***** Mindset *****
"First, avoid conflict by staying out of
stupid situations, away from stupid people,
and don't do stupid shit. Then, if that
fails, do what you need to do to flee."
-- Amy Schwartz
Posted by John S. Farnam on 22 Jun 2015
In any mass murder, the question is,
"Why didn't any good guy shoot the bad guy?"
The answer is always that the victims
had chosen to be in a gun free zone (or the
victim's parents had placed the victim in
a gun free zone) and had chosen not to keep
and bear arms.
South Carolina law allows guns in churches
with the permission of the church leader. But,
the AME Church has a policy of no guns.
This is common knowledge. So, the bad guy
knew this. That's why he went to the Emanuel
AME Church. He had previously gone to the
College of Charleston to do his mass murder.
(He had even told his drinking buddies, some
of whom were black, that he was going to the
College of Charleston to do his mass murder.)
But, the armed security guards made him think
that they would quickly kill him. Mass murderers
may be crazy, but they aren't stupid.
One of the reasons Seacoast Church (right
across the Wando River in Mount Pleasant, SC)
has not been attacked in such a way, is that
everyone can see the pistols bulging through
the tee shirts of the plain clothed police and
congregants when they go to any Seacoast campus.
This is intentional. They have a security
contingent lead by a pastor who was formerly
FBI and manned by volunteer law enforcement
officers. They are armed and ready to counter
attack. But, more importantly, everybody
knows it. It is common knowledge. That is
what makes Seacoast Church a hard target.
The common knowledge, that Emanuel AME is
a gun free zone, is what makes it an inviting
soft target for criminals.
Why is Anyone Surprised?
***** Training *****
Kevin Hunt is teaching a "Basic Trauma Management Class"
on July 18th at 0800 at the Strategic Edge Range,
2613 Hwy 270, Chapel Hill, TN 37034. Cost is $100 for
members and $130 for non-members. This is an all day
class. If you want to sign up or have questions, please
email Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be happy
How to not shoot yourself
AK Reload Basics!
***** Pedagogy *****
English professor: What does Airedale mean?
Undergrad: That's a breed of dog.
Nerd: Airedale terrier is a large rough-haired
tan-colored breed of terrier characterized by
a black saddle-shaped patch covering most of
English major: It's an allusion to a district
in West Riding, Yorkshire.
Religion professor: What's the significance of
Undergrad: It's Jesus' first miracle, turning
water into wine at a wedding feast.
Nerd: At the request of His mother,
Jesus reluctantly transmutes dirty wash
water into fine wine. Not really as significant
as healing someone or feeding thousands.
Bible scholar: Jesus establishes his authority.
For He knows the Jews will be asking, "By what
authority do you teach?", in the future.
For any question there is the answer from reading
the primary source text. Then there is an answer
from experience and formal instruction. And then,
there is the answer from research.
If you're going to carry a gun, you need to have
a deep understanding of self-defense, that is
specific to your locale. This takes a bit of
research and study. But, it will give you
confidence. And confidence is the difference
between shooting and not being able to make the
decision to shoot, because you don't know if you
are within the parameters of self-defense in
As a civilian, you have by far the best rules of
engagement; better than the police, better than
the military, because you don't have to engage.
But, you have to understand your rules of
engagement. Otherwise, you may be convicted of
a crime. Consult your attorney. Take a class.
Listen to the guest speakers at Tennessee Firearms
Association meetings. Don't be the undergrad.
Too much is on the line.
***** Education *****
"Knowing what to do is not enough.
What will kill you are all the things
you don't know not to do."
"There are more people willing to
physically assault you for angering them
than there are muggers."
"Most violence occurs between
people who know each other."
"There will be conflicts between
this new information and what you 'know'
"There are also a fair number in
prison because, although they acted in
self-defense, they couldn't explain why
what they did was self-defense."
"Being emotional and in conflict
means a different part of your brain activates."
-- Marc MacYoung
Excerpts from "In the Name of Self-Defense".
Yes, I recommend this book, because
most firearms instructors are not
self-defense instructors. Fearing death
or serious bodily injury is not sufficient.
You have to be innocent. You can't have
started the fight. You cannot have escalated
the conflict. You cannot have participated
in the fight. You cannot have been doing
anything illegal. You have to be in a
place you have a right to be. This list
goes on and on.
[The following is my paraphrase, but
I did get two competent attorneys who were
former prosecutors at the federal and state
level to review the text before I pushed
it out to you.]
As Mr. MacYoung says, pleading
not guilty by reason of self-defense
is not always the smart thing to do (when
it was in fact self-defense), because it is
much easier to win a some-other-dude-did-it
case than a self-defense case. When you
claim self-defense, you are admitting that
you shot the guy. This is an affirmative
defense. Now the burden is on you
to articulate why shooting him was justified.
