Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Police Shoot Hostage: Training Problem

A hostage in a Church in Amarillo, Texas was shot after taking the gun from the attacker when he and others rushed him. He came out of the chapel and was ordered to drop the gun. He said he was trying to put it down gently and was shot twice in the back.
I’m only going off of news reports, so we all know how accurate they can be. But it appears that he was shot in the back by someone with an itchy trigger finger. Now, I don’t know, maybe there were officers in front of the guy with the gun that the officers in back feared for. I’m not sure how threatening someone is with their back to you holding a gun. I’m concerned about a couple of things here. One is training, the second is marksmanship. I’ve heard many times that law enforcement (LE) and military should be the only ones with guns, or something about LE being the “professionals” or “experts” on weapons. It has improved but let me tell you, it is far from true. Some LE are good but most are just adequate. Departments are trying to improve but it costs money to train, and keep up that training, and keep up the officer’s opportunities for practice of what they learn in training. Many departments are doing the best they can with what they have. I applaud them and still believe we have the best law enforcement in the world. Are there some problems? Sure, but they are trying to address these problems. Often it comes down to funding and that comes from politicians.
As I saw the above news story I thought that if it is accurate, then those officers need better training. I guess it could have been an honest mistake, but if there was no one threatened, what was the point of pressing the trigger? And aside from why he shot, but there is the fact that if he had really been a threat, the two shots that were delivered from a rifle were not very accurate. I don’t know what the officer was actually aiming at but from the look of the wounds (they actually showed a picture) he was quite a ways off from a mass shot or a head shot. If he truly thought there was a threat I would hope that LE does not shoot to injure. That is not stopping the guy from turning and returning fire. It is a flaw within the officer’s training. Like I said, many are quite underfunded. Not only should the departments have a qualification program at least quarterly, but they should provide ammunition for their people to practice with and make a certain practice program mandatory. Then, make sure officers have the right training on making the shoot/no shoot decision. This training should also be ongoing. Some departments and agencies have this, but I fear most do not. Federal agencies usually lead the way in this because they are better funded. I know from my instructor days that many departments do a bare minimum. Practice can sometimes be little to none for officers. Some of it is apathy, some of it is not wanting to spring for the ammo because they aren’t given any or enough. Shooting is definitely a perishable skill. You don’t just learn how to shoot and shoot at a high level forever. Without specific practice, often, skills deteriorate.
I’ve also experienced, not lately mind you, the “not care” attitude in LE and military members. Unless their lack of training is evident to superiors in some form they are not too interested or serious about the training. They have never been in a life threatening situation and don’t think they ever will be. Or they are arrogant and think they will react a certain way confronted with lethal force. It’s my experience that most of us have no idea what we will actually do in a life/death situation. So believing that, I feel the only fall back with not knowing what you will do is intense training. Preferably force-on-force training as close to reality as possible. A live fire shoot house or perhaps paintball or airsoft could provide that. Until you’ve actually had someone coming at you and pointing a weapon at you, can you get a small idea about what the real thing is like in my opinion.
LE departments need to take this problem much more serious than they now do. LE members are being gunned down and need these skills. Plus, I know governments don’t need lawsuits because of mistakes made. Or worse, try to cover up that a mistake was made. LE has had a bad rap put on them from some bad LE members. There will always be bad apples in organizations, especially large ones. But by and large I believe LE does an exceptional job with next to nothing. Attitude comes from the top down. If the top doesn’t care or isn’t willing to support the guys/gals in the trenches, then it will be evident. Some won’t care and will be a problem for everyone including the public.
I’m sure some organizations know that these problems exist. But sometimes it takes a problem like the above news story to bring them to light. I’m grateful no one was killed as a result of this problem. I hope there was a good reason for the shooting and the guy was just in the wrong place trying to help. I also hope all LE departments will look at this and look at their training programs and make the appropriate changes if needed.
We can learn from this too. When commanded by LE comply quickly and non-threatening. I have seen those who use this incident as a reason to not arm teachers. That is the most stupid thing I’ve heard in a long time. If LE is going into a place where they know teachers may be armed they must exercise their professional discretion. I know that teachers will be given thorough and specific training in their role as a protector. Teachers have died at the hands of crazed gunmen. Wouldn’t they have liked a fighting chance? Teachers are the last line of defense for kids. Without them being armed, kids are defenseless.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Gun Collecting Throughout the Country

You may have heard on the news about a southern California man put under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found he owned 100 guns and allegedly had (by rough estimate) 100,000 rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also featured a secret escape tunnel.

My favorite quote from the dimwit television reporter: “Wow! He has about a quarter million machine gun bullets.” The headline referred to it as a “massive weapons cache”.

By southern California standards someone owning 100,000 rounds would be called “mentally unstable”. Just imagine if he lived elsewhere:

In Arizona , he’d be called “an avid gun collector”.

In Texas , he’d be called “a novice gun collector”.

In Utah , he’d be called “moderately well prepared”, but they’d probably reserve judgment until they made sure that he had a corresponding quantity of stored food.

In Montana , he’d be called “The neighborhood ‘Go-To’ guy”.

In Idaho , he’d be called “a likely gubernatorial candidate”.

In Wyoming , he’d be called “an eligible bachelor”.

In Wisconsin , he’d be called “a deer hunting buddy”.

And, in Alabama , we just call him “Bubba”.

Here on the LDS Gunsite, we'd call him friend!

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Monday, February 26, 2018

Privately Selling Your Guns

I have bought and sold guns for years. I do not possess a Federal Firearms License to sell guns as a dealer or to ship guns. But I have responded to classified ads both on and off line. I’d like to share what I’ve learned. I responded to an ad that read like this:
“Mossberg 500 12 gage pump, 1 owner, only shot about 20 times in the box. $145 Call XXX-XXXX.”
Only to find out that the seller wanted to sell some other gun at a higher price.
First of all I’ve set my own set of ground rules. I only buy from an owner, not a go between. If someone seems a little odd or off I terminate the transaction. I also tell the potential buyer/seller that I require a gun “bill of sale.”
These are the main points of this receipt. It covers questions that are asked on the governments ATF Form 4473, Firearms Transaction Record.
Buyer certifies that they are not restricted or forbidden by law to own a firearm and buyer states that he/she:
• Has NEVER been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year.
• Is NOT a fugitive from justice.
• Is NOT an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.
• Has NEVER been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.
• Is NOT an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United states or an alien admitted to the United states under a nonimmigrant visa.
• Has NOT been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
• Having been a citizen of the United states, has NEVER renounced his or her citizenship.
• Is NOT subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner.
• Has NOT been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
• CAN lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.
• Is NOT a person who is under indictment or information for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year.
I truthfully state that I AM NOT a person who cannot legally buy, receive, and possess firearms and/or ammunition.
I understand the firearm is sold AS-IS and no warranty has been implied or given. Firearm should be inspected by a competent gunsmith prior to using. Seller not responsible for any damages incurred or caused by the use of this firearm.

