10 Self-Defense Lessons From Illinois’ Version of the George Zimmerman Trial

Courtesy CBS News

Thankfully, jury trials in legitimate self-defense cases don’t happen very often. Unfortunately, we just had one of those cases here in America’s heartland with the Illinois murder trial of James Love. The entire affair offers a number of opportunities to learn some very valuable lessons.

Usually, in self-defense cases, common sense prevails and prosecutors rightfully decline to pursue criminal charges. Add in some PR opportunism and some political ambition, however, and things can change. Indeed, in the James Love case, we saw plenty of that.

The local prosecutor, Knox County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Kerr, had his own agenda in bringing charges in the case. The deceased man’s family had political connections in the community and ASA Kerr had ambitions of running for the top job after his boss retired at the end of this term. What better way to curry political favor and burnish a resume than to win a high-profile murder case, right?

Of course, the media did their part too. Both the mainstream media and the victim’s family did their best to put a sensational George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin spin on things. The local papers ran opposing photos of the two, just like in the Trayvon Martin case. A youthful photo of the deceased next to the jailhouse mugshot of the shooter. The only thing missing was the claim that love was a “white Hispanic”.

On the other hand, James Love, 59, lived and worked his family farm in rural Galva. Well-respected in the community, he had built a solid reputation among those who know him. Now he will have to deal with the Mark of Cain for the rest of his life. People in the community will forever associate him with the death of an unarmed 19-year-old “boy”.

Clearly, the incident and its aftermath offer lots of opportunities for study. Love did some things well and made some unfortunate unforced errors. The wise looks at a situation such as this and learns some lessons.

Call the authorities before acting as a good Samaritan

James Love heard a car crash outside his home. Then he heard yelling. Not knowing if someone needed emergency help, he dressed, grabbed his phone, a gun and headed out of the house to the scene as a good Samaritan.

Love’s spidey senses told him to use caution, so he exited the backdoor of the home, making sure not to silhouette himself. He then approached through the farm field instead of walking down the rural county road.

Obviously, he should have called the authorities and gotten help on the way before going out to offer assistance.

Take your gun:  Don’t leave home without it

Remember those old American Express commercials advising, “Don’t leave home without it?” The same goes for your concealed carry pistol. James Love took his Ruger LC9s with him that fateful night. That decision probably saved his life. The 59-year-old farmer was no match for an angry, drunk, 19-year-old body-builder who was fearful of a police response.

courtesy Daniel English

Get some training

James Love had no formal firearms training. He didn’t even have a concealed carry license.

I advocate training for every gun owner. Emphatically. I’ve encouraged people to seek out quality training here at TTAG. Sadly, despite my message encouraging people to get good training, some of the feedback to that advice has been rather…caustic:

In response to my piece, a couple of commenters rapped civilian firearms training for a host of reasons. One went as far as to call me an unscrupulous a-hole collecting a ton of money teaching pure, unadulterated, uh, merde.

I had a chuckle. Who was it who said that it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt? Oh yeah, Mark Twain.

The same person wrote that they didn’t trust firearms trainers/”dumbass mall ninjas” and that he’s too much of a cheap-ass to pay thousands of dollars and devote weeks of time to training. “‘Untrained’ people have perfectly good DGU’s all the time,” he wrote. “It seems to me that most of this stuff is a solution in want of a problem and it’s hellishly expensive in many cases.”

Good training can be found at very affordable prices – like less than a few hundred bucks. Yes, if you want to take Mas Ayoob’s class, you will pay a premium. But if you know what to look for, you can usually find local quality classes for less than an emergency room visit co-pay.

Make sure you seek out training that includes a solid foundation of the legal parameters of using deadly force. That way you can act to the standard by which you will be judged.

Yes, James Love made it through this long, 8-month ordeal without formal training. In fact, you could say he did okay without training. That is, if you discount his legal bills which are closing in on $100,000, the emotional scars of killing someone and the Mark of Cain damage to his reputation.

Also ignore the physical scars from the beating he took. To say nothing of the need to constantly look over his shoulder as a result of ongoing death threats made by supporters of Xavier Hartman.

Don’t rely on luck to triumph in a deadly force encounter…or in the aftermath.

Carry with a loaded chamber

We have covered this, as have countless nationally-known trainers. Yet some people who either don’t know better or who don’t trust their own gun-handling skills persist in carrying with an empty chamber (AKA “Israeli carry“).

James Love carried his pistol with an empty chamber. That mistake nearly cost him his life.

At the crash site, Love pulled out his phone. The young man who had crashed his truck naturally thought that Love planned to call the police. Xavier Hartman did not want the police there. He had a blood alcohol level of .234, about three times the legal limit. So he attacked Love to stop a call for assistance.

The farmer tried backpedaling towards his house while getting pummeled by the drunk driver. Sensing things quickly going bad, James Love pulled his pistol, the one with the empty chamber. However, he quickly found that fending off an attack while racking the slide nearly impossible to accomplish.

Eventually he did manage to get the gun ready to fire, but by then Hartman had figured out why Mr. Farmer quit trying to defend himself from the blows. Then it became a contest for control of the gun.

Love first fired a warning shot, which we now believe ricocheted off the pavement and struck Hartman in the calf behind the midline. Which brings us to…

Never fire warning shots

Warning shots are never a good idea and sometimes illegal. Love fired a warning shot and then after another minute of struggling for control of the gun, he fired a second warning shot. They only seemed to embolden Hartman.

Of course, with a blood alcohol of .234, the young man had little ability to think particularly clearly or rationally.

Some, including myself, have speculated that those warning shots emboldened young Mr. Hartman. Why?  Because the aggressor thought the farmer didn’t have the stones to actually shoot another person. So Hartman pursued his attack, figuring he could wrest control of the gun from the old man with little fear of being shot.

We all know that we retain responsibility for every bullet that leaves the barrel of our gun. In Love’s case, one of his arguments for conviction centered around the ricochet from the first warning shot. It hit Hartman in the lower leg behind the mid-line. In the anti-gun prosecutor’s eyes, Love shot the “unarmed black boy” as he ran away from a trigger-happy old white guy.

ASA Kerr ignored that the round could have entered from the backside of the calf during a highly dynamic struggle. But a story claiming that “he shot young black boy from behind as he ran away” sells more newspapers.

Be ready to defend your choice in ammunition

ASA Brian Kerr made a big production of Love’s choice in ammunition used in his Ruger LC9s. Love had two magazines, each loaded with seven hollow-point rounds. The prosecutor claimed that the fact Love that left his house with hollow-points showed ill intent. Even an inclination to kill. “He left that house looking for trouble carrying those hollow-points.”

Never mind that hollow-points have a reduced ricochet potential, making them safer for bystanders. They also have far less likelihood of over-penetration, endangering bystanders. In fact, as they dump their energy into their target instead of zipping on through, it’s arguable that they’re safer for the bad guy, too. Fewer holes for the docs to repair and all that.

Don’t leave your significant other unarmed

Xavier Hartman and his friend had started walking towards Love’s house after the accident as it was the only residence nearby. If Hartman had successfully disarmed Love (and maybe even murdered him with his own gun), would he have left any witnesses inside the residence?

While I don’t know if Mrs. Love had some sort of ballistic deterrent at hand that fateful night, she should have. Her husband required hospital treatment for his injuries, including a lot of stitches. Love admits worrying that he would soon lose consciousness during the attack. And a loss of consciousness would have meant loss of control of his firearm. That would have meant his attacker would have had his gun.

In 2018, almost ten percent of police officers killed by gunfire (4 of 52), died from shots from their own guns after they’d been disarmed. And cops get training in firearms handling, empty-hand combat, and weapon retention.

James Love, like so many gun owners, had exactly none of that. If he had taken a knock-out punch from Xavier Hartman that night, things could have turned into a double-murder pretty quickly had Mrs. Love not had a gun handy.

Don’t talk to the police before consulting your attorney

“Don’t talk to police” stands as good advice if you cannot remember what to say following a deadly force incident.

