Thursday, May 29, 2014

Toy Guns and Training

I was talking to a co worker the other day. I work on a federal installation with many ex and retired military members. I also work with many hunters. Where I live, hunting is not unusual and during hunting season our town swells. This co worker is younger than I am and so is from a different generation. We were talking guns when the conversation turned to toy guns.
I am truly a gun nut. I’ve hunted, competed, and shot guns a lot. My many children vary in ages from pre teen to married with kids. As my kids grew up, my wife and I made the choice to not let our kids have toy guns. Every child, boys and girls, were taught young and often about real guns. They had safety drilled into them and enjoyed lots of trigger time at the range. I still have the opportunity to shoot with my oldest son every other week. I don’t know why we decided against toy guns, but I think my thinking was this. I didn’t want my kids to have to differentiate between real and toy guns. If they picked up a gun in our house, it was real and should be cleared and the 4 rules followed. I think I gave in when it came to squirt guns. Most squirt guns look about as far away from the real thing as you can get and still be called a “gun”. My kids were not deprived; they used their finger, sticks, Leggo’s, and many other inventive ways of “making guns”. Now that they are all older, some of them are gun nuts, and some shoot occasionally and with the family. None of them are scarred from not being able to play with realistic looking toys. That is what we did. Also, consider the time that they grew up. The older ones grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and the young one’s live in a post-9-11 world. My younger kids don’t know what this country and world was like before 9-11. Now fast forward to 2014. These days kids who play without parental supervision are considered in danger. The police are called if kids are playing in their front yard with red-tipped air soft guns! School shootings are happening all the time and recently there was another shooting on an Army base. It is quite a different world than what I grew up in, but a different world than even my older kids grew up in!
I can’t tell you what to do as a parent, but I also sometimes feel that some parents are out of control! Overkill is the word that comes to mind. Some parents won’t have their children walk anywhere and wouldn’t dream of sending them on a school bus. I am keenly aware of the differences in decades and especially in a post 9-11 world. I would also act different if I lived in a city instead of outside of a small town. You need to assess the danger your kids may be exposed to where you live. But I think we don’t give our kids enough credit. Do not ever compromise their safety but be realistic about the danger. Depending on where you live, there is not a sexual predator or a kidnapper behind every bush. There are some places in Phoenix, where I grew up, that I would not even go armed into, but I don’t live there anymore.
Teach your children safety, stranger danger, or whatever you think they need according to your circumstance. Give them some independence from you so that they won’t be paranoid or think they need someone else’s protection the rest of their lives. I’ve read stories about a parent in a large city taking their 10 or 11 year old a ways away from home, and telling them to get home and leaving them to do it. I’m sure there was instruction and training involved. I’d have to have some confidence in my child and the city and area I lived in to do that. Now I have trained my children, at what my wife and I deemed an appropriate age, to use weapons. We’ve taught them to shoot guns, how to use a baton, stun gun, and pepper spray. These less then lethal weapons require some training or they can do some irreversible damage. I wanted them to understand these weapons so they could use them effectively and also fight against them effectively. They’ve also had some hand to hand combat training. Now, they are not mini-Rambo’s but they have an understanding of how to defend themselves. I would recommend this. Ensure their training is by someone you trust if you cannot effectively do it yourself. I would recommend taking this training with them if you don’t feel competent in these skills. Too often we buy our college age daughter a can of pepper spray without any type of training involved. This is dangerous. Even a less than lethal weapon can backfire and be taken from the defender and used on them. Without a little knowledge and experience using these weapons can do more harm than good.
Our spouses are also a big part of this equation. He or she should be on the same page with you in their training and the training of your kids. I don’t expect any of this type of training to be extensive. Especially if the person receiving the training is not really interested in it. If they are interested you can find some advanced training for them. I think along with self defense training, medical training should be given too. At the least basic first aid should be taught. In LDS wards sometime this training is neglected with our youth. Boys need the First Aid merit badge for Eagle, but if your Troop is not real active, medical training can go by the wayside. Some Young Women organizations may do medical training once a year for camp, but neglect it during the year. If you only get medical training once a year, you probably won’t remember a lot or have anything to build on. Once a quarter, if each of us touched on the training we have received in the past, we would retain enough to get us by. I don’t feel the same way about weapons training though. Once a quarter is not enough time with a gun. To train your mind and muscle memory, I feel once a week , as a minimum, with a gun over the course of years would do the trick.
In the end, we live in a different world from that of our parents and grandparents. World War II was a war that brought this country together in very significant ways. 9-11 did the same thing for about a year. Living in the last days has brought us a more brutal, harder world. There is less of an inclination toward God (of any religion), and patriotism. As the things that try the hearts of men become more prevalent, I believe we will live in a much less kind and civilized world. Giving your children toy weapons will become less accepted socially. You and your spouse must weigh these things and consider what you will do. I hope you will consider training a part of your life and the lives of your family. I’ve only touched on self defense and medical skills in the article. There are many others to consider. Here are some:
Aternative cooking, lighting, and heating. Food storage. Water storage. Bug out bags (72 hr kits). Communications. Transportation. Shelter. Gardening. Raising animals.
Skills trump gear every time.
Semper Paratus
Burn

Home Security While You Are Away

We are getting ready to go on vacation. This is actually a trip to attend a wedding but also a mini vacation. In the process we are dealing with a burglary that happened a few months ago in our neighborhood. We live in the country and our nearest neighbor is about 10 acres away. So we have been thinking of ways to secure our home while we are gone.
Windows. I believe the easiest way is sometimes the best. Our windows slide up so we bought a little device that can be clamped down on the frame to prevent the window from sliding up. I’ve liked this way of securing our windows for years. The windows do have locks, but I feel this is a second level that I am comfortable with.
Doors. We have the traditional deadbolt and knob locks but we are adding a simple lock that goes on the frame and swings over the door to keep it from moving. This can’t be used unless you are in the house. So the door that we exit won’t have that protection.
Keys. If you are like us, we have a key rack where all of the keys to our vehicles, sheds, and spare keys are hung. These should be locked away or hidden in a place where they cannot be found. We don’t normally lock our vehicles at home. The small town we live outside of has little crime so we feel secure in doing this where we live. This is a practice we should change! Before we leave we will lock our vehicles we leave behind. Also, if you have a hidden key to your car or home, ensure that it is not in an obvious place where a quick search would find it. And when you do leave for an extended period of time, pull that key in and secure it. There are fake rocks on the market that hide keys if you feel you can do that effectively. I’ve seen a thermometer that slides open to hide a key also.
Important papers. We keep our important papers in a fire box. This fire box is for just that, fire! We will secure this box in a place where it won’t be found. Our credit cards that we won’t need with us will be among these items.
Weapons. Our guns will be secured and locked away where they won’t be found.
External hard drives. We back up everything on our computer on external hard drives. These contain sensitive information and also pictures, music, and other valuables. Those drives are small and easy to secure. Everything sensitive will be purged from our computers. I’ve also seen plans for a hidden USB storage disguised as a telephone jack. Here’s the link. (http://www.instructables.com/id/Hidden-USB-Storage/)
Valuables. These include but are not limited to, precious coins and stamps, jewelry, or any other thing that would be difficult or expensive to replace. They will be secured.
What exactly do I mean by “secured”? There are many ways of doing this. A safe can be a good place to not only secure items, but protect from fire also. Gun safes can be used for more than guns. I like the ideas of deception and camouflage. The internet has many items and ideas for this type of security. The one I remember from my childhood is the old cut out book safe. I made one of these as a kid. We have an extensive library and if I didn’t know what book to look for it might take quite a while to find the one that has valuables in it. That is, IF it’s even there. There are also other fake safes out there. Some are in the shape of food or beverage cans or containers. I’ve seen fake bottoms on potted plants, fake candles, fake stack of CD cases (Don’t like that one), and a fake sprinkler head (I like this one!).There are clocks and picture frames with safes behind them. These will all work for their intended purpose but are limited in size. There are even wall electrical outlet safes that pivot out to reveal a hiding place. Companies will build cabinetry or furniture with compartments to hide weapons or valuables. They can even build a hidden room. If you use any of these items remember the importance of OPSEC. In the military OPSEC refers to operation security. In other words, keep your mouth shut about the means you use to conceal or hide your things. Don’t make it known that you are practicing this type of security except on a “need to know” basis. This will keep your secret, secret. OPSEC should be practiced on the internet. Don’t get on Twitter or Facebook and let the whole world know that you are not going to be home at a specific time. Keep this information secure from prying eyes.
There are the typical things you can do. Lock everything, have someone pick up mail and newspapers. If you live in a multi story house make sure any ladders are locked up and second story windows are locked. If you don’t have a garage to lock up lawn equipment make sure those items are secured. Put timers on lights and/or a TV/radio. Make it look like someone is home. A barking dog is always a deterrent. A home alarm is always a good idea. I’ve even seen home alarm system signs for those who want to look like they have an alarm system. Security cameras are an option to deter burglaries. And of course there are fake cameras. If you are going to be gone for a long time, more than a few weeks, making sure non-essential electrical things are turned off and turning air conditioning or heat down can save money. If you live in a cold place and will be gone a long time, ensure the heat in your home will keep pipes from freezing and causing damage.

Don’t forget that even a short time away from home you can be vulnerable. LDS members are in Church for several hours sometimes. Make sure your home is secure even for that shorter time you are at Church.

