Former LEO Warner: You Take a Life, You’re Going to Go Through Something

Brian Warner Chicago Tribune taking a life

courtesy Chicago Tribune

“Whether you’re in law enforcement or a private citizen, you take a life, you’re going to go through something,” [former LEO Brian] Warner said. “We don’t do enough to combat that.”

Aliza Luft agrees. She’s an assistant sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who has studied war and violence in countries like Rwanda and France.

“Even if a shooting is justified, it is often still a harrowing experience for the person pulling the trigger,” she said. “Even a good guy with a gun would most likely still experience physical and emotional difficulties participating in violence.”

It could make a CCL holder less safe with a gun, Warner said, speaking from his own experience. The next time a person has to draw a gun, it may be hard to even keep the gun steady. – Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas for the Chicago Tribune, ‘You Take a Life, You’re Going to Go Through Something’

H/T John Correia

comments

  1. avatar kahlil says:

    Exactly.

    The issue I take with the article is the question of how Warner and his partner put handcuffs on a suspect without realizing he had a loaded firearm, which was able to be accessed even with cuffed hands, enabling him to fire in the car. Not the best example overall but in my opinion the psychological responses to a shooting, even a justifiable one, needs to be discussed more in conceal carry classes before people get their permit. For constitutional carry states I am not sure how this would be addressed.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      The danger of course is having a mandatory psych review after any incident and having licence and weapons pulled. Trust me we are better off with constitutional carry and actual medical privacy.

      1. avatar Yarbles says:

        RIGHT you are!

        1. avatar former water walker says:

          Absolutely!

      2. avatar possum says:

        Oh great joy, I go in the 30th for the determination of my physc eval I had two days after veteran’s day. I’m looking forward to it, they’ve got a whole bowl of candy you can munch on while they tell you your not really a possum.

        1. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

          Stand your ground Mr. P. It’s still (supposedly) a free country.

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Kahlil

      Maybe it depends on the class. It was extensively discussed in my LTC class. But then again, my LTC teacher was a Vietnam vet, so he was able to speak from direct experience. I think that people who have actually been through it are the only ones who can speak about it in that particular way.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I kind of like the Heinlein approach. Only those of us who have served get to have a say in .gov.

        1. avatar kahlil says:

          I think she’s talking about experience and first hand knowledge rather than some sense of authenticity (or qualification). As a social worker overseas I could counsel the children and families I worked with and I saw first hand the effects of war, trafficking, and poverty – but as an American I could not relate completely and don’t feel that I could speak with authenticity on their experiences. It still doesn’t mean that the psychological effects can’t be discussed, normalized, treated but it does mean that I don’t have that intimate knowledge that comes with growing up or trying to survive in that sort of environment.

          You had to go there with Heinlein didn’t you 😉

        2. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @kahlil

          I’d say both. I think people who have spent that much time with arms and also had to kill others have a perspective that is often actually marginalized in the “tacticool” world. I’ve found in my own experience that SF/similar operators have a much broader worldview than most people realize, mainly because they’ve spent extended time in other countries and had a lot of intimate contact with the natives.

          Any irreversible thing is going to have a massive effect on a human life. Having a baby. Walking away from a family, community, or religion that you couldn’t be a part of anymore (I’ve worked with people who escaped from cults – it’s intense). Taking a human life is one of those irreversible things.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          kahlil. Of course I did. It’s a gentle reminder to the communist/socialists, who seem to believe they are the only ones that have a right to curtail individual rights and liberties, that if you start down that road it may not end where you want it to.

          All kidding aside. If I had to chose between a communist/socialist US or a military dictatorship I would chose the latter. Not happily. But……

        4. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @jwm

          I’m keeping an eye on what VN is doing. Socialist market economy. Some things are socialized, like health care. But the rest is free market. You can open a business, do any kind of commerce you want, etc. VN is big on small businesses and entrepreneurship. They also are pretty stern about not allowing anyone who is not a VN citizen/national to open and run a business. “Made in VN” is the norm there and they’re proud of it.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          elaine. My wife did some business with VN some years back. She approached me with the subject. She wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. VN has a great spirit of small, family oriented business. Unfortunately for them they also have a communist .gov. It may be low key right now, but it’s still communist.

