A Fool Killed First?

A Fool Killed First?

This is a discussion on A Fool Killed First? within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently discovered this forum and saw plenty of discussion on a topic that I have discussed much on other forums. After much contemplation on ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array SamF's Avatar
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    A Fool Killed First?

    I recently discovered this forum and saw plenty of discussion on a topic that I have discussed much on other forums. After much contemplation on the subject I wrote the following article to help people see it from my perspective. I hope it helps to clarify some of the banter I have seen here.

    The concept of law abiding citizens openly carrying firearms has many perceived disadvantages that have been brandished by its opponents. These arguments are both plentiful and varied but, for this article, I will stick to just one, the argument that the openly armed citizen is extremely foolish because he will be the first person killed in a violent altercation.

    I decided to address this topic because it is one that I feel I am more qualified to address than most people who argue on either side of the issue. I am quickly approaching 25 years in the U.S. Army Special Forces; in common terms, I am a Green Beret. Most people do not know anything about what we do beyond what they learned from John Rambo so; let me briefly describe what we really are. We are teachers. We train indigenous people in the art of war. We are uniquely trained and staffed to turn an outlaw band of misfits into a well disciplined military force. This requires us to understand the full spectrum of warfare especially the unconventional nature of insurgency and counter-insurgency tactics. We must be prepared to be both wolf and sheepdog and I understand how to succeed in both roles.

    Most of the people who claim that open carry is a foolish act have extensive military and law enforcement experience. This is understandable because they see the world only as sheepdogs. The sheepdog has the resources of the state at his disposal and has the luxury of challenging threats as they appear. They visualize a conventional force on force approach where they identify the greatest threat and eliminate it first. This is very natural and logical when you are not restricted by limited resources.

    Criminals are simple capitalists; they must weigh the risk vs. the return based on their limited resources. They must choose a victim with a reward that exceeds the risk of being caught or killed. A number of factors must be considered and one of the greatest factors is the odds of a victim being armed. In a location where guns are banned, a criminal can rely on his stature and threats of violence to subdue his victim and risks are low. In places where concealed carry is allowed the risk is greater but still, even in locations like Utah where Concealed Firearm Permits are easily available, only a very small percentage of people actually carry a gun on a regular basis. Now imagine a location where the chance of encountering an armed victim is 100%. In this location, the risks quickly outweigh most returns which clearly illustrates the value of an openly carried firearm as a deterrent against the common criminal.

    When the return is worth the risk of an armed victim it generally requires a trained criminal. The professional or determined criminal has greater resources and principles like reconnaissance and planning come into play. At Columbine the perpetrators were intimately familiar with their objective and planned to eliminate the one armed officer on campus first. In this situation, the school resource officer was a known constant and the plan included him. The armed citizen is always a variable and Trolley Square and the Colorado church shootings are good examples of how easy it is for just one armed citizen to crash a plan.

    I have already addressed the risk vs. return in the criminal mind, how the reward occasionally compensates for the risk of attacking an armed victim, and the requirement for planning to mitigate the risks. What happens when the random and openly armed citizen enters the objective just prior to the assault? My training and experience tells me that if the objective changes then the plan must also be changed to compensate. If planning time or resources are not available to compensate for the change then the operation must be delayed or aborted. An actual case reinforces this concept.

    Jose Vigoa is a KGB trained Cuban who is famous for “Taking Vegas by Storm.” He stole millions from casinos and armored cars and killed two security guards in the process. He admitted to canceling a robbery attempt on an armored car when just one man with a gun walked past his objective.

    There is no way to know how many crimes have been prevented by just the visible presence of a gun yet we still hear the tales like the one told by Vigoa. It would be much easier to count how many openly armed citizens were targeted first but I have not been able to find even one situation after more than a year of searching.

    After extensive study and reflection, I have come to the conclusion that openly carrying a firearm as a citizen is not a foolish act that will only get me shot first but rather the best crime deterrent that I can bring with me.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Maverickx50's Avatar
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    It really depends on your reasons and goals for carrying. It's difficult if not impossible to prove what isn't. In other words put numbers to the amount of crime prevented by open carry. For me carrying is for personal protection only. I'll let others worry about deterring crime. thus I'll conceal carry most of the time Unless I feel at a certain time that deterrent is my best form of PERSONAL protection. I have found myself in positions/locations where I've open carried for a few min. just to hopefully push a perceived threat in another "Easier" direction, away from me. but that's about it for me and open carry.
    I carry to protect myself and my loved ones from the BG's. Not to solve societies problems. That said: if more carried the deterrent would only have a positive overall effect on those problems.

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    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    Well written opinion SamF, with which I happen to agree! +1!
    Never pick a fight with an old man...If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you - John Steinbeck
    Come to Colorado...the governor is loopy
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    Please allow me to retort! I too have an "extensive"background in the Marine Corps,first 0311,then 0321 and finally by the grace of God 0328,and now I'm in a form of Law Enforcement.and honestly I as a Law Enforcement Agent,Citizen,Husband and Father do not want a bunch of "Oh I wish my girlfreind could see me now",wear it because I got it in a $5.00 holster,so some B.G.can take it off me because i'm not responsible enough to acquire propper training people running around O.C.ing.I,as you have also found out ,the element of suprise works greatly in your favor,so even as L.E.,I mostly carry C.C.,unless it is Fun night.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    While I can appriciate the well thought out and articulation of your viewpoint, I feel you have errored on the side of giving to much credit to the thought process of a criminal or predetory type. What I mean by this is that too much of your opinion circles around being able to determine the " type" of criminal element on the street. It is dangrous to assume that just because they see you are armed, that they will pass you up. This is especially true in the "pack mentality" element of criminal association.

