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09/04/2003 Archived Entry: "Shooting and "verbal compliance""

BEEN THINKING ABOUT THE PISTOL CLASS AT LAST WEEKEND'S LRT CONCLAVE. Most of the class material was review (badly needed since I was out of practice). But two techniques were new to me.

One was to take up the slack in the trigger druing the motion of coming up on the target (ONLY if your gun has a long trigger pull). Easy to see the value of that. You arrive on the target ready to shoot without any trigger mashing to throw off your aim. It does seem to go against the rule about keeping your finger out of the trigger guard until you're on the target. And trying to remember to do it while getting my draw stroke right and thinking "front sight!" was a lot like patting my head while rubbing my belly. While also walking and chewing gum and taking the presidential oath of office at the same time. Still, it improved my accuracy.

The other new thing was "verbal compliance," which Our Esteemed Instructor said is a technique emphasized at Thunder Ranch.

Creepy name, "verbal compliance." Sounds like it means "Agree with John Ashcroft - OR ELSE." Or, "Say 'yes' to the nice IRS agent and then for heaven's sake SHUT UP!" What it meant in this context was shouting something as we drew and aimed our pistols. Something like, "Get back!" or "Stop right there!"

"Verbal compliance" had the immediate effect of making us all much more confident and forceful in our motions. It is really, really hard to be timid and tentative while you're barking, "Hold it, you creep!" at the top of your lungs. It gives the bad guy a fair warning to stop and might give you an edge in court if a witness testifies, "I heard him warn the guy."

There was quite a bit of discussion, in and outside of class, about the best thing to yell. I opted for the juiciest profanities because ... well, because I'm a respectable lady who

doesn't get many opportunities for shouting "M----------r!" at the top of my lungs. I know people who pay $150 an hour for shrinks to relieve their anxieties and hostilities through primal screaming sessions. The pistol course cost a lot less.

Esteemed Instructor also pointed out that hearing F-words blasting forcefully from the mouths of "helpless little women" gives victim-seeking villains, even fairly dense ones, pause: "Hm, maybe committing rape at knifepoint isn't such a excellent idea, after all." For sure, most bad guys would prefer to hear, "Oh! Please! Don't hurt me!" Or maybe, "Can't we discuss the problem?" Or, even better, "I don't believe violance is a legitimate solution in any situation." Oh, good one, that.

One man told me he thought a simple, "Get back!" was best, since it conveys the message clearly, and since profanity might appear provocative. For a man, at least a big, powerful man, that's probably right.

Definitely we all agreed that, "Go ahead. Make my day" wouldn't be terribly helpful to your defense if it was quoted afterwards in court.

One classmate, observantly religious and mellow, wondered if you might be able to disorient the bad guy and make yourself look good in court by barking the command, "LIVE!" (That's the short-i live, as in "live free," not the long-i live, as in "live at Carnegie Hall.") Mebbe. As commands go, it definitely could make a body think.

Me, I'm sticking with, "Back off, M----------r!" It conveys both the command and the utterly unmistakable impression that you really, truly don't want to mess with the person shouting it. But now I've got to go practice what I learned. And I can't quite imagine how that dulcet phrase is going to sound, echoing from hill to hill and down toward the town accompanied by volleys of gunfire.

Posted by Claire @ 12:55 AM CST

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