Louis Awerbuck

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Renowned shooting instructor Louis Awerbuck has passed away. Or, rather, he has shot himself, rather than face lingering illness. (At least, that’s what the Internet tells me.) This old interview may shed some light:

Q: You’re involved in teaching skills and a mindset that involve defending life and potentially taking life. Do you think about your mortality more than the average person?

LA: Yes, but I…:

Q. How often do you think about your mortality, the fact that one day you will die?

LA: Almost permanently now. But I don’t care; it doesn’t matter. I don’t have any family, so it’s not a big deal. It’s literally going back to what you were talking about earlier—the Asian way of thinking… the Japanese way of thinking. Everybody holds life so precious; I don’t. I mean, I’d like to live to a hundred and fifty if I were healthy, but [pauses] death and taxes.

Q: So in your understanding, what’s after death?

LA: I don’t know, but I think there’s got to be something. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have a five year-old killed, ridden over by a bus, for no reason. There’s got to be something out there. There’s got to be a reason one person lives to be a drunken murderer for 105 years and a good kid gets run over by a school bus when she’s four years old. There’s got to be something. What it is, I don’t know. I’m not a theologian. I guess it’s just a stepping in-between steps.

LA: Different people are different-

Q: For you?

LA: For me? For preserving my life? Honoring my parents. That’s why I didn’t die fourteen years ago. Not much else. I don’t trust anyone. Can’t trust anyone. So, that’s why I say I really don’t care about my death. I’ve had a hundred years packed into sixty. Why would I? I’ve got nothing to live for. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ve got no Achilles heel. I’m not the average person. I’m an exception to the rule. The average person— wife and kids, lineage, wants to see their grandchildren play football or through college or whatever. Fine. I’m the end of the line. I’m the end of the blood line, completely.

Q: Most adults wrestle with some sort of fear or anxiety. It can be their financial well-being, their health, or their personal safety. What do you fear most in life?

LA: Probably physical incapacitation, if I were cognizant of it. Dependency, physical dependency, and being cognizant of it. Having Alzheimer’s and knowing I’ve got Alzheimer’s and not being able to [pauses] end it. That’s it. I don’t fear anything else because … Mr. Roosevelt said, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.” I don’t want to be dependent on anybody else. There is nothing else.

Q: Any regrets or things you would have done differently in life?

LA: I would have given my parents more time, of my so-called “valuable” time, when I was younger. That’s all. I was going to say I wouldn’t have put in as much of my side of the pound of flesh as I did, but I probably would have, but that’s it. I owe nobody anything. Nobody owes me anything. I’m happy. You get up with daily fears—“I hope the kids are alright, I hope the wife’s alright, I hope I can pay the bills…” I don’t have those worries. I go broke? I’ll make some more money, somehow, somewhere. No wife, no kids, my dog’s dead, so what am I supposed to be concerned about? No family (none living). No lineage. I mean it sounds pathetic, or pathos-tic, but why would I have worries in life? All of the general person’s worries, normal worries.

He considered himself a realist:

Q: You have the advantage of having lived in South Africa as well as America. What’s right about American culture? What about it concerns you?

LA: What concerns me is America is what South Africa was thirty-five years ago, and people are too blind to see it. What’s right about it? It’s still got a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, if people will abide by it. But … it’s never coming back to what it was. If anyone’s that stupid….The cycle’s over. World powers have cycles, and America’s is over.

Q: So you’re not optimistic about the…

LA: I’m not pessimistic. I’m realistic because I’ve lived through this before. I’ve seen it all before. Without trying to sound supercilious, I’ve seen it all before. It’s just déjà vu, all over again, to quote the lyric. It’s going to go in no other direction. I think people would be shocked to know what is not American, owned in America, and I’m not going to give specifics. But there’s hardly anything “American made” that is American made. They’re trying to do things the right way…. The nice-guys-finish-last syndrome applies. That’s it.

Even six years ago he didn’t see much future:

Q: What does the future hold for Louis Awerbuck and Yavapai Firearms Academy?

