The Rise and Fall of the Internet Commando

One of the unfortunate by-products of a rapidly growing “information age” and the ever expanding reach of the world wide web is the equally exponential sense of power, coupled with an apparent lack of accountability.

If you’ve spent any amount of time online, particularly on any of the various social media forums, you have no doubt run across the ones who freely share their “expert opinions” on topics they clearly fail to fully grasp, let alone master. With the cloak of seeming ambiguity, some people are very quick to criticize, condemn or correct anything, everything, and everyone they see online – regardless of knowledge, experience, context or facts. There’s a growing sense of “meanness” online that seems to have partnered with this overwhelming urge to promote self-validation and relevance. For some, even in agreeing with a shared perspective, they’re still mean-spirited about it, and are not employing any filters before spewing their views to the world.

There is literally no safe haven from these “Internet Commandos.” You pick a topic, or share a post on any given subject matter – from vaccinations and healthy living, to criminal justice and law enforcement, to ‘the right way to change your oil’ – and you will undoubtedly encounter a whole host of contrary and vocal perspectives, opinions and resistance. In the firearms and/or training communities, we have more than our share of self-righteous, self-taught, and self-absorbed “Internet Commandos” that are quick to cut down another to try to make themselves appear superior. They may or may not have any formal experience, or even know which end of the gun the bullet comes out of… but their opinions fill the ‘web’

While I’m a huge fan of freedom, and the United States Constitution, I also appreciate that such freedoms come with a tremendous amount of responsibility. The First and Second amendments to our Constitution are perfect examples of our rights and freedoms, secured in the Constitution, coupled with the responsibility to maintain them. Here in Arizona, we were America’s third Constitutional Carry state, effective July 2010. (Now, in April 2017, we’re up to 14 Constitutional Carry states.) While I legally support the freedom for law-abiding and responsible gun owners to Open Carry their lawfully possessed firearm, in practical application I will not be joining them in doing so. My General Plan for any given day involves and includes much less attention. While I legally support the individual’s right to peaceably assemble and exercise their 1st amendment rights, in practical application I will not be joining them in doing so – for the exact same reasoning. The individual’s right to free speech and peaceful assembly is not the mob’s right to riot, loot, assault like pack hunters, and destroy property. The freedom must be balanced with responsibility. Always.

As a professional firearms instructor with many years of experience, one of the recurring areas where I see otherwise law-abiding, tax-paying free peoples making very unwise decisions in regards to their freedoms is online. Some will tell the world of their vacation plans – before they leave – which is pure folly. While others, in response to a news article, or the coolest new meme making the social media rounds, are far too quick to add their ‘two cents’ and share – again, with the cloak of seeming ambiguity. This is an unwise exercise of a First amendment right, in that these comments shared with whatever level of passion and conviction from your recliner in your underwear some evening may again be shared in the light of day, in a court room, or during an investigation. Here, the cloak provided by the Internet is removed. It’s really you. And your comments, opinions and perspectives you’ve been sharing so freely and harshly with all who would read them are now evidence. What you say can be used against you.

The Internet Commando reading to this point likely just tuned out, and dismissed this cautionary advisory as an unnecessary and unrealistic scare tactic. However, for the free thinker who is not afraid to think, consider all aspects of your environment, and then forge a better plan – he/she is reading and heeding.

Just in the past 12 to 24 months or so, how many of us caught a fleeting glimpse of a report of some law enforcement officer somewhere – after being involved in a completely justified use of deadly force – was then sacrificed upon the altar of public opinion because they exercised their First amendment right by inscribing some “cool badass” quote on the dust cover of his AR-15, or by sharing “too freely” their perspectives about certain political movements online, or by displaying their allegiance openly in some manner that others disagreed with? Sadly, Law Enforcement, Fire and EMT’s, even doctors and nurses, seem to be among the first that are cast upon that altar. However, average Joe and Jane Citizen are by no means immune.

We discuss this in our training classes regularly. Part of a solid General Plan is realistically considering the “end from the beginning.” Meaning, your plan should already have anchor points in place, and you should know what they are, and where they are – because once the proverbial fan is actively being covered in fecal matter, you will not then be able to place these anchors. This is in part what separates a reasonable and realistic plan from an emotional and explosive response. A critical part of your General Plan should not only include Social Media and Online safety protocols, but also Online and Social Media “filters.” Contrary to popular opinion, you do not HAVE to comment on everything you see online.

