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Thread: A Fool Killed First?

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    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.

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    OOORah...!!!

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    Well said! Thank you for the effort, we say the same thing here on a daily basis, perhaps not quite as eloquently so thank you for your effort.

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    ...and your service!

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    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Francis Marion wrote:
    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.
    What group are you in? I was in B-2-10 from 1978 to 1983. There are a few more of us in here too, Razor Baghdad is one I can think of off hand.

    I was at Taji from 2004- 2007. We probably know each other. Welcome to OCDO!
    Bitka Sve Reava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

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    Regular Member Ironbar's Avatar
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    YES!!

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    Great analyses FM.

    To bad anti-gunners and "fervent" anti-CC'ers will most likely never understand the reasoning and logic behind it.

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    ODA 226 wrote:
    What group are you in?
    I started out in the 19th SFG then went active with A/3/3 in '91. I taught at Cp. Mackall '96-'97 and returned to the 19th in '98.

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    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    Nicely done!

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    Very well put marion, I have the same thoughts on OC as well.

    Let me say hello from a fellow brother, and Thanks for your 25yr service as well

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    First, thank you sir for your service to our nation. We don't forget people like yourself.

    Excellent evaluation coupled with fine points as backup. I do both; open and concealed carry, but I tend to open carry far more than I do concealed. One of the things I see that many who argue against OC fail to accept or understand is this. When you conceal your piece, you look just like everyone else. So if something suddenly goes down, you are in the same boat as other "victims" at least for a moment. And that moment could be your last.

    When OC'ing, you have something on your side that basically advertises your condition to others. I is a silent speaker, if you will. As you stated, one will most likely never know who or how many BG's have been turned away from you by your silent friend. And for me, this is important since my knees no longer afford me the ability to fight or run as I was once able to do.

    Thanks for a fine posting. And BTW, I love your handle and wonder how many know who Francis Marion was.




    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    I would like your permission to have the original posting engraved on a bronze plaque.

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    WheelGun wrote:
    I would like your permission to have the original posting engraved on a bronze plaque.
    ????

    I will admit that it did take considerable time and effort to put this piece together, but I never thought it was worth bronzing. Feel free to preserve it any way you like but if you change it from just bits and pixels you should properly attribute it to my real name, Sam Fidler.

    BTW, I chose Francis Marion as my online persona in honor of Americas first unconventional warrior.

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    Thanks for a fine posting. And BTW, I love your handle and wonder how many know who Francis Marion was.



    Interesting. I had never heard of him. My initial thought was the movie COBRA with Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone). I was very wrong!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Marion

    Francis Marion (February 26, 1732February 27, 1795) was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War. Acting with Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina in 1780 and 1781, even after the Continental Army was driven out of the state in the Battle of Camden. Due to his irregular methods of warfare, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers.

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    Larry0071 wrote:
    SouthernBoy wrote:
    Thanks for a fine posting. And BTW, I love your handle and wonder how many know who Francis Marion was.
    Interesting. I had never heard of him. My initial thought was the movie COBRA with Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone). I was very wrong!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Marion

    Francis Marion (February 26, 1732February 27, 1795) was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War. Acting with Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina in 1780 and 1781, even after the Continental Army was driven out of the state in the Battle of Camden. Due to his irregular methods of warfare, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers.
    The older generation here will probably remember him best from the way Walt Disney portrayed him as the Swamp Fox. For the younger generation, Mel Gibson's character in The Patriot was very loosely based on Francis Marion.

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    Francis Marion wrote:
    Larry0071 wrote:
    SouthernBoy wrote:
    Thanks for a fine posting. And BTW, I love your handle and wonder how many know who Francis Marion was.
    Interesting. I had never heard of him. My initial thought was the movie COBRA with Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone). I was very wrong!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Marion

    Francis Marion (February 26, 1732February 27, 1795) was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War. Acting with Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina in 1780 and 1781, even after the Continental Army was driven out of the state in the Battle of Camden. Due to his irregular methods of warfare, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers.
    The older generation here will probably remember him best from the way Walt Disney portrayed him as the Swamp Fox. For the younger generation, Mel Gibson's character in The Patriot was very loosely based on Francis Marion.
    When in school, we of course we studied the American Revolution and Francis Marion was discussed during this time as was another one of my childhood heros; John Singleton Mosby, aka The Grey Ghost. These men were special and did much for our country (I am Southern). Col. Mosby is buried around 15 miles from my house and I have visited his grave site on several occasions and been by his home - now a museum to his honor. I am almost certain my research has turned up four family members, by marriage, who were associated with and/or rode with Col. Mosby.

    The Swamp Fox made life miserable for the British and thank God he did. They were not exactly the most kind of enemies and deserved being run out of the country.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Francis Marion wrote:
    ODA 226 wrote:
    What group are you in?
    I started out in the 19th SFG then went active with A/3/3 in '91. I taught at Cp. Mackall '96-'97 and returned to the 19th in '98.
    Sam,

    When you were a TAC at Mackall were you SERE, F co or G co?

    Craig




    Bitka Sve Reava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

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    Det 1, F Co.

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    Amen Sir! and thank you.

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    Over they years I have heard this argument against OC many times. I have always responded the same way, "Show me one instance in modern times in the fifty states where a non-LEO/security/military was preemptively taken out. ." No one has ever come back with a verifiable cite.

    The kicker is that if one such event eventually occurs, the resultant percentage ratio will be something like .00001% and those are odds I can easily accept.

    I have in my many years of reading not come across one such story. I have; however, personally heard of many times where the sight of a weapon turned potential aggressors around and have myself experienced that on more than one occasion.

    It is far, far better in my opinion to have not had to draw or discharge my weapon but merely let my "friend" speak for me than it would have been to deal with the aftermath of even the most righteous shooting.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    That's a great writeup, FM. (Although I would've used some other word than "capitalist", as a capitalist must have capital to risk...)

    My simplistic notion of the effect of OC on criminals is that it is a filter; it prevents many crimes in most cases, but in a very few rare cases it may amplify the effects of crime. This would take a very desperate or unthinking criminal, and while it's theoretically possible I can't recall it actually happening.

    BTW, America's first non-native unconventional soldiers, as far as I know, were Roger's Rangers, formed in 1755 as a company of backwoodsmen serving the crown against the French, and led by Major Robert Rogers. Given the wild frontier nature of the New World, it may go farther back than that. The type of unit known as "rangers" was common in both the king's and continental forces during the revolution, and as Southerboy says, in the CS army later on as well, and even a regiment in the Canadian army is descended from them.


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    I chose to use "capitalist" because the BG does have capital to loose, his life or freedom, i.e. the risk of imprisonment.

    Like you said, Robert Rogers fought in the French Indian War; a time when the colonies were still subject to England. So, as I see it, Rogers fought for British colonies while Marion fought for the United States.

    Another parallel and similar argument is that a BG will grab your gun. Once again, I have not seen or even heard of any situation where this has happened. I have only heard stories of "friends" getting beat on when they thought it would be funny to try.

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    For the record my G-G-G-Grandfather was one of Marion's Men. I was saddened that someone posted that they had never heard of Francis Marion. He was probably the most influencial person in Revolutionary War history as before him the Redcoats were winning to such a point that volunteers were deserting in droves going back to their homes to accept their fate. Marion rode through the countryside convincing theim to go back to fighting in his unconventional way. Through his strategy the war started turning and came to the climax at King's Mountain. Little know fact is that more Revolutionary Wars battles were fought in South Carolina than any other state. Without Marion the war surely would have been lost.

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    Nicely said, Sam aka Francis Marion. I also appreciate the introduction to someone I'd just barely heard of before. Read the Wikipedia article, plan to go looking for a book on that era.

    I'm a civilian and relatively new gun owner. I've got my CCW, but carry openly perhaps a quarter of the time, or have this summer. As the weather gets worse and I want a coat, that will probably change to some degree. In my case, I carry openly to assert the right and educate people. Unlike the original poster here, I'm a civilian -- female, middle-aged, overweight, and about as non-threatening as it's possible to appear. I've had a few comments from people when I carry openly, but most have been approving. A few have been questions, but mostly curious rather than challenging. I don't mind talking to people on the street, and hope I've been able to convince a few that a citizen openly carrying a holstered gun isn't in itself a provocative act.

    The only time I found myself a little nervous was this weekend at an outdoor event that many families with young children attended. I didn't mind having the children seeing that somebody was carrying a gun, but found myself paying extra attention in case a curious small child tried to touch it. I'll probably conceal the gun in the future if I'm in a place where I expect there to be a crowd with many children.

    So far, I've had no trouble from the police at all. One of them even, when he noticed my gun, looked at me, smiled and made a thumbs-up sign. ;-)

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    Marion's problem is that he was a Southerner, and in the South it seems everyone knows all about the Civil War and not so much about the Revolution.

    And in the North, everyone is familiar with Washington, Greene, Dan Morgan, and others who fought in the big famous battles in New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania because it's local history.

    Of course it doesn't help that the cheesy Mel Gibson film missed a chance to show real history, by making up fake characters and fake incidents. The real story about the war in the South is much more interesting, and the real bad guy, Banastre Tarleton, was a much more complex character than the "Tavington" guy in the movie. And yes, he was indeed a cruel SOB, known for shooting American POWs.

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