What can we Learn From the Texas Church Shooting?

A lot of social media buzz has been created by this terrible murder of Texas church members. Some major media covered it, but most only for a brief mention. The reason for the brief mention of course is because one, there was not a mass murder (he was stopped before he could kill more people), the victim count was not high enough. Two, the murderer was stopped in literally six seconds by a legally armed citizen. Those two things make this against the mainstream media playbook for a mass murder they can use to push the agenda of “gun-control”.

The attack on the church was caught on live stream video unlike any others we know of, so while a true tragedy, it is a great opportunity to learn from it and maybe make a few changes that could help prevent or lessen attacks in the future. So let’s break down the attack as seen on the video.

The murderer was sitting buy himself in the back row of the sanctuary. He gets up and moves to the rear where he appears to engage one of the ushers in a very brief conversation. That is when you can see him pull a short shotgun from under his jacket/ coat. He initially points it at the usher he was speaking to.

Just before subject stands and moves to back of sanctuary.

At the same time several things are happening. There is an armed member of the church security team sitting just a few feet away along the back wall. He sees the subject pull out the shotgun and stands and begins to draw his concealed handgun. Also a few more feet away a group of men also along the back and already standing seem to notice the commotion and one drops out of sight, and one moves off camera and the third draws a handgun. From the video it’s hard to tell if it was concealed or openly carried.

8 seconds into incident.

The subject seeing the security member reaching and attempting to draw his concealed firearm turns the shotgun on him and fires one shot, striking him. The security member is seen to fall to the floor. The subject then turns back to the usher and fires one shot at him. This takes just a couple of seconds.

The other church security member, identified as Jack Wilson later, had during this time drawn his firearm and according to Mr. Wilson’s own statement he could not fire for a second or two because of church members between the subject and him in his line of fire. On the video you can see someone standing what looks like half crouched over and possible in Mr. Wilson’s line of fire.

The subject turns and begins to move forward in the direction of the stage in the church and takes one or two steps. Mr. Wilson appears to illuminate the suspect probably with a weapon mounted light. A second later the light goes off, and Mr. Wilson fires one well aimed shot at about 40- 50 feet striking the subject in the head. The subject falls to the ground.

At this point Mr. Wilson begins to move in the direction of the subject. At this point several other armed members of the church appear.

The entire situation from the time the suspect stood up and moves to the back of the church until he was shot by Mr. Wilson was 18 seconds. After the situation was deemed safe and over, people began to exit the sanctuary.

So what lessons can we learn from the video and the information shared by Mr. Wilson and other members of the church?

1. The subject was already acting suspicious and has been identified by the security team members. People acting suspiciously or dressed inappropriately (fake beard, hair and over coat in this case) bear watching and maybe even making contact with them.

2. Reaction is always going to be slower than action. Once the subject had his shotgun out drawing from concealment puts you at a serous disadvantage. Especially for those that do not practice it.

3. Distance is good and bad. Good in that you are not the sole point of attention, and may give you more of a chance to bring your firearm to bear. Bad in the the greater the distance, the more skilled a shot you will have to be. Practice is key here.

4. Move!! Standing still and trying to draw on an already aimed firearm is impossible. Move and draw! A moving target is much harder to hit. This is NOT a negative critique of the security team member who was shot while drawing from concealment, but a training lesson to learn from the tragedy.

Practice shooting at distances other than close range only. I see many people at the range I teach at and I never see the target go past the 7 or 10 yard distance (21-30 feet.) While yes the vast majority of defensive shootings happen under 21 feet, that does not mean you should not practice and be able to hit targets accurately at greater distances. I regularly work at distances up to 50 yards with handguns. There is a great feeling of accomplishment at hitting a target at those distances.

There are few other things that I noticed that might make good training topics from this incident, but those could be completely separate topics on their own.

So whats the final overall take away form this? That armed, trained, and ready lawful firearm carrying Americans CAN and HAVE stopped mass murderers. And that if these citizens had been prevented by laws from carrying in the church (aka gun free zones) more people would have died.

I am thankful that Mr. Jack Wilson and the other members of that church were there and ready and trained for this incident. We must learn from these incidents if we are to be ready for the next, and sadly there will be more.

It’s time for Law Enforcement to take a stand with the law-abiding firearms owning citizens of this country.

