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Becoming part of an already bad situation.

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by Snowy Rivers, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers oregon Active Member

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    As a professional trainer for many many years, I give many CCW classes each year.

    After suffering a stroke over a year ago, my physical stamina has diminished greatly, which has also brought to mind many questions.

    One question that troubles me is HOW NOT to become part of a serious issue if you are involved in a violent encounter.

    In other words, how not to be a part of the problem while trying to solve the problem.

    You are shopping in a large mall, and a whacko with a gun starts shooting, you follow good standard procedure, and get some cover if possible and draw your weapon.

    You have a good field of fire with "minimal" risk of collateral damage (if this is even possible) you are just squeezing off the first round, that will surely end the crazed persons rampage and a bullet rips through your shoulder sending you to the floor in agony.

    This bullet was not from the crazy person that spurred your actions, but from an off duty officer that perceived you as part of the threat, rather than the solution.

    You end up seriously disabled due to this "FRIENDLY FIRE" INCIDENT.

    Your decision to take action and save lives has nearly gotten you killed.

    I get asked on A REGULAR basis by students/clients, What can be done to protect against Friendly fire incident????

    WE have discussed the pros and cons of the CCW badges that can be worn under a coat on the belt.

    At first glance, this idea seemed a good possibility, in that it might add a few seconds to identify yourself, but upon further thought, the idea has many down sides as well, the least of which are over achieving prosecutors looking to make a name for themselves by bringing you up on charges for impersonating a cop.

    I am still at odds as to what if anything can be done to protect ones self from becoming a victim of friendly fire.

    The real world is harsh, and some times the good guys don't win, even though they are trying very hard.

    The thought of getting killed by a cop or others while trying to protect innocent lives troubles me greatly.

    I try hard to give my students the best materials that I can to keep them safe, but this is an area that just leaves me wondering.

    No free lunches and or guarantees when it comes to carrying a weapon for defense.

    Any ideas that you might have are certainly welcome.
  2. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The odds of a city cop hitting you are slimmer then the whack job, so carry on and take him down.
  3. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    Every situation will be different, so no one perfect answer.

    Not a bad idea to look around before presenting your weapon. If police are in-sight then the course of action is pretty clear.

    As far as the CCW badges, they are really a bad idea IMO. To me they make the wearer look like a Paul Blart wannabe, and to the jury you'll be the next George Zimmerman.

    Unless that badge has a commission or a professional license to back it up, it's a problem with no upside as far as the LEOs and prosecutors are concerned.
  4. donovan

    donovan Eugene, OR Member

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    I get this question periodically regarding carrying a "CCW badge", I am in complete agreement with snowy river in regards to how it may seem like a good idea however in retrospect it is a horrible idea. I constantly tell my students that if an exit to a potentially deadly confrontation is available then take it. I have also heard some trainers suggest having your Identification displayed with hands in the air. I would recommend against this as well. When interacting with police; they are looking for Means, Opportunity and intent. If you have nothing in your hands then you have no "means" and a shooting would not be justified on their end. Another important concept is that if a CHL holder is seeing a domestic altercation occurring, it may be a better idea to observe and report the issue rather than get involved. If the CHL holder did get involved then they would simply be bringing another firearm to the situation which could make it much worse then better. Having said that it is vital that people understand that they have no obligation to get involved by direct intervention. Just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should. If a someone means to do you or a loved one harm and there is no other way to resolve the situation then use force however understand that we all will be held to account for our actions.
  5. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Snowy Rivers;
    You are making a difference, one student at a time,
    Thanks for being an instructor!

    Situational awareness, practiced to be maintained.
    A constantly updating picture within the bubble around me.
    Skill that needs constant practicing.
    Driving (glance left mirror, front, right mirror, front, repeat)
    First Aid (Survey the scene. Is the scene safe for me to act?) first rule.
    Step outside the front door. Cross the street. Ride the MAX train. Enter a store.
    Update my bubble? Hard to do when my mind yammers "Threat!, There!" (instant tunnel vision)

    Sheep wandering around looking for that perfect bunch of grass.
    Shepherd (LEO)
    Sheep dogs among the flock.
    Wolves looking for a meal and/or free entertainment.

    I think of myself as a sheepdog, Woof!
    Concealed carry.