Yes, you have a First amendment right to share what you please, as you please. But you also have a responsibility to your family, and yourself. If, when viewing some news article or graphic video depiction of some crime caught on camera, you think it is somehow wise, pertinent or ‘cool’ to share comments in the thread – do not think that if, after the worst day of your life – when you’ve had to use your firearm to defend yourself or your home – that an after-the-fact investigation will not review your social media and online presence. Especially should you find yourself caught up in a civil law suit, where the sharks in the water are motivated and driven by the promise of a big, fat payday. There, you have no presumption of innocence, and no right against self-incrimination. A picture of you will be painted, and your own words, comments, posts and perspectives will be the medium used to create that picture.

If you’re one of the Internet Commandos that likes to share comments such as: “I’d just shoot the little _____,” or “There are no gun free zones if I’m there, because I carry everywhere!” or “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6,” or “they better not try that with me, because I’ll kill them dead!” or “you can call 9-1-1, I’ll be reloading..” or any manner of similar ultra-macho, hyper-badass rhetoric… you might want to reconsider the effectiveness of your General Plan. Whether you realize it or appreciate it or not, you’re painting a picture of yourself. This picture isn’t just for investigators either. Prospective employers, family and friends may all see your “self-portrait.”

In our training program, we stress the significance of having a solid plan, and continual situational awareness. If you have not extended your General Plan to include your online presence, I’d like to urge you to begin doing so today. Just like our freedoms, the Internet is a vastly powerful tool, that brings with it all manner of responsibility. Be smart. Build a better plan. Stay safe, and stay trained.

2017-12-05T21:14:49+00:00 By |Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Diamondback Shooting Sports
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4.4 out of 5 stars

Jessmar Romea
Jessmar Romea

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

I went in there today because I thought my recently purchased revolver had a manufacturer's defect that required it to be returned to be inspected. I was assisted promptly. They gave me the option to have the gun smith take a proper look at the firearm to try and resolve the issue, which would save me money on shipping and transfer fees. Kevin, was awesome. Very knowledgeable and ended up resolving the issue I had. He patiently listened to the questions I had about the gun answered and gave me advice on how to care for the firearm properly. I will definitely be going back.

John Erdman
John Erdman

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

In March of 2019, my father passed suddenly. As a part of settling his estate, an appraisal of his gun collection was necessary. I contacted Diamondback Shooting Sports and Doug was more than willing to help with the appraisal. Shane and Jim were tasked with carrying out that appraisal. I couldn't be happier with the professionalism, courtesy, respect and depth of knowledge both Shane and Jim exhibited during this difficult time. They were conscious of a very tight time frame and were diligent in evaluating the condition of each piece, placing a realistic value based on that evaluation. They provided a typed list with the manufacturer, model, caliber, condition, serial number and price when they finished. I can't express in words how grateful I am to Doug, Shane and Jim for their dedication and hard work they placed in valuing my father's collection. For me, I will continue to take all my business to Doug and his team of professionals. Many thanks to Doug, Shane, Jim and the rest of the Diamondback Shooting Sports team!

Tony Gonzales
Tony Gonzales

4 out of 5 stars

posted 4 months ago

Overall a good gun store, they seem to have a little of everything I’m terms of guns, gear, ammo, and accessories. The only thing I think is lacking pretty hard in my opinion is the ammunition selection, I would purpose they erect more shelves and get a bigger selection of ammo.

Their firearms inventory is usually stocked full it seems with the latest guns along with older best selling guns. Just one thing for the manager to think about, I’m not running the store so I don’t know the marketing trends and what would be best for the store monetarily, but I feel like there should be a selection of regular pistol braces for AR pistols, since AR pistols have become so popular. I think it’s kinda weird that the only braces diamondback sells is a selection of pistol braces for the CZ scorpion, which is a very proprietary gun but not the sb tactical braces which would be applicable to more people to use, I’m sure they’d get more people buying regular braces than proprietary ones. Just my 2 cents. More people have AR pistols and not the CZ... just an observation really.

Overall a good store in my experience. They sold me my first handgun and AR15, so I will always be grateful. Everyone has been a great help. I might even try and work here one day!

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