Every now and then, I’m a guest speaker at the weekly adult education lectures at my local library.  It’s done for free of course.  Earlier this month, I did a talk on Understanding Controversial Verdicts.  We talked about how a case can present at first as legitimate self-defense (“Why are they putting that poor person on trial for shooting a criminal?!?”) and turn out to be actionable malice that warrants a conviction, and how a case that initially presents as murder can turn out to be justifiable self-defense once the jury gets the details that weren’t in the newspaper or on TV (“I can’t believe that murdering SOB was acquitted!!!”).  Two of the cases I discussed, respectively, were the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and the Rittenhouse case in Kenosha. (My take on both of those cases can be found in my regular “Self-Defense and the Law” column in the current issue of Combat Handguns magazine.)

The audience included male and female, black and white, ages fourteen to about eighty. They seemed appreciative.

The point of the whole thing was that when only one side is presented by the media, the Court of Public Opinion assumes that there is no other side. Silentium in facie accusationis videtur admittere criminis. Silence in the face of accusation is seen as admission of guilt.  Unfortunately, it’s human nature to not admit that when we bought into a false narrative, we were wrong. It’s something we all have to overcome.

Most of you reading this have far more knowledge about things like self-defense law, firearms safety, and even “gun control” than the general public that only sees one side of matters both complex and contentious.  It seems to me that we have an ethical duty to get the truth across to our fellow citizens at every opportunity.

Consider offering your services in that regard to your local library. Or to service organizations such as Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, VFW, etc.  Every year I speak to at least one bar association conference on how to get the truth across in self-defense cases, and will have done another by the time you read this.  Proper use of firearms has kept some of us here alive, and has given the rest of us peace of mind.  Explore doing something similar in your community. If it turns out that karma is for real, at least you won’t come back as a dung beetle next time around.

32 COMMENTS

  1. This impresses me, volunteering your time like this is a great way to educate the public and help them be less manipulated by TV news

  2. Disseminating good information is instruction and encouragement I’ve always remembered from my MAG40 instructions and practice where receptive and appropriate. I cannot hold and work a crowd like you Mas but small groups and certainly one-on-one interactions where enlightenment is needed get an ear full of my best educated reasoning and hopefully slightly better jokes. Thanks Mas.

  3. Mas, the last couple of sentences in your third paragraph (above) is confusing.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I think you meant something like the following:

    “Unfortunately, it’s against human nature to admit that, when we bought into a false narrative, we were wrong. It’s something we all have to overcome.”

    Notice my addition of the word “against” in front of human nature and the addition of an “,’ after the word “that”. I think this clarifies what you wish to say.

    You could also just re-write the entire sentence rather than accept my edits. In any event, the sentence is unclear as it stands.

    Sorry, if this is a nitpick.

  4. It all depends on the audience. With some the facts don’t matter. Cognitive dissonance rules the day. Sometimes we just have to let people ve wrong.

    • OTOH when you talk to someone who will never agree with you, there may be someone else listening in. Being the calm and rational one talking facts instead of emotions can impress them.

    • Sadly so.

      My brother in law will tell you your statistics & research are lies (lies, damn lies and statistics) while blindly believing his own sources (based on the lame stream media reports of his choice).

    • On one hand, letting people be wrong is a form of “agreeing to disagree”, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

      On the other hand, these people vote — on all issues, up to and including initiatives and candidates which directly and indirectly affect the free exercise of our rights — and letting them be wrong means letting them make voting decisions based on incorrect information (“misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation”, to paraphrase the Biden Administration).

      I’m willing to agree to disagree — to let them be wrong — on an individual level, but I’m less willing to stand by and let them propagate their wrongness through their social connections and ultimately their vote.

      Note: I’m neither saying nor suggesting we should brow-beat them into voting our way; just that we should be actively planting the seed of doubt in their minds about what they “know”, answer any questions they have for us [if we can], and encourage them to seek unbiased sources of information for themselves. The facts are on our side, we just need to break people out of the “fake news” mis/dis/malinformation cycle so the facts can be exposed.