          My war is over. I told her to go for it.

        6. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @jwm

          It’s not as Communist as people think. In name, yes, but in practice, VN in some ways looks like the US did when I was a kid: lots of small local businesses, production kept in the country, lots of pride in local goods, lots of skills in crafts and thing making because people haven’t lost them.

          One of the real tragedies of the exportation of labor is the loss of American talent in goods making. VN has been smart enough to hold onto that and to fiercely stave off Chinese made goods, though you do see some of those. But it’s mostly “made in VN” and very fine things indeed.

          I think to do business in VN it’s best to have a VN connection as a partner in the country. They will let outsiders do business there but it’s capricious, you have to jump through a million hoops and they can change their mind at any time. People complain about that but it’s a big part of how they’ve kept VN business strong.

        7. avatar jwm says:

          So VN is smart enough to not do open borders.

        8. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

          As inviting as it sounds their is a loss of liberty in that statement.

        9. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @jwm

          Kinda. They did close the borders for real for a long time, redid the currency, all of that. No one could go in or out for a long time, which is why I never got to meet either of my grandparents.

          Now, though, there’s a lot of tourist and expatriate traffic. Mostly from Australia, but you see Europeans and sometimes Americans as well, and a lot of Japanese. People will come and stay for months at a time and then go home. Businesses and such are owned by VN mostly though. You will sometimes see a few Russians or Europeans with a little business but they’re always kind of on the verge of somethign changing. VN govt is especially hard on the Russians.

        10. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          “VN govt is especially hard on the Russians.”

          And they are *very* wary of the Chinese. They haven’t forgotten the border clashes with the Chinese in the late 70s-80s :

          https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/1979-china-was-crushed-war-vietnam-what-happened-next-25322

          I find it kinda fascinating VN has for all practical purposes, opened Cam Ranh Bay to the US Navy :

          https://www.economist.com/asia/2017/04/20/vietnam-uses-an-old-naval-base-to-make-new-friends

        11. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Geoff

          Yep. The VN are actually very accepting and friendly to Americans. I’ve been three times so far and have never heard or seen one bit of anti American sentiment. The way they see it is that the war was hard on everyone, everyone who lived through it and still has their family is lucky, and all that was a long time ago and there isn’t any reason to have bad feelings – forgiveness and moving forward is more important. This attitude is part of how I believe they’ve been able to rebuild their country and bring it to where it is in such a short time – they believe in forgiveness and moving forward, not grudge holding.

          Here’s an interesting little factoid for you about VN:

          The only arms allowed for citizens in VN are shotguns.
          Number of shotguns legally possessed in VN: 70,000
          Number of arms actually owned by VN citizens: 1.1 million

          There’s an entire black market in alcohol powered fuel-air guns that fire plastic or metal pellets. The guns range in price from US$18 to $US1000. All developed by Viet entrepreneurs.

          Seen in a Viet newspaper the other day:

          “Ban them, and they will come.”

        12. avatar Garrison Hall says:

          It’s not about what happens when you have to kill somebody in self defense. It’s about having the right to fight back or not having the right to fight back. The brutal fact is that one gives you the chance live and the other does not. Everything else—what you feel after the fact, what others feel after the fact, what officialdom feels or does after the fact—is ephemeral to the single brutal fact that having a fighting chance is infinitely better than having no chance at all. Is anybody actually surprised that spree killers like to choose places where they can be pretty sure they won’t encounter armed resistance?

      2. avatar Echo5Bravo says:

        In my experience, in some ways, shooting another human being and trying to explain it, is a lot like trying to explain sex to a virgin. I can show you all the parts, tell you how they work together, give you essays and how to books , but until you do it, and the circumstances involved in the act, you don’t know how you will react afterward.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I’ve watched babies being born. Took part in creating them. But that in no way qualifies me to get into a discussion about having babies.

