Gibson: My Son Was Dead. Did I Feel Better Holding a Gun?

courtesy Associated Press

“I think of the crowded school library in which my son died. I try to imagine a librarian drawing her Glock and returning fire.”

“What if I’d been in that library in 1992, charged with keeping my son safe?”

“I put the question to a man I know, a retired Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who specializes in training people to use guns defensively — the kind of training that this administration might want to give teachers, the kind that the National Rifle Association imagines could stop the killer in a mass shooting.”

This man spoke with me about the low proficiency of the average gun owner: “Imagine shooting hoops in your driveway and thinking you can play in the N.B.A.” He spoke of the hundreds of hours necessary to achieve the Zen-like level of expertise in which, in the midst of chaos, responses are instantaneous and instinctive. He spoke of the continual training necessary to maintain those skills, and he generously agreed to take me through an abbreviated version of that curriculum, training intended to turn an average shooter into, well, what exactly? I wasn’t sure. – Gregory Gibson for The New York Times, Opinion: My Son was Dead. Did I Feel Better Holding a Gun?

comments

  1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Yet frail octogenarians routinely take out home invaders…

    1. avatar ollie says:

      The average school shooter probably has few weapons skills, just a desire to kill. They aren’t super-heroes. A determined defender can neutralize or take them out.
      And frankly, the failure point in many school shootings is the “Highly Trained Professional” who turns out to be a coward when the crisis arrives. It was certainly the case at Columbine and Stoneman.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        “Highly Trained Professional”
        https://youtu.be/vfONckOPyaI
        “Highly Trained Professional”
        https://youtu.be/9H_DlXcKceo
        “Highly Trained Professional” (go forward to 17:15)
        https://youtu.be/a4K8YE1ZatU

        1. avatar JasonM says:

          The first one cuts out before the best part.
          After shooting himself in the foot with his “unloaded” gun that he’s the only person professional enough to handle, he asks the other DEA agent for his gun, and you can hear the audience yell “NO!” as a group.

        2. Most private, gun owning citizens (that I know) are far more proficient with firearms than your average police officer that gets cobwebs out of the barrels of their glocks when the have to qualify 2x per year.

          The basketball player analogy is pathetic. Unless they are referring to SWAT type police officers, most cops I know are gun gun enthusiasts that practice on their own. Not to mention there is no requirement for how proficient one needs to be as a privately armed citizen. Although of course it’s in everyone’s best interest to be as proficient as you can possibly be and who trained as often as possible if you take self-defense seriously.

    2. avatar Dan B says:

      So NBA players are violent criminals.
      Got it.

      1. avatar Chadwick says:

        Or is it that all attackers are at an NBA level proficiency in firearms? Man the NBA must have taken a turn in the last 10 years since I last saw a game.

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

        “So NBA players are violent criminals.”

        I have heard that the NBA has the highest percentage of felons of all major professions.

        Something like 40 percent of players are convicted felons…

        1. avatar Chadwick says:

          I swore that was the NFL but I could be mistaken. They all look alike to me. No not the players. The games look the same to me. Buy this this this! America is bad bad bad! Drink this this this! Did you ask for my political opinions or were we all just holding our hands over our hearts and singing for another reason. Bunch of anti-American babies that get paid so much they actually think someone cares what they think. The really sad thing is some people do care. Think about that one…

      3. avatar JasonM says:

        I think the analogy was amateur versus professional in basketball to amateur versus professional with guns, with the cops being the gun professionals. But most cops don’t practice much with firearms, and rarely have to draw them on the job (thanks to the advances of western civilization). That’s what they have their SWAT teams for.
        A person who shoots a few action pistol matches a year probably has more training and practice than a typical patrol officer or detective.

        1. avatar Owen says:

          Yep, I’ve seen this first hand shooting action pistol at my club. I think it’s like anything else, some people are into guns some are not. Being LEO and into guns happens but some are just doing the bare minimum to stay qualified because it’s not their thing. Kinda scary when you think about it.

          If a little old lady can kill a home invader then maybe even Barney Fife can get the job done?

        2. avatar MyName says:

          Yeah, in this case a better amateur vs. professional analogy would be wrestling. In wrestling, the pros act tough, the amateurs are.

      4. avatar Steve Eisenberg says:

        I believe the point the writer was trying to make is that people who shoot hoops are better markspersons.

        1. avatar Chadwick says:

          Seems like a sound conclusion to me.

      5. avatar GS650G says:

        One shot a limo driver in us house playing with a shotgun. I guess NBA skills don’t translate well.

  2. avatar miforest says:

    every day in defensive gun uses all around the country people prove this “expert” wrong.

    1. avatar Rincoln says:

      an estimated 1.5 to 4 million times (depending on source).

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      An “expert” who has been so spectacularly trained by (wait for it!) the freaking *ATF*???? Are you KIDDING me? Look at me, a real Billy Badass, you could never hope to be as fine, why don’t you just give it up and worship my prowess? The ATF pushes on doors marked “pull”, and consistently fails to meet the low standards it sets for itself, and this fool says crap like this?

      1. avatar Ing says:

        This is a perfect example of how the New York Times thinks (and all the other progressive-left outlets, too). In their world, credentials = credibility = authority.

        Competence doesn’t enter into it. In many ways, it’s a detriment.

        This is why a braying jackass like Paul “muh Nobel Prize” Krugman, who has been on mental autopilot for decades, gets a permanent megaphone on the world’s most authoritative platform. Of course they wouldn’t go talk to Larry Correia or Jeff Gonzales or Rob Pincus. Those people are competent and aren’t part of the progressive Marxist club.

        1. avatar Steve Eisenberg says:

          Things like “truth,” “facts,” and “reality” are mere nuisances which can be easily explained away.

  3. avatar Shire-man says:

    The NBA requires a much higher performance level than the cops do.
    I’ve an idea. Let’s gather round all these muh training types and have them come up with a training plan and establish benchmarks to be met then we’ll shuffle in a variety of cops from all over including a few hrt guys with a couple of average joe non cops and see what happens.

