Defensive Tactics, the Media, and Victim Blaming

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Defensive Tactics, the Media, and Victim Blaming

Dave Merrill

Presidential hopeful and acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson was asked what he would do when faced with the same situation as the students who were shot at Umpqua Community College. This was his response:

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all… If you sit there and let him shoot you one by one, you’re all going to be dead.”

If you are currently unarmed, faced with a persistent attacker, and have no viable means of escape, this is absolutely solid advice. Furthermore, Dr. Carson didn’t just make this up out of the blue or pull it from the ether. Fighting back has been advocated by experts for a long time. There are many versions taught, but they usually boil down to ‘Run-Hide-Fight‘.

Fighting a gunman when all you have are books and calculators (even those bigassed and overpriced TI-86 beasts) is a dicey prospect indeed. This is why it’s the last option listed. However, if you’re in a classroom, being told to stand calmly for your execution, the first two options are clearly out the window.

Life becomes a binary choice:

Comply and definitely die, or fight and maybe die.

Which would you choose?

Several media outlets have taken Dr. Carson to task for his response, and apparently some survivors feel the same way. They say he is engaging in “victim blaming” and that his response is “offensive”. Per the #1 source for all undergraduate degrees, Wikipedia, victim blaming:

“…occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them. The study of victimology seeks to mitigate the perception of victims as responsible.”

You’d think someone with ‘Live Smart’ as part of their slogan would listen to… you know, the fucking FBI.

But Dr. Carson didn’t say “all of those students are stupid” or “it’s their fault”. He was specifically asked what he [thought] he would do in the same situation. And he went with the answer that’s already taught (which most of the students didn’t follow; Chris Mintz appears to be the exception in Oregon). I don’t think everyone is capable of fighting back, nor do you always know how you’re going to react when faced with a similar situation. But proper mindset and training increase your survivability, be it in firefights or fighting fires.

We should definitely get all our defensive advice from late night comedy hosts.

And none of this was made in a cozy vacuum. Do you know how new TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) are best birthed? By analyzing what’s happened in the past, and fleshing out better ways to handle problems. There’s a reason why TTPs change. The efficacy of fighting back has already long been proven, which is why it’s advocated in the first place.


Should we be pretending that it’s somehow more noble just to wait to be executed by a mass shooter because we don’t want to ‘blame the victim’? Do the feelings of survivors and their families somehow outweigh reducing body counts in the future?

I say fuck that. I want us to do something that will result in fewer grieving families in the future. We shouldn’t do something ineffective, the same thing that has failed in dozens of prior mass shootings, because we’re afraid we might upset someone.


Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

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About the Author: A combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Dave “Mad Duo Merrill” is a former urban warfare and foreign weapons instructor for Coalition fighting men. An occasional competitive shooter, he has a strange Kalashnikov fetish the rest of the minions try to ignore. Merrill, who has superb taste in hats, has been published in a number of places, the most awesome of which is, of course, here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He loves tacos, is kind of a dick and married way, way above his pay grade. You can contact him at Merrill(at) and follow him on Instagram here (@dave_fm).


Emeritus Dave Merrill wrote for Breach-Bang-Clear from late 2013 until early 2017, including a year as its Managing Editor. He departed our ranks in May of 2017 to accept a well-deserved position as social media manager for RECOIL Magazine. He is a combat veteran of the Marine Corps who describes himself as a "...former urban warfare and foreign weapons instructor for Coalition fighting men." Merrill's articles are well worth the time it takes to read them - there's a lot of knowledge tucked away in that skull.

DFM has 82 posts and counting. See all posts by DFM

8 thoughts on “Defensive Tactics, the Media, and Victim Blaming

  • Pingback:Ben Carson's Brutal and Uncomfortable Truth | Breach Bang Clear

  • October 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I have absolutely no qualms with “victim-blaming” in these instances. Then again, I’m vehemently anti-PC, so there’s that.

    The assholes that say Dr. Carson is “victim-blaming” are the same assholes that say mass shootings are such a prevalent occurrence that they desire to further restrict my individual and personal right to own a firearm. Consider the irony: If these students bought into the bullshit that mass shooting happen so frequently, yet made no arrangements as to how they would react in such circumstances, then they reacted as expected and reaped what they’ve (not) sown. Do they deserve to die? Probably not, but parents who have refused to teach resilience and acceptance to their children have now doomed them to failure. How this differs from the Jews, is that there was no elders calling for refusal to resist for “atonement”. We’ve just had it too good, for too long.

  • October 11, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    No mention of the real 3rd rail issue, Carson saying Jews in Europe should have been armed and defended themselves. Why is that, “bros”? The fact that the political left in America insists that innocent people submit to rape, torture and murder is not news. That is the same shit the Democrat Party has been spewing for it’s entire existence. The REAL trigger he has hit is the claim that Jews, and all other human beings targeted by the political left and NAZIs in their “Great Cleansing”, should have been armed and fought back. Rather telling.

    • October 12, 2015 at 2:28 am

      There are actually quite a few directions I could have gone in with this short op-ed (and there will no doubt be an update of sorts in the future which you may enjoy). I chose to focus on the ‘shaming’ aspect because it’s been recently en vogue in many outlets and our perpetual-outrage-social-media-machines to ‘shame the shamers’. This was a fairly blatant and harmful example I thought should be highlighted.

  • October 10, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Sorry guys if that is a little strong. I am very frustrated and fearful of what type of country we our going to leave our kids. And maybe even afraid of the hard choices that may loom in our future. By the way this is only for the “fuck them let it start here” statement. I will go tim my grave believing Obama is a TRAITOR!!!!!!!

  • October 10, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Having been a cop for 21 years, SWAT for 19, a firearms and tactics instructor for 10 years now, This is exactly what we are teaching our teachers and students in our community. I have been teaching ALICE – Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Escape to our schools for the last 4 years. Even though it is second to last in the acronym Counter i.e. fighting back is the last resort. Just hiding and hoping is only making our students easy targets. The Sheriff’s Office I work for is also training and assisting with arming teachers in our schools. I am happy to say we now have armed response teams in our schools that shoot as good and sadly to say, better than a lot of cops. This is the answer yes, MORE GUNS in schools in the hands of trained teachers and administrators.

    Now for the rest of the liberal media,, Fuck em, they are agenda driven like this fucking traitor in the white house who I am very afraid is going to do an end run around congress and the constitution and try an executive order with some new gun control. Well fuck him there too, I am an Oath Keeper and will never take part in disarming the American people!!!!! I just hope my federal brothers in blue keep this in mind. I also will NEVER GIVE MINE UP!!!!!!! FUCK THEM LET IT START HERE!!!!!!!!

  • October 9, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Dang, thanks for ruining my day with that article 😉

    Just when you think people couldn’t get stupider…

    How can the media praise Mintz for being a hero and yet condemn Carson for basically saying more people ought to react as Mintz did?

    And then I violated my rule of not reading the comments section of the liberal news sights hoping people would see through the hypocrisy of it all…wishful thinking I know.

  • October 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Could not agree more! As a veteran, Cav Scout, and a police officer for 13 years I see this day in and day out. The sheep are willing to die while waiting for the sheepdogs to save them. What if others had charged the shooter with Mintz?


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