What Can Men Do Against Such Reckless Hate?

 

In the comments of my article on lessons from the Paris attacks, Mike Silver commented,

“You need professionals to fight off jihadis. A bunch of kids carrying guns would be a formula for a Bastille Day celebration. Half of them high on the music or high otherwise. I really don’t see the applicability of a Second Amendment argument in this case. It’s an audience out for a good time, not capable of defending themselves with or without guns. It’s they who need protection, and apparently none existed.”

And he’s not wrong, in that yes, reckless behavior is not good, and reckless behavior with guns is much more not good.

But.

We’re accustomed to the idea of a designated driver, someone who acts responsibly and doesn’t drink when others are drinking in order to stay safe while driving home. Why not extend that idea of acting responsibly to having that same person be the designated watchdog? That person wouldn’t need to be armed per se, but they’d be the one in charge of spotting trouble before it happens and having a way out prepared in advance of something happening.

Which is exactly what I do when I’m out with my family. I’m the one who’s looking around, looking for options, keeping track of where we are, who is around us and what they are doing, looking for anything that’s out of the ordinary.

Will one person with a small pistol be enough to stop an onslaught of terrorists armed with grenades and full-auto guns? Perhaps not, but I do know that one police officer with a .40 Glock was able to deter two heavily armed terrorists long enough for other, more heavily-armed officers to arrive and put the terrorists out of our misery.

Will you be able to do the same if, God forbid, you might need to defend your life and the lives of those under your care? I don’t know, but I do know that having a plan to get of out trouble gives you options. Having a gun gives you other options. Having a gun and a plan gives you the most options, and the more options you have, the better your chances are of surviving the worst day of your life.

Published in Foreign Policy, Guns, Islamist Terrorism
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  1. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    The Templars

    The first designated drivers rode on horseback.

    • #1
  2. Canadian Cincinnatus Inactive
    Canadian Cincinnatus
    @CanadianCincinnatus

    One of the flaws in Mike Silver’s argument is the assumption that professionals are better with guns than amateurs. This may be true for SEAL Team 6, but not for your average copper. They qualify with their sidearms once a year. Once a year!

    My trainer, who is also trains the Canadian Olympic Pistol Team, recommends once a day to get real good, a minimum of a couple of times per week just to maintain skills.

    A lot of amateur firearms enthusiasts can do the latter. Few paid professionals bother – unless they also shoot as a hobby.

    • #2
  3. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    One riot, one Ranger.

    • #3
  4. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Kevin Creighton: Which is exactly what I do when I’m out with my family. I’m the one who’s looking around, looking for options, keeping track of where we are, who is around us and what they are doing, looking for anything that’s out of the ordinary.

    Seriously? You walk around like this?

    • #4
  5. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    The more important point is this: if you’re a small group of armed jihadis looking to massacre people, are you going to go into a venue filled with people who might all be armed? There’s a reason these guys pick soft targets.

    In my mind, it’s not primarily about using a gun to defend yourself, (although you need to be prepared to do so). It’s about the bad guys knowing that you’re not defenseless. Or even the bad guys not knowing who’s defenseless and who isn’t.

    This point has been made many times, but it seems that it needs to be made many times.

    • #5
  6. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Kevin Creighton: We’re accustomed to the idea of a designated driver, someone who acts responsibly and doesn’t drink when others are drinking in order to stay safe while driving home. Why not extend that idea of acting responsibly to having that same person be the designated watchdog? That person wouldn’t need to be armed per se, but they’d be the one in charge of spotting trouble before it happens and having a way out prepared in advance of something happening.

    I really like this idea. Wow. Good thinking.

    • #6
  7. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Casey: Seriously? You walk around like this?

    Yep, it’s easy, and I bet you do something similar every day, you just do it behind the wheel of a car.

    “Situational awareness” or having a defensive mindset is nothing more than applying everything you learned in defensive driving class about avoiding accidents and knowing what’s going on around you to situations when you’re not driving a car.

    I’m not especially paranoid when I’m driving, but I am paying attention to what I’m paying attention to, and I do the same thing when I’m eating at a restaurant or walking down the street.

    • #7
  8. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: In my mind, it’s not primarily about using a gun to defend yourself, (although you need to be prepared to do so).

    It’s all about having options and giving yourself more time to chose the best option. If you can get to cover, that also gives you more time for more choices. Stopping the threat gives you more time and more choices.

    There were a couple of hardcore BTDT types on Megyn Kelly’s show tonight who said basically the same thing: You don’t want to panic, and you want to either get out of dodge right away or stop/delay the threat enough so you can get out of dodge.

    • #8
  9. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    “Situational awareness” is not idicative of paranoia as some might suggest. It does project a sense of confidence which in turn makes the suggestion that one is not a potential target and makes a perp think.

    Applies to occupational situations as well. It is learned skill set.

    • #9
  10. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    wilber forge:“Situational awareness” is not idicative of paranoia as some might suggest. It does project a sense of confidence which in turn makes the suggestion that one is not a potential target and makes a perp think.

    Applies to occupational situations as well. It is learned skill set.