James Love answered questions from responding and investigating officers before invoking his right to legal counsel. Of course, ASA Kerr poured over the notes of those officers and tried to make hay of even the slightest discrepancies. Because, in Kerr’s mind, inconsistencies equaled guilt a conviction.

The lesson: never talk to the police after a self-defense shooting beyond, “I was afraid for my life, I think I need medical help, I want to talk to my attorney.”

Which brings us to legal defense coverage.

Have legal defense coverage

Even if you don’t have a concealed carry license, you should sign up for legal defense coverage. Some people refer to this as “concealed carry insurance.”

Plenty of companies out there offer this kind of coverage. My personal favorite remains the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. A $135 annual sign-up gets you up to $800,000-ish in coverage. Renewals are less than $100.

They have a great list of criminal defense attorneys they recommend anywhere in the USA. Or you can use their money to pay for your own attorney. They also offer expert witness referrals.

Mention my name or Guns Save Life/GSL and save $25 off your first year’s membership. Fair disclosure: I am not paid by ACLDN, nor do I receive kickbacks or commissions when people mention my name upon enrollment. After looking over the various companies, I personally recommend them because I see them as the best value out there for what they offer. Your mileage may vary, of course.

US Law Shield offers coverage similar to ACLDN, at a similar price, only you have to use US Law Shield’s attorneys. Got teenage kids in school? US Law Shield has a rider for a couple of bucks a month where their attorneys will represent your minor children if they use force or weapons in self-defense outside the home.

For those seeking comprehensive coverage to include things like lost wages, bail bonds, and much, much more, the US Concealed Carry Association stands as a very good choice. Their premium coverage comes at a higher cost though.

All three of these companies pay up-front for legal representation. Gone are the days where some reimburse you for your defense costs upon acquittal. Protect yourself from financial ruin. You may be very glad you did some day.

Follow your lawyer’s advice

Once you have retained an attorney or law firm, follow their advice. You may face personal attacks, threats and an onslaught of trash talk on social media. Lord knows James Love and his family faced all of the above.  Yet he listened to his attorneys and followed their recommendations to the letter.

That probably helped him earn his quick acquittal as much as anything.

Conclusion

Hopefully you will never need to use deadly force to save your life or that of a family member. No one wants that. At the same time, sometimes life deals you a bad hand and you’re left with no other option.

However, sound tactics will help you survive the encounter. Just as important, knowing and acting to the legal standard to which you will be judged will help court-proof you as much as possible for the aftermath. You may not need it. But sometimes you get a prosecutor with political ambitions and you don’t want to become his or her pawn.

comments

  1. avatar Removed_californian says:

    > still using photos of baby Trayvon

    Lol.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “> still using photos of baby Trayvon…”

      They do that because it *works* in turning public opinion against the gun owner.

      …and that helps the prosecution in jury selection…

    2. avatar mac e. says:

      That really annoys me too. Trayvon Martin was ~ 5′ 11″ tall, ~155 lbs. (~10 lbs lighter than George Zimmerman was on the day that Martin attacked him) and SEVENTEEN years old. Trayvon’s parents and their attorney wanted the public to believe that he was a tyke, who was needlessly shot to death by a gun-crazy, police wannabe.

      The photo of Martin taken in the convenience store shortly before he attacked Mr. Zimmerman is a truly representative one, not one taken when he was ten!

  2. avatar Mike says:

    http://www.frontsight.com Full disclosure, I am a life member there and I consider it the finest training anywhere. Also been a member of US Law Shield for a long time. Strongly recommend them both. Great article.

    1. avatar Jeremy B. says:

      Have you been to Gunsite or another training school?

      Otherwise it’s a bit like saying that the Mustang is the best sports car in the world even though you’ve never been inside a Ferrari.

  3. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    If the ASA made an issue of hollow points, he most certainly would have made hyperbolic arguments about any formal training. Trained killer, etc.

    In this case, lack of training may have helped earn him his freedom.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      That’s a very good point. A judge who would let claptrap about hollowpoints in would surely let the DA try and paint the defensive shooter as a wannabe commando if he paid for training.

      1. avatar james says:

        I recommend using the same brand of ammo local LEO, Sheriff Deputies and State Police use. If it was deadly ammo then the police should not carry it either.

        Carry flashlight(s) with your firearm, take training and practice, practice, practice.

        The fact he had an empty chamber says he was not looking to kill that dark night.

  4. avatar tdiinva says:

    This is one of Mr. Bochs’ better articles. It is only half BS.

    The victim’s parents were friends if the ASA so the ambitious Kerr was going to prosecute Love no matter what. The Grand Jury refused to indict just as the Florida Grand Jury refused to indict Zimmerman. All the training in the world wasn’t going to change that. The only part of training that is absolutely necessary is legal use of deadly force.

    When Love saw he had to use deadly force he was effective trained or not. Did he do everything correctly? No but just because someone has training doesn’t mean he will do everything right either. If you had the wrong kind of training he might have been convicted. Training is a good thing but it neither guarantees survival not prevents an ambitious prosecutor from going after you. My Monday morning QBing says he should have called 911 when he saw the crash.

    The blanket “don’t talk to the police” is bad advice. It is very situational. Zimmerman cooperated with police and won them over to his side. While called for the prosecution, the testified for the defense.

    That’s the half wrong. I agree with the rest.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Agreed with the situational ‘don’t talk to the police’ and it may have helped here, too. It sounds like the DA was unable to make any headway on that front; that hurts his case, not helps it, especially in front of a jury.

      When in doubt, call your lawyer. Also… have a lawyer. But sometimes clamming up is not going to help you. Technically it SHOULDN’T hurt you, but a jury’s mind doesn’t abide entirely by the standards of admissibility.

      1. avatar The Grey Man says:

        That’s why you always ask for a bench trial…

        1. avatar james says:

          Bench trial you get one vote of GUILTY or Not. Trial by Jury you need 12 GUILTY otherwise you walk.

          Never ever take a bench trial and waive your right to trial by jury.

    2. avatar Craig in IA says:

      Good synopsis, John, and good advice.

      1. avatar ChanceMcCall says:

        Sorry I’m so late giving you (John) the accolades you deserve for this story. It was well written and packed with great information. This article should show up all over the nation’s gun circles. If I were you, I would submit it, minus the coverage section, to the NRA for publication.

    3. avatar John in AK says:

      Having been in law enforcement now for some 35 years, I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

      NEVER talk to the police. Or the FBI. Or a prosecutor. Or a district attorney.

      Remember this phrase: “Anything you say can, and WILL, be used against you in a court of law.”

      WHY would you chance giving the very people that are, in net effect, trying to fine, impoverish, imprison, or even execute you ANY possible ammunition against you?

      It is a failing of human nature, given that most people are at heart ‘nice,’ law-abiding, eager-to-please creatures, that we always want to explain ourselves, on the mistaken belief that we can convince others of our rightness if only we are articulate enough. We convince ourselves that OTHER people are as equally ‘nice,’ law-abiding, and eager-to-please, and that once they understand fully your point of view and your ‘take’ on what happened, they will gladly send you home, unscathed, to your loved ones once more.

      Don’t count on it. You might be lucky, and chance upon an unbiased public servant. And you might not. Consider the current state of our FBI and DOJ, and then REconsider if you actually think that you, a mere peasant, will get a fair shake from the same sort of system.

      Make THEM prove that you are wrong; You do not have to prove that you are right. You may (will) spend some time in jail; You WILL spend a great deal of money defending yourself. You MAY get released with prosecution declined, but it’s not because your words convinced the prosecution of your righteousness; It’ll be because the facts, and a good attorney, convinced them that you couldn’t be convicted. That is, IF they don’t have an axe to grind, and think that prosecuting you will win them Brownie points or a promotion.

      But, you do you.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “We convince ourselves that OTHER people are as equally ‘nice,’ law-abiding, and eager-to-please, and that once they understand fully your point of view and your ‘take’ on what happened, they will gladly send you home, unscathed, to your loved ones once more.”

        Well, to borrow from the leftist mob, people are not able to convince the police of their good intentions because such attempts at persuasion aren’t being done by the right people, using the right words. Today, we are smarter than all those who came before us. We can do things better.

