Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gun Control - Being Able To Hit Your Target

  The first time I remember anyone talking about gun control was after the assassination of John Kennedy. The libs were upset because Lee Harvey Oswald ordered his rifle through the mail. As a result mail order guns were outlawed. Charles Whitman climbed into a tower on the University of Texas on August 1, 1966 and gunned down 49 people, killing 16. This was the first such mass shooting and would begin a long line that continues to the present day. Again there were calls for gun control. At the time of both incidents I don't remember being passionate one way or the other on the issue. That was because I knew very little about guns and I was a teenager. My father had used a gun to kill my mother but I don't remember ever blaming the gun, or God for that matter. I blamed my father. My first real experience with guns was when I arrived at basic training in the Air Force. About the second or third week we went to the firing range. Until then the only time I had ever fired a gun was when I used my dad's 22 caliber 9 shot pistol. The same gun that that was used to kill my mother. We were shooting at a coke bottle on the Cumberland river and I never came close to hitting it. I also fired daddy's shotguns a time or two. This was the extent of my experience with guns. We were briefed on safety by our range TI or (Training Instructor). He also briefed us on how to shoot using breath control, the proper way to squeeze the trigger, how to use the front and rear sights, and the nomenclature of the M-16 rifle. The TI wanted to know where we were from. One man said North Carolina and I said Tennessee. He pointed at us and said, "We have Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett here". Wrong!! I was a bundle of nerves. We were told to load five rounds into our magazines for zeroing in. Next we were ordered to assume the prone position and place the selector switch on semi-automatic. The instructions were to fire one round. We would then go down and check our targets to find out if we were shooting too high, too low, or to the right or left. After each round we would make sight adjustments. The commands were given, ready, aim, fire. I fired off five rounds as fast as you could blink an eye. Instead of semi-auto I had accidentally turned the selector switch to full auto. A hand grabbed my belt from behind and I was jerked up out of the line. The TI was spewing profanity unlike anything I had ever heard before as he stood nose to nose with me. I was finally ordered back on the line after being thoroughly embarrassed in front of everybody. The firing resumed and needless to say I didn't qualify. After everyone had finished firing, those of us who failed to qualify, were walked over to a different range. An older TI took charge of us and he was night and day different from the first one. He spoke in a calm manner as he gave us pointers on how to shoot. As a result I was able to qualify and over the course of an almost twenty one year career in the Air Force I fired expert every time I went to the range. As a Security Policeman I fired expert in both the rifle and pistol. I have received some very good weapons and law enforcement training while becoming a staunch defender of the 2nd Amendment. Guns are not an obsession with me like they are with some people. The extent of my training has primarily been with the 38 revolver, the Beretta nine millimeter and the Sig Sauer 9 millimeter pistols. The M-2 carbine, M-16 rifle, M-60 machine gun, and grenade launchers.  

Over the years I have heard gun control advocates say dumb things  like the following. 

1. The only purpose of that type of gun is to kill people - I cant think of any gun that is not designed to kill people or any other living thing that needs killing. Unless it is a cap gun or Nerf gun. A gun is a tool that has a specific purpose. It is the great equalizer. If a 300 pound man, attacks a 100 pound, 90 year old woman, the man is at a definite disadvantage if she has a gun. Unless he also has a gun. If he does have a gun, the woman at least has a fighting chance. My tee shirt expresses my philosophy on this. I keep a gun because I am too young to die and too old to take an ass whooping.

2. We are not trying to take away weapons used for hunting - The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It is about two things. The inalienable right of self defense and the inalienable right to overthrow a tyrannical government. Period !!! A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia gave the state the ability protect it's people and to fight any enemy including the central government if need be. The right of the people to keep and bear arms addressed the individuals right of self defense. The 2nd Amendment is what truly makes America exceptional. It is the only thing that keeps tyranny at bay. This is why the left is determined to do away with it. They wont be satisfied until we are totally at the mercy of the government. John Locke, whose 2nd Treatise of Government is the basis for our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, wrote that when the thief enters your home, and binds you up, he not only has robbed you of your liberty, but he has it in his power to rob you of your life. If the government becomes the thief, and binds you up, there is no one to appeal to but heaven. When the British tried to confiscate our guns and powder in 1775 one old patriot changed Locke's words a little. He said, we only had heaven to appeal to, and our rifles.