          Shooting at people I know about.

        2. avatar New Continental Army says:

          I personally was born, only once though (That I’m aware of). Does that give me the right experience to talk about child birth?

    3. avatar Cliff H says:

      I take issue with the fact that this is not the sort of situation the average concealed career is going to find themselves involved in.

      Concealed classes should cover the mechanics and legalities of carry. They should allude to the difficulties you will encounter legally and emotionally after you pull the trigger. Just enough for the person to understand that there are implications that must be considered.

      But belaboring the point only creates a person who has gone to the trouble of obtaining a weapon and training and a permission slip and then spends so much time second-guessing the situation that they wind up shot anyway, or worse yet the perp takes their gun and shoots them with it.

      The average non-LEO (or military) will most likely never fire their weapon in anger, but when the occasion arises that they must defend themselves or someone else the last thing they need is a lot of psychobabble in the back of their mind about how bad they are going to feel about it tomorrow.

      During my tactical pistol class I stopped shooting when I did a reload that pinched my finger between the mag and the frame. My instructor shouted at me “Why did you stop shooting?” When I told him I had pinched my finger his response was, “Does it hurt more than getting shot?”

      That’s what these people need to learn. No matter how you feel tomorrow about taking that bastard’s life, will it be worse than lying in intensive care, or the morgue?

      1. avatar Marty says:

        The number human instinct is to survive. I often wondered if I could shoot another person. When the time came, it wasn’t even on my mind. It was either him or me, and in my mind, it wasn’t gonna be me.

      2. avatar Ardent says:

        I agree in spirt with sone of this…a CCW class isn’t really the place to talk about psychological reactions that occur after a DGU. Brevity and relevance suggest it’s a topic for a very small group of individuals to work with if and when necessary, given that the majority of carriers won’t have a DGU, and only a tiny percentage of those will actually have killed someone.

        I’d take that much further though and say individual mindset, genetics, life experience, and circumstance are major factors in how one reacts to the experience. Some people are very upset by very righteous killing, while others may be unperturbed by outright murder, and still others can kill many times without deleterious effect only to be damaged by a particular killing…the topic is so personal and circumstantial in nature that I don’t very well see how one can address it before the fact…unless that is by stress inoculation and preparing psychologically to kill, which while useful, may be a bit over the top for a segment of the population highly unlikely to ever kill.

        On top of all this, reaction to killing is largely social in nature, by which I mean it is a mostly learned response based on one’s culture, and can be unlearned or relearned as needed, and in a fairly short period of time in the right curcumstances. However, it is this cultural inhibition we rely upon to avoid unnecessary killing in SD, and training it out of average citizens may have unintended consequences.

        Finally, this affects such a tiny percentage of the population that it’s unlikely any real benefit in scale could be achieved anyway…that is, we can pour resources into this issue, and still only benefit the small number of people affected, and then only by degree. It’s not necessary to have a policy for every event, this one is rare enough that it would seem the existing behavioral health industry can likely handle it.

    4. avatar skiff says:

      I recall a story that I read about 10 or 15 years ago about two Florida detectives that had a handcuffed suspect in the back of their police car. The suspect had a concealed handcuff key. He freed himself using the key, reached for the detective’s Glock in a shoulder holster who was in the drivers seat and shot both of them to death. Both detectives never had the chance to feel remorse.

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        Hank Earl Carr.

        That was one helluva day in Tampa, let me tell you :

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Earl_Carr

        “Hank Earl Carr (January 31, 1968 – May 19, 1998) was a convicted criminal who, on May 19, 1998, shot his girlfriend’s four-year-old son with a rifle, was arrested, and then escaped from his handcuffs and killed two Tampa detectives and a Florida state trooper. Carr then barricaded himself in a convenience store and held a clerk hostage before committing suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.”