The form asks for personal info such as name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, or better yet, concealed carry license number. If they have a license, at least I know they went through a background check at one time.
I also give my information too so it’s not just one sided. Then we both sign the form and I keep it in my own files. This somewhat protects me and the other person in the transaction.
If the other person is not interested in this form and filling it out then I don’t do business with them. I’ll walk. In all the time I’ve done this, I’ve only walked once.
I was selling a handgun once and it turned out that one of the buyers that I met was an ATF agent. He told me after I agreed to meet him in the middle of the day in a Walmart parking lot. I informed him about the bill of sale before we met and told him what I’d be driving and that I’d have someone with me in the vehicle. That is my policy. When I got to the parking lot before I could even start the transaction he informed me of who he was. I said, “Do you still want the gun?” He laughed and shook his head and then asked if I was a gun dealer. I told him no. He then said that the way I was selling this gun he would have guessed that I was. I said, “No. I’m just a consciences gun enthusiast.” He said, “Good job, Sir.”
I’ve tried to do this the right way to cover myself. I don’t want one of my guns to be used in a crime. I also want some type of documentation to prove who I bought from or sold to. I would suggest you do the same.
Only by trying to be responsible can we change the view of “gun nuts” to the non-nuts.
Honesty is always the best policy and so I try to be as honest as I can when I sell something, gun or not.
There are many places to sell your guns legally. There are some places on the internet that are making their policy of buying and selling guns and ammo anti-gun. I understand some of them not wanting a liability, but some of these places are just anti-gun. Facebook is one that comes to mind. I’m not saying to break the law. But breaking Companies policies is NOT breaking the law! I’m also not advocating trying to break company policies just to sell your gun. But be aware that our transactions are not wanted out there. Buying and selling guns online is legal as long as the material is not sent through the mail or crossing state lines. I can buy a gun from anyone I am willing to drive to in my state. Make sure your state (or city, county, etc.) is the same. Do not break the law in selling/buying a firearm. Know your local laws and abide by them.
I’ve picked up some needed cash or sweet good gun deals because of private sales. I would really hate if they went away or if I had to pay for a background check. Private sales would probably disappear, which is probably what the non-gun people want. They actually think that criminals sit around putting off their crime until the right gun is put in a classified ad. But, I could be wrong. But I doubt this “loophole” closing would make any difference with gun violence.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Friday, February 23, 2018

Fight Against Gun Laws! Call To Action

I know I have a limited audience and that those who read this blog are few. But having said this, I still want to post this important letter. I am opposed to anything, be it law, articles, or opinion, against or weakening the 2nd Amendment. I think that's clear in my articles for the last 3 years here. Please use the following letter, or one of your own writing, to move into action a fight against the latest hysteria over anti-gun legislation. Please write your leaders. Do it now!

Sample letter:

DearPresident Trump/Senator/Rep:

I am against any new gun laws. I adamantly oppose more restrictive Universal Background Check/Registration/NICS legislation in all its forms. Our current background check system functions well when used properly and criminals will always find a way to get guns, usually illegally. It could block good people from defending themselves. Additionally I opposed any new laws banning certain types of guns and/or accessories. I know you stand with real Americans in protecting our Constitution and its provisions like the 2nd Amendment in its entirety. Here are 3 key points in the current environment to ban/limit gun ownership:

1) A campaign of disinformation is pushed by all media on most media (fake news). It has nothing to do with public safety and preventing future mass shootings of innocent people; no gun law would have stopped Nikolas Cruz in FL. Violent criminals have always broken laws and achieved regrettable violence with all kinds of devices (like delivery trucks in France & NY). Every mass shooting has only occurred through violation of many laws……just like in FL. If we truly wish to protect our children then we should make laws where potential victims are immediately ARMED. Utah has such a law in their schools. As such, please support the Safe Students Act (H.R. 34) would repeal gun-free school zones across the country, allowing security guards, administrators, teachers, and parents to protect their students.

2) This movement is more ominous in nature and it ties into an alarming political change in the US. The exact kind our forefathers worried about. It seeks to fully disarm the American people over a period of years. Is this Constitutional? The proposed bump stock or AR-15 ban and its associated bans (magazines, accessories) will make great inroads to this purpose. In doing so it could threaten public safety and perhaps even rule of law as its enforcement is attempted. This could lead to civil unrest or even worse as many refuse to comply with such unconstitutionality and seizure of private property. I and millions of others wish to prevent this and work to preserve rule of law in this country.

3) Americans are entitled to own semi-automatic firearms with their magazines in order to resist possible tyranny. Even with these we are outgunned. This isn’’t some far fetched, ridiculous extremist notion but a lesson simply born of history. Our Bill of Rights was specifically included by our forefathers to protect this important right of self defense and of being armed. It ranks only behind freedom of speech in importance. The 2nd ensures the others rights can remain protected. It also ensures the government answers to the people and prevents the destruction of personal liberty. I support those politicians that protect our hard fought legacy of freedom and personal responsibility. I thank you for your opposition to these and more gun laws.



Thank you for your interest and we must stay vigilant!

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Thursday, February 22, 2018

School Security: If It Were My Kids

In December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary school a nut case took the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults.
In 2007 at Virginia Tech it was 33 killed and 25 injured.
Columbine was in 1999.
We’ve had school shootings for several years and what has been done about security in schools? Not really very much.
The number of public schools locking or closely monitoring their building doors has risen significantly, though relatively few schools have added metal detectors or required clear backpacks on campus. Only one in five schools used security cameras in 1999. Today, three out of five schools use them.
Many school districts are violating at least some aspect of the laws requiring them to submit school security information.
For instance, one key regulation in one state requires districts to submit what is known as a School Security and Safety Plan, a 30-page document developed by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, each September to that agency. But that states records show that nearly 100 school districts haven’t submitted a plan and nearly 60 haven’t submitted a plan in several years. How is this keeping students safe?
In 2017 a sophomore student shot and killed a fellow classmate by walking unimpeded into his high school building. Just like every other student that morning.
Students and staff likely had no reason to question, much less fear his presence. Yet less than 15 minutes later he killed one student and injured three others.
That event represents the fundamental challenge of school security: balancing the public nature of schools with safety and security.
Many districts have spent millions of dollars on security projects yet shootings are still occurring.
Between 1974 and 2013 three-fourths of school violence was committed by students. Nonstudent intruders accounted for just over 10 percent.
So my question is this, where are the lawmakers that want to actually do something? There will be some that want gun control. But the problem is more than the wrong person getting their hands on guns. There are many parts to this problem that are failing. Columbine (1999) happened during the gun ban (1994-2014)!
I don’t see why law enforcement, law makers, the NRA, the security community, the medical world, and educators can’t get together and figure out how to tackle these problems together. But I guess that is too much to ask. I think they could also figure out how to pay for it and how to enforce what they come up with.
My children are grown except for the youngest and they are finishing up high school. We have Homeschooled our kids for several reasons. I would recommend it but it’s not for everyone. Do what is best for your family. But if my children were in public school now I would do certain things to help them be more secure.
First, depending on their age, I would talk to them. And we have. Our kids are exposed to safety, guns, and situational awareness early in their lives. They understand preparedness and why we do it. So I feel I could talk to my kids about anything. We’ve also worked really hard to keep all the communication lines open with our kids. They have known that they could talk to us about anything at a young age. We worked hard to not go crazy when they tell us something that would make us crazy. So we set the groundwork for communication with our children and so should you.
The facts are this and youth should know this. In the last 20 years about half of school shootings have happened in towns with populations of 50,000 or less. Knowing our children and having trust that goes both ways is important. We’ve told our kids that if they ever hear a kid talking about killing or shooting people to talk to us. Let us, and adult, decide on what to do with that information. Don’t put that responsibility on kids. If they feel they can report bad behavior or speech (or texting or Instagram) to authorities then fine. But we’ve told our kids to tell us. Then the responsibility of possibly causing a problem for one of their peers will be on us as adults. And then, as adults, don’t be stupid with this information. Don’t blow it off or exaggerate the info. And make sure it gets to the right people. Whenever a school shooting plot gets foiled because it was brought to the attention of the school or law enforcement, no shooter has ever come back to commit a school shooting. That is a 100 percent intervention rate.
I’ve seen the acronym LEAST (Lockdown, Evacuation and Survival Tactics). The two most used tactics that have demonstrated the best results are lockdown and evacuation. People need to remember that when a shooter has started a shooting spree, only those near the shooter are at immediate risk. That means that in most cases, more than 90 percent of staff and students, depending on the school’s size, are not at immediate risk and lockdown is a great option. Again, this is depending on the location of the shooter and how many staff and students are present when the shooting begins. Additional options include hiding, crawling, the power of your voice, and, last but not least, fighting.
Make sure your child knows their schools policies and protocols. Share with them the school plan and the precautions that are in place. If they receive training you as a parent should receive the same training so that you can emphasize and support that training. You can make sure they have additional training (make sure additional training is not in opposition to their school training). If they don’t have drills at school walk through a drill with your child. Do it often so that an understanding of what they should do or where they should go is clear to your child. If they have drills then go over it with your child.
As a parent get involved with your school. If they don’t have training or drills encourage that to happen.
Make sure your kids understand the difference between cover and concealment. Make sure that they know how to run in zig-zag form. They should know that they should be running to cover. Leap frogging from cover to cover to get out of the building.
If you decide that hiding is the best choice, hide behind something that will stop bullets. Nothing thin or plastic. Thick is not a 2 inch thick wooden table. Maybe two or three of those tables. Even vehicles don’t stop bullets except an engine block. If there is no cover, concealment is the next preferable hiding standard. Make sure your location is barricaded or locked. When hiding or ducking never lay flat on the floor. Ricocheting rounds follow the path of the floor. Stay away from confined spaces like a closet or bathroom. You need space to move. Stay out of doorways and halls. If you’re interested in “why” look up “Fatal funnel.”
Fighting is a last resort but have a plan for a fight. Throw things and attack in force. It needs to be overwhelming force like 4 or 6 to 1. But you need a loose plan. The killer probably hasn’t done this before and has not practiced. Students can practice fighting back. But be smart about it and make sure kids have training and have drilled a little with this. Remember improvised weapons, books, mop handles, chairs, desks, book bags with books in them, garbage cans, fire extinguishers, things that will do some damage.
Control your emotions and keep calm. There will be some fear and anxiety but learn to ignore that panic emotion and think clearly. Being engaged in doing something will keep your mind occupied and off of the fear. Mark Twain said: “Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
There are also ballistic backpacks on the market that might work as a shield. But know that they are not cheap, and they only stop handgun rounds, not rifle rounds. So be aware before you invest in this and make sure your kids don’t use this above good cover. There are limitations and everyone needs to be aware of them.
It’s a scary world out there and avoiding it is only putting off the inevitable. The chances of you or your child being involved in a violent incident are slim, but there is a chance. That’s a chance we need to be prepared for.
The powers that be must do more but to rely just on government is foolish. As responsible parents we must take our security more serious than it seems politicians, educators and law enforcement are being. Until they actually act, the citizens of this country must take their safety and security into their own hands.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

