When Making Life or Death Decisions, Get your Priorities Straight!

By John Farnam

Whats Important Now
Whats Important Now
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- “Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool, or you go out in the ocean.” ~ Christopher Reeve

This note from a friend on the East Coast:

“I teach at a facility that is also used by Federal agents to train ICE personnel.

Last year, there was a poster on the training-room bulletin board reminding officers:

‘When in an OIS (Officer-Involved Shooting), remember:

  • 1) WIN! (What’s Important Now?)
  • 2) Remember and exercise your 5th Amendment right to keep silent.
  • 3) Remember and exercise your 6th Amendment right to an attorney.’

All good advice, of course, but more recently that sign was replaced with a new one stating:

‘Legal Reminders for OIS:

  • 1) Remember your Constitutional Right to remain silent (5th Amendment).
  • 2) You should consider retaining a lawyer knowledgeable in this area of the law.
  • 3) Any statement you give may be used against you in subsequent criminal, administrative, or civil proceeding.
  • 4) Regardless of whether you have retained a lawyer, when your initial statement is given, make sure you have been ordered to give that statement by a superior officer.
  • 5) Remember that the law in the area of use of force is evolving. You have a Constitutional Right to legal representation (6th Amendment).’

Again, all good advice, but it strikes me that there has been a subtle shift of emphasis, a shift from:

“Officer Victory”


“Liability First”

In the second example, officers are not even encouraged to first win the fight! They are only encouraged to think about liability.

Perhaps, some litigaphobic bureaucrat back in Washington, who has never been in any kind of fight in his life, is trying to make gun-fighting ‘ politically correct,’ filling the minds of officers and agents with intrusive thoughts of liability, when their first concern should be putting an immediate end, via gunfire when necessary, to lethal threat(s) confronting them.

This new “Liability First” movement is programming officers fail to respond to lethal threats with sufficient speed, decisiveness, and enthusiasm to insure their physical survival.

Emphasis is, once again, dangerously misplaced!”

Comment: There is no doubt that when you are involved in an OIS, you will discover that there is never a shortage of opinions solemnly voiced by people who weren’t there, opinions voiced by those with an overriding political/financial agenda, and opinions voiced by clueless ignoramuses who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Expect it! Don’t become a victim of it!

However, none of the foregoing will be of the slightest interest to you when you don’t live through the incident!

All this emphasis on liability is necessary and important. I readily concede the point!

Yet, you must have your priorities straight. Your life depends on it. Winning the fight must supercede all other concerns!

Operators are warriors first, lawyers second!

Forget that at your peril!

“Live or die. It’s a choice. Make it, or have it made for you!” ~ Robert Schulte


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

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Jonathan Olenick
Jonathan Olenick
7 years ago

” It is better to be tried by 12 than to be carried by six”

7 years ago

Interesting to note that the whiners are winning. Successful self-defense is whined about by the wife, children, parents and or friends of the criminal that “they didn’t deserve to get shot.” Too bad the perps didn’t think about that before they attempted the criminal act. People have complained for years that we need a victim justice system, not a criminal justice system. Good luck in the court of liberalism gone mad. Seems not many people care that a drug dealer or lifetime criminal has been eliminated. Disarm the law-abiding first. Don’t believe me, check the stats in Chicago, Detroit, New… Read more »