Fear / Personal Defense

Defining Problems and Offering Solutions in the Private Citizen Gun Training Industry

I wrote yesterday about an interview with gun trainer Gabe Suarez of Suarez International on gun trainer Mike Seeklander’s American Warrior Show podcast. Near the end of the 1+ hour interview, Seeklander asks Suarez for concluding thoughts, which I found worth noting:

There’s alot of people out there today that are comfortable with violence. Comfortable with extreme violence. Not only that but then we’ve got this foreign ideology that wants to come in and kill us. So, I would urge the listener to understand the reality of this. It’s not theoretical. It may be theoretical if it’s never touched you. But those folks in San Bernardino, those folks in Orlando, I’m sure they woke up that morning thinking, “Ah, you know what, I live a safe life. I go to church. I eat my vegetables. Nothing’s ever going to happen to me.” Every time you leave the house, you need to understand we live in a time of war and it can touch you at any moment. So, stay prepared.

Two observations. First, although certain kinds of violence are extremely concentrated in American society, not all violence is. Rob Morse recently wrote about this on his “Slow Facts” blog, noting the difficulty of identifying a potential violent threat in everyday life and the high percentage of the American population that will be victims of violent crime at some point in their life.

Terrorist attacks like those Suarez mentions — the Inland Regional Center holiday party and Pulse Nightclub shootings — add another dimension to this because of their apparent randomness. They really can happen at any place and any time, not just in the United States but in Paris, London, Stockholm, etc.

Second, gun trainers do not simply provide solutions to problems that exist “out there” in the world. To motivate consumers/students to train with them, they must both DEFINE THE PROBLEMS to be solved AND offer their own PARTICULAR SOLUTIONS tailored to these problems. This is not a critique of the gun training industry in any way. It is simply a recognition of a fundamental social reality.

Both of these observations on the comment by Suarez brought me back to a seminar I attended at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville in 2016. Steve Tarani, author of the book PreFense (“preventative defense”), presented on “Current and Emerging Threats: How this Affects You!” The motivating question of the seminar: “How do deteriorating conditions in Iraq, jihadist social media recruitment, cyber-attacks, our porous borders, and other current and emerging global threats directly impact your family and your finances?” Part of the answer is “We Don’t Know”; hence the need to be proactive.

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15 thoughts on “Defining Problems and Offering Solutions in the Private Citizen Gun Training Industry

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Most people, cannot handle any stress induced training. Long ago, I did not shoot a teen gunman, because there were people milling around and a missed shot would have been bad. I chased the kid and tackled him. It turned out that he was 15 years old. Other cops gave me hell for not shooting. Most of them never shot a person, while I was once a machine gunner. Apples and oranges. Over the years, I observed cops, who were trained, fail to shoot in a proper circumstance, because they could not bring themselves to shoot another human being.
    Maybe, firearms training, should start with training and conditioning the brain. Autopsy photos. Videos of people bleeding and screaming out, once shot, and general havoc on the streets, then, go into Grand Juries, indemnification, testimony for criminal and civil litigations, missed shots/unintended casualties, living with the aftermath.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am confused by something, I sense you almost want to decrease the number of concealed carriers if they can’t meet “your standard”? What am I missing, or am I missing anything?
      “Maybe, firearms training, should start with training and conditioning the brain. Autopsy photos. Videos of people bleeding and screaming out, once shot, and general havoc on the streets, then, go into Grand Juries, indemnification, testimony for criminal and civil litigations, missed shots/unintended casualties, living with the aftermath.”
      I think STARTING with this kind of material would send quite a few people running for the door for no good reason. Notice I am not saying you couldn’t include it later, I just don’t think starting with that kind of material serves any positive purpose other than discouraging some good people from continuing beyond the start of a class that they need to take but weren’t ready for that material.

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      • Brittius is right, in my opinion (which is worth the same dollar amount as anyone else’s). Gun Culture 2.0 is about CC for self defense. Gun Culture 1.0 was about guns as sporting goods and occasionally, highly unusually, for defensive purposes. So under GC-1.0 there was never a notion that one was training for mortal combat.

        When I obtained a pistol permit in NYS back in 1976, you needed a permit simply to own a pistol in the Empire State, not to carry it concealed (mine was good for both). I was a gun nut and hunter back then and carried concealed for defensive purposes rarely and for specific reasons that raised risk. The idea today of a CHL is to have a gun on your person as often as practicable for a self defense moment that could occur at any time and place. For those who buy into that philosophy, some sort of paramilitary combat training makes sense. As Brittius says, even cops with cop training flinch. There is no point to carrying if you fumble the display, forget if there is a round in the chamber, or can’t pull the trigger.