        1. avatar skiff says:

          Geoff, Thanks for clarifying this.

  2. avatar No one of consequence says:

    The next time a person has to draw a gun, it may be hard to even keep the gun steady.

    Perhaps. Maybe even probably.

    But that’s not an objective reason to not carry after surviving one event bad enough to make you pull the trigger … lightning can in fact strike twice in the same place. If a person decides not to carry again, that should be the individual’s choice.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      This also insinuates that the first time you have to draw a g un it won’t be difficult to keep the g un steady. I would think that if you’re truly in fear for your life the first time in that situation would be the shakiest. At least in the movies it’s always the greenhorn that gets it first.

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      I don’t know about all that, the modern view of PTSD, that is. It’s extremely distorted by Hollywood and the media. So distorted that that I doubt even mental health professionals are immune from the distortions. Ever since Vietnam, veterans and subsequently anyone that’s had to kill has been painted as an emotional wreck after the incident. Feel free to write this off as hyperbole, but my experience has been different, and I know many veterans who feel the same. Not to say that killing someone is trivial experience, but that the after effect is widely exaggerated, and the prominence of this in media effects people involved. Put it this way, I think since Vietnam “life has imitated art”, on the matter. I have known many WW2 vets, and their outlook on killing was way, way different from the subsequent generations. Many WW2 vets were very matter of fact when talking about it. Like it was just another job they did. I know some that even laughed about it. The only emotion I really ever saw was when they were talking about men they knew who were killed. Personally, I think the image of the broken veteran or broken cop, perpetuated by the media/Hollywood, has become so ingrained into everyone’s mind that when something like this happens people act this way because that’s how they think they’re supposed to act.

      1. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

        PTS and more importantly our response to it is a learned. Our concept of right and wrong is also learned. The narrative of the broken cop or warfighter is learned as well.

        1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

          This!

      2. avatar daveinwyo says:

        Maybe part of the deal with WWII vets is that most knew where their food came from, maybe even killed it themselves. Not saying they were cold blooded killers, but death is a part of life, especially when someone is shooting at you. Also, they had a chance to “decompress” on the boat ride home. Not jungle to streets in 48 hours I have observed the Special Forces types are more mature and centered than the same age soldier and this may help alleviate some PTS.

      3. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @New

        As a PTSD therapist, there are probably a few factors.

        —it makes a difference how people are received when they come home. Hero or villain, makes a big difference. Also, social support. Studies in other countries on the mental health aftermath of big events (tsunami etc) showed that when people have strong social networks and can grieve and cry and process together as a group helping each other, they don’t tend to develop ptsd even after a really horrific event.

        —sense of purpose. A strong feeling of meaning defends against ptsd. Lack of clarity about why what happened happened is a common theme in ptsd development, the unanswered questions that start to haunt someone when the memories won’t go away.

        —most people who develop more severe ptsd have a history of significant trauma before that point. Trauma is like a baklava or a stack of legos, the more you add, the more vulnerable the person is to the whole thing tipping over. So if someone comes into the military with a big stack already, they can get pushed over the edge. Neural overload.

        Those are just my hunches based on the state of current research etc. People who come from strong loving families and communities and return to them are much less likely to develop PTSD.

      4. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        “I’ve killed 150 men, it sure as hell won’t bother me to kill you.” This is a statement attributed to Audie Murphy—I am assuming everyone knows who he was—who was being aggressively challenged by guy trying to provoke him into fighting.

      5. avatar Ardent says:

        Thank you .CA, I tried to say this earlier but you did it better. Not everyone is devastated by taking a life, and many who are are at least in some ways life imitating art (or obeying unspoken social convention).

        Hollywood, and a lot of other sources without knowledge of how such works have created a situation in which many people think they are supposed to be all broken up over killing, and that they must be a bad person or even a psychopath if they aren’t. The reality is that there is no inate human inhibition to killing, nor any specific response to it, it’s all learned, and as we in the US don’t usually study the topic, it learned haphazardly, and largely from fiction.