I have put our family vacation security into the form of a checklist so I won’t forget something. I review it with family members as we are preparing for time away from home so we can add to or take away anything that applies.

Security at home is very important. Your home should be your safe haven from the world but don’t get so comfortable that you are complacent.

Semper Paratus

Burn

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Avoiding a Carjacking

I’m not sure if any of you saw the event of Wed 12 MAR 2014 in Denver, Colorado. A criminal who didn’t want to go back to jail lead police on an hour long pursuit as he stole a car with a child in it, then carjacked two other vehicles in the process of trying to evade capture. The whole ordeal was captured on video from various sources. I watched the whole 54 minute video, most of it being the high speed attempt of a not so bright criminal barely missing cars, hitting some vehicles, driving the wrong way on roads, and so on. As I watched the video I found myself critiquing the criminal and the victims. Having been involved with training with a few army guys I learned some things from just talking with these PSD (personal security detachment) guys. The course we were taking was combat tactical driving. The guys that did (and do) this for a living have a particular outlook on driving and how to avoid problems. As I watched this event unfold on video (something you don’t see everyday) I started to think of ways to not be a victim of carjacking. I will give you my thoughts on this.
Moving
One thing I learned about a gunfight is that a moving target is more difficult to shoot. That’s why a Command Sergeant taught the phrase “Shoot, Move, Communicate” to his students. Well the same can be said for carjacking. Being static rather than moving improves your chances of being car jacked. There are times when you must be static, stop lights, getting gas, getting in and out of your vehicle. These are the times you must be vigilant. If you’re getting gas at night, or really any time, pick a pump close to the building where you will more likely be in view of others. Avoid pumps at the end of the row or at an angle that is unobserved from the convenience store or booth. Try to find a well lit place that is busy enough for people to be around. Lock your doors and take your keys. There is a new trend of “gas station sliders”. This is thieves that open the passenger side of cars at the gas pump and steal purses, or other valuables. Keep your windows up and doors locked. Remember always being in Yellow ( See blog: Threat Cons and Training 3/4/14) which means always alert. At a stop light use your mirrors. Ensure no one is walking up on you. Give yourself room to maneuver or exit. Keep your head up. Most everyone around you will have their noses in a phone. This is true of people walking as well as sitting at a light.
Be aware of being boxed in. Sometimes it’s unavoidable but a planned kidnapping with more than one car can put you in a no exit position real fast. Most carjacking is a crime of opportunity rather than a planned ambush. But just remember your situational awareness.
Distance and Speed
An advantage to driving as opposed to someone on foot, is the ability to get distance quickly from the threat. Now a vehicle does need to maneuver around other vehicles, obstacles, and over curbs. This is why an exit is important. No one wants to bang up their or others vehicles, but I’d rather deal with a fender bender rather than a threat trying to get into and take my vehicle. When stopping at a light you don’t want to leave too much space in front of you so another vehicle can pull in front of you but you also want to give yourself space to exit if needed. Practice as you drive and you will be able to find that comfortable space you should leave yourself. I don’t see any reason for anyone to run up to your vehicle and try to open your doors. A panhandler usually won’t approach your car unless you indicate that you have something for them.
A tip on jumping curbs and medians. You’ll want to be sure you have clearance so you don’t high center your vehicle in an attempt to escape. Look at curbs and medians as you drive. You’ll be able to size them up to know what you can and can’t do with your vehicle. If you find a need to escape this way you should always go over these obstacles at an angle. This will let you slide and keep one drive wheel on the ground at all times. It will also relieve the shock of your tires. Keep the momentum when you try this and don’t stop until you’re over. This is not a speed maneuver but torque I the key. To practice this lay a 2x4 on the ground and drive over it at an angle and head on to get a feel for the difference.
Push Through
A common technique taught in terrorism aversion courses is putting your bumper on the vehicle in front of you and pushing it out of the way. This would be a last resort move because it just may not work. The car in front may put on their brakes and not let you push them out of the way. Giving yourself space is the best way to keep out of trouble.
Distance and speed would be the best response to a carjacking attempt. But as a last resort, without a choice, being armed and ready to defend yourself or others in your vehicle is appropriate. In the Colorado video I never do see a weapon in the criminals hands. I can only assume the 2 victims who were pulled out of their cars did not have their doors locked. But always use your best judgment and if confronted by someone with a weapon, giving up your car is better than giving up your life.
Nothings says if someone bumps you that you have to stop right away and jump out of your car. If you continue rolling and stop 30 or 40 feet down the road, it won’t matter much. Give yourself space. Most criminals have not learned “close and engage” but often it’s a natural thing if you want to dominate and “win” a confrontation. With space, closing is more difficult for the aggressor and it gives the opponent (you) more options. Just like a confrontation on foot, closing the space between you and your target is important. Most gun events happen with 10 feet of the two involved. Giving yourself space in your car gives you the opportunity to put distance between you and the other guy. If you’re with your family and get in a accident and get out, have your spouse get into the drivers seat and be ready to leave if needed. Have a phone ready to dial 911 or call before you get out.
As I watched the Colorado video I saw simple things that could have made a difference in being a carjacking victim or not.
Practice
Just as you would teach a teenager to drive in an empty parking lot with cones, you too can practice some of the things we’ve talked about here. Do you or your spouse know the feeling of mashing the accelerator from a dead stop? Setting up cones for other cars and 2x4s for curbs and medians can give you the edge that you may need to avoid being a victim. Also, if you use code words for safety reasons with your kids have a word for a problem going down while you’re driving. Even if it’s just “Lock and duck!” Get in the habit of locking your doors if your car doesn’t do that automatically. Also, set up all your mirrors to cover what’s going on behind you. Consider adding convex blind spot mirrors that stick to your mirrors that give you better view. Window tint might also be something to consider but make sure you are doing so legally in your state. Keeping windows up is also a good idea in heavy traffic.
Going through life paranoid of everyone and everything is not what I suggest. But going through life oblivious of your surroundings is dangerous and stupid. Be wise and do the little things that will often keep you out of harms way.
A few weeks ago I was getting gas at a convenience store I don’t usually go to. I happened to be armed, something I usually can’t do working on a government installation. As I was walking in after pumping gas a man approached me and started to close. He started with “Are you from around here?” and he was getting uncomfortably close so I put up my hand and that stopped him. I said “Hold on one minute” and kept walking to get in the building. He said something about finding HEB but not being sure where Walmart was. I put some space between him and I before I turned to face him. He kept advancing until I put my hand up. I think he realized he was encroaching on my space (21 Foot rule). I gave him quick directions to Walmart and he went away. My hand was near my weapon but not on it. Avoiding an attack, an ambush, or mugging is generally the same for avoiding a carjacking. Be aware and have situational awareness.
Stay safe
Semper Paratus
Burn