        (liked your entire commentary)

      2. avatar Sian says:

        Most cops are good but it only takes one bad one to ruin your life, and they don’t have any obvious markings to tell the good ones from the bad. It’s best to just be safe and minimize your interaction with cops as much as possible.

    4. avatar Bruce says:

      I agree that don’t talking to the police is bad advice, and this is why. First and foremost, you typically cannot get a self defense instruction to the jury if there is no evidence in the record to support it. That often means that you have the choice of telling the police (or, even better, the 911 operator) that you were in fear for your life (or some else’s) and discharged your firearm as a result, or the alternative is to testify in court, which opens you up to cross examination. Which you probably really don’t want to do. Secondly, you will likely need some evidence for your defense, and if the police don’t secure it up front, it is likely gone forever. CSI has its people going back to crime scenes days or even months later, and finding important evidence. Sure, that is possible, but highly improbable. And, third, police need a narrative. First one to get their narrative to the police often wins. Plenty of cases where the real victim is the one tried, and the actual perps walk. By saying nothing, if the perp survives, allows him to set the narrative, instead of you. So, instead of trying to prove that he did it, they will spend it trying to prove that you do.

      The advice that I subscribe to is:
      – try to be the first one to make a 911 call, and get your side of the story on tape including, importantly, that it was self defense
      – tell the police that you were in fear for your life, and shot the other party in self defense (esp if you didn’t have that 911 call)
      – point out any possible exonerating information, such as where his weapon might be
      – then shut up, and tell the police that you need to talk with your lawyer before saying anything else.
      – know what you are going to say, and where to draw the line, before anything happens.

    5. avatar NateInPA says:

      Damn…so I guess all that basic and AIT is a waste of time the next time we send our men and women off to battle.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Damn…so I guess all that basic and AIT is a waste of time the next time we send our men and women off to battle.”

        How did you conclude that?

        The point is….being armed as a private citizen does not require basic and/or AIT. Preparing for small unit tactics and urban combat patrol is not a necessary element of being a responsible, successful gun owners. The insistence by “trainers” that you are doomed to lose your life if you aren’t trained-up combat standards is what is being challenged. Or, worse yet, you present a threat to the public (and the constitution) if you don’t meet infantry standards.

        If you are convinced basic and AIT are valuable to your success as an armed citizen, then great. That is commendable. Be satisfied that you may be in a superior position to meet the deadly attack. But don’t project your prejudices onto an enumerated right that poses no such condition.

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I loudly and frequently echo the mantra, “Don’t talk to police without an attorney!” And yet it sure seems like Zimmerman and Love helped their cases a LOT because they did talk to police before their attorneys stepped in.

    Dare I say: whether or not there is any benefit in providing any details or statement before your attorney arrives depends on the culture of law enforcement and prosecutor in your jurisdiction. If law enforcement and prosecutors are honorable people who are very sympathetic to ARMED law abiding people when they exercise their unalienable right to self-defense, then you are probably well served providing basic details before your attorney arrives. If your local law enforcement and prosecutor are scumbags, let your attorney do all of your talking for you.

    Of course the real dilemma: how do you know if police and prosecutors in your jurisdiction are honorable and sympathetic to armed law abiding people when they defend themselves from attack? And even if they are sympathetic, how can you know if they will go off the reservation in your particular instance of self-defense?

    1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      At some level does it really matter if some woke mob is coming for your hide and they’re getting pressured to do yo in?

      You can always talk later………………………………..

    2. avatar binder says:

      The cops can’t repeat that you tell them in your deference as it is HEARSAY and is not admissible. For example a Cop can’t testify that you told them that you feared for your life. Not if the DA is at all competent.

      Now a cop can testify if he thinks it was a defensive use of a firearm, however he cant testify to that fact because you told him. That is your testimony not his.

      On the other hand, if you say something to the cops that is later shown to be false, even by accident, you now have a problem.

      So yes, it is in your interest to get police information to help the investigation, for example the other mugger drove off and I think the licence plate was a Arizona one ending in 294. Or he tried to hit me with that rock over there. But keep in mind the first part I told you. If the cops think it is a good shoot, you telling them that is not going to help.

      And for your sake, do NOT give any information that is not relevant to helping the investigation.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        That’s incorrect. Police can and DO submit such testimony all the time. There are many, many exceptions to hearsay including statements against party interest, statements not meant to prove the truth of the matter (i.e. statements that establish contradictions are fine if used to show someone is a liar), excited utterances… the list is as long as your arm. Don’t depend on hearsay being inadmissible.

        1. avatar The Grey Man says:

          Agreed! Reference Drew Peterson about hearsay evidence… Though I think he was as guilty as sin!!!

      2. avatar Anonymous says:

        ??? – part of Miranda – “…What you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

        1. avatar james says:

          BIG 10-4.

      3. avatar Bruce says:

        Police can repeat what you said, because you are a party opponent. That makes it non hearsay (as contrasted to being an exception to the hearsay rules).

    3. avatar James says:

      Look at the Steven Jones trial. The prosecutor got his statements to police suppressed, saying they were “self-serving hearsay”. Judges and juries ALWAYS disregard whatever a defendant says to police that helps him anyway. Listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHCdul-FlhU

  6. avatar David Bradford says:

    In regard to Hollow Point ammo, If asked why I train with and carry the JHP ammo I have my response will be. ” I carry what understand to be one of the most common standard issue rounds used by many law enforcement agencies across the US. I have to assume that if it is reliable, suitable and safe for LEOs for defensive use that it would also be an appropriate round for me to use for my personal defense.” I would think that it would be pretty hard to argue against that logic.

    1. avatar Wheel Gun Guy says:

      You are absolutely right David……but I would imagine when the police interrogation gets into that much detail it would behoove you to have your attorney present to control the flow of information on any matters that contain detail……stay safe out there

      1. avatar David Bradford says:

        OH, NO! I don’t talk to the police, I was thinking more about the guys at the range. If the Police are questioning, my lawyer will answer if I should say anything about ANYTHING. I will also answer with that reason to the Prosecutor at trial. ( if and when in event it goes to trial)

  7. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    John,

    Why is TTAG perpetuating the hoax of Trayvon Martin as some little child by using a picture of him as a 12 years old instead as a 17 years old?

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      It was used intentionally to make a point when compared to the same juxtaposition photo used by the media in this case.

      OFWG (or older “white/Hispanic) shoots unarmed minority youth.

      1. avatar Victoriaillinois says:

        To add to Cliff’s comment: The Parkland kid was a minority- Hispanic, in school records, until he shot up the school. Then he was white.

        1. avatar binder says:

          Hispanic is a ethnicity, not a race. The fact that it is used is stupid. I’m half OLD California Mexican. I do not consider myself “Hispanic”.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          ” I’m half OLD California Mexican. I do not consider myself “Hispanic”.”

          As I understand it, ‘Hispanic’ means Spanish-European ancestry.

          If I may ask, do you consider yourself to be ‘Latino’, as in from Latin American ancestry?

      2. avatar Ranger Rick says:

        Thank you for the clarification.

    2. avatar Adam Warlock says:

      This was the case that convinced me the media was biased. I was wondering why they would show photos of Trayvon as a boy when he was pretty much a full grown man when he attacked Zimmerman. Yes, he was 17 going on 18, but some people mature at a much faster rate than others.

  8. avatar NORDNEG says:

    Live like a thug,,, die like a thug…

  9. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Trained L.E.O. and citizen alike. L.E.O. because it was mandatory. Citizens because they wanted a CCW. Many citizens resented having to take the class and didn’t feel there was anything to learn. All of them, and I mean every one of them, had a different attitude at the conclusion of the class. Some of them even came back for more advanced training.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      Agreed. Moreover, there are excellent books on the law of self defense. There is no excuse, absolutely none, for not buying a book (even used from Amazon) and reading it; twice.

