Friday, February 12, 2016

Massad Ayoob: Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement

It's been a few days since we had the privilege to attend Massad Ayoob's Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement course, and I'm still absorbing of the depth of information that was put forth. The class was hosted by John Murphy of FPF Training. The twenty hours of instruction over two days was a firehose of information that led to 31 pages of handwritten notes, which I am still reviewing. Each time I look at my notes or discuss the class with Colleen, another nugget from the class comes back to mind. 

Massad (Mas) Ayoob is a renowned author and firearms instructor whose experience is sought out by civilians as well as those in the law enforcement and legal professions. He is frequently called as an expert witness in trials involving the legal use of defensive force. His books are staples in many personal libraries, including my own. I was very excited for the opportunity to learn from him in-person.

I am not going to go into details of what was covered. Much of the material is proprietary and reserved for class attendees only. The subjects were varied and relevant to surviving before, during, and after an armed defensive encounter. Many of the discussions were eye-opening, and backed by years of experience and research into real shootings and real court cases. All topics covered were meant to prepare the student, and his legal team, to avoid missteps in building an affirmative defense after being involved in a self-defense shooting. Mas went into great detail to show us how society interprets these events, and the many misconceptions held by jurors and district attorneys alike. Despite the seriousness of the material, the lectures were interesting and the class remained engaged throughout the long days. Mas keeps it interesting with real world examples and humor. (He is a walking encyclopedia of case law and bad jokes.)

Over the years, I’ve taken nearly as much training related to the legal issues around self defense as I have actual shooting instruction. I consider myself to be well-versed in the moral, social and legal considerations of self defense. Because of that awareness, like most people who have chosen the armed lifestyle, I have no desire to ever be involved in a defensive use of force. In fact, if I ever have to even unholster my gun, I would consider it a very bad day. I also don’t want to ever need my car’s seat belt, or pull the pin on my home fire extinguisher, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have them available in the extremely unlikely event they are needed. (This is contrary to how the uneducated public percieves those of us who take responsibility for our safety.) I know that using a firearm in justified defense of myself or my family would most likely lead to a lifetime of personal and legal issues. And frankly, that is a very scary reality. (The old cliché “at least you survived” is small comfort.)

After taking the Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement course, I feel I am much better prepared for those issues, should they ever arrive. I have an enhanced, practical understanding of what to expect, and feel well-armed with knowledge that will help me to navigate the aftermath. And I still have no desire to ever need to put that knowledge to use.

There is little doubt in my mind that armed citizens owe a debt of gratitude to Massad Ayoob for the work he has done over the years, whether they realize it or not. I know for a fact there are many innocent people who have had to defend themselves against rigorous (and often politically motivated) persecution, who are free today because of his expert testimony

I am a firm believer in "continuing education" for anyone who chooses to carry a gun. Carrying, or even owning a gun, without taking steps to become proficient in it use, and knowledgeable in the legal and ethical issue related to its use is irresponsible. Continuing education is a must. If you have to opportunity to take Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement or any training from Masaad Ayoob, I strongly encourage you to do so. It will be a worthwhile investment of time and money. I am hoping that in the next year or two I can avail myself of the live fire portion of this class as well.

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