Active Shooter Response

On January 8, 2011 Jared Loughner shot 20 people in the parking lot of an Arizona grocery store. In law enforcement terminology, this type of crime is called an “Active Shooter” event. In this kind of incident, one or more shooters are trying to kill as many people as possible. The shooters may or may not be politically motivated. Most of these events last only a few minutes and end up with the shooter(s) dead, often committing suicide shortly after encountering any form of resistance. The most common locations where these events take place are churches, schools, the shooter’s workplace, and public shopping areas.
This is not a new thing for the new millennium. In August of 1966 Charles Whitman, an ex-Marine, and avid hunter climbed the University of Texas tower and shot and killed 14 people making it the worst mass school incident until Virginia Tech in 2007. This is not a new phenomenon but they seem to be increasing their frequency in the last few years.
Statistically speaking, most of these events are over in less than four minutes. Unless there is already law enforcement at the scene, there won’t be time for any to arrive. Police response has been, with a couple of exceptions, relatively inconsequential in past active shooter incidents. They arrive in time to clean up the mess. Law enforcement is improving in this with training and sadly, experience.
Of the incidents that were stopped by people at the scene (as opposed to incidents where the shooter was not resisted in any way) 2/3 of the shooters were stopped by citizens, not police. And in half of those cases the citizens were unarmed! Just like what happened in Arizona, a few citizens with incredible courage jumped on the shooter and stopped his rampage.
If you find yourself at the scene of an active shooter event, there are lots of things to consider. While this list isn’t complete, it does provide a starting point.
Do I engage or not? This is the big decision. Just because you are carrying a gun doesn’t mean you have a duty to protect everyone. It will be safer for you to escape without shooting. If you engage, many negative consequences can result. It’s a decision you have to make in advance and it isn’t an easy one. Do I get out safely or do I risk my life to save others? Tough call.
Firearms- This is truly a “come as you are” event. I know of some people who carry long guns and a bunch of ammo in their cars to handle an active shooter. I hate to break it to you, but it isn’t likely to happen. Look again at the time frames involved. These events are over quickly. You just won’t have time to get the AR-15 or shot gun out of your trunk.
That means you have to solve the problem with whatever you have with you. What if you carry a little .380 or .38 snub? (One reason I don’t own a .380) Do you want to get into an active shooter gunfight with that weapon? Shots may be long and there will be lots of innocent people running around the shooter in a panic. There may be more than one shooter. Can you make the shot with the little .380 you threw in your back pocket because you were just going to the grocery store? If you are going to be in this game you better have a real gun. That means at least having a mid-sized (think Glock 26- sized or bigger) all the time. Otherwise you are stacking the deck against yourself before you even start. A firefight also usually requires a lot of ammo. If the shooter is behind cover and you are behind cover, it may be a long day.
If you do get caught with a mouse gun, work on getting as close to the shooter as possible while keeping your gun hidden. (You should do this anyway) Consider quickly moving towards headshots. You need to put the guy down quickly and you probably don’t have a whole lot of rounds to spare.
At what distance can you guarantee a headshot with your carry gun? You need to know. Put yourself on a shot timer. Set it for two seconds. Start with the gun in hand, 10 feet from the target. Make the shot. If you make it in the two-second time frame, move back five feet. Keep doing that until you can’t reliably hit your target in two seconds. That’s your maximum engagement distance. Also, you will have to close to that distance in an active shooter event in order to make sure you don’t hit any innocent people. Most law enforcement I’ve trained with start missing shots around the 25 foot range. Do you still want to engage knowing you’ll have to run up within 25 feet of somebody who’s trying to kill everyone he sees?
Does this mean you should only shoot headshots? No, I’m not advocating that at all. I think headshots are a great choice when using a smaller caliber weapon that doesn’t hold much ammo. If I have a full- sized gun with 8-15 rounds, I may shoot center mass. It really depends on the circumstances. Either way, I use the same range standard. If you can make a two second headshot on the range, you can probably make a two second center mass shot at the same distance under the stress of someone shooting at you.
If you end up in a terrorist active shooter event with a small pistol, don’t forget about the idea of “battlefield pickup”. Shoot one terrorist and take his AK-47 (or whatever else he has) to shoot the rest of them. Any rifle is a whole lot better than a pistol. You may also be able to get better armament from a shot police officer if this is a longer engagement. Yes, these tactics can cause some problems, but I’d rather deal with some legal issues after the shooting than be killed because I couldn’t make a 50-yard shot with my .25 automatic.
If you are going to employ this strategy, you better know how to operate all the guns you could possibly encounter. Get some friends who own guns that you haven’t seen and have them show you how they work. That knowledge may save your life someday.
Tactics- This is a huge issue that really can’t be adequately addressed in the written format. Recognizing that, I will give you some of the more important things to consider and leave it up to you to figure out how to address them or to seek further training.
How do I get to the shooter when everyone else is running away from him? It’s like swimming against the current. Do you have “people moving” skills that can get you through the crowd?
How do I conceal my gun when working my way to the shooter? If you don’t conceal it, you may be mistaken for the shooter by law enforcement or another concealed permit holder. It’s difficult balancing the competing needs of staying low profile, yet ready at the same time. In the Arizona shooting, one of the men who responded was armed. When he heard the shots being fired, he unholstered his 9mm pistol, and put it in his pocket (with his hand still on it) as he made his way to confront the shooter. That was a very smart move. He had instant access to the gun, but no one else saw it.
How can I make sure there isn’t more than one shooter and what do I do if there are multiple attackers? Some of these active shooters are terrorists. They may have “handlers” or protectors watching the crowd for armed people. Those handlers will remain low profile and they will wait until you pull your gun and focus on the shooter. When you do that, they’ll shoot you in the back of the head. How do you prevent that?
Do you have the patience and knowledge to exploit opportunities to act? In many active shooter events, the shooter is brought down when his gun malfunctions or he is in the act of reloading. It may be smart to immediately seek cover and wait to act until you see one of these opportunities. Do you know what a malfunctioned gun looks like? Can you recognize when a shooter is reloading?
Get help! If you are in a physical confrontation with the shooter, try to get as many people as possible to help you. Often, in times of intense stress, bystanders freeze and don’t know what to do. Sometimes a little encouragement is all that is needed to spring them into action. As two men tackled the Arizona shooter, they noticed he was trying to access a magazine to reload even as they were fighting. The men yelled out to Patricia Maisch, a 61-year old woman who was laying on the ground nearby. They told her to take the magazine away from the shooter. Despite her advanced age and fear, she did just that. In that single action, she did as much to incapacitate the shooter as the brave men who wrestled him to the ground. Call out for help. You just might get it!
How do I avoid getting shot by the police? This is a very real danger! As you whip out your concealed gun and shoot the killer, a cop is arriving. He sees a whole bunch of bodies and you holding a gun. What would you do if you were in the cop’s shoes?
If you choose to act, get your gun out of sight as soon as the threat is neutralized. Holster it. Keep your hand on the gun if you think you need to, but don’t be in a high-profile shooting stance.
You may have to deal with the shooter’s gun as well. If you disarm the shooter, the same rules apply. Get the gun out of sight as soon as possible! Don’t throw it away; there may be other shooters in the crowd who can use it against you. Quickly make it safe and hide it. If you keep it out, people will assume that you are the shooter.
Get to cover! Not only cover from the shooter you just dropped, but also cover between you and the police! Start looking for the responding cops. Be ready to drop your gun, show your hands and get down on the ground. Know what is coming and follow the cops’ orders quickly.
Yelling out that you are a CCW permit holder isn’t likely to keep you from being shot. People experience auditory exclusion under stress and simply don’t hear things well. Cops on the scene will be judging all of your actions while attempting to figure out who you are. The person trying to help victims isn’t as likely to be mistaken for the shooter. Yelling things like “Get down, he has a gun!” “Get away from him, he’s still armed!” and “Somebody call 911″ are better than screaming that you have a CCW permit.
If you have family or friends with you, have them call 911. Make sure they tell the police that you are the good guy and describe what you are wearing. If the police know there are other good guys with guns on the scene before they arrive, they will be looking for them. That may keep you from getting shot.
Medical skills- After the shooting is over, there will be lots of injured people who need help. Everyone should know how to treat battlefield injuries. Paramedics will not be allowed to enter the scene until the police are sure that there is no more danger. In a simple shooting, the gunshot victims may be on their own for upwards of 15 minutes before the first wave of EMS is allowed in. Some gunshot wounds can cause a person to bleed to death in less than four minutes. Do the math. If you or someone you care about is a victim, you’ll want to be able to provide some basic trauma care until the pros get there.
Battlefield trauma is different from the standard injuries most people see. Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable battlefield death. Worry about this first. Plug the holes! Grab whatever you can find, place it over the wound and squeeze hard. If there is spurting arterial bleeding, make a tourniquet and apply it 2-3 inches above the wound
Battlefield first aid isn’t hard. If you can stop bleeding with improvised pressure dressings and tourniquets, patch a sucking chest wound, and know how to position a casualty to keep his airway clear, you will save lives. There are training classes available. What I described above can be learned in about four hours.
The following is a basic checklist:
What the government tells you to do
1. Evacuate
• Have an exit route and plan in mind
• Leave your belongings behind
• Keep your hands visible
2. Hide
• Hide in an area out of the Active Shooter’s view
• Lock doors and block entry to your hiding place
3. Take Action
• As a last resort
• Only when your life is in imminent danger
• Attempt to incapacitate the Active Shooter

Take this video for what it is. Weak preparation. Yes it’s good information for most sheep, but if you are a sheepdog it would only half apply.
http://www.youtube.com/embed/5VcSwejU2D0
This is what the government teaches us on a federal installation. Frankly, I want a weapon. I would run, or hide first as the video suggests, but with a weapon I would have a chance in a fight.
Stay safe
Semper Paratus
Burn

Sunday, May 25, 2014

More Than Just a Day Off

We celebrate Memorial Day. This is the day we thank God for those who have fought and died for our freedom. Let the politicians know that they are not heros. Those who gave us this great country are true heros. Congress, good or bad leaders, have not, and will not, care about us. If they did, they would not have made this country what it is today. They think this is acceptable. The founding fathers did not intend for those who run this country to only care about re-election, and themselves (can you believe they actually vote for their own raise?). I won’t go into details of my feelings here.
I think it’s sad that mainstream media hardly acknowledges that there are those serving on foreign soil as I write this. This is not news anymore. What those brave men and women do for liberty should always be news to true Americans.

My Grandfather fought in the World War I in the Navy. My father fought in World War II also in the Navy. Perhaps that was why I served in the military. Neither my Grandfather or Father, nor I was asked to give the supreme sacrifice, even though we were willing. All three of us volunteered and served during a conflict. We knew what could have been asked of us.

The following letter was written by PO1 Steven Voight of SEAL Team Eight two days before he was killed in an SH-60 helicopter crash in the Persian Gulf on 25 October 1996. This letter captures the essence of Steve and typifies the hours and months of the distinctively unglamorous and unappreciated side of a SEAL’s life on deployment. It was read by Steve’s sister, Martha, at the NAB Little Creek Base Chapel on 6 November 1996:
“Alarm goes off. I wake up. It’s 0600. Same time I woke up yesterday. And the day before. Actually since June 28, almost 120 days ago. Four months. That’s OK, though, because if anyone in the Persian Gulf tries to interfere with the policies of my sacred country, the United States of America, I’ll be there to stop them. Two months ago, it was anyone in the Mediterranean. Actually, we could stop anyone in the world.
“Breakfast time. Forty-five minute wait in line. Every meal is the same. Stand in line sweating. That’s OK, though. There are people in my country who neither know nor care that their freedom is being protected at this very moment. That too is OK, because I do know. I’m doing it.
“Go to work. Same routine day in and day out.It could be compared to being in jail except that the work we do is too hard and too dangerous to impose upon a common criminal. It would be considered inhumane. That’s OK, though, I understand freedom and the sacrifices that have to be made for freedom to be achieved. The life we live at the cost of our military members cannot have a price put on it. If you saw our paychecks, you would understand.
“Dinner time. Chicken and rice again. That’s OK. The opportunities we have in the States are limitless. There is nothing that any person cannot achieve if he/she has the heart. They don’t have those opportunities in the parts I’ve visited. They don’t even have Taco Bell.”

