Friday, February 24, 2017

Gun Safety And You

About once a year I seem to start leaning toward repeating my views of safety. When I teach the four safety rules I try to weave them through the course. I present them and give visual aids.
Jeff Cooper said “I have lived a long active life, and I am still alive because I have always been very, very careful!” I tend to agree with Jeff.
The rules are:
1-All guns are always loaded.
2-Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3-Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4-Always be sure of your target.
I then explain that rules 2, 3, and 4 exist because of 1. “We are sure of our target because of why? Because all guns are always loaded and we need to know what we’re shooting at!”
I then quiz the students.
“Bill we keep rule 3 because of why?”
“Julia rule 2 is important because of which rule?”
I try to do that throughout their time with me.
Sometimes I add one more rule: Never point a gun at ME!
Rule number 5 is very important to me… Gun safety can be light-hearted too as long as the 4 rules are learned and kept seriously.
I also try to explain the rules in a little more detail. I’d like to do that now also.
Rule 1: All guns are always loaded
Don’t let anyone change this rule with something like “Treat” all guns as if they were loaded. The two words “as if” messes everything up. If I pick up a gun and clear it I can then do anything with it now because I’ve cleared it, right? No! What if my clearing of that weapon was sloppy or I just missed that shell in the barrel? I like the wording of the rule, all and always, are powerful. This is the most important rule. All the other rules are linked to this one. When someone hands you a gun you clear it first thing. I don’t care if you just watched the person that handed it to you clear it, clear it again! If all guns are always loaded then no one should ever say “I didn’t know it was loaded!”
Rule 2: Never let the muzzle cover (point at) anything you are not willing to destroy.
This is one that is constantly overlooked and violated. I do it myself. I don’t want to destroy the ceiling yet I’d rather point it there than at a person. I don’t worry as much when a gun is in a holster or case or even sitting on a table. Once it’s under human control, in someone’s hands, that’s when these tools become dangerous. This applies to me or anyone handling the gun. Don’t point it at yourself or your body parts. This includes your foot! Don’t scrap this rule when you dry fire. You can practice most shooting techniques without firing a shot. Make sure what you are pointing your gun at and using as your dry fire target is something that can contain your round.

Rule 3: Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target
For some reason when a human picks up a gun they naturally put their finger on the trigger or in the trigger guard. Actually, that’s how guns are designed so that it is not difficult to get to the trigger when it comes time to shoot. That’s why always keeping this rule is so important. Guns do not shoot, people press the trigger and the mechanical device responds. Without your finger on the trigger, the gun normally won’t go off.
Remember this scene from the movie “Blackhawk Down”?
Steele: Sergeant, what's the meaning of this?
[Thinking he's talking about the unauthorized pig picking]
"Hoot": Just a little aerial target practice, sir. Didn't want to leave 'em behind.
Steele: I'm talking about your weapon, soldier. Now Delta or no-Delta, that's still a hot weapon. Your safety should be on at all times.
"Hoot": This is my safety, sir.
[He holds up his index finger and bends motions as if squeezing a trigger and then walks off]
Sanderson: Let it alone, sir. He hasn't eaten in a few days.
I guess Hoot was Hangry… but his sentiment is true. Finger discipline is the perfect “safety”.
This is one rule that is constantly violated on T.V. and in movies. When I see an actor with finger discipline I know the advisor for weapons did a good job. Once in a while you’ll find an actor that actually knows this rule first hand like Keanu Reeves who has been a competitive shooter.

Rule 4: Always be sure of your target.
I always add on the end of this rule “…and beyond.” You are responsible for every bullet that exits your gun. You MUST know where that bullet is going. In self-defense you must have 100% target identification. You cannot shoot at sounds or darkness. If you do, you may injure or kill someone you do not intend to. You could end up heart broken and in jail.
At the range, or wherever you shoot, ensure your backstop will stop a bullet. Not maybe, not slow it down, but stop it dead every time. Know also if what you’re shooting at will ricochet in any direction you don’t want it to. It can even ricochet back to you or whoever you’re shooting with. So be aware.
Situational awareness is so essential when you shoot. When it comes to self-defense just because you have drawn your gun doesn’t mean you must shoot. Once you see the threat you must assess if this perceived threat really is a threat. It should happen in a split second. You must be ready.