        If a person is broken up over it, that’s ok, but it isn’t the inevitable response to killing, and it’s likewise fine if killing elicits no more emotion than any other noteworthy act…and as some can assert, it entirely possible for killing to become fairly mundane, it depends on your culture, attitude, exposure and support system.

  3. avatar GaPharmD says:

    Oh you mean they found two more people to trumpet why citiznes shouldnt carry guns and we should have the 2nd taken away?

    NO?!?!? This is my suprised face
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    …….not the least suprised.

  4. avatar Scoutino says:

    Look, another angle of “why people should not be armed” from usual suspects.

    1. avatar Kahlil says:

      Did you read the article? The one that shouldn’t have been armed was the perp in the cop car. Cops didn’t do their jobs in securing and ensuring the suspect was unarmed and safe to transport.

      I guess overall you could read into this (article) an anti gun bias but I tend to see it as addressing something that many of us don’t want to experience, dealing with the ramifications and personal consequences of being someone who took a life with a gun.

      1. avatar Kiss kiss bang bang says:

        Then don’t carry. But when a loved one gets killed due to your inability to fire back or stop the attack THAT is wayyy worse to live with.

        I’ve killed many things in my life and unfortunately a human was one of those things, but I don’t look back and it doesn’t effect me or anything I do.

        This is just another psa from your government telling you your not okay, it’s oksy to need help and they will take care of you. Swallow that pill if you want!

      2. avatar Ardent says:

        Kiss kiss sort of said this already, but what tends to affect the largest percentage of people the most deeply is being unable to save those close to them, not killing others who are trying to do them harm.

        I also wonder what “a gun” has to do with it, since I can’t image it being somehow less traumatic to kill with a spear or club or ax.

  5. avatar Excedrine says:

    Unfortunately, killing is one of those things that get easier the more we do it.

  6. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

    While it has nothing to do with the topic at hand, I just feel the need to let all my fellow POTG know that I’ve finally come to terms with my sexuality. The only thing better than being a gun owner is being a flaming queer gun owner! I hope y’all will embrace my newfound flamboyance ;-)!

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Geoff

      So enlighten me: what’s the difference between being “regular” queer and “flaming” queer? The pants you’re wearing? Axl Rose vs Freddie Mercury?

      It took a team of five gay men, two of them Republican, one of them a Mexican national, to help me understand how a brown person can be a white supremacist, but after an hour or so of discussion and a little white wine, I finally got it.

      1. avatar Kahlil says:

        Flaming…stood too close to the dragons breath or tannerite 😇

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Let me take a stab at this. The flaming queer is the guy that shows up at the range in yoga pants and a pink feather boa. And leg warmers.

          For the life of me I cannot understand why any minority group that has faced hate in their lives isn’t armed. I’m an ofwg. I’ve never been threatened because of my race or sexuality. If I had you can damn sure know I would strap up and meet them half way.

        2. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @jwm

          I think honestly it’s because minority groups are afraid of the people at ranges. But you are seeing more and more groups show up at my local range so that is an encouraging sign. Once you’ve been a time or two you finally realize that a shooting range is full of nice helpful people, not a bunch of white supremacists waiting to off you when you turn around in your lane, which is what a lot of people are scared of. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, but I was afraid of exactly the same thing, before I learned.

      2. avatar New Continental Army says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head about “flaming” when you said Axl Rose.

      3. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        “So enlighten me:”

        That wasn’t me, Elaine.

        But someone was obviously very ‘triggered’ and wanted some fun at my expense…

    2. avatar possum says:

      Embrace, flaming, fur, ,,. Sorry no can do

    3. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Well. Think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone come out the closet on TTAG…

      1. avatar jwm says:

        It ain’t like he had to really come out. Worst kept secret of all time.

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          *Please* JWM.

          I am kinda flattered someone wants to impersonate me.

