Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Decision To Defend

When I was in Junior High I went to an outdoor fair the school had. I don’t remember what month it was but it was already hot and toward the end of the school year in Arizona. I went to this activity with a friend of mine Mike. Both of us were tall skinny 14 year olds. We weren’t very big and a swift wind would blow us away. Toward the end of the activity we decided to leave. The school was designed with the hallways outside. There were corridors connecting the buildings and in these corridors were where the lockers were located. Some of these corridors were closed with rolling gates. As we were making our way through the school to the street we chose the wrong corridor. We were jumped by 5 “courageous” young men who initially asked for money. We didn’t have any money so they proceeded to beat on us. Well we were skinny and wiry kids and so they got in a few punches and kicks but we were scared and took off like rockets! I think I had a bloody nose and somehow found my glasses. We went over to the Tastee Freeze and called our parents. Our parents called the police and we gave them a description the best we could. I went home and went straight to bed with a headache. I was woken by my Mother who said the police were here with some guys in their car they wanted me to identify. My Mom was afraid to let me but I insisted. They were the guys. I smiled at them and said to the cop “That’s the skumballs that jumped us.”
That is story number one. This next one is story number two.
I was in the military on a training mission in a Central American country. We thought it was just going to be a routine training mission we had been on before when everything went sideways. We were all in combat gear and in a place that was defendable. We had plenty of food, water, and ammo. We were in a very good defensive position. But we were basically ambushed in what turned into a 3 day siege where we lost 4 guys as the 30 of us fought what was thought to be about 250 men. We got out of there by the skin of our teeth and a few days later the guys that attacked us were wiped out by a superior force. After 2 days of several battles a day and through the night you started to think that this was going to be your life. But from that experience and the story above I made some decisions about my life.
1. I would never be a victim again
2. I would never be ambushed or surprised again
3. I would learn whatever it took to be successful with numbers 1 and 2
This is my background of why I have become such a proponent of defending oneself and our loved ones. I became a weapons instructor in the 80’s when some instructors still advocated the revolver. There is nothing wrong with a revolver, just look a Jerry Miculek. But soon auto loaders dominated the defense world and the military got on board. I had the distinct opportunity of training military members in the use of the Colt 1911, the Smith and Wesson Model 15 revolver, and the M9 Beretta. In my opinion more guns, more fun! Even though I maintained an “Expert” status with a revolver, I’ve never been very good with one. I only own a few.
In the military I was also asked to write a curriculum for teaching situational awareness (SA) in combat. So me and another sergeant researched and developed a lesson plan for teaching SA. SA made a big difference in my survival in the two incidences above. The former was a lack of SA, in the latter SA literally saved me hide several times.
I’ve talked about SA a lot because I believe it can save you a lot of problems. Just as you can’t be focused on the road 5 feet in front of your car, looking ahead keeps you out of problems that can arise. Can you always be in Yellow? Really? What about when you are reading a book? A map? A menu? It’s impossible to be safe from an ambush, but you can turn the odds in your favor by just paying attention. I’ve talked a lot about the Cooper Color Codes. They are:
White
In condition white, you are relaxed and unaware of what is going on around you.
Ideally, you will only be in condition white when asleep, but realistically we often drop our guard when we are at home or in some other environment we assume to be safe.
Yellow
In condition yellow, you remain relaxed, but are aware of who and what is around you.
This merely means that you are paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you whether you are at home or moving in society. In comparison to condition white, you simply have moved your alertness to a level of attention that will prevent you from being totally surprised by the actions of another person.
You are not anticipating a threat, but rather keeping your awareness on your surroundings and the other people around you.
Orange
In condition orange, you have identified something of interest that may or may not prove to be a threat. Until you are satisfied that no threat exists, your “radar” will stay focused on that possible threat (but not to the point where you are oblivious to other possible threats).
If you are well trained, your subconscious mind will be visualizing “what if” situations as possible solutions should an attack take place.
Red
If the focus of your attention in condition orange does something you find threatening, you will shift to condition red.
Notice here that condition Red IS NOT the firing stroke. Instead, condition red simply changes the focus of your attention from a potential threat to a potential target. You will draw your weapon, or move still further to sight acquisition, only if the potential target’s actions dictate such a response.
If you are attacked in red, you should be fully prepared to defend yourself. Whether or not you have a gun in hand or on target will depend on the circumstances, but mentally, you are already ahead of the game.
These codes are only a guide to try and live with. No one will ever be perfectly focused on everything around them at all times. With practice, you can be pretty good most of the time.
I gravitated toward guns but had the opportunity to receive training in other less than lethal weapons and in some hand-to-hand combat. You may pick another option other than firearms. But whatever you do, be serious about it. Just like taking care of our bodies exercising we need to be well trained and experienced in defense. Like exercising defense training should be scheduled and often to stay skilled and competent. Otherwise, like exercise, doing it sporadically will make you weaker and much less prepared.
Look at your own life. Use a little introspection and see if you can pinpoint some events that would move you toward taking care of your own self-defense. If you don’t have any experiences to draw from, consider those close to you or those you most respect. Can you draw upon their experiences? It has been said that wise people learn from their own mistakes. But superwise people learn from OTHERS mistakes, or experiences.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

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