That's not easy. It is, relatively speaking,
much easier to keep your mouth shut and
let the prosecutor try to prove you shot
the guy, while your attorney pokes holes
in the prosecution's theory,
because any reasonable doubt should legally
cause an acquittal. I have first hand
knowledge of cases in which after the
prosecution presented its case, the defense
moved for dismissal and the judge granted
the motion because the prosecution failed
to present a prima facie case. I know of
cases in which the jury convicted, but the
judge had to overturn the conviction
because there was, legally, reasonable doubt.
(Reasonable doubt is a legal standard. It's
not "in the opinion of the jury".)
The judge is required by law to correct such
errors. Or, the appeals court is obligated
to correct such errors. But, if you admit to
shooting the guy by claiming self-defense,
all that legal protection goes out the window.
That's why you have to have an attorney
advising you, before you say anything.
Keeping your mouth shut is not lying.
Keeping your mouth shut is not the same as
saying some-other-dude-did-it. The defense
is not required to present an alternate
theory. It is reasonable to sit mute
throughout the entire legal process.
Attorneys, as a matter of legal strategy,
often don't let their clients say anything,
because if the client testifies, he is open
to cross examination by the prosecutor and
may say all manner of stupid self-incriminating
things because he does not understand our
complex legal system.
Mike Darter Interviews Alexis Arthwohl, Ph.D.
Excerpt: Physical survival, psychological survival,
CCW Safe- "Deadly Encounters" Interview with Dr. Artwohl Pt. 2
The criminal justice system person
interrogating you may not understand. That's
why it's so important that you understand.
You're not going to have perfect memory.
You're going to second guess yourself
and have irrational thoughts. That's why
it is so important to keep your mouth shut
until your attorney can help you.
***** Tactics *****
Closing with the enemy
We practice our marksmanship so that
we don't have to close with the enemy.
The complete mission statement is,
"Infantrymen are trained to locate, close with,
and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or
repel the enemy's assault by fire and close combat."
Self-defense only allows the second part,
repel the enemy's assault by fire and close combat.
(Every Marine is trained and expected to be able
to serve as a basic infantry rifleman. Taking
the cooks and intel weenies out on patrol so they
could get their Combat Action ribbons was common
practice. Most of the personnel in the other
Armed Services are not trained for combat and
never experience combat. So, being a veteran
does not imply any firearms familiarity,
much less competence, much less expertise.)
Your Tactical Training Scenario - Shaking Hands
Handshakes and Fighting
***** Instructors *****
The NRA sent us, instructors, an email.
When you give a range safety brief,
make sure to cover these points:
1. Purpose of the event
2. Layout and Limits
3. Safety Rules (Administrative, NRA, site specific)
5. Emergency Procedures
The NRA sent us, instructors, an email
advising us to use "Blended Learning";
verbal, visual, tactile, reading. Which I
wrote up in my lesson plans as follows:
Auditory -- Verbally explain the technique
to the students and the reasons for using
the technique, as opposed to any other
Visual -- Demonstrate the technique dry
(without ammo) the first time, and then
do a live fire demonstration if appropriate.
Kinesthetic -- Let the students practice
the technique with either the finger gun or
the unloaded pistol. Some of the students
will need this comfort level before
progressing to a live fire practice. Let
the students live fire the technique
slowly and carefully. Then, let the students
practice the technique under stress.
Reading / Writing -- Schedule enough time
between classes to allow the students to
read the lesson plan and look at the
pictures on the web site.
The NRA letter suggests setting a
deadline for the students to read the
online material before the start of class.
I think this is a good idea, because I
have received zero feedback surveys in
which the student says that the student
read the lesson plans before, during, or
after the class. I only know of two persons,
one lady and one girl whom I know read my
lesson plans before my Defensive Pistol class,
because they asked questions about the readings.
***** Gear *****
I love when instructors write this kind
of negative review. It shows who they are
not taking money from.
"Some Gun Problems from Last Weekend’s Class"
Excerpt: Recreational shooters think that
if they have one or two malfunctions during
each box of ammo they shoot, their gun is
“reliable.” After all, it doesn’t jam on
every shot. This is a huge mistake.
Why would you carry a defensive gun that
won’t work 3-5% of the time when perfectly
reliable handguns are available?
[I have spent hundreds of dollars on gunsmithing
to get my Kimber pistols to work reliably.
What the author writes is truth. -- Jon Low]
Excerpt: Some guns just simply don’t fit
some shooters. There’s no reason to put
up with this nonsense when so many ergonomic,
quality handguns are available on the market.
Find a gun that works for you. Don’t
automatically trust the gun store commando’s
advice about what gun is “best”.
Your self-defense pistol should be
ambidextrous. Being right-handed does
not mean you will be right-handed during
the gun fight.
Springfield Armory XD,
Heckler and Koch VP9 or VP40, and many
others are ambidextrous.