As many of my readers know I am a 35 year veteran sworn law enforcement officer who retired at the rank of Commander and more years after that training cops. I can tell you that a large majority of cops are strong supporters of citizens rights to be armed. I am also a U.S. Army veteran of the 3rd Infantry Division. Contrary to the few incidents that make the news or social media most of law enforcement supports the citizens right to self-protection and to being armed. I have had citizens come to my aid more than once when I needed back-up and none was around, and I was thankful for their help.

But there is rapidly coming a time in this country when law enforcement as a whole may need to finally take a stand with the citizens and stand up for the Constitutionally protected right to “keep and bear arms” that seems to be under attack.

In VA. there are many Sheriff’s and Police that have taken a stand with the citizens they are sworn to serve. This is a good sign, but I do not think it is going far enough. We need a national push, and national movement in law enforcement to stand up against further restrictions on a citizens right to keep and bear arms. The second amendment is for all citizens, even law enforcement. Citizens in several states have even gone so far as to save officers lives using a firearm to stop attacks on officers.

Virginia sheriff: We’ll deputize law-abiding citizens to counter state Dems’ gun control ‘overreach’

Think for a second why many firearms laws exempt law enforcement from the restrictions placed on the average citizen. The legislators and some figure heads in law enforcement will tell you its because police are highly trained in the use of firearms and can be trusted to have firearms. Well that is not exactly the truth. If you look at the training of many law enforcement agencies throughout the country you would be astonished at how little training they actually get. In the State of Florida for example officers are only required to qualify with their service firearm every two years! While some agencies do qualify more than that there are agencies out there that only shoot their firearms every two years. Now that does not make them “highly trained” or better trained even than most firearms owners. I know for a fact that our local agencies offer officers free time on the range every month to practice if they want, and yet out of almost a thousand officers and deputies, very rarely (one or two maybe a month) would take part in the offer.

After retiring from law enforcement training, I began teaching civilian classes at a local gun range and found to my very pleasant surprise that many firearms owners shoot as much if not more than most cops. Sure, there are some in each group that train a lot and some that train very little. Point being that on an average I have to say from personal observation police are no more well trained in firearms than most firearms owner citizens.

So why do legislators seem to always include exemptions for law enforcement in most firearms bills and restrictions then? Well they will say it’s for public safety. But an officer’s home collection does nothing for public safety. Only the officer’s duty firearms while they are working and maybe their off-duty firearm (if they carry one, I know many that do not). The reason that they include these exemptions is because they know that if law enforcement had to abide by the same laws and rules as citizens the cops would be in an uproar and fight any more restrictions. Imagine if law enforcement officers’ personal firearms were going to be banned just like they are threatening citizens firearms. What if law enforcement was required to keep any “assault weapons” (before you scream at me I know there is no such thing, I’m using the anti-rights groups words) at the station and check them out only when working. What of they were only allowed the same magazine capacity that the legislature is trying to place on citizens. I don’t think they would like it much and you would hear a huge cry from the police unions and officers themselves. Now do not misunderstand me, I think that ALL law-abiding people should have a right to those things, not just law enforcement. And I know some will say, and I agree, law enforcement does need these things since those are the same weapons they encounter criminals already using. Being at least as well armed as the criminals is a necessity for law enforcement, why is it not for the citizens who will encounter the criminals before the cops do?

I teach the police recruits that I have in the academy that the golden rule of law enforcement is to treat every person (good and bad) the way they would want another cop to treat their family member if they were in the same situation. Cops need to remember that these laws and exemptions affect their families and friends who are not cops, and everyone else.

In closing let me point out that I am pro law enforcement and know most are great, brave, decent people trying to make the areas they live in just that much safer, but I also know we (LEOs) see the worst that society has to offer and sometimes forget that there are millions of times more good people out there than criminals. If we remove the exemptions for law enforcement from the firearms laws, then I think we might see much different reactions from the law enforcement world in opposition to any more restrictions. Maybe even they might stand with the citizens and require the law makers actually follow the Constitution and remind them they “shall not infringe” on their right to “keep and bear arms”, both citizens and cops. Virginia law enforcement seems to have figured that out.

Florida Legislator Wants Punishment for Murder Reduced!

Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up! Talk about truth being stranger than fiction.

On October 17th, 2019 Florida Senator Bracy (D – Orange County) filed a bill that just defies logic or common sense. While most bills are designed to try and solve some issue or address a error in past laws, this one is unique!

