Once again, I accept that I will get skewered for this article by the chest-rig wearing mall ninjas, but recently we have witnessed another high-profile incident in which a long gun was involved, and I would submit that the display of the long gun in this incident contributed to the terrible and tragic outcome.
We discussed this incident in depth on the CCX2 show this past week with guest John Murphy (FPF Training). John was a great guest for this discussion as he is a well-known firearms and self-defense instructor that focuses heavily on avoidance and de-escalation skills. The video of the CCX2 episode is embedded below and we show the entire cell phone footage of the terrible occurrence and discuss it in detail.
I will re-iterate a particular theme here that I have hit rather hard in several recent articles, and it is a theme that I also hit on in the show: long guns have limited defensive roles for the civilian. What are the uses for the long gun in civilian life? I can think of three primary ones:
1. If barricaded in the home in the safe room during home invasion, the long gun is excellent.
2. When the shit really hits the fan and society collapses, the rifle is your friend.
3. When you must protect your liberty from overreaching government (as is the entire premise of the 2nd Amendment even though many shy away from talking about that fact) the rifle is the tool.
Outside of these uses, the long gun is limited in defensive use and the handgun is the primary.
In this particular incident we see a heated exchange over child custody between an ex-husband and an ex-wife taking place in the yard. At some point the significant other of the ex-wife goes inside and comes back out with a long gun (appears to be a PCC). At the sight of the gun, the ex-husband aggressively confronts the significant other and taunts him to use it. Then, after a struggle for the gun, the ex-husband is shot dead.
There are many failures here, but the one I want to point out is that the long gun should have never come out for this situation. The ex-husband is heated, but not being physically violent. If he was assaulting people outside in a dangerous manner the gun would have been warranted, but here he simply was not and I believe the display of the gun was premature.
Rather than come out with a rifle in hand for such an incident, I encourage my readers, if ever dealing with something similar, to consider:
1. Be sure your partner stays in the house, that way if things get too heated the door can simply be shut. If the ex becomes so irate as to break down the door then we are at a whole new level of justification for force.
2. If you need to go outside to intervene in a heated, but not yet violent, confrontation, utilize your verbal judo to try and de-escalate.
3. Rather than carry a long gun outside, be wearing your handgun (home carry is a thing) and come out with a large can of OC spray. I keep a canister of bear spray near the front door for exactly this kind of situation. I have no domestic issues like this in my life, but there are incidents that can transpire even between neighbors and your household that can get heated. A heavy dose of bear spray may have short circuited this incident and the ex might still be alive.
Relegate the long gun to its appropriate role. Carrying it outside of the house during a heated verbal exchange is not that role. In this particular case the presence of the gun did the complete opposite of what most people would think it would accomplish. As has been seen numerous times of late, the display of a gun, even a rifle, does not send people running for the hills. In fact, it can be a shit magnet. You cannot count on an aggressive, heated, violent individual to be scared by the sight of the gun. If you face such an induvial that wants to disarm you, then you are now looking at the very ugly situation of retaining a long gun in a struggle; or being forced to shoot the person off the gun.
I encourage you to watch the show:
Excellent post. I love your suggestion to use Verbal Judo to de-escalate. I am a huge proponent of Verbal Judo training. As a martial arts/defensive tactics instructor and a communication instructor, it’s the best of both worlds to me.
Agreed, most in the self-defense world neglect the importance of being able to calm a situation with communication.
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