carbon county

Three Sheriff’s deputies are on administrative leave following a March 7 shooting that resulted when they responded to a domestic disturbance call. Once they arrived, the make suspect proceeded to shoot first. The deputies shot more accurately, as well they should, since two of the three were the agency’s firearms instructors.

Deputies initially arrived at the Joliet home at 8 p.m. that night, after receiving a report of shots fired during a domestic dispute. According to the sheriff’s office, Neibauer and Glick arrived with a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper and heard gunshots inside the house.

Later, Graham came outside and fired a large-caliber rifle in the direction of the deputies, the sheriff’s office said. The deputies returned fire, killing Graham.

A woman at the scene was safely removed from the scene.

Neibauer has been an officer for 17 years. He joined the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 and is a firearms instructor there in addition to his normal duties.

Glick has been an officer for more than 12 years and joined the Carbon County office in 2015. He is an Army veteran with multiple deployments in his experience. Glick also is a certified firearms instructor.

Many people are under the delusion that having a firearm means that they are armed. That’s a delusional as thinking that buying a guitar makes you a musician (someone famous said that). You may be “armed” in a legal sense if you possess a firearm, but you aren’t truly armed unless you have developed the skill to use your firearm proficiently under stress.

Mr. Graham apparently thought that possessing a long gun made him more than a match for the handgun-equipped officers. He was very, very wrong. While he was able to put shots in the air, he was (thankfully) not proficient with his rifle. The deputies were proficient with their handguns, and ended the threat that Graham posed to their lives with accurate shooting against an opponent who was better armed… at least on paper.

Skills matter more than the tool in any gunfight. We routinely see law enforcement officers, combat arms military veterans, and well-trained civilians perform well against criminals in violent encounters because they have both solid training and skills that they fall back upon under stress.

A well-trained shooter does not “think” during a fight. That is, he does not let his slow-twitch rational mind mull over a long list of options available to him based upon what he is experiencing at the moment, which is what most people misapply when they try to use Col. Boyd’s OODA loop analogy.

40-Second Boyd” defeated his challengers so decisively not because he out-thought his opponents during the battle, but because he outfought them before the battle took place. A well-trained shooter has trained and gone through numerous “if-then” scenarios in his mind prior to action, so that instead of mulling over a long list of options, they quickly pull a pre-programmed response to specific stimulus.

This is why scenario training with your firearm (especially force-on-force training) is so important for those of us who carry concealed handguns or who plan on using firearms in a defensive manner at home.

You will not rise to the occasion in a fight, folks. You will default to your level of training.

Train smart with knowledgeable instructors and develop realistic plans that takes into account an honest evaluation of your skills, so that you can respond accordingly in the even of a threat, and you’ll be ahead of the game, as theise two instructors were when the proverbial balloon went up.