Thursday, July 20, 2017

Security Dealing With A Stalker

My daughter’s husband’s father, her father-in-law, is a personal injury lawyer in California. We’ll call him Bob. Bob does quite well there. His practice is thriving. He told me about a time when he was stalked by an angry business owner who he successfully sued for being at fault in injuring an employee. This guy was making obscene phone calls to his office and somehow found out where he lived. He started to become concerned and so he got a concealed license and started to carry a gun. He also instructed his family in how to avoid risk when at home and out in public. He started to receive phone calls at his home. He quickly changed his phone number (this was before cell phones). The police had been called and a restraining order issued. The calls become violent and threatening so to top off his home alarm he had cameras installed. Finally the creep was caught breaking the restraining order being dangerously close to their home. Bob called the police when he saw him on one of his cameras.
You never know when some whack-o will get the wrong idea about why you pulled in front of him, or why you did some other innocent thing that they took wrong. Here are some tips to keep you safe if you’re being stalked.
Carry a weapon.
If you’re trained to do so, carry a gun. Bob rushed out to get a concealed carry permit because he was truly afraid this person might come to his home and attack his family. If you don’t want to carry a gun, at the very least have a tactical pen on you. The truth is a concealed carry permit is basically an inexpensive form of insurance. If you live in a state that issues them, I urge you to get one as soon as you can. Don’t wait. Until that permit is physically on your person, you are not legally allowed to carry concealed. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation like Bob’s without the means to protect yourself.
Immediately stop all contact with the person.
Of course, this only works if you know who is stalking you. If you’re being hassled by an ex-lover, jilted co-worker, angry neighbor or someone else who is familiar to you, be sure to ignore any messages they leave you on the phone or on social media. Make sure that your friends and family stop all contact, too.
Document everything.
Save every voicemail and every note. A paper trail will come in handy if you need to take legal action. In Bob’s case, he kept detailed records. The first police report was useful to establish the pattern of harassment. Document activity, dates, times. Even establish witnesses. Be cautious to never let the stalker have the advantage.
Communicate
Tell everyone you know that you’re being stalked. Don’t be embarrassed and keep this information from friends and family. Tell people so they’ll know to keep you safe. Bob had talked to other lawyers so they could have keep an eye out. Personal injury law is a small “community” in the city he works in.
Check to see if you’re being tracked.
If the stalker had access to your cellphone, check it for a tracking app or get a new phone entirely. Check your vehicle for a tracking device by looking underneath it to see if a small GPS has been attached to your car. It doesn’t appear that Bob was being tracked electronically, but he did see his vehicle occasionally. He made sure his phone was recording when he spotted him.
I experienced a little of this once. We knew a woman who was leaving her husband. I don’t think it was particularly because of physical abuse, but they were separating. She brought her 2 small kids with her and they stayed at our home a day or so. She wanted to leave town and didn’t want to be followed. He was not a particular threat to me. He had friends in the sheriff’s office and they made a few passes by our house. We have several acres fenced by a 6ft deer fence. To actually get close to our house you would have to enter our drive on our property. There are signs. These deputies knew better. They did not come on our property. I would have ran them off. I often am armed (the only place I open carry) on our property, not that I really wanted to get into it with law enforcement (LE) carrying a gun. In fact, I probably would have removed the weapon to communicate with LE. But it never came to that. I was afraid they, and the husband, would try to intimidate me. But when vehicles I did not recognize went by our property I went out of my way to let the driver know I was watching. I didn’t want anyone “testing the wire” so to speak. Nothing happened and our friend got off alright. But if I ever had to deal with a stalker, I would probably go for “in your face” rather than running away. I would not look for a fight but, depending on the circumstance, I would let the stalker know I was prepared and ready to stalk them!
Be careful taking that advice. This is something for me in particular. Make sure you stay safe. Don’t take any unnecessary chances. Make sure you get authorities involved if there is any type of threat. You are not me and often being “in your face” can get your face smacked! Always be safe and secure.
I like the following quote though:
“I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money... but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it - I will not look for you, I will not pursue you... but if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you... and I will kill you.”
So is that a little over the top? I guess threatening someone’s life is a little too much. But I have had a long career (seems longer every day!). And do have a very particular set of skills.
You should acquire skills too. Don’t be a victim. Don’t let the aggressor take control. Like me old friend the Green Beret used to say to me time and time again, “Be aware, be deadly, and be in charge.”
FDR said:
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
I’m not an FDR fan. But I like this full quote. When worrying about a stalker “…convert retreat into advance.”

Semper Paratus
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Concealed carry Advice From A Pro

Did you ever hear of a police officer named Lt. Bob Stasch? Neither had I until my friend Choirboy told me about him. He is a commanding officer for the Chicago Police Department. He has been a police officer in Chicago for over 25 years. He may even be retired by now. I saw an interview with him (thanks Mas Ayoob!). He has been in 14 gunfights in the incredibly unsafe parts of Chicago. He has some very good insights that apply to anyone who carries a gun professionally, or as a citizen.
Some of these things I’ve taught for years and others maybe not so much.

