News You Can Use

Because you can, doesn’t mean you should… a cautionary example of what not to do.

A new story about an armed civilian use of deadly force is making its way around the internet (click here to read the full story). All of the references that I have seen about this story are focusing on the fact that the armed citizen, who we know was actually a firearms instructor, was open carrying. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is when an armed person is moving about out in public armed with a firearm and making no attempts to conceal the firearm under his clothing or a cover garment. In the firearms community, this is a hot button topic and the source of debate almost daily on one forum or Facebook page or another. “OC” as it’s called, is as contentious a topic as the forever obnoxious “1911 vs Glock” or “9mm vs 45, because stopping power”. What I have not seen, is much attention being given to this firearms instructors lack of sound decision making or “Tactics”, intermediate use of force options or any other problem solving know how, as it would seem from the details of the story. Luckily he prevailed, but not because he did everything right. In fact, he did quite a few things he shouldn’t have…simply because he could, as it seems.

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An excerpt from the story outlines the engagement, and the derp is at an all-time high on this one, especially since this guy is supposed to be an instructor, and is presumed to know better. It reads as follows:

“According to Mandeville Police, the victim, later identified as Shawn Breland, 42, of Folsom, was inside the store and after buying something he began berating the clerk. The clerk ordered Breland to leave the store, and Breland came back inside several times.

Another man who was inside the store and carried a visible firearm in a holster also tried to de-escalate the situation and warned Breland to leave.

“The deceased left but returned throwing what appears to be potatoes chips at the clerk. The shooter then follows the deceased outside to get his vehicle license plate number for the police. When the deceased saw the shooter getting his plate info, he exited his vehicle and physically attacked the shooter,” said a statement from Mandeville Police.

The unidentified man then drew his gun after being attacked. The man then went inside the store, but Breland followed him inside and continued to attack him.

“The video shows the deceased, who his larger than the shooter, physically shoving and pulling the shooter back and forth. The video also shows the deceased attempting to grab for the firearm. The shooter order the deceased back and told him he would shoot him if he did not stop,” said a statement from police.

“The shooter retreated into a corner of the store while still being attacked. With nowhere left to retreat, the shooter fires one round striking the deceased. The deceased does not stop his attacks and the shooter fires two more rounds, striking the subject, who then falls to the ground,” the statement concluded.”

So, at this time, it’s being ruled as a self-defense shooting and no charges are being filed, lucky for the shooter, because this account is full of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” moments, which we’ll call “Fuck ups” for the purpose of this writing.

Fuck up # 1:

Breland, 42, of Folsom, was inside the store and after buying something he began berating the clerk. The clerk ordered Breland to leave the store, and Breland came back inside several times.

Another man who was inside the store and carried a visible firearm in a holster also tried to de-escalate the situation and warned Breland to leave.”

As a private citizen, we are under no legal obligation to get involved in any altercations that don’t involve us, period. I’m fairly certain, that if the store clerk has been in that business for more than a week, he has probably dealt with an irate customer or two. No need for the shooter to hark the call of an imaginary Bat Signal he may have seen in his mind. He probably should have just minded his business and stayed back and been a witness to the customers behavior, in the event that the police wanted additional information or a statement. When he saw that his attempts at de-escalation had failed, all the more reason to disengage from the incident. As a firearms instructor, one of the first “tactics” we stress to our students to employ is, avoidance.

Fuck up # 2:

“The deceased left but returned throwing what appears to be potatoes chips at the clerk. The shooter then follows the deceased outside to get his vehicle license plate number for the police.”

Now, unless the deceased was a Ninja and had the ability to throw these potato chips like flying ninja stars, the clerk was in no danger, other than maybe getting some salt in his eye. I could be wrong, and if I am, I am sure some e-lawyer sitting in his mom’s basement in his tighty whiteys and a necktie will tell me, but throwing potato chips at someone doesn’t constitute “assault”. The store owner wanted the deceased out of the store, after the chip incident, the deceased left to go get in his car…problem solved, good guys win, game over. For safe measure, the shooter could have simply locked the door and stayed inside with the store clerk while awaiting the arrival of the police. As it were, the shooter invoked the spirit of George Zimmerman and decided to pursue the deceased outside of his realm of responsibility…and as in the Zimmerman case, here’s where shit goes bad.

Fuck up #3:

“When the deceased saw the shooter getting his plate info, he exited his vehicle and physically attacked the shooter,” said a statement from Mandeville Police.

The unidentified man then drew his gun after being attacked.”