The Smith & Wesson M&P is not
ambidextrous. While the magazine
release may be moved from one side to the
other, it doesn't work from both sides.
The magazine release, slide lock, and
safeties should be ambidextrous.
(The slide lock is sometimes used in
type 3 malfunction clearing.)
This point wasn't driven home until
I had a left-handed child. Even the left-
handed ex-wife and girlfriends didn't
drive the point home, because they were
adults and easily adapted. But, as a
child, the person under stress does not
adapt easily, unless they have trained
relentlessly. Remember, under stress,
easy things become difficult and difficult
things become impossible. So, your
pistol must be ambidextrous.
***** News *****
These are the good guys. Please support them.
On December 9th, 2007, Jeanne Assam
saved hundreds of lives by shooting
Matthew Murray at New Life Church in
Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Guns in church save lives.
Gun Violence Prevention, Public Hearing, 28 Jan. 2013
***** Promotions *****
CCW Safe (legal service membership)
***** Opinions *****
It's not guns. It's prescription psychotropic drugs.
***** Politics *****
Puerto Rican Court:
2nd Amendment Means No License Required For Open Carry
Excerpt: "Concealed carry of firearms is legal
in all 50 states and open carry, with certain
stipulations, is the law of the land in 45 states.
In six of these 45 states — Arizona, Alaska,
Kansas, Montana, Vermont, and Wyoming —
law-abiding citizens can carry openly or concealed
without a permit. Puerto Rico is now aligned with
these six states."
Same Sex Ruling Sets Up National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry
For those who do not follow the Supreme Court
of the United State (SCOTUS) closely, you may not
notice how Supreme Court Justices trade votes.
Just as Representatives and Senators, some things
are important to them and some are not. Some
Justices don't trade votes. Some Justices trade
their seat on the court for other things, as did
Justice Souter. Justices usually resign under a
President of the same party that appointed them,
to allow a President of their political party to
appoint their replacement. Justice Souter did not.
Some betray the party that appointed them.
Other Peoples’ Money!
Posted by John S. Farnam on 29 Jun 2015
“You’ve had your whole life to prepare for this moment.
Why aren’t you ready?” -- Robert Scott (played by Val Kilmer)
in the 2004 feature film, “Spartan”.
[That's Master Gunnery Sergeant Scott, USMC.
If you view the extra stuff on the DVD, David Mamet
credits the "consultant" by real name. The movie's
director, David Mamet, is one of the good guys.
He really understands and appreciates the pro-gun,
military, conservative culture; and glorifies it
whenever he can; in movies and interviews.]
***** Miscellany *****
I got some push back about the Blackhawk Serpa holster.
People saying that it's a training problem, don't blame the
holster design. Let me explain.
When I was a software engineer, there was a running joke in
System Designers: There is a design flaw in the product. We
need to fix the design.
Executive: No, that would be too expensive and put us behind
schedule. We'll fix it in hardware.
Hardware Engineer: Sorry, we can't fix it in hardware. That would
cause problems with other systems. Fix it in software.
Software Engineer: We can't fix it in software. That would require
a major rewrite, which would put us way behind schedule.
Executive: If we aren't first to market, we might as well kill
the product, because we'll never get sufficient market share.
Just document it.
Technical Writers: You want us to tell the users to do
what? Are you crazy?
Executive: Just do it.
Technical Writers: This is a mission critical system.
This design error is going to cause casualties.
Executive: Don't worry. Marketing has already started
a propaganda campaign to blame the problem on the users
and insufficient training.
Besides, the bean counters tell us that even with the losses
from the lawsuits we still make an obscene profit. (Generally
speaking, soldiers cannot sue defense contractors for
defective equipment, even if the defect caused many deaths.)
So, my bonus is assured.
[The sick joke is that executives get bonuses (which reward
short term gains). While the engineers get stock options
(which reward long term gains). The executives are long
gone before the reports of casualties start rolling in.]
Correctly designed systems do not allow the user to make
mistakes in the operation of the system that result in
casualties. For instance, the cockpit controls to eject the
pilot should not be next to the controls to lower the tail hook,
nor should they be of a similar motion. This prevents them
from being confused in a high stress situation.
I listened to an incident report in which an F-18 pilot
told us that he lowered the tail hook instead of the landing
gear. Which resulted in a landing that scraped open the
belly tank, leaving a trail of burning fuel down the runway.
Yes, mishaps occur. But they should never be caused or
aided by the design of the system. A well designed system
makes mishaps very difficult for the operator to induce.
In our commercial industry, warranties are for material
and workmanship, never for design. Why? Because of
our legal system. (A wise lawyer, Ira Wender, once told me
that all law is tort. He was chairman of United Technologies
Why do we never hear of the design errors in our
military systems? Because they are all classified. That
is how general and flag officers cover their asses.
(Even after they have left the service and become
Older postings may be found at
Lesson plans may be found at
or send me an email to request the latest