3. Susan Sarandon tweeted this message after the Orlando shooting - Prayers are not enough. Time for a ban on automatic weapons. There is only one reason they exist and that is to kill our fellow man. What Sarandon doesn't understand is that you cannot walk into a gun store and buy a weapon that fires full auto. An AR-15 for example, may look scary but it is semi-automatic. This means that it can only fire one round each time you pull the trigger. The problem with so many gun control advocates is that they are ignorant about guns. The more they speak, the more they expose their ignorance. In most mass shootings pistols are the weapon of choice and they are also semi-automatic. The day after the Orlando shooting Tom Brokaw called for the ban of AR-14 rifles, a gun that doesn't exist. It was first reported that the AR-15 was used by Omar Mateen but it was a Sig Sauer MCX .223-caliber rifle which is similar. There are many things that kill more people than guns. Car accidents, smoking, alcohol related deaths, medical malpractice, obesity, and government tyranny in countries like Mao's China, Stalin's Russia, Hitler"s Germany, Saddam's Hussein's Iraq, and Pol Pot's Cambodia. Most deaths caused by guns are in the inner cities and by gang violence. If you remove this factor, gun deaths are low in this country, as opposed to other countries in the world.

 Common misconceptions about rules of engagement or when and how to use a weapon. Some of the following can be debated. I have been trained with firearms but there are many people with far more training than myself. These are some of the things that I have learned over the years.

1. You never fire a warning shot. A warning shot may accidentally hit an innocent person.

2. You never brandish your weapon unless you intend to use it. If you do use your weapon, make sure that you have a clear field of fire. You will be held responsible if you hit an innocent bystander. Use hollow points instead of ball ammunition. Hollow points will stay in the bad guy but ball ammo can exit the body and possibly hit an innocent bystander.

3. Rules of engagement - In the Air Force we were taught that deadly force could be used if an unauthorized person was approaching a priority military resource and refused to halt. Self defense was authorized if myself or others were in danger from the perpetrator. I was not allowed to shoot if they fled the scene after being challenged. They were no longer considered an immediate threat. I was trained to give a description of the person or persons to CSC (Central Security Control) and the direction that they were fleeing. CSC would then dispatch our mobile SAT (Security Alert Team) to apprehend the perpetrators. In the civilian world I would not shoot someone that was fleeing unless the person posed a serious threat to others. For example if there was an active shooter or a person who had seriously injured or killed someone I would feel justified in shooting them. I was always trained to stop the threat. Stopping the threat does not mean shoot to kill. If the person goes down, and is no longer a threat, you stop shooting.

4. Shooting at center mass -  I can't tell you how many times that I have heard someone say "Why do they always shoot to kill?" Why can't they just wound them in the arm or leg? The thing that many people don't realize is that police officers, armed security officers, and military police are trained to shoot at center mass. This is the largest part of the human body which consists of the chest and abdomen area. Most of our vital organs are in this part of the body. You are taught to shoot at this area of the body because you have a greater chance of hitting your target while under the stress of a shoot out. If you aim for the arms, legs or even the head, your chances of missing are much greater and your own life could be in jeapordy. I am a good shot when it comes to aiming at a paper target but paper targets don't shoot back. The best way to confront someone at close quarters is to learn to shoot from the hip. If you point the gun within reach of the bad guy they may be able to disarm you.
Shooting from the hip
Disarming someone at close quarters

Disarming someone at close quarters

Most gunfights probably occur about the same distance as between the man and the target in the top picture. I was trained to step back on my right foot and extend my left arm and hand so as to ward off any attacker while I am shooting. This stance also enables me to shuffle backward and from side to side while firing. In a gun fight you had better be shooting at center mass because you are probably not going to be able to aim. In many videos that I have watched of convenience store robberies, when the clerk brandishes a gun the bad guys are usually heading for the door. They may get off a few shots but they are usually scrambling out of harms way. In a gunfight I would probably not get off more than a couple of shots and I am also going to try to get away if I can.

