Aggressiveness in Self Defense

JFarnamAn Interview with John Farnam

Interview by Gila Hayes

Prominent firearms instructor and our Network Advisory Board member John Farnam advises armed citizens to resolve hesitation about killing in self defense before a violent criminal attack forces the issue. “You’ve heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response to deadly threats,” he notes. “What is far more likely is ‘freeze or panic,’ and in real, violent criminal attacks, we see both routinely, even among those who ostensibly know how to operate a gun, with predictably dreadful outcomes,” he writes in his DTI Quips at

Pondering Farnam’s comments, I reflected that armed citizens get seemingly contradictory advice. Training emphasizes dire legal consequences for using deadly force. On the other hand, attacked with deadly intent, full commitment and ruthlessness is essential to saving innocent life. Both are vital. Encouraging armed citizens to resolve the issue of willingness raises accusations that armed citizens are irresponsible and bloodthirsty. As a result, many avoid confronting this sobering subject. Fortunately, John Farnam is not one to shy away from difficult topics, so when I asked if he would talk with us about killing to survive a deadly force attack, he graciously agreed. We switch now to Q&A to learn from Farnam in his own words.

eJournal: Thank you for agreeing to discuss acknowledging the harsh reality about killing in self defense. How do your students learn the ruthless determination needed to survive a violent criminal attack? Many find it very unnerving so they avoid the subject.

Farnam: This disinclination to face the reality of what is going on in front of us is endemic, especially in Western civilization. Most of us are not desperate, we have good things going on and we do not want those things disturbed. We don’t want our lives disturbed by even thinking about something that might disturb it!

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President’s Message

Marty eJournal column pix

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

Fall is my favorite time of the year. The weather where I live is typically not real rainy, the days can be clear and warm, the hunting season is closing in upon us, and football is starting up. But, aside from all the aforementioned goodness, it’s GUNSITE ALUMNI SHOOT time!!!Raven Logo 300x205

This year, Gila and I are making the trip to Gunsite Academy to shoot the match and rub elbows with a couple hundred or so fellow “Ravens” as Gunsite alumni are affectionally called. We can be identified by the black raven sticker, as seen on my camper.

For Gila and me (seen below in a photo from our visit to Gunsite several years ago), going to Gunsite recharges our batteries and brings perspective to our lives in the “gun culture.” Think of it this way: if one were a physician, one would likely spend a lot of time in the “medical culture;” a college professor would seek out interaction with the “academic culture.” Of course, the law enforcement professional is likely well immersed in the “police culture” (as I once was). If there was a “mecca” of the gun culture, it would certainly be Gunsite. We are looking forward to the trip.

I am asking a favor from Network members who are also attending the Gunsite Alumni Shoot (GAS), please wear your navy-blue Network ball cap. The cap, our only logo item, is intended for wear at the range, where it identifies Network members to one another. Only Network members are given this ball cap. In case you have worn yours out, I will take extra hats with me and gladly give you a new one. Perhaps we can shoot together or at least get a group picture.

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Attorney Question of the Month


We often field questions from members about how their family or associates should notify the Network on the member’s behalf after a self-defense incident. It has been surprising how many members had contact details stored in their smart phones and had not considered that the phone could be taken by investigating police officers, making it unavailable to the member and others who might be assigned to get legal help for them.

After initiating a discussion of post-incident planning in the September editorial in this journal we reached out to our affiliated attorneys for more input on the likelihood of a personal cell phone being available once a shooting investigation has commenced. We asked our affiliated attorneys–

Is it common for investigating police officers to take cell phones from armed citizens involved in use of force in self defense, even if the armed citizen is not taken into custody after the incident? If this is common procedure in your area, how long does it usually take for retrieval of personal items seized during an investigation? How does this vary if the person is or is not charged with a crime?

The first half of our affiliated attorneys’ responses follows. So many weighed in on procedures in their locales, that we will continue with the second half of their answers in November’s journal.

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Book Review

Survive A Shooting

Strategies to Survive Active Shooters and Terrorist Attacks
By Alain Burrese
$24.95 368 pages, 8 ½ x 11
ISBN-13: 978-1937872120

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

During most of September, my reading time was spent with a lengthy book on mass shooting attacks that focused on survival strategies for citizens of varied training, skills and physical ability. Owing to its broad approach to the subject, I found Survive A Shooting offered a compendium of strategies, some more useful than others. The author’s approach results in a lengthy book, parts of which will not be applicable to all readers, but I found a detailed and thoughtful reading worth the time required. It teaches survival tools for friends and relatives for whom we care who cannot or will not carry guns as well as response options for armed citizens.

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Editor's Notebook


Battling Billionaires

by Gila Hayes

With Levi Strauss Company’s latest anti-gun donations, most recently their support of Bloomberg’s misnamed Everytown For Gun Safety, I entertained the odd, passing image of freedom-loving Americans waiting to get dressed until we can find jeans made by manufacturers that respect individual freedom and responsibility.

Why would we spend money with companies that support the forces campaigning for laws to strip citizens of effective means of self defense? While it is funny to think about running around in bath towels and jammies while trying to find clothing not made by our enemies, more practically, I suppose most will wear out the old clothes while searching for better choices from manufacturers who are focused on improving what they make, not jockeying for praise from celebrities and politicians.

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

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