My friend and colleague Steve Sager and I were driving back from a homicide case in Montgomery, Alabama when I picked up the local Eagle newspaper while passing through Dothan. Therein I found a point/counterpoint on the opinion page, reference the case of the heroic young man who stopped a mass murder recently in Indiana.  The paper titled the exchange “Hero or Fluke?”

On the pro-gun side was an essay by 2A stalwart Cam Edwards titled, “Man with gun shows need for self-defense.” Opposing him was a column by a retired psychologist named Robert Pawlicki titled “Touting lucky result feeds a ghastly myth.”

Edwards’ piece was, as always, calm and well-reasoned. But Dr. Pawlicki’s? OMG.

The anti-gunner admitted, “Lives were saved in Indiana. We can be pleased with that,” but immediately followed with “But considering this a heroic deed feeds into the myth that it is smart and manly to own weapons built to kill other humans. It is not.”

First, armed defense has nothing to do with machismo. Within hours of the Uvalde elementary school atrocity in Texas, a woman in Charleston, West Virginia stopped a mass murder the same way the young man in Indiana did. Licensed to carry a concealed handgun, she drew and shot the gunman dead before his AR15 could put a bullet into any of the many innocent people he had opened fire upon.

Second, the psychologist has poor input. He wrote, “The Gun Violence Archive recorded 692 mass shootings last year and 356 through the first three weeks of July 2022. That’s 1,048 mass shootings. Where were the remaining 1,047 ‘heroes’ to save the day?” The psychologist’s source seems to include drug dealer shootouts and such; FBI puts mass shooting statistics MUCH lower.

Thirdly, I can tell that psychologist exactly where the heroes were that could have “saved the day.” They were in states where it is reasonably easy for law-abiding citizens to legally carry guns. They were unarmed in places that people who think like Dr. Pawlicki have made into “gun free zones,” which translates to “hunting preserves for psychopathic murderers, where the intended victims can’t shoot back.”  Perhaps the good doctor would like to do a little research: it would have shown him the same.

Dr. Pawlicki says the young man in Indiana was not a hero. The chief of police where it happens says he was in fact a hero.  I agree with the chief.

And so does anyone who rationally puts the saving of innocent human lives at a higher priority than cleaving to virtue-signaling born of political identity.


  1. Young Mr. Dicken is indeed a hero. He was proficient, he was willing, and he chose to risk his own life to save those of strangers. No one would have blamed him if he had run to safety with his fiancé, no one but himself, and that made all the difference.

    Pity the patients Dr. Pawlicki has treated over the years. What utterly miserable advise has he given people that came to him in need?

  2. Mas,

    I like how both you and the newspaper compare and contrast the two different viewpoints. When experts comment on something outside their field, they can reveal their ignorance of that field.

    I wonder why so many wrong-thinking people are highly schooled? Maybe it is because they think they know something, when they don’t. After all, they have been to school, right?

  3. well, he is entitled to his opinion, but i submit that if someone were to break into his house in the early morning hours intent on doing bad things to his loved ones, would he call a good guy with a gun to save his butt or would he call a social worker? *spit*

  4. In my experience, most psychologists enter that profession because they have their own set of mental problems. It is a form of “self-help” for them. For example, I can definitely say that the weirdest, most strange teacher (that ever taught me) was one that taught both psychology and French! 🙂

    They say that you know who is in charge, in a totalitarian society, by identifying the people that you are not allowed to criticize. Clearly the psychologists are one such “privileged power group” in America today. Try doing a web search for jokes about psychologists or negative quotes about their profession. The search engine will present you with a long list of “inspirational quotes” and heaps of praise concerning them and their profession. Clearly, negative thoughts are banned in the World of psychology. At least, they are banned when they concern the psychologists themselves. 🙂

    Yes Sir, if you are supporter of the “Deep State” and the “Regime” then you get protection and cover. If you are an opponent, they will launch a “Search and Destroy” mission against you. Witness the continuing legal harassment and charges against President Trump and his supporters. Witness the treatment of the January 6th Political Prisoners.