Know what you are doing.
These rules should be learned until you know them backward and forward. Become the model gun handler. Education can cure Hollywood gun handling. Your example can set the example and show anyone who sees you, that you are a serious gun owner. You keep these rules and you expect everyone else to do the same. You can be a great teacher even if you are not an instructor. You can be the one who can prevent tragedy.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My Dear Scouting Is Dying

This is an entry I made in an LDS forum about Boy Scouting and the recent kafuffle that happened in the Boy Scout organization. Most were saying that BSA should not have caved under pressure.

"This is a tough one. I agree with almost everyone here. I have been a Scout leader since 1986, even before my boys were old enough for Scouting. Most Scout Troops in the Church operate in a very loose way. I mean, how many of us played basketball more than we did Scouting? But now I am called as a Stake YM President. When I have a ward that seeks counsel and direction from the Stake concerning their YM programs I feel obligated with my calling to encourage a well-organized Scout Troop. I have 3 Eagle Scout sons and my last just lacks his paperwork and board of review. I truly love this program. I love the history and the connections to the past through traditions. I love what the program teaches and how boys can learn from it. I love the preparedness and self-sufficiency it teaches. But as my wife said the other day, "I just want to get my sons finished and earn his Eagle so we can be done with the program before it completely collapses." That seems selfish but I tend to agree. The program that I grew up with is going away because of political correctness and the need to be so "inclusive." If there was no Girl Scouts somebody would be screaming that a girl should be able to join Boy Scouts! I kind of wish the Church would abandon this program and create one like unto it. But until then, I will push the program that I love so much. I always tell everyone that I accepted the Scoutmaster position all those years ago just so I could go camping and use my calling as an excuse! But so many of "my" boys have loved this program with me. They have moved on to missions, college, and marriage. It makes my heart swell when I catch one of my "boys" from years ago in the Temple. We always talk about that "one" campout or hike or activity that we shared and bonded with. I see how Scouting has enriched their lives and my own boy’s lives. I am sad that possibly their own sons may not have that same experience. I really just want the Church to get out, rip it off like a Band-Aid! It would hurt less than to watch it slowly die."
End forum post.
I do feel this way about Boy Scouting. I really wish people would leave sexual preference and gender out of this program. How is it I would likely find out if an adult in Scouting preferred having sex with their own gender? How would I know that? Is there a club handshake or a T-shirt that homosexuals have that I would recognize? I mean do all gay men speak with a lisp? No they do not. So how would I know? Would it come up talking about a Troop campout coming up? My point is, I don’t understand why we even need to bring these things up? I’ll tell you why. Some gay people must broadcast their sexuality to the world. For some demented reason, they feel the rest of the world really gives a crap! So, the BSA has to come up with a policy. Ludacris! Does the gender of an 8 year old come up often when a Pack discusses the pinewood derby? I actually feel that we should consult professionals on the subject of gender choice for a 6 year old. The professional being the medical professional who put a gender on a birth certificate. I know my liberal friends will have a fit, but you don’t really choose your gender. Now there are certain situations where someone is born with both sets of reproductive organs. I guess in this case one must make a choice. It’s kind of a no-brainer. If an 8 year old said “I want to eat candy and ice cream for dinner every night” would you as a parent say “OK it’s your choice…”? No! A 6 year old does not have the brain capacity, experience, maturity to make certain choices. And gender is one of those things! This is an adult putting these things into a kids mind. Kids do not think that way unless they are taught. Why the heck is this an issue? Because pig-headed adults are involved. People that have nothing better to do than to cause problems. I guess the parents of the 8 year girl who was “choosing” to be a boy and was kicked out of a Cub Pack is a little different story. Someone found out about the girl, and told someone in the Council. I’m not sure how it was discovered.
Then Boy Scouting caved into silliness like Anikan Skywalker to the dark side. We want to include everyone! No, actually we don’t. What about pedophiles? Don’t they have rights too? I’m not equating pedophiles with homosexuality. But the BSA is exclusive. I’m a Life Scout. I’m a Life for life. What about MY rights? Can’t I finish my Scouting career and become an Eagle? Why can’t I just go to college without entrance exams and transcripts? Isn’t my money good enough for Harvard? Why can’t I get a job designing rockets at NASA? My background is projectiles, isn’t a rocket just a big projectile? I know these are not the best examples. The point is, groups can put requirements on membership. Boy Scouting can limit their membership any way they want. Problem is, liberal whining and thinking permeates big organizations. I’m embarrassed for BSA. I’m wondering what will be next? (That’s what I thought when BSA let homosexual boys into Scouting, as if a 14 year old can really figure they are gay) Now that we know when people complain or there seems to be some injustice concerning the BSA they will just roll over. There is integrity at stake here and I feel BSA needs to get some. Why is it an organization must let everyone who wants to into their organization? These issues need not be issues. I don’t know why everyone should be everywhere!? Why can we not have exclusive organizations? Actually, we do. You must meet certain requirements to enter some organizations.
There is a Seinfeld episode where George turns down a girl who would have made him very happy. He calls himself “Costanza, Lord of the idiots.” Jerry and George are at a party that overlooks the street where the NY marathon is being ran. Several people are watching the race and one girl says to the runners as they go by “You’re all winners!” George looks over at her after he proclaims himself Lord of the idiots and says “…but suddenly a new contender has emerged…”
Reality is that we are not all winners. There is a winner of a race and many losers. That doesn’t mean that those who ran ARE losers in their lives, just of that race. Each of us have won and lost at many things in our lives. It will continue to be so. “You’re all winners” is a statement that tries to make us all feel better about losing. It is not teaching anyone how to lose. It’s not real. It does depict society as being “Lord of the idiots!”
I cannot just join any organization I want. I can’t be a member of MENSA. Like Scouting, MENSA has requirements. I think that’s discrimination. Stupid people should be able to join MENSA too! My IQ sucks but I should be able to “identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity…” too! Or is that, “also?” Apparently I should NOT be a member of MENSA, but you get the picture.
There is no going back for BSA. They will continue to cow down to those who don’t meet their standards. They will just change their standards! I predict this will happen again. Something else will come up and BSA will change their policies once again. Good thing they write them in pencil!