    Rick (stealthed)
  6. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers oregon Active Member

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    Getting involved with a domestic violence issue can be dicey at best.

    Unless deadly force was being used or at least imminent, my suggestion is to observe, report to 911/cops and stay out of it.

    Even at home, I recommend leaving if possible to do so safely.

    My big worry is how to deal with an open air situation where you may be the one who can stop a mass shooting.

    I am of the mental orientation that, if I can help, not doing so would be nearly as criminal as what the puke thats trying to kill innocent people is doing.

    The one case would be that if unleashing fire will likely cause collateral damage.

    The greatest of my fears is the individual that decides to carry, but then goes nuts and does not use good judgement when engaging the perp.

    How many folks have ever been in a tough situation ?? Few

    I have had real life situations and the adrenalin is pumping for sure.

    I have trained in a shoot house situation where the target can shoot back, granted it's air soft or paint balls, but you still feel the jitters when the course starts and you know that around the next corner or doorway is some warm blooded individual that will rip off rounds when you get within view.

    Training in front of paper is fine, but training with targets that shoot back really separates the good the bad and the ugly.

    I can remember the first shoot house, damn, we walked in, cleared the first room, and then all hell broke loose.

    I dove under cover and waited until the hail of fire was over.

    The rest of my team got wasted, as they panicked and stayed in the open.

    Gawd that was a real impressionable training session.

    Sad that every one who gets a CCW can't experience that sort of training.

    The situation we were in was a real well trained SWAT team in the shoot house, and a bunch of us newbies sent in to clear it.

    Haaaaaaaaaaaaa, we got our butts handed to us.

    I managed to pick off a few, but with the rest of the team DOA, it was over pretty quick.

    This sort of training is a godsend, but not available to nearly enough people.

    This happened back in 1990 in Socal and was part of a special training course I went through.

    5 days and over 500 rounds of ammo downrange and a buttload of classroom time.

    What so many folks don't understand is that the gun fight lasts a few seconds, and the aftermath lasts, or can last a lifetime.

    Back when I was 18yo and working the midnight to seven shift at a local gas station, a puke walked in to stick the place up, and he did not see the cop standing in the darkened service bay (had his car in there killing time and doing paperwork)

    The puke pulled his gun and the cop saw things going down and tried to stop the robbery.

    The kid pointed his gun at the cop, BANG PLOP DONE.

    Very hash indoctrination for an 18 yo to see this young fella lay there on the floor and die crying for his ma ma.

    It was nothing pretty, for sure.

    I will never forget the look on his face as the light went out of his eyes.

    I still remember it as though it were yesterday, that was 1970
    Over 40 years has not changed the picture, not even.

    That young fella screamed for several minutes for mama to help him.

    I can't impart on any student, what it's like to watch someone die that way.

    Damned ugly.

    Nothing can prepare the individual to deal with this sort of thing, nothing.

    Does anyone think that this sort of thing might cause PTSD, DAMNED STRAIGHT IT CAN.

    Sits thinking

    Ms Snowy
  7. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I think tactically all day long. Every situation I am in, I observe and assess. Where are my outs ? Where is my cover? Who / what is my threat ? I have x number of rounds, what does that permit me to do ? Can I run away from this ?

    Planning ahead and training, to the level Snowy Rivers describes or beyond in my opinion should be mandatory for CCW, and people should seek it out even if not mandatory. It is simply part of the way of life. It is fun also to me anyway.

    The chances of me being in any kind of a mall, or a situation where there are a lot of unknown people around, is slim. I avoid crowds at all costs. Back never to the door. Assess all who enter. Area scans all the time.

    This is not paranoia, it is just the way I live. My kids are this way, I started them and the Marine Corps did their part. Sheepdog all right, but a careful thinking one.
  8. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I feel for your pain, appreciate your introspection.

    When you think on it, remember to tell yourself truths.
    "Perp made a poor choice." "His choice separated him from humanity"
    "His mission failed." "I'm alive!" "I learned a lot from his failure"
    "Glad, so glad that LEO was hanging at my gas station!"

    Don't consider his humanity. He went to the dark side.

