Jon Low published a new Defensive Pistolcraft newsletter this past weekend with commentary and links to various articles and video. Just a few things that, for one reason or another, struck me as particularly useful or interesting:
One of the videos John highlights is "The 4 things it takes to be an expert" by Veritasium. One of those four points is "deliberate practice" which is (brackets are Jon's):
"Deliberate practice" is where you are pushing your performance envelope, as opposed to doing things you are already good at, or comfortable doing. [The difference between ten years of experience and one year of experience repeated ten times.]
Keep that in mind.
Speaking of which, Jon shares the following email from an email from Jeff L. Gonzales.
If what you are aiming at is part science and part art, you have to understand the science behind the skill, then you have to adapt the skill to your abilities. When we push student's marksmanship skills we generally see very common errors. Some are easy to correct, others will take time. I like to start with these three little secrets and push them to the students.
1. Know the technical skill of being precise.
2. Perform the technical skill slow and controlled.
3. Repeat with the same level of concentration until automated.
The technical know how of any skill cannot be overstated. Without this understanding, you are left with luck. As an instructor, at times I take for granted a student has a minimum understanding of technical skill. It is an assumption that has bit me on the butt several times. An example of technical skill would be the five elements of marksmanship. Of the five elements, I find trigger control to be the most consistently lacking.
Part of the reason the technical skills is lacking falls on the shoulders of wanting to go fast with sloppy technical skill vice allowing speed to be dictated by the ability to apply correct technical skill. Speed is a by product of correct movement with little to no flaws.
Probably the hardest of all these little secrets is repeatability. The level of concentration in the beginning is high and comes at a cost, mental fatigue.
At a certain point, your ability to perform the movements correctly suffers and bad habits are born. As the movement is performed correctly over time, less and less thought is needed, ultimately leading to the automation of the technical skill.
Jon links to two series of videos of self-defense classes offered by John Murphy including “Concealed Carry: Armed Self-Defense” and “Concealed Carry: Advanced Skills and Tactics”. The first is in 6 parts and the latter is in 10 parts. Jon adds:
I have had persons tell me that they would not take a class from John Murphy because he yells and screams. Now that class was many years ago, so I suggested to the person that John was probably speaking in a loud command voice because some of the students were wearing dumb ear protection that prevented them from hearing his range commands. Now days with electronic ear muffs, there is much less yelling and screaming.
It is also true that with age, experience, taking classes, teaching classes, etc. an instructor matures and mellows. So, I recommended that he give John another try as I was sure he would be pleased. I have taken classes from John recently and highly recommend him.
My wife and kids complain about me "yelling" at times. My wife used to complain that I spoke too softly. What happened? I was doing enough speaking in my job that I'd learned to project my voice without needing a microphone. Watch the first couple seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and you will see a lot of "yelling" by Patrick Stewart because he was, at that time, still mostly a stage actor. He toned it down in later seasons.
Commenting on weapon/tactical lights, Jon writes: "I agree [with the author that it should be a simple on/off]. Press on, release off. Anything more complicated than that is WRONG. No strobes. No colors. No dim, medium, bright. Complexity is bad."
Good news! Jon relates:
I am working to get my Defensive Pistol course offered as a semester course (21 hours) in the state community colleges in Nashville, TN.
I am working with a mother in a home school organization to get my Defensive Pistol course accepted as a course for elective credit for high school students.
Some health tips:
If you are using an alarm clock to wake up, you are chronically sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation will cause all kinds of long term health problems. Go to sleep earlier so that you wake up naturally. If you wake up because the sun is in your eyes, go to sleep earlier so that you wake up naturally, before the sun wakes you up. Or cover your windows with aluminum foil and duct tape. Or wear eye masks to block the light to your eyes. If you don't think you have time to go to bed earlier, cut out all of your TV watching. Watching TV is worse than cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes steals time at the end of your life by shortening your life. TV watching steals large amounts of time in your childhood, which is very destructive.
If you think the color of urine is yellow, you are chronically dehydrated. You should always be generating large volumes of clear urine. The correct color of urine is clear. [Ed.: clear or straw color. Although not a danger for most people--most Americans are chronically dehydrated--also remember that drinking too much water can also be dangerous: "When you drink too much water, your kidneys can't get rid of the excess water. The sodium content of your blood becomes diluted. This is called hyponatremia and it can be life-threatening."]