If You Are Willing

“I want to protect myself but I don’t want to change my life that much.”

This is the statement that I was given by an intelligent, educated, young computer programmer. He was a 35 year old who was just starting to put on a little weight around his middle but still in pretty good shape. He understood the importance of self-protection but was not a gun guy. He was a computer guy. He was used to having problems put before him and him finding the solution. But he was not sure which way to go with self-defense.
We talked on the subject for some time. He finally came to the conclusion that he was ok with deadly force. He felt that a gun would afford him the tool for his needs. We talked about carry.
Not everyone can carry inside the waistband (IWB). You do have to change your life a little. Your pants generally should be one size bigger than you normally wear. Then you need a belt (also at least one size larger) to hold everything up. Then you need to experiment with holsters. Regardless of how you carry you will feel like everyone can see that you’re carrying. Although if you decide on an “outside” carry (hip, shoulder, etc.) you will have to dress different to keep things concealed. After all things are considered it comes down to “Is it concealed?” then, “Is it accessible?” then, “Is if comfortable?” Sometimes I think maybe comfort should be the first question because if you are not comfortable, you won’t carry.
One of the things that instructors need to remember is what we do is not self-serving. If you are a gun instructor because you’re a gun nut and it sounds like a “fun” way to make money and be around guns then you’re in the wrong business. Become good at competition and get sponsors if you want that life. Instructors are there for students. The regular guy. Not yourself or your shooting buddies. But to serve people. As an instructor I’ve sought out, and offered, alternate ways of self-defense. I’ve always taught heavily situational awareness and avoiding a fight. Other weapons that are less lethal are sometimes the best choice for those that are not willing to even think about killing another human being. I’ve had some that shied away from lethal choices say things like “I’d just shoot them in the leg.” Of course this is quite dangerous. If you have gone through many options and finally felt it was necessary to pull a gun, now is not the time to back-peddle on stopping the threat. Shooting someone in the leg is not stopping the threat. Being shot in the leg is no fun but you are still able to continue on. Certainly you can operate a gun. You may be able to keep moving and employ your knife or other close range weapon. I’m not saying you must shoot to kill, but you must stop the threat. If a shot to the leg doesn’t stop the attacker you may not have time to shoot to kill before he injures or kills you. So, your plan needs to include stopping the threat which ever option you use. There are many less lethal options:
Hand to hand combat. There are many disciplines out there. I like some and others, not so much. There are some that take years to master and others you can learn and practice techniques and be able to stop a threat without becoming an orange belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Learn these skills and practice often.
Pepper spray. I have a friend who has taught this for years and he has actually used it several times. He says, “Spray early, and spray often!” Using this weapon is not difficult but there is technique to it. There is also a right way and a wrong way.
Defense wand
One of the problems with this is it just seems like a club. This weapon can be very deadly if used improperly. There are “safer” targets than just smacking someone on the head. Make sure you get a quality product also. There are some cheap wands that may not do what they are supposed to do.
Stun gun
This requires a quality stun gun and good training.
Knife
This weapon can be very deadly and very messy! You must be trained correctly and know that if you have a hard time shooting someone, you’ll really have a hard time stabbing or cutting them!

Some of these weapons seem harmless but with improper use can, and have, killed. So don’t get a defensive wand and think you have no change of killing another human being. People have died from all of these weapons. No used properly, some of these weapons will stop an attacker and not kill them. But apart from good pepper spray, a taser gun, and a projectile gun, these weapons are up close and personal. Even pepper spray and a taser have limits that a bullet would not have.
Remember, you are completely responsible for using any of these weapons. Understand not only the psychological toll this can take on you, but the legal responsibilities.

If you feel you are willing to assume the responsibility of using a gun then know that you must learn how to “see it coming” or avoiding it altogether. The best fight is the one you never have. Fights are not pretty. If you’ve never been in one, ask someone who has. Often, two people lose in a fight. Defense is important but knowledge and having the tools doesn’t mean you won’t get injured or killed. That’s why I love avoidance.