    Downtown LA, 1979
    County courthouse, jury selection, murder of a gas station attendant.
    Gang Banger had 5 five defense attorneys.
    Asked me a million questions,
    One of the questions was "What do you think about the death penalty?"
    Answer: "I think it serves a noble purpose".
    They used one of their pre-emptory challenges on me.
    Judge thanked me for being honest and forthcoming, dismissed me from jury duty.

    I worried on that moment until I had a flash of insight. They had to use one of their three pre-emptory challenges on me, attempting to "skew" the jury to the left. My answers (maybe) "skewed" the already picked jurors to the right.

    My opinion:
    PTSD can't be cured.
    Can be managed.
    I remind myself the experience was signifigent.
    Where many folks can only imagine what it might feel like, I was there!
    I learned from it, and my life is different because of it.
    Give myself an "attaboy" for making it to "old fart" status.
  9. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers oregon Active Member

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    Not everyone can afford the type of training I have had.
    Not that the almighty $$$$$ is all important and damn the torpedoes and the cost.

    Basic awareness assessment and such is the most important.

    Never run in condition green (oblivious to everything) (The Blonde Zone) :bluelaugh:

    I am not real sure where CCW training needs to stop to be adequate, but good safety practices, and good gun handling skills are an absolute must have.

    What worries me is the person who, yesss, can handle the gun safely, but is not familiar enough to be able to run it on auto pilot while devoting their entire attention on threat assessment and how best to deal with it.

    This is no time to be worrying about how the gun works.

    All the mechanical stuff needs to be automatic, and this does not come without a lot of hands on.

    I try to impress upon students that they need to know their gun like the back of their hand.

  10. Koda

    Koda Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I am certainly the least qualified to say but IMO... I would be cautious of any pre-determined mindset, Its important to identify the difference between being confronted by an active shooter vs. being caught up in an active shooting situation. If my life is not in immediate danger I don't have my weapon drawn and thus my exposure to friendly fire is mitigated. What I think your really presenting here is purposefully pursuing and engaging the active shooter and that's a whole different ballgame friendly fire regardless?

    (by confronted I mean forced to take action, not waiting until your being shot at...)
  11. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    I've considered this many, many times and it really doesn't have an easy answer. Even if a cop or other CCWer doesn't take you out, what if this tard has a buddy? What if he's wearing body armor?

    My suggestion has, and always will be, to force the shooter(s) into a position that is advantageous to you. Duck into a store, tell any employees/customers to go in the employee area and call 9-1-1...barricade the door and defend yourself. Anyone kicking down that door not yelling "police!" will get a bullet in the face.

    One thing you forget isn't just being shot by a "good guy", it's also shooting one. If you were really in condition YELLOW, you would have keyed on this tard before he fired a bullet...otherwise, you just drew and shot the first person you saw with a gun as well and we've just reversed your scenario.

    Everyone wants to be the hero, but the truth is- nobody likes being a martyr. So unless you like the idea of possibly taking a bullet from a "good guy", accidentally shooting one or just causing more collateral damage (i.e. missed shots, through-and-throughs, or you hit his armor and he turned his fire into your direction and others were hit in the process) then RUN. I'm not saying run out in the open and throw all tactics to the wind, but you should just simply jump into the nearest store and hump it to the back.
    Pirelli and (deleted member) like this.
  12. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers oregon Active Member

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    Ahhhh, all good points.

    Let me clarify my position.

    If I walk out of a store and walk into a situation (No condition yellow will always give you a preview of whats out in the "commons area" ) and find the aforementioned scenario unfolding, then what I was talking about applies.

    There is not going to be any hero in any of these cases. Even if you stop the perp in his tracks and no innocents are hurt whatsoever.

    Likely you will face court in some fashion, either a case spurred by some over achieving prosecutor, or a civil action by the would be killers family in a wrongful death suit.

    Yes, there is always the possibility of multiple shooters, anything is possible.

    My statement

    I am of the mental orientation that, if I can help, not doing so would be nearly as criminal as what the puke that's trying to kill innocent people is doing.

    Sitting by and watching the mayhem is wrong.

    The exception would be, If you can't help without adding to the problem.

    This translates to collateral damage. I f your actions contribute to the casualty count (other than the perp) then you need to do nothing more than observe and possibly assist in directing innocents away from the area.

    WE have strayed from the original intent of my post some, although all these posts are good and viable ideas.

    How to not be perceived as part of the problem.