      I’ve taken Mas Ayoob’s class, MAG 40, which includes 2 days of classroom law training and 2 days of range training and a qualification. It’s truly excellent; but, it does cost money. The web site LawOfSelfDefense.com has excellent DVD trainings, including state specific DVDs, plus a book. While these DVDs are not as entertaining as a live presentation by Mas Ayoob, their quality is equivalent.

      I don’t expect everyone who carries a gun outside his/her home to become an expert. However, everyone who takes up this practice becomes a potential threat to the cause of promoting civilian carry. For every 1,000 successful DGUs (which won’t be covered by the press) there is apt to be one civilian who screws-the-pooch in his DGU. Have NO DOUBT; the press and persecutor will make sure THIS civilian has the ride of his life! If he wins in court, is financial life will be ruined and his will be a cause celeb for the gun-grabbers. If he looses in court he will spend the next 5 – 15 years in prison and will become indisputable proof (in the public mind) that “ordinary” civilians lack the training to responsibly carry.

      The idiots who decry training – even studying a book – are doing the cause of civilian carry NO favor; they are a serious threat to the cause.

      We, who are trying to promote carry, should ALSO promote training (at least studying) in the law of self-defense and self-defense “insurance”. It’s very important that everyone who has a DGU be insured against the cost of defending his personal case.

      Look, I don’t care if YOU are bankrupted and go to prison because you couldn’t afford a successful defense of your case in court. What I DO care about is that you have the best defense possible so that you can have the best chance of WINNING your case. If you lose your case – because you made a mistake or couldn’t afford a lawyer – you do DAMAGE to the cause of promoting lawful carry. If you WIN your case then you contribute to the justification of carry.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        The idiots who decry training – even studying a book – are doing the cause of civilian carry NO favor; they are a serious threat to the cause.

        Do you think, perhaps, that the founders believed any armed citizen who didn’t have formal training in firearms was a threat to the Second Amendment? Do you think that a person who does not obtain “training” should be barred from exercising their constitutionally protected right to self-defense with a firearm? Do you think that people who obtain “training” will be immune from momentary failure to handle firearms safely? Do you think “training” separates a responsible gun owner from irresponsible gun owners?

        Are you aware that one of the favorite justifications for denying citizens access to guns is that citizens are not “highly trained professionals”? That because “highly trained professionals” misuse firearms, the average citizen, regardless of training, cannot be as safe and responsible as “highly trained professionals” who themselves are subject to failure to adhere to training?

        Obtaining “training” (whatever that means at any given moment) is a wonderful thing to do…if you want to. There are numerous benefits….if you want them. It is the denigration of people who aren’t trained that is the “threat to the cause.” And do not think for a nano that a determined prosecutor will not use your training against you….”training” makes you a more proficient and eager killer because you just can’t wait to put that operating operator training to use.

        1. avatar Wood says:

          “Well regulated”

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Well regulated”

          Which is much more than mere firearm ownership. Many of the militia already had firearms, and firearm training was not a condition of being mustered for further training or action.

          I wouldn’t throw “well regulated” around too much. As it stands today, the militia is almost entirely unregulated, disorganized, undrilled, unpracticed, unusable as a fighting force. The militia of today is not and has no intention of being “well regulated”. We fail miserably on that point.

          The first civil war was not fought by random groups of armed men wandering the bush. Most militia units had experience with the French and Indian war, knew each other, and had some fashion of unit cohesiveness. Even the beloved insurgents around the world are not just a bunch of strangers bumping into each other and deciding to launch an attack.

          This notion that a bunch of gun owners wandering the countryside, with no leaders, no plans, no unit tactics will somehow fend off an organized army is fantasy. In the first civil war, even the militia came to understand they needed more than “minute men” to fight an organized army…by today’s thinking, the American forces of the first civil war needed no identified “army” at all, just a ragtag gaggle of gun owners should have been able to get the job done.

        3. avatar CarlosT says:

          “Shall not be infringed.”

          The Amendment is about securing a right at the most fundamental level. There are many easier ways to go about ensuring the readiness of civil defense. If it was just about that mundane task, it wouldn’t need to be in the Bill of Rights.

  10. avatar Kman says:

    -protect yourself
    -police your brass
    -attend to your injuries
    -keep your mouth shut

    1. avatar Kman says:

      Hypothetically speaking.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Kaman, you’re 3/4 correct. Policing your brass is a.k.a. tampering with evidence. A felony. It is also often looked upon as consciousness of guilt by a jury. The same fleeing a scene. An innocent man stands his ground. As is.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Bull. I can think of a dozen scenarios where I would be MILES away before attempting to contact police, just as an example you’re outside town and there is no cell service. How long you going to sit there before you “leave the scene”?

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Also, is it a felony to fail to empty your empties out of your revolver? There is some bunkum floating around here.

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      Can I have “ways to end up in prison for 20 years” for $500, Alex?

      I don’t think there is such a thing as a ‘perfect crime’ but having to try and hide your involvement in an unplanned defensive shooting is DEFINITELY not a good time to try.

  11. avatar Specialist38 says:

    So…..there is training where you fend off scabby DAs and politically connected lawyers?
    No? Because this is classroom type traing or stuff you can learn off the internet.

    Mr. Love had a gun. 1st rule. Did he make some mistakes? Yes.
    The maintaining training he needed was gun safety. This you can learn informally if you have shooting friends or learn on-line and then practice with your chosen firearm.

    Thank you for deciding training that costs “less than a few hundred dollars” (whatever that means) is a negligible expense. Smarmy elitism certainly helps further the 2nd amendment. Everyone would benefit from taking a defensive driving course. Most of us are more likely to need defensive driving skills than defensive shooting skills, yet spend the money and time. I mean really – a decent class cost less than a $1000.

    I am not against training. But training does not have to come from some ” expert”, it can be done among friends and associates that have experience.

    I have been in industry for over 25 years. Companies spend fortunes hiring “consultants” to tell them exactly what their employees have been telling them for years. But it must be better if you’re paying for it…right?

    And no training can prepare you for the grief that comes from a shooting. And if the DA decides to prosecute for political reasons, you will have to deal with it…..and pay for it.

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      Companies spend fortunes hiring “consultants” to tell them exactly what their employees have been telling them for years. But it must be better if you’re paying for it…right?

      I used to work for a company that for several years paid another company to conduct an employee survey to get a better handle on their employee relations. Ostensibly the company wanted the information to better target their resources towards more accurately compensating the employees in terms of wages and benefits. The surveys were always voluntary and purportedly anonymous. The numbers of employees responding kept going lower and lower. Most employees simply felt it was just window dressing and nobody was really listening anyway.

      Eventually in order to get better participation some departments turned it into a competition to see what departments could achieve the highest participation rates. The winning department received special awards and any department achieving a ninety percent participation rate also received awards. The participation was still strictly voluntary and anonymous. Most departments achieved well over one hundred percent participation and management patted themselves on the back. That whatever information or data they hoped to glean from the survey was now hopelessly corrupted, was apparently not a great concern. Neither is the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the survey.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Companies spend fortunes hiring “consultants” to tell them exactly what their employees have been telling them for years.”

        Had the great good fortune to work for two companies and one government agency that used employee surveys conducted by “consultants”. In each case, the use of “consultants” was allegedly done to ensure the employers could not get directly at the data, and the people responding to the surveys.

        In all three instances, the results were a dismal report card on the employers and supervision. In all three cases, the employee reward for participation was a management declaration that the results were meaningless because only the malcontents responded, as evidenced by the dismal report card.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yeah I’m not sure why the author thinks this is a good example of why training is needed. The vast majority of training out there is not going to give you much advantage in resolving this situation over either not going outside (achievable without training) or shooting the guy faster (would still be in the same legal situation).

      Maybe there is some training out there that would have found a way the defendant could avoid shooting in this situation once he was in it but I don’t know what it would consist of… and it would probably be rare and expensive. Jedi mind tricks?