Look for an instructor that will teach not only the safety, operation, and competency of shooting, but one who will teach it to you in a way that is good and right for you. Don’t think that if you take 5 classes from an instructor, buy his or her gun, holster and flashlight, that you will look, and function like them! Hopefully you find a serious instructor who is not into the Tacticool life. Find a system that will work for you. If you’re not really looking for another hobby then find an EDC (everyday carry) system that will work to keep you and yours safe.
I received my first paracord bracelet in the 80’s at jump school from an Army Staff Sargent who was in charge of parachute maintenance for the school. I wore it for 2 decades before someone saw it on me and called me a “prepper”. Trends come and go in the shooting world and you do not have to be part of the “gun culture” or “gun community”. I use paracord for everything because of its strength and functionality. So you’ll see it everywhere around my homestead. I joke with my wife, once I put paracord on something it is now known as tactical. So we have a “tactical mirror” in our shower. But you don’t have to so lame. If you have other interests and want a gun for defense, like buying a circular saw for cutting wood, then you need to learn competency with your gun and move on with your life. Hopefully your instructor can see and understand that. Not everyone is a 3-gun champion and knows who Jerry Miculek is. If you don’t that’s fine. There are a lot of things I don’t know about.
If you can’t find a comfortable way to carry your gun you might want to consider “off body” carry (OBC). I don’t care much for this type of carry but I’m not the one doing it. If you decide on this form of carry make sure you understand the addition thing you must do. One is you must know where your gun is at all times. You can’t leave your bag in a public bathroom stall! Of course that goes for all of us! But keeping control of the bag or whatever container your gun is in is imperative. One you don’t want to lose your gun. But two, and most important, you don’t want your gun in the wrong hands, as in children.
Another challenge to OBC is being able to access your gun quickly. In certain military combat zones you must not be more than an arms-length away from your weapon. Well that is probably a good practice with OBC.
Finding the right bag/purse/briefcase may also be a challenge. There are some great products out there but like holsters, you’ll have to experiment some to find what works for you and what you like.

All of this comes back to what you are willing to do to defend yourself and your family. The question of lethal force or not is a serious and important one. This a question that you must answer and answer honestly. Guns are not very good clubs and not good for much of anything else but shooting.
If you are willing, then there are many consideration you have to get yourself to a place where your gun is a defense tool. Being responsible is work and involves some money. It can be very rewarding or at the very least, life-saving.

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Friday, February 16, 2018

Responsible Gun Ownrship and Practice

There are about 55 million gun owners in the U.S. Problem is, there are not 55 million people going to the gun ranges in the U.S. If they did, we’d need three to four times more ranges in this country. You know what that means? My guess is, and it’s only my guess, that 30 to 40 million gun owners practice with their guns on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time at a particular shooting range. It is the only range in the small rural town I live outside of. I know who goes there on a regular basis because I am there a lot. Often the faces I see haven’t been to the shooting range in some time. It’s kind of like exercising. We know we need to do it, and once in while we actually do it, but getting into the habit is sometimes a challenge. Like exercise, a training program needs to be planned and then implemented. Even a seasoned shooter needs to be familiar with a weapon before shooting it. I feel pretty confident that I can pick up any weapon and figure out how it operates in a few minutes safely. But that is several decades of experience. I’m sure I could be stumped! There are some guns I’ve never shot! (I’m working on that…) But for someone who doesn’t shoot but 2 or 3 times a year, they could have some questions. Here is a scenario that is based on a true situation.
“Imagine, for a moment, that you are a young, single woman living alone. On your way home from work, you spot a strange man walking around in your neighborhood. He’s not exactly doing anything wrong at the moment, but something about him just seems off. You’re glad to be passing him in the car rather than walking by him on the sidewalk. You make the final turn onto your street, park the car, and go inside.
About half an hour later, your eye is drawn to movement outside your front window. You look through the blinds, and there he is–the same man you passed on the street earlier. He’s only walking down the sidewalk, albeit slowly, and doesn’t seem to be paying any particular attention to your house. Still, you can’t help but feel vulnerable. As your mind runs through a hundred “what ifs,” you take great comfort in knowing you have a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the bedroom. Better get it out, just to be safe.
Okay, now what? Is it loaded? There’s a magazine in the grip. I think that means it’s loaded. The hammer is cocked, so it should be ready to fire. Now, what about the safety? The safety lever is up. Does that mean it’s off? I think that’s right. But what if it’s not? Maybe I should ask somebody…” This is a story that happened to a student told by instructor. The student was trained. They possessed a concealed carry license. They took two other gun courses. Yet they were still not sure about their gun because of the inexperience with it. Someone may say “They need training.” Well this student had more training than most. I would say that training is only the start.
More people are being caught with guns in their carry-on bags. (28% increase since 2015) That means more of them are carrying guns in their bags. It also means they forget the guns are there, which is reflective of their lack of seriousness for their mindset about carrying. Someone serious about carrying would not only remove the gun from the carry-on bag, but would also be checking that gun to be able to carry it at their destination, if allowed by local law. TSA did not determine what they meant by “loaded” guns. But suffice it to say they had ammunition in the gun.
The best data that is out there is in the state of Texas. Summarizing the Texas data: 93% of the 3.2 million adult gun owners in Texas likely do not train. 4% of them take the mandatory new permit course, at best 3% of them take some kind of NRA course, and only 1%, less than 30K, take any kind of post-CHL level course or shoot any kind of match, including all kinds of pistol, NRA high power, and all the shotgun sports.
According to National Shooting Sports Foundation research, the top 3 reasons people go target shooting are that they go with family and friends (that means one of their family/friends is highly motivated to go shooting), sport/recreation, and self-defense. That means that motivating people that aren’t currently interested in doing more than the state’s minimum may require appealing to higher level needs as opposed to a fear-based approach that emphasizes “safety” as the main reason to attend.
Here are some of the reasons gun owner don’t practice on a regular basis.
Time and Cost
Training is only effective if people actually take it. Only about 1% of gun owners ever receive any formal training beyond what is required by law in order to receive a carry permit or hunting license. The reasons I most often hear in opposition to training are that it’s too expensive or it takes too much time.
Of course, a distinction has to be made between “I don’t have the time/money to train” and “I don’t think training is worth the time/money.” The former argument is often merely an excuse when someone is unwilling to admit the latter.
If shooting is your hobby and you can afford a safe full of pistols and rifles, then you can almost certainly afford a few hundred bucks for a defensive handgun class. The problem among this group isn’t so much a lack of time or money, it’s a lack of motivation. They may look at someone not experienced and think, “At least I’m familiar with how my guns work. What more do I really need to know?” Well, a great deal, really, but such is the curse of “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
But for many, the problem is not motivation. Their roadblock to quality training truly does come down to a lack of resources.
I was at the range the other day when a mini-van pulled up. Out stepped a reluctant young Mother. She was along and had two boxes in her hands. A box with a new Glock 17 in it and a new box of 50 Hydra-shok 9mm shells. She walked up to a bench and sat down. She opened the box and took out the gun examining it. She took out the manual and started to read. I was finishing up and so I watched her a little. I started to clean up my gear and glanced at her because I didn’t want to be a stalker. As she was trying to load the magazine I walked close enough so we could have a conversation. I said, “Excuse me. Can I help you?” She looked up at me and I could see the frustration on her face. She told me that she had just bought this gun and had gone through the concealed carry class. She had her license but really had a limited knowledge of shooting and her gun. She was going to take a course but she had to save up the $350 for the two day course offered in our area. She said she was a single mother and that she wanted a gun for self-defense. I asked her if she was ok with me giving her a crash safety course and a familiarization with her gun. She looked relieved and I sat down with her and told her my name and that I was an instructor. I also told her she reminded me of my daughter who was about her age. I wanted her to be comfortable. I then went through the function of her gun. We talked about that for about a ½ hour and then I went over gun safety. I always keep visual aids in the bottom of my range bag so I pulled them out. After the safety portion I put up a target and we shot a little. When we were done I asked her how the experience was for her. She was beaming. She had shot guns with her father as a teenager but hadn’t touched one in many years. She always had liked to shoot. When I was about to leave she took out her wallet and tried to give me some money. I told her to put that toward some more training.
Most other people in similar situations will not stumble into an opportunity like this. I don’t have an easy answer for this, but I do wish there was a way to connect motivated students who have an imminent need for defensive firearms training with qualified instructors who would be willing to help them.
Forgetfulness
This one is obvious. Imagine going through driver’s education as a teenager, getting your license, and then, after waiting ten years before you get behind the wheel again, the first thing you see is a drunk driver veering into your lane at 60 mph. That is the experience of many gun owners who suddenly find themselves in a violent encounter years after taking their one and only training course (or maybe it was a one on one coaching session with Uncle Bubba from the Special Forces).
Shooting is considered a “perishable skill.” That essentially means if you don’t use it, you lose it. The degree to which your shooting skill degrades over time is dependent on factors like the quality and duration of your initial training, how often you practice following that training, your natural mechanical aptitude, and the mechanical complexity of the firearm you’re using. Introduce the stress of a violent attack into the equation, and how recent you practiced becomes an even more important shield against skill degradation.
Successful armed resistance in a civilian context does not typically involve difficult feats of marksmanship, but it does often require a smooth drawstroke with a gun that is ready to be fired (meaning the gun has to be functional, loaded with a round chambered, and when applicable, the safety disengaged). This may sound like a pretty low bar for competency, but many gun owners could not accurately tell you the status of the gun they carry or keep for defense of the home, nor do they know for certain how to check. Whether or not they have had training in the past, without regular practice (which could be as simple as handling the gun and going through a few minutes of dry practice), people forget.
Not Everyone Wants a New Hobby
Whether it’s intentional or not, most civilian firearms training is marketed to people who have already adopted firearms as a recreational interest. But not everyone who owns a gun for personal protection has any desire to join the so-called “shooting community.”
That point seems difficult for some to believe, so try substituting “gun” with something else you’re less passionate about. For example, I own a chainsaw. It’s a dangerous tool that can have deadly consequences if handled improperly. I’ve taken it upon myself to learn how to use it safely and effectively in the context of my property, which really just means I spent a couple of hours reading articles and watching YouTube videos about chainsaw use. I like my chainsaw. It’s useful, and I think it’s pretty cool. I even occasionally look for an excuse to use it when the weather is nice on a Saturday afternoon. But that is the full extent of my relationship with the chainsaw. I am not interested in joining a “chainsaw community” or living the “lumberjack lifestyle.” It’s not a part of my personal identity and I don’t intend to dedicate any of more of my free time than is absolutely necessary to hone my chainsaw skills.
Most defensive firearms training courses are designed with the assumption that the student is already motivated to continue to practice and train after they leave the class because the student is a shooting enthusiast. The class is intended to show you as many new techniques and skills as possible so you can go home and work on them. That’s perfectly acceptable when your students are all dedicated shooters already. Not so much when they think of their gun the same way I think of my chainsaw.
Basic defensive firearms training might be more effective for Average Joe and Jane Gun Owner if it was simplified with an emphasis on “what you need to know for survival” rather than “what you need to know before you start posting on gun forums.”
Nothing but Shooting
Some firearms training focuses solely on the mechanics of shooting. Others are shooting classes with an emphasis on using those skills in a defensive context. Either of those may be appropriate depending on the needs of the student. But the novice gun owner, whether they realize it or not, is usually looking for a class that will teach them both how to shoot and how to defend themselves; two separate skills that are only sometimes related. Instructors who may be qualified to coach students on their shooting skills are not necessarily well-informed on the broader issues of surviving a violent encounter.
An effective self-defense course is not a shooting course with a couple of token words thrown in about “mindset” and “situational awareness.” Gun-handling and shooting may occupy the majority of the instruction time in a well-rounded class, but the student will also leave with an understanding of how the shooting skills they just learned fit into a broader strategy of self-defense. There may even be useful material covered that addresses how to identify and defuse a potential attack before it takes place, how to avoid being chosen as a victim, unarmed hand-to-hand skills, less lethal alternatives, or legal issues. I would not expect a one-day class to be a comprehensive survey of everything one needs to know in order to deal with violence, but a good introductory defensive shooting course goes beyond merely how to shoot. Among other things, it’s also when to shoot, when not to shoot, and how to safely handle and manage a deadly weapon in normal everyday life.
You don’t have to be a gun nut like me. But you should be competent with your weapon. Do what it takes and be a responsible gun owner.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground Basics