I hope we will all remember, especially on days set aside like this, those who gave their lives for us. The ultimate sacrifice was given by only one person when Christ atoned for our lives. But those who fought to try to protect liberty should always be thanked. I hope this day can be more than a day off from work, and a time to bar-b-que. Also, thank a veteran who served this country in a way not many others serve.

George S Patton, a fondly remembered General once said:

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

Thank you those who served and died. Thank you those who served. And thank you for those who are serving now.

Have a memorable Memorial Day

Semper Paratus

Burn

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Concealed Carry Myths

“But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:8)
This is a scripture we have read and heard many times. There is a lot in this scripture and a great story behind it. But I think this scripture also says, “Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Weigh it to see if it is right or applies to you. If you feel a need, pray concerning it. Now when I was choosing a gun for concealed carry I didn’t pray about it (although I don’t see anything wrong with praying for direction). But I did take the things I read on the internet with a grain of salt. There are some people I trust on the internet. I’ve followed certain people on youtube channels or websites for some time. I trust them because they have proven their opinion to me for years. I only go to forums for a quick overall view. These are some myths I’ve read about but do not agree with. As in all things, even my opinion isn’t worth much. Do your own research and see for yourself.
1. Carry the smallest gun you can find
Almost every gun maker has made a sub-compact handgun. There are many out there but you need to find a gun that fits you. One size does not fit all! My son loves Rugers. So he naturally bought an LC9. He hates it! He’s a pretty big guy with big hands. The LC9 is just too small for him to be comfortable. He needs a compact not a sub-compact. Some people carry a full sized 1911 and have no problem with it. Me? I’m a sub-compact guy. Smaller and lighter is what I want. Everyone is different so a blanket statement like one size fits all is the best, is just absolutely wrong. Some like subs because they are easy to conceal. But subs hold less ammo. Full sized guns have a larger ammo capacity, but they are more difficult to conceal. Find out what will work for you! Make sure it’s comfortable because if it is not, you’ll be less apt to carry it. The gun also must be easy for you to shoot. Like the 3 bears, not too big and not too small, but just right.
2. Make sure you carry without a round in the chamber to be safe!
This is the most ridicules thing I have ever heard! If you feel this way just leave your gun in the safe!
Unless you carry a 50 year old weapon I don’t think you need to worry about your gun going off unless you press the trigger. Without a charged weapon (round in the chamber) you would have to rack the slide. Contrary to movies and TV, that is just too time consuming. If you are drawing your weapon you are ready to use it. How can you be ready to use it if you have to operate it to get it ready? If you accept the responsibility of carrying a deadly weapon then you have a responsibility to carry it safely. Let me be clear about this. Not having a round in the chamber could get you killed. That’s only my opinion.
3. Those who are new to concealed carry should carry a revolver.
I love revolvers! There are some great ones out there. They are quite reliable and easy to operate. But as for that style of weapon to be used by those new to carrying a gun, I don’t think so. I’m not sure it takes a whole lot more experience or intelligence to operate a semi-auto as opposed to a revolver. I wouldn’t discount any gun until I found out what worked for me. With any weapon training is needed. Revolvers carry less ammo but are simple to operate. But semi autos may be just as simple with the right training. Again, try a variety of weapons and calibers you think would work for you. Being comfortable with a particular gun will help you to be accurate and confident.
4. This caliber is better than that caliber
It would not be a bad thing to learn a little about ammunition. Are you better protected with one caliber over another? Of course not! I can tell you this, a well placed shot is better than a bazooka. We maybe not a bazooka but you get my drift. A .380 between the eyes is much better than one hit in the arm from a .45. The idea is to stop the threat. I don’t put a lot of stock into stopping power. A well placed shot is what I look for. So get out there and practice!

5. You shouldn’t carry a gun without a safety
As I’ve trained many and as I’ve been trained in the military, my trigger finger is my safety. I don’t like manual safeties. Especially on a concealed carry gun. I want to pull my weapon and shoot. I want to keep it as simple as I can. But as in all things, if you feel more secure with a safety, by all means use one. I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought the safety was off at the range and failed to shoot because the safety was on doing it’s job. Just imagine if you thought the opposite and needed that gun to work! Just remember when you practice with a weapon that has a safety to include putting the safety on and off so you won’t have that problem.

Remember, learn all you can. Ask instructors and those who have been around the gun world a while. Take as much training as you can. Don’t just believe everything you read or hear. Find out for yourself. If you will follow certain sites on the internet you will quickly find out which one you can trust. Especially be wary of mainstream media. I’ve taught my kids “No truth in the news, no news in the truth.” There are other myths out there. The challenge is to recognize them and discard them.

Semper Paratus
Burn

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Road to Concealed Carry

Many of you out there would like to carry a gun but are not really sure where to start. I will outline the process and then it’s up to you to research where you live and get the details.
Are you a gun person? If you are a gun person then choosing your weapon should be an easy task. If you are not, you should research and ask someone who knows. In picking a gun, many gun ranges will let you rent guns. Some gun shops will do the same. Doing this will give you an opportunity to shoot several types and calibers of guns.
Training: Find and get training. If you’re not sure where to get trained, go to your local gun store or check out the internet. Another good source for this info is a gun club. The best source would be someone you know. Most people can find or already knows a gun nut. Check your Elder’s Quorum. There’s usually someone with this information of where the best place would be for gun training. In fact, the gun nut might be the person to teach you. As long as you trust them and are comfortable with them. Ask around and you’ll be pointed in the right direction. Maybe there is someone in law enforcement (LE) in your Ward. They can be a great resource. If you’re not a gun person, the first training you need is safety. Learn the 4 safety rules and practice them. After this training, practice, practice, practice. If your state has a shooting requirement, this is what you should practice. Most states standards are not really difficult. Also, familiarize yourself with your weapon. How does it work? How would you clean it? Your training is very important. Once you get your license it’s equally important to continue to train and practice. After you get competent with your weapon seek a higher level of training. Perhaps some tactical training would be appropriate at that point.
There is only one state that I know of that will give you a license with just fingerprints, proof of taking a course of competency (online or otherwise). Virginia will send you a packet for doing this. Virginia licenses are recognized in 26 states so this may work for you depending on where you live. State laws change often so before you do this, make sure it’s all going to work in your state and that Virginia still does this. Check your state’s website for information, regulations, and fees.
http://www.usacarry.com/concealed_carry_permit_information.html
The above website will show you which states your permit is good in. It also shows what the requirements are for each state including fees.
If you decide to get a permit from another state you can get that states fingerprint cards and go to your own law enforcement agency to get this accomplished. Some places charge a fee and some don’t. Some training courses will do it all. They will walk you through the process, give you all the necessary forms and applications, and even take your fingerprints. If it’s not included in your course, become familiar with the carry laws in your state. Stay aware of any law changes that may occur. Learn the best and safest way to inform and hand over your weapon to LE if you are pulled over when armed. Laws vary from state to state and LE officers all react differently when informed you are armed. Be ready to safely hand over your weapon upon request.

Mindset: To carry a weapon all the time takes a certain kind of thinking. If you have a temper then that must change. You must be aware of what is going on around you so that you can stay away from danger or of having to use that weapon. You are now different. Carrying is a serious endeavor that requires a responsibility like no other. By doing so, you have to come to terms with violence. You may have to kill someone to stop them from being a threat to you or someone else. Always remember that. You don’t want to use that weapon, but if you must, then you need to be prepared for that.
Holsters: Where and how will you carry your weapon? Do research this. Ask those you know who carry. You’ll likely go through some holsters trying to find what works for you. Once you decide how you will carry, practice drawing with these holsters. Ensure you do this safely. Retention of your weapon is a primary concern.
Those are the basics. Remember that carrying a gun is a right and a privilege. The Founding Fathers felt the right came from God. As do I.

Semper Paratus

Burn

Security In An LDS Church

I refer to my good friend all the time because of our history together (we were the only LDS members in our jump school class back in 1983) and his perspective (ex Law Enforcement, currently Church Security). His call sign is Choirboy. He and I talk about scenarios and “what ifs”. We were just discussing how LDS members are so lax in their family security at church. It’s true that this happens in places we are very familiar with. Parents that would never let their small children just run through a park or a mall, let those same kids take off in Church buildings and leave their sight. We discussed this at length and came up with our own list of how to be more secure at Church.

1. Lock your car, take your keys
Can’t believe there are people that still don’t do this. I’ve lived in small towns and big cities. Lock your vehicle and don’t leave your i-pad sitting on the seat!

2. Lock the building behind you
If you will be alone or even just having a Presidency meeting, after everyone has arrived, if there are no other meetings going on, lock the door behind you. I know the sign says “visitors welcome” but there are times when you don’t really want someone off the street to just be able to walk in.

3. Always ensure your children are being watched
Your children should be watched by a leader, a teacher, a family member, or yourself! That’s all there is to it. Don’t let your children just run (I know it’s easier said than done!). Use family “Code” words so your kids will know who they can go with. I don’t care if it’s the Bishop’s wife, if they don’t know the word, no go!