5. The Castle Doctrine - This is a legal rule under which a person protecting his or her property (such as home or place of business) may stand his or her ground (instead of retreating) and apply deadly force against an intruder (or an invited guest) who intends to commit an armed robbery and/or inflict serious bodily harm upon the person or upon those in the property. Based on the 'a man's home is his castle' principle of equity. Tennessee recognizes this doctrine and a police officer recently told me that it has been extended to include a persons car and out buildings on your property. In my opinion the 2nd Amendment gives you the right of self defense, whether it is in your home or in the middle of the street. I believe in the saying, I would rather be tried by twelve than carried by six. Self defense is a guaranteed inalienable right and no government has the moral right to infringe your rights in this regard. California does not even recognize the Castle Doctrine and to me this is a definite infringement on the 2nd Amendment. If a person comes into your home, uninvited, you do not know what their intentions are. The last thing that most burglars want to encounter is people when they break into a home or a business. People who break in, knowing that someone is home, are probably very dangerous. Personally, if they don't get the drop on me, I am going to shoot them. If you have time, the best thing to do is gather your loved ones into a bedroom and hide where you have clear shot at the door. Call 911 and allow the bad guy to come looking for you. That puts them at a disadvantage. As soon as they darken the door, you let them have it. They are very vulnerable at this point. Recently a man in Nashville killed a home invader with one shot, using this method. Personally, I would like to see a (Stand Your Ground Law) as they have in Florida and other states. A justified shooting is sometimes called a "righteous" shooting. Even if you are totally justified in shooting someone you will probably be sued and depending on how liberal your DA is, you may even be prosecuted. I have been trained in the past to say on the stand, if I were ever prosecuted, that I was only trying to stop the threat. In my last armed license class for a security permit, I was told that the best thing to say is that I feared for my life.

6. Theft or vandalism should never be a justification for shooting someone - If I looked out my back door and saw someone trying to steal my car or cutting my tires I would not be justified in killing them. Property can be replaced but a human life can't be. It would make me very angry and some of these these people may need killing but it is not a justification to use my weapon. If I am armed and after surprising the bad guy, he flees. I have no right to shoot him. However, if he pulls a weapon and threatens my life, then I am justified to use deadly force.

7. Gun Safety - I am scared to death of guns. This is why I value gun safety. I was watching a movie called the F.B.I. Murders recently. It was about the famous shoot out in the mid 1980's, in Miami, between the F.B.I. and two bank robbers using semi-automatic rifles. The F.B.I. was at a disadvantage because they only had their service revolvers. The two agents that were killed, Ben Grogan, the site supervisor, and Jerry Dove, a rookie, were being introduced early in the movie. Grogan asked Dove if he was scared of guns. Dove answered that he was. Grogan laughed and said, so am I, and shook his hand. People who do not fear guns scare me. I have been around a few of them in my time. Because of my healthy respect for guns I try to be very safe. When my children and grandchildren were little I would occasionally unload my pistol and lay it down in front of them. Then I would ask them what they would do if they saw a gun lying around unattended. The first time they usually could not answer the question. Over time they would learn to correctly answer the question. Do not touch it and go find an adult. Lessons on gun safety are effective. I carry my revolver just about everywhere it is legal and I always have it on me at home. On one occasion I was wearing a pair of loose fitting shorts and the gun accidentally fell out of my pocket without my knowledge. Later, my wife Debbie walked up to me holding my gun. I nearly broke out in a cold sweat when she told me that I had left my gun in my easy chair. My grandson didn't bother it and he found my wife. Just as he had been trained to do. I try to learn from my mistakes and I never carry my gun now in loose fitting clothing. If you carry a gun on a regular basis mistakes are occasionally going to be made. This is why gun safety training with children is so important. As parents we have all done stupid things. Like leaving our kids in a vehicle and forgetting to put it in gear. I almost lost my son Rob like that in 1978. Or leaving your car running with the children inside. I remember the time that one of my neighbors came by our front door and she had left her kids in the car in our driveway. All of a sudden I saw her car driving through my front yard over her shoulder. One of her kids had thrown the car in gear. Luckily nobody was hurt. My parents did these kind of things on occasion. I once found my fathers pistol in the top of a linen closet. Luckily my mother was nearby.  I once locked myself in an old refrigerator in my parents bedroom. Again luck was with me and my parents heard me beating on the sides of the refrigerator and let me out. My sister was almost run over when our car was knocked out of gear on a hill in an H.G. Hill parking lot. Mistakes are going to happen but we have to try to minimize them. There are many ways that a child can be killed and injured due to parental neglect. This is one reason that I hate gun free zones. I was taught in the military to keep my weapon on me at all times. The weapon is the safest when it is in my possession. If I go into a building that is posted I have to leave my gun in my car. There is always the possibility that I could forget the gun and a child could get hold of it. The gun issue has been so politicized that a great opportunity is missed to teach children gun safety in schools. Firemen are invited to schools to teach fire safety. Medical personnel are brought in to teach CPR. Police officers are brought in to teach children how to avoid abduction and sexual predators. Teens are taught how to avoid pregnancy. However, because of politics a good NRA safety instructor or other gun professionals are forbidden to teach gun safety. Yet the liberal gun grabbers scream to high heaven about the number of accidental shootings in America each year. Proving once again that liberals are hypocrites.