As per usual, I am not lawyer (though my son in law will be one soon!. This, as always, is not legal advice.

Many states have enacted so-called stand your ground laws that remove the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense. Florida passed the first such law in 2005, generally allowing people to stand their ground instead of retreating if they reasonably believe doing so will "prevent death or great bodily harm."
Other states followed with laws specifically affirming one's right to defend themselves, even outside of their homes and with deadly force if necessary. The wording of each state's laws will vary, but typically require you to have the right to be at a location. State self-defense laws may also overlap, but generally fall into three general categories:
1. Stand Your Ground: No duty to retreat from the situation before resorting to deadly force; not limited to your property (home, office, etc.).
2. Castle Doctrine: Limited to real property, such as your home, yard, or private office; no duty to retreat (use of deadly force against intruders is legal in most situations); some states, like Missouri and Ohio, even include personal vehicles.
3. Duty to Retreat: Must retreat from the situation if you feel threatened (use of deadly force is considered a last resort); may not use deadly force if you are safely inside your home.
Here are the states that have passed stand your ground laws:
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Florida
Georgia
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississippi
Montana
Nevada
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
West Virginia
Note: Some states have adopted stand your ground-like doctrines through judicial interpretation of their self-defense laws -- but they are not included on this list.
Some states have self-defense laws on the books that are similar to stand your ground laws, often with at least one key difference. These laws generally apply only to the home or other real property (such as an office) and are often referred to as "castle doctrine" or "defense of habitation" laws. Most U.S. states have castle doctrine laws, including California, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, and Washington.

A “stand your ground” law means someone can, well, stand his ground, and use up to lethal force even if he can safely retreat while under imminent threat. The “castle doctrine” laws, which remove the duty to retreat in a legally occupied setting, such as your home, office, or car (your “castle”). “Stand your ground” is by and large an expansion of “castle doctrine”: While the latter only removes the duty to retreat in your home, the former removes the duty to retreat everywhere — whether you’re in a grocery store, park, or street.
You’ll hear many different people say different things about the castle doctrine. Like if you shoot someone outside your house you’d better drag them inside. This is not true. But in any case you may be free from criminal prosecution but don’t expect the same thing to happen in a civil suit. So the decision to press the trigger is an immense one. Living with the thought of taking a life is bad enough, then going through a legal battle can become a nightmare. We must defend ourselves to be sure. But know the implications of using lethal force.
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from defense or from carrying a gun. On the contrary, I am a defense advocate, but we need to be real about the consequences.
Find your state law and study it. Know all the details of “stand your ground” or “castle doctrine”.
I think everyone who defends themselves with a gun should have a lawyer on speed dial. Look ahead of time, before you need one, for a lawyer who has experience in self-defense cases.
There are some organizations that will defend it’s members:
The Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network
https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/
USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association)
https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/membership/
NRA Carry Guard
https://www.nracarryguard.com/
These are just a few.
There is really no excuse for not knowing your local carry and self-defense laws. They are easy to find on the internet. I am not suggesting you become a lawyer but you should know your laws. Once you learn these laws I would suggest you not quote them to a police officer if you get pulled over or at any other time. Most law enforcement keep up on these laws but be careful with interpretation of law by law enforcement. My advice is to not argue with a police officer.
Get educated and then continue your shooting training. Hopefully you’ll never need the training or the lawyer on speed-dial, but if you do, be prepared.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Thursday, February 15, 2018