    It’s both funny and sad that every time some fed runs his qual he thinks “man, I’m a bad ass.”

    1. avatar LKB says:

      No kidding. +1.

      Most of the training courses I’ve been through are run by a former SAS guy who is a superb gunfighting instructor, and we routinely have had cops from different places in them. (These LEOs’ departmental instructors typically had run into Steve in TCLOSE instructor certification courses, and then went back and told some of their charges that Steve was the guy who they really ought to take a class from if they were serious about improving.)

      Some of these LEOs (usually ex-military and/or SWAT team members) were more than competent; indeed, some were scary good. But most of the average cops couldn’t hit jack once you got beyond static, square range shooting (e.g., shooting while moving to cover; shooting weak side; etc.). And remember, *these* were the cops who cared enough to go take an outside training class . . . the cops who treat their weapon as just part of their uniform, and only practice enough to pass square range qualifications are going to be much worse.

      When I hear nitwits like former Austin chief Art Acevedo (now the chief in Houston, proving that Austin can indeed get rid of its garbage by shipping it to Houston) shill for more gun control / resist loosening of existing laws because only his “highly trained” LEO’s can be trusted with guns, I’d love to see some PotG (like JWT) hit him with a very public challenge:

      “Let’s see if you’ll actually willing to back up your claim. I challenge you to do so, with you as the “highly trained” LEO. I’ll let you choose any practical, official course of fire (e.g., Air Marshal qual, FBI qual, Wilson 5×5, etc.; announced a few days in advance), and you and I will both use the same bone-stock make and model that you are issued (again, announced in advance). If you score higher than I do on the course of fire, I make a $1000 donation to the charity of your choice. If I score higher than you, the video of our shootout goes up on TTAG (from where it would likely go viral).”

      I’d lay heavy money that anybody who regularly shoots IDPA, 3-Gun, or otherwise trains seriously, would leave these PR desk jockeys in the dust. Unfortunately, I also suspect that they know it too, which is why they’d never accept such a challenge. Still, would be fun to put them on the spot.

      1. avatar M1Lou says:

        JWT is former military, you can’t use him. Use someone like Foghorn, a civilian, to really slam the point home. My first big ego check was after spending some time in tactical type competitions with civilians (more training, less of a game like 3 gun). There were quite a few civilians that regularly out shot most of the military participants.

        1. avatar LKB says:

          Except for the fact that the Acevedos of the world don’t make exceptions for veterans: in his world, only his “highly trained” LEO’s should have guns, and the rest of us should rely on them (and hope that they don’t chicken out under fire). The fact that many veterans have more practical training and actual combat experience that even his best officers do doesn’t fit the narrative, and so they conveniently ignore it.

          Lest I be misunderstood, I’m NOT saying that all LEO’s are less than competent. Heck, an APD guy took out an active shooter from over 100 yards with one shot from a .40 — while holding the reins of two horses with his other hand:

          https://www.foxnews.com/us/austin-cops-sure-shot-stopped-crazed-gunman

          But the idea that all LEO’s (most of who have only a few hours of the rudimentary police academy weapons classes, and don’t do much practice other than a couple of basic square range sessions every now and then) are somehow magically more competent than any civilian could ever be is utter fantasy.

    2. avatar Chadwick says:

      It won’t work that way. Cops are above the law. There was a movement to get the tint laws changed in Utah and the police were against it during the hearing for safety reasons as they said. You just can’t drive safely with dark windows they said. The people pushing the change checked some police cars outside the hearing and they had illegal tint. Point is they would fail the proficiency and then say Joe taxpayer still has to pass it.

  4. avatar st381183 says:

    Yes my imaginary ATF friend said not to buy a gun because I’ll miss my target under stress. Lovely…

  5. Police qualifiers are a joke.
    Sounds like Gibson or this fictitious friend was referring to Navy Seal training.

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Rather telling that the Slimes runs a story where the reporters imaginary ATF cop friend is a cross between Chris Kyle and Jim Cirillo, and pretends that the average cop performs to that level. The reporter then conveniently ignores the documented poor skills of the NYPD, how many hits does the average cop in New York achieve per magazine? Why do you think the cops have to be allowed larger magazines in New York than the average citizen, is it because they can’t hit a barn without being put inside it?

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    You don’t need to go from zero to distinguished master class to defend a life.
    The atf idiot was just that. An idiot.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Couple years back, it was reported a guy in his ’80s fired a gun for the first time in his life when a home invader burst in on him and his wife. Shot the mofo dead. What you need, is to have a damn gun! More training is better, but at least 50% of the question is answered if you have a gun.

    2. avatar General Zod says:

      Nah, the ATF guy isn’t an idiot. You have to exist to be an idiot. The ATF guy is as imaginary as the “zen-like state” he supposedly preaches about.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        You’re probably right.

        What do you want to bet someone in that article — maybe even the ATF guy — says something about a “safety catch”?

        I see that all the time in those “I’m a gun owner and I love gun control” articles. It’s a dead giveaway that the either the writer’s persona or the person being quoted doesn’t own guns at all, has never actually handled a gun, or is outright fictional.

        1. avatar GS650G says:

          The famous Mike the Gun Guy series comes.to mind. Render all arguments null a d void by trotting out not just one of their own but someone who is wiser and certifies in some way.

        2. avatar Ams says:

          I’m a gun guy and I like gun control. It’s too hard to hit accurately and quickly without control.

  7. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

    Gregory- you mean like the proficiency requirements and constant training the average policeman has while being tasked with carrying a gun for a living?

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Which is why I did 3 gun, IPSC, IDPA, etc.
      I wanted to be the best trained cop on the street

  8. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    The biggest problem we have is that people who know nothing about guns also have no confidence and using them. A population is not exposed to Firearms anymore. So course they have no confidence in using them. They assume the police train all the time or they assumed the military trains all the time and are all crack shots which is false.

    People in their 70s 80s or 90s probably grew up with guns. So when they took out a home Invader they were relying on their experiences from long ago. Even if they hadn’t recently fired their self-defense weapons.