LA: The Academy, I don’t know. For me, not much. It’s twilight and the sun’s going down. Am I … despondent? No. I reckon I’ve had a hundred years of good health, but … I’m jaded with mankind. That’s my problem. I’m jaded with mankind. Too many people. Too many years. Too many lies. Too many people with no morals, no ethics. Money, money, money. Me, me, me. Nice guys finish last. I don’t mind finishing last, but I’m tired of running, running the race. There’s no point to it. What is the end of it? What is it all? Nothing that I haven’t seen before.

More knowledge, hopefully. In fact, you can cancel the whole preceding three paragraphs and say, “Hope for more knowledge.” Just learn, learn, learn. It’s the psychology that I’m interested in. But otherwise, nothing.

What do I have left to do that I haven’t done? Nothing. Except maybe golf, but I ain’t going to try to hit a 4-inch golf ball into a 3-inch hole. Snow skiing? And I ain’t jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft, so there’s nothing left to do that I haven’t done that I wanted to do, except learn. That’s it. The show’s over.


  1. Steve Melczer says:

    August 9th 2014. I first heard of Louis Awerbuck passing yesterday. I contacted Snake and read more today, I’m still crying. I first met Lou in 1996 in Bloomington, IN. I went for the Stage 1 Handgun Class with a friend and customer of mine. From that moment there was a connection — something. I kept in touch with Louie over the years and took several classes in Lebanon, IN with him. We had many conversations, some professional and a few personal. We shared the same fondness for the following pistols: of course the 1911 (not fancy, just functional), Bulldog .44 Spl, Browning HP, and Glock. The main thing I will say about Louie’s teaching (at least for me), I never forgot anything he taught me. Louis didn’t tell you how to, he told you what you have to do. And by listening to what he said, you learned.

    Last year I went to Lebanon for the second time, not to shoot but to surprise him with my dog (a Landseer-Newfoundland). See, Louie loved his Newfoundland; he carried an old snapshot in his wallet. When I pulled up, Leigh met me at my Yukon and took Charlie to see Lou. Charlie wouldn’t leave his side. Something was different with Charlie after that — for the better. I looked forward to seeing Louis this August at Boone County, as almost every August. It was always a pleasure just to talk to him. What a great pair Leigh and Lou made, fantastic people.

    The outcome is very sad. The world lost a great person and many lost a good friend, mentor, and “keeper of the flame”. There will never be another Louis Awerbuck, just as there will never be another Bruce Lee.

    I understand why Lou did what he did. We talked about it before, not him though — me. What is our greatest fear in life? That is different for everyone; no two problems have the same outcome for two different souls. If Louis didn’t think that was the best solution for him, he put a lot of thought in that final decision.

    I never will forget you and what you taught me. Never forgotten and always missed. Rest in peace, Lou.

    Your Student and Friend,

    Steve Melczer

  2. Beth-Ann Keschner says:

    Hello Steve,

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt message about our cousin Louis Awerback’s sad passing.

    As Louis family in South Africa we were not aware of his health challenges and we were shocked and are extremely saddened to hear of his passing.

    My mother Connie Joselowitz and myself have maintained contact with Louis over many years, however as you know Louis was not one to communicate much, so our connection was at most bi-annual and yet we always treasured any contact that we had with him. Louis and I shared a common love of Dogs and we discussed our pets with great passion. On many occasions he shared with me his passion for his dog Trigger!

    It was also Louis who advised me after I was Hi-jacked at gun point, that I was better off not ‘arming’ myself in case of this scenario happening again in the future, as he said that the gangster would always be in the position to be more prepared! Such good advice!

    We are so sorry that we were not in a position to offer Louis and Leigh our family support during what sounds like was a very painful period both physically and mentally) for him but from the sounds of your note and the other posts, Louis had wonderful support in friends such as yourself.

    RIP our cousin Louis – We are sure that Aunty Ettie has welcomed you back into her fold!

    All our love from Beth-Ann Keschner, Connie, Jack and Stefan Joselowitz

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