    I wonder if some people do this without even realizing it. A psychologist once told me that he thought it was unlikely that I would ever be the victim of an assault, because he said that I projected confidence and was very aware of my surroundings. In my entire life up to that point, I had never thought twice about being aware of my surroundings, and didn’t even realize that I was until he pointed it out. But people who project that kind of image do probably discourage the bad guys from even trying anything to begin with.

    • #10
  11. Ombra Inactive
    Ombra
    @Ombra

    Thanks very much for this and your previous post. I live in New York City and do not see myself owning a firearm while I live here. I do, however carry my smartphone, a Fenix PD35 flashlight, a multiplex knife and thanks to your Paris-related post I sport a renewed situational awareness, particlarly as I make my way through Grand Central twice a day.

    • #11
  12. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Judithann Campbell: A psychologist once told me that he thought it was unlikely that I would ever be the victim of an assault, because he said that I projected confidence and was very aware of my surroundings.

    That’s also a big part of it. This doesn’t apply to terrorist attacks as much because they are truly random events, but criminals in general like to go after easy prey, as those people are the ones least likely to put them in jail and/or the morgue.

    Walking with confidence, looking around, keys in your hand if you’re walking out of store are all quick and easy ways to tell a crook “Go pick on somebody else”.

    • #12
  13. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    As others stated, the error is in believing the “professionals” are best equipped to handle suddenly violent situations. But someone who shoots their sidearm even semi-regularly is more competent than the average police officer or soldier.

    • #13
  14. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    The unspoken portion of this speaks to individual carácter to when dealing with dangerous and stressfull situations while the event occurs.

    Or perhaps, it is something inherently visible to others without advertisements.

     

    • #14
  15. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph Eagar
    @JosephEagar

    Which is exactly what I do when I’m out with my family. I’m the one who’s looking around, looking for options, keeping track of where we are, who is around us and what they are doing, looking for anything that’s out of the ordinary.

    Heh, I never realized how big a responsibility that can be until my Dad’s work sent him on a particularly long business trip a few years back and I had to look after my Mom.  Stuff does happen; a field burned down and we had a gas leak while he was gone.  That was a real eye-opener on how important this sort of thing is.

    • #15
  16. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast
    • #16
  17. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Byron Horatio: But someone who shoots their sidearm even semi-regularly is more competent than the average police officer or soldier.

    Depends on what and how they’re shooting (and the cop). I’ve gone toe-to-toe in combat drills with Maricopa SWAT and TSA agents, and I’ve seen people on the Border Patrol shooting team who were mind-blowingly good.

    Cops have to do things like answer domestic violence calls that can turn real ugly, real quick, so I understand they can have other priorities beyond marksmanship.

    • #17
  18. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Kevin Creighton:

    Byron Horatio: But someone who shoots their sidearm even semi-regularly is more competent than the average police officer or soldier.

    Depends on what and how they’re shooting (and the cop). I’ve gone toe-to-toe in combat drills with Maricopa SWAT and TSA agents, and I’ve seen people on the Border Patrol shooting team who were mind-blowingly good.

    Cops have to do things like answer domestic violence calls that can turn real ugly, real quick, so I understand they can have other priorities beyond marksmanship.

    Also, they aren’t there to defend themselves and their loved ones, they are there to effect an arrest. That’s different.

    Kevin—this is really interesting. I wonder if what Mike Silver was envisioning was a lot of French people armed with guns? This isn’t a slam on French people, it’s more a question of culture; America has a gun culture in a way France does not.

    I’m thinking of something I read a long time ago, about how our troops in WW 2 were guys who’d grown up fiddling around with engines because America was a car culture (even then!). So when our tanks broke down, you had a whole bunch of amateur mechanics prepared to pop the hood and take a look-see, and get us back in the fight.

    I’m (perhaps erroneously?) picturing the same thing with Americans and guns. Not all Americans are familiar with guns,  obviously, but certainly a big percentage of, say, Mainers are.

    • #18
  19. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Kate Braestrup: I’m (perhaps erroneously?) picturing the same thing with Americans and guns. Not all Americans are familiar with guns,  obviously, but certainly a big percentage of, say, Mainers are.

    There’s a quote attributed to Admiral Yamamoto that goes “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”, and there’s a definite element of truth to it. The NRA, after all, was created to train civilians how to shoot because marksmanship SUCKED during the Civil War.

    There’s another unattributed quote that comes to mind, allegedly from a German general debriefed after World War II.

    “The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis.” 

    I fear we are losing our ability to create and capitalize on the chaos of war.

    • #19
  20. Pelayo Inactive
    Pelayo
    @Pelayo

    The strongest argument against Mike Silver’s position is that the only way to fight a virus is with an anti-virus.

    Our Police and Military forces cannot be everywhere at once. They can bring a lot of firepower to bear on an identified target but terrorists are spread out and hidden. Terrorists are like a virus.  The only way to fight them effectively (aside from preventing attacks) is to respond very quickly once they show themselves.  Having millions of Americans with Concealed Carry Permits greatly increases the likelihood of rapid response to an attack. At the very least if someone on the scene can return fire and delay the terrorists until Police arrive it will save lives.

