The Cornered Cat

I found this article on The High Road. It was written by Michael Bane, host and co-producer of the popular TV show The Shooting Gallery, and is reproduced here with his permission. If after reading this you would like to hear more of Michael’s opinions, you can read his blog, or watch the Shooting Gallery show on the Outdoor Channel.

~ Kathy

I’m sitting around tonight answering e-mails from the show; this week’s episode looked at home invasions, with longtime LEO, world-class trainer, co-creator of the Steel Challenge and original Southwest Pistol League Combat Master Mike Dalton (his book is Life Without Fear; read it) leading us through it.

With one exception, the e-mail has been adulatory…Mike’s a star!

Of course, I want to mention the exception. The e-mail was from a person who by his/her own admission saw only the last few minutes of the show, where we showed how to “work” a real live house after explaining in great detail that YOU WILL IN ALL PROBABILITY LOSE and that it should only be attempted in the direst of circumstances, ie, you can’t find one of your kids. I mean, I can tell you all day that if you can’t find your kid you should still hole up and wait for the cops, but that’s not going to happen, is it?

Here’s the e-mail:

Dear Michael,

Just caught the tail end of an episode where you go over what to do during a home invasion.

You are going to get people killed.

I teach the concealed handgun classes here in [XXXX], and had my early training from [THE MILITARY].

The way to survive a deadly force situation is to take every advantage you can, and give none in return. If you try to apprehend an individual who has entered your home under the scenario you describe on your show, and that person happens to be armed, homeowners are going to die as a result of your “expert opinions.”

The homeowner, while he’s busy wondering if he can use deadly force, he could end up dead.

You shoot the bastard first, thus making it impossible for him to initiate an attack against you. Then you deal with the legal aspects later. At least, you are alive.

Be assured I won’t go out of my way to watch your show again.

Well, aside from the fact that he missed the entire point of the show – heck, he missed most of the show! – there’s a point here I want to make.

ANYBODY can be an instructor, and it’s on you as the consumer of that instruction to pick and choose. When my Sweetie was ready to get her CCW, she had to attend an NRA Personal Protection Class given in the area. I haven’t taken the PPC in ages, so I decided to sign up and take the class with her.

The instructor in that class was also happened to be a former military guy, and he started the class with the words, “I can kill you with a gun, with a knife, with an arrow and with my bare hands, with a pencil…I am a dangerous man.”

Well, that goes against Michael’s Universal Law of Dangerous People, to wit, any person who has to tell you he or she is dangerous isn’t. If that person tells you he or she is dangerous 3 or more times, Alf the Wonder Beagle can take ’em. I have been priveleged to spend time with real modern day warriors, and not a single one of them – man or woman – has ever explained to me that he or she was a natural born killah!

After about an hour of that crap – I stopped counting at 6 “dangerous man” declarations; lucky Alf wasn’t with us – I told my Sweetie to do what she had to do to pass the class, but to ignore everything this blowhard moron had to say, lest he get her killed or jailed.

While I personally think KILL ‘EM ALL; LET GOD SORT ‘EM OUT (or, to use the correct religious terminology from the Crusades, “Slay them all and the Good Lord will know his own”) is okay as a retro-70s bumpersticker, it is perhaps not the best strategy in complex times.

Suggesting you should just kill someone first, then “deal with the legal aspects later,” is an excellent way to become Bubba-the-Lifer’s live-in “girlfriend.” No, let’s not make it a joke…it’s damned irresponsible. The use of deadly force is a huge responsibility – not just legally, but ethically and, for lack of a better word, spiritually. Those bullets you loose are on you, forever. The consequences of those bullets are also on you, forever. And if you kill somebody in a sutuation that the police and courts decide DID NOT warrant deadly force, you are likely going to spend the rest of your life paying for those pesky “legal aspects.”

I worry that with the huge glut of “instructors” in the market are offering strategies and tactics drawn from either military or police training, which are not appropriate in a civilian context. As my dear friend Denny Chalker says, the ideal way to “clear a room” is a grenade; it is, however, impractical for home defense scenarios.

I close a lot of SHOOTING GALLERY episodes by urging you all to get training. Well, I need to add that you need to get good training from the right people I will personally stand behind any and every trainer or shooting school we present on SHOOTING GALLERY, but don’t just take my word for it. Talk to other students; get on the Internet and see what other people say about the training…do at least as much research as you’d do on some hottie from MySpace you’re hoping to ask out! This is your life we’re talking about here!

And if anybody tells you not to worry about those deadly force criteria and you can deal with the legal stuff later, don’t walk – RUN! – in the other direction! You’re in the presence of a…dangerous…man!