Florida Senate Bill 564 – Murder

General Bill by Bracy. Murder“Revising the elements of murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree; revising the elements of what constitutes felony murder, for murder in the second degree; deleting provisions relating to felony murder, for murder in the third degree; authorizing persons convicted under certain murder provisions to file a petition with the sentencing court to have his or her murder conviction vacated or to be resentenced, as applicable, on or after a specified date, etc.”

You see, Sen. Bracy thinks that if we lower the punishment for certain “types” of murders it will help to reduce the “prison overcrowding” and more “fairly” address a person’s role in a murder. What? What part of a murder is not a serious crime?

This is what he wrote to justify the bill: “WHEREAS, there is a need for statutory changes to more equitably sentence offenders in accordance with their level of involvement in homicides, and WHEREAS, it is a bedrock principle of the law and of equity that a person should be punished for his or her actions according to his or her level of individual culpability, and WHEREAS, it is necessary to amend Florida’s felony murder rule to limit convictions and subsequent sentencing so that the laws of this state fairly address the culpability of the individual and assist in the reduction of prison overcrowding, which partially results from lengthy sentences that are not commensurate with the culpability of the individual…”

Sen. Bracy wants to reduce the level of punishment for some levels of murder, if you are involved in a violent felony like robbery or sexual battery and someone is killed. In what world does that make any type of sense? It does not seem to matter to Sen. Brady that the murder rate nationally has been going down over the last 20+ years or so. Facts and reality do not seem to matter to this Senator.

Murder rate down over many years.

You have to ask yourself why in the world would anyone want to do this? What motivation would one have for wanting to reduce prison time and the seriousness of murder charges? One can only guess.

We have had a decline in the Murder rate nationwide over the last couple of decades, and it’s not by making the punishment less for murder. Maybe the good Senator should look at making other laws have more serious punishments and making enforcement a priority? Like maybe raise the level of crime for using a firearm to commit a serious crime? How about mandatory time for using a firearm in a violent felony? Instead of trying to pass meaningless firearms control laws that will do nothing to reduce murders or crimes, make the use of a firearm in a crime even more punitive!

I am sorry but this legislation is one of the stupidest things I have seen in years. Want to read it for yourself go here: http://bit.ly/2W44OXH

The Ban Assault Rifle Movement is Misled, Lied to and Down Right Manipulated.

Actually the whole anti-firearms movement is.

After finishing reading the new 2018 FBI report “2018 Crime in the United States” I am not surprised to find that crime is still down, murders are still down and those who are fighting tooth and nail to ban “assault rifles” are just plain uninformed. They are allowing themselves to be manipulated by a few powerful people with agendas.

When one of these folks claims that the deaths by these “weapons of war” is a crisis and needs to be dealt with now, one simple question should be all that is needed to show how poorly informed they are. Ask any of them, “How many people died from being shot with a rifle in 2018, and how many died by being beaten to death by hands and feet? If they can’t answer that simple question they are just repeating things they have heard the leaders of the anti-rights groups say.

When dealing with those poor misinformed and misled folks, be kind and point out to them that they are in need of education. Give them the link, hand them the report, or point out to them the reality of the numbers. Numbers that do not bear up the hysteria of the assault weapons ban folks.

First rifles (that’s all rifle kinds together not just “assault rifles”) are one of the lessor used firearms to murder people. What the above chart does not show is that the FBI reports 297 cases where criminals were shot lawfully while citizens defended themselves. That’s right more people are documented in the report having killed criminals than people were killed with rifles.

Also important to note is that knives or sharp objects, hands and feet and blunt objects all killed more people than rifles of all kinds did. Why are these people not trying to ban those things? Because they have been lied to and told that rifles kill thousands of people each year.

Murder is down from 2016 and 2017 in 2018. If you look at the rate of murder in the US per 100K people you get the idea we are actually pretty low and on a even trend over the last 10 years and far below the rate back in the 90’s and before. But we have a crisis?

When you are discussing the firearms rights issue or murder problem in the US, just ask them for numbers. They can’t or won’t say them because if they do, they lose all of the reasoning for the entire movement.

Sorry anti-firearms rifle folks, and especially sorry to all those that have fallen for the lies and misleading statements form those who want to restrict your rights even more. They do not have anything to stand on other than emotions.

I welcome any of them to a debate on these topics. But be warned I deal in reality and facts, not lies and emotions.

Florida House Bill 175, Needs a Fair Hearing!

FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE ALERT! OUR RIGHTS NEED YOUR VOICE!