8. Special concealed carry permits in all fifty states for people who are well trained with firearms - We need to work out some kind of system where people with my level of training and background should be able to carry concealed anywhere we go. There is a multitude of military veterans, and well trained civilians walking around that should qualify for a universal carry permit. It would not give us arrest powers but it would give us the same right to carry as any law enforcement officer in any state. We are a valuable resource that could be used to harden soft targets in America like malls, schools, hospitals, daycare centers or anywhere that an active shooter or crazy might pick as a target. In my case I have had a top secret background investigation and several secret clearances and I have guarded Air Force weapon systems, radar sites, and nuclear weapons. I have been a security escort for Generals and V.I.P.'s at N.O.R.A.D. and have been involved in the security of Air Force One. Surely I should be able to carry a weapon legally just about anywhere in this country. In the near future I will be going to San Diego on vacation. I will be able to carry my weapon legally through every state but California. There, I will have to keep my weapon, without bullets, in a lock box  and the bullets in a separate lock box. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  In conclusion our 2nd Amendment rights are under attack daily. The first attempt at gun control was when the British marched on Concord in 1775 to confiscate the arms and powder of the colonists. In the period after the revolution and up until the Civil War, slaves and freedmen were denied weapons for fear of slave insurrections. During the Civil War blacks were finally able to acquire guns in the South and fight in the armies. Soldiers of all colors were allowed to take their weapons home after the war as payment for past due wages. After the Civil War gun control laws were passed to keep guns out of the hands of blacks that were freed by the 13th Amendment in the South. Blacks were able to buy guns in a market place flooded by guns that had been manufactured for the war. If anybody needed guns it was the freedmen that were under attack by the Klan and other night riding terrorists. Blacks did not comply with the law and bands of Klansmen and other white supremacist groups rode the countryside confiscating their guns by force. As much as I support groups like the NRA today, they were instrumental in restricting gun ownership to blacks and undesirable immigrant groups such as Italians, in the 1920's and 1930's. After his house was firebombed in 1956, Martin Luther King was denied a gun permit. Because of Black radicals like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers exercising their constitutional right to carry guns, regardless of what we might think of them, and the violent race riots of the 1960's, Congress passed the 1968 gun control law. Ronald Reagan is my hero, and one of our greatest presidents in my view, but he signed a gun control law in California, as governor in 1968 that was passed by a majority Republican state legislature. Today California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in America. As I write this Republicans are about to cave in and vote with the Democrats to pass more gun laws in the wake of the Jihadist attack in Orlando. Even the Republicans admit that gun control would not have prevented Omar Mateen from buying the gun used in the attack. These guns are always available on the black market. The fact that the FBI completely dropped the ball, along with the Department of Homeland Security, is being completely ignored and the people who had nothing to do with the attack will probably be the biggest losers in the end. It is the government that I fear more than anyone because they fear armed Americans more than they fear the Jihadists. When the Department of Homeland Security names right wing extremists to be as dangerous as Jihadists, they are really talking about us. The bitter clingers that hold on to our guns and religion.



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