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Thread: Can't take a life article

  1. #11
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    Feb 2011
    I highly recommend Michael Conti's "Police Pistolcraft: The Reality-Based New Paradigm of Police Firearms Training". Conti is a believer is point shooting, but I think the book has value to the most sight-oriented shooter or instructor (and I tend to be a believer in getting on the sights). Conti ran the first fulltime firearms training unit in the Massachusetts State Police and created a "house of horrors" based on Rex Applegate's training.

    He noted some differences in performance in the house of horrors. In a traffic stop scenario, newer troopers responded much more decisively that experience road dogs. He attributed this, I believe correctly, to new troopers having just been graduated from an academy that taught any car stop could be your last. Experienced guys and girls, having stopped hundreds or thousands of cars before going through the training often reacted less effectively.

    More to the point of this topic was the question of what units performed better or worse in the house of horrors. I would have expected, as did Conti that it would have been SWAT (or STOP as MSP calls them) or some high-speed fugitive apprehension or gang unit. Nope, it was the forensic science unit. These were troopers who went from major crime scene to major crime scene, largely murders and other violent crimes. Conti attributed this, as do I, to the fact these troopers knew without any doubt that that dangerous, violent people were in the world (or, at least, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) and that immediate response to a deadly threat must be met appropriately.

    County forensic sciences is largely civilian now, but I wouldn't have doubted the hesitation of the sworn officers back in the day to drop hammer if needed.

  2. #12
    One of the reasons I recommend Kathy Jackson’s site ( to prospective gun owners is that she has several articles on the morality and ethics of deadly force.

    It’s not a decision to be made lightly. If someone has doubts about using deadly force I’m happy to have the discussion, but I’m not going to call them weak. I think the most supportive approach is “Ok, guns aren’t an option for you right now. Let’s talk about what else can we do to help you stay safe.”

    Of course, if someone isn’t willing to use deadly force, there are some jobs they shouldn’t accept.

    If someone enjoys shooting for recreation but doesn’t want to use a firearm for self-defense, that’s ok.

    It’s good to be prepared to have a respectful discussion. I like pointing out that several figures widely regarded as peaceful — including that well-known doorkicker, the Dali Lama — think that deadly force used to protect the innocent is moral. But it’s a decision everyone has to make for themselves.

  3. #13
    IS WHAT PLANTS CRAVE BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Totem Polar View Post

    The brain tracks visualization as if reality, and it clearly tracks that sort of sim/evo stimulus as reality too, because I know that I will take the look on his face when I put 5 in his chest to my grave. I mean, I never lost any sleep over it, but it was a very personal moment for a split second, and it’s absolutely burned into my consciousness for the rest of my life, or Alzheimer's, whichever comes first.

    All to say, I think I agree with you about the FoF, without having any direct combat experience to compare it too.
    I've mentioned before that while maneuvering for advantage in what culminated in my shooting I had the conscious thought "this is just like the Sims course we ran at in-service". And it was, only more so. I didn't mention VATS since so few people have access to it, but VATS was so real to me that I tried to approach the screen to handcuff on occasion and that's a very normal reaction. I can only imagine the realism of training that will be possible as VR improves. Probably to the point of being too real.

    The aftermath (both immediate and longer term) is much more amplified, of course, but "in the moment" it seemed very very similar.
    Important rule change regarding political discussion here:

    Quote Originally Posted by UNM1136 View Post
    Maybe with talented students I would lube up with baby oil and then go at it.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    I like pointing out that several figures widely regarded as peaceful — including that well-known doorkicker, the Dali Lama — think that deadly force used to protect the innocent is moral.
    Which made me realize that for some folks this is two questions:
    “Is it ever ok to kill in self-defense?”
    “Could I kill in self-defense?”

    One probably has to sort those out separately.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by LJP View Post
    I think hunting has some merit, but I’m probably biased for a different reason. Having been in EMS for over two decades, I’ve witnessed so much death that it’s not even remotely abstract anymore. But as far as hunting goes, I’ve shot deer and hogs and happily eaten the meat, but I also made it a point to kill a hog with a knife a couple of times since I carry a knife for ostensibly defensive use. The connection is nebulous at best, but I still think a valid correlation exists. Hunting teaches you things about yourself that are hard to learn elsewhere.
    Several years ago, my best friend and I hosted a legendary barbecue and bonfire. We'd purchased a hog in the spring and another friend agreed to raise the pig on his farm all summer provided we paid for the food to fatten it up. Like BBI, I grew up in farm country and making meat from living things was not new to me, nor was the killing some animals because they were pestilential or dangerous or gravely injured.

    Most of the attendees would be shooters we knew both in person and from another forum back in the day. Several of them expressed the desire to be part of the butchering of the hog so they could get the experience of cutting actual flesh with their edc knives. A couple even floated the idea of killing the pig with knives, but I nixed that as a) I didn't want cortisol infused meat and b) we really didn't need to run the risk of an early morning injury that screwed up an event so long in the planning with guests from three states driving hours to attend.

    Two days before the event, my then girlfriend and now wife, asked if she could be the one to actually kill the hog. She went on to explain that sure, she's a meat eater and has no qualms about the circle of life that culminates on a plate, and yes, this would be an opportunity for her to be a part of the entire process. But, she continued, the real reason she wanted to do it was to put herself and her edc pistol (a 9mm Shield at the time) to as intense a test as possible, she felt that shooting and killing the hog would give her another level of confidence should she ever need to do so in self defense. And so it was.

