Quick note: 7 takeaways from pastor shooting in Idaho


Saturday night, Pastor Tim Remington gave the invocation for Ted Cruz in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Sunday afternoon, he was laying on the ground in his church parking lot with (up to) 6 bullets lodged in his body.

I’ve been to events with Pastor Tim and our church prays for him regularly.  I’m friends with the pastor who was originally going to do the invocation for Ted Cruz.  (Still no word on whether or not there is a connection) This hits close to home for me.  The only reason I say that is that I’m going to switch over to cold & calculating mode and cover a few quick lessons that we can take away from the shooting.

1. People focus on security inside churches during service.  That’s good, but statistics tell us that violent attacks happen MUCH more often in areas of transition than inside of the church.  Transitioning from being inside the church to inside a car is an example.  This attack happened near Pastor Tim’s car.

2. Violent attacks at church happen more often during non-service times than during service times.  This attack happened at 2PM.

3. Situational awareness reduces, but does not eliminate violence.  I don’t know enough of what happened yet to know how aware Pastor Tim was of his surroundings at the time.  And frankly, this is a case where I probably wouldn’t say what he could have done better, even if I knew.

4. Handgun rounds are incredibly ineffective.  On one hand, it’s safe to say that God played a hand in keeping Pastor Tim from having any lethal injuries after being shot (up to) 6 times at point-blank range.  On the other hand, it’s not that unusual.  Anyone who claims that a typical self-defense pistol round has “knockdown power” or “one shot stop capability” needs to talk with guys who have been in gunfights or actually go hunting with their pistols.  Reality can be shocking and humbling and drive you to new standards for your self-defense training.

5.  Most shooters over-estimate their ability and the ability of their gear.  The shooter was a 30 year old former Marine, shot at point-blank range, and didn’t hit any vital organs.  Fortunately, he probably counted on his former military service.  Fortunately, he probably thought that he was so close that he couldn’t miss.

What the shooter did was evil and he had mental issues, but good people with guns make the same mistakes with their training.  Don’t be one of them.  Don’t mistake having a gun for knowing how to use it.  Don’t mistake what you did 7 years, 7 months, or 7 weeks ago for what you can do now.  And don’t stop practicing when you get to the speed/accuracy you want…practice until you CAN’T miss.

6.  Placement matters.  Pistol rounds all suck.  Some suck less than others.  And no matter what you’re shooting, the effectiveness is going to be 95% placement and 5% caliber.

7.  Skulls are harder than you think and vary greatly.  One of the rounds struck Pastor Tim in the head.  His skull stopped it.  Thank God.  A friend of mine growing up fought in WWI.  He got shot in the forehead one time.  The bullet penetrated his helmet and skin, hit his skull, followed the contour of his skull under his skin to the back of his head, and exited through the skin on the back of his skull and went through his helmet.

Train hard.  Train often.  Train smart.

And please pray for Pastor Tim, his family, and for the officers who are searching for the shooter.


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  • Doug

    Reply Reply May 15, 2016

    Sorry to hear about your friend, Pastor Tim. It seems to me that everybody knows a vet who got shot in the head and now has to part their hair differently. Is that just an “old soldier” story that has been going around for decades or did thousands of soldiers really get shot like that with that same outcome?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply May 15, 2016

      Hey Doug…I don’t want to give an inaccurate impression…I don’t know Pastor Tim and he’s not a friend, although if I knew him, I’m guessing he would be 🙂 We live near each other and I’ve been to events where he’s spoken and I’ve got a great impression of him.

      On my friend who got shot in the head and other similar stories…I saw Dr. Kunkel’s helmet and don’t remember him having any scars, but when he told me the story it had probably been 50, 60, or more years since he’d been shot. He’s the only person who I know personally who this happened to, so I’m not sure if it was common or not.

  • Boozer

    Reply Reply March 9, 2016

    Great article. One that I will use in my training simulator. I teach the “failure drill” to my students and explain the “sweet spot” of head shots. I lean on my students rather hard to make precision shots. My thoughts and prayers are with the good pastor and his family.

  • Soldier4hire

    Reply Reply March 9, 2016

    When I teach Concealed carry class, when talking about calibers I teach my students especially those with .380’s or .22 to shoot the neck. groin and or the eyes. I have read a lot of reports of .45 cal gun fights that took multiple rounds, like the gun fight of a Chicago Policemen s shoot out with a bank robber, The cop shot the perp 12 times with a .45 G21. 7 of the shots in the chest area, both lungs-the liver-the heart and the kidney all were hit the bad guy still fought until shot in the head.

    Stop training for double taps, they only work in movies and books. Kyle Lams has a good drill of 3 targets, 3 shots center chest, 1 shot head 1 shot pelvic, next target left or right repeat, next target opposite side repeat. total 15 shots 3 targets. It is just one drill of many you need to train for, switch it up. Carrying a firearm is not something to take lightly. Your life and those around you count on you to be proficient.