Never drink anything with caffeine. It will elevate your blood pressure, respiration, and pulse rate.
Never drink anything with alcohol. Alcohol is used to sterilize medical instruments, because it kills all biologic material. In particular, it kills brain cells.
Never drink anything with electrolytes. It will disturb your body chemistry. All research indicating that Gatorade is good for you, was paid for by Gatorade. It is propaganda. Gatorade is very bad for you. (I learned this at the coaches courses at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.) [Ed.: The biggest problem with Gatorade is that it has the wrong type of electrolytes--it is basically sugar water].
Never drink soda pop. Soda pop is the primary cause of childhood diabetes. The sugar must be diluted to be absorbed by your blood. So water is drawn out of your blood to dilute the sugar, effectively dehydrating you.
Never eat or drink artificially sweetened anything. The FAA put out a bulletin warning pilots not to drink artificially sweetened drinks because the artificial sweeteners causes all kinds of visual problems. The pilots would not see passing aircraft. It's a real problem. World Health Organization put out a notice saying that aspartame is a carcinogen.
Never take any drugs. If your friends offer you drugs, say, "Sorry, I'm in training. My coach would kill me if I took any drugs." You may always use me as an excuse.
Jon excerpts the following from the Rangemaster Firearms Training Services' September 2023 Newsletter (to which he provides a link, of course) with his own commentary:
"In no case will the police ever arrive in time to stop the carnage, even if the attacker has a knife, not a gun. He will only be stopped by an intended victim who refuses to be a victim. It is your duty and your responsibility to be able to defend yourself and your family, regardless of the location."
May I invite your attention to "Dealing with Domestic Abuse Cases: A trainer’s perspective" by Tim Kelly
[Statistically, men are killed by strangers; women are killed by intimate acquaintances. Investigation of the murder of a woman who was killed by a non-stranger almost always reveals a history of escalating abuse.
Abuse never de-escalates. It always progresses to murder. Statistically speaking.
So, yes it makes sense when Tim says, you can't protect the student, you can't save the student. You're just teaching the student techniques to protect herself. But, the key to survival is escaping the relationship, not defending against the attack. As John Farnam says, "How do you win a gunfight? Don't be there."
So the instructor should advise the student to move. Out of town. Out of state.
"It's not that simple."
“It is that simple.” -- Massad Ayoob (I am quoting Mas in context.)
It may not be easy, but it is simple.
I have moved to escape an ex-wife, hostile police, hostile governments, and terrorists in several countries. Moving is much easier and safer than killing them. (Even if you kill them correctly, so that you are never suspected.)
-- Jon Low]
Citing to a video on a trick question police will use to obtain consent to search, Jon writes:
Will the police plant evidence (drugs, guns, etc.)? Of course, they will. They're not stupid. Now they have physical evidence. How you going to fight that? You going to claim the police planted the evidence? How's that going to work for you?
If the police search without a warrant, your attorney can fight that, and probably win. If the police search with a warrant, your attorney can fight that. The warrant was defective. If you consent to the search, there is nothing your attorney can do.
Ya, the police can lie about you giving consent. It happened to me. The Cherry Hill, NJ police produced a document with my "signature" on it that purported to be my statement that I had consented to the search of my apartment. When my attorney showed it to me, I told him that I had never consented to a search and I pointed out that that was not my signature. In fact, the signature" was a script font found on all Microsoft Word programs. So the cops had just typed it in using Microsoft Word. When my attorney pointed this out to the prosecutor, he dropped all charges. Because he wasn't going to look like an idiot in court.
Be that as it may, NEVER give consent. And say it loud enough for the other cops to hear. Some cops will lie to cover for a fellow officer, some won't. Some police departments are back stabbing snake pits.