    I don't think it's critical to kill an animal as part of your mental preparation, but I do think it's a damn good addition to one's training if the opportunity is ever presented to you.

  6. #16
    Site Supporter RoyGBiv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MickAK View Post
    This is why I encourage people taking up shooting for self defense to get a little hunting in, even if they have no interest. Coming up on a still warm, sometimes still bleeding animal you just killed hammers home that pulling a trigger is a permanent event with permanent consequences. I think that gets missed hitting paper and cardboard.
    Growing up in a big city, I have never had much need for or interest in hunting, but, did shoot 1 deer, partly for the experience of seeing how I felt about it afterward. The animal ran about 30 yards before it expired in some underbrush, just before dark. We searched past dark but weren't able to find it until the next day. I felt terrible about it and have never had any real interest in hunting game since. I'd go on a pig hunt if someone invited me, but, it's not something I desire to do enough to make it happen myself.

    On the same day, my hunting partner killed a good sized doe and instructed me on how to clean and butcher it, strung up from a tree branch using a floodlight for illumination. Other than wanting some exam gloves to handle the gooey stuff, and not knowing what I was doing, I didn't have any issues with getting the job done. I smoked a shoulder and brought it to his house for dinner with his family the next day.

    I do feel like the experience aided my understanding of how I might feel in a self defense circumstance. Certainly not the same thing, but, killing something as big or bigger than yourself is quite different from shooting raccoons off the bird feeders or coyotes out of the pasture.
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." - Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

  7. #17
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    Nov 2012
    Erie County, NY
    Just for info the Dali Lama said:

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. Not at the head, where a fatal wound might result. But at some other body part, such as a leg.”
    Can't really fault him, though. He has a different perspective.

    Good discussion. Thanks.

  8. #18
    There’s a line of Buddhist thought that killing mindfully can be an act of compassion.


    The following story is analogous to a terrorist situation. It is known throughout northern Buddhism. Communists even used it to rouse Chinese Buddhists to fight in Korea. The Buddha, in a past life as a ship's captain named Super Compassionate, discovered a criminal on board who intended to kill the 500 passengers. If he told the passengers, they would panic and become killers themselves, as happened on a Southwest Airlines flight in 2000. With no other way out, he compassionately stabbed the criminal to death. Captain Compassionate saved the passengers not only from murder, but from becoming murderers themselves. Unlike him, they would have killed in rage and suffered hell. He saved the criminal from becoming a mass murderer and even worse suffering. He himself generated vast karmic merit by acting with compassion.

    The story is double-edged. Killing protects others from the horrific karma of killing. At Harvard in April 2009, the Dalai Lama explained that "wrathful forceful action" motivated by compassion, may be "violence on a physical level" but is "essentially nonviolence". So we must be careful to understand what "nonviolence" means.



    But that’s all the “Is killing justified?” question, not “Could I kill?”

  9. #19
    happy sharps enabler Totem Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Which made me realize that for some folks this is two questions:
    “Is it ever ok to kill in self-defense?”
    “Could I kill in self-defense?”

    One probably has to sort those out separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Mutt View Post

    I don't think it's critical to kill an animal as part of your mental preparation, but I do think it's a damn good addition to one's training if the opportunity is ever presented to you.

    I spent a good chunk of the summer helping my buddy hump bait up a forested hill in the middle of nowhere, ID, to his long-term black bear hide. I was fully prepared to help him quarter and carry out a fresh bear, for some (though not all) of the reasons you mention. didn’t come to pass, mostly because riot season employment cut into bear stalking time, if you get my drift, but the fact that I’m a lightweight, new-agey coffeeshop musician, and I know it was part of the charm. Mostly, I needed the nature time and hard physical labor, but the mental/emotional impact was also part of the equation, again, because I’m such a softy by lifestyle.

    Also, @RoyGBiv

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    There’s a line of Buddhist thought that killing mindfully can be an act of compassion.

    I’ve spent the last 35-40 years of my life running in largely artsy, newagey—and many times—overtly Buddhist circles. When the topic of violence and justice comes up, I have often laid this variation of “the golden rule” on folks as grist for the conversational mill:

    “If, through some quirk of brain injury or disease fortune, my personality was so altered as to turn me into an amoral, psychopathic predator, rapist, and killer, the “me” that had been “me” all my life would really want someone who loves me to put a bullet in me before I could victimize all those people. I am absolutely firm in that conviction. That’s not that far a leap to caring for others as I myself would want to be treated”

    That one always gets people to stop and think, hard.
    ”It's important to remember that ALL news media is a consumer product. Just like soda and fast food, they don't have any incentive to make it good for you, just addictive enough for you to keep coming back for more.”

  10. #20
    Wag more, Bark less RJ's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    Venice Florida
    I purchased a gun for "self-defense" in 2014, for the first time in my life. I'd had enough of stories of robberies and worse, being inflicted by assholes on people, simply for the contents of their wallets. I had no clue how guns worked; but I knew I wasn't going to be a fucking victim. These days, I try and blend in, and get through life without attracting undue attention. I watch everything that goes on around me intently.

    But I'll tell ya, there is no doubt in my mind that if I have to use my pistol in justified self defense, I will do so, consistent with the laws in my state, without any hesitation whatsoever .
    Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.
    — J. C. Watts

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