Neighbourhood Watch Patrollers and Firearms

After the tragic shooting in Florida of Trayvon Martin it’s important to reiterate what the “Rules of Engagement” are for Neighbourhood Watch volunteers. Neighborhood-Watch

Many organisations, locally in Durban, South Africa and throughout the world, prefer it if you patrol unarmed. As a firearm owner you have a greater responsibility to avoid conflict, so it would seem to make sense – at least on the surface – to go unarmed. This is an all or nothing approach which realistically does nothing to accurately address the situation. 

If you carry a firearm on a daily basis, there is no reason why you shouldn’t carry it when doing neighbourhood watch patrols. If you have a self-defence firearm in South Africa and it lives in a safe, then get some training or keep it at a gun shop – it’s not doing you any good.

If you do carry it – you are now carrying a greater burden of responsibility. Mr. Zimmerman (in the Florida shooting) did not exercise this responsibility sufficiently and should never have pursued Trayvon Martin – who incidentally was no “child” as portrayed in the media, but was a large strapping young man. He should have held back and waited for the Police to do their job.

So as a timely reminder to my colleagues who discretely carry, whether it is here or in the USA, (I’m guessing nobody does in the UK or Australia) I’d like to lay out some rules you should follow.

1. You are not the Police – only a sworn LEO may use his firearm to affect arrests. I realise that your training may be worlds apart (I mean better) than your average Law Enforcement Officer, but you are not a policeman so it doesn’t matter.

2. You act as “Eyes and Ears” only – if you inject yourself into a situation and have to end up using your firearm, you will probably be prosecuted.

3. If a situation develops you must try to  de-escalate and leave to a safe distance. Only if you are prevented from leaving and you quite literally have your back against a wall are you permitted to use your firearm – only if your life is in danger and remember it is the court you must convince.

4. You may not draw your firearm unless you feel that it is the only option left. Drawing to “scare” someone is termed brandishing and is prosecutable.

5. Don’t use reloads. This opens up a can of worms where prosecutors will say you had malicious intent when you loaded nasty looking bullets. Try to use “standard” JHP factory rounds.

6. Get training – if you think you are well trained you probably need more training. As they say at Magpul Dynamics – Amateurs train until they get it right, Professionals train until they get it wrong. If you think “cup and saucer” is an acceptable grip or that you must cock your auto pistol by pulling back the slide between your thumb and finger, then you desperately need training.

7. If you have to use force to apprehend someone, remember that you are a normal citizen and that you must use the minimum force. So have an alternative (Pepper spray or baton) to use before deadly force.

Stick to these basics – add more if you like – and your firearm will hopefully never be used outside of training. Keeping yourself safe to go home to your family is your first responsibility.

 

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Oscar Pistorius is Guilty, but of what?

That’s right. Oscar Pistorius is guilty of killing Reeva Steenkamp. There can be no dispute on this point. He fired at her and killed her. Whether it was an “accident” (There are no accidents when shooting someone, only negligence) or whether this was a jealous rage – well that’s for the courts to decide.

Frankly – and if he passed his firearm competency he would be aware of this – shooting when you have no idea what the target is or where it might be, is criminal. Literally criminal, not figuratively. In my not-so humble opinion people should be jailed for this.

The law states CLEARLY that you may only fire your weapon to protect your life or the life of someone you are protecting and there must be an attack IN PROGRESS where you fear that you may be killed. There is something called the “reasonable man” test. Would a reasonable man shoot through a closed and locked door in order to protect himself?

Obviously none of those conditions were satisfied in the shooting so I believe (my opinion only – I’m not a lawyer) the very lowest charge – by his own admission – should be culpable homicide. He needs to go to prison and hopefully this will send a message to equally cavalier gun owners that we don’t need them in our community. We need safe, mature and responsible gun owners not idiots like Pistorius. And I’m probably being kind here. Let’s hope he is just an idiot and not a calculating cold blooded murderer.

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Knives – why can’t we ban them or at least license them

As we have seen http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-14523741 there has been yet another attack with these heinous weapons.

 The fact that anyone can just walk into a shop and buy something that is designed to cut and slice is unbelievable. Knife-nuts keep spinning the tired old line about these dangerous weapons being tools and only for use as cooking utensils and other nonsense.

To me the solution is obvious – if you need one of these dangerous and deadly weapons for use in your kitchen then you should apply for a license, have your fingerprints taken and have a background check. Even then they must be secured in a safe somewhere so that people who are not authorised cannot access them.

This will bring down the knife crime rate without a doubt – and of course it will prevent the terrible scenes that have played out in Jersey recently.

I’ve also heard of people shooting high speed and lethal arrows at targets for SPORT! These weapons are designed to kill. This needs to be the next step – banning or licensing bows and arrows!

Hang on…hang on… does sound a little off the wall to you?

Now you understand how the drivel spewed by A C Grayling (I’m ashamed to say he went to the same school as I) and others sounds to us. I’m not trying to make light of the terrible events in Jersey. We need, however, to look at the fools – and make no mistake Grayling is an over-educated, self publicising fool – who jump on the tragedy band wagon (Norway) and try to blame the weapons themselves in order to push their own agenda.

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Post World Cup blues and Crime

Oh Dear! It seems it wasn’t long before the criminals started making up for lost time (literally). They kept a low profile during July because the police were out in force and very visible. We’ve been saying for years that visible policing drops crime and now we have the proof. Crime in the Durban area was down to 10% of it’s previous levels.

Of course this is all in the past now and we have crime back up, with a phenomenal rise in carjackings over the last two weeks.

This is made doubly uncomfortable by the fact that I have to travel out of town again and it is very difficult to get a firearm license now in this country. Not impossible but very difficult.

It’s a good time for me to come clean – I used to be firmly in the Gun Control camp. I’d had enough use of them in the military and as an aviator we had to be familiar with NATO as well as Comm bloc/Chinese weapons. Having been fed the lines from Gun Free South Africa I was swayed by their “statistics” and “research”. But being me I like to try and see the actual research before going out and singing the company song.

The “Real” research began to annoy me. It couldn’t be right. Crime goes down in areas/towns/countries where the normal person has at least one licensed firearm. Studies by Gary Kleck and others show conclusively that despite the claims by gun control groups, guns prevent crime in a very clear way. One study showed that over 90% of crimes were prevented entirely by producing a firearm (without firing) and even when the attackers also had firearms they fled.

Interestingly Gary Kleck started his research to prove that Gun Control cuts down on crime and became a convert in the process. In my search for credible research I also came across some research done by the University of Cape Town here which also shows convincingly that Gun Control has no lessening effect on crime – in fact quite the opposite. So I’m convinced now, that proper responsible possession of a firearm will keep you safe.

Obviously there are some idiots out there who don’t understand when they can use a firearm and what they must do to keep it safe from children etc. (Like Rudi Visagie who thought someone was stealing his car – shot out the window and killed his daughter). Remember you can only use a firearm if your life is in danger – NOT when someone is stealing your car. Unfortunately those of tiny brain will continue to add fuel to the Gun Control Lobby.

I believe strongly in the right to defend myself and my family and if you want that spelled out in a Christian sense read this.

I hope after reading all of this you’ll also understand that there is a way we can chip away at crime. Sadly the government doesn’t see it that way.

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