Carry what is comfortable, not what someone recommends. He said the gun should “…feel like a 6th finger.”
He recommends, and I concur, choosing a gun that feels good in your hand and that goes “bang” every time.
Sometimes certain guns get a stigma because of their price. Like Kel Tec’s are garbage and Kimber’s are the best. Those stereo types of guns are usually not true. Most guns will shoot well if the shooter can shoot well. Find a gun that fits you well and that you can shoot well.

He said out of his 14 gunfights that he only used a two-handed grip 3 times.
Usually his support hand was doing something else, operating a radio, pushing someone or something out of the way, but occupied. Drill with a single hand. I’ve always maintained this. If you shoot and move you will find a two-handed grip and stance almost impossible to maintain. Even in competition you have to stop to shoot. If you don’t train with one hand you won’t all of a sudden know how to shoot with one hand. Try it with each hand. Incorporate one handed shooting into your training.

Most of his gunfights were at a distance of under 10 yards, with the majority being about 3 yards.
I’ve also trained this for years. Be able to hit your target in close quarters (CQ). You have to draw, aim, and shoot within about 2 seconds. That will mean being able to get your first shot off before you aim with sights. You should be able to get off one to two shot before bringing the weapon to your line of sight. I use the 21 foot rule (it’s actually not a rule) for my maximum shooting distance with a pistol. That’s just me. You should incorporate some sort of CQ into your training. Most of my training is CQ.

In his first gunfight, he said that he and his partner shot the suspect 15 times before the suspect went down. The suspect had no drugs in his system and ended up staying alive for 10 days after the encounter.
After Lt. Stasch’s first shooting, he ended up practicing headshots at close distance. He says he practices on a 6-inch paper plate target.

I know that head shots aren’t very appealing. But I know some operators that train almost exclusively with head shots. The El Presidente can help you here. My El Prez is a variation of Jeff Coopers and the competition drill. At various CQ distances I turn, draw, and put two to center of mass and one to the head, change mags, and repeat. I also mix it up. I like the idea of a 6 inch target. I think I use a 10 inch plate but I do hit the center “ring” which is about 6 to 7 inches.

He said he carries a spare gun (a revolver) and two spare magazines for his .45.
These days carry guns are small and many are single stack. Knowing this, I carry as much as I can. At least carry a spare magazine. But more is always better. Most of us may not need a spare gun, but a spare magazine or two is a very prudent practice. If you can handle a spare gun and two or three magazines, then by all means, carry that. Most concealed carriers carry one gun and one spare mag. Find a system that is good for you. If you find yourself in a more dangerous part of town often, maybe more is the minimum. If I know I’m going into a more dangerous situation, I arm myself for it. If I’m going into a green zone I want a battle rifle, 3 30 rounders, a sidearm with two extra mags. Out of the green zone would be even more. But I don’t see very “hot” areas so I arm accordingly. I know some ex-operators who carry a battle rifle in their trunk. I don’t know if it’s habit or they know something I don’t. But where I live, under rule of law, I leave the battle rifle at home with the ammo battle packs. If you find yourself in a questionable neighborhood, carrying a large bank deposit, you would act responsibly.

Two things I really liked about his interview:
He said the best way to survive gunfights is to never be in one in the first place. And two, he doesn’t care about being an expert, he just wants to go home at night.
These two bits of advice are better than anything else he could say.
Situational awareness, being able to see a problem and avoid it before it happens is the best defense we can have.
Lt. Bob Stasch is a true hero. He’d be the last to say it though. His courage under fire is something we should all learn from. I’d recommend his interview in learning how to be better at self-defense.
Semper Paratus
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Unexpected Bang: Negligent Discharge

If you ever had one, you know. If you haven’t had one, you’re due. There’s just about nothing that scares the you-know-what out of you like a negligent discharge.

Simply put, this is any “bang” you didn’t expect.

Such unexpected shots are rightly alarming, and for a host of reasons. The most obvious is their spectacularly, intrinsically unsafe nature: They generally signal errors and oversights, and perhaps technique flaws as well. They also tell you a lot about the shooter who has one in terms of character, or at least that’s our opinion. I’d be concerned by anyone not shocked and shaken when it happens to them. Serious assessment on several levels is the only appropriate response, to say nothing of apology and recompense if possible. At the very least, it ought to be the place where firearms snobbery and arrogance go to die. Think about this, and when you think, act. If you ever have one, make sure you put things in place so you’ll never experience it again!

I’d also suggest prayer, frankly, especially if yours was only embarrassing and expensive. They can be tragically worse, of course, though this is thankfully very rare despite mainstream media hysteria to the contrary (medical mistakes, automobile accidents, poisoning, falls, suffocation, drowning and incineration are all many times more common). All the same, most are preventable, and responsible gun ownership certainly means reducing them to as close to zero as possible, before the well-meaning-but-ignorant reduce them for you, by the taking away your Second Amendment rights.