    I am not a glory hound, too old for that crap, and nobody is gong to thank you anyway.

    There is way too much anti gun sentiment in the media for there to be even so much as a back page "Shopper with a CCW stops rampage and saves the day"

    On another note touched on.

    If your looking for a scrap, you will eventually find one, and then you will end as Zimmerman did.

    I won't re-thrash that scenario here, but looking for trouble is akin to vigilantism and not even where we need to be going.

    The whole idea of a CCW is to have the OPTION to protect ones self, and beyond that anything else is your judgement call as to whether you get involved.

    I still maintain, that if I can help, I should.

    Not helping is not much different from driving away from an accident that you happened upon (Not one you were involved in, as that's a felony)

    It's not about being a hero, it's about helping others if you can.

    If all somebody wants is to be a hero, they don't need a CCW, as they will become a menace in their lust for glory.

    We are not the police and should never try to act in that capacity, butttttttttttttt, we are likely to be on the front line when the SHTF.

    When seconds count, the police are only minute away.

    This is not a SLAM, but instead, the truth of the matter.

    I hope this clarifies my position.

    I am still looking for input on how to keep from being perceived as part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

  13. lucifermonkey

    lucifermonkey Portland, OR Active Member

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    I agree with some of the other comments. It boils down to situational awareness. Being as best prepared for the situation before it happens and ready to react on instinct.
    Safety for yourself is number 1. You can't help others if you are severely injured or dead. Take cover and assess your options.

    If you feel the need to draw your weapon, keep it out of public view as best as possible. People get scared when they see guns being waved around unless you are in a uniform.
    Gun not in view, no problem. No one sees you as a potential threat including the shooter, people around you and the police when they finally show up.

    Body language will play a big part in identifying yourself as a "friendly". If you are ducking for cover and helping people to safety that is good.

    Verbally make your intentions clear to those around you. "I'm on your side. I have a gun permit. I'm here to help. Stay down and call 911." etc.
    This will help the people that see your gun know you are not a threat.

    Always maintain your 360 degree awareness.
    Are there other active shooters, friendly or hostile? Are the police on scene? Others in danger? Where is potential cover? Where are my exits?

    Stay safe!
  14. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers oregon Active Member

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    Very well put, indeed
  15. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    My bad, I didn't mean to pull you on the carpet as a rambo just trying to look at it as an instructor teaching layman...

    Anyhoot, I guess verbals would help.


    Even if it's as you're shooting the subject just to let others know you're trying to solve the problem, not become it. I've actually thought about getting some sort of decal on my armor that says "GOOD GUY" in yellow just so I don't get shot in the back by some other CCWer that tries to take out an active shooter. It really just boils down to identifying your target.

    Think to yourself...

    "If I saw someone do that, would I shoot me?"

    Put yourself outside of your own shoes and try to look at it objectively is all I'm saying. It's going to be CHAOS. Hundreds of people in condition WHITE just running around- trying to get to their cars instead of to cover, trying to secure their belongings instead of their loved ones.

    I'm surprised you posted this...you and I are the minority on this topic so expect to be flammed for it.
  16. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers oregon Active Member

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    No bad feelings here.
    I have been on the boards for years and am a moderator at a diesel pickup board, and very well used to most of the inflections.

    Granted, without voice nuances and body language, it can be hard to really get what someone means at times, but I'm on board with ya.

    I like the "I'm a good guy sticker :bluelaugh::laugh:

    In actuality, the trouble is still there, and as you pointed out, the muggles (Sheep) are going going to be scattering like mice :paranoid:

    I have been flamed before, so no biggy, Sits smoldering :laugh:

    As a long time instructor, and well seasoned citizen, I worry about and care about the well being of all who have passed through my CCW classes over the years.

    I can't be there to mentor them if they have to deal with a violent encounter, not that I should be, but this old hen is just that way ya know.

    MY REFERENCE to looking for trouble and finding it was and is meant to reflect on anyone who is of the mindset of going out looking for an issue that needs fixing. (Looking for a gun fight)

    That sort of behavior is totally unacceptable and will likely land one in serious trouble.


    The bad guy very well may make a call and report you for pulling a gun on him.

    We are gearing up to offer the Arizona CCW class and should have that available soon.