School Shootings and The Normalcy Bias

Reality is something that can be very subjective. It shouldn’t be but it often is. I mean the truth is the truth regardless of what someone might believe. During high stress and some type of disasters (even combat in some cases) there are some who refuse to believe it. This is called the normalcy bias. When a person faces disaster (or crime, or an accident, or something dangerous) they can slip into this mental state.
I have been wondering about why so many people seem so incapable of seeing all the changes that are happening right in front of us. Why instead of so clearly seeing that things are slowly going ever so wrong, they doubt themselves or refuse to believe that there is anything different happening or that they can do anything to effect change. Many people see the normalcy bias as a problem of spouses and children that “just don’t seem to get what we are seeing”. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. It also can affect how someone prepares or views preparation.
There is a scene in the movie “Clue” where a character looks into a room and then says “Everything’s fine, four dead bodies.” It’s a funny scene because normally, several dead bodies in a room would not be fine! There is also another scene where a group of people come upon another dead body and one of them says, “This is getting serious…” as if one dead body is not serious enough.
The mainstream media will try and lull people into a state of “normalcy bias” and into a sense of false security. Surely by now you should have realized that the mainstream media is nothing less than a propaganda tool and a means for the “dumbing down of society” to truth and reality.
CNN reports that two students were killed in a shooting Thursday, December 7, 2017 at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico. The suspected shooter is also dead.
Officials said the shooter was a male but did not provide any other details, such as whether he was a student or a visitor. Based on CNN's reporting, one major item sticks out about the student/staff response, and it is very common in these types of scenarios, it is clear that the school district failed to train their staff and the student population as a whole to override their 'normalcy bias.' That is, the bias we have developed as a civilian population living through decades of peacetime to deny that horrific violence is being directed at us when it is actually occurring, as it did in New Mexico.

It is one of the few negative byproducts of the strong defense our nation continues to enjoy, and only because sustained periods of peace for the majority of civilian society leads to a degradation of the natural defense we all have in us. This is why scenario-based training is so critical to keeping natural defense intact.
This CNN quote shows that specifically.
"Garrett Parker, a sophomore at Aztec High School, said he was in a classroom when students heard what they thought was someone punching the lockers. As the noise got louder and the suspect got closer to the classroom, they realized it was gunshots, he said."
No training or the normalcy bias put students and faculty in denial that an active shooter was closing in on their location with intent to murder. A student and staff member's automatic reaction to the sound of gunfire should be to immediately identify and get behind cover. All follow-on response decisions should be made from that point. The worst thing that could happen if a sound actually turns out to be something innocuous is that you have just performed a very effective individual active shooter response drill, and can simply step out from behind cover and resume your normal activities.
To accurately discern the sound of gunfire as well as effective cover, students and staff require scenario-based active shooter training to hone such skills. Every school district across the nation should view this horrific event in New Mexico as a catalyst to implement this type of training at every school under their purview.
Here is another quote that jumps out from the CNN story. It's from the mother of a student who was in the New Mexico school as the active shooter event occurred:

"I just can't believe this happened in our community. This is all a horrible feeling. I'm glad my kids are safe and with us but I am devastated for my community and for the families who didn't get the chance to take their kids home."
When will our naiveté about the active shooter epidemic in schools cease? When will we come to grips with this reality and implement the training necessary to completely avoid (behavior detection and response) or effectively respond in real-time (cover vs. concealment/tactical training) to these types of scenarios?
Reality should have shown us by now that every school across the nation is susceptible to this type of event. Therefore, we need to adopt an attitude that does not ask 'if' an active shooter event will occur at the school our children attend, but 'when.' From there, we need to attack this problem head on at the community level instead of hoping government at the state and federal levels can find a way to legislate this problem into extinction.
Legislation is not equipped to effectively control this epidemic of violence. Like so many ailments of modern American life, it is too complex to be addressed by lawmakers in Washington. You must take responsibility for your family’s safety.
The responsibility of effective active shooter preparedness and defense can no longer be outsourced to law enforcement alone - it has outpaced their ability to effectively respond. All of us - parents, educators, students, whole communities - must be part of a comprehensive, grass-roots solution, and we need to move forward on this immediately.

To do anything less is to submit to complacency, and complacency is a disease that costs us the lives of our children.
This is also a problem with any violence or disaster event. We must stop hiding our head in the sand and become prepared and trained.
The tragedy in Florida yesterday is almost exactly like the New Mexico shootings. Yet all anyone can come up with is gun control.
Israel have been dealing with this for a long time. We can learn a lot from a country who is almost always under attack.
The following is what a security expert took away from their visit to Israel:
1) Identify the most likely threats to your students and staff.
2) Solicit the help and active collaboration of stakeholders and form all-hazard threat assessment teams to identify the threats and methods to warn your staff and others about the threats that can be prevented or interrupted. This is provided that they can be mitigated. For example, foul weather cannot be prevented, but it can be mitigated. Concentrate on preparedness for the most likely threats, and use resources that are readily available as guides such as FEMA, the Department of Education, reputable private firms, non-profits and your state’s emergency management.
3) Have a no-hassle and confidential way for the reporting of unusual/concerning activity (e.g. an unattended bag). Any system/method you employ for public reporting should be very user friendly.
4) Develop and communicate as simple of a plan as possible to staff or students on the proper course of action they should take to deal quickly with threats.
5) Train, train, train on that plan, and include students and staff, not just your own public safety staff. Then, evaluate the plan and tweak it where necessary. Also, ensure that safety drill practices and evaluations are a weighted part of staff performance expectations.
6) If you use security cameras and technology, get a vendor with good support and don’t bog down people trying to monitor technology that is beyond their ability to mentally handle. The Israelis were quick to point out that they limit anyone monitoring video to a four hour shift. Anything beyond that greatly decreases human capability to observe.
7) As much as possible, sanitize areas that are to be used for large gatherings on campus. You might not have a K-9 or sophisticated explosive detection equipment on hand, but you can have trained observers. Train them on IED detection and use them. Once you sanitize an area, ensure it is secured and not left unattended before participants begin to arrive.
8) Use community policing to make safety a mindset and culture on your campus so the programs you employ will be sustainable in the future. Soliciting others on campus is a force multiplier, so get students and staff involved. Properly applied technology is a great asset, yet nothing really beats an engaged observer who is properly trained on response.

We must get vigilant, and stay that way.
Fighting the normalcy bias is a difficult task but it can be overcome. Ensure you don’t become part of this bias yourself. Keeping an open mind and knowing what to do in disasters or in the face of violence, will help you to not just survive, but thrive.

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Friday, February 9, 2018

Porter Rockwell Tactical Preparedness

I seem to bring up Orrin Porter Rockwell and what I call the OP Rockwell Philosophy quite often. It matches the sheepdog philosophy where good men learn violence to protect the sheep from the wolves.
We are invaded by a hostile force who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction. . . . Our opponents have availed themselves of prejudice existing against us because of our religious faith, to send out a formidable host to accomplish our destruction. . . . (I order) that all the forces in said Territory hold themselves in readiness to march, at a moment's notice, to repel any and all such invasion. — Territorial Gov. Brigham Young's proclamation, 1857
The first commander named for the U.S. Army expedition was Gen. William Harney. His biographer would later write that he "had fully determined, on arriving at Salt Lake City, to capture Brigham Young and the twelve apostles and execute them in summary fashion." But Harney would never go to Utah, for he was soon sent instead to quell unrest in Kansas.
He was replaced by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, who was far away in Texas.
Officers didn't expect much opposition from Mormons to such a powerful force.
When Col. Johnston’s army marched toward Utah in 1857 for the Mormon War, Rockwell was named captain of a 100-man ranger company to lead guerrilla raids against the insurgent army to “disrupt supply trains and harass military columns.”
Many people are familiar with the outcome of the "war" — how after being harassed by Rockwell, Bill Hickman, Lot Smith and other Mormons who burned their supply trains, emissaries, including Col. Thomas Kane, were able to negotiate a peaceful settlement. The government was willing to offer blanket amnesty, provided the Army was allowed to stay.
“Porter Rockwell was that most terrible instrument that can be handled by fanaticism; a powerful physical nature welded to a mind of very narrow perceptions, intense convictions, and changeless tenacity. In his build he was a gladiator; in his humor a Yankee lumberman; in his memory a Bourbon; in his vengeance an Indian. A strange mixture, only to be found on the American continent.”
—Fitz Hugh Ludlow, 1870.