    The average civilian gun owner trains more often than the police or military. People who are sitting on the fence about the issue, when they understand this they will accept having a gun on their person at work to defend themselves their co-workers and their students.

    The private sector is already working on solving this problem. Because you have instructors and ranges all across the United States offering training free of charge to churches and teachers.

    1. avatar John in TX (Was CT) says:

      The way I see it, the most likely scenario is a teacher under lockdown in his/her classroom popping the aggressor as he enters the room.

      This doesn’t help the first victim, since any lockdown would not occur until after shots were heard, but it could very well minimize the extent of the damage that the aggressor would be able to cause.

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Chris

      That’s well said and an interesting perspective on how people from different generations have a different perspective on firearms.

      What also seems to be an issue is that criminals these days train with firearms at local ranges. At a range I used to go to, you’d see them all the time – it’s one of the reasons I switched ranges to where I am now, where they’re a lot more careful about who they let in and the supervision is better. One of the FoF teachers I’ve studied with regularly analyzes crime videos from our area and he is of the opinion that a lot of local criminals are taking BJJ based on the choke holds he sees perps using in these videos. So if you go to a cheap range or a martial arts class, depending on who’s running everything, you can be standing right next to the person whose intent for being there is to hurt someone like you.

      It’s weird, and I don’t know that there’s any way to really solve it.

      1. avatar John in TX (Was CT) says:

        This might be an unpopular opinion, but I would rather that even criminals hit what they’re aiming at, in order that they don’t hit what they’re not.

        Random bullets flying downrange benefits nobody except the intended victim, and puts everyone at risk.

      2. avatar Specialist38 says:

        How did you know they were criminals, Elaine?

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Cartel and drug gang neck and knuckle tattoos. I’ve dealt with those guys in the schools I used to volunteer at. There’s a “look.” I suppose it’s possible that a law abiding citizen would have cartel neck and knuckle tattoos, but I’ve never seen that yet.

          Unfortunately in my area any kid who gets mixed up in crack, meth, or heroin is pretty much dealing directly with cartel members. I’ve had to help out more than one young person who got in too deep.

          They also tend to handle guns really differently. Looks like they learned from movies and video games. That’s what it looks like to me anyway.

      3. avatar Chris T from KY says:

        Training at the range is always best. But dry-fire practice at home cost you nothing. I think this is something that’s not emphasized enough. With newcomers it would help them to understand that training doesn’t cost as much money as they think.

        Everyone should invest in a set of snap caps for their personal weapon. They are available in every caliber and for handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

        I use a laser trainer at the house I bought for two hundred bucks four years ago. I can really tell how I have improved when I go to the range for live fire practice.

    3. avatar Supermike says:

      “The biggest problem we have is that people who know nothing about guns also have no confidence and using them. A population is not exposed to Firearms anymore. So course they have no confidence in using them.”

      I would venture to say that, along those lines, we have too many people who did NOT grow up with guns, but grew up watching them on TV and movies and playing Call of Duty. So how hard can it be? You just point and squeeze the trigger, right? They have not learned how to properly handle or care for a firearm, and have never practiced on a target. They buy it and stick it in their purse or night stand and say “whew! Now I’m protected!” like the gun creates an invisible shield around them.

      1. avatar Chris T from KY says:

        Surveys have shown that it’s children that used to be Gamers that are now adults that are getting into real Firearms. The issue is we need to go after people who are not Gamers with no experience with Firearms either virtually or in reality.
        That generation of adults were not Gamers as children.

      2. avatar Warlocc says:

        Almost universally, gamers have better hand eye coordination and reaction time than their peers.

        I guarantee a gamer with no training will be a better shot than even a lot of “highly trained” types.

        1. avatar Supermike says:

          I don’t disagree… check this out:

  9. avatar HP says:

    Was he talking to the same ATF Agent that shot himself in a classroom? That guy was a total pro! Very Zen-like!

    1. avatar JP says:

      Ahh, Lee Paige, never forget

  10. avatar Sal Chichon says:

    I guess nobody should drive, or have children either… I mean what with this lack of daily intense training and all.

  11. avatar Robster says:

    I don’t like giving that rag of a liberal mass manipulation paper any clicks to boost their ratings. Now wish I had not read the piece since it ends just as I figured it would… playing down the use of guns to control violence.

  12. How to fight a fire:
    Have a fire extinguisher and P.A.S.S.
    Pull the pin
    Aim at the base of the flames
    Squeeze the handle
    Sweep side to side

    How to fight an attacker:
    Have a gun and P.A.S.S.
    Point
    Aim
    Squeeze trigger
    Shoot the sonofabitch

    There’s your fucking training.

    1. avatar Rincoln says:

      Perfect.

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Amen. Good anaology. It aint rocket science.

    3. avatar DJ says:

      But wait……….it’s a magical firearm. SARCASM.

      We can even keep it simple with a revolver. Additional training, just keep pulling the trigger.

  13. avatar Model 31 says:

    Made up BS all together. The benefit of a school guardian program is not to turn every teacher into Jerry Miculek. It takes a soft target GFZ and makes it a far less predictable target for a homicidal maniac. The target becomes much less soft. Anyone that trains people in defensive use of firearms will know both of these facts. Either the ATF agent isn’t real or the agent is an elitest type that doesn’t train anyone but other ATF agents.

    “This man spoke with me about the low proficiency of the average gun owner: “Imagine shooting hoops in your driveway and thinking you can play in the N.B.A.””

    It also sounds to me like this mythical ATF agent is equating homicidal criminals to NBA players or perhaps he thinks of himself as a NBA like “Pro” and the average gun owner as the criminal. I’m not sure. It must be the former because no ATF agent would be training average gun owner criminals on how to better handle firearms.

    1. avatar Vicrattlehead says:

      I litterally lol’d at the thought of an entire school staffed with Miculek level teachers!
      Anyone stupid enough to try something there would have 12 .357 rounds in him (6 shots, a reload and 6 more) before he could even shoulder his weapon. Lol!