          *snicker* 😉 …

        2. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          JWM, I end my comments with 😉 , not ;-)!

    4. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Geoff, didja think anybody here would care? I would expect most would care more if I announced I wasn’t really in TX, and I’m pretty sure NO ONE cares about that.

  7. avatar Docduracoat says:

    It is plain that you are all a bunch of OFWG‘s !
    Acculturated and with a conscience.
    I have to tell you that there are lots of people who like killing other people.
    They don’t think twice about it.
    All those European men who left for Syria to kill for Isis loved it.
    All those killers working for the Mexican cartels enjoy their job
    And a lot of our local criminals enjoy killing other criminals, other gang members, and citizens!
    Even among “good” people, there are plenty who are not bothered when killing is a clear cut case of good versus evil.

    1. avatar RGP says:

      Correct! There are a lot of people out there who love killing other people.
      There are people who actually love combat. Those types are best avoided.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        It’s been my experience that many, if not most people love combat. There’s a lot about it to love.
        It’s everything, ever, right here, right now. Nothing else comes close.

        1. avatar Ardent says:

          Thanks for saying it JWM, many are…ashamed, for lack of a better word, to admit it. I think those feelings are at least part of where the negativity starts…being concerned that enjoying combat, and or being less than devastated by killing somehow makes one a bad person or “to be avaoided”.

      2. avatar New Continental Army says:

        “Those types are best avoided.”

        Not necessarily. Adrenaline junkies aren’t necessarily bad people. Throughout all of human history there have been soldiers, a great deal of them in fact, who enjoy war and conquest. These days I think they’re just quiet about it because society no longer accepts that as a positive trait. In times past it absolutely reversed. Soldiers were celebrated as heroes, not for their service, but for their skill in combat and victories they achieved. And no, we’re not anymore “advanced” now then we were then. We’re biologically the same people who enjoyed watching gladiators battle it out.

        1. avatar arc says:

          See this? This is my shit eating grin!

          The second biggest mistake I made was enlisting… The biggest mistake I ever made was leaving the war business. Would go back if I didn’t have other responsibilities now.

          Then again, at the rate this world is decaying, the war is coming to us.

        2. avatar New Continental Army says:

          I hear you on that. After I got out I was thrilled, pretty much because I was young and had my personal freedom back. But now I wish I could go back in. Too old and fat now, and too much other shit to take care of. Especially when the army recently announced they were going back to the WW2 uniform. I just looked at my dress greens and sighed.

      3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        People who “love combat”, are the one who WIN battles and Win wars. They are highly motivated individuals. They are the best soldiers. And they do love life. There own and the lives of the men to the left and right of them on the line.

        If you want to avoid these men, then you have chosen to not learn from them, on how to stay alive, when your turn comes up to face the enemy. A robber perhaps? You sound like a liberal gun owner. And a bigot.

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          BTW
          Liberal gun owners are very judgmental against other gun owners. But they are not judgmental against criminals or people who act like criminals. At least this is what I have observed since I got into guns.

  8. A Reason to “RED FLAG” someone….?

  9. avatar Sam I Am says:

    On the whole, reading a complete “New Post” is not that attractive. Far better to simply skim the first two paragraphs, and then quickly scroll to the comment section, and begin shouting slogans, regurgitating talking points, and generally ignoring whatever is in the article so that I can begin mindlessly insulting all the other commenters. This posting was different.

    After reading the entire post, a couple of the links seemed interesting, so I followed them (blind squirrel, nuts, etc). This link was very lengthy, and contained a fairly evenhanded report about concealed carry in Illinois.
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-illinois-concealed-carry-shootings-20180523-story.html

    The article is long, and has the expected skeptical about guns slant, but not just full “in your face” idiocy. Items explored were permit issue, data collection, several incidents, training. One of the interesting segments was how poorly DGUs are reported to, and by, law enforcement. Perhaps the reason the linked article was interesting was because it was readable for information, without requiring an evaluation of pro/anti gun prejudices. If, like me, you prefer to just blast everyone who doesn’t agree with everything you say, take a risk and see if there are not some items in the article that are useful, just for having the information.