    Quote of the Day:

    “A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.” – David Kahneman

    • The same is true for psychiatrists. Exponentially so. I dated a Brown U grad psychiatrist many moons ago. She was batshit crazy and had a bizarre sense of reality (inho). I have had others as clients. Same experience.

      The older cousin of a good college buddy, a MSW, commit suicide our 4th or 5th year of pharmacy college. He knew of his cousin’s struggles and demons. Scary that he was treating patients up to the last.

      • And obviously we know they are not really “all” damaged. Just enough and impressive enough to stand out. Kinda like the rash of mass shootings?

        We may poke at it for comic relief yet we know the reality.

  5. Side note: Interesting choice of header graphic, old friend–Ben Rich’s book along with his mentor Kelly Johnson’s are well worth the read, not just for plane nuts but for the leadership lessons as well.

    I’m with the chief also, and there is a reason why the “Dicken Drill” is trending among pistol shooters at ranges lately. (10 rounds into A-B-C zones at 40yd in IIRC 15 seconds, must make 8 hits to pass.)

  6. You/we are never going to change the mind of a democrat/liberal on anything to do with firearms.
    Might ask your democrat readers why they continue to vote for this nonsense.

  7. Mas, wy do you call this nitwit with some letters after his name “good”? I’d say HE is part of the problem. You are certainly correct in your assessment of WHERE the other heroes have been in most of the public shooting events. A quick trip down memory lane of the “incidents” I can recall easily over the past few decades does indeed put them in the category of “disarmed by law” in the very places where someone armed was needed. Aurora Theatre, San Bernardino Christmas Party, Virginia Tech, and I’ll stop there because I suspect most reading here could recite a longer list than I can.

    I visited Montana with friends some ten years back and, being a good guy with a gun I researched what laws might limit or restrict my usual status of going about armed. I can carry there, even go into a bar and sit with friends if I did not drink in there. I could stand outside the bank and play the ATM there, but if I wanted to go inside the physical structure for any reason,I could not do so armed. So I unholstered and slipped the “offending item” under some clothes on the floor between the front seat. Seemed a sleepy jerkwater town so my fear factor approached naught. But what if… I’d have been a trapped victim, the means to changing that status lying under a few dirty shirts out in my car, probably to be discovered by the cops “cleaning up” afterward as what’s left of me becomes accustomed to the new toe tag just fitted.

    This sickologist is surely part of the problem.

    I DO certainly notice what appears to be a sea change in these things: I do not recall seeing so many incidents where one dirtbag is taken out by an armed everyday carrying citizen, saving the day and many lives, rather than the typical “shooting gallery” casualty list” we normally see for days post such incidents.
    Not yet sure whether good guy with gun incidents are increasing in frequency or the lamestream media have for some unknown reason suddenly decided to report on such things. Either way, there DOES seem to be an incremental shift of late.

    • Tionico,

      Excellent post! I just want to type that your gun was in a safer place on your hip in the bank, than it was leaving it unattended in your car. Someone could have stolen your gun out of your car, or stolen your car, and noticed they had also stolen a gun along with your car.

      I’m trying to think of places where armed citizens should be disarmed. The only place I can think of is a courtroom. This is because, in court, decisions can be made which greatly alter someone’s life. That could easily and quickly get very emotional. At least in a courtroom, there is an armed bailiff there to protect everyone. (Actually, I’d go for arming the judge and the lawyers too, if they want to be armed.)

      Alcohol and guns are a bad mix, but I think most people handle their alcohol intake very well, and can be trusted to be armed while drinking. There are people who cannot be trusted with alcohol, and if they are also armed, they could create a major disaster. That’s why the self-controlled drinkers should remain armed, in my opinion. I could be wrong, because I am not an expert in this area. My favorite drink is chocolate milk. Creme soda and straight egg nog come in second and third place.

