Colors were beautiful along the north side of Siloam Springs City Lake yesterday.
It’s a dark and rainy fall day in Arkansas. Colors are beautiful. Photo taken in Devil’s Den State Park on the way out of the valley toward Winslow.
I’ve always been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, and I’ve let my opinion be known regarding legislation and regulations which seek to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens of this nation to own and carry firearms.
Even during my years in law enforcement, I supported the rights of private citizens to own and carry firearms and wouldn’t join some statewide law enforcement organizations which seemed to oppose these constitutional rights at every turn.
I also support the concealed-carry permits offered by many states, though I don’t believe citizens should have to obtain state permits to exercise a constitutionally-guaranteed right to bear arms and defend themselves or their property. I’ve even gone so far as to say that many restrictions on federal and state properties are unconstitutional and make our citizens more vulnerable to those who could care less about the law.
With that said, I would urge those who do obtain concealed-carry permits to do more in the way of firearms training and study of the laws than that provided during the permitting process. Why? Because the training given and the testing required is wholly inadequate to fully prepare a person for the awesome responsibility of carrying a firearm and potentially using it in a public place to defend life.
This doesn’t mean I think the states should toughen the requirements. It simply means that concealed-carry permit holders have a responsibility to educate themselves and to train in the event they one day may need to do more than carry a firearm on or in close proximity to their person.
I view it kind of like the process of getting a driver’s license. Being able to pass a written exam and a short driving test doesn’t make anyone an expert or even a good driver. That takes continued study of traffic laws, knowledge of motor vehicles and practice and experience behind the wheel. Not to work toward becoming a safe driver can lead to disastrous and deadly results.
So also, passing a written concealed-carry exam and putting a few rounds on a target is not enough to make one a proficient shooter or a responsible one with knowledge of the law and with well-thought-out plans and training on what to do in situations which could potentially arise.
To be honest with you, I even saw that in law enforcement. Though most officers train on a regular basis with their handguns, sometimes other weapons carried — like shotguns and rifles — get omitted, especially in small departments with very limited budgets.
I remember once being called to assist city officers with a “shots fired” call (I worked as a county sheriff’s deputy and we backed up the officers in the two small cities in the county which had their own police departments). We were asked to assist by covering officers who went to the door of a motel where shots had been fired and we were behind a couple of vehicles 25 or 30 yards away. I brought my rifle and was asked by a city officer covering the door with a police shotgun loaded with buckshot, at the same distance, why I brought my rifle instead of the shotgun. My reply made him raise his shotgun and quit aiming it at the door where officers were knocking. I simply pointed out to him a fact he would have known if his department had trained with the ammo he was carrying: a shot from that distance with a police shotgun could have potentially hit anyone or everyone at the door and not just a potential bad guy.
Following that incident, I made sure when I conducted training at the range for our own officers — and often with town officers invited to join us — we practiced and trained with all the weapons and ammo we carried so officers would be better prepared should they have to get out a seldom-used rifle or shotgun. We even tested ammo at vehicle-stop angles against car doors, safety glass and windshield glass. The results were surprising and officers learned of weapon limitations in the event of a traffic stop gone bad.
What’s my point? Don’t think that you are prepared for armed confrontation simply by passing a concealed-carry class. If you have the idea that being armed makes you invincible, get it out of your head. Being armed makes it all the more prudent to avoid places and situations which put one in danger. It is all the more reason to back down and get out of a bad situation rather than escalating the potential for violent confrontation. And letting it be known that you are armed makes you a primary target for the bad guy intent on carrying out his evil deed.
Carrying a weapon does not give you law-enforcement authority and it’s not your job or place to act as a police officer. Be a good citizen and report crimes; don’t try to be a superhero and intervene with deadly force unless your life or that of another is in grave peril.
My rule is the same one I learned in law enforcement training: deadly force is not to be used unless a reasonable person would believe that not to do so would likely result in death or great bodily harm to me or to another human being.
Practice, train and study. Practice time with the weapon you carry is a must if you expect to be able to use it when time is short and adrenaline is flowing. There are a number of ranges within reasonable driving distances and there are good shooters who can give you plenty of tips and advice on the operation of your weapon.
Though it’s been some time since I’ve read one of his books, I always appreciated the writing of Massad Ayoob because he advocates doing everything to avoid armed confrontation unless it is absolutely necessary to defend life. I have his second edition of “Concealed Carry” on my to-read list. Other qualified authors and writers are available for reading online and by visiting a good book store.
Finally, I urge you to think about, ahead of time, exactly what kinds of situations would make you even consider using deadly force. Find out if you would be within the parameters of the law should such a situation ever arise. Remember, even in justified shootings, police officers endure much as the legal system and law enforcement investigators examine every aspect of the incident. Don’t expect to escape the same kind of scrutiny and legal battle as a private citizen.
Placing one’s shots carefully means a whole lot more than accuracy with a firearm.
Randy Moll is managing editor of the Westside Eagle Observer. He was a certified law enforcement officer for nine years in the state of Kansas.
A walk in downtown Gentry on a dreary day made for some interesting black and white images last Sunday (before the snows)….
While I’ve always championed the superiority of film over digital for image quality, I am amazed at the ongoing improvements in digital quality.
A recent purchase for my work in newspaper publishing of a Canon Powershot G15 has utterly amazed me. The image quality this small camera is able to produce in a wide variety of lighting and shooting situations has almost convinced me to sell my old film cameras and just shoot digital – something, I pretty much do anyway because of my work.
Surprisingly, it even works quite well for sports photography, with good, usable images at high ISOs. Its 2.8 lens focuses quickly and is fast enough to stop the action.
I keep wondering if the G15 can produce such quality, what could the Canon Powershot G1X do, with its larger sensor? Perhaps I’ll have to save my pocket change and the proceeds from the sale of unused film cameras to give it a try.
Since nearby Natural Falls is a favorite place of mine to test out photo equipment and enjoy a few hours outdoors, I took the G15 there and produced the following photo page from my recent excursion:
Overall, the old Nikon lens worked well. Manual focus, but I sure can’t complain for a $29 lens. A Nikkor 36-72 mm 3.5 zoom lens.
Scissor-tailed fly catchers like this one, photographed near Gentry, Ark., last week, are intriguing birds to watch, especially as they maneuver in flight with their long tail feathers.
Yes, it is May 3rd in northwest Arkansas! Guess this could be payback for a mild January.
What are those purple flowers which blanket fields and lawns in the spring? Is it henbit or deadnettle? Actually, it could be both since they often grow side by side and are hard to differentiate unless you look up close at the stems and leaf structure. Henbit does not smell minty, but it is an edible mint. It does, however, reportedly cause “staggers” in sheep, horses and cattle.
Henbit: Lamium amplexicaule
But, growing in the same yard or field, you may also find purple deadnettle (nettle without the sting). In fact, both were growing together in my yard. Deadnettle is also reported to be edible, but I haven’t tried either plant for taste or ill effects.
Purple or Red Deadnettle: Lamium purpureum