      I love watching that guy shoot not just because he’s gobsmackingly good, but he always seems to be genuinely enjoying himself.

  14. avatar DaveL says:

    This “expert”, was he “the only one in the room professional enough to carry the ‘Glock 40’?”

  15. avatar WARFAB says:

    People vastly overestimate the level of firearms training and proficiency possessed by the average police officer. The same average police officer that is likely to take many minutes to respond to the 911 call reporting an active shooter. Anyone who says they’d rather be unarmed and have zero chance to defend themselves instead of being armed and have some chance to defend themselves is an idiot.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      True story, from less than a month ago:
      Injured deer on the side of the road. Both hind legs broken. I stop to assist.
      Call was made, Sheriff’s deputy shows up.
      She asks if I have any kids in the car, I say no.
      She pulls out her Glock, stands about 12 feet in front of the injured deer and shoots.
      First shot misses entirely. Second shot hits, but not immediately fatal. Third shot finally dispatches the deer.

      I asked the Sheriff, a friend of mine, how many shots are normally required to euthanize an injured deer. He responds, “Oh, we’ve had people reload!”

  16. avatar little horn says:

    the false equivalence he proposes is ridiculous. people win that half court throw shit all the time. people EFFECTIVELY defend themselves every fucking day.

    what a supreme dick wad.

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      My wife shoots her Ruger .357 maybe a couple times a year when I can talk her into going out to the back 40 to my home-grown range, she consistently nails the kill zone at 20 yards with every shot. obviously practice makes one better, but in the moment of truth it’s more about the willingness to shoot that makes the difference. If my wife is scared, she will shoot and hit what she’s shooting at, I’m confident.

  17. avatar MarkPA says:

    It’s not rocket science, after all. Driving a car safely is far more difficult than hitting a target. Most of us needed about a year of driving under our parent’s supervision to be able to drive fairly well under a license; we learned. Countries with universal military service teach their kids, at least their sons (and in Israel, daughters too). And, in a short amount of training, they meet the standards.

    Nor am I entirely convinced that it takes expert training to achieve yeoman capability. Some people are born with a particular talent and take it up easily. Just as some people will never learn no matter how much they train.

    What we need is adequacy in an emergency. A belt is not an ideal tourniquet, but, it may be adequate to the task of preventing a victim from bleeding-out before the EMTs arrive. Return fire need only be adequate to keep an attacker distracted. Often, mass shooters suicide when confronted – good enough.

    If shooting attackers in crowded venues were such an important part of policing we would see police academies emphasize this training. They do not. Nor do police agencies typically provide much continuing in-service training. That is evidence of how little our police value shooting skill.

    It’s all very well to praise the agency – perhaps it’s the FBI or Sky Marshals – for having the finest training and standards to pass. A silver to the second best agency. But our nation runs on the diligent and efforts of hundreds and millions of bronze – the “also ran”.

    It is absolute nonsense to let the perfect be the enemy of the good-enough.

    1. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      Yep, they don’t think a teacher or admin (or parent who might happen to be coming by for whatever reason) could respond with a gun, yet also expect said teachers and admins to defeat the shooter, if running or barricading doesn’t work, by throwing staplers or coffee mugs at the shooter, or rushing them when their safe 10rd required mag change break occurs.

      Truthfully, if you have a suicidal person bent on causing death and harm already shooting, there is no winning at had point, the only goal is ending it as quickly as possible and hopefully preventing some deaths. But why not have the most effective tool for that task, most likely some resistance will cause the perp to end themselves as they typically do. The time to really stop the murderer is before they are murdering, but if no one is going to ignore that problem like CT, CO, FL, TX, etc, then at least let those who want to have access to the tool they need.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        My understanding of Sandy Hook is the school was locked down due to armed killer being seen approaching on closed circuit, also 911 notified. Killer shot his way through the stupid glass wall to be confronted by unarmed principal and counselor, who then reasoned with the (blast deafened) killer for around 0.1 seconds before he shot them dead. He moved to a classroom and opened the door to find the 21 occupants “sheltering in place” as recommended, ie huddled in a corner, and shot them all to death as well. Once he got bored, he went out front and killed himself. Now, anyone who cannot imagine a better outcome if *someone* had been armed, I don’t care if it was a 6-year-old, has a distinct lack of imagination. Yet some, including our worst excuse for a president in history, decided that placing more restrictions on *me*, 2000 miles away, was a better answer. Solutions are pretty easy, but you have to open your eyes.

  18. avatar DerryM says:

    Re-stating the meme that the average person is “not proficient enough” to use a firearm in a DGU is just more Left-wing Marxist propaganda intended to be gobbled-up by the idiot sheep. Elderly folks, Moms, Shopkeepers and other “ill-trained” Americans pull-off successful DGU’s regularly. I am certain some of those go awry, but the majority do not, and lives are saved {well…maybe not Criminal Lives}, criminal acts thwarted and Public Safety enhanced by ordinary folk who would otherwise be victims while waiting on Law Enforcement to arrive. You are and always will be your own best first responder no matter your age, gender or skill-set.

  19. avatar Ed Dantes says:

    70 year old here who grew up with guns. My dad was a world war II combat veteran who taught me to shoot at age 11. Been shooting ever since. Now retired , I have more time to shoot and enjoy competing in both rifle and pistol. I see plenty of younger folks of all ages at these competitions and am very impressed. If anything, I think we may have more well trained civilians now than we did back in the day. My 65 year old wife takes her j frame out once a year and puts 5 rounds in the black at 10 yards . I agree with all previous comments that this article is complete BS.

  20. avatar Gigo says:

    Going to an ATF agent for tactical advice is like going to that same person to recommend the best bourbon or cigar.

  21. avatar RGP says:

    So if the policia are “Zen-like” with their shooting ability and compare their ability to professional athletes…. ok this bs is so pathetic I won’t even go there.