    3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Specialist38, training can be expensive if you go to Thunder Ranch, Gunfire, Lethal Force Institute, etc., but you have to understand the overhead expenses. Cost of land/facilities, payroll, insurance, taxes… I could go on. Internet information? Sure. Except, I worked with a guy for a couple of decades who put forth that he was a firearms defensive expert. He certainly sounded like one. Of course, he had no real experience, but he had read all about it. Shooting with friends and family? Just make sure the grill master is there. And a friend that actually knows what he is doing, or you will only end up with your friend’s/family’s bad shooting habits. I learned in exactly the way you described for twenty years. Then I got real, professional training and the scales fell from my eyes.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Gunsite. Spell check strikes again.

      2. avatar Specialist38 says:

        For the average new defensive gun owner, 2-300 for a training course is expensive.

        Especially if the just bought a Sccy or Ruger EC9 and some ammo.

        And how do ou decide on the trainer? Plenty of folks who look good on paper and are legends in their own mind? Ask the guy mat the gun store? A buddy? You’re back in the same boat.

        In karate, any belt rank can train people below their current rank and skill level. Makes sense to me.

        Most people don’t need operator training from some Seal since we are not in a military engagement situation and I don’t carry an M4 in my pocket. They need experience in safe gun handling a familiarity with firearms. That is certainly enhanced by shooting with friends and family who have shooting experience.

        I taught Rifle for 4 years. The student who progressed the fastest were those in shooting families…..duh. Many 5.11 Commandos on here would not label their families Fudds. Maybe they were, but those were the folks that went to the state finals each year.

        Glad you shed your scales….maybe you can instruct someone else. Or tell them to go to class where they teach them how to,do an extraction with a fire team.

        1. avatar The Grey Man says:

          “Is that a M4 in your pocket or are you happy to see me?”

        2. avatar JDs says:

          The ignorance on this board is ASTOUNDING! You people are the typical gun owner, lowest common denominator. I see you all the time in my classes. “I know what I’m doing, I’ve been shooting all my life” well I’ve told students right to their face, you’ve been doing it wrong all your life. And most are taken aback but at the end of the class, it becomes clear and I’ve had many approach me that I’ve said that to, tell me, you were right, I really didn’t know what I was doing. Same types that learn from “friends”. How do you know who is a good instructor? Someone who either used guns to kill people for a living ie; special ops guys or swat type cops. As the average soldier or cop can’t shoot their way out of a paper bag. Or you get someone from the competitive side of the industry. Guys who have to perform at the highest level to be relevant. The way most talk on here, you don’t need any training to defend yourself. Hey anybody can get lucky. The other thing people like that do is they expect their enemy to be in the same lowest common denominator class like themselves. If your enemy has the slightest amount of training, like he has shot and killed before, it doesn’t have to mean he went to a gun school, and you haven’t, you WILL lose. And losing gunfights can be permanent. It is sadly obvious though, most on here are the lowest common denominator, those of us who seek excellence and take our families personal security seriously are certainly the minority.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “The way most talk on here, you don’t need any training to defend yourself.”

          It is late, so I will be blunt….show me the proof that the statement isn’t true. Show me the training records of the 200,000 to 2,000,000 successful defenders, then let’s see how important training actually is.

          As to the thought that your attacker may be more experienced in killing than the average citizen, we have no way to know but…it is a good idea to believe it, and be prepared. Read an article about gangbangers in jail for shooting victims in the midst of a crime. One of the prisoners said something startling and scary. He said that the armed criminal likely has decided before the attack that you are going to die, and has no hesitation to shoot. The vast majority of the population has not reached that level of commitment.

          My thinking is that the attacker is likely to have the warrior mindset fully in place, while I may not. Up to the point of the article about armed criminals, I thought Cooper’s dictum to be polite to everyone, but have a plan to kill them, sounded macho but had little application to real life. From the moment of reading the interviews with the gangbangers, I have been trying to frame my mind to accept the inevitability of the need to kill another human, without warning and without compunction when my life is threatened. When flying combat missions, that mindset was a natural. Years later, it is more difficult to live that mindset.

  12. avatar Cliff H says:

    One incorrect statement, probably unintentional:

    “…in Kerr’s mind, inconsistencies equaled guilt.”

    In fact, in Kerr’s mind inconsistencies equaled a conviction.

    Also, in relation to training, how does an older or an infirm or a small person or woman find personal defense training that is not aimed at turning you into a SpecOps auxiliary?

    High-power training is great for younger, stronger guys, and they seem to be the ones advertising their services. Basic real-world training for the rest of us seems to be a clandestine activity.

    1. avatar John Boch says:

      Spot on about the inconsistencies. I made that change.

      As to your question about training for everyday people for everyday life:

      “Guns for Beginners: How to Find Quality Self-Defense Firearm Training”
      https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2016/09/john-boch/finding-quality-self-defense-firearm-training/

      The thing about firearms training: ignorance is bliss.

      Sometimes it’s referred to as unconscious incompetence. In other words, people don’t even know what they don’t know about fighting and tactics with a gun. And too easily, that can get them hurt or killed.

  13. avatar Grumpster says:

    Sure it might have helped James Love to have a classroom session on Illinois laws in regards to self defense but I doubt any extra firearms training would have made a difference. It is anyone’s choice to carry with a round in the chamber or not, there are pros and cons to both, and everyone has a different personal situation. As far as warning shots I will not criticize via Monday morning quarterbacking his choice to do that either. Clearly he did not want to shoot the person that crashed nearby his home and he did everything he could to dissuade him from acting aggressively towards him. If he did not fire warning shots the idiot prosecuting attorney with an agenda would have asked him why he did not fire a warning shot. Sure it would have been a goof idea to call 911 first but James Love probably thought that valuable time would be lost if the person screaming from his crashed vehicle needed immediate help/medical attention and he had his phone with him. I truly believe that James Love’s intentions were to investigate and assist an individual in distress and sadly that almost cost him his life and freedom. The biggest crime here was the slime ball Brian Kerr trying to flush James Love’s life down the toilet for his own political ambitions.

  14. avatar Enuf says:

    I agree with seeking out the best defensive/combat firearms training you can afford. That certainly does not mean doing without because you cannot afford the very highest priced, most recognized names in the business.

    The two cases of Love and Zimmerman are very different, comparable only in their differences.

    Love was a Good Samaritan attacked by an extremely drunk person for trying to do the right thing. Love made some mistakes, surely, but not mistakes that caused the attack upon himself.

    Zimmerman was a wannabe cop who managed to trigger angry young adult on edge of being stalked by perverts back where he came from. As such they both made mistakes, Zimmerman for trying to live his law enforcement officer fantasy and Martin for bringing his hometown troubles with him, and escalating stupidly. In the end Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin, but pretending that it could not have been avoided is just bullshit.

    Couldn’t be happier that Love was acquitted. His case was obviously one of wrongful prosecution, of abuse under the law and under the color of authority. There should be laws to require reimbursement to the acquitted of all costs and burdens from these cases, with a demerit system against prosecutors that bring them to trial. Tally up enough demerits, your law license goes in the shredder.

    And hell yes, I hope Mrs. Love owns a Mossberg 500 or something similar. Should be standard kit in every home, a 12 gauge pump and the knowledge to make use of it.

    To borrow a line from that famous self defense instructor Joseph Biden (with some editorial corrections), when threatened, go out on the balcony with your shotgun. Point the shotgun downward at center mass of the transgressor and fire off two blasts.

    There, that should solve all troubles.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      You still buy into the propaganda, I see. If you paid attention to the trial you would know that Zimmerman followed police instructions and was attacked in his way back to his truck. I will check will have say the next time we have a standard anti-Police rant on TTAG. Without police citizens need to do the policing. In fact, since when seconds count the police are a minutes away so citizens to respond like Zimmerman did.

      1. avatar Enuf says:

        I followed the trial, every minute of it. Did not buy into what Zimmerman was selling. His behavior since his acquittal bears out he’s an idiot who can generate bad behaviors around him.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        I don’t buy into the propaganda and he’s right about Zimmerman. Everything about the man screams ‘washed out cop cadet” from his history before the events to those after.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Everything about the man screams ‘washed out cop cadet” from his history before the events to those after.”

