Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shotgun Up.


Today was all about the loud noise.


Eight hours of banging with the shotgun. Running double aught buck and 1 oz. slugs.



I do so much training and shooting with the handgun that when we bust out the big guns it comes as kind of a shock. The shotgun is a complex weapon system that requires a lot of hands on time to run efficiently- it is not a gun for the simple-minded.

But it throws so much destruction downrange that I can't imagine ever choosing something else if you knew it was time to get your killing on. There are a million guns out there that are easier to shoot. This bitch punishes you every time you torch off a round.

It seems a good trade-off.


Use your cover. Use your safety. Shoot one, load one. Diagnose your malfunctions and get your gun running. Shoot prone. Shoot kneeling. Shoot off-hand. Shoot around barricades. Shoot the hostage taker, not the hostage. Run this way and shoot. Run that way and shoot.

On and on.


When the FBI got in their big shoot out with Platt and Matix, they were seriously fucked up by two guys who knew how to bang. Platt and Matix got the fuck shot out of them, mortal wounds early on in the fight, and they kept going and brought the fight to the FBI. They murdered Agent Jerry Dove and Agent Ben Grogan, and one of their rounds tore through Agent Ed Mireles' forearm, disabling it.

He figured out how to rack his shotgun with one good arm, and he got up off his shot ass and fucked those two motherfuckers up.

That was a real teaching moment for the whole L.E. community.

It was after Newhall that we started focusing on how training mistakes carried over into real world shooting incidents, when CHP officers were picking up their spent brass and putting in their pockets during a firefight, which kept the range clean but cost these guys their lives when the shit was pouring down on them. Ed Mireles and the FBI shootout taught us that we needed to teach our people how to keep fighting when one of their arms was blown off.

So now we practice everything with our good side and our support side. In case we get our shit shot in the opening salvos.


I could go on and on about this shit.

It is the most interesting kind of chess there is.

Imagine if you will, integrating knives, empty hand defense, positional considerations, disparity of force, etc.

It is a very interesting game.


It is my passion. I seek out the best and most difficult training I can find. I try to adapt what I learn and pass it on to everyone else. Three times a year at least I spend my own money and use my own time to get in front of a serious trainer and get my ass handed to me. Knife fighting. Empty hand. BJJ. Crazy Monkey. Low-light handgunning. Last year I went to a four day pistol class and shot with my other fucking hand the whole time.

I outshot most everyone at the class, too.

But not everyone drinks the kool-aid.


It can be a struggle.


You just never know what's going to come at you. Who is out there, sharpening their knives for you.





Blogger Petit fleur said...

Thanks goodness there are trainers like you who treat that job as sacred, as you described. That is something that is missing in many professions, and it's so important.

It is a little strange discovering this side of you... juxtaposed against the poetic, house cleaning, bulldog lovin', family guy!

Do you watch or read Dexter?


5:40 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Petit Fleur-

This part of me is a big part. You'd be making a big mistake if you thought that the poetic, artsy-fartsy side of me was the only way I moved in the world.

I love the violence and the danger.

I love giving my people the very best stress inoculation they can get. I want the training to be so hard and ugly that when they go up against a real bad guy they think, 'well, that wasn't half as bad as what I was expecting.'

Much better than the other way round.

Anyway. I'm a broken toy. I don't pretend not to be. But I don't think for a second that there is any part of my life that is as serious and consequential as what I do with my people on the range.

It just doesn't get more real.

And I just want you all to know who you're dealing with here.

I'm not a nice person. Not all the time, anyway.

Anyway, still glad for your company.



5:53 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Yes, I watched Dexter.

I stopped, though. It wasn't that I couldn't stomach it, it was that I couldn't get my mind right about it.

That show makes me feel dirty.

Maybe it is different if you have stood around in a pile of someone's guts.

But I don't know. There is a lot of murder cops that love the show. All the guys I work with do.