4. Always ensure there is a priesthood member (man) at all activities.
I know, this is a sexist thing to put on this list. But fact is, men can do things differently than women. Some men may not be the right match for this job. I mean, it IS security! You do not just need a warm male body. Someone that fills this assignment should have an idea what they are there for. He should be aware of someone who may be out of place or acting different. Some activities men should not attend. So a man at a Relief Society meeting is out of place (Unless he is a priesthood leader or possibly a husband). These “security” men should have some sort of idea what they should be looking for and what they should do if they see something odd. At the least, a cell phone should be in this security guys pocket. Any other skills or gear is up to the priesthood leader in charge. I’ll be honest with you, the average leader will not think that anything more than a priesthood holder needs to be there. I don’t agree. It’s only a matter of time before something serious will happen. That seems “doom and gloom” maybe but even our Prophet says we live in difficult times.
5. Be aware of strangers
Again, the sign outside says “visitors welcome”, so visitors will come. Usually visitors come with members or missionaries. Be very aware of someone who is not with someone, or has been asked to attend. Usually there will not be a problem, but a Bishop in Vasalia, California was murdered by someone that no one really knew. The killer was a mentally unstable ex-member. This was a random act but particular to the Church. The assailant believed he had been wronged by the Church in the 1980’s. This kind of thing is why being aware is very important. (Don’t even get me started on being armed at Church!)
6. Train your family
This is controversial. Some people do not feel the need for something like this. I feel different. All my children (many are grown and adults now) have been trained in the use of firearms. My wife has been included in this. Also, other weapons have been introduced to them. One of my rules is “Never leave home without a knife, or a gun.” Guns, knives, batons, stun guns, and pepper spray have been taught.
(see blogs OPR Philosophy 4/9/14, and Threat Cons and Training 3/4/14, and Making Someone 4/4/14)
Choirboy agrees with me. He has trained his whole family too. If we are truly a self-sufficient people, we will take our security into our own hands. When someone asks why I carry a weapon my answer is “Because I don’t carry a policeman”.

7. Ensure that doors are locked when the last person leaves.
This seems like a no-brainer but my wife has taught early morning Seminary for years. Nothing bothers her more than to find the building door left unlocked. Now she has to discern whether someone is in that building! I’d like to teach her how to clear a building but that would take a lot of time in a building of that size. We have at times assigned a person living near the building to drive by and check it for lights on and doors locked. That may have to be the answer if your building is constantly left open.

8. Emergency Planning
Make sure a plan is in place in case of fire or other disaster. This is something that the Church has given leaders direction on yet I’ve found it ignored more often than not. You can be a catalyst for this to happen. Your Stake/District and Ward/Branch should already have this in place. If they do not, you could suggest that you would work with counsels to make this happen. Maybe you have a Stake or Ward preparedness specialist that you could work with. Perhaps a High Councilman is assigned emergency preparedness as is not sure what to do. There is some direction from the Church on this that could help. Once a plan is in place ensure that leaders and families know what their part in this plan is and maybe even practice it. Make sure your safety features are in place. First Aid kits, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, marked exits, all these and more should be in place. In the U.S. and other countries these things are checked by fire inspectors. Some areas have more than one unit attend that building and assign the unit not meeting with parking lot patrol.

9. Law Enforcement
Make sure to touch base with any law enforcement that are in your units. They can help with these plans and other security concerns. They can also ensure that someone is armed in your building. That depends on the number of members who are in law enforcement in your unit. We happen to have several.

10. Carry If You Can
If you are a law enforcement officer and can legally carry anywhere, you should carry in church. The Church officially recognizes that you can carry in Church buildings. Now this is also something controversial. (See blogs Should You Carry? 3/4/14 and Security in Church 1/29/14) I will not tell you to carry at Church. If you are in Utah you cannot legally carry in any Church building. Other states have their own laws that you need to know. The Church’s position is that it is not appropriate to carry in Church. You must decide for yourself what that means. I can tell you that the wording means to me. If the Church wants you to do something, they will say “should” or “shall”. The Handbook of Instruction was not just written flippantly. I know prayer, inspiration, and legal advice was used. So I’m not trying to justify ignoring instruction. One thing I do know, most members don’t know that instruction exists. Is this any reason to “do what I want”? No. I will tell you I am not a law enforcement officer. All my training is military. But I carry everywhere I can legally carry. This is something I’ve thought about and prayed about for some time. Until I’m asked by someone to not carry, I will carry. Here’s my reason and you can take it for what’s it’s worth.
I knew a law enforcement officer who was a large metropolitan city cop. He has a friend who is a sheriff’s deputy in his county. This deputy was in church when a deranged man came in and shot several people during a service. He told us he couldn’t live with himself if that had ever happened to him. This is exactly how I feel and so I carry. I do so with the blessing of my state, but not with the blessing of the Church. You must decide for yourself. I do rely on my Heavenly Father after all I can do. Does it make any sense that our Heavenly Father, who loves us, would want us to leave it to Him alone? We need to do all we can so God can take care of us when we need Him.

Well there you have it. I hope this has been helpful in keeping you and your family safe.

Semper Paratus

Burn

Friday, May 16, 2014

Remember Jeff and White Feather

May 20th marks the births of two great Americans. Both were United States Marines. Both trained and taught hundreds if not thousands. Both changed shooting forever.

Lieutenant Colonel John Dean "Jeff" Cooper 94 (1920-2006)
And
Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman "White Feather" Hathcock II 72 (1942-1999)


On May 20th, 1959, at 17 years of age, Carlos N. Hathcock II fulfilled his childhood dream by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. His ability as a marksman was soon recognized by the instructors on the rifle range at Camp Pendleton where he was undergoing recruit training. Later, while based in Hawaii as a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, Carlos won the Pacific Division rifle championship. Following his assignment in Hawaii, Hathcock was transferred to Marine Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, where he quickly found himself shooting competitively again. This time he set the Marine Corps record on the "A" Course with a score of 248 points out of a possible 250, a record that stands today. The highlight of his competitive shooting career occurred in 1965 when Carlos out-shot over 3000 other servicemen competing to win the coveted Wimbledon Cup at Camp Perry. This achievement led to his being sought out in Vietnam in 1966 to be part of a newly established sniper program. After his training was completed Carlos began his new assignment. Operating from Hill 55, a position 35 miles South-West of Da Nang, Hathcock and his fellow Marine snipers renewed a Marine tactic which had been born in the islands of the Pacific in World War II. Within a short period of time the effects of the Marine snipers could be felt around Hill 55. Carlos rapidly ran up a toll on the enemy that would eventually lead to a bounty being placed on his head by the NVA.As a result of his skill Sergeant Hathcock was twice recruited for covert assignments. One of the them was to kill a Frenchman who was working for the North Vietnamese as an interrogator. This individual was torturing American airmen who had been shot down and captured. One round from Carlos' modified Winchester Model 70 ended the Frenchman's career. On another occasion Sergeant Hathcock accepted an assignment for which he was plainly told that his odds for survival were slim. A North Vietnamese general was the target, and the man died when a bullet fired by Carlos struck him from a range of 800 yards. Hathcock returned to Hill 55 unscathed. In one incredible incident an enemy sniper was killed after a prolonged game of "cat and mouse" between Carlos, with his spotter, and the NVA sniper. The fatal round, fired at 500 yards by Hathcock, passed directly through the NVA sniper's rifle scope, striking him in the eye. Hathcock would eventually be credited with 93 enemy confirmed killed, including one Viet Cong shot dead by a round fired from a scope-mounted Browning M-2 .50 caliber machine gun at the unbelievable range of 2500 yards. In 1969, during his second tour of duty in Vietnam, Carlos was badly burned while rescuing fellow Marines from a burning Amtrack. The other Marines and Carlos had been riding in the vehicle when it ran over an anti-tank mine. Despite the severity of his wounds it would ultimately be the ravages of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that would bring Hathcock's extraordinary career to an end. In 1979 he was made to retire on 100% disability due to the advancing stages of the disease. Gunnery Sergeant Hathcock has spent subsequent years instructing police tactical units in "counter-sniper" techniques. In 1990 a book entitled Marine Sniper, by Charles Henderson, was published, documenting the exploits of this one-of-a-kind Marine. Toward the end of his life he attempted to get to the police rifle range as often as possible. He still loved the crack of the rifles, the smell of gun powder as it drifts across the range, and the company of good men striving to be the best at what they do. The indomitable Carlos N. Hathcock II was indeed one of the "Few and Proud." Carlos Hathcock died on February 23rd, 1999, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, from complications resulting from MS.
-----------
Jeff Cooper was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1920. He was educated at Stanford University and took his advanced degree from the University of California. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1941 and served throughout World War II in the Pacific, achieving the rank of Major. Recalled to active duty for the Korean War, he moved up one rank to Lieutenant Colonel before leaving the service.
Cooper became a shooter at the age of eleven. In 1958 he originated the sport of practical pistol competition. From this activity he formulated the Modern Technique of the Pistol, now generally observed throughout the world. For the next thirty years he was active in teaching the new method throughout the Western World.
In 1976 Jeff Cooper founded the International Practical Shooting Confederation. In 1977 he founded the American Pistol Institute at Gunsite in Arizona, where he lived until his death in 2006.
He served as editor-at-large of Guns and Ammo magazine, for which he wrote a monthly column. After having served many years as a director of the National Rifle Association of America, he was elected to the Executive Council.
Jeff Cooper spent a long and active life reading, shooting, hunting, fighting and teaching. Internationally respected as the "Gunner's Guru," Jeff Cooper is a philosopher, moralist, and political commentator -- a true modern Renaissance man. It is to the benefit of his many readers that he developed the passion at an early age to write it all down.
To distinguish between the two schools, graduates of the American Pistol Institute as it was owned by Jeff Cooper pre-1992 refer to this institution as "Orange Gunsite" and to the subsequent operation post-1992 as "Grey Gunsite". This is because when the school was sold by Jeff Cooper, the color scheme was changed from the original color of orange to grey

I met Col. Cooper in San Antonio, Texas in 1985 during a Combat Arms Instructor course that he taught half of. He was a very down to earth, no nonsense guy. You could tell he believed in what he taught. I consider myself a graduate of orange Gunsite. After several weeks of training we were now able to teach. That short time influenced my entire life. I taught my family and others through this training. Col. Jeff Cooper has, and continues to have, a great impact on shooting, and shooting training for generations to come.