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Self-Defense For The Average Guy

I got a message the other day and it read in part:
“Burn, I’m just an average guy. I’m in my late 20’s, have a 9-5 office job, and am in OK shape. Barring going to Recondo school, or becoming Chuck Norris, what can I do to protect myself and my wife and baby girl?”
It was signed “Average Guy”
First, how cool is it that a young guy who wasn’t alive in the 60’s even knows what Recondo School is? If you don’t know look it up. It is referenced to the beginning of Spec Ops during the Viet Nam conflict. Anyway, I thought I’d answer AG with an article for the average guy.
My background in self-defense is from the military. So my answer to an average person asking about self-defense will be different than someone with an extensive background in law enforcement or martial arts. So take this for what it is.
I believe that the average person can acquire the skills to be proficient with a firearm. I feel that is our best bet for self-defense these days. I also live by the adage that “Two is one and one is none.” So, I think it pays to learn other weapons and other forms of self-defense.
We are responsible for our own self-defense, not the government or anyone else. A gun is, in my opinion, the easiest way to do this. If you disagree, that’s fine, but I wonder why you’d be on site titled “LDS Gunsite?” Anyway, there are other ways to defend yourself.
If you take my counsel and decide to defend your family with a gun I have some additional advice.
1-Assuming you may legally own a gun go out and find the best gun for you. Ask people you trust that know. Go to a range that will let you rent different guns or find an instructor that will let you shoot different calibers and styles of guns.
2-Get trained. Find a good instructor or school and get the training you need.
3-Get properly licensed. Learn the laws for where you live and abide by them.
4-Practice. This is important. Shooting is a perishable skill. You will default to your training in a stressful situation.
Here are some other tips I received from my friend Mac who working for the State department’s Diplomatic Security for years. 4 Basic “Rules”:
1. Don’t put yourself in danger
2. Protect The Asset
3. Use Their Strength
4. There Are No Rules

