Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Will He Shoot?

Back in 2009, I received an email from my barber with this link:

The text read as follows:

    Please tell me what you think about his statements after the encounter with the hillbilly with the shotgun.  Agree or disagree?

Immediately below, you will find the quote from the article that he referred to, and after that, my reply.

Popovich's first rule of firearms is pretty simple: The man who tells you he's going to shoot you will not shoot you.


Something about it rings true, but are there exceptions to the rule?

Not directly on topic, but when I was at Magee's, there was a veteran who had worked in Rhodesia as a merc. One time he was talking about how on TV & in the movies, the guy with the gun starts a monologue before he shoots his prisoners, giving them a chance to turn the tables or get away. He said, "Craig, if that was you & me, it would be, 
'What should we do with him?' 
'Shoot him.' Bang! 
'Okay, let's get out of here.'"

Popovich's principle seems to accord with what Col. Grossman says about the hesitancy most folks have of taking another human life. Talking about the deed could be
1) an attempt to stall & avoid going through with it (until it turns into bluffing?);
2) an attempt to talk oneself into pulling the trigger.

The second possibility is more worrisome, especially if the guy is not alone & has comrades to encourage him to pull the trigger (peer support mentioned by Grossman). If the orc can dehumanize you, receives peer support and gets the order to pull the trigger from someone he sees as a legitimate authority figure, then I think he just might go ahead and shoot.

So, the repo scenario might have worked out differently if the redneck had said, "Stop or I'll blow your head off," and then his buddies offered a chorus of encouragement AND someone high in neo-nazi circles was present and followed up with a direct order to fire.

Final conclusion: I think Popovich's principle is probably mostly true, most of the time, but there are exceptional circumstances where it would be dangerous to depend on it alone.

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