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      • Mark: Too many do want to be armed, but few realize what is entailed. I have been in combat, and I have been in On-Duty shootings. The starting point, is the trained mind. All of us understand that “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”, is where it all begins, and nowhere in the constitution does it say that any court or judge can infringe Rights. Okay, we are on the same page, same paragraph, same line. Now, let’s take one foot forward because there are trainers who will present training and any training is better than no training. Correct? Still with me? Next, the real world and a real shooting. Similar to combat, the environment is highly stressful. That is the reason why Marines, are taught from the instant they step onto Parris Island (or San Diego), they are introduced to stress. Because when all hell breaks loose, Marines are properly trained. They know what to expect to get the job done. From most civilians’ perspective, they believe it is like Hollywood, but nobody cuts to a “word from our sponsor”. Any projectile exiting the muzzle, the person who pulled the trigger, forever owns that bullet, whether to better or for worse. It is drilled in police, here in New York, the NYS Penal Law, Article 35, Justification Of The Use Of Deadly Physical Force. Still with me? Police, or any law enforcement, needs only two things, (A) Probable Cause; or, (B) Reasonable Cause To Believe. While civilians, have a much different criteria, and that is, they must know In Fact, that a Crime has been (past tense) committed. When a perpetrator is in the commission of a crime, and deadly physical force is employed, that entire three second event from determination to bullet exiting, will be picked apart and questioned by defense attorneys and, prosecutors. Most people do not have any clue what they were in for. I was in three shooting On-Duty. Most cops recoiled after seeing what happened to me, and, perpetrators were armed-and-shooting. Why did I react so “cold blooded”, was asked over and over, and always people, including cops, were sickened by brains all over the place. They were sickened by deep pools of blood. Veteran cops took it better, and some with an interest. Few, ever looked at it, first hand. That is where the civilian needs to start from. What are they getting themselves into. Even when I hunt. People get sick seeing a field dressed deer. I am hunting since a teen. I assisted field dressing when age 12 years. When I came home from overseas, nobody would give me a job, and I worked in a slaughterhouse for one year. To this day, people get sick when they hear that or realize what it is all about when they go to the supermarket meat aisle. My wife did not like my service revolver (S&W Model-10), for a host of screwy ideas, but wanted to shoot the snubnose (S&W Model-36). She takes aim with one eye closed putting her head down to the partridge sights, despite my repeated instruction. Then, indexes the cylinder lowering the hammer and asks, what is wrong. Then I get behind her, raise her arm, bringing the revolver up, into her line of vision and she says, “that is better”, and pulls the trigger while closing her eyes. I knew what was coming. I catch the revolver she let go of. She did not want any part of it. She made up her mind, beforehand, that it would be a bad experience. She believed, even while I was going through motions with the Job, after shootings, that something was wrong with me, because of what she sees on television when police shootings take place. She has never seen anyone shot in an artery bleeding out. Cops, respond to shootings frequently. Blood pumping all over the place. But civilians, go into emotional fits, seeing the person bleeding. Now, let’s look at this, I am a staunch advocate of Constitutional Carry. Everyone within reason, should either be armed or opt if they will, not to be armed, but everyone from a safety point of view should be trained to shoot and handle firearms. Rifle, pistol, shotgun. The problem is, when lower IQ individuals obtain firearms, whether lawfully or unlawfully, and misuse the forearm. Immaturity, Pride, Passion. With any Right, it goes hand-in-glove with, Obligations, and, Responsibility. I do my best to give back to the community. I was a volunteer firefighter. I belonged to Civil Defense. I used to call in, and report if they needed me for hurricanes or flood, and not with a gun as objective, but for loading trucks, handing out blankets or water. Giving to others. Helping others. No medal. No paycheck. No brass band. Maybe the wiring in my head is different (?). So, with that, I will say this, and it was taught over and over, through the decades, that you train the way you fight, and fight the way you train. Know what you are getting into, beforehand if possible, and have an accurate and complete picture. Pulling the trigger is not the end-all. Knowing what will be the result of that action, before you ever commit to pulling the trigger, makes a person a much more serious chess piece in the battle, and in the aftermath that will follow.

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  2. A lot of this leaves me cold, even though intellectually I am quite interested in some day attending a MAG 40 type class. It verges on manufacturing a crisis so we can sell guns and training. For the vast majority of Americans who don’t live in places like S. Chicago, don’t sell drugs or engage in crime, one is far more likely to be a victim of a car crash than gun violence and one would be better off spending the time and money on an advanced defensive driving class or motorcycle safety foundation class (and equipping one’s vehicle with good suspension and tires) than a gun class. Now if you live in a high crime area and cannot leave, that is another story but I bet a box of donuts with anyone reading this that most of those taking advanced training are not living on Zuni Ave in Albuquerque.

    The chances of being a victim of a terrorist or mass shooter are astonishingly small, even with present day conditions. That is actually one reason that Adam Winkler has called assault weapons bans not only useless in terms of reducing gun homicides but harmful to the gun violence discussion. The pro gun community can’t have it both ways, i.e., tell us that we don’t need to restrict military style weapons because they are rarely used in crime and then trot out Orlando or San Bernadino to sell training.