Don’t put yourself in danger
If you don’t know the bad parts of town or a neighborhood, learn them! This is the most obvious “rule” there could be. Don’t put yourself in a bad place or situation. Don’t take a shortcut down a dark alley. Don’t be in a parking lot at 3 A.M. Take calculated risks if needed, but don’t do anything that could put you in harm’s way.
You as the person in charge need to know which areas of town you’re going to, and if they’re close to the dangerous parts of town. Ignorance is bliss only when ignorance can’t stab you and take your money for making a poor decision.
So don’t put yourself in a situation that could end badly. Enough bad things happen in decent places, don’t go to where the pain is.
Protect The Asset
Even if the asset is just you. But if you’re with someone, they are the asset. Do not let anything happen to them.
In a situation where you’re assaulted by surprise you need to have it in your head already that you’re going to stand between whatever is happening and the person you’re with. This isn’t to say that person can’t handle themselves. If they pull out a Glock and blow away the threat then you all benefit, if not then protect the asset.
Odds are that you’ll never get attacked for no reason at all, they’re after something. If it’s money go ahead and give it up, it’s harder to recover from a beating than to explain why you need to cancel your credit cards. But if you have a person with you then for their sake you need to make sure they don’t get to them.
The best tactics to secure an asset is to make yourself the barrier to get through. It may sound stupid, but if they’re trying to get to something that’s directly behind you then that creates a natural bottle neck that you control. You can maneuver them and force them to follow your lead to make a move, and with the right amount of situational awareness you can use this to your advantage.
If you stall them long enough you can call for help, make a plan to escape or make your stand.
Use Their Strength
This isn’t about some Tai-Chi move to redirect their energy back at them, rather you need to use the same tactics or “strengths” they’re using on you.
What tactic did they use on you? How about surprise and violence. Assuming you have the awareness in the moment to understand what’s happening, it would be a great idea to suddenly start making giving it back. This may throw your attackers off for a few moments, and that’s when you take the upper hand and either run or deal a punishing blow. The assailant is depending on you to crumble and be scared, and while you may be scared in the moment, if you can muster enough courage to yell, jump, charge and attack the attacker, you’ll gain the upper hand. And all while using their “strength”.
There Are No Rules
I don’t believe in the notion of a fair fight. If you can scream like a girl and rupture their eardrums then do it. There’s no trophies given for style points in these situations. All that matters is that you make it out alive and protect those you’re with.
Biting and scratching are great ways of inflicting damage on an emotional level with your attacker. If you punch someone and they scratch your arm and bite your neck hard enough to draw blood then I’m pretty sure they’re going to proceed with caution.
So do what you have to do to make it out alive, because if you’re defending someone else then they won’t care how you saved their life, only that you saved it.
I want every upper hand I can get. The “father” of Spec Ops Tiger Force, David Hackworth said:
“If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission properly.”
Plan properly and use ALL the tactics, training, and weapons at your disposal. When this country goes to war as we did in Iraq we wanted an overwhelming win. We did not invade Iraq until we had at least a 10 to 1 ratio. Plan the same with your self-defense. I want options. I want a plan A, B, C, D, E, and F. I want small arms, artillery, air defense, and WMD on my side!
If you’re just an average guy remember that most criminals have practiced their craft. They may not go to the range weekly, but you are probably not their first crime.
Getting yourself and your assets out of any situation alive, and preferably unhurt, is your primary goal. Prevention is best but when faced with violence you must answer in kind or violence will win.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn