Try not to shoot any of the others.
Or get shot by them.
About 7 or 8 million people decided to own their first gun this year. Fortunately, in this country they have that right. They also have the responsibility to know the whys and wherefores of using one in legally, morally, and tactically sound manners.
I mention this because in the last month I've seen two incidents where, if you turn your head and squint at it, good ones with guns have shot each other. As you can probably guess, this isn't an ideal outcome and one that should be avoided.
Many of these new gun owners have somewhat adjusted their politics to realize that certain agencies that have been overworked since January and actively rioted against since June may not have the capacity to protect them after all. I've met several, and coached quite a few through DM's.
(Onesies and twosies weren't so adjusted that they didn't turn around later and scream publicly about why gun-toting libertarians weren't coming out to shoot at police to defend liberals. I swear to Odin, that shit happens again, I'm going straight to the gun closeted little fucker's wall with a hearty announcement of, "Oh, so THIS is what it's like to suck a family values Republican's cock when his wife's not home! Fascinating! Leggo my hair, fucker, I know what I'm doing."
People piss me off sometimes. End sidebar. )
Personally, I'm a "the Second Amendment is for everyone" kind of guy. Carrying a weapon has been the sign of a free person in multiple cultures for thousands of years, and I think anyone willing to take on the responsibilities should be free to exercise that right.
I also have a great fondness for America as it has been until recently: a capitalist representative republic with a great deal of respect for rule of law. I say this because I think, more than any other nation on earth, America at least TRIES to be equitable and just, even to the point of weakening itself as a country by strengthening its citizens. And when America finds out it's fucked up, it works to fix it. America will even fix a fix if it turns out the fix was more fucked up than the fuckup. (Look up Prohibition, it'll make sense).
Beats the fuck out of other systems that give lip service to equality while hosing down the blood from last time (every form of communism) or laughing at the very thought of its existence (caste structures, imperialism, feudalism).
I do NOT want us to degenerate into an alternative rule of law. I don't care if post-apocalyptic warlording is a growth industry. I already changed careers twice.
So while I don't believe overthrow and/or civil war is currently the way to go, I do believe that leaving those on the table as viable options is a key to making the whole thing work in the first place. And hey, it also means we have viable means of taking care of more local problems, too.
(Those of you who do advocate overthrow and/or civil war at the moment can show yourselves out. And protip: discussing such on Facebook is very much a rookie mistake. Have a nice day.)
There's a lot of articles, books, and seminars out there about the legal side of self-defense with guns, and gods alone know there's a deluge of ink and footage out there about the tactical, but I want to talk about the moral. Not any particular morality in general, but pointing out the moral decisions you're going to have to face now that you're armed.
(For further reading, bare minimum you should start with "The Legalities of Shooting people" by Larry Correia. It's a fast and fun article.
Moving on from there, the books Deadly Force by Mossad Ayoob and What You Don't Know Can Kill You by Marc MacYoung should be your next two reads.
If you're not willing to do this, stop reading and sell your gun. Right now. Sell it back to the shop you got it from for 60% of what you paid for it and consider it a life lesson. I guarantee you it's the cheapest, most painless ending possible.)
So I'm going to describe two incidents and look at what better and worse calls may have been. Yes, they are roughly drawn from real life, but I want to take a step back from them. Lets us go into theoreticals without disappearing down a "what if" hole. Don't bring in details from the actual incident that I don't mention. Just look at what everyone sees, and put yourself in their shoes.
* * * * *
Our first shooter is Lorry. Lorry is trying to make ends meet in a lousy year working for a ride-sharing service. Lorry drops off his last passenger and makes a turn down a side road that should let him head for home.
Instead, the side road ends with people curb-to-curb and deeper than the intersection. No traffic was blocked off to warn him, just enough excitement for him to barely make it to the stop sign. Protesters, rioters, it's all semantics at this point. Several scream and thump on his car. In front of his hood, one man carrying a rifle raises the muzzle. Lorry draws his own pistol.
There is no way out for Lorry but in reverse, and that will still make him a sitting duck for the rifle. Driving into the crowd might stop the rifleman, but definitely will hurt innocent people. And the car eventually will be stopped, and Lorry will be taken from it.
* * * * *
Our second shooter is Joel. Joel's been doing the protest thing for a while now, and settled into being a medic. He carries a concealed pistol, but has never had to use it.
One night at the protests, Joel hears gunfire and screaming. A man with a rifle runs past him. Joel, seeing that he can catch up to the running man soon enough, draws his pistol and takes off after him.
* * * * *
Our third shooter is Rick. Rick decided he wanted to join the protests. And since his state is open carry, he decided to go armed with a rifle at the same time. Rick and his wife, who's not that mobile and walks with a cane, go out and protest. They find like-minded individuals, they see, they're seen, and generally have a good time.
As they walk down a city street, a car comes roaring up a side street on their left. Seeing how many people surround him, how far he won't get with his wife in tow, and memories of what he heard about Charolettesville in his head, Rick turns to face the car and raises his rifle.
* * * * *
Our fourth shooter is Dennis. Denis is, like Rick, armed with a rifle at the protests.
Dennis got separated from his group at the protest. Before he could get his bearings, Someone jumped out from the crowd, swinging a hammer at his head. Dennis shot the man with the hammer, only to see everyone in the crowd turn right toward him. Dennis turned and ran for his life.
* * * * *
You can probably guess where I ripped these headlines from. But it's important to see that what I'm describing can happen to anyone, anywhere.
I can sit up here and say, "don't go stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things."
I'd probably be right.
But we're rapidly approaching times when that might not be an option. Something you know nothing about happening a mile from your home can spark a riot by the time you remember you need groceries.
You'll hear about the legal responsibilities over and over again, especially if you do your readings. But I wanted to throw a little empathy into the mix. I wanted to emphasize that none of these people are action heroes. They're people who've been in the same suck for the last *checks* 24 weeks as everybody else.
Out of the real-life inspiration for these shooters, one is dead, one is mutilated, and two are in the legal system as I speak.
And the legal system for a justified shooting is an empathic hell.
I cannot stress that enough. The only experience I've ever heard of that's even remotely analogous to killing in self-defense but facing charges anyway is pressing charges against your own rapist.
You get viciously attacked, you do what everyone tells you is the right thing to do, and now the cops, the press, everyone who's ever heard of you and complete strangers are passing judgement on a few terrifying moments of your life. And they're doing it from the comforts of wherever they work and live, for hours and days and weeks on end. Everyone you've ever met gets hounded by the press for a soundbite. Even if you keep your job, your family, or your freedom, it gets thrown into chaos.
A lot of instructors will flat-out ask, "Do you believe you are capable of shooting someone?"
They're not just asking because it's a hard decision to even contemplate for someone who grew up in this country, but because of the world of suck waiting beyond that choice.
A lot of people will scoff and say, "better judged by twelve than carried by six."
That saying is stupid. Both by downplaying the world of suckage inherent in both of those outcomes and by ignoring the fact that those ain't the only choices.
Look at all four of our shooters.
They all made the choice to be there.
They all made the choice to be armed.
Maybe some were motivated by poverty like Lorry. Maybe they were motivated by good company like Rick. The choices to arm themselves AND enter protest zones upped their chances of having to make horrible decisions.
I'm not saying disarm yourself.
I'm saying pay attention to the full potential of what your decisions may come to.
Rose tints make shitty shooting glasses.
Take care of yourselves out there.