    One doesn’t have to think very hard to know someone who was killed or injured in a car crash because they are far more disseminated rather than concentrated in social networks, i.e., the social network of car crash violence is most of the nation.

    End of rant….

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  3. Rob More’s blog was based on an editorial by Ross Douthat of The New York Times. And Douthat’s estimates are overstated perhaps by half or more for one simple reason: he assumes, and so does BJS, that each crime represents a different perpetrator and a different victim, which is simply not true. Violent crime in particular tends to have a serial quality to it; the same people commit the crimes again and again and the same people are victimized again and again. There are endless public health studies which confirm this, but if you would rather use pro-gun advocate bloggers for your source, you go right ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rob More’s blog was based on an editorial by Ross Douthat of The New York Times. And Douthat’s estimates are overstated perhaps by half or more for one simple reason: he assumes, and so does BJS, that each crime represents a different perpetrator and a different victim, which is simply not true. Violent crime in particular tends to have a serial quality to it; the same people commit the crimes again and again and the same people are victimized again and again. There are endless public health studies which confirm this, but if you would rather use pro-gun advocate bloggers for your source, you go right ahead.

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  5. Not a huge Suarez fan, and I’ve not yet gotten around to this podcast on AWS, but I do believe he’s on the money on this one. If, as good productive citizens, all we had to do to stay safe was follow the rule of 4 S’s (Don’t go to stupid places at stupid times with stupid people doing stupid things), then the “average” person wouldn’t want/need a firearm. However, criminals have cars/take buses/trains to the “good neighborhoods” from time to time, and then you have the “random” acts of violence, be they what we typically think of as “terrorist” attacks or the more home-grown, “active shooter” situations (disgruntled employees, jilted ex-lovers, etc.). I would not have thought of a trip to a mall or a ballgame as a “stupid place” (see above), but nowadays, who knows? With such attacks being sensationalized by the news media (“if it bleeds, it leads”) due to their relative rarity, it should be no small wonder why the “average person” is now more interested in purchasing a firearm for self-protection.

    Robert

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  6. “…There’s alot of people out there today that are comfortable with violence. Comfortable with extreme violence…”

    Ok, time for devil’s advocate. Do we know that? Data? Or do we know that more people are comfortable with violence as long as it is an abstraction, or something on TV or in a video game? I’m with Brittius on this, i.e., a lot of people are more likely comfortable as observers, long as they are safely removed from real violence. I suspect even those kids in Saint Sabina parish get a little rattled when one of their fellow gang members is bleeding out in the street from a S&W 40 through the chest.

    When I was in graduate school, we had an annual chili cook-off. One year I made chili with venison and all the other chili dishes were beef based. I had a picture of the deer I shot in front of the crockpot. Someone finally saw it and burst into tears, even though she had been eating all the other chili.

    I never had to shoot anyone but had to finish a deer I wounded. Walked up on it and killed it while it struggled to get away. Saw two people die in front of me from a head on motorcycle accident with a wrong-way motorist on a 55 mph highway. Real violence stays with you.

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    • Good questions, Khal. I think some of this goes back to Dr. William Aprill’s work about violent criminal offenders. That’s on my podcast docket! The issue of “alot,” of course, is somewhat subjective. If there is one person out there who is comfortable with extreme violence and I have the misfortune of meeting that person, that is in fact “way too many.”

      I think another source of this sort of thinking is Dave Grossman who has often spoken about the desensitizing effect of media on kids especially (I think violent video games in particular). But I’m not so sure about that because my sons play all the first person shooter games and routinely sneak up behind me in those and shoot me in the back of the head from point blank range splattering my brains all over the TV screen, but cannot stomach looking at a photo of an actual gunshot wound or even eat a medium rare steak.

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  7. Brittus,

    I read your reply to what I wrote and need time to process what you said. What you posted is well stated and deserves a well written response and right now all I can do is say that on some level I don’t want to agree with you completely and all that does is prove your point.

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  8. Pingback: From Armed Self-Defense to PreFense While Armed | Gun Culture 2.0

  9. When I was younger and could do such things I hunted every fall. One time sat in a hard wood stand. Many squirrels (aka tree rats) were in the trees around me. Shot one, go pick it up, resume position. Wait a bit, rinse and repeat. I got 7 if I remember right that day. Field dressed and helped cook all of them.

    I only got one deer. It was a shot right in the shoulder. When I helped field dress it we saw the shot had shredded the heart and lungs. So it went down and stayed down.

    Brittius is very on point in his long post. And I will add thank you for your service and sacrifice sir.

    All of the places were these unfortunate tragedies have happened had those little stickers on the doors banning guns. And just what did that do to stop what happened? Nothing. Only trained and responsible firearms owners could have reactive’d fast enough to have stopped the shooter(s).

    They used to teach shooting practice and safety in high school. It was a mistake to end that but typical of the times.

    Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.

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  10. Pingback: Gun Culture 2.0 Posts on the Private Citizen (or Civilian) Gun Training Industry (or Community) | Gun Culture 2.0

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