  10. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    LTC Dave Grossman in his book has addressed the issue years ago. It surprises me how civilians are playing catch up now.

    https://www.amazon.com/Killing-Psychological-Cost-Learning-Society/dp/0316040932

  11. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Anyone who has to shoot someone in self defense is already the victim of shattering violence. They’re bothered because they’re not sociopathic. They did it because it was the last option left other than just die.

    It’s shattering to realize that you were the subject of such malice that you had to kill someone to stay alive. That’s not your doing. Still, it happens. Shattering when you are the target, even for a moment, of something that cannot be reasoned with, cannot be bargained with, and absolutely will not stop. That’s not your doing. Still it happens, sometimes for just a moment, but a moment is all it takes.

    Fighting to stay alive is shattering, whether that’s shooting someone, shooting at someone, or simply getting your ass to a hospital, where you have a better shot at having a tomorrow. (I know directly about this last one.)

    Allowing self-defence is leaving people that terrible option, so they have it when that choice is all they have left. Allowing people tools of violence, like guns, is allowing them better odds. Myself, I’m glad there were cell phones and cars in the world, or I wouldn’t be here right now. Public transit on its schedule would not have cut it for me, however generally, abstractly more “efficient” or “effective” that might be. Build your orchestrated glories of optimized transportation on someone else’s corpse, thank you.

    When you make a world where people don’t have sudden strokes, you can schedule my access to transportation to your convenience. When you make a world without predatory violence, you can ban my access to tools to defend myself with, after your protections have failed me.

    Most people are prudent, measured, responsible, and ultimately peaceful. Most people know the terrible cost of that terrible choice is the last thing they want, except for the one after that, to die helplessly, killed by malice, when you could have done more for for yourself. I’m OK, as a general rule, and the default assumption, with most people having guns if they want to.

    We “let” people carry guns, to leave those who can, and want to, the option to try to continue their lives, when that’s the last choice left them after all the protections we provide them have failed. In the US, we demonstrate every day that most people are well to be trusted with this kind of terrible power, or we’d all be dead. Not that it’s our prerogative to “let” them or not.

    In fact, since people are not chattle, their lives are their own. We don’t “let” them protect themselves — sometimes, we manage to recognize that other people have the right to their own lives, and decline to sacrifice them to our comfort, or fantasies.

    When there’s something less than the 2-ish million DGUs / year in the CDC’s once-buried reports, maybe talk about removing those peoples ability to continue their lives when your provisions. Until then, maybe we should look at the signs leading up to the violence that responsible self-defense is sometimes unable to stop.

  12. avatar Dan says:

    Yes….there is a psychological response to deal with when you shoot someone. For normal humans it is life changing. For many cops however it’s a validation. The job
    draws power hungry sociopathic personalities……the type of people who WANT to put
    a notch in their gun butt. So not EVERYONE is going to ‘pay a price’ psychologically
    when they make use of deadly force many will. This however leaves out the OTHER
    ‘price’ that a shooter will face. That is the very real ‘price’ in dollars, time, grief and even
    freedom that a normal citizen risks if they defend themselves. A ‘price’ that not even one in a thousand badgemonkeys must worry about when they shoot someone.

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      “…the type of people who WANT to put
      a notch in their gun butt.”

      You’re going to attract Geoff with that kind of talk…

      1. avatar jwm says:

        You bastard! I’m laughing so hard I can barely breath. If I seize up and die it’s on you.

  13. avatar Alan Wayne Rose says:

    Let me preface this by saying, I am not a badass, and I’ve never been in a life threatening encounter.

