Those were the words softly spoken in my ear... "You Killed Everyone, You Fail".
Simple... to the point. Everyone: Dead.
Let me go back to the beginning...
This last weekend I was taking another course (I had one seminar
in already - this was another basic course) in Israeli Tactical Point
Shooting with Pistols. We were working on Targeting, target
identification, shooting accuracy, shooting and moving and other basic
tactical skills with handguns.
My instructor was a decorated member of the Israeli Special
Forces and Security professional who flew over here to give a series of
seminars in the above mentioned skills.
In this particular phase we were working dealing with clearing
rooms and making sure that we were firing from maximum covered
positions. For this drill our guns were not loaded and all Ammunition
was carefully out of the way.
So.. what happened? Well, the instructor told us to turn our
backs while he set up a room with various targets inside. Then on his
call: "Shots Fired", we were to race to the room and shoot whoever was a
threat (the targets had various pictures of people on them, some with
weapons, some who just looked suspicious). I was second in line.
The First person broke for the room - his trigger clicks
signalling the shots. I heard the instructor say "Sorry, but you are
dead" to him at the end. Then it was my turn.
On the call "Shots fired" - I broke for the room, drawing my
pistol and charging for a point to not only have cover, but, for a point
that could give a clear firing solution. I got that - hit my first
target, and entered the room, going to one knee and firing as I went.
With the Instructor yelling "FIRE, FIRE, FIRE" in my ear (to simulate
pressure) I opened up on everything and anyone. They all died. I didn't
even think twice about it - in that moment and in that second I was
going to shoot anything that moved. Then after successfully firing on
everyone, I yelled "Room Cleared". And that is when I heard my
instructors voice softly telling me... "You Killed Everyone - You
I was dumbfounded... I couldn't imagine what I did wrong. I used
my cover to perfection, dropping in the middle of the shots gave me an
advantage, what... what had I done wrong? AND THEN IT HIT ME... I looked
at the targets... Two of them (out of five) didn't have visible
weapons. They had their hands in suspicious poses and in clothing BUT
they were unarmed as far as I could tell. I would have killed potential
hostages, I would have been just like the terrorists.
All of us... each one of us had failed the test by either killing
the hostages (me and three others) OR by being shot not killing a
terrorist. And this made me think... Here I am, training with police
(there were a couple in class), ex-military, at least one security
professional and a host of other people and I would have been almost as
bad people doing the hostage taking. Because no matter what my intent...
the hostages would have been dead anyhow.
And then I thought ... "My G-d, how can anyone not be in favor of
Gun Control??? How can anyone ask that kids and teachers be slightly
trained and then allowed to carry loaded weapons into a school?" I
thought, "That is insane". I mean I have 32 hours of seminar time with
active handling of a loaded weapon PLUS 3 years of martial arts and I
would not have made the right decisions. I need a lot more training
before I can even come close to addressing this situation.
YET, the NRA, their supporters and Conservatives seem to think
that they, or their poorly trained but heavily armed citizens would
never make those kinds of mistakes. It's all one thing when you see it
on T.V. or see it in movies. You can pick out your targets. BUT.. in
real life it's different. The pressure is enormous AND in this drill I
wasn't firing live rounds OR being shot at. I just wanted to be
successful and "save the day".
But Guns and being a hero are not like you see on T.V. Handguns are
notoriously inaccurate beyond 10 meters (give or take). Even the best
operators make mistakes with loaded guns. Imagine a pressure situation
with people running everywhere, screaming, shots flying.... How would
some non-professional make any kind of sound decision?
Might they stop a massacre from happening? It certainly is
possible. Probably though, while they might shoot the gunman, they would
also probably shoot a few other people as well. Not always, but, I
would bet that the numbers would be high.
Guns are not toys and they are not for people who want to play
"John Wayne". They may or may not help you in a home invasion, and if
you have a gun in that situation you might just as easily shoot a family
member as well as or instead of a robber.
I realize from this class the awesome power of a gun in the hands
of someone who knows how to use it (I am just beginning). This is not
something that should be widely available to just anyone without severe
controls, as well as checks.
Maybe in our heads we are that brave hero from stage and screen
and we all think we would do the right thing. We all want to be that
person and honestly, there is nothing wrong with that... BUT, real life
has a way of telling us that we might NOT be that "Hero".
One day, we might wake up and hear: "You killed everyone. You Failed".