    In Mike Silver’s night club example, I would not rely on the concert-goers to stop the threat but it would be perfectly reasonable to think that the staff at the concert hall could have weapons behind the bar or in the management office and provide a sober response.

    • #20
  21. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Casey:

    Kevin Creighton: Which is exactly what I do when I’m out with my family. I’m the one who’s looking around, looking for options, keeping track of where we are, who is around us and what they are doing, looking for anything that’s out of the ordinary.

    Seriously? You walk around like this?

    I do. Every time I walk past someone I think of how I would take them. Elbows, knees, head shots, groin shots, etc. If you play it out in your head in advance, it makes action a lot faster and more likely to succeed if and when you act.

    Of course, I live in Baltimore. The guy walking past you may, indeed, throw a punch.

    • #21
  22. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    wilber forge:“Situational awareness” is not idicative of paranoia as some might suggest. It does project a sense of confidence which in turn makes the suggestion that one is not a potential target and makes a perp think.

    A few years ago my oldest son and I (both of us with some Krav Maga training under our belts) were walking down the street in London. We passed this very large black man who just looked mean. He looked at us, we looked at him, and we both kept walking.

    After we passed, I asked my son  (KidCoder) if he had been thinking what I had been thinking? Yup. We would have taken that guy down if he had so much as stutter-stepped.

    Which was probably wise, since when we got to our synagogue a block later, we learned that the fellow had just attacked and struck others. He was indeed, looking to hit Jews. But he decided not to try his luck on my son and me. Knowing what I learned at synagogue, I regret we did not take him after all.

    • #22
  23. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Great stuff Kevin.  The cell phone has done wonders at destroying whatever situational awareness the average person had.  I don’t know what it is in those texts and Instagram posts that has people so riveted that they can’t look away long enough to navigate a flight of stairs, or the road or the train station but whatever it is, it’s powerful.

    Add a nice pair of ear buds and I’m amazed we don’t have more people getting run over and assaulted.

    • #23
  24. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    iWe:

    wilber forge:“Situational awareness” is not idicative of paranoia as some might suggest. It does project a sense of confidence which in turn makes the suggestion that one is not a potential target and makes a perp think.

    A few years ago my oldest son and I (both of us with some Krav Maga training under our belts) were walking down the street in London. We passed this very large black man who just looked mean. He looked at us, we looked at him, and we both kept walking.

    After we passed, I asked my son (KidCoder) if he had been thinking what I had been thinking? Yup. We would have taken that guy down if he had so much as stutter-stepped.

    Which was probably wise, since when we got to our synagogue a block later, we learned that the fellow had just attacked and struck others. He was indeed, looking to hit Jews. But he decided not to try his luck on my son and me. Knowing what I learned at synagogue, I regret we did not take him after all.

    That darling young man?

    Ah, you raised him right.

    CuriousKevmo:Great stuff Kevin. The cell phone has done wonders at destroying whatever situational awareness the average person had. I don’t know what it is in those texts and Instagram posts that has people so riveted that they can’t look away long enough to navigate a flight of stairs, or the road or the train station but whatever it is, it’s powerful.

    Add a nice pair of ear buds and I’m amazed we don’t have more people getting run over and assaulted.

    This is a good point, too. Most of us no longer have enough situational awareness to avoid walking into a lamp post.

    • #24
  25. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Kate Braestrup: This is a good point, too. Most of us no longer have enough situational awareness to avoid walking into a lamp post.

    Not long ago, I watched a woman do just that.  I was trying to get her attention but couldn’t.  The best part, she looked up at the post…confused, then continued on still staring into her phone.

    • #25
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kevin Creighton: Why not extend that idea of acting responsibly to having that same person be the designated watchdog? That person wouldn’t need to be armed per se, but they’d be the one in charge of spotting trouble before it happens and having a way out prepared in advance of something happening.

    Great idea Kevin.  Still, I think it would be better if that person were armed . . .

    • #26
  27. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Stad: Still, I think it would be better if that person were armed . . .

    In theory, yes. A lot of music venues, though, are either posted as “gun free” zones or are mandated as such by local laws. For instance, here in Florida, if an establishment makes 51% of it’s profits from booze, it’s a bar, and it’s a no-carry zone.

    Now, the penalty for carrying in such a place is misdemeanor trespassing if you’re found out (coughcoughPOCKETCARRYcoughcough) and larger places have metal detectors that make things even more difficult, so there are limits to what you can do and stay within the bounds of the law.

    As always, I am not a lawyer. Please abide by all applicable state and local laws. Tax, title and license not included. Products packed by weight, not by volume. See a doctor for elections lasting more than four days. Side effects may include freedom and a healthy distrust of government.

    • #27
  28. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kevin Creighton: For instance, here in Florida, if an establishment makes 51% of it’s profits from booze, it’s a bar, and it’s a no-carry zone.

    We can carry in such establishments if 1) it’s not posted “No Concealed Carry Allowed”, or 2) the person carrying does not drink.  One thing that has puzzled me is that if an establishment (bar, restaurant, whatever) posts a No Carry sign, does that prohibit the owner and employees from carrying concealed, even with the owner’s permission?

    • #28
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