  5. Add to your list of organizations local Community Education programs. They’re always looking for instructors to teach new classes, and they usually do a lot wider local advertising than clubs and libraries. They also usually handle the venue and registration. That’s where I offer almost all my classes.
    Then check and see who publishes local calendars of events. Here it’s the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and their calendar often gets reprinted in local newspapers and mentioned by local radio stations. Again, free advertising reaching wider audiences.

  6. I try to teach people on a one on one basis. However, there are some who really do have the mentality “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with any facts”; academic types are especially stubborn. And the “media” know this.

  7. Before volunteering to speak in public as an authority on a controversial issue, be very very sure you have all your facts straight. This is particularly important if you intend to advocate positions contradicting the “mainstream culture” consensus. Any inaccuracy, any mistake, any confusion will be used to discredit you and the position you champion.

    Before repeating any juicy story or claim, verify it rigorously. The Internet is awash in misleading clickbait. Keep track of your references and sources. “I read somewhere that…” is deadly.

    Also, prep for challenges from clever-dick adversaries. Be ready for the “gotchas.” Get some friends to role-play the other side. Learn how not to be baited into anger or off-topic issues that may discredit you. When discussing gun rights and gun crime, don’t be drawn off into abortion, immigration, “climate change”, President Trump, etc.

    I’m sure that our esteemed host already knows all this. But I’m not sure about us commenters. I’m certainly not fit to do it.

    • Excellent advice, Rich. (And since you’ve shown you already know what to watch out for, I would respectfully suggest that you ARE fit to do it!)

    • ” This is particularly important if you intend to advocate positions contradicting the ‘mainstream culture’ consensus. Any inaccuracy, any mistake, any confusion will be used to discredit you and the position you champion.”

      Yes, the Marxists control the media and, as long as the battle is fought with words alone, they have a “home-field advantage”. The Left loves to twist language to suit their purpose. They have a plentiful supply of word-smiths, propagandists, and spin-doctors on call.

      However, just as no air-force has ever won a war, alone, neither can propagandists (forever) dominate a country. The people are waking up to the manipulation. What will the Left do when propaganda, indoctrination and cheating are no longer enough to hold onto power?

      Ultimately, like in any war, the Left will need “boots on the ground” to hold onto power. That is where they will fail. Despite their paid BLM and Antifa thugs, and their corruption of Federal law-enforcement and the military, the don’t have enough “boots on the ground” for the day when The People finally have enough of their lies and trickery.

      That is the Day the American Left falls. Why? Here is an opinion piece that explains why they will fail:

      https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2022/07/18/who-will-they-get-to-do-the-tyrants-dirty-work-n2610360

      The day that the American Left falls will be another Glorious Day for FREEDOM. It will make the list:

      1) The Day King John agreed to the Magna Carta.
      2) The Day the Declaration of Independence was signed.
      3) The Day the 13th Amendment was approved and Slavery was abolished in America.
      4) The Day that Hitler put a bullet through his head and his Nazi Regime collapsed.
      5) The Day the Berlin Wall fell.
      6) The Day the Totalitarians of the Left collapsed and failed. (Currently, a work in Progress).

      I am looking forward to that next burst of FREEDOM! I hope that I will live to see it!

      • TN_MAN,

        Agree 100%. It may be the illegal democrats coming across our southern border who will be the Left’s thugs. One scenario may be, start a chaotic civil war here, then invite the Chinese in to finish us off. I’m reminded of how America used the rebellions of The Philippines and Cuba against Spain in 1898 as a power grab. We basically said, “Here, let us help you rebel against Spain. OK, now you belong to us.”

        Humanly speaking, we will definitely defeat the Left, unless God is disgusted with America and turns His back on us.

  8. Good to share your knowledge and experience with the local population and educate them. Many of those people get incorrect or just plain false information from biased sources and it’s good to set them straight.