I hold these two men in great high respect and regard because of their dedication to what they knew, but also to the dedication of training and sharing what they learned with the world. It’s ironic that they have the same birthday!

Semper Paratus
Burn

Gunfight Rules To Learn

When I was in the Combat Arms Course at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas I met some great people. One was Master Sergeant White. MSgt White had done a few combat tours and had a good grasp in combat arms. He also was a great teacher who taught us how to teach shooting. The other half of this course was taught mostly by Jeff Cooper of the famed orange Gunsite. This was by far the best school I’ve ever attended in the military. I enjoyed EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) school and jump school, but I guess my heart is in shooting. MSgt White taught us the rules of a gunfight. They are great wisdom and food for thought. I submit them to you, with my comments, for your consideration.
1. Bring a gun. Preferably, two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
The more the merrier. When I go anywhere I’d like to have a primary combat rifle and a secondary handgun. Unfortunately, society would think I was a terrorist so I opt for some less politically-incorrect, yet law abiding, weapons.
2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap – life is expensive.
Hence the double tap.
3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
Training trumps gear.
4. If your shooting stance is good, you’re probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.
A gunfight usually is fast and furious. You must move quickly, find cover and engage.
5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
Remember the 21 foot rule. A man can cover 21 feet in about 1.5 seconds. Most weapons draws take 1.5 seconds or more. Keep people out of your 21 foot space to be safe. If it’s you who is attacking I would say “Close, and engage.” Don’t let someone do this to you!
6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
As I said above, a battle rifle is my weapon of choice. A handgun is what you fight your way to your rifle with.
7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
This is true.
8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
Most of the military training I received had the mantra of “Shoot, move, communicate”.
9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on “pucker factor” than the inherent accuracy of the gun. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. “All skill is in vain when an Angel blows the powder from the flintlock of your musket.”
A firefight is scary. Everyone involved will be shooting crazy and more worried about finding cover than anything else. What you must concentrate on after finding cover is, making sure your weapon works (no malfunctions) and has ammo (reloading), THEN accuracy comes into play.
10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
Unlike the movies, I would never give up my gun for any reason. A gun is for your protection and for others protection. How can you protect anyone without a gun? I guess there are other ways, but none that I know of will cure a gunfight. Retention of your weapon is very important. Retention is holding on to your gun but also keeping it in your holster before it’s in your hand!
11. Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
This is one that some LDS members, or others, may have a problem with. We’re already taking about violence, and violence seems the opposite of what Mormons are about. Usually that is true. But if you are using force on force, use any means to win because this is life threatening. Take targets of opportunity.
12. Have a plan.
Think quickly. You shouldn’t have been surprised because you were practicing good situational awareness. The OODA loop says that we are constantly going through Observing, Orienting, Deciding, Acting. Always. Usually we can go through this loop quickly. What we have to do is interrupt our opponents loop. To do this we must have a plan.
13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work.
See 12 above.
14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
Know the difference between concealment and cover. Be actively looking for cover where ever you go. Train yourself to find cover quickly. There is much more concealment than cover out there. Also, there are some false ideas of cover such as a car door or an interior wall or even a desk. Learn what cover is and is not before you find yourself in a firefight. Take, or fight to, cover.
15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
This is a military term that should be understood. Flank means to attack an enemy or an enemy unit from the side, or to maneuver to do so. This goes along with the flying term “check 6” meaning to be aware of what’s behind you.
16. Don’t drop your guard.
Ever see one of those 80’s slasher movies? The killer falls out a second story window after having acid thrown in his face. The victim looks out the window to see the killers body and he’s not there! He keeps coming back. Well, your situation may be the same. The difference is, you are dealing with a human that you are almost sure you shot 4 times. The human body is an amazing thing, it can take a lot. I’ve heard many stories where police have shot the perp multiple times yet he still has enough left to kill an officer who thought the danger was over. The threat has to be REALLY stopped.
17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
See 16 above. Situational awareness is always important. Often in a combat situation you will get tunnel vision. If you are swiveling 360 degrees that can break you out of that tunnel vision. Tactical reload is the action of reloading a weapon that has only fired a few rounds out of its magazine, and retaining the original magazine. An example is an infantryman reloading before entering a hostile building, concerned about ammunition. Tactical doctrine states that one should always have a full magazine before entering a building or hostile situation, but it is also a bad practice to throw away ammunition in case it is needed. If I have a rifle that accepts 30 round magazines, it’s a good practice to under load it with 29 rounds. Not all magazines need this, but you don’t want to find out during a firefight with a malfunction that your magazines need this. Also, to reload like this takes a lot of practice. Reload from behind cover.
18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them.)
This is true in every situation.
19. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
This has to do with mindset. Stop the threat effectively with just enough. But make sure the threat is neutralized.
20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
This is related to 19 above. Do what you must do quickly and end the threat with no collateral or personal damage.
You’re in a gun fight: If you’re not shooting, you should be loading. If you’re not loading, you should be moving.
You cannot save the world, but you may be able to save yourself and your family.

“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.”
— Thomas Jefferson
Be trained, be careful, be safe, be aware, be secure.

Semper Paratus

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Personal and Family Security

In the military there are some things that they try to teach so that they are not overlooked. Attention to detail is one. If you have integrity in the small things, you can have integrity in the big things. OPSEC (Operations security) and COMSEC (Communication security) are also taught. The enemy can take many small things that they learn and like a puzzle, make a big picture. Most Americans don’t practice this type of security in their own lives. They put a sticker on their car thinking that it’s harmless. It’s only a sticker showing our family. Sometimes all the families names are displayed for all to see. Or, they think what is the harm in telling people where I work on Facebook? Or worse, that our family is enjoying our vacation at a resort. These little things speak volumes to the right person. Most of us are not being stalked by someone with the intent to harm our family or rob our home. But what if we are? Privacy is getting harder to achieve in this technological world without putting our personal information out on display for all to see. Most Americans think that their social accounts, cell phone texts, or web site frequency is private. This is not true. Never say or write anything on the internet or your cell phone that you don’t want just anyone to know. Do you want anyone to know your political views? At certain times you do, but at other times you may not. Making our lives private is something we have to work at. I call it FAMSEC (Family security) In combat or self defense situational awareness is talked about a lot. We should have “situational awareness” not only physically, but in our cyber and other activities. If you are in an airport on business or vacation don’t make a facebook comment that will tell the world you are not home or have left your wife and kids alone for the weekend. When someone asked me one time if I was armed, my answer is always, “If I was you wouldn’t know it.” Being in threat condition Yellow most of the time is wise. Here is a list of things that I tell my family to be aware of:

Do not give out personal information in social networking. Be vague on purpose.

Don’t advertise the number of children, their names, and even if you have a dog in the window of your vehicle. If you want to keep the fact that you own a weapon private, be careful of the stickers on your car.

If you go to the trouble to have someone pick up your newspapers and mail when you are away from home, don’t Twitter, or otherwise advertise that you are gone.

Be aware of the little things in your life that may give out information. Do not have your name on your child’s backpack or clothing in a place where all can see.

If you have an alarm on your home or vehicle, you may, or may not want it known.

Do not get into a routine with your day to day travel. Take a different route to work or school.

Don’t be predictable about when you are away from home. Leave and return at random times. Patterns can tell the right person much about you. Don’t be predictable.

Know where you are going and what you are walking in to. Whether you are walking or driving. Situational awareness can go a long way.

Email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, Cell phone and hardline phone conversations and texts are easily monitored. Most are not very secure. Criminals end up doing the most damage against themselves in these areas. Don't let these things hurt you too!

When you travel on public transportation keep your destination and travel plans vague to fellow travelers. Dress appropriately. Wear shoes instead of flip flops, jeans instead of shorts. Keep your luggage locked and carry-on bags secure and private. In the military they often cautioned us to even be careful of the slogans on our T-shirt! Not only is this defense against terrorism, but against crime and prying eyes.

I’ve been called paranoid before. I don’t feel that safety and preparedness are paranoia. Most Americans think nothing will happen to them. Crime statistics say different. Not only are these things a defense against crime, but others may pry into your life. Most people when put under a microscope, can look suspicious. Most people are not criminals, but can sometimes look like one. Our Constitution states that we have rights from God. Often our government may want to pry into our lives. We have a right to privacy that we often give up. Use common sense. Often we put ourselves at safety risks that we shouldn’t put ourselves in.
OPSEC is privacy about what we do and how we do it. COMSEC is keeping a low profile in our communication. You can still use social media but be careful about the details of your life.
Staying safe and private should be a part of our everyday lives. If these small things are practiced, they will become habit and will serve us well. Don’t be a sheep or a zombie shuffling through life. Be careful and live life with security that will give peace and encourage happiness. Practice FAMSEC and teach it to your children. One day it may save a life or at least keep someone from stealing your identity.