I agree. I remember watching a video of a stop of a trucker that was suspected of smuggling drugs. The police had pretext to stop the trucker because while driving down a winding section of road, he had crossed the median line a couple times. But all his paper work was in order, so they were going to let him go. And right after the officer told the driver he could leave, but before the driver had time to do anything, the officer suddenly asked, "Do you mind if I look through your cab?" Instead of saying no and leaving the driver assented. The officer found some drugs (of a quantity that was obviously for personal use, not for distributing) and it was off to jail for the driver. Conversely, in another incident of which I'm aware, the police had pulled someone over they believed was transporting drugs, but the driver refused consent. The police had no legitimate reason for keeping him and it took so long for the K-9 unit to arrive (the dogs alerted and a search revealed drugs) that the case was thrown out by the judge. The prosecutor appealed and the case was remanded to the district court with more detailed instructions on determining whether the delay was too long for 4th Amendment purposes and under the Idaho Constitution. The district judge again threw out the case.
Before you get too upset about a drug dealer getting off, I would remind you that this also happens to innocent people. My wife had some relatives--a man and his pregnant wife--moving from California to somewhere in Utah in an overloaded car with all their belongings, packed in so tight that the wife even had to carry items on her lap. Needless to say, the car was not able to keep up with the speed limit at some points and eventually they were pulled over by some state troopers who believed they were smuggling drugs (they were from California and driving slow and carefully, so why not?). The couple acquiesced to a search and it took several hours to unpack everything, search it all, and then repack the vehicle. The cops were apologetic and even bought them dinner to make up for it which just goes to show how bad was the whole situation.
Finally, this is full of good points:
Student: Have you killed anyone?
Jon Low: Yes.
Student: Did you do what you taught us? [Stay at the scene, if safe to do so. Holster your pistol, so the cops don't shoot you. Call 911 to report the incident. Call your attorney. Etc.]
Jon Low: No, in all cases I left and went home.
Student: So, you're sort of a hypocrite?
Jon Low: Yes, I am. In my defense, if it were a friendly environment I would have been released by the government anyway, SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement). If it were an unfriendly environment, I would have been summarily executed. So, I left. And in many cases, there was really no one to call, no authority per se, no entity able to enforce anything.
Our class has been in the context of civilian concealed carry for self-defense. I believe that what I taught you was appropriate for that context. But if you live in Fulton County, GA; Davidson County, TN; Washington, D.C.; New York, NY; et al, the prosecutor is going to grind you up in the judicial system, drive you into bankruptcy, imprison you so that you lose your job, and see to it that you are beaten and sodomized in jail; because you are White (The liberal media labeled George Zimmerman a "White Hispanic". No one who knew Zimemrman thought he was White), you have no criminal record, you are conservative, etc.
So, you might consider going home. The probability of law enforcement ever arresting you is only about 50% (if you keep your mouth shut and go about your business normally) if they are looking for you (they don't look for upstanding citizens, they look for criminals with long violent records, they don't have any file on you, they don't have your photo on file). If the police call you, don't answer the phone. Why would you answer a number that you don't recognize. If they ask you to come in for questioning, politely decline. If they ask to search your home or car, politely decline. A false arrest complaint can be a career killer, not to mention an actual law suit, forget about it. [In case you missed that, "forget about it" was said with a Brooklyn accent in the style of a New Yorker.]
Leaving might show consciousness of guilt, but your competent attorney can rebut that by saying that you feared retaliation from the attacker's fellow gang members. Thereby innocently getting the attacker's gang affiliation into the record. Even if the judge orders the jury to disregard the statement, they can't unhear it.
Not calling 911 to report the incident might show consciousness of guilt, but your competent attorney can rebut that by saying that you did call many times but couldn't get through or were put on hold and then the 911 phone system just hung up on you. So after a few days, you gave up trying to call 911.
Or, that you did call 911, but the police never showed up. The 911 phone system loses a lot of calls. You might even be able to get a jury instruction to the effect that the police losing the 911 call is not your fault, should not be held against you, and that the jury may assume the call was made and consider it in the most favorable light for the defendant. Oh, yes, such jury instructions have been given, as the police and prosecutors lose exculpatory evidence all the time. (intentionally or otherwise; I was taught to never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence; but I have become more cynical in my old age)
A competent politically connected attorney can talk to the prosecuting attorney over dinner or a round of golf at the country club and get this all straightened out. Indictment and prosecution has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. It's just the ease of conviction. It's a numbers game for the prosecutor, a reputation game.
In America, you get as much justice as you can afford. So you better have an insurance policy with no caps.