Unless you’ve been under a rock in the gun world, you’ve probably heard of the Greenwood Park Mall shooting, and the hero who ended the mass shoooting early with a 40+ yard shot. If you haven’t, you can get up to speed with some of our past articles here.
Tom Gresham at Gun Talk Radio recently had an interview with Eli Dicken’s attorney, Guy Relford. Relford is also a firearms instructor, so he presumably has a better idea of how the mechanics of shooting work than most other lawyers. In the interview, we learned that we don’t know as much as we think we do, that some facts were wrong, and that some big names in gun control are probably going to pay up.
We Don’t Have The Dicken Drill Quite Right (Yet)
One thing we learned from the interview is that the distance Eli Dicken took the first shot from (40+ yards) is correct. His attorney says he’s since been in the mall and stepped the distance off himself. So, that’s a pretty solid fact we can rely on now that the fog of initial reporting has lifted and solid facts are trickling out.
But, the facts aren’t all out yet. Relford tells us that he’s agreed with the police department to not release facts that haven’t already been released until investigators are finished up. So, we know now that there are more facts coming out in the coming weeks.
We also know that the facts will be interesting. Relford couldn’t tell Gresham what all he isn’t telling us yet, but he did say that people practicing “The Dicken’s Drill” on YouTube are going to have to add “a whole bunch of different elements” to make a drill that matches Eli’s experience that day.
But, then again, we might already have a second version of the Dicken’s Drill, even if it’s not that exciting. The fact that Dicken had no formal training has been confirmed, but that doesn’t mean he had no training of any kind at all. Beyond training with his grandfather, we’re told that Eli did lots and lots and lots of dry fire training.
So, if you want to be able to do what Dicken did that day, be sure to do lots and lots and lots of dry fire yourself, and otherwise train regularly.
Things People Got Wrong After The Incident
One fact that almost everybody got wrong at first was that Dicken lacked a permit and was legally carrying concealed under Indiana’s relatively new Constitutional Carry law. This was a fact that the police initially got wrong and told the media, and then everybody spread around and commented on. The police bungled this because an initial records check showed no permit, but a more thorough check showed it.
So, that’s only a harmless clerical error.
The other reason that story spread was that police (correctly) said he doesn’t have any formal training. In many states, training of some kind is required to obtain the permit, so people unfamiliar with Indiana’s laws on that matter (this included me) probably assumed that meant no permit, too. But, Indiana only requires background checks for a permit.
— Guy Relford (@guyrelford) July 21, 2022
Another common mistake people made was to assume that carrying in the mall in Indiana was illegal. Even in states where that would be illegal, it’s only a petty misdemeanor in most cases, so fussing that a tiny “crime” was committed makes no sense when you consider the lives that were saved. But, as we know, anti-gunners don’t have a lot of sense.
But, in Indiana, it’s not a crime to carry past a “code of conduct.” It’s not even a tiny crime like spittin’ on the sidewalk unless you are asked by the property’s owner or his representatives to leave and you refuse to leave.
When asked about all this, Relford said, “There will be repercussions.” People who spread that lie about Dicken on TV and on social media (including Shannon Watts) engaged in “defamation per se”, so they’re probably going to need to pay up once those lawsuits go out.
Some Other Interesting Things We Learned From The Program
Later in the radio show, we heard that two other well-known defensive shooters reached out to see how Eli Dicken was doing. Jack Wilson, who shot an attacker at a church in White Settlement, Texas and Stephen Willeford, who saved many lives at another church in Sutherland Springs, Texas have both independently reached out to Relford to check on his wellbeing and offer help.
These men both know what it’s like after a shooting. Relford said everyone he’s talked to who has been in a justified shooting still struggles after the killing. They get through it, ultimately, because they know that what they did, while difficult, did save innocent lives.
We’re also learning that there’s a big difference in preparing for self-defense versus preparing for defending others. The “bell curve” for self defense distances starts, obviously, with you, so most self-defense shootings are close up. But, defending other people starts off at some distance from you, so the distances for defending others are obviously going to be greater on average. Long shots, like 40+ yards, aren’t as far out in the “long tail” when defending other people.
Perhaps more importantly, we need to keep in mind that defensive shooting ≠ self defense. It equals all defensive shooting.
So, as I’ve pointed out before, we need to stop thinking of defensive handgun training as being at “CCW distances”. Training at greater ranges not only gives us options for more situations, but also helps improve our fundamentals at all distances.
Finally, they did discuss equipment. While equipment is no substitute for solid shooting skills, the .380 pocket pistols with 2.7″ barrels and limited real estate for your hands that have become popular with many people carrying concealed aren’t going to perform at 40+ yards the way a larger or full-sized pistol will. Reflex sights also give people a great advantage both at close distances and especially at longer ranges.
So, this shooting may end up being the impetus for change among many concealed carriers.