots, any return fire that you could have made would have upset his expectations, and forced an earlier exit. You would know where he was - even in the dark, he would have to find you when you started shooting, so at least your first shot would be a free one.

Steel nerves would necessary. You would have to have him look away from you when you started your play.
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Old August 7, 2009, 09:03 PM   #19
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Most likely in a short time,someone will come forward and make a silly statement about knowing this was going to happen.You can bet someone he knows was expecting this and did absolutely nothing to stop it.History keeps repeating over and over.
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Old August 7, 2009, 09:47 PM   #20
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We are reminded that:

Safety and Security are an illusion.

There are people on this earth that are here for no other reason then to create chaos and destruction.
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Old August 7, 2009, 09:51 PM   #21
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His accuracy was bad though right? he killed 3 people using 37 bullets?
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Old August 7, 2009, 10:31 PM   #22
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When you're in the kind of shape I'm in, yoga and death are pretty much synonymous.

At some point individual efforts at self protection will fall short. There is also a point where communal efforts become way too onerous. I'm betting not many people would have joined this club if they had metal detectors and strip searches at the door...well, metal detectors at the door.
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Old August 9, 2009, 05:40 PM   #23
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Just a little nudge for this thread because I think the message here is way more valuable than most people are willing to admit.

For one, a response to challenging the having to be trained as military operative to be effective, the answer is no, with a however. The truth is, very few people can respond in the manner that is necessary in that sort of situation, you either don't have the resources or time to put in the level of training necessary. Remember, a military operative lives and breathes that sort of environment. Even still, they'll respond differently, a Ranger will respond differently than a SEAL who will respond differently than Delta, who will respond differently than FBI HRT, who reacts differently than a US Marshal, etc. etc. But in the end, they are highly trained for situations like that. For the average CCW, you're not.

Set the scene: Lights go out, shots are fired, screams, machinery being slammed around, moans of pain, people panicking and running for the nearest exit, people running into you, the location of the BG isn't necessarily known to you, your adrenaline is flowing signaling fight/flight syndrome, and there's a thick haze of gunsmoke in the air that clouds your senses. How many of you actually train for that?

The simple truth is, we don't, for various reasons. Until you've even been in any situation where you feel your life is threatened, you don't know how you'll react. Its not necessarily something that you can train for, outside of military/law enforcement training. This isn't to say don't carry...do carry [responsibly], train till you feel comfortable with your firearm and skills, then train some more.

Want to know the funny, honest answer to the adrenaline thread? The honest answer is, instinct takes over. This is why units train all the time, to get you to instinctively respond. So, if you carry a .454 Casull but still flinch hardcore with it when you shoot at the range, you're going to flinch. If you always take the time to drop your brass in your hand to save it at the range, you'll do it during the fight. So train smartly.

But the point of the thread is simple, you can't prevent everything, and if you spend all of your life in fear of someone doing something, you'll miss out on a lot of life. So be prepared, but at the same time, enjoy life. Enjoy watching the 20-something girl [or guy] in front of you in the tight spandex ride her bike like no tomorrow, just avoid having the view of Ken in his Hello Kitty thong doing jumping jacks.
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Old August 9, 2009, 05:58 PM   #24
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The lesson is that guns aren't a perfect solution to anything. Could you have whipped out your NAA mini when the lights went out and fired at his muzzle flashes? I guess. But you'd probably have been run over by an old lady in a leotard driving a Mercury Grand Marquis in the parking lot later. Life is dangerous. Guns occasionally help. Most of the time, they don't.
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Old August 9, 2009, 06:07 PM   #25
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