Now, the story is a little light on details here, so I am not certain what they constitute as an “attack” but nowhere did I see any mention of the deceased getting out of his car with a weapon. So my question is, when “attacked”, why not simply fight back? When did a well-placed throat strike or hammer fist to the snot box stop being a viable option for empty hand defense in lieu of introducing lethal force into an encounter? I suspect the answer may be that the “Firearms Instructor”, like many in the industry, had possibly not spent much time learning how to fight or keeping any existing fighting skills sharp. MatrixBluePillRedPillLike many, especially those who OC in my experience, he possibly saw his gun as being a “magic pill” that would propel him through the matrix and give him powers to do battle against agent Smith? Sounds like he certainly could have benefited from taking ECQC and EWO a time or two, not to mention a visit a few times a week to a local boxing or MMA gym. “Tool of last resort” seems to have missed a lot of folks who make a gun their only conflict resolution tool, when shit gets critical. Makes me wonder, did the “attack” look like this? Is this what made him skin that smoke wagon?

Fuck up #4:

“The man then went inside the store, but Breland followed him inside and continued to attack him.

“The video shows the deceased, who his larger than the shooter, physically shoving and pulling the shooter back and forth. The video also shows the deceased attempting to grab for the firearm. The shooter order the deceased back and told him he would shoot him if he did not stop,”

Okay, so you’ve pulled your gun, and this motherfucker calls your bluff. This is what I like to call an “Oh Shit” moment. When I was growing up in New York, there was a rule in the streets, don’t pull your strap if you’re not fully committed to clappin’ a motherfucker. If you pulled a gun on someone and DIDN’T shoot them, you played your hand as a pussy and almost certainly marked yourself for retaliation for disrespecting your adversary. More likely than not, this would lead to you being shot at a later time in the not too distant future. This is why we, as responsible gun owners, don’t brandish our weapons if we are uncertain that the encounter has fully escalated to lethal force and meets the guidelines set forth with the AOJP standards of some states.

So he’s pulled his gun, the deceased calls his bluff, armed guy runs inside, crazy guy follows and now he is shoving and pulling armed dude back and forth. Now, he’s toying with him the way a predator plays with his injured kill before eating it, because he’s shown himself to not be fully committed to using his weapon. At this point, he has put himself in the horrible position of not having any choice but to shoot this guy, all because he chose to not stay quiet and observe. Any one of those shoves or pulls could have led to an entangled struggle for his gun or simply control of his body as he’s wrestled to the ground and disarmed. Then…to top it all off…he want’s to exchange dialogue with the guy and tell him he is going to shoot him. No Bueno…

 Fuck up #5:

Finally, the final fuck up(s)…

“The shooter retreated into a corner of the store while still being attacked. With nowhere left to retreat, the shooter fires one round striking the deceased. The deceased does not stop his attacks and the shooter fires two more rounds, striking the subject, who then falls to the ground,”

The shooter obviously does not read Claude Werners, Tactical Professor blog. If he did, he would know that along with Situational Awareness, comes the added task of acquiring proper positioning to give you an out. Backing into a corner…not so much of an out. He also has probably never heard me say “anyone worth shooting once, is worth gettin’ 5 rounds of that hot shit” or read anything about how piss poor handgun bullets are at killing people and usually requires more than one.

So, lessons learned from this:

  1. Mind your business and don’t be a hero.
  2. Like I tell my security officer students “Detect, Deter, Observe and Report” for everyday citizens… forget about being a deterrent. It’s not your job and no one reasonably expects you to do so. When you detect some shit is about to go down, observe as best you can from a safe position and report what you see to the authorities once they white knight this shit and save the day. Leave the Cowboy shit to the paid cowboys.
  3. Inventory your tool box and take a cold hard look at what you have available to resolve conflicts and threats. Guns are a limited use tool for a specific set of circumstances under a narrow spectrum of guidelines. Having intermediate use of force options, empty hand combatives and other “soft skills” to navigate conflict are absolutely necessary if you carry a gun.

Score one for the good guys…but not really :/

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About UrbanGunTchr (25 Articles)
Samuel Hayes, aka "UrbanGunTchr" is a seasoned security specialist, firearms trainer and combatives instructor with over 22 years operational experience in providing protective security services, executive protection and bail enforcement/fugitive recovery in high crime urban environments. He currently conducts open enrollment and private training specific to violent critical incident threat recognition and response using, empty hand, intermediate force options and firearms. His training places a strong emphasis on his clients acquiring a strong understanding of the legal aspects and liabilities in civilian engagements. A constant student of various combative disciplines and methodologies, he is also the founder and lead instructor at Caliber Training Group, LLC where he shares this information through open enrollment classes.

4 Comments on Because you can, doesn’t mean you should… a cautionary example of what not to do.

  1. Great write Sam, as always… Stay safe Bro

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rick Coleman // April 7, 2016 at 9:34 pm // Reply

    This article gives us a much needed perspective. “Just because something is legal, does not make it right”.

    Like

  3. angel.zlatanoff // April 8, 2016 at 11:47 am // Reply

    A security specialist teaching morals — that’s really funny.

    Like

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