  22. avatar anarchyst says:

    For almost every cop, and other government officials making it to a cushy retirement is the ultimate goal. All one has to do is look at the (in)action of the police officers during the last number of mass school shootings, where these “trained professionals” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while the carnage was going on. You can bet that us military veterans in such a case would be drawn TOWARD the sound of gunfire. Today’s human nature dictates that the person with all of the “training” (especially) law enforcement DOES cower in fear, while a 90 lb. armed teacher would reluctantly, but successfully take out the shooter. Being forced into a situation also forces one to act. There are many examples of persons, who one would normally think, would not be capable of acting in an extremely high-stress situation, but DO come out on top-stopping the threat, and saving lives. Sad to say, today’s police practices dictate that the cop’s life is MORE IMPORTANT than that of those he has sworn to protect despite the cops having statutory protections that do not apply to us ordinary civilians.
    All one has to do is look at Medal of Honor recipients, who are almost always mild-mannered, initially reluctant to act, but DO act, and perform feats who most would think are normally beyond their capacity and capabilities TRUE bravery in the heat of battle. The same applies to those civilians who act during school shootings.
    Human nature has a habit of propelling (actually forcing) the normal, average person into a true hero and life saver, while showing the true (cowardly behavior) nature of those we assign to protect us. A good example of our protectors cowering in fear is the deputies who FAILED TO ACT despite having all of the equipment necessary and the preferential laws on their side (that protect them from lawsuits and liability).
    TRUE heroes ACT, while our so-called protectors (failed to) REACT.

    1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      Darn straight.

  23. avatar 4808 N says:

    Then stand there and take one between the eyes. I get paid the same either way.

  24. avatar Elaine D. says:

    I’m on the fence.

    I do believe in training. Seems like active shooter situations and not at home defensive uses are what most articles of this stripe are talking about. Active shooter situations can be very complex. For a civilian there are a lot of risks, not the least hitting an innocent person, being classified as active shooter #2 or #3 in the situation, or having other civilians in the scene open fire on you or try to kill you because they think you are the bad guy. Some of these things were described in this interview with two guys who took out an active shooter.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2018/07/13/feature/in-all-reality-there-were-three-shooters-oklahomans-kill-an-active-shooter-and-its-not-as-simple-as-it-sounds/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.84f56f9f2241

    Yea, i know it’s the WaPo, but their description of what happened pretty much closely matches the things I learned in my trainings.

    Personally I’m glad to have training. I don’t think everyone needs it because it depends on your situation but I think it never hurts. Articles like the one above are hard because this man had a terrible loss and is looking for healing, as are all the people who have survived such shootings. I can’t expect that any of them are ever going to have anything but a negative attitude toward guns. Those events changed their lives and they have the right to be angry and sad and to look for answers. Just as we have the right to find guns useful and valuable in our lives.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      What are your chances unarmed? You don’t know the outcome of a battle until you fight it? Your points are valid but without a fight the innocent die anyways. As for friendly fire? We all die, death always wins. Die a hero or die a coward?

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      I have no problem with training.

      Since I am not part of a department, squad, or team said training is different that law enforcement or military.

      The biggest part of training should familiarity and comfort with a weapon. I have shot for 45 years and would be comfortable carrying or using a lot of different weapons.

      If someone has A gun and is familiar with it and gun safety, they have all that is needed to be able to defend themselves.

      Yes, they can ready themselves by training ina variety of maneuvers and scenarios. But there is no guarantee their situation will play that way. It is almost certain your individual siutation will be different than you think.

      Have a gun. Know how and when to use it. Be observant.

      Nowadays, training has often become the new “gun game” with all the marketing to go with it.

      I have a friend who is now fully committed to “training” with his AR. Of course, he carries a Glock 43 every day that he rarely shoots. His AR will be in a lockbox in his truck…….

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Specialist.

        Yep. Familiarity and comfort is key. For me it’s taken all of the 2.5 years I’ve been learning to start getting into that zone. And I still think I need about 6 more months to get really consistent.

        Agreed too that a lot of the trainings are about tacticool stuff and focused on rifle, which you’re just not likely to have on or anywhere near you unless the situation happens near your vehicle and you happen to carry it in your vehicle. I like carbine a lot, who doesn’t, but the real everyday thing for a civilian is going to be pistol. Rifle SD is probably realistically only for home defense or special situations.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          That is why it is good to have yiur perspective on here.

          I learned to shoot a rifle at 5, shotgun at 6. So fifty years.

          Got my first handgun at 10 and had been reading Guns & Ammo and Shooting Times for a couple of years.

          I tried to put into practice what I was reading (especially Skeeter) and learned a lot. No adult I knew was intp guns the way I was. I just had an understanding and patient mother.

          So I can’t remember when i wasnt comfortable with guns. So sometimes its easy to overlook someone coming to guns as an adult as needed more familiarity time.

          A guy once told me an adult new tp guns was the most dangerous thing on earth. Too much pride to admit they dont know what they are doing.

          Kudos to you and other new shooters for getting instruction and learning well.

          I have taking many newnies shooting. Never thought of it as training but had one friend introduce me as the guy who taught him to shoot.

          When I taught 4-H rifle, I had several parents who ended up being students with their kids. Did my heart good. So many just drop em off and pick em up.

        2. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Specialist

          Thank you. I think training is “learning from anyone who knows what they are doing and practicing what you learn enough to actually improve.” That person could be a friend, a family member, a formal instructor, someone in a sporting club. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as they’re competent and willing to teach you AND you are willing to practice what they teach you, which is the really important part.

          One of my shooting friends is an IDPA captain who occasionally will talk me into going to a carbine/pistol match. He’s famous for crustily telling people, “You should have spent less money on that rifle and those accessories and a lot more on range time and ammo.” People don’t like it, but since he’s pretty much always the top shooter out there, they do listen.

  25. avatar Kendahl says:

    I’m always amused (and disgusted) about the supposedly poor shooting skills of private citizens. Last summer, I took Massad Ayoob’s basic class. It ends with a police style shooting test. Passing score is 70%. The class average was 94% with several perfect scores. A few students shot tighter groups than Ayoob.