          Which proves precisely what? Apparently nothing, as Zimmerman was acquitted based solely on the claim of self-defense (not “Stand Your Ground”). The court record reports that Martin was indoors complaining about being followed (by a gay pervert), then went out again, hunting Zimmerman.

          What law did Zimmerman violate? What safety rule did Zimmerman violate? Precisely when did Zimmerman launch an attack on Martin? How does ignoring the advice of a non-LEO constitute a crime that made Zimmerman guilty of anything? Are you now satisfied that being incautious in a manner that puts one at risk of attack makes that person guilty of a crime, and the attacker justified?

          So Zimmerman was a “cop wannabe”. So what? Is there a legal statute that prohibits such aspirations/delusions? So Zimmerman is not the type person you want to know, or share a shooting range with. So what? That attitude does not make Zimmerman guilty of anything (talking legally guilty). How does any of your feeling or attitude make Martin justified in attacking Zimmerman?

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Zimmerman was pretty anti-cop until he got into the neighborhood watch. Had John Smith been the guy then George would have been out there with the BLM crowd.

          If you want to make that claim then I think Love was more irresponsible than Zimmerman. Since he was not a trained medical professional his duty was to call 911 before taking a look. If you think you need to armed to check something out across the road then you should wait for the police. His confrontation was as avoidable as Zimmerman’s. This is where the right kind of training, i.e., training that has nothing to do with gun handling. would have made a difference.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      Had he gone out there with shotgun or rifle he probably would have convicted. In this situation a long long gun is an offensive weapon. It says you intend to do harm. You never leave your house rifle or shotgun in hand unless you have a clearly identified threat like some one engaged in a spree shooting incident.

  15. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “That is, if you discount his legal bills which are closing in on $100,000, the emotional scars of killing someone and the Mark of Cain damage to his reputation.”

    Implication being…that those things wouldn’t happen if James Love had completed some sort of training?

    The problem, John, with “training” is that all the supporters and practitioners constantly present the matter as a proposition that lacking training is somehow an indication of stupidity, carelessness, negligence, irresponsible behavior. That if one does not train up to snake-eater standards, the only likely outcome is that you kill an innocent bystander just before you are killed yourself. In short, the message that comes across is that if you are not trained in urban combat, you are hopeless.

    It is all about the presentation, and most of what is published is condescending.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Lucky Gunner has been doing a videos on small caliber picket pistols. In the first one he interviews Claude Werner. He would agree with you about the kind of training that gets pushed.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Lucky Gunner has been doing a videos on small caliber picket pistols.”

        Thanks. I need to look up those videos.

  16. avatar former water walker says:

    He!! I some black youts crash into my neighbors front light pole(they weren’t home). On a dark and stormy night. They LOUDLY banged on my door asking to use a phone. I called the po-leece. I had no guns. And I decided to become a firearm owner then and there. Helping idiot’s is overrated…farmer Love basically is TOO nice.

  17. avatar A O says:

    If he would have just followed the first piece of advice and stayed inside his residence, he would not have any of the other problems that followed.

    1. avatar The Grey Man says:

      Until the drunk knocked on his door… The only house around.

      1. avatar A O says:

        And…..keep the door closed and locked?

  18. avatar Victoriaillinois says:

    I would have probably done the same thing as Mr. Love. My first instinct is to help someone in a car crash. (Different than some drunk banging on my door.) Even with training your brain is thinking: “what’s happening, is someone hurt, should I do CPR soon”
    Never would I think a victim of a crash would try to kill me. Call me stupid. This whole story is an eye-opener for me.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      This is why, in EMS training, you’re taught to survey the scene before you go thundering into it. You literally do not ever know all the details that could be important.

      I’ve had drunks start to make threats at me – after they’ve called 911 and I’m responding to that call.

      You need to keep your eyes and ears open, your head on a swivel and make sure your partner(s) do the same. Responding solo to incidents involving drunks, regardless of the circumstances, can be very risky.

  19. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    You left out studying your state’s law regarding the justification of the use of force.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Florida had fairly strong protections for defensive gun uses; it didn’t matter.

      That seems to be the way of it. It might be more advantageous to know what kind of DA you have in your county.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Seems like, if the grand jury refuses to indict and the DA decides to prosecute anyway, the least you could expect would be that if the result is “not guilty” then the DA should be personally responsible for the defendant’s expenses, since it was his personal decision which caused them.

  20. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    This whole resistance to training thing is something I really don’t understand; or half of it anyway. If you can’t afford it, I understand. Been there, done that. Don’t think a professional can teach you anything? That’s hubris.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “This whole resistance to training thing is something I really don’t understand…”

      Maybe it is not resistance to training. Maybe it is resistance to the notion that one must train up to special operations standards in order to be competent enough to save your life, and those of your family when the need arises. What is the statistical probability you will need to make a 50 yard shot while crouching behind an automobile tire, shooting under the chassis of the vehicle? Or shooting an airplane hijacker trying to break into the cockpit, from the last row of a commercial airliner? Can these situations happen? Shooting under a car? Yes. Shooting from the last row of an airplane? No.

      Too much “training” is pushed as being necessary to shoot well for any imaginable scenario, in order to be competent at self-defense. “Train for what might happen, not for what is statistically probable”. That is the message that comes across from most “Train like this, or you’ll die” programs. Not to be ghoulish, but even Chris Kyle did not train for the scenario that he would be out shooting with friends, and one of those friends would kill him.

      Train all you want, all you can afford. But don’t believe that you cannot successfully defend yourself if you aren’t a qualified SEAL. (And don’t push that notion off on others, either)

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Sam nails a big part of this.

        A lot of people see most of the advertised training as 1) expensive, 2) completely unnecessary unless you’re preparing for TEOTWAWKI, and 3) still full of holes.

        I mean for fucks sake, for slightly less than half the cost of some of these classes I can buy an 7 day/6 night nearly-all inclusive Orvis salt-water fly fishing vacation in Belize where you get a $1500 rod/reel/line combo that you get to keep and get two full days of on-water classes on salt-water fly fishing. That’s asinine. Heck, spending a couple days in the ICU last year was thousands cheaper than my wife and I taking some of these classes together.

        That leads to the question of “What am I getting for my money and how likely am I to use it?”.

        Now, is there other training out there? Sure, but you have to go and find it and in many cases you really don’t know if it’s worth the price tag until you’ve done it. We don’t buy practically anything else this way and that makes a lot of people somewhat suspect.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “That leads to the question of “What am I getting for my money and how likely am I to use it?”. ”

          Like your idea of a TTAG archive/database/registry/library/repository/list/spreadsheet of training course reviews by people who attended. Would even volunteer to help keep it updated.

      2. avatar Specialist38 says:

        my sentiments exactly.

  21. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    For those who may live in the State of South Carolina….

    South Carolina Gun Law…..Shaw’s 2018 or 2019

    Stephen Fulton Shaw.

    https://www.amazon.com/Shaws-2019-South-Carolina-Gun-ebook/dp/B07NGJ3YM1/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=South+carolina+gun+laws+2019&qid=1549745345&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Another book to consider is “Medicolegal of Death” by Sptz and Fisher.

      Goes to prove to jury what you knew at time of DGU.

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        “Medicolegal Investigation of Death”

        C’m on guys! need the edit button back!

  22. avatar Gunsrn says:

    I have sat here and read all the responses above some make sense and some do not but you have to take into consideration what is right for you about are some serious considerations one must consider before they pick up a firearm but in the end it is up to the individual to seek the proper knowledge and training before you take some in the awesome responsibility out carrying a firearm I have been fortunate enough to have both legal and tactical training But I would have still called the police 1st

  23. avatar strych9 says:

    The problem with training is that it varies enormously in quality and in price.

    Last year I was going to take a couple of the classes GoRuck puts on around the country (the classes travel) and write them up. You can take a defensive pistol class and an active shooter class for a out $225 a piece with… no prereqs and fairly close to home.

    What do you get? I don’t know. But at that price it’s worth checking out and doing a review of it (I’ll have to recheck the schedule now that I’m past my little health issue).