Semper Paratus

Burn

Benghazi By Chuck Norris

I've said in the past that I don't usually post from another blog or website. Here I've done it again. Looks like my policy is changing. But be assured that when I post from another source, it represents my feelings and views. Is it lazy? Maybe. But sometimes others have things worth sharing...

Semper Paratus

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PS Can you go wrong with Chuck Norris?

Benghazi

Dallas, TX - -(Ammoland.com)- The Obama administration continues to suppress documents that could finally explain why U.S. officials lied to the world that the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, occurred as a protest over an American-made anti-Muslim video.
And the families and friends of the four brave Americans murdered there continue to suffer without answers, reasons or justice. Is there not a shred of heart left in Washington?
USA Today explained this past week how the watchdog group Judicial Watch blew the whistle on the White House’s withholding of documents and obtained a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act. In it, the Justice Department tries to justify its withholding of further Benghazi documents.
The 35 pages’ worth of withheld documents was described by Justice trial attorney Robert Prince as including “internal strategy discussions relating to the drafting of an official response letter” from then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to answer a variety of congressional questions about the Benghazi attack.
Just for the record, those documents include, but are not exclusive to, the following, according to USA Today:
• “A seven-page e-mail exchange consisting of 16 messages between State and other administration officials … on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, 2012, with an original subject line ‘FOX News: US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm.’
• “Originally designated ‘sensitive but unclassified,’ the document was withheld to protect the formulation of a media strategy with respect to an ongoing sensitive matter under a FOIA exemption that protects the deliberative process, Prince wrote.
• “A one-page e-mail exchange, consisting of three messages, dated Sept. 11, 2012, with the subject line ‘UPDATE: Clashes at U.S. consulate in eastern Libyan city (Reuters).’
• “A three-page e-mail exchange between State and other U.S. officials, dated Sept. 28, 2012 and originally designated ‘unclassified.’ The subject line of the first five messages is ‘Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for National Intelligence Shawn Turner on the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.’”
This withholding of documents comes on the backside of another discovery by Judicial Watch: several emails that exposed Obama aide Ben Rhodes’ tutoring Rice on how to play the blame game with the anti-Muslim video on television appearances only five days after the attack.
Moreover, Fox News revealed this past week that documents “show there are differences between Benghazi emails released through the federal courts to … Judicial Watch and emails released to the House oversight committee as part of its investigation into the attacks. The discrepancies are fueling allegations the administration is holding back documents to Congress.”
As far as why the White House continues its suppression of documents, Alec Gerlach, a State Department spokesman, explained that “additional documents are being processed for response to congressional inquiries.” The key term there is “processed.” Never mind the fact that the “process” has been going on for 20 months.
Even more evasive is State spokeswoman Marie Harf, who explained that documents will be forthcoming “on a rolling basis.” That is code for “as they fit the Obama administration’s political and selfish agenda.”
Isn’t it amazing? The White House can pump out 10,000 talking points and pages of documents trying to justify every angle of Obamacare, but it still can’t answer four fundamental questions about the lives lost in Benghazi posited by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who will spearhead a new congressional committee looking into the terrorist attack: 1) Why was security at the consulate so lax? 2) Why were repeated calls for more security disregarded? 3) Why was the U.S. military not more positioned and ready to pounce in that powder keg part of the world? 4) Why did the Obama administration contrive a duck-and-dodge response in word and deed to this vicious terrorist act immediately after it happened?
ABC News reported that retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell testified at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s fourth hearing on the attack that he and other U.S. military officials never believed that it was related to the anti-Muslim video. He was stationed in Germany at the time of the attack. He told Congress that he and other commanders strategized about what to do and that they waited for commands to come from the State Department, but those orders never came.
“There are accounts of time, space and capability, discussions of the question, ‘Could we have gotten there in time to make a difference?’” Lovell said. “The discussion is not could or could not of time, space and capability. The point is we should have tried.”
Benghazi-gate remains one of the greatest and most tragic commentaries on the White House’s flagrant disregard for American human life for the sake of political expediency. (Second Only to Fast & Furious) I hope Gowdy’s committee gets to the bottom of what really happened in Benghazi and what roles the Obama administration had in its cover-up.
The truth lies in what Republicans cited by USA Today say: “The White House claimed the attack arose from a protest against an anti-Islam video to protect the president’s 2012 campaign message that al-Qaeda was in retreat.”
President Barack Obama may repeatedly tout a decimation of the terrorist group’s leadership, but Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, with whom I traveled to Iraq in 2007 to visit our troops, told Business Insider: “We may think we are done with them. But they are not necessarily done with us. … You can’t ignore (that part of) the world. … You can’t turn your back on it.”
And what about Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency in 2016? She was secretary of state during the attack. Could it be that the Benghazi documents, which would shed light on the real truths behind Benghazi, are still being withheld to help her presidential campaign and prospective appointment to the Oval Office?
One thing is certain: Someone in the White House is continuing to heed the slimy advice of Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff and now Al Capone-mayor of Chicago, who said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com.
About:
Action hero and Second Amendment activist, Chuck Norris is one of the most enduringly popular actors in the world. He has starred in more than 20 major motion pictures. His television series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which completed its run in April 2001 after eight full seasons, is the most successful Saturday night series on CBS since “Gunsmoke.”In 2006, he added the title of columnist to his illustrious list of credits with the launch of his popular Internet column. Now Chuck is a regular contributor to AmmoLand, click the following link to See more of Chuck Norris on AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mormon Self Defense

I had an LDS member ask me one time: “How can you, a member of Christ’s church, a holder of His priesthood, and a follower of Christ, rely on a gun for protection?”
I’ve thought and prayed long and hard about this. I mean, even our prophet has armed guards protecting him. There is more to it than that. The scriptures speak of protecting our families and our liberty. How can we do this? Do we rely on government, who we know through scriptural revelation are going to have a problem dealing with their power and authority (D&C 121:39)? I don’t think so. I believe that the United States has the best law enforcement in the world. I think they are smarter, more honest, and better trained than any other police forces in the world. But they will even tell you that when seconds count, the police are minutes away. It’s a fact. The police clean up and take reports. Now, do they stop crime? Yes they do. I’d hate to see this country without them. What about the U.S. military? They are second to none. I served and trained with members of every branch of the military, except maybe the Coast Guard. I can say that all branches of the military are excellent. This world would be a different place without them. But the military is subject to that same government that can have evil creep in. So who is to protect us from evil men who we know go too far with their authority? Is this something that will happen in the last days in which we live? Of course! So who will protect your family? You must. (see blog 4/29/14 Right and Responsibility) The head of each household, the priesthood holder in particular, is charged with this security. If parents are to care for and provide for their children, it stands to reason that security is not given to anyone else either. Americans can live in a false sense of this security. This is why 9-11 was so devastating. Satan is having his way with this world and crime is a big part of that evil. If crime has not touched your life, it will probably in your future. You can change crimes impact on your life by being security minded. Just as you safeguard your personal information on the internet, you should make your life a “hard target” rather than a “soft target”. This is why I practice self-defense on different levels. This is why I carry a weapon. (see blog 3/4/14 Should You Carry?) But a gun is just a part of this personal security we should practice. There are less than lethal weapons and tactics that can keep us safe. I justify these things because like other things in my life, I can’t in good conscience think someone else is responsible for me and my family. We home school our kids for many reasons. One of them is I don’t believe the state is responsible to educate my children. Yes I pay taxes and we follow the laws of our state, but we choose to take care of ourselves. When it comes to security, you’d better take care of yourself, because no one else will. Violence is something most Americans are not exposed to. That is a good thing and a bad thing. I’ve told this story a million times but it illustrates my point perfectly. I came across a accident out in the middle of nowhere. I drove passed it because there were about 8 people who had already stopped. The Spirit told me to turn around and check it out. This group of Americans were just standing on the side of the road. They were able, but no one had called for help. They were kind of in a daze of shock. I would guess none of them had been this close to a bad accident. They were not accustomed to violence, even if it was accidental violence. All of them stopped out of concern for their fellowman. They wanted to help but couldn’t get past the violence. I don’t like violence myself. But I’ve had enough experience with it that I want to prevent it happening to me and my family. I have car and life insurance. I use seat belts, smoke alarms, and dead bolts. So why wouldn’t I want to take steps to ensure the security of my family? I’m sure our ancestors that crossed the plains would think we were crazy to not have a gun for protection. It was common in their time but we think we’ve evolved past that. Obviously we have not. When I was in Junior High school my friend and I got mugged leaving a school activity. We both got hit a few times but fought back. It was 5 against 2 so you can imagine how two skinny, 12 year olds did in a rumble. Later that evening the police came by with some thugs for me to identify. My Mother was afraid to let me do it but I wanted to. Hope those kids learned their lesson, but somehow I think one or two continued along that career path. Ever since that experience I’ve had “opportunities” to be exposed to violence. If you’ve never been exposed to violence count your blessings. But I think there will come a time when you are exposed in one form or another. You can choose to be a sheep or a sheepdog. (see blog 4/9/14 OPR Philosophy) I choose to not be a victim or a sheep. This is why I rely on a weapon and training. But this is not all, after all I can do, I try to remain worthy of the Spirit to lead me away from danger and to keep my family safe.
Self-defense is our responsibility. Don’t be deceived that a criminal can be reasoned with. Some people try and make excuses for the violent people in our society using excuses as a reason why we should not "resist" them. They are more concerned about why they act like they do than the fact that they are evil violent people. They have their priorities all wrong and thus have a very hard time getting in the proper mindset to survive. The "black box" concept might help to set them right.
For those of you not in the engineering business, the famous black box works like this. You have a black box, with certain characteristics. Say, you throw a switch and it produces 1.5 Volts Direct Current. What's in the box? Maybe a battery. Maybe a fusion power generator. Maybe a hamster on a treadmill running a generator. It doesn't matter. Click the switch, get 1.5 V.
So, now you have someone trying to kill you. What's inside? The Devil incarnate? The product of a broken home? Someone who forgot to take their medication? Who cares! The important point being, that unless you switch them off, they will produce your death. They are evil and produce evil results. When it comes to personal safety, that's what is important. Not why they are so.
“Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: You didn’t bring your gun; you didn’t train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by fear, helplessness, horror and shame at your moment of truth.” Lt Col Dave Grossman
(see blog 3/4/14 Threat cons and Training)
Faith, without all we can do, will not sustain us. Faith is coupled with action. Get trained. Do your part to protect yourself and your family.
Semper Paratus
Burn