And I really liked a lot about it. But ultimately I walked away. I guess when I watch TV i'd rather watch some NOVA or Bill Moyers on PBS.

I don't fucking know.

I'm a ball of contradictions.



5:57 PM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Now this is alien to me as hell. The only thing I can relate it to in my experience is doing nursing and midwife training. I remember in nursing school we had a professor who was strict as hell and when someone would complain about something and say, "But I knew the answer, I just..." whatever, she would look at that student and say, "In real life, if you had made that mistake, you could have killed someone."
Some things must be taken all-the-way seriously. Otherwise, there is no need to do it.
It's so interesting to see this side of you. It makes the other side all the more amazing to me. I hope it's okay to say that and please don't misunderstand me- I don't see one side as being superior to the other. They are the two parts of you which make the whole.

6:20 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Ms. Moon-

Well, yes, exactly.


I love what you said about that, that there are some things that must be taken all the way seriously, or there is no need to do it.

Oh. My. God.

yes, plus one.

I know you know this is vital to any attempt to understand the tearful dishwasher. You cannot make a go of it without you know the dark and hard heart, the brilliance of the keen blade, and the will to do the work.

It cannot be extricated from the rest.

It is yet part and parcel.



6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:31 PM  
Blogger Radish King said...

Dottie Kee made me laugh because she laughed. I don't think your enlightenment could come without your exacting honesty and your need, your internal desire, to do the right thing. You are a rare bird my friend. You make my world feel safe and that, Sir, just doesn't happen all that often. Hardly ever ever ever.


6:52 PM  
Blogger Petit fleur said...

Dark is fine. It's all about balance and discernment.

Something you said about the blade make me think of Dexter. It's easy to see how it would be hard to reconcile after standing around in someone's guts for real. I was into it for the first 3 seasons, but I think they blew it by marrying him off. It just didn't work anymore.


7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A machine for killing, so compelling it is not the end result we are after now is it.. All of those intricacies necessary when a warrior in the wings is ready for that final two step. See you at the OK corral.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

I like it. I like you more because I like it and you like it. And poetry, politics, and pistols exist all in the same world. The only world there is that we know of.

I shot skeet at Baylor. Yes, it is a PE credit in Texas. It is very gentle as you know. My eyes lit and landed when you wrote "12 gage."

Browning over and unders. Nothing like that mean bastard you shot.

I dusted the first clay I shot and I have been hooked since. I am good. I shot my first .22 at 8. I mean, this is Texas. I shot a .45 cheap handgun at 21. I can hit everything in my sights.

I too am broken and the anger and violence I have known make me rather calm holding firearms. I like the smell and the sound.

But I had a powerful bruise on my shoulder near my breast all semester long. Why does it kick harder when you are wearing a jacket than when you are not?

11:24 PM  
Blogger Craig Sorensen said...

I loved this post, tearful. I love getting a look into that part of you, and I tremendously respect it. It makes me see the poetic stuff with greater depth and feeling. And I love the passion and intensity you have for your responsibilities.

The last time I went through the sort of training you describe was over 30 years ago in the Army.

Of course, a big part of our training centered around the firing of our M-16; this was one of the things that most specifically "drilled" into us.

I'd handled weapons before, but this was a matter of getting to know every bit of the M-16. What could go wrong, what to do when it did.

In one of the ranges, three silhouettes came up at the same time at varying distances, and we had a few seconds to try to shoot them all down.

That was the only time in six weeks of training that my M-16 jammed.

All the motions to clear the jam came almost automatically, and I got all three targets down. There was a Drill Sergeant over my shoulder. I looked up and the mean fucker almost smiled. Then he looked up the range. "Don't be so proud, it's your job." He didn't say the words, but I got the message.

For sure, if your charges ever get in bind, they will appreciate their training.

For me, it never went beyond training. I was "chairborne ranger" for my four years in the Army.

But I always appreciate that six weeks and learning what I could accomplish.

2:27 AM  
Blogger 37paddington said...

I knew this part of you before I ever wrote about you on my blog. I had read some of your earlier posts. You both scare and compel me, Scott. You are so gut-level real about who you are.

The dark and hard heart. The broken toy. The keen blade. These images make me gasp and they make me a little sad, too. The wonder, for me, is that such poetry and art exist alongside all that. The wonder, for me, is the clarity with which you see it all.

I'm not going to lie. I am glad you have your art. I am glad you have people you love achingly.

I'm glad I found you here.

6:26 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Dottie Bones-

Hee hee indeed. You are funny, girl.

6:28 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Yr sweet to me.

And guys like me are not all that uncommon in the world of the police. There are a lot of good guys out there.

Most of them don't do art is all.



6:30 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Well, I think if I ever neglected the end result of all that complex machinery for killing I'd be kind of an idiot. The end result is the focus, not the tools that are the means to that end. You have to be good at the tool part of it, but if you are not always focused on the reason for it, when the time comes to use the tool to kill someone you might not have your head on right and you could fail despite your knowledge.

My two cents.



6:33 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Jaye Ramsey Sutter-

It makes sense to me that you're kind of a pistol-packin' mamma. Good on you!

It hurts more when you have a jacket on because you want your shoulder and cheek to be welded as tight as possible against the stock, that way the force of the recoil travels through you, rather than smacking into you. When there is a gap, the force of the recoil punches you a good one. The more scared you are of the kick, the tighter you should weld yourself to the gun, but most people kind of try to hold it away from themselves, and end up paying the price.



6:36 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this. Yeah, training is cool that way, how your body remembers what to do when the chips are down. I bet you could still clear a jam on an M-16 if you found yourself in a firefight today.

all best-


6:38 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...



Thank you for that. I'm glad that I have what I have, too. And I'm glad you found me so we can be friends.

Some people might think that I'm extremely well-balanced, with all this dark on one side and all that light on the other, but those closest to me would probably say that I don't spend much time in the middle but rather run back and forth between the two extremes.

It's a kind of balance.

All I've got, anyway.

Thank you for your generous words.



6:42 AM  
Blogger susan t. landry said...

i like the posts where you talk about your work; i like the lack of ambiguity. there's not a lot of room, maybe, in that world to photoshop the imagery, so to speak. you have to get it right the first time.

7:29 AM  
Blogger riley dog said...

"Well, I wouldn't argue that it wasn't a no holds barred, adrenaline fueled thrill ride. But, there is no way you can perpetrate that amount of carnage and mayhem and not incur a considerable amount of paperwork."--Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), Hot Fuzz

8:35 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Yeah, no photoshop on the job. Too bad, man would that make my life easier!

all the best to you-


4:50 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Well said, Riley Dog.

The bane of my existence!

Thanks for coming by.



4:51 PM  
Anonymous Flamingo Dancer said...

So you may go home at night and kiss your wife and your children, and I won't have to go to your funeral and kiss them instead.

So well said.

We have gun laws in Australia that mean most people do not have guns, and no one is allowed to walk around with them as they do in USA. I am very grateful for that.

2:06 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Flamingo Dancer-


I'm glad you feel safe where you live.



7:51 AM  
Anonymous Nathanial Hoodrich said...

Hardcore, bro. Love it.

With that said - guns scare me. And not because of the horrible holes that they make in things - no - I think it's because of my child like distrust of things that go boom unexpectedly ...

Christ. You should see me during a thunder storm.

All tense with anticipation.

Stupid. I know.

Guess I just have to get myself down to a shooting range sometime and blast off rounds until I cure myself of such foolish things.

Anyways -

As always, thanks for sharing. Because it's the things we share that set us free.


11:44 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Mr. Hoodrich-

Thanks for your comment, bro.

And dude, guns SHOULD scare you. They scare the fucking crap out of me.

But they are also awesome at scaring the crap out of other people.

The secret is to always be the one with the gun.

all best-


8:02 AM  

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