    The point is TTAG should start this and have an archive so that people can make an accurate judgement based on their finances and needs. Reviews that go beyond the advertising.

    The problem here is that there’s a lot of bullshit, expensive bullshit and it can be hard for people to filter out. Locally for me there is at least one place that has cool, useful classes that sound like they’d be gun to boot. The prices seem entirely reasonable too. That is, until you realize you have to take the classes IN ORDER. Meaning your first $500, six hours, and your first 1000 rounds are all classroom and square range instruction where you can’t even use a holster. Want some practice with a rifle or shotgun for defense? Double those numbers (except for shells). Want all three? Triple them.

    Want to get to the point you can mosey through their shoot house and see what it’s like? The entrance fee is completion of four pistol and four rifle classes WITH THEM regardless of experience. So while a 2 day shoot house class seems reasonable at like $600 you rapidly find out that to get to that class requires all the others for rifle and pistol so it’s going to cost on the order of $6000 before you can even sign up.

    Again, the answer is to get reviews of as many training courses and trainers as possible so that, hopefully, people will get an idea of what’s available in their state.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I completely echo your sentiments. These are most of the same problems I have with modern training courses. Many training “schools” now seem to have course schedules that read like the “ladder of Scientology courses” as I like to call it; before you can take course XYZ, you need to take courses ABC, DEF, etc.

      Some of the other problems I have with modern training courses:

      1. Too many of the instructors have military backgrounds. Sure, the military handles guns very well – but their mindset is very different than the average homeowner. When you’ve got an elderly woman, living alone, who needs instruction, do you think she’s going to sign up for a courses taught by a bunch of muscular guys covered in tats and wearing mil-spec garb? Probably not.

      2. Too many courses & instructors want to get finicky with what gun you bring to their course. One size does not fit all, and guess what? Some people who need training might not be able to rack the slide on your favorite model of Glock, never mind afford it. There’s lots of types and models of guns out there. Schools should be teaching people how to use what they have and use it competently and to the best of their ability.

      3. Too much of the training relies on just the gun as your self-defense tool. There are plenty more tools available for self-defense, and there’s a mindset that should be developed for self-defense, independent of the tool at hand. I knew a woman who had a thug leap into her house in the 1970’s in New Jersey. The thug pounced and tailgated one of her children in the door of her apartment. She was cooking dinner at the time. She didn’t have a gun at all – but she had a pot of boiling water on the stove, ready for the pasta. Guess what the thug got for his troubles? Severe burns of his face and eyes from a pot of boiling water being thrown on him. That’s a self-defense mindset in operation. Is it as tacti-kewl as an operator operating operationally and ventilating the thug? Nope. But it got the job done.

      4. Lastly, no course I’ve taken (and I’ve taken a few from 1992 until recently) deal with “how to spot trouble before trouble spots you.” None of them teach what I like to call “reading the street,” and this is really poor teaching, IMO. The single best weapon you have on the street is in between your ears, and if you can avoid trouble before trouble notices you, then you’re way, way ahead of the game. No one seems to want to teach “how to spot trouble.”

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Nicely done.

        Thanx

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        DG:

        I agree with everything you’ve said here. I would also point out in respect to former mil trainers that a lot of what they teach is useful and works very well. It also is often borderline illegal, or flat out illegal, in a civilian context. Or in other situations it works very well for a group or someone who can call for a type of support that’s not possible in the civilian world.

        Military aggression is great for combat situations. It can get you in a lot of trouble in the civilian world. That’s one of the issues I have with a lot of carbine courses. They’re not teaching someone to use the rifle defensively but rather they’re basically teaching you how to patrol to contact. That’s something most people will see as vigilantism at best. Learning skills that require multiple team members isn’t very useful for self-defense either.

  24. avatar possum says:

    I like dead humans, coyotes leave em alone long enuff so I get to the good parts.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      You ain’t right, Possum……lol.

  25. avatar Mikial says:

    How about rule number one . . . mind your own damn business and don;t go looking for trouble.

  26. avatar Jeffery K says:

    USCCA; up front coverage, allows use if any (legal) weapon including good old hand/feet, covers defense in ‘no weapons’ zones, provides tons of training & instructional videos, access to top notch 2A attorneys 24/7/365, a great award winning CC Magazine, automatically covers spouse at home (reasonable cost to add for coverage anywhere), maps & information on carry in other states, and the list just goes on. Just like car, home owners & other insurances, you hope you never need it, but damn glad to have it if you do.

  27. avatar The Grey Man says:

    I’m not going to go into a long spiel about training but what has worked for me over the years is mentally running scenarios through you noggin and imagining how you would react. Dry fire is your friend!!! It has served me well over the years and taught me how to control my weapon. When I had to recertify the instructors would ask me where I learned to shoot like that… Most gun owners, and some coppers, just stand in the stall and shoot at paper right in front of them. That’s okay but rarely do bad guys stand still directly in front of you… You can’t use your instincts unless you develop them… Sorry, I guess it WAS a long spiel…

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Most gun owners, and some coppers, just stand in the stall and shoot at paper right in front of them.”

      Read an article discussing two self-defense instructors who dismiss the notion that you cannot prepare yourself by just using a “square range”. One of the instructors, a Brazilian jujitsu instructor said, “…drillers are killers.. fighters who drilled regularly seemed to always dominate the mat…” The second instructor, a firearms instructor noted that the square range is important for developing and maintaining the basics. His comment was that you should practice marksmanship, gun handling, and drawing from a holster until you are beyond proficient at those fundamentals. He noted that amateurs practice until they get it right, but the proficient practice until they can’t get it wrong. My thoughts were that “training” was a good thing, but wasted unless you were highly proficient at the basics, which can’t be mastered in any single class session, or even a series of several in a given year. (notwithstanding that the vast majority of successful DGUs are committed by “untrained” individuals)

  28. avatar Joshua Rees says:

    You are discussing 2 very different incidents, and you are discouraging “ Israeli loading”. I keep my gun(s) with nothing in the chamber. Unless I hear trouble. Or I expect troubles. I live in Alaska. Same urban crime. As I live in a condo and not an igloo. There’s more than enough 2 legged predators, to outnumber the 4 legged. I load when a. I am outdoors. And b. When I am carrying a revolver. That timed 1/2 second gives me a chance to evaluate the threat. That’s served me well. Had 4 incidents where I had a choice to make on taking a shot at a 2 legged predator. But material things where not worth taking a shot. Regardless you are discussing the Zimmerman v Martin case. That man lost all credibility after the facts came out. And he hurt my responsible 2nd amendment rights even further. After being cleared of all charges. And decided that it would be a great idea to sell the gun used to commit the fatality. I don’t care if they determined him to “justified”. That stunt is plain disgusting. What human does that? Sick.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Is it odd that none of your disgust makes Zimmerman guilty of a crime? Don’t fool yourself into believing that the gun grabbers wouldn’t grab if every gun owner was nice, meek, deferential, trained, had good manners and practiced safe sex.

      The grabbers don’t need nutty behavior as the catalyst to hate you, or to take your guns. The implication of your line of thought is that Zimmerman should have been declared guilty because he is an embarrassment to us proper gun owners.

      If we have a natural, human and civil right to own guns, there is no disqualification for having a personality that pisses off the rest of the gun owners. We already have the nattering nabobs of negativism declaring they don’t want to be associated with a creep who is accomplishing many of the things they support, but couldn’t accomplish. We don’t need that among ourselves as gun owners.

      If we are obliged to accept the idea that the Second Amendment applies to leftist gun owners (who will betray the Second Amendment in a New York minute), then we have to accept (and defend) that the Second Amendment applies to people like Zimmerman.

  29. avatar Norm Walker says:

    I can’t believe people actually come out Against training. Don’t be a cheap ass,. You can get a semi profeclent Class for $250 in most areas.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “I can’t believe people actually come out Against training. ”

      It generally isn’t about “training”, but a rejection of the notion that untrained gun owners cannot successfully defend themselves without formal training. If the Second Amendment applies to every citizen, then it applies. There is no requirement in the constitution that a citizen undergo formal training before they can purchase or make a firearm. No demand that members of the militia must be formally trained before they can be called up to serve as a member of the militia.