      • If chocolate milk is your favorite drink, you must have a brown cow in your back yard or barn. I don’t drink alcoholic beverages, never smoked, and don’t use drugs other than aspirin. I do like regular Coca-Cola but enjoy it sparingly as it’s really bad for the body and may cause cancer, and probably dementia too, something I’ve often been accused of having. 🙁

  8. There is an additional factor at play here. This factor is usually referred to as survivorship bias. “Survivorship bias, survival bias or immortal time bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility.” We only see some of the data because inherently we are not seeing where defensive firearm use stopped the event or deterred the event before it became called a mass shooting. This is related to the article you referred to in one of your earlier blog posts on the underreporting, and the lack of data on defensive firearm uses especially those that do not result in a fatality

  9. Which again proves that having a ‘DR.’ prefix to your name does not bestow any unrelated knowledge outside his or her field. It’s no more valid than that of an actor/actress or athlete, and should not be given credibility. Keep to what you know and understand, all else is opinion.

  10. I’d love to ask the, ah, smart set: If you were in a room with an armed killer, would you rather have a gun or not have a gun?

    I don’t know anyone who prefers to be slaughtered.

  11. I’m a retired airline pilot (with a B.A. in psychology). In the aftermath of 9/11, I was appalled to realize how many people there are whose primary coping strategy is denial. They do all right with day-to-day type problems, but, when the problem exceeds a certain magnitude, they completely disengage. Not I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but complete refusal to recognize there even is a bridge or anything to cross. I believe that is one of the major drivers behind gun control. If I acknowledge that you may need a gun to defend against violent attack, that implies that I may face violence. And, that is certainly not going to happen. Therefor, guns have no positive value. Sadly, some people cannot be reasoned with; they just have to be defeated politically.

    • Denial is not a river in Egypt.

      It always amazed me the straight faced claim that pilot’s could not be trusted with firearms in the cockpit. And the intense psychological evaluations used to intimidate … ah … select a lucky few in the effort to show they were doing something. The obvious facts ignored or denied. (The history of pilots flying with firearms), and the elephant in the plane (pilots flying a guided missile – guided by the pilot who reportedly cannot be trusted with a gun) being my favorites.

    • Well said, denial is rampant and a major factor is a fear of the unknown/guns. As you know teaching a fearful person about guns and using them can turn that fear into empowerment and real understanding that the gun is just a tool and with practice, a satisfying one at that!

  12. And the fight continues Mas. The best I can do is teach new gun owners the four pillars of gun safety, how state and federal laws apply to self defense, and proper technique to put shots on target should the need arise.

  13. Dr. Robert Pawlicki, a retired psychologist and former University professor, maintains a personal coaching practice, regularly teaches classes on happiness and other psychology topics..
    I would think that the retired Dr. has enough to stay busy in his retirement years, maybe not. When folks believe that the police can always show up to stop the intruder and that the opposite might not instead play itself out. It’s as if the university walls provided more protection in their lives than reality can deliver. I wonder if Dr. Pawlicki would state the case in the same way if he had participated in PTSD counseling.

  14. The left-wing mindset is deeply rooted in the subconscious. This is why it is so difficult to change by means of logic or a reasoned argument. Let me give you a recent example.

    I was just talking on the phone with a friend who leans to the Left. He was talking about his efforts to obtain a “Real ID” drivers license for both himself and his wife. He gave me a long list of complaints about all the hoops he was being forced to jump through, by various State governments, to obtain background documents to support getting the Real ID.

    I commented that I had obtained my Real ID a couple of years ago when I had also renewed my carry permit (they both expired at the same time). I mentioned that, once I summited all the paperwork, the new Real ID drivers license showed up in about 10 days but it took about 6 weeks for the renewed carry permit. This despite having the same application date. I said it shows that, to our State Government, issuing drivers licenses is a higher priority then issuing carry permits.

    He said he was OK with that since a carry permit is a license to carry a “deadly weapon”. I pointed out that driving a 2-ton automobile at 70 MPH also turned it into a deadly weapon. I also pointed out that driving was a privilege whereas the right to keep and bear arms was a Constitutional Right.

