Monday, July 9, 2007

When It Becomes Real

You know, my job, as important as I believe it to be, is mainly about preparation. What I do is to mentally prepare, as best I can, a normal every-day person, to shoot someone. It is also my job to prepare that same person to be technically proficient enough to shoot someone without getting shot.

Usually, the only validation I get is when I see a change in marksmanship skills, or see an attitudinal change in a student who has decided that we aren't playing games and he/she may have to use deadly force against a real person.

Most of the time, due to the nature of the agency that I work for, my work is mostly theoretical.

Not anymore.

A few weeks ago, one of the men that I have been training for the past ten years, was involved in a shooting.

I found out about the shooting as I was going into the gym in our training facility... it was kind of off-hand, and it went like this:

John: Hey, GF, tough stuff for Jimmy last night, eh?

GF: What do you mean?

John: You didn't hear about the shooting?

GF: No!, what happened?

John: You didn't get a call?

GF (irritated): No. Tell me what happened?

John: Jimmy was in a shooting last night.

GF: Is he OK?

John (proudly): Yeah, he's OK, but that motherf***er that he shot isn't!

GF: Kill 'im?

John: Nah, scumbag will survive... but even if he keeps his arm, it won't be good for much any more. The bullet shattered the guy's elbow, I hear.

GF: Well, f*** him, anyway!

(exchange of high fives)

I was relieved to hear that Jimmy was not hurt, but I was concerned, because Jimmy, despite my best work, isn't what I would normally refer to as a meat-eater. Jimmy is one of the most easy-going guys you ever met. Always ready with a laugh, a joke, or a wisecrack but the truth is that Jimmy isn't terribly bright.

As the past few weeks unfolded, and I was able to interview Jimmy (we do this for training purposes) about what happened. After talking through the whole situation, I quickly determined that Jimmy was lucky to be alive. The bad guy, if properly motivated could have killed Jimmy, but apparently he either didn't want to, or he himself wasn't mentally prepared, either.

I was pleased to hear Jimmy say one thing, though, he told me that if it hadn't been for the training that I had given him over the years, he didn't think that he would have been able to shoot the guy at all. He told me: "GF, you were right, dude! You just never know when the fight will happen. Thanks for everything."

How is that for professional validation?

NOTE: Please don't think me either saintly or evil, but I told Jimmy "Next time don't wait so long!... and why the hell did you only shoot him once?"


jessabean said...

Um, wow, that's pretty scary. Though it is great that you were able to get some professional validation out of it. You gave him the courage to use his weapon! I think the mental prep is the most important part of training.

Question--in a situation like Jimmy's, is the standard advice "shoot to kill"? Just wonderin'.

Gunfighter said...


We don't "shoot to kill".

We shoot to "stop", which means if you are shooting someone it is a drastic measure to stop a suspect from committing certain acts.

The most effective way to ensure the stoppage is to create what we call "multiple trauma"... which is to say, use multiple shots.

The net effect of mutiple shots is that the bad guy is so busy dealing with large hole being punctured in his organs, that he stops doing whatever it was that caused you to shoot him in the first place.

The drawback is that multiple gunshot wounds to the torso frequently leads to rapid death.

Mamma said...

Okay, I was going to leave a comment saying how interesting what you do must be, but I just looked at your blog roll.

I'm just a DC blogger?

Not a cool mom? Not just plain cool?


Tasha said...

That's pretty scary stuff, and even though he seemed to get through the situation by the seat of his pants, I'm sure that professional validation feels great. You seem like you'd be a great teacher, GF

Whiskeymarie said...

And here I just go to work and play with food.
Your job, while scary to me, sounds pretty interesting.

soccer mom in denial said...

I'll admit, I'm just a bit creeped out by this. I wish there was a magic wand to wave and make guns go away.

That and nuclear weapons, meanness and dispair.

But on a lighter note, mama, I would much rather be on the DC Blogger list. THAT sounds cooler. It sounds, well, smarter, connected and hip. I'm "just a mom" on GF's list.


Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Mike says that all the time ...
training training training!!!
He's also a firearms instructor for the academy.

We had a S.W.A.T. shooting here a week or so ago. It's never a good thing ... doesn't help when the media gets it wrong.

Lawyer Mama said...

Holy crap. Wow. If that doesn't make you feel validated in your job, I don't know what would!

Anonymous said...

I wish I lived closer. Scratch that. I don't want to live where it snows. I wish you lived closer to me!

Then I would totally hit you up for some training. (Seriously. You left a comment for someone somewhere else...don't recall where...suggesting Krav Maga, which I'd heard of a long time ago, and I'm looking into it now! Hard to find!) What you do sounds incredibly interesting and I love your passion for it. Your students are quite lucky.

The sad thing is that I was married to a law enforcement officer in my previous life, and the most he taught me was where to find the clip in case someone broke in. I would have preferred some training!

jessabean said...

GF, thanks for clarifying. I was just wondering how the world of Gunfighters work, because I have so little experience.

DD, I believe GF recommended Krav Maga to me. And I would love to do it, I just need to make sure I have time, resources, and courage. Not gonna lie, I'm teeny tiny and the thought of actually sparring scares me.

Oh yeah, and I'm drunk right now. My first drunk comment--hooray!!!

WenWhit said...

And you, you ARE a meat-eater. No doubt. :)

Anali said...

I'm glad that he's okay and your preparaing him is pretty much what saved him. Good work! Not sure if that is an appropriate comment, but I think you know what I mean.

CreoleInDC said...

I'm glad he only shot him once. Don't shoot to kill unless you're planning on eating them or they are planning to kill YOU.

Desert Songbird said...

Well, thank God for you and for your skill; at least Jimmy learned something, and for that he saved his own neck.

Thanks for keeping us all safe, GF.

Janet M Kincaid said...

GF: Excellent story! And I'm glad you've been able to see the fruits of your labors, so to speak. I'm sure the last thing any good and decent law enforcement agent wants to do is shoot someone, but in the split second when it's either the bad guy or the good guy, it's also a no-brainer.

I'm glad you were able to give Jimmy the tools he needed to produce an outcome with a good ending--his going home alive!

KarenO said...

Two thoughts on this:
1. Jimmy is very lucky to have you in his life!
2. Great affirmation!

Thanks for your recent comment on my blog - you have the strangest way to say the nicest thing in the warmest way. A virtual hug to you!

Lady M said...

Congratulations - good teacher, good student.