O.k., time to vent a little frustration which has been building for quite some time now (months, at least).
I’m a shooter. Ten years as a law enforcement officer, 5 SWAT schools, 4 years on a tac team, 2 years training and leading a dignitary protection unit, FBI-certified firearms instructor, and so forth. I’m not the best shooter out there—in fact, in the circles I run in, I’m actually pretty much below par. But I get by. My mentors are gurus in the shooting/tactical world: Curt Carpenter (Lighthorse Tactical), Chase Jenkins (Talon Defense), John Baggett (JB Custom Knives), Terrill Hogeland, and others. These guys are the ones I want coming to get me if I get captured by ISIS, or Boco Haram, or Lutherans (no moral equivalence intended).
So what has my panties in a wad are shooting forums, whether on facebook, or youtube, or on the interwebs, or wherever. You can’t hardly post anything at all without “tactical trolls” shooting it down (absolutely horrendous pun intended). Is there a lot of stupid stuff out there? Absolutely. Is there a lot of unsafe stuff out there? You betcha’. Should it be called out? Yep—as soon as possible, before someone gets hurt or killed! But respectfully. Truth is, even some of the dumbest stuff our there usually brings up a very real and valid shooting/tactical issue which probably needs discussing—even if the proffered solution is clearly not the way to go! (That tactical roll out of the window of the vehicle is probably unnecessarily dangerous, not to mention counter-productive.) Seems that nobody can manage to participate in or comment on these discussions online without attacking the poster’s intelligence, training, character, motives, experience, body odor, marital status, shoe size, ad infinitum.
I strongly suspect the problem lies in the personality type that comes part and parcel with being a shooter. Shooters are typically Type A people, with strong opinions. (Mine, of course, is the correct opinion, but that should go without saying.) In fact, a good shooter needs some degree of aggression—it’s a necessary piece of equipment if you’re going to survive a gunfight. But we need “controlled aggression.” When it comes to online forums, most posters and commenters seem to let control go out the window, and let fly whatever crosses their mind. Internet combat can be brutal.
Look, we all have our ideas about how to conduct a gunfight. This is the right way to draw from the holster (or even the right holster to draw from!), the right way to present the weapon, the right type of gun to use, the right type of sights to use, the right ammunition to use, the right way to transition from primary to secondary and back again, the right way to enter and clear a room, the right way to navigate stairwells, the right way to exit a car (or, whether to exit a car at all), the right tac light to use, the right way to use that tac light, the right . . . again, ad infinitum. To be honest, I don’t necessarily agree with my own mentors on some of these issues (and I’m not sure they all agree with each other), and that should be fine. But in the shooting world at large, often it’s not. In many circles, if you disagree with the guru (self-annointed or otherwise), you are immediately derided, disparaged, and disregarded.
Not to repeat myself, but I’m going to anyway; it comes down to respect. And the shooting world truly seems to have a severe deficit of respect for each other. If you look at other types of social media forums, many of them tend to link to each other, recommend each other’s sites, even actively promote each other. Not so much in the shooting community. It’s pretty balkanized (look it up). As a result, we wind up with shooters versus shooters.
When it comes down to it, most of us want the same thing: to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe. We want to stop bad people doing bad things to good people. But, as a very wise man once said: A house divided against itself cannot stand.
Why can’t we all just get along?