    That bad guys are Walker – Texas Ranger turned to the dark side while private citizens are incompetent boobs is cognitive dissonance at its worst.

  26. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

    Desk serves as cover.
    Teacher aims at the doorway.
    Shoots thug dead right there.

    1. avatar ferret427 says:

      Desk serves as concealment. Fixed it for ya. 😀

      1. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

        “Desk as concealment” or “Conceal’d behind desk” would keep the 1st line to 5 syllables.

  27. avatar James W Crawford says:

    Might I remind this arogant moron of the Miami Firefight? Remember how the best of these highly trained shooters effectively disarmed themselves by taking their gun out of its secure holster and setting it on the dash prior to ramming the bank robber’s car? Shit! Where is my gun?
    Remember how another of these expert marksman was effectively blind because he lost his glasses?
    Remember how the FBI initiated the gello junkie vs morgue monster feude by blaming their ass kicking on the failure of a 9 mm hollowpoint to pentrate an extra few millimeters to the aorta rather than admit that their guys simply got their asses kicked?
    Remember how the primary weapon employed by the deadliest of the bank robbers was a Ruger Mini 14?

  28. avatar former water walker says:

    How highly trained was that lunatic asberger boy in Sandy Hook? Or Parkland?!? Or bowlcut retard at the black church? Or the vast # of mass shooter’s? All could’ve been stopped. He!! 2 I mentioned surrendered😩😖😡Good guy with a gun would’ve stopped those idiot’s!

  29. avatar Draven says:

    The basketball equivalence would only be true if ‘NBA players’ (police officers) only practiced a few times a year before they played one game. The average cop spends NO time at the range unless he has to. Most cops do NOT have ‘hundreds of hours’ of firearm training, at most, they get about 60 hours, and they don’t get ‘hundreds of hours’ of crisis training either. They have ‘hundreds of hours’ on law, and writing tickets, and most of them can’t be bothered to keep up with changes in the law once they leave the academy.

    Let’s put it this way: there’s a reason all the ex-police Glocks and Sigs on Aim Surplus (et al) have holster wear and maybe need magazine springs…

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Training is expensive, and it is the first thing to go when budgets are tight, in favor of more police officers on the street–if there is any money for them either.

  30. avatar rt66paul says:

    If the shooter had the top military training, it would be hard to eliminate him/her, but if the good guy did not have a gun, there wouldn’t be a chance of doing so at all, and the good guy would be dead for sure. Better a chance at life, than none at all.
    BTW, having a firearm handy means that the good guy carrier keeps many people safe.

  31. avatar Ad Astra says:

    Oh you mean those zen state ATF super agents that walked into an ass kicking from some back woods cultists in Waco?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      They keep that shit kinda secret, but I heard one rendition which swore that all the ATF dead at Waco entered a darkened room, panicked, and shot each other full auto. IOW, cultists were not required to display ATF skills.

  32. avatar DJ says:

    I would rather someone untrained take their chances with a gun then not. Without the gun we know the results. Why should anyone count on a Government Agency (City, County or Federal) to show up and save you, least of all the ATF. Seriously! ATF would be the most unlikely! It’s not even their mission.

    Sorry pal if I had been in that library they would have been DEAD. I would have used my Army marksmanship skills, tactics to push through to engage and destroy. You don’t have to be an internet thought guy or Special Ops to defend yourself and others. This ATF Agent sound more like the Broward County COWARDS Sheriff’s Department. Seek cover as kids die.

    You can operate power tools without training but a firearm is somehow magical? Frankly there are some good instructors but how many people need to train like the SAS, SEALS or Green Berets?

  33. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    Seems like if you get a badge then you are the expert shot and only the badge holder should have a gun because they are special. I am not against law enforcement at all, only those that think they are better than the citizens around him or her. I have read many accounts of how lousy shots they were. Some are expert shots. Some citizens are lousy shots, some are expert shots. Mr. ATF sounds like one of the elitist .

  34. avatar Mister Fleas says:

    “He(ATF agent] spoke of the hundreds of hours necessary to achieve the Zen-like level of expertise in which, in the midst of chaos, responses are instantaneous and instinctive.”

    In reality:

    1. avatar DJ says:

      Highly trained government agent??? I’m going to wait for you to save me???

    2. avatar Craig in IA says:

      This is in no way comparable to any of the LEOs I know but it is priceless, especially when the kids start screaming for him not to pick up the AR.

      Keep your finger off of the trigger…

    3. avatar 22winmag says:

      Good grief!

      The title of the video is DEA AGENT SHOOTS… NOT ATF AGENT SHOOTS….

  35. avatar bob says:

    ASME mechanics are highly trained specialize professionals with $30,000+ in tools and thousands of hours in classes and thousands of hands on training hours.
    Who are you? A nobody, Harbor freight tools, high school education, what right do you think you have changing your own oil, or “GASP” changing a tire?!?!?! If that wheel comes loose on the highway you could kill someone!!!
    The nerve.

    Can’t never tried, Won’t never will.

    Sure, you might miss… that’s why God and Eugene got together and put more than one bullet in the damn thing.

    ah.. the God and Eugene put your thumb there for a reason bit kills me every time….

  36. avatar Mad Max says:

    It would be nice formally compile data on average citizens that have actually executed a DGU and hear about the level of training/experience they had prior to it.

    There’s a project for CPRC.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      The average is supposed to be like 1.2 rounds or something for an encounter, ie 1 round is generally sufficient for most of them, whatever the skill level is currently. As practical shooting gets more popular, that skill figure can only go up.

      I’d like to see the average number of rounds used by officers in an altercation; seeing as every single shooting I’ve seen video of was at least a handful of rounds, it’s likely quite a bit higher (and probably because police tend to be firing from farther away as they approach a known threat, compared to a guy ambushed from behind unawares by a mugger named Trayvon)

      1. avatar Craig in IA says:

        “It would be nice formally compile data on average citizens that have actually executed a DGU and hear about the level of training/experience they had prior to it.