    While it may be true in some cases that the presence of an armed person may keep some petty robbers or such away, it in no way is a guarentee that it will not be seen as a challenge to the "turf" of the local gangbanger, who not only will be armed, but also has numbers.

    Being a former Marine, my only mission was to locate, close with, and destroy. As a civillian, and long term LE, the rules have changed, but the philosophy endures. I in no way want to wear my weapon as an open symbol to ward off threats that are really not even threats. most of the criminal element in our society are nothing more than low rate, pathetic windbags that a good back hand will fix. But there are those that are on a higher level of evil and intent. And for those, I want the last thing they ever see is the flash if I ever need to use it.

    One of the bedrock foundations of tactical advantage in the military is the element of suprise and misdirection.
    Guest1, Hopyard, gunthorp and 6 others like this.
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    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    GR-So you're making the assumption that "a bunch of" those who open carry are irresponsible galoots running around with $5 holsters and no training or concept of "discretion" in their actions???

    Would it not then be ok to assume that the percentage of irresponsible galoots among the cc community would be similar albeit even more dangerous to LE and the general population as their complete oafishness and lack of training with or understanding of firearms is concealed along with their weapon until the last moment, when they capitalize on their "element of surprise"...perhaps to shoot some partier that they've had a disagreement with and followed into a McDonalds in Hawaii...
    TN_Mike, jag06 and tcox4freedom like this.
    Never pick a fight with an old man...If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you - John Steinbeck
    Come to Colorado...the governor is loopy
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    To your first ?,yes thats what i'm saying,"a bunch of"will wear o.c simply because they can and think they are King and noone will"mess with me"because i got my gun on.Not thinking that someone can simply see their weapon and take it from them,we have to face the fact (i'm sorry to say),that a gun no longer scares the Thugs in society anymore. And secondly there are some c.c.er's I would'nt want to be around either,you are right,they too can be dangerous,but my point is on the o.c.er not being properly trained,B.G seeing his weapon and simply taking it through force,I often patrol through our Public range and you often see shooters with these Black nylon holsters with the button snap,hanging off their belt,no problem with me but some of these same people think that would be safe in public,it would be just a little safer C.C.ed for some folk.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dadsnugun View Post
    GR-So you're making the assumption that "a bunch of" those who open carry are irresponsible galoots running around with $5 holsters and no training or concept of "discretion" in their actions???

    Would it not then be ok to assume that the percentage of irresponsible galoots among the cc community would be similar albeit even more dangerous to LE and the general population as their complete oafishness and lack of training with or understanding of firearms is concealed along with their weapon until the last moment, when they capitalize on their "element of surprise"...perhaps to shoot some partier that they've had a disagreement with and followed into a McDonalds in Hawaii...

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    Member Array trip20's Avatar
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    If I were a criminal intent on committing a robbery regardless of the resistance encountered (i.e., I want that money at all costs), I'd shoot any openly armed folks first. I'm no Green Beret but if I've made up my mind and I'm too foolish to realize abort is a better option, I'm making a good tactical decision to shoot the armed guy first, right?

    I open carry. But I think that with the right criminal, I might be in more danger.

    I also fully believe in the deterrent factor. So it's a risk/reward situation. I understand that under the right circumstances there may be more risk, but I also believe in the reward (comfort, deterrent...etc).

    We all make decisions based on risk/reward ratio. This is no different.

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    Member Array SamF's Avatar
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    How does surprise enter into a self defense situation? The last thing I want is to play a deadly game of got'cha. I would much rather offer some deterrence.

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    Senior Member Array Maverickx50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamF View Post
    How does surprise enter into a self defense situation? The last thing I want is to play a deadly game of got'cha.
    If you draw and point your way past git'cha. You should be very positive at that point that the BG needs to be dead and your ready for the consequences as your reasonable alternative to great bodily harm.
    I carry to protect myself and my loved ones from the BG's. Not to solve societies problems. That said: if more carried the deterrent would only have a positive overall effect on those problems.

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    Allright several years back a Handgun instructor was setting in a Shoneys Rest.,3 B.G.'s came in to rob store and customers,he was in one of the tables near the door so he was seen first,he was taken, wallet removed pockets emptied,B.G.'s never seeing his c.c.ed Sig 226,led in the back with the other employee's,as he was being placed in the freezer,now this area had had a string of robberies where the employees were all shot in the freezer, he drew his pistol killing two of the B.G.'s,the third tried to escape out a side door and was shot,escaping,later to die at a local hospital,if he had been O.C.ing they would have not been caught by "suprise",as he was, just eating his meal.
    Quote Originally Posted by SamF View Post
    How does surprise enter into a self defense situation? The last thing I want is to play a deadly game of got'cha. I would much rather offer some deterrence.

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    Member Array SamF's Avatar
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    I think this makes a better story; A couple years ago an officer spotted a couple suspicious individuals in a car behind a Waffle House. They later admitted that they had intended to rob the restaurant but had seen a couple armed citizens inside and were waiting for them to leave when the officer found them.
    TN_Mike, jag06 and NYCrulesU like this.

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    I thought the guy in the vest always got shot first? Or is it the guy in the Glock t-shirt...

    Seriously though, as Gman described, I find criminals to not all fit the same mold. Sure some may be dissuaded by a suggestion of resistance. Others however, will take it as a personal challenge.

    I'll stay concealed.
    JD likes this.
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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHEC724 View Post
    I thought the guy in the vest always got shot first? Or is it the guy in the Glock t-shirt...
    It's the guy in the vest wearing a Glock shirt and NRA hat...

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    I OC as well as CC. Truth be told I OC more than CC anymore. As to the argument over which is best. Well I figure it will be decided at the same time that the age old question of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" is.
    Freedom doesn't come free. It is bought and paid for by the lives and blood of our men and women in uniform.

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