      The tenor of many who praise “training” is that we who do not submit to formal training classes (and “practice, practice, practice) are somehow unfit to own firearms, a danger to ourselves and family, a threat to the neighborhood, and are somehow second-class gun owners who fail to measure up to someone else’s pint sized measure of acceptable conduct.

      If you want to explain to us the benefits of training, the new discoveries you made as a result of training, share examples of how training benefits you overall, just tell us about it. We might find your report interesting, useful, energizing, inspiring. Just don’t blast us in the face with how only people trained to Air Marshal standards are prepared to, and can, defend themselves with a firearm. That somehow, people without formal training are not covered by the Second Amendment. That somehow people without formal training are sub-human and should be shunned by Second Amendment supporters. That somehow people without formal training lose every self-defense event. That somehow because the vast majority of 100 million gun owners have no formal firearm training, they betray the Second Amendment, and all the other gun owners.

      As noted several times in the past, it is all in the presentation, and the underlying assumptions of that presentation.

    2. avatar David Bradford says:

      Norm Walker says:
      “I can’t believe people actually come out Against training. Don’t be a cheap ass,. You can get a semi profeclent Class for $250 in most areas.”

      Glad to know you have $250 you can just piss away without a second thought, Oh and the time off work to go take a class. And 6 months from now, how much of that instruction are you going to remember if you didn’t have access to a range that will allow you to put that training into practice a few times a week?

      People are not rejecting training because they feel it’s useless. They are rejecting it because it is of little use to them and a waste of their limited resources. I would love to have the luxury of some more advanced training if it was affordable and accessible. But it is neither affordable nor accessible for me. The $450 annual range membership I hold is a substantial burden to my limited income. Yet even with that, I can not practice my draw nor fire any more rapid fire than 1 shot a second. Gee, I wish I had a buddy with a backyard range that would let me come get some real practice controlling my recoil with some rapid-fire shooting. BUT, I DON’T, so paying money I can’t afford to part with, to take a class to be instructed on recoil mitigation that I will not be able to practice is a big waste of time and money. Without sustained practice, and/or further instruction anything I may have learned will soon fade away. I can get the same, maybe even better, results by watching a few Youtube videos (in my underwear) for free and dry fire practice the best I can at home. Up until recently, I worked 7 days a week as an independent contract worker. In a 14+ year period, I didn’t have to show up work a total of 31 days and nearly half of that was because I had a medical emergency (appendicitis) and had been hospitalized. No days off, if you don’t show up they give your job to the next guy in line. Getting training is a commitment many of us just can’t physically or financially make. Should we then be left defenseless? I am as safe as I can be. I do my best to know and follow the laws regarding self-defense firearm use. I practice when and how I can. I hope I never need to draw my gun in self-defense. But I still carry one or more pistols every single day because I can, it’s my right, and my duty to protect myself(even if I am poor financially).

    3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I’m not against training. I’m against unrealistic training.

      Want to know what’s realistic training? You’re awakened in bed, in the dark, and you know there’s someone in your house. You now need to get a gun, flashlight and perhaps some shoes on to deal with it.

      Some more realistic training: You come out of the supermarket at night, and the parking lot seems to have a couple of thug-looking yutes hanging around, trying to look disinterested. What do you do?

      Here’s some more realistic training: You’re at a public event, and you go to the restroom. On your way in, you see someone at the other end of the hallway who looks sketchy. While you’re in the restroom, you hear the door open. What do you do?

      See, NONE of these scenarios, which are taken from stories of criminal assault I’ve heard from victims, are situations trained for in CCW or other classes. None of them. I see some of the most absurd shit being peddled in gun training classes that seems to think your average encounter with criminals is going to happen out in the open, on the street, where you have to choose between hard cover and concealment behind a palm tree. Sorry, I’ve been around long enough, and saw enough crime in LA in the 80’s to know that this isn’t the case; while the North Hollywood bank shootout was dramatic, it was also a one-off.

      When the training courses start teaching realistic responses to much more common scenarios, I think many more people will take up the training.

      Take the story on the other thread here at TTAG of the man who just killed two perps who broke into his house and were holding his mother at gunpoint. Now there’s a realistic scenario – things like that have happened in home invasions since, well, basically, forever.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I’m not against training. I’m against unrealistic training.”

        Nicely done response. Wish I had said/written that……I probably will.

  30. avatar Glenn Mosley says:

    John Boch. There is no relevant comparison of the Zimmerman/Martin crime and the James Love case. George Zimmerman should never have been stalking Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin had every right to be in that neighborhood. But you are probably too ignorant of the facts to understand that.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Trayvon Martin had every right to be in that neighborhood. But you are probably too ignorant of the facts to understand that.”

      Zimmerman had every right to be in that neighborhood. Martin went home, called his girlfriend, then went hunting a someone he thought might be a gay “prevert”. Zimmerman had abandoned his search, and was moving to depart the area. Martin attacked him from behind. Martin had no natural, human, civil right to conduct that attack. None.

      1. avatar Glenn Mosley says:

        There is no evidence that Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman. Stick to the facts.

        1. avatar The Grey Man says:

          What???!!! You are either seriously misinformed or willfully ignorant!!! Did you see the pictures of the back of Zimmerman’s head?

        2. avatar Glenn Alan Mosley says:

          You believe that Zimmerman having injuries to the back of his head is proof that he was attacked by Martin? You believe that there is no possible way that those injuries could have been sustained as a result of Zimmerman attacking Martin? SMFH

        3. avatar The Grey Man says:

          Well, the injuries and the eyewitness who saw it… You’re either a troll or dumb as a stump… Which is it?

        4. avatar Glenn Alan Mosley says:

          Another ill informed uninformed Fox News pin head.

        5. avatar The Grey Man says:

          Goodbye troll… Someday you might see things as they are….

        6. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “There is no evidence that Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman. Stick to the facts.”

          You have trial transcripts describing how Martin didn’t go back out of his house to look for (hunt) a maybe gay “prevert” (Zimmerman)? You have trial transcripts of the prosecution referencing laws that made it illegal for Zimmerman to be in the neighborhood? On the sidewalk where the confrontation took place? You have trial transcripts describing how Zimmerman intentionally fell on his back, dragging Martin with him? You have trial transcripts describing how Zimmerman tracked Martin to Martin’s house, waited outside while Martin talked on the phone to his girlfriend, then left his house to casually and innocently stroll along the sidewalk, and suddenly find himself sitting on Zimmerman, pounding him? You have trial transcripts describing Zimmerman sticking a gun in Martin’s face, and Martin fought back in self-defense? You have trial transcripts describing Zimmerman knocking Martin to the ground, then placing himself under Martin so Zimmerman would have an excuse to use his firearm?

          Always willing to be informed, willing to learn. If you would be kind enough to send those selected descriptions, I will happily post a mea culpa.

  31. avatar arc says:

    I have to disagree about “calling for help first”. Unless you want some heavy false report fines / charges, you really should see if someone actually does require emergency services. I had to check something out just this morning, got my gun and ankle bracelet (phone), and walked out to the fence line. The person honking their horn for five minutes was no where to be seen and the only thing left was another stupid stray cow.

    I wish penalties for letting your shit run wild on other peoples private and public property were actually enforced.

    I suppose I could call non-emergency numbers, but whats the use? I doubt the local fuzz is going to come out all cowboy and rope up some skittish cow.

  32. avatar Calvin Ward says:

    The should article should be called; Ten things nosey cowards should do to get away with murder…..

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Who, besides a crooked Assistant State Attorney, thinks Love got away with murder by not allowing himself to be murdered?

      1. avatar John Boch says:

        Who besides Brian Kerr?

        The friends and family of Xavier Hartman.

        I’d like to see Love file a few defamation suits against those people who keep writing that he’s a murderer. The only problem is, by and large, is that most of them have no assets.

  33. avatar Sneakachu says:

    “Do you need help? Should I call an ambulance?”

Leave a Reply to Craig in IA Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email