        There’s a project for CPRC.”

        Actually, the majority of times a firearms is produced in self defense situations the agressor takes off without a shot being fired. Sometimes the weapon isn’t even actually drawn, merely the presence is made known. That info would somehow need to be incorporated into any study, regardless of the Left”s and MSM’s preoccupation for the need of an actual body count of dead crooks to show the need (or not) of armed citizens.

        I actually prefer the above (no shots fired) since the paperwork following the incident is less onerous.

        1. avatar Mad Max says:

          I agree that it would be really, really helpful to know the real number of DGUs, including those where no shots were fired.

          But it would also be really helpful to know the level of training and experience of the people executing DGUs where shots were fired.

          That way, we could likely counter, with documentation, the argument that only the police have the training and experience to sucesdfully use a gun in self defense.

        2. avatar Craig in IA says:

          As per the “level of training”: How long ago was someone trained to such-and-such a level? Yesterday? Last week? A year ago? At the beginning of a long career? The training takes dedicated practice to maintain, whether one is a shooter, athlete, musician, or anyone else who must be active to maintain a certain level. When I was young I used to sit around the trap club listening to a couple old Marines who were in on the invasions of Tarawa and Iwo Jima. They had tremendous skills back then, as well as nearly unimaginable (by today’s standards) courage and resolve but that was 35-40 years before I knew them.

          There in is the rub of training- if one does not actively involve one’s self in maintenance it will not remain at the level a governing body might deem necessary to, say, renew a firearms permit and it can and will be used against you. Prior to Iowa’s shall-issue carry permits, for example, the county sherriff had lord and master over to whom he/she/it might allow a permit, especially in the more populous counties. I knew of one who required prospects to shoot proficiently from 50 yards with the intended carry firearm. The prospects should’ve asked him to show them how it’s done.

    2. avatar Red in CO says:

      John Lott (God bless him) actually compiled a bunch of data on private citizen involved defensive shootings and law enforcement involved defensive shootings. Comparing one whole group to the other, private citizens did SIGNIFICANTLY better when bullets had to fly. Fewer rounds fired, higher accuracy, and something like 1/3rd the rate of collateral damage (as in misidentifying your target or stray bullets hitting a bystander), etc

  37. avatar Craig in IA says:

    Arming teachers for defensive situations is simple- if they possess a carry permit it should be valid inside the school campus, no questions asked. (I taught 40 years so I know a little about that which I am speaking.) The notion that teachers must attain a high degree of proficiency is ludicrous- in an active shooter situation the call should go out and all teachers should lock the students in the classroom, turn out the lights and move students into an area that cannot be seen through any windows in the door. Pull the blinds as well if the room has any windows. Nice and dark. Those teachers who are armed should then pile up books, a lectern and anything else they can quickly move in front of their desk, place their firearm on their coat or some other improvised rest and crouch on the floor behind the desk with the muzzle pointed at the center of the doorway. If a cretin somehow manages to breach the door, it should be relatively simple to place a few rounds through the center of the doorway when he/she/it enters with their trusty AR.

    No one is asking any teacher or staff member to go out hunting an armed suspect, just defend the students under their charge at the time. Should a staff member feel able, go for it, or if said armed staff member is caught in the area where the shooting is happening at the time, do all possible to end the situation as best as can be done. Basically, that’s what the initial LEO would do. (I find it interesting that the first cop on the scene in the Thousand Oaks incident was killed by the shooter. So much for training sometimes.)

    Mark Furman has gone on these “everyone needs to shoot 500 rounds per week to be qualified” rants on radio show, especially Laura Ingraham. I’m pretty certain he’s never done that, none of the LEOs I know and work with do, either, unless they’re in the competitor category. The actual “hunting” for the suspect can/should be done by LE when they arrive, until then, any teacher who is able and possesses the means should be encouraged to defend his/her/its classroom and the students under their charge.

    It’s great to have SROs (always uniformed) in large school buildings but in my experience they become very popular among many of the kids and due to normalcy in everyday school bedlam, do not maintain a high level of alertness unless there has been some prior warning or harbinger. It would be very simple for one of the regular students to come into the building through the main entrance, walk up to the SRO, produce a firearm and shoot the uniform first, thus gaining an additional weapon, ammo, police walkie-talkie, pepper spray and other cool toys to use during the rampage. On the other hand, students not knowing who is armed could tend to make a difference. The primary issue would be finding staff members who could keep weapons always concealed on their person and their mouths shut. In that respect, even school administrators probably shouldn’t know all who are carrying as they often aren’t any smarter or more cognizant than teachers. That’s where they started out…

    On this topic it seems the Left and MSM would rather see a high body count than one whack-o taken out quickly. Ask the parents and students what they’d rather have.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I prefer beside the door, in case the shooter decides to blow a few through the door, but to each his own, its your life, nobody gets to tell you how to defend it.

      1. avatar Craig in IA says:

        “nobody gets to tell you how to defend it.” The hell they don’t- this would be in what is now and has been a “Gun-Free Zone”. I can handle my bunker pretty well.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      A hundred rounds a day, five days a week? Presumably at the end of a shift? I don’t think so sports fans! Nor do I see a department paying their officers (who is going to do all this extra “work” for free? Training time is on the clock.) for an hour a day plus 25,000 rounds a year for officers to practice. (That is millions of rounds of ammo for the entire department, of various calibers including 9 mm or .40. .223 and 12 gauge.) And let’s not forget the RO that they have to pay for also. As I understand it, NYPD is lucky to get all of its 35,000 officers through training twice a year, and it costs tens of millions. I have to assume that the LAPD is the same.

  38. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Based on some of them videos of cops engaging perpatrators in recent months (like Trader Joes), it seems they are taught to pop up and dump their magazine, curse, and then dump another magazine.

    Just sayin…..