    Not all military personnel know how to shoot pistols, Most officers who carry one don’t know how to use one. I thank God the attacker of the pastor was not trained.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply March 9, 2016

      All great stuff S4H. I really think that it takes either seeing a person shot or being a hunter to fully appreciate the difference between a “lethal” wound where you have a dead-man-walking and a wound that stops the threat, regardless of whether or not it’s a lethal wound.

  • Farmer

    Reply Reply March 8, 2016

    thank you Lord Jesus for having your hand Rev Tim Amen.

    there are more and more people carrying inside the place of worship, thank you for this article. up to this point I have been most of aware while in side the church, I will now start paying much more attention at all time in and aroundthe whole area.

  • Christian Gains

    Reply Reply March 8, 2016

    This Article is VERY well stated, and demonstrated, or explained. But I do think there one more factor to examine & explain:

    That one factor is, (while you DID make it CLEAR that we shouldn’t consider ourselves better than we’ve proven, {thru action}, that we are), AND, “Do not train till you’re good, & hit the target well, TRAIN UNTIL YOU CAN’T MISS!”..But…I think mention of the Adrenalin factor/influence should ALSO be stressed.

    Principally, how it hypes one, causes “jitters” or “over activeness”, “or nervousness”, AND, the “crash factor”; aka: “The AFTER action effects”.

    I do NOT mean this as criticism, but just a factor that I’ve personally found quite impactfull, no matter HOW many times one has dealt with a lethal, or dangerous (under pressure), situation/decision making scenario.

    Other wise, GREAT & NEEDED Article!

  • Wayne

    Reply Reply March 8, 2016

    I hate to mention this but, “A friend of mine growing up fought in WWI” unless your about 118 yrs old I think there might be a “Typo”. Sorry about the Pastor !

    • Ox

      Reply Reply March 8, 2016

      No typo 🙂 Friends don’t have to be the same age. He was near the end of his life when I was at the beginning of mine. He probably died 35 or more years ago, but I still remember the time I spent with him, still have many of the artifacts he gave me, and vividly remember putting my little fingers in the bullet holes in his helmet.

  • Brent Johnson

    Reply Reply March 8, 2016

    I’m sorry about this also and will be praying. At the church that I work at, in the employees manual there’s a section that forbids any employee from carrying a firearm or even having one in you vehical and parking on the church property. So I park out in the street and leave my weapon in my car. On Sundays we have several policemen on duty at the church.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply March 8, 2016

      Personally, I’d look for another church or find out if there is any legal problem with carrying there.

  • Ben H. says

    Reply Reply March 8, 2016

    Has anyone come up with a reliable shot shell ammo yet, for the smaller pistols that nearly everyone carries for protection? Such as the 410 pistol ? The 410 gauge pistol would be excellent at close range, but not too handy to shoot quick with, as it is just a bit clumsy to bring into action. I don’t think that the first shot is often more than an arms length away. A head shot at close range would pretty much set the pig to sqealing

    • Ox

      Reply Reply March 8, 2016

      That’s a tough one, Ben…

      .410 shells basically shoot 38 caliber (or smaller) balls. If they’re 100% lead, they can flatten before they leave the muzzle. They don’t really spread out predictably like people think they do and the smaller shot doesn’t predictably stop threats, even with good shot placement due to a lack of penetration.

      If you’re going to shoot a .410 pistol for defensive purposes, (I got one for my parents several years ago, so I’m, definitely not anti-.410) I’d load it up with .45 long colt or .410 hunting slugs.

      The beauty of the round is that if you’re going to be in a confined space, like an apartment, condo, or RV, you can switch over from slugs to shot to reduce (but not eliminate) wall and barrier pass-through–this line of thought is controversial because you’re essentially picking ammo based on the assumption that you’ll miss instead of picking the ammo that will be most effective at stopping the threat when you HIT.

      And, of course, if you’re in snake/small game country, you can switch to a load that’s more appropriate for hunting.

      That’s a lot of information without a concrete answer, but hopefully it will help.

  • Mikial

    Reply Reply March 8, 2016

    Excellent points.

    The pastor was surprised and defenseless, shot multiple times, and still survived. Now reverse the situation and try to visualize yourself returning fire on a terrorist or active shooter who was determined to kill as many people as possible.

    They would not stop until they were dead. Really and truly dead, not just wounded.

    If you carry a handgun, recognize it has some serious limitations and work to learn how to maximize both its effectiveness and you’re own survivability. Carry the most powerful handgun you can handle and can realistically carry.

    If you don’t carry a handgun to protect yourself and your family . . . why not?

    Our society is sick, and it is breeding sick people for a wide range of reasons and causes. Never forget that the Lord helps those who help themselves. You are your own shepherd.

  • Greg Thompson

    Reply Reply March 8, 2016

    So sorry to hear this story. I feel very fortunate that our pastor is aware of and appreciates the fact that I carry in church. I stay aware of what is going on around the church before, during, and after service. I will bring your prayer request to our church during our prayer meeting tomorrow night. Thank God that the shooter was not aware of the importance of placement. My wife and I will keep Pastor Tim and his family in our prayers as well. God bless.

    TSgt Greg Thompson USAF Special Projects (Ret.)
    “All Gave Some, Some Gave All”

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