Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gun "Gurus" and Self-Styled Loudmouth Tacticool Geniuses

Combat is not a gunfight, any more than working in surgery or a doctor's office qualifies you to help when someone is bleeding at the side of the road outside a bloody wreck.

Plenty of well-intentioned podiatrists and dermatologists, and even cardiac surgeons, proud med school graduates to a man, are daily cheerfully invited by mere firefighter paramedics to go sit down and call 9-1-1 if they'd like to help, unless they can show some mad pre-hospital trauma skillz. It's a different ballgame when it's just you, without all that help and a cozy hospital helpfully wrapped around you.

It's long since time when someone applied the same sensibilities to the self-styled "tacticool gurus".
Show me a guy (or a woman) who's been through one or two or three shootings, come out on top, and studied the whys and wherefores, then made a deeper study of outside incidents, and draws rational conclusions, and I'm all ears.

But surviving any number of battles, with air support, indirect fire, comms, and 500,000 of your closest friends all shooting alongside you, is not gunfighting experience.  I'd sooner take advice from Call Of Duty champions who played on full realism, and no regeneration - ever.
It'd be a smaller club, and probably equally skilled.

That's why for the most part, even the military elites are sometimes living on second-hand knowledge; and why the sniper cadre in all the services generally differentiates between PIGs (Professionally Instructed Gunmen) and HOGs (Hunters Of Gunmen). The former is a badge or a qual passed, the latter has BTDT downrange.

I had the privilege of listening to a guy who bested 4:1 or 5:1 odds, off-duty, with a backup piece and one spare mag, recount the incident that earned him a medal of valor in depth and detail. Over a decade later, it was clear he'd re-worked the problem in his head a few thousand times (like you do), and critiqued what he'd done right, and wrong. He got shot, but it was relatively a minor injury, and he sent two guys to the morgue, and three to prison for life, and probably saved half a dozen bystanders from taking bullets to the back of the head. He was well-trained before it happened, and he got a couple of lucky breaks on the day. He was damned sure a lot better prepared every day afterwards.

Had the story not been dragged out of him by another officer, I doubt he'd even have mentioned it at all to me or anyone else, given the context of the day's activities, and he was a pretty humble and self-effacing guy about the incident. As are, I suspect, most of the people to whom it's worth listening.

I'm a much bigger fan of people like that, or the guys who made the Mag-Pul videos, who said out front: "Look, we don't know everything, but here's what we do, and this is the reasons why we do it that way; try it and see if it works for you to make you quicker/more accurate. But if you can get from A to B a different way, go on ahead and do it, because there's a lot of different ways to skin that cat."

The guys belittling everyone, because "Fuck you, I'm a martial prowess LEGEND!" strike me as simply pompous assholes, defensive lest someone discover what their volume and braggadoccio conveys: that they don't know what they're talking about, and afraid everyone else will catch on.
Wiser shootists know there ain't a horse that can't be rode, and there ain't a rider who ain't been throwed, and it's true with shooting and being shot at too.

There are also two other tales I lean on:
When some smartass in Hollywood kept egging Audie Murphy into a face-off quickdraw contest to settle who was fastest gun, Murphy finally told him succinctly "Okay. But with real bullets." That was the end of that challenge.
And Pappy Boyington said it best: "Show me a "hero", and I'll show you a bum."

I've had guns pointed at me, and I've pointed guns at other people, but fortunately never had to shoot them, or trade lead close up. So if you have, experientially, you're ahead of me. But unless you've done it a lot, vice getting lucky once, and dedicated a lot of time and study to the problem, and can articulate the details, don't wave your plethora of imaginary ninja qualifications at me, or get all butthurt when other people call you out.

Stay on the internet, and stroke your own ego, and leave other folks alone who aren't buying any of it.


Anonymous said...

The only person I knew who'd been shot at and shot back was my father (and my grandfather, but he died when I was 10)... and he NEVER talked like a lot of people on various blogs I read. He was never "tougher than thou", he didn't seem to have anything to prove, and he never talked with me about his experiences. In fact I only found one of his online after he died. I'm sure there are papers I still need to sort through but reading my Dad's pain is not something I need to deal with for a while.) But from him I learned how to tell the blowhards from the people who've been in bad situations.. the people who've been through it are different - quieter, carry themselves differently and without swagger but just with confidence, and he was never "into" all the tactical stuff... he was more down to Earth. "This is needed. This isn't." He used to repeat K.I.S.S. to me a lot... so when I delve into various blogs about possible horrifying scenarios, I tend to just discount the swagger guys. I'm pretty certain they're NOT the people I'd want around me in a bad situation.

The only thing about my Dad I could find that he wrote at all:

Lack of bullshit, still some anger, no swagger. He was always cool and efficient... THAT'S what I'd want around me if/when things get bad.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, your run of the mill family doctor is no better prepared for a true medical emergency than Joe Shmo who has a cell phone. Most of the time I have gone to doctors offices for real medical emergencies, CPR, Unconscious or a bad bleed, they are in a tizzy and no more real help than a 12 year old girl in the same situation. They do such mundane tasks on a day to day basis that they cannot handle a crisis. On the other hand,your fire fighter EMT deals with time sensitive crisis everyday and are much better at it. My advice, count on the people who deal with and train in crisis situations everyday, not just some blowhard who deals with dick pain in an office for 8 hours a day, but with a really expensive piece of paper on the wall.

Anonymous said...

Best urgent care doctor I ever saw was a previous combat medic. Proving your point above pretty well.