  39. avatar barnbwt says:

    I would love to know who that asshat federal agent was; the guy sounds like a total anti-gun elitist toolbag on a power trip that has no business having authority over others. Honestly, he sounds a lot more like what an anti-gun toolbag author would IMAGINE their ideal jack-booted fed to be, complete with talking points supporting their anti-gun world view. If the guy does actually exist, I’d put money on him being a desk-jockey in a big city or other upper-management position. There are far too many successful ‘civilian’ defensive gun uses for anyone but an out of touch ignoramus to claim they are too ineffective to even contemplate.

    I wonder if our author bothered to ask his imaginary friend whether the odds of a mythical highly-trained (ha) agent not even on-scene stopping the threat were higher than an untrained, unwashed plebe with a handgun? I think he invented this conversation as a way to escape feelings of justified but misplaced guilt over his child being left completely unprotected.

  40. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Rule #1 of a gun fight – have a gun.

  41. avatar demetron says:

    Why does he call himself a survivor? He probably wasn’t there when his son was shot

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      You are not just admired and fawned over your opinions are given more weight than anyone elses.

  42. avatar JOHN B THAYER says:

    Until 1968 buying a gun in most of America was about as difficult as purchasing a bicycle. Yet mass shootings were extremely rare, the first noteworthy mass shooting of the post-WWII era having only occurred two years prior. It’s not the guns, it’s the culture. Reinstate 1950’s America and watch most of our present day problems disappear overnight.

    1. avatar LKB says:

      Yup. When I was in high school in the late 1970’s (small town Texas), it was hardly unusual to see shotguns and rifles in gun racks in pickups in the school parking lot. During hunting season, many of us kept our shotguns and ammo in the trunk of our cars so we could go hunting right after school.

      When I first attended the University of Texas (1979), I had both handguns and long guns when I lived on campus. Only requirement was that they had to be locked up in the dorm’s safe whenever possible; i.e., if you got back from a hunting trip at 2AM and the person on the desk didn’t have the combination to the safe, you could keep them in your room until the next morning. At that time, UT still had a 50 yard indoor shooting range on campus (although its use restricted to ROTC and members of recognized UT shooting clubs, and was limited to .22 rimfire weapons).

      Heck, a federal judge I know talks about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950’s-early 1960’s, when he would routinely take a slung .22 rifle on the subway to and from school for target practice with the rifle team. In frigging NYC!!

  43. avatar CarlosT says:

    The appropriate basketball analogy is you probably need to be good enough to sink the occasional basket, and hitting the rim might even be all you need.

    The average mass shooter is not a hard case, so even a non-fatal hit would probably be a stop. You’re not playing in the NBA, the NCAA (any division), or elite high school. It’s Intramural pick up ball, it’s box-of-chocolates where you never know what you’re going to get. Maybe the guy haz mad skillz and you’re screwed, but most likely he bought the gun a couple weeks ago, learned the difference between the trigger and mag release and called it good. If you hurt him, that fact alone is probably enough to make him stop.

  44. avatar JOHN B THAYER says:

    Saw a C-130 (first flew in 1953) dropping fire retardant on the fires in Kali. That’s sort of a parable to me. It shows that the 1950’s can still work for us in the 20-teens. If 1950’s technology can still work then so can 1950’s social values and social structures.

  45. avatar ebd10 says:

    Every day, across America, armed civilians with little or no training prevail against younger, stronger, more ruthless attackers to a much greater per capita degree than police officers. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that the public can’t be trusted to defend themselves.

  46. The second to last place I want to be is in a shootout when I have a gun.
    The last place I want to be is in a shootout when I don’t have a gun.

  47. avatar PosseMan says:

    I always welcome the opportunity to use the word “poppycock”. Mr. ATF’s tripe is a prime example of such a situation.

    POPPYCOCK.

  48. avatar Hannibal says:

    Holding a gun now isn’t going to bring your son back. Holding one back then MIGHT have stopped him from dying.

    A school shooting isn’t the NBA. Poor as the analogy is, the NBA would be more like combat against special forces. In that case, no, you wouldn’t have a chance. But school shooters pick schools because they know they’re undefended. They aren’t looking for a fight. Most of them can’t fight. It’s like the scrawny kid that’s shit at basketball so he waits until everyone is off the court before he pretends like he’s playing a game. If people come to play he leaves.

    People will tell themselves what they need to so they can sleep a little easier at night. They shouldn’t.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      An entire industry exists to convince people to give up and trust the cops to protect them. It’s getting people killed. Borderline is yet another example .

  49. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Gibson: My Son Was Dead. Did I Feel Better Holding a Gun?
    Why would you feel better? Do you feel better holding a hammer?
    He spoke of the hundreds of hours necessary to achieve the Zen-like level of expertise in which, in the midst of chaos, responses are instantaneous and instinctive.
    Yeah, I am sure the military and LEOs all have zen like proficiency.
    “I think of the crowded school library in which my son died. I try to imagine a librarian drawing her Glock and returning fire.”
    Beats hell out of not returning fire and having everyone slaughtered.
    Even if the librarian misses, the perp might retreat and run off.
    training intended to turn an average shooter into, well, what exactly? I wasn’t sure.
    Uh, somebody who can hit the broad side of a barn door at 10 paces?

  50. avatar GS650G says:

    So the ATF dude offers no option except hiding and begging for life because it’s not possible.to turn people into high speed low drag operators like John Wick.
    He can kiss my ass. If he even exists. Probably a Jason Blair character.
    As for the enemy I don’t think criminals attend high end training classes. Many don’t even load the gun or have real ones.

  51. avatar 22winmag says:

    Is this retired ATF agent related to the DEA who shot the floor of a classroom full of kids with his negligent discharge and put a fragment into one of them?

  52. avatar Hugo says:

    So do nothing. He sounds like a liberal.

  53. avatar Red says:

    First of all, school shooters are no more accurate than you.

    Secondly, cops are no better than us. Just finished a story with cops and a armed assailant exchanging 50 shots and only one hit in a shoulder. So tell me cops are the pros. I’ll never believe it.

  54. avatar TMac says:

    Is there still a NBA?
    Really?

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