    This turned out to be the wrong thing to say to him. He went into a rant about how “nobody needs to own military-grade weapons except the military”. He clearly accepted the media propaganda talking points that paint “assault weapons” as the cause for mass shootings. He spoke in favor of banning them.

    I quoted Mao to him (a fact that, as a leftist himself, he should have appreciated 🙂 ) by saying “Political Power flows from the barrel of a gun”. I told him that, if we let “The Government” be the sole owner of effective weapons then we will soon be a “Military Dictatorship”. Having been properly brainwashed, he dismissed my argument as a “Conspiracy Theory”. He said that he had total confidence in the power of our “democracy” to prevent any such outcome.

    It was clear that, subconsciously, he is a statist. He has total faith in the “goodness” of government power. The concept that the government could become the enemy of The People seems to be totally foreign to his mind.

    Yet, he had begun our conversation complaining bitterly about all the hoops the “Government” was making him jump though to get his Real ID Drivers License!

    He became quite hot with me and declared that we can’t continue to let our children be slaughtered by assault weapons! I pointed out that it would be even worse to let them die in government concentration camps.

    He told me that I was insane and hung up on me. I don’t think that I am insane. However, I was confirmed in my views as to the futility of holding a logical discussion with someone who holds statist views as if they were religious beliefs.

    I say it again. The Left cannot be reasoned with. They can only be defeated.

  15. We should all be so lucky as to have one of those mythological heroes close by or within us if such a tragedy occurs within our sphere of influence. Perhaps the good doctor could spend the rest of his retirement completing comparisons of psychedelics rather than misinterpreting reality as a bad trip

  16. “The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group, defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter.” source: USA Today, 06/05/22.

    There’s a church congregation in Granbury, TX that probably still gives thanks to a “good guy” that they’re not included in the horrific, growing list of mass shootings. I wonder what Dr. Pawlicki’s response would be to this. Just another “fluke”? Question: How many flukes does it take to make a flake? Answer: (I’m sure readers can think of multiple entertaining responses.)

  17. I earned a BA in Psychology and had to take a couple grad level courses enroute to a Master’s in another field. The head shrinkers have at least an average number of mentally off center folks as the rest of humanity. The truly frightening thing about those afflicted is their all too common wrapping of their prejudices in their mantle of professional status.

    There’s an old joke about the trait: Man arrives at the gate to Heaven and is standing in line to speak to St Peter. He notices an old guy wandering around in a lab coat with a stethoscope draped around his neck. When he gets to St Peter he asks who the old guy is. St Peter takes a quick look and says: “Oh, that’s God, he’s playing doctor today.”

    • I would hope God was playing doctor with a very attractive female angel. Speaking of beautiful angels, Olivia Newton-John is in Heaven now, where she deserves to be.

      • @ Tom606 – “Olivia Newton-John is in Heaven now …”

        More sad news! She was a lovely and talented lady.

        Years ago, an old friend of mine was a big fan of hers. His pet nickname for her was “Olivia Neutron-Bomb”! 🙂

        If he was still alive, he would have been torn up over her death. Unfortunately, he died too young himself. He had a mental breakdown just as he was approaching the age of 40. He became schizophrenic.

        The doctor’s put him on med’s which helped, somewhat. However, he would go off his med’s occasionally and become suicidal. During one of these episodes, he took a rope and hung himself from a tree limb in his back yard.

        I miss him. He was a good friend who was not to blame for his mental health problems. I hope that he is listening to Olivia sing in heaven now!

      • TN_MAN:

        I was once within 30 feet of ON-J when she performed on stage at a concert in Denver back in 1983. In my humble opinion, she was the most attractive great singer of all time and she had class. Nowadays we have a bunch of slutty and trashy female singers (except in country music) with decent voices who spew far left rhetoric. Livvy is gone but Madonna is still around. Is that justice?

        The great actress and singer Marlene Dietrich had said, “In my (acting) career, I sometimes played a whore, Madonna is a whore!”


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