    If I ever have to kill someone in lawful self defense, I won’t lose any sleep over it. The bad guy brought that on himself. With 36 years in EMS, I’ve seen more than enough dead people, was present when many of them died, most of which I made the decision to terminate resuscitation, the rest succumbing to horrible trauma that I couldn’t do anything about. So, death has been my occasional companion throughout life. On the other hand, I’ve seen people, some in EMS, that couldn’t handle it. The take-away here, is that you better accept that you might have to kill before you ever strap on.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “The take-away here, is that you better accept that you might have to kill before you ever strap on.”

      You can probably be assured the bad guy has made that decision already, with no more concern than squashing a bug.

    2. avatar Ardent says:

      I’d say you’re right, that the decision about killing is best made before carrying a gun, but not, perhaps, for the reason I believe you mean;

      Armed with a gun, something else, or not at all, any of us may find ourselves in a lethal force situation, even if we aren’t exactly “willing” participants. Surviving such things, and particularly surviving them in such a way as to comport with our particular ethics and morality, whatever those may be, is a concern even prior to the decision to, or the fact of, being armed.

      Put another way, the mindset ought to be developed and all the ethical decisions made ideally prior to the age at which, in the US at least, one can consider going about legally armed. The gun is a tool, and by itself doesn’t do much to resolve lethal force encounters. It is the person with the correct mindset, for whom the choices have been made, that resolves the conflict, and a gun may be the best tool for such, but is neither the primary deciding factor, nor should be the catalyst for making such decision.

      The nature of lethal force encounters, and the willingness to kill another when such is ethically acceptable or in fact desirable isn’t something that concerns only those who carry guns, but really any person who either wishes to survive such encounters or desires that others will survive them.

      In resolving lethal force encounters, an unarmed person willing to kill is far more effective than an armed one who isnt.

      I believe it’s very important, and not only for the armed citizen, to maintain the distinction between lethal means and lethal intent. Possessing a deadly weapon enables one to more efficiently kill once the decision is made, but practically does very little to make the decision itself. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that having a gun fundamentally alters the equation, both because it doesn’t, and because such thinking leads to the decidedly false narrative that being armed somehow makes one more prone to killing.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Liked how you sandbagged the Lefty claim that guns alter decisions, in the last sentence.

  14. avatar GunnyGene says:

    The entire premise of this Warner/Luft article is crap. Does anyone believe that some MS13 gangbanger “goes thru something” after shooting somebody? Or a Boko Haram terrorist after he butchers a dozen women and kids with a machete? Or think the Kurds lost any sleep over killing ISIS guys (or vice versa).

    Oh, wait. I forgot this is about “normal” people, and not any of the above. Now somebody tell me what “normal” is (without laughing), when it seems to me that “normal” for the human species is killing each other at every opportunity for the last 100,000 years.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      I won’t address your entire post, but will say that the very idea that the (perceived? potential?) damage to one’s “feelings” is somehow a mitigating factor in the decision to be armed is both false and foolish. To begin with, one can absolutely be armed with lethal means and yet refuse in any or all situations to employ it…this is in fact what armed citizens do the vast majority of the time: while in possession of lethal means, refrain from using them. How one will feel about the use of lethal force is something that can only be appreciated if one is alive, and having the option of using lethal force should the need arise to preserve one’s life isn’t a decision that should or needs be made in light of the potential emotional response to using said force: That is, you can have the option and worry about whether to use it or not on a case by case basis, whereas without the means, lethal force isn’t available and can’t be used regardless of the situation.

      Further, we all have certain duties and obligations, to family, to friends, to fellow citizens…anyone who will refuse to go armed for the defense of their spouse and children solely because of their concern of the psychological impact to them of using lethal force in such a dire circumstance is either a fool, a coward or both.

      The willingness to die rather than kill is unnatural, and frankly obscene to me, but the unwillingness to kill the guilty to save the innocent is either depraved or cowardly, or perhaps both. I reject there being any honorable circumstance in which one can allow innocents for which one is responsible to be killed in order to avoid negative emotional responses. It’s not merely cowardly, it’s selfishly cowardly, and quite frankly sick.

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