First, know the rules, and understand how they “interlock” to make true gun safety a reality. I’ve made it a point in teaching that just one rule can do the heavy lifting for all safety concerns if it is applied with sufficient vigor: Never let the muzzle cover anything you aren’t willing to destroy.

Think about this and perhaps you’ll understand. If you never broke this rule, but had multiple NDs, it would only be expensive and embarrassing: It’s all but impossible to seriously injure yourself or anyone else as long as you don’t let that muzzle cover what you really value (I don’t have to actually say “people,” right?). But break this rule in combination with any of the others and things go rapidly, horribly wrong.

An especially dangerous way of thinking where I’ve see this happen, is when people limit the “muzzle cover” notion only to things they can see. Bullets will pierce many objects or travel surprising distances, and it’ll still be your fault if on the other side of whatever (wall, hill, car door, etc.) is something you didn’t want to destroy. Therefore, a loaded firearm gets pointed at a target only, to say nothing of putting your finger on the trigger, and-or firing.

Second is clearing a firearm. Most NDs occur with firearms people thought were empty. Notice how this one becomes trivial, expensive and embarrassing only, if you don’t violate number one above.

I’ve observed that clearing errors can have several sources. The most likely is not knowing how to properly clear a given firearm. This is compounded by the multiplicity of action types because different methods, in mechanical terms, apply. The fallback in all such cases is simple: Ask, or leave it the heck alone.

A myth-lie the anti-gun media loves to perpetuate is “It just went off!” But in all my years, I’ve never seen this happen, nor even been able to verify an incident I’ve heard about. There has always been an explanation, and a mistake has always been made. Got that? Always, and I figure I’ve been within earshot of something well north of 3 million rounds, and several dozen NDs.

This is one of the reasons we urge everyone to compete at some point in their shooting life: Nothing improves the quality and safety of overall gun handling like the repetition of competitive precautions and enforcements. Yet, even the most active of these maintain safety records that are simply unrivaled.
So “It just went off!” never happens!

Third, haste is the enemy. Let me clarify that: Certain things in shooting, both in sport and defensive situations, require speed, but they always have a connection to the target-only state we discussed above. Nothing else can or should be done in a hurry. Simply, give yourself time to think about safety in everything. Be deliberate in your head, not automatic with your hands. I shudder at my own recollected close calls and note that all were the fruit of utterly unnecessary haste.

Like what? Well, how about holstering? A surprising number of self-inflicted injuries stem from this, though modern holsters and competitive rules are driving this tally down. What in the world can be the rush to re-holster, yet you’ll see it frequently. Where this gets dangerous is if trigger discipline and muzzle control haven’t yet matured, and the finger doesn’t leave the trigger as the sights leave a legitimate target. It’s easy to envision how a gun-gear collision of undue force during this act can result in a bullet horrifyingly near your own femoral artery. Life-changing in any event.

A rotten “sister” exists in the draw. The desire to get going quickly is understandable, especially in defense situations and training for them. But remember that touching that trigger can only happen after the muzzle is clear of the holster, parallel to the ground, and on its way to a target. Whether your draw is from the waistband, purse, ankle or wherever, don’t be hunting for the interior of the trigger guard and face of the trigger until this happens. Breaking this one will not end well either, guaranteed.

I watched a ND recently when two students were practicing “punching out” with their guns. Luckily the gun was pointed in the right direction, toward the target, downrange. But the yelp of the student told me it was a ND. The range was hot so it wasn’t dangerous in that it was pointed correct and no one was downrange. The ND was unintentional even though it could have very well been an intentional shot. Like I said, the sound and the red face was a give-away. We stopped, cleared all weapons, re-briefed the rules, and let the violator teach the rest of us why rule 3 was important.

Safety is something that should be serious but can be taught with a little fun. Be serious when you have to (I tell “war stories” of tragedy) but it can be uniquely taught. “Bill why do we keep Rule number 3?” Because of Rule number 1. “Jennifer what is Rule number 4 and why do we keep it?” Because of rule number 1. Being exact is what I strive for. Keeping these rules with exactness (not only the finger out of the guard, but the finger on the frame instead of next to the guard) will keep ND’s from ruining your day. Muscle memory is important in shooting but “rule memory” is imperative. Rule memory is the ultimate goal of shooting. It’s something that will make everything else fall into place.

A reminder:
1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Negligent discharges are the shooters responsibility. Just as every bullet that leaves your gun. Bear that responsibility well. Like situational awareness, you must always be cognizant of your gun and its location, position, and status. ND’s make us all look bad. Gun owners, shooters, and hunters must all be better. We must meet the standard and the standard is high. Every time I see people playing around with guns on You Tube I want to slap these idiots. I love guns and love shooting and having fun with them. But there are limits and a way to do it safely.
Be careful out there. Be safe and enjoy your right.

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn