“Do you know who I am?”

When someone in public uses the phrase “Do you know who I am?” that immediately tells you something about them.  And it isn’t positive.

For the record:  I don’t know Larry Vickers personally.  I’ve never met the man, so my view of him is solely from his videos, articles, and commentary he writes on the Internet.  In other words, my understanding of him is based strictly on the way he chooses to project himself to others.  If you spend time with someone in person, you can learn a lot about them that they perhaps try to hide.  If you only know about someone based on their online presence, it means that you know them based on how they WANT to look–because they write the articles, the comments, and edit the video to make themselves look a certain way.c72479c29836bc54476c52989b0e6fa2-500x375x1

Apparently, Larry Vickers wants to look like a arrogant douchebag who thinks that his pronouncements about guns and gear should be taken as from “on high” based on his experiences from 20 years ago.  (Noting that he retired from the military 13 years ago.)

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m not saying that is how the man IS.  I don’t know how he IS, because I’ve never met him.  I am saying, however, that if you don’t worship at the altar of “The LAV” and you look at how he acts on the Internet, it isn’t a pretty picture.

Now:  I know the man can shoot.  And he was legitimately involved with a number of verified shoot-the-bad-guy-in-the-face situations, plus did a large amount of SOF training.  He was instrumental in certain aspects of weapons design, has his name applied to a number of very useful weapon modification parts that are available, and is a verified subject matter expert in several firearms and weapons systems.

This article is in no way meant to ignore or devalue his accomplishments, which are significant.  (As he will tell you.  Repeatedly.)  It is solely about the way he chooses to present himself in online matters.

Between the derogatory “printer repairmen” description, the “stay in your lane/I’ve got your number” brilliance with DocGKR, the “I’m actually responsible for the Gadget” nonsense, and the latest “Ruger, do you know who I am?” stupidity, (just to pick a few memorable moments out of many from the last several years of LAV pronouncements) it seems that LAV has taken a couple of common Internet maxims to heart:

  1. Controversy gets attention–and there is no such thing as negative attention on the Internet.
  2. If you have gotten enough fanatics to support you, no matter what you say or do they will support you, and the concept of the echo chamber can be used to drown out dissenting views.
  3. If you block anyone who attempts to use reason, facts, or logic while disagreeing with you,  the only people saying anything against you tend to be screaming incoherently, which makes you look good even if what you say makes no sense.

The problem with this, of course, is that it means that people who don’t know Vickers then assume that taking a class with him will be useless, because why would you take a class from an overweight has-been who will bloviate about himself ad nauseam while occasionally teaching 20-year-old tactics?

Which is too bad, because I’ve heard plenty of people say that his classes help with accurate shooting, have solid tactics (some things don’t change, and the fact that he was a face-shooter 20 years ago doesn’t mean that what he knows isn’t relevant), and he himself can be quite personable and interesting.

You surely wouldn’t get that from his Internet presence, though.  (Cue the fanatics supporting him who will use such terms and phrases as “printer repairmen,” “alpha,” “type A personality,” “Tier 1,” and other such phrases to excuse poor behavior.)

Contrast that with Bill Rogers, Ken Hackathorn, and Pat Rogers, to name a few—none of whom have shy, retiring personalities, all of which are perfectly fine with telling you exactly what they think, and being quite blunt about it.   And yet—-I don’t believe I’ve ever heard them ever ask someone “Do you know who I am?”

I know, I know.  I should stay in my lane.  And I should watch out, because he’s got my number.

 

 

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Hey, Special Snowflake!

A little while back, I got sent a link to this article ( Why We Suck ) discussing beliefs, training, and practice.  It resonated with a couple of things I’d been thinking recently (based on someone telling me that since they’d been carrying for awhile they didn’t need a scenario-training class in CCW) along with some other articles by Claude Werner and the Defensive Daddy which resulted in this post.

So here you go.  Some truth you probably don’t want to hear:

You aren’t a special snowflake.

If you aren’t a competition shooter, then you probably aren’t as good at shooting as you think you are. (If you are a competition shooter, that doesn’t mean you are automatically good—but it DOES mean you probably have a pretty good idea of how good you are.)

If you’ve never done scenario training, then you probably aren’t as good at self-defense as you think you are. (If you have done solid scenario training, that doesn’t mean you are good at self-defense–but it DOES mean you probably have a pretty good idea of how you will react in stressful situations, and how quickly things can occur.)

Special Snowflake
For some people (a small small tiny few), this won’t be true. But for most people (and yes, this means you no matter how much you think you are the Special Snowflake that is one of those small few)–if you’ve never actually done anything that forced you to perform under stress and had that performance critiqued and compared to others, then you really have no idea how good you are.

And most likely, it isn’t nearly as good as you think.  Matter of fact, it’s probably pretty bad.

Don’t believe me?  Okay–actually put your Dunning-Kruger-ed self out there and find out.  Shoot a Steel Challenge match.  Shoot a USPSA match.  Take a scenario training class.  Take a force-on-force course.  Put yourself on a timer, and find out if that “fast draw” of yours is actually what anyone ELSE would call fast. Try to hit those 8″ steel targets at speed from 20 yards. What you learn will be important.

Maybe you’ll learn that you really ARE as good as you think you are.

More likely, maybe you’ll learn that if you want to actually be able to defend yourself and your loved ones, you’d better practice, because you aren’t nearly as good as you think you are.

And isn’t that something you’d like to find out BEFORE it becomes important?

Everyone thinks they are above average, everyone wants to be the Special Snowflake that really IS that good.  Well, chances are you aren’t.  And if you haven’t tested yourself, you have no way of knowing.

How’s your ego?

One of the things I’ve observed while teaching firearms is that in general, there is a significant difference between teaching women and teaching men.

Teaching women is normally pretty easy:  They generally start under the assumption that I know more than they do, they try to perform the shooting techniques as I’ve taught them, and they don’t randomly add extras to their technique because they think they know how to shoot better.

Teaching men is often annoying:  They start with the assumption that they are already competent shooters, they generally attempt to “adjust” the technique I’ve given them because “they know what works for them” and often they make decisions about whether or not they should practice a particular technique or use it based on whether or not “it feels right for them.”

In other words, many men seem to think that genetics has given them an innate understanding of firearms, that plinking at a pop can at 15 feet with a .22 rifle has trained them in solid technique with a firearm, and that their perusal of YouTube videos of High-Speed Operators(tm) teaches them how to Operate since said videos are exactly like what happens in reality.

I wish I was kidding.

Now, this isn’t universal—one particular female comes immediately to mind, who used a bowling draw and a teacup grip to shoot slow-fire at a full-size silhouette at about 10 feet, and when I suggested some different techniques, assured me with strong confidence that this is how she was trained in law enforcement for high-speed shooting.

And plenty of guys actually listen and learn perfectly well.

Nonetheless—it is certainly true that EGO is alive, well, and Operational in the world of shooting.  So–how’s YOUR ego?

Do you have a healthy ego that drives you to be a better shooter?  (There is an assumption here that you want to be at least a competent shooter.  If you don’t, then never mind.)  Or do you have an EGO that requires you to defend it often, that gets in the way of admitting to error that can be fixed, that means that not only will you not ever learn to be better, but won’t even test yourself for fear that you might fail in front of others?

I was talking with a female shooter I know, and she told me about a discussion she had recently.  She was talking about competition shooting to a guy who was “training” a female friend of hers to shoot, and he said he’d never want to shoot competitions because he’d just get too competitive about it.  Her response to me?

“What I heard was ‘I suck at shooting and don’t want anyone to know.’  Isn’t that what you heard?  That’s what I heard.”

You know—I’ve gotta admit, I often think that too.  Because seriously, shooting competitions are FUN.  If you like shooting in general, then you’ll like shooting competitions.  There is something out there that fits what type of shooting you like to do. And they are tons of fun.

So if you give me excuses about how competition shooting will get you killed, or that you don’t want to take time from your tactical training, or that you don’t want to do it because you’ll get too competitive, or whatever else—that’s fine.  Everyone gets to have their own opinions, everyone gets to make their own choices—no problem.

But I can’t help hearing in my head “I suck at shooting and don’t want anyone to know.”

…and my head often adds an addendum:  “And my ego can’t take people knowing about my actual level of skill when I’ve bragged on myself so much.  Matter of fact, my ego can’t take ME knowing exactly what my real level of skill is, because I have this great beautiful picture of myself as The Ultimate Shooter in my head, and I can’t have that destroyed.”

Do you really want to be competent with a firearm?  Want to get better?  Be more skilled?  Do you really want to have a good measure of your level, so you can increase that level?

Or is your ego so big and so fragile that you can’t afford to show your actual shooting skill in comparison with others, in front of others?

Which is more important to you—your ego and fantasy view of yourself, or having a good time shooting while getting a realistic view of yourself?