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stop The Threat


I just talked (texted) with a friend of mine.  He has been in law enforcement (LE) and intell his whole life.  He now works church security.  I mentioned pepper spray as a deterrent. That started a conversation (he finally called me) that brings up a good thing to remind us all about.  He told me about a police officer in San Francisco who pepper sprayed a suspect he had just pulled over with a heavy duty spray only LE and military can get.  After he sprayed the suspect he turned his back to return to his vehicle and got shot and killed by the suspect.  He made a grave mistake that cost him his life.  Don’t make this same mistake.  Even the training I went through in the military didn’t really teach that pepper spray doesn’t really incapacitate a person.  What it may do, emphasis on the word may, is temporarily slow or stop them for a moment.  This time you are given to employ another weapon or to leave.  That’s ALL it will do! Possibly.  So you must be prepared for additional threats.  To be honest, I would not rest until I knew the threat was not moving, even a twitch (dead) or, the police had him in handcuffs in the back of their patrol car.  Then, and only then, would I relax.  If the weapon is not considered lethal, then I think you should consider it a very “temporary” weapon.

Even police stun "guns" don't always work, as evidenced by the 1991 Rodney King video. King was TASERed prior to being attacked by baton-wielding officers but was still able to move around and present a potential threat. (Some of the fired darts may have missed, but had he been incapacitated by the TASER, the baton attack would have been even more obviously excessive, and unnecessary.)

Both chemical sprays and stun guns are virtually useless in stopping multiple attackers, while with sufficient practice, firearms (and particularly handguns) are quite effective at stopping violent attack, even by a determined gang of assailants. Unlike these two common non-lethal weapons, a gun, when fired, acts to alert possible aid, and is less likely to be ignored than personal alarms. Also, unlike non-lethal weapons, guns offer an additional intimidation factor due to their lethality which may deter attack in circumstances where the risk of confronting a spray can or stun "gun" would not. Ironically, some of the same localities which have strict "gun control" laws also prohibit ordinary citizens from owning and using chemical defense sprays or stun guns, and the rationale is the same. Law- abiding citizens are disarmed of any possible effective means of self-defense because of the possibility of criminals misusing these weapons.

Remember, your mission is not to just use the weapon, but you want to stop the threat or get away unharmed from the threat.  Do not let down your guard until that threat is neutralized or you are long gone from the threat.  

Also remember that given the choice of fight or flight, flight is always the right choice.  It has nothing to do with being a coward; it has nothing to do with pride, if given the choice, leave! My goal is not to be a tough guy.  Where there is a tough guy, there is someone who is, or thinks they are tougher.  I choose to act like an adult and not play“king of the mountain”.  Not unlike the soldier, whose job it is to stop the enemy from advancing, your job is always to stop the threat by any means. (see blog 5/6/14 Improvised weapons)

This is a reminder. Stop the threat!


Semper Paratus


Burn


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Improv is not just for comedy!: Improvised weapons

Picture yourself at home in your Kitchen. It’s about 11 o’clock at night and you happen to be alone. Suddenly you hear a large smashing sound in your front room like the front door being kicked in. What would you do? The best thing to do would be to go out the Kitchen door and call the police from a safe location. What if you have no way out because you’re on the 5th floor? You should arm yourself. A knife, a fork, a frying pan, all of these are viable weapons. Hot water, bug spray, even a towel over someone’s head would make them pause temporarily. A second is all you would need. Turn, what could be a horrible experience, into a fighting chance. Some people freeze, some people try to reason with an attacker, some just give in. Don’t be one of these sheep.
Self-Defense Weapons Always Depend on Being Ready to Execute Aggressive Self-Defense Moves
Today’s technology should work for us, right? Why “get physical” if I can zap a bad guy with my stun gun and make it to dinner on time?
However, relying too much on your firearm, pepper spray or whatever you think will save you, is dangerous. Violence pops up when people least expect it. Your body and whatever is within arm’s reach is all you can count on in such situations.
Once you know how to use your body to generate power for self-defense moves and you possess resolve (the deep muscle that funds all acts of self-protection), a pen in your hand, junk on the street or a hallway fire extinguisher can become effective self-defense weapons when used against vulnerable targets.
However, even with a “weapon” in hand, never expect one strike or a surprise attack using improvised self-defense weapons — such as hot liquid in the face — to enable your escape. A pumped-up aggressor can take a lot of punishment, so prepare to let loose!
Improvised Self-Defense Weapons Are Everywhere!

There are only two types of weapons that you can hold in your hands: edged and impact. Even a bullet is a hybrid that goes really fast, crushing bone, and cutting through tissue. As a rule, at least with handheld weapons, impact weapons seek bone and edged weapons seek flesh.
If you pick something up, hit someone with it and it does not cut (or poke) them, then you have an impact weapon. If it cuts them, then it is an edged weapon.
The rock is a small weapon that can be easily manipulated. If you pick up something heavy, you will naturally swing wide to hit with it. The same thing goes for something long. The bigger it is, the more room you need to deploy and use it.
Ballpoint Pen: This everyday writing tool can become a deadly weapon for self-defense moves when thrust into the soft tissue of the throat, under the jaw line or — in a life-and-death encounter — the eyes. The point also can be driven into a groin or “punched” into the thin-skinned back of a hand.
Sticklike Implements: Golf clubs, broomsticks etc., can make great self-defense weapons because they can be thrust into vulnerable areas or used to strike (and bust) knees, hands or the head during intense self-defense moves. When held sideways, sticklike self-defense weapons (including umbrellas!) also can be rammed into a neck or face.
In the Kitchen: Choose from cutlery, pots and pans (a pot cover worn on the hand will add zing to any palm strike!), cutting boards or hot water. A metal soup can, jar or ceramic mug can be struck into the temples or face, swung back into a groin or used to bust a collarbone and disable its adjoining arm. Many people wouldn’t think of them as self-defense weapons, but hardcover books — such as cookbooks — can be thrust into a throat or smashed into a face.
Sharp Objects: Knives, letter openers, scissors or pieces of glass can serve as self-defense weapons and inflict painful damage. One woman stabbed her rapist with a steel comb from her purse. It worked — she escaped!
Objects With Weight or Mass: A heavy vase or small table can be slammed into the face or torso. Don’t merely toss the item, however. Keep it close to your body, then charge into and through your target.
Makeshift Shields: One physician shielded himself from a patient’s oncoming knife with his briefcase. Large, thick hardcover books also could fit this bill.
Stuff It: A pillowcase containing a hard-hitting object — a brass candlestick, paperweight, your defunct toaster — could leave a lasting impression on an attacker’s face. (And for you campers, a nice rock-in-a-sock is one of several self-defense weapons available in the woods.)
Your Mind Is Among the Best of Self-Defense Weapons
Be smart! Nothing beats preparedness and the ability to improvise. Keep these tips in mind:
Environmental Terrain: If immobilized from behind or lifted off the ground in a confined space (elevator, bath room, kitchen), get one or two feet onto the edge of a countertop or any flat surface and shove off as hard as you can. You have padding behind you: your attacker! He will “eat” the crash landing.
Distraction: Buy yourself a moment, then take control! A towel thrown over the eyes could work. So could dirt, sand, household products (and of course, pepper spray) aimed at the attacker’s face and eyes.
Practice = Preparation: Wherever you are, imagine you are suddenly ambushed. Give yourself three seconds to get a “weapon” in hand with the emotional and physical readiness to use it. Practice fashioning self-defense weapons wherever you are often until it becomes second nature.
Visualization: Picture yourself in scenarios like the one above. See yourself fighting back, improvising self-defense weapons from your environment and fighting back like a warrior with attitude.
Reconciling Internal Conflict
I can think of few things more repugnant than smashing or cutting another human being. The use of aggressive force in self-defense moves and the subject of self-defense weapons grates against most people’s ideals. However, there are many things worse than hurting another human.
To effectively bring any weapon to bear, you must vanquish the voices of doubt and overcome moral or spiritual conflicts. A divided heart can jeopardize your ability to forcefully, unhesitatingly strike back when seconds count and your survival may be at stake. Self defense is a mindset.
Skills are only tools. They do not define you. You can be a good and loving person and still be able to defend yourself.

Semper Paratus

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