Fla House Bill 175 (HB 175) – Repealing provision of Chapter 790 relating to seizure of firearms because of disability, repealing the 21-year-old age limit for purchase of firearms (including rifles), defining “handgun” and repealing the waiting period for purchase of long guns, repealing the “bump fire stock ban, and repeals the “risk protection orders” seizure of firearms.

HB 175 has been assigned to committees for hearing and review. Yesterday afternoon (01/16/2017) HB 175 by Rep. Hill and Sabatini was referred to the following committees: Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee. While it has not been scheduled for any hearings yet, if you are a firearms rights and Constitutional supporter you should support this Bill. It is time to make your voices heard. This Bill needs to be scheduled for hearings and a committee vote.

The Chairs of each committee decide what Bills get heard, and they can stop a Bill dead in its tracks by simply ignoring it. If they do not take it up for hearing, it dies a quiet death. We want this Bill to be heard and we need to make sure they know it has support from the law-abiding firearms owners of Florida.

Please take a few minutes in the next couple of days to email or call the Chair of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Rep. James “J.W.” Grant and Vice Chair Rep. Stan McClain and tell them to put the Bill up for hearing and a vote and that you, a law-abiding citizen of Florida support it! They have a meeting scheduled Jan 23rd, 2019 but the Bill is not on the agenda yet. Let’s see if we can get that changed!

Emails: James “J.W.” Grant – james.grant@myfloridahouse.gov  

Twitter: @JamesGrantFl, Phone: (850) 717-5064

                Stan McClain – stan.mcclain@myfloridahouse.gov  Twitter: @RepMcClain, Phone: (850) 717-5023

While many of us feel very strongly about the Unconstitutional issues this Bill would fix, please be respectful and concise when emailing to them. We want them to be on our side, not against it.

In the Subject line, please include “Support HB 175” as part of your subject.

If you happen to be on Twitter I also use it at @CmdrCW, but I may not be as tolerant of the anti-rights people there as I am here. 😉  

Why do we “need” AR-15 rifles or any other firearm?

Recently during a very one-sided debate, I was shouted at and asked why I “needed” an AR-15 or other rifles like that. I was also told that only the police and government should have those types of firearms.

Those comments made me shiver. The fact that people who are discussing basic Constitutional rights do not know what the basis of a right is, and why we should not allow them to be restricted or removed anymore than they are.

The first question as to why I “need” an AR-15 or other firearm is one of the core reasons for the 2nd Amendment. I do not ‘need” anything. I have the “right” to peacefully and lawfully possess an AR-15 or other firearm because it’s my choice. A “right” is just that, I can exercise it if I want to or not. Just like I can exercise my right to free speech or not. I can choose to be silent if I do not want to use that right, but if I do, as I am here, then there is nothing that should stop me if I am not harming anyone. Just as my right to own firearms is just that, my right, and should not be restricted if I am not harming anyone unlawfully. That’s why it’s a right and not a “need”.

And when they asked why I thought I should have them and not just the police and government, I almost fell out of my chair. Did they not know basic history? Our forefathers went to war to divest themselves of a government that was trying to do just that, remove arms from the citizens to make ruling over them easier. Of the numerous countries where the removal of the ability of the citizens to defend themselves, especially against a government that became tyrannical, dictatorial or worse, resulted in millions dying at the hands of that very government should have been enough. Then there is the minor issue of the police only having the guns. Having been one for 35 years, I am here to tell you police cannot protect you all the time. You are not able to rely on the few police officers out there that might just be lucky enough to be around the corner and arrive in the nick of time to save you. And the minor issue that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled it is not the duty of the police to protect you as an individual. So, if not theirs than who’s is it? It’s yours!

So when you ask why does someone need an Ar-15, we don’t need them. We have the right to have them. We don’t need them, unless of course we do to defend our family or country, from the government itself. Then it may be to late since some want them all removed because of the actions of a few murderers. And please don’t use that old worn out, you can never defeat the US Military with AR-15’s. I don’t expect a lot of military folks would go along with orders to attack or harm US Citizens. But that just is coming form a U.S. Army veteran. Had I been ordered to do so I would have simply refused.

So good luck with your arguments we don’t need these firearms. No we have the right to have them and until such a time as that right is repealed (that’s another topic) you have no right to tell me, a law abiding U.S. Citizen, that I don’t. As a side note, of the Bill of Rights, which ones have the words “shall not be infringed” in them? And why? Maybe because our forefathers had seen just that, a government trying to infringe on the citizens it was supposed to serve not rule?

What Happens When Good Intentions go Wrong? When Fighting for Rights Become Second to Power and Money?

What happens when good intentions go wrong? What happens when people get used to being in power and controlling everything? What happens when they feel the money flow is threatened? What happens when the rules/laws are not followed by the very people that wrote them? What happens when people feel that their “good thing” may be found out? Their way is the only way!

Does that make you think of the state or federal government? Federal Senators or State Legislators?

Well, it sounds like it. But what if I told you that is a “grassroots” pro-firearms rights group? What if you found out that the group you thought stood for all the right things, actually wasn’t as stand up as you thought? What if you were a part of the leadership of that group and when you questioned where the money went, and why things were being done the way they were, you got labeled as a troublemaker and were no longer welcomed by the leadership. Even to the point of not wanting you to talk at all to the rest of the members. What if when you ask for something as simple as transparency, you get all kinds of anger and heat? What if this leadership told you that being a part of the leadership was a good thing, as you got to go to a meeting every year at the expense of the members? Sounds good right? Nothing wrong with that by itself right? But add that to the other things and you start to think.  

You would think that a rights group that ask its members for money would be more than happy to tell those members where that money goes. Like the NRA posting its yearly financial report. Nothing to hide, right? You would think that a group that professes to be for rights would honor the rights of all, including its own members to ask questions and to question what and why things are done. 

If you were paying to be a member of a group, and that group failed to follow its own rules it had written for itself, what would you do? Speak up? Be silent and become part of the silent majority? Or just ignore it all?

A group that supposedly stands up for people that fails to follow its own rules and bylaws, fails to have membership meetings as it requires, failed for years to post where the money goes, only to do so when it is forced to, fails to keep its members informed of just what it is doing and what it needs them to do, is not much of a “grassroots” stand up group if you ask me. But then, they would not want you asking me. If you did I would say it’s time for a deep look inside, time for a look at who and how things are done and why, as it is written in the bylaws itself. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, even when it starts out as good intentions.

Is it wrong to question things? Is it wrong to point out that they (the leadership) need to do a better job of being transparent with financials and what they are doing to help people get their gun rights back. Is it wrong to be the voice of the members that have no idea what the rules are. How can people question what they do not know is wrong or going on? Where is the openness and honesty? 

Honesty you say? Did you know how many members are in these groups? I was told they do not want those numbers made public. Really? Why? Yet we can testify to numbers before legislators, but when asked by a board member, it’s secret? Think ethics, honesty, integrity, and transparency and ask yourself, does my group stand for these things and follow them? 

They could be such a driving force for good and the firearms rights of all the people they profess to represent, but fail to see what has happened. And we sure don’t want the members and public to know about it, that could cause “change”, and we all know that is a bad thing. They even have a Board of Directors, selected by the two executive members. But they don’t vote on much, as the two executive directors have final say so on everything regardless of the other Directors. Heck, the other “Directors” can’t even call anything up for a vote, the Executive Directors have to do that. The Directors are there just to settle disagreements between the two Execs. They said so themselves, and yes I have that in writing. Some of the leadership is afraid to speak out because they know how they will get treated, so they remain silent, yet thank people who speak up, and yes that is in writing also. When leadership is afraid to speak up to other leaders, what does that tell you?

And no I am not talking about the NRA, they do all those things the right way. This group questions our government about things all the time, yet we are not allowed to question our own “support” group about itself. Before you send money to ANY group professing to be fighting for your rights,  find out how the money is used, how you can become a part of it and do things to support your rights, how often do they send out information on issues and things of interest, do they assist you in learning about the issues and current Bills being submitted in the Capital (State and Federal). Ask questions, if they don’t like questions, then that should be a red flag.

Fighting for your rights is as simple as signing up for notices from your state and federal representatives and senators and writing them and letting them know how you feel. Writing opinion pieces based on facts and real-world issues and sending them to your local news media outlets. Post rebuttals to opposing pieces, be heard. Don’t settle for “we are working on it, but can’t talk about it right now”. Those opposing your rights talk about it all the time, you should be also! Write your representatives and tell them what you expect of them, they are hired by you, to represent you, and they can be fired (voted out) just as easy. You only have this last election cycle to look at to see that. Educate people on the real facts surrounding firearms and self-defense, most people who oppose your rights are woefully uneducated about the topics you care about and know, so educate them. What is your group dong to educate the public at large? If you do those things you will be doing more than some groups and most people. Become part of the solution, not part of the problem.