police

A 24 year-old concealed carrier died Monday, a day after engaging in a shootout with an armed robber in Cleveland.

A 24-year-old man died Monday after a robbery attempt turned into a shootout in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood.

Justin Blanton, 24, died after he was shot in the back, according to police.

Blanton went to meet someone about 7:30 p.m. on East 93rd Street near Quincy Avenue in order to buy a cellphone from someone.

When he got there, the seller pulled out a gun and tried to rob him, police said. Blanton, who had a valid concealed carry license, pulled out his gun and the two exchanged gunfire, according to police.

The armed robber ran off and has not been identified by police. It’s not known if he was injured during the shootout.

Mr. Blanton’s sad story is a sobering reminder that merely having a firearm in no way assures that you will prevail in a gunfight. It is not a talisman warding off evil, but a simple tool. Whether that tool is used effectively depends on the skill of the user, and that perishable skill comes from quality training and frequent quality practice. Col. Jeff Cooper of Gunsite Academy drove that point home by comparing a firearm to a piano.

It is long been a principal of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully.

Regular practice with a firearm (with live ammunition, or in greatly underestimated dry fire practice) is imperative to developing your skill and learning your limitations. Once you have good tactical training and know where your skill level lies—and are honest with yourself about where your skill level lies—then you can begin to formulate realistic responses to plausible scenarios.

That said, there are no guarantees.

You can have hundreds or thousands of hours of private instruction, dry fire religiously for 15 minutes every day, put 100 well-planned rounds downrange every week, and still fall victim to a lucky shot from a worthless junkie with a stolen gun who never practiced a day in his life. For all we know, that is what happened with Mr. Blanton. Maybe he just had “bad luck.”

That stated, there is a strong correlation in this world between hard work and “good luck” in most aspects of human behavior, and “bad luck” seems to stalk the dull and lazy. Take that for what it’s worth.

I’d strongly recommend that if you are going to purchase a firearm that you obtain training on that firearm from a professional instructor, and that once he or she gets you to a basic level of proficiency and shows you how to train, that you do so routinely. You don’t buy a piano and expect to be able to play a concert on demand without first spending years of diligent practice.

Learning to run a firearm is in many ways a more simple mechanical skill that playing most musical instruments, but then, your audience isn’t trying to kill you.

2pac-shakur

Well, mostly.