    We are planning on offering the Utah in time, but it requires us to secure Utah training Certificate and we also must carry a Utah CCW.

    We are adding quite a bit of materials to our course to satisfy Az and Ut

    For those who only need/want Oregon, we will continue with our course as it is.

    Our material is directly based on level 1 and 2 Lethal Force Institute material that Pat and I were involved in some years ago.

    I WON'T bad mouth any course offered, but I have seen far too many courses that concentrate on "marksmen issues" rather than staying alive and OUT OF PRISON.


    We focus on carry gear and gun safety, awareness tactics, avoiding trouble if possible, dealing with police after a shooting, how to deal with a home invasion, car jacking prevention, children and guns, gun storage.

    We focus little on the fine nuances of Great marksmanship, as this is not bulls eye 101, and so many folks are not going to spend hours and tons of ammo training as competition shooters do.

    Good safe gun handling is the key and from there it only gets better.

    Yeah Buddy
    Keep the ideas coming :D
    Riot and (deleted member) like this.
  17. simon99

    simon99 Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to sound like the odd man out here, so hopefully I don't get flamed to much. Please bear in mind, my experience is not law enforcement per se, but military.

    In a situation where I perceive a threat, as in perceived bad guy opens fire in crowded mall, people getting shot. I would take cover and engage until the threat is stopped, as in he drops his weapon or is eliminated. Now, part two of the equation is if an off-duty officer starts shooting at me.
    Unless he identifies himself as such, he's a perceived threat to me as well. I would know he's an LEO. Now, if he is in uniform or identifies himself, then he would be viewed as a threat. Hopefully, he would have the training and situational awareness to recognize friend from foe.
  18. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers oregon Active Member

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    All good points

    Do not ever count on an off duty cop to act in any certain preconceived way.

    They are individuals just as you and I, and each will react to their own gifts and training.

    Unless the off duty officer identifies him or herself, you will have no way of knowing what you are dealing with.

    A scenario could evolve that you walk in on a situation where an off duty/plain clothes officer draws his weapon and "appears" to possibly be a bad guy.

    Do you shoot or not ??

    That's a hard question to answer.

  19. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    That's just it, though...the bad guys don't wear uniforms that separate themselves from the good guys. We hope that Police or other CCers have the presence of mind to assess the situation before reacting; however, that is seldom the case. All too often people fall victim to "contagious fire" and shoot just because everyone else is shooting.

    As they say...

    "Friendly Fire isn't friendly"

    If you engaged an off duty/plain clothes officer during this scenario you would automatically be vilified just as much as the shooter himself. Reverse it, if a cop shoots YOU, you shouldn't have been doing what you did. This mentality isn't something I necessarily agree with, but it is how you will be portrayed to the public.

    Remember, most gun-control advocates think that civilians carrying guns means that we will revert to the "Wild West." Don't give them more ammunition or invite a "trigger happy" DA to burn you for your actions.

    Seek cover, draw, asseess, evaluate a plan, then execute the plan...that is my advice on active shooters.

    Drawing and attempting to engage without seeking cover or assessing the situation will get you shot by his partner(s) or other good guys thinking you're a "Bad Guy." The goal here is to stop, look around and attempt to capitalize on an opportunity...if you see other people, armed, trying to do the same- try to get their attention before reacting just so they know you're not a bad guy (and vise versa).

    You need three things to succeed a violent encounter...

    Surprise, speed and violence of action.

    At the start, the active shooter has the advantage...but once he starts shooting, he looses the element of surprise and you can retake the advantage- but only if you're not seen as the immediate threat.
  20. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    If the first contact with Mr. Plainclothes is a bullet through your shoulder, then he's no good guy in my book. I presume that someone at my six who's barking orders at me must be a good guy, if he didn't shoot first/ask later. I hope I'd have the instinct to drop my gun and not turn around.

    IMO, once the shooting starts, keeping your head on a swivel and not getting tunneled down are the critical aspects of situational awareness. I hope, once again, that I wouldn't be surprised by somebody at my six, maybe spinning around for the last time.

    Look, it's not going to happen; the mall-shooter scenario is as rare as hen's teeth. You're a thousand times more likely to be jumped by a couple guys when you're most vulnerable and distracted, like fumbling for your keys in a parking lot or buying a MAX ticket.