03 July 2013

Are you the next George Zimmerman?

Are you the next George Zimmerman?  If you are reading this blog, then there is a good chance you could be.  Anyone familiar with MCS knows that we're 100% pro self-defense.  So if you are reading this, I have to believe that you are the type of person who takes responsibility for their own safety.

In this post I am not going to talk about the totality of the case, instead I am going to talk about things to consider before you are put in a deadly force situation.  First off, if you are serious about developing your own personal protection program, you first need to be realistic about your ability and needs.  Judging from the holster pictured with Zimmerman's pistol, my opinion is that he was not very serious about being competent with the pistol but more interested in carrying it.  We all know people who carry a pistol or other tool as a talisman and believe that it will somehow protect them from evil.  I have not seen the belt he was wearing at the time of the shooting, but judging from the holster it is probably not a proper one for carrying a firearm.  The holster in question was one of those cheap one size fits all clip type that you find at gun shows.  Like many carry options for guns and knives, the holster was designed to hold, I will not say retain, the pistol as long as the user was on their feet or sitting.  As we know, that is not the situation that Zimmerman ended up in.  I have to wonder if he felt the gun moving in the holster or the holster moving in his waistband.

In an earlier post I mentioned the "One Gun Drill" that we do.  It was designed to inoculate students to the scenario where an attacker is mounted on top of them and their gun becomes exposed.  In all situations, the guy on top and the guy on the bottom both believe that they are the good guy.  When the gun becomes exposed, both people are going to fight for it.  Something else we discuss is carrying the pistol behind your hip which seems to be the most common carry position, especially with people who are guncentric.  From all indications this is where Zimmerman was carrying his pistol.  When using this carry position and ending up flat on your back, it is physically impossible to draw your pistol because it is under you.  First you have to squirm so that your elbow can move towards the rear.  Some will say that Zimmerman's ability to use his pistol is evidenced with being able to deploy it and shoot Martin once in the heart.  The truth of the matter is that if you can get your pistol out and between you when you are in this position all you need to do is pull the trigger.  However, we teach three specific contact distance default targeting shots.

As I said about carrying tools as talismans, those that do seldom possess any open hand skills.  Initially Zimmerman was attacked with a punch to the nose, no doubt a roundhouse.  It would seem he never got his hands up in even a natural protective response, much less a trained response.  Even though it is in vogue to train firearms, firearms, firearms, the truth still is that you are more likely to face an open hand attack, at least in the beginning of a scenario and that is likely to come in the way of a roundhouse.  What I saw in this case was the need for open hand skills at the beginning of the attack, to get the gun out, and afterwards where another shot is not justified but you don't feel comfortable breaking contact with the attacker.  If your first reaction is to go to your gun, you are either going to get punched in the face or end up in prison.  If self-defense is so important to you, then you better show that your study of it is layered and realistic.

For those with little to no open hand skills, the next thing most likely to induce panic is having someone on top of you who is not letting you up.  If you add to that that you are getting punched in the face and your head is hitting concrete, panic will increase.  It is human nature to feel overwhelmed and panicked when put in a situation you are not familiar with, even in non life and death situations.  The fact that the only trauma to Martin's body was the gun shot wound to his heart and some abrasions on his knuckles is telling.  Zimmerman was unsuccessful at putting up a fight until he was able to draw his pistol.  From all indications, it was the only defense he employed.  When considering this keep in mind that Zimmerman had 50 pounds on Martin.  Now that the dust has settled, we know that Martin did not have any weapons; even though after Martin got off of Zimmerman after the shot was fired, Zimmerman tried to hold his hands to his sides because he believed that Martin was hitting him with something.   Had Zimmerman been able to defend at all against the initial punch or gotten Martin off of him, maybe this whole thing would have never happened.

My next consideration is what if Zimmerman was justified in using deadly force, but was not armed...with anything.  Have you prepared yourself and considered ways to employ deadly force without tools.  In Zimmerman's situation, the first two things that come to mind are biting or jamming his thumb into Martin's eye socket.  People who are not familiar with deadly force may be shocked by me advising these things.  It needs to be understood that deadly force is deadly force and if you are justified in shooting someone then you are justified in gouging out their eye.  In the Zimmerman case, had a gun not been used this would have never made it outside the local news.  It also begs the question that had Zimmerman not been armed with a gun, would he be here today, and if so what would his injuries be.   The mindset of recognizing that there are always methods of delivering deadly force, armed or not, always exist as a counter to deadly force being used against you.

Also being brought into question is Zimmerman's attempts to becomes a police officer, ride along with Sandford  Police, and his  pursuit of a criminal justice degree.  Their point is that not only was he a wannabe cop but also that he was very familiar with police procedures, tactics, and the law.  It is being insinuated that he was carrying a gun and acting like a cop.  Ignoring the case in question, consider how your past and past pursuits would look in the eye of the public?  Is all the training you participate in geared towards the use of weapons?  Do you attend courses or shoot with a bunch of local cops, or military folks?  Do you model your wardrobe after them?  What kind of forums do you visit?  How do your pictures on Facebook look?

If you have little to no training except for a handgun but choose to carry one, how is that going to look?  In my opinion it makes more sense to seek training in open hand skills, first aid, and other things related to overall personal protection and preparedness, than to go to pistol after pistol, or carbine after carbine class.  This is solely based on the likelihood of having time and opportunity to block  a roundhouse punch or stop someone from bleeding to death vs shooting someone with a pistol or a rifle.

In my perfect world, none of this would matter.  In the world we live in, it does.  If you are a grown man who is a citizen and spend all your preparation time shooting guns while wearing a 511 Tuxedo or Multicams under your chest rig, don't be surprised if you are involved in an altercation and are called a wanna be and that of course you shot them because that is all you had trained to do.

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