    Poor slobs who listen to my teachings will probably wind up dead or in the big house. 🙁

    • TN_MAN,

      This happened precisely the way I envisioned. The bad guy would shoot about three people, then a good guy with a gun would respond and end the attack. This illustrates the answer to the mass shooting problem in America. These shootings can’t be prevented, but they can be shortened by good guys with guns.

      The legally armed citizen was just 22-years-old. GREAT JOB!!! As I look at the useless 376 cops who responded to the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, I am reminded that our younger troops did lots of house clearing in Iraq and Afghanistan for years and years. Killing this goblin would have been easy for them. Our young troops put those cops and parents to shame.

      • One interesting thing. I have seen reports indicating that the mall where this incident occurred had been posted as a “Gun Free Zone”. No doubt, that was a significant factor in the killer selecting it for his killing ground.

        Our hero seems to have ignored the useless signage just like the killer did. He was armed anyway and, therefore, had the tools to deal with the emergency.

        The Left is all in knots. Not only did our hero prove the truth (which they have steadily denied) that “the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun” but he was also guilty of defying their useless GFZ signage while doing it!

        Like all totalitarians, the Left cannot tolerate defiance. Some Leftists are denouncing this hero, who saved many lives, as a “Vigilante”. The Left would throw him under the jail and throw away the key if they could.

        In a Deep Blue State, some Leftist Persecutor (er, Prosecutor) would have charged him with murder already. This won’t happen because the public outcry against their stupidity would be too great.

        Similar to the recent case in NY where the Persecutor (er, Prosecutor) was forced to drop the charges:

        https://www.foxnews.com/media/prosecutor-drops-charges-bodega-worker-new-york-lawmakers-blasted-continued-silence

  9. Good guy with a Glock pistol, probably a 9mm, takes out bad guy armed with a SIG 400 AR-15 type rifle, claimed by liberals to be designed solely for war and has no sporting purpose. It’s not the weapon, but the operator who determines how it’s used. In this case, the good guy had an acceptable level of skill and the will to prevail against a fiendish goblin, and survived the ordeal without a scratch. Thank you, good guy.

  10. I like when Mas asks at his classes: How many of you are teachers? And few or no one raises their hand. Then he says something to the effect of – no, all of you are teachers, you can take from this class your knowledge to educate the people around you. It is your duty.

    Can’t wait to take MAG20 range again this fall.

    Mas, thanks for all that you do. You are an incredible resource.

  11. Roger, those 376 cops who responded in Uvalde were not “useless”. Donut shops in that town had to work overtime to provide the many thousands of ring shaped pastries to feed those hungry agents, deputies, and officers. 🙂 Keeping folks employed is important.

  12. Somewhat off topic, but I’m very surprised to hear that Combat Handguns is still in business. Haven’t see one decades.

    • Books-A-Million has new issues of this magazine, and many others, every month. I used to have a subscription to this gun magazine and several others, but now I just browse through them at the BAM and buy one if there are lots of articles that interests me.

  13. “Unfortunately, it’s human nature to admit that when we bought into a false narrative, we were wrong.”

    This doesn’t seem correct. What am I missing?

  14. The American version of the KGB (spelled FBI here) is hard at work. Instead of doing something useful like going after true criminals, they spend their time going after opponents of the democrat party and their political elite masters in the Administrative State. Example being parents who don’t want schools indoctrinating their children and, of course, gun owners.

    However, people are beginning to push back against the totalitarians. Here is one example:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/missouri-sheriff-says-even-under-threat-of-arrest-he-will-not-release-gun-owners-info-to-fbi/ar-AAZKCNU?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=0fc490034ddf4babb96d9067b652cec9

    • If the Gestapo still existed today, they would learn a lot from the FBI. Back in the mid 1980’s I had considered applying to the FBI and was contacted every week by a recruiter for awhile. I was informed the four cities I would be assigned to after graduating at the time, would be Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, or New York City. I did want to work in any of those places, so never submitted my application. I probably would have been fired anyway, for not doing any evil things for old Bush, Clinton, or Obama. I would do bad stuff for Biden, but only in exchange for one of Hunter’s extremely valuable artistic masterpieces.

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