In the chaos that ensued after the death of Joseph Smith, the Mormons often engaged in battles with mobs of non-Mormons. On September 16, 1845 Rockwell was hastily deputized by the Sheriff of Hancock County Illinois, Jacob Blackenstos. Blackenstos was a non-Mormon but was friendly to the Mormons. He was being chased by an anti-Mormon mob led by Frank Worrell, who had been in charge of the militia unit that failed to protect Joseph Smith when he was murdered. Rockwell took out his rifle and stopped the mob by shooting to death Worrell. Worrell thus became the first man killed by Rockwell, a total that would grow to 40-100, no one is certain, by the end of Rockwell’s life.

British adventurer Captain Richard F. Burton visited Great Salt Lake City in 1860
“When he heard I was preparing for California, he gave me abundant good advice--to carry a double-barreled gun loaded with buckshot; to keep my eyes skinned,' especially in canyons and ravines; to make at times a dark camp--that is to say, unhitching for supper and then hitching up and turning a few miles off the road--ever to be ready for attack when the animals were being inspanned and outspanned, (hitching and unhitching) and never to trust to appearances in an Indian country."
Then Rockwell added the clincher: "For the purpose of avoiding 'White Indians,' the worst of their kind, he advised me to shun the direct route, which he represented to be about as fit for traveling as is hell for a powder magazine." They parted with a handshake and a "here's how." Burton later would send the "old Mormon Danite" a bottle of brandy for his kindness to a passing stranger and for his excellent trail advice.
The time had been that an Illinois sheriff had gotten the drop on Rockwell, and shaking him down, the lawman found the Mormon carried the fire power to get off 71 pistol rounds before he would have had to fort up and reload. That would have meant he had ten, eleven, or twelve guns on board—plus ramrods, nipple pricks, wadding, and shot. For comparison, a Smith and Wesson .357 weighs 46 ounces, unloaded. A Ruger .44 weighs 48 ounces (an even three pounds). For either, a box of 50 cartridges comes in at a pound and a half. Figuring that a modern weapon weighs roughly what one of Rockwell's would have, along with its paraphernalia, he could have been riding along with as much as 38, 39, or 40 pounds of steel slapping against him with his horse's gait. Add to that the weight of the hostlers and belts his outfit would have required. And more—add the weight of a formidable array of knives he had sheathed beside his guns. The sheriff, whoever he was, came away from the arrest with a story that was to last him a long time.
Porter knew a little about being an insurgent, or Guerilla warfare. He also knew a little about preparation for defense and thinking tactically. The above advice Captain Burton is proof that he thought this way. He carried concealed and knew about situational awareness. He taught avoidance (taking a different trail), and firepower (carry a double-barreled shotgun, loaded with buckshot). We can learn a lot from ol’ Port. Also his loyalty to Prophets and to the Church are pretty good traits.

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Monthly Read: Book Review For February

Once a month I will review and recommend a book. I know in this digital world that paper books are a little out dated. Most hard copy books are now in digital form, often in PDF. I would recommend a good well rounded hard copy library in your home. Some of the best books are old and out of print. There are certain publishers and authors I really like. This will be books I like and really only my opinion. If you’d like to recommend a book for me to review e-mail me and we can make it happen. The subjects will be varied but will have to do with the theme of this website, LDS Gunsite. Guns, preparedness, LDS History, security, self-defense, and patriotism are just a few examples. I have a big library of mostly reference books so I will draw heavily from that. Some books may be old and out of print. But most will be books you can find on Amazon.

February 2018
“On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society” By Lt Col Dave Grossman


Psychologist and US Army Ranger Dave Grossman writes that the vast majority of soldiers are loath to pull the trigger in battle. Unfortunately, modern armies, using Pavlovian and operant conditioning, have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion.

The mental cost for members of the military, as witnessed by the increase in post-traumatic stress, is devastating. The sociological cost for the rest of us is even worse: Contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army’s conditioning techniques and, Grossman argues, is responsible for the rising rate of murder and violence, especially among the young.

Drawing from interviews, personal accounts, and academic studies, On Killing is an important look at the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects the soldier, and of the societal implications of escalating violence.

My review
Lt Col Dave Grossman is a sensible writer. He approaches the difficult topic of killing and its effects on humans with honesty and logical conclusions. Dave Grossman understands the difference between being a sheep or a sheep dog. His insight to the problem of killing, in war or self-defense, is to have a mind set before and after. His emphasis on God and faith is also very helpful. This is a good read into the head of a shooter.

Overwatch: Drill Of The Month For February

Failure Drill
Skill Focus: Presentation from holster (draw stroke), target transitions
Distance: 7 yards
Target: IDPA, IPSC, or any silhouette style target with an 8″ circle or similar sized chest target area.
Instructions: Place any silhouette style target seven yards away. At the beep, draw from the holster and fire two rounds to the chest area of the target followed by one round at the head (3 rounds total). Focus on a consistent, smooth presentation from the holster. Go as fast as you can and still guarantee hits. Record your time and repeat four times (five repetitions total).
Variations: Try it at 3 or 5 yards if the head box gives you trouble. Stretch it out to 10 or 15 yards if you need a challenge, or place a 3×5 card on the head box. If your shooting range allows, you can also try adding a sidestep during the draw stroke.
The Failure Drill has been around for decades, and has the dubious honor of being the only shooting drill with its own Wikipedia page. Because it only requires three rounds, you can repeat it several times in a single range session. For practicing presentations from the holster, I prefer drills like this as opposed to drills that require only a single shot. You can rush the draw stroke and get a really sloppy grip on the pistol and still manage to get off a single shot somewhere near the middle of the target. Firing multiple shots in quick succession requires a solid firing grip on the pistol. If you mess up the draw stroke in this drill, the target and shot timer will show it.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Grim Reality of Self-Defense

I went to the range this week like I do just about every week. While there I was doing some extra work during my workout. I was doing what we call in the military, “cornering”. This is something I learned working with infantry guys and guys that clear buildings. I did not do that for Uncle Sam, but I learned how. In the military we work in teams and life is much more bitter/sweet working with a team. In my house I only have my wife. Which is great! I love her dearly but I’m pretty sure she won’t “leap frog” with me down the hall covering each other. Now we have talked about the “what if” of me having to leave her to “recon” what’s going on somewhere else in the house. She can shoot, she has a good light, and she has a cell phone. She also has been briefed on what a “fatal funnel” is and how to work through one.
The grim reality of defense is actually doing it. Actually stammering out “Don’t come any closer! I’ll shoot!” and then dropping the perp and moving the butcher knife that was in his hand far away from his reach. I have never done this in real world, but have done it in force on force training. It’s not the same as real world but it’s as close as I can get! I’ve thought a lot about this and other scenarios. It’s necessary to build a “what if” file in your head, but really, that’s all it is. When it goes down the attacker won’t always respond like you think they will. I think sometimes we think that well placed double tap will do what it is designed to do and stop the threat. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it takes a few more.
People who are out of shape, depressed, surprised, expecting to die, or have watched a lot of television murders… those people can be killed more easily. People who are in shape, feeling up, anticipating the challenge, have something to live for… people who are angry about being shot… that type are going to be harder to kill.
There was a WW1 British Lieutenant shot thru the hand while making the “follow me” wave. He looked at his wound and died.
A man in North Carolina was shot roughly 20 times in 1995 and lived to tell about it. The rapper 50 Cent was shot nine times in 2000 and has since released three albums. And in 2006, Joseph Guzman survived 19 gunshot wounds during the 50-shot fusillade by police detectives that killed Sean Bell.
While surviving numerous gunshots could be a miraculous feat, doctors who have treated gunshot victims say that being shot is not automatically a death sentence.
When major organs — the heart and brain especially — and blood vessels are avoided, the chances of survival are good, they said. The catch, of course, is that there is no science to preventing a bullet from hitting a vital part of the body.
These are only a few examples of how difficult, or easy, it is to kill a human. So when you think that guy who just broke into your house and is determined to do what he pleases to the occupants, will fall at the first shot of your 4 and half inch barreled, 9mm or .40 caliber handgun, think again. This is why I emphasize practice and training. This is why I never stop. Being a responsible person means doing what it takes to be a true defender. Going out to the range 3 times a year won’t cut it. To be honest, I feel I have extensive experience and training in shooting guns, but I wonder if I’m actually ready to face the grim reality of killing another human being effectively.
There are about 55 million gun owners in the U.S. Problem is, there are not 55 million people going to the gun ranges in the U.S. If they did, we’d need three to four times more ranges in this country. You know what that means? My guess is, and it’s only my guess, that 30 to 40 million gun owners practice with their guns on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time at a particular shooting range. It is the only range in the small rural town I live outside of. I know who goes there on a regular basis because I am there a lot. Often the faces I see haven’t been to the shooting range in some time. It’s kind of like exercising. We know we need to do it, and once in while we actually do it, but getting into the habit is sometimes a challenge. Like exercise, a training program needs to be planned and then implemented. Even a seasoned shooter needs to be familiar with a weapon before shooting it. I feel pretty confident that I can pick up any weapon and figure out how it operates in a few minutes safely. But that is several decades of experience. I’m sure I could be stumped! There are some guns I’ve never shot! (I’m working on that…) But for someone who doesn’t shoot but 2 or 3 times a year, they could have some questions. Here is a scenario that is based on a true situation.
“Imagine, for a moment, that you are a young, single woman living alone. On your way home from work, you spot a strange man walking around in your neighborhood. He’s not exactly doing anything wrong at the moment, but something about him just seems off. You’re glad to be passing him in the car rather than walking by him on the sidewalk. You make the final turn onto your street, park the car, and go inside.
About half an hour later, your eye is drawn to movement outside your front window. You look through the blinds, and there he is–the same man you passed on the street earlier. He’s only walking down the sidewalk, albeit slowly, and doesn’t seem to be paying any particular attention to your house. Still, you can’t help but feel vulnerable. As your mind runs through a hundred “what ifs,” you take great comfort in knowing you have a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the bedroom. Better get it out, just to be safe.
Okay, now what? Is it loaded? There’s a magazine in the grip. I think that means it’s loaded. The hammer is cocked, so it should be ready to fire. Now, what about the safety? The safety lever is up. Does that mean it’s off? I think that’s right. But what if it’s not? Maybe I should ask somebody…” This is a story that happened to a student told by an instructor. The student was trained. They possessed a concealed carry license. They took two other gun courses. Yet they were still not sure about their gun because of the inexperience with it. Someone may say “They need training.” Well this student had more training than most. I would say that training is only the start.
More people are being caught with guns in their carry-on bags. (28% increase since 2015) That means more of them are carrying guns in their bags. It also means they forget the guns are there, which is reflective of their lack of seriousness for their mindset about carrying. Someone serious about carrying would not only remove the gun from the carry-on bag, but would also be checking that gun to be able to carry it at their destination, if allowed by local law. TSA did not determine what they meant by “loaded” guns. But suffice it to say they had ammunition in the gun.
The best data that is out there is in the state of Texas. Summarizing the Texas data: 93% of the 3.2 million adult gun owners in Texas likely do not train. 4% of them take the mandatory new permit course, at best 3% of them take some kind of NRA course, and only 1%, less than 30K, take any kind of post-CHL level course or shoot any kind of match, including all kinds of pistol, NRA high power, and all the shotgun sports.
According to National Shooting Sports Foundation research, the top 3 reasons people go target shooting are that they go with family and friends (that means one of their family/friends is highly motivated to go shooting), sport/recreation, and self-defense. That means that motivating people that aren’t currently interested in doing more than the state’s minimum may require appealing to higher level needs as opposed to a fear-based approach that emphasizes “safety” as the main reason to attend.
Being the unusual one is something I’ve always sought for. Even as a kid I did not like to follow the crowd. So maybe that’s why I try to train on a regular basis. Out of stubborn rebelliousness. Find a reason for yourself and follow through.
Facing up to the grim reality of being prepared, and then actually carrying out self-defense is something we all need to prepare better for. If you do not feel you could realistically kill another human who is bent on killing you or a loved one, do not buy a gun. Do not think that maybe you can be reasonable with an attacker and get out of an attack. Do not feel that if you cannot imagine killing someone you will if faced with the situation. The grim reality is you probably will not and thus you will be killed. Anything is possible of course, but do not count on the miracle or the unusual to happen, because it may not. I believe in God and Devine intervention. I also believe that God will help us after all we can do, even though God can do whatever He wants. I believe we must do our part.
In a lecture presented by Massad Ayoob, who is one of the pre-eminent fighting handgun trainers in the world. Ayoob’s methods of reflexive, high speed yet accurate shooting have been adopted by the U.S. Army as part of its standard pistol-training course. Former director of Lethal Force Institute, and owner/operator of the Massad Ayoob Group, he is directly responsible for training thousands in justifiable use of deadly force, safe gun use and effective defense techniques. He offered a frank discussion of how a lethal force incident changes the survivor.
Ayoob defines both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and post-shooting trauma, explaining that the reactions suffered by the survivor stem from how society treats one who uses deadly force to avoid being killed or crippled. He suggests coping strategies for dealing with the distress, explaining, “If you can understand the trauma and the symptoms, you can remedy it,” and adding that knowing in advance innoculates the student to some degree so their responses may be less intense.
Some post-event reactions include:
• Nightmares
• A period of insomnia
• Survivor euphoria and its flip side, self doubt
• Depression
• Appetite disturbance
• Substance abuse
• Sexual dysfunction
• Social withdrawal
• Aggression/avoidance syndrome, and more.
Yes self-defense is a serious business. You must face the grim reality of it and do your best to understand it if you choose to do it, learn to mitigate its effects. I also am a firm believer in doing all we can to avoid ever being in a position to where I must kill or shoot. Avoidance is a large part of training along with situational awareness.
Decide what you can actually do. Sometimes we may never really know until faced with it, but realistically determine what you feel you’re capable of. Once you decide to use fatal force in self-defense, train. Learn all you can about how to defend yourself effectively and efficiently. Then practice, practice, practice! Do all these things realistically and not in word only. Be determined and be willing to part with time, money, and resources that can be life changing. I mean carrying a gun can actually change the way you dress! That is just one detail. There are many others. Then be willing to face the grim reality of your decision.

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn