Monday, August 12, 2019

Going Underground

I love gun T-shirts! My favorite is a picture of a decked out AR with the words “Happiness is zero at 200”. The trouble is, I never wear it. I have another that I like from Academy Sports centers and it simple says “Got Ammo?” but I never wear it. My wife says I’m a closet gun nut. She’s pretty accurate. And I’m not “coming out” any time soon! I’m not ashamed of my affiliation with guns. I just don’t need the world to know. I even refrain from posting on politically charged Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. Some have told me I’m a wimp and afraid of the left. I don’t think I’m afraid of the left, but I have worked for the government for 30+ years. I know what they are capable of. I’m not afraid of them in particular. I’ve been a cautious guy for a long time. I have operated with great caution for many years concerning what I do and how I do it. I’m not as extreme as I sound sometimes in this blog. I have had food storage my entire marriage and that did not change with Y2K or with the “prepper” movement. I’ve been a gun nut most of my life and have not really changed much from my younger years. But I operate maybe from what some may deem paranoia. I don’t share personal information with many and especially with the internet. I use the word paranoid facetiously. But my advice to any of you is to tone down the way you talk about guns.
Red flag laws are a little different in each state. But basically, if a family member or others believe that you are a danger to yourself or others they report you. The police can take your guns from you “temporarily”. I’m not sure what that means exactly but it does have to go through a judge. This has already helped some would-be suicide victims. I am not sure. I’m wondering if a disgruntled ex-spouse can turn in their ex just for spite. I guess they would have to lie to a judge but for some that would not be a problem. I’m not sure what it is like to try and get those guns back from the police if the crisis is over. I may be worried for nothing. But like I said, I don’t trust the government. Even though I love this country and think our government is the best I’ve seen, I still don’t trust them! So I’m dubious about this law. But that’s not what this article is about really.
Because of these laws and possible future laws it behooves us to practice operations security. Be vague about what you do. In that same vein, don’t be so cavalier with talking about guns you own. Or the number of guns you have. Or the amount of ammo you keep. Or anything like this. Others don’t really need to know this information.
A few years ago I was waiting at a light in a line of cars turning into a Walmart. I was with my son and we were behind a pick-up. I sat there looking at the back of that truck and I told my son, “I can tell you a lot about the owner of that truck.” He said, “How?” I said “I can tell you with a reasonable amount accuracy that this truck owner also owns a gun. He has a “Glock” sticker along with an “NRA” sticker on his back window. He has 3 kids and a dog from the family stickmen stickers, and he’s Jewish from the Star of David emblem.” My son said “Wow!” “And finally” I said, “He’s probably a Republican from the “Ted Cruz” sticker in his back window.” All this from the back of his vehicle. Talk about vulnerabilities! I have no problem with any of those things that this guy has broadcast to the world but others may. For one thing you’re asking to be a target to any nutbag out there. The other is you’re making public some things that you may not need to be secret, but just private.
I am a Life member of the NRA yet you would not know it by my vehicle. I’m also a gun guy but you wouldn’t know by my clothes. I don’t wear 5.11 pants or “I don’t call 9-1-1” T-shirts. When I carry a gun it is concealed and you wouldn’t know I was carrying.
I was driving through a neighborhood one day when I happened to see a box out with the trash in front of a house. Nothing crazy about that. Except that it was a long, flat box with the Ruger logo all over it! Someone got a new rifle. This is prevalent especially after Christmas. Maybe you get your ammo in bulk from the internet. Take the box with the “Fiocchi” logo all over it and throw it in a dumpster behind the mall. Cut you name and address off of it first.
Some may call this paranoia but I just call it OPSEC. As laws change you may find yourself in a position of owning a banned weapon. I’m not saying bury it (although that IS an option) but I am saying it would be nice to try and figure out what your next move is before the neighbors turn you in.
So my advice is to look at what you do, what you say, how you dress, everything about you. If you’re comfortable with it and it doesn’t say much about you, then carry on! But if you need to make changes make them now. I’m not sure how these red flag laws are going to play out. They may do as they are intended to do and keep us safer. I have my doubts. That would be somewhat successful legislation from a government who can harder fight a war. They can’t, and won’t, police themselves. I don’t see how their new ideas will actually work.
Beginning to trail off on your conversations, how you buy, and what you do will help you if these laws start to strip away our rights. Remember what Benjamin Franklin said:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
I’ve talked before about the responsibility of Carrying a Gun. You must be the master of what I call ADD: avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation. This means your situational awareness must be sharp and always in use.
I would also advocate the quiet professional demeanor. Don’t stick out or be overly open about the fact that you own and train with a gun. Keep a low profile. When I was in basic training I had to get the signature of my instructor on a form. I entered his office in the proper way and stated my need. He took the paper and proceeded to sign it. As he did so he looked at me and said that I was keeping quite a low profile and that he noticed it. I said “Sir. Yes Sir.” He just smiled and gave me my paperwork and dismissed me. He knew what I was up to. I was trying to not make any waves, get into any trouble, or stand out in any way to avoid problems and get through this training. He wanted me to know he knew what I was doing, but approved of the tactic. At graduation as I was headed to jump school and SERE he went out of his way to find me, salute me, and shake my hand to wish me well. He appreciated the quiet professional. This may not be for everyone but I try to maintain this all the time. Sometimes I’m successful at it and sometimes I’m not.
In the wake of gun tragedy and gun control being called for (they never let a tragedy go to “waste”) we must protect our rights and our property. Keeping a low profile, or going underground, will give you options if things go bad, and let you operate a little freer in these troubled times.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Understanding Those With PTSD

Several years ago I found myself in a very sticky situation. I was being shot at and I had the good sense to pull up my rifle and shoot back. In the process we lost some good friends. As I returned home I was “told” to see a psychiatrist and in the process of dealing with that I was diagnosed with combat related post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. I feel fortunate that my case is pretty mild compared to others. Some of those who suffer almost as much as the person with PTSD are spouses and families. Coping with PTSD in family members can be difficult because the effect of PTSD on the family can be great. Studies have shown that families in which a parent has PTSD are characterized by more anxiety, unhappiness, marital problems and behavioral problems among children in the family as compared to families where a parent does not have PTSD.
This finding is not entirely surprising. PTSD symptoms can cause a person to act in ways that may be hard for family members to understand. Their behavior may appear erratic and strange or be upsetting.
The family can either positively or negatively impact a loved one's PTSD symptoms. The first step in living with and helping a loved one with PTSD is learning about the symptoms of PTSD and understanding how these symptoms may influence behavior.
People with PTSD sometimes relive the traumatic event, also known as re-experiencing symptoms.
The re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD include:
• Frequently having upsetting thoughts or memories about a traumatic event
• Having recurrent nightmares
• Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event is happening again sometimes called a "flashback"
• Having very strong feelings of distress when reminded of the traumatic event
• Being physically responsive, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, when reminded of the traumatic event
Thoughts and memories about a traumatic event can easily be triggered or brought up. Many things can serve as a trigger, such as certain words, sights, sounds or smells. As a result, a person with PTSD may not always appear present in the moment. Frequent thoughts may interfere with concentration or the ability to follow a conversation. That’s where the “1000 yard stare” came from in combat vets.
In addition, because thoughts and memories about a traumatic event can easily be triggered, a person with PTSD may quickly and easily become upset. To the person without PTSD, these experiences of distress or anxiety may appear to come completely out of the blue.
Some people with PTSD may also act as if the traumatic event is occurring again. They may regard you as a completely different person. When this is happening, the person with PTSD does not necessarily know what they are doing, as they are in a dissociative state meaning they are not functioning normally.
Another symptom of PTSD is avoidance, which involves avoiding anything that reminds you of the traumatic event.
Avoidance symptoms include:
• Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event
• Making an effort to avoid places or people that remind you of the traumatic event
• Having a difficult time remembering important parts of the traumatic event
• A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities
• Feeling distant from others
• Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love
• Feeling as though your life may be cut short
Even though a person with PTSD may go out of his way to avoid certain people, places, or activities, it's not because the person is no longer interested in them, it's because these things somehow trigger thoughts and memories about the traumatic event.
Family members may also feel as though their loved one with PTSD is emotionally cut-off or distant. This is not a personal choice on the part of the person with PTSD. People with PTSD have been found to experience something called emotional numbing. As the name implies, this refers to the inability to have certain emotions. Emotional numbing may interfere with a person's ability to experience or express love and joy.
Feeling keyed up, or hyper vigilant (hyper arousal) is another PTSD symptom.
Hyper vigilance include:
• Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep
• Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger
• Having difficulty concentrating
• Feeling constantly on guard or like danger is lurking around every corner
• Being jumpy or easily startled
If you have PTSD, you may feel as if you, and maybe your family as well, are in danger. You may be in a constant state of readiness. As a result, you may be more edgy or irritable. Some people with PTSD, especially those with PTSD due to combat, may also decide that certain places or situations are unsafe such as subways or busy, crowded places. These places or situations would then be avoided at all costs.
A family can do a number of things to cope with a loved one's PTSD, including:
• Understand that behavior does not necessarily equal true feelings. Your loved one may want to go out with friends and family but is too afraid of running into upsetting thoughts and memories. It is important for family members to understand their loved one's symptoms and the impact of those symptoms on behavior.
• Know the triggers. A family also needs to be aware of their loved one's triggers. For example, if you know that the nightly news on the TV always triggers your loved one's PTSD symptoms, you may want to schedule other activities during that time so there is no way that your loved one will experience that particular trigger.
• Consider changing routines. Family members may also need to change their routines based on a loved one's symptoms. For example, if your loved one tends to have nightmares, try to figure out a way to wake him up without touching him. Some people with PTSD may respond as though they are being attacked.
• Get help. Support groups and/or couples counseling may be a good way to learn how to communicate with your loved one, as well as cope with PTSD symptoms. They may also help you find the best way to encourage your loved one to get help if he or she hasn't already.
The symptoms of PTSD are the body's attempt to cope with extreme stress. Recovery from PTSD can be a long and difficult road. A family's support and understanding can be invaluable in your loved one's journey to recovery. Mine has certainly been.
As I mentioned above, my own experiences with PTSD are fairly mild. I still have some hyper vigilance, but actually this blog helps. Writing about security helps in a bizarre way. PTSD is not always time based. My situation was that I could not talk about my experience for 10 years after the experience with anyone other than a therapist or someone in my chain of command. But I did not find out until 30 years after that I could actually talk to anyone about it! So I had buried it until fairly recently. It has been a challenge dealing with things I did in my youth. But I think I’m doing pretty good. Some of my friends have not fared so well.
My family had to learn about PTSD to understand and they are an immense help.
If you know someone with PTSD ask them what you can do to help and be there for them. Get educated about it. Those who take up arms to defend us should be given everything they need! They need to live for a country others died for.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, July 22, 2019

Overwatch: Drill of the Month for July

July 2019

This drill is derived from Ron Avery where you simply have one chambered round and no magazine. The gun will not slide lock and the drill is to shoot the live round and immediately press the trigger again (dropping the striker on an empty chamber). When you click the second shot, take note of the front sight, or preferably the optic, and not where your grip returned the muzzle.
With a proper grip the muzzle should return down to the same location. An optic will give you a lot of information and works well for this drill (even if you don’t carry and optic). The optic can give more feedback because: 1) The red dot will move more than the front sight and 2) The red dot tends to be brighter and stands out.
This is also a great drill to do on a regular lane style range that does not allow for rapid shots, drawing the pistol etc.
Ronald E. Avery (September 22, 1956 – February 23, 2019) was an American sport shooter and firearms instructor who took bronze in the Standard division at the 2002 IPSC Handgun World Shoot and bronze in the Standard division Senior category at the 2014 IPSC Handgun World Shoot. He also took the Standard division title in the 2013 IPSC US Handgun Championship and the Limited-10 division title at the 2000 USPSA Handgun Nationals. Ron died on February 23, 2019 at the age of 62 from cancer.

See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page for more drills

Semper Paratus
Check 6

LDS Security Training Facility

I have a long standing relationship with a veteran member of LDS Church security. He and I served together under fire and in several training experiences. He is my Brother in almost every sense of the word. I’ve trusted him with my life and his life was entrusted by me. He has confided in me many aspects of his work but does not talk about operational and specifics of what they do. They are tasked with protecting the first presidency and the quorum of the 12. Their duties consist of executive protection, protecting church assets, and investigating threats to the church. The Church is pretty hushed on the fact that they have this type of security and I understand why. At least I think I understand. In January, there was a buzz all over the internet about how the Church was opening or building a state-of-the-art security training facility. This information was from contractors and sub-contractors who are building the facility. I don’t know what happened, but it seems the church either failed to include a confidentiality clause in their contract or the contractors failed to comply with that request. I saw a post by a sub-contractor where he rescinded his post about talking about this facility because he was asked to. He said he was not aware of any confidentiality asked for but he complied when asked.
April 4, 2019 The Salt Lake Tribune, Tony Semerad wrote an article confirming the rumor surrounding this training facility.
This is an OK article. I usually find the Tribune a rag of a newspaper. They normally come down on the very critical side of the church. I find their reporting less than professional. But that’s just my opinion. Constructive criticism I have no problem with. But the Trib seems intent sometimes on making the church look bad or finding some “dirt” on them. I think journalism should be something mainstream media is not. Some blogs seem to have written disparaging articles ridiculing the church for building this type of training facility. They have it in mind that if you are emphasizing Christ, you would never have the need for a shooting range. The authors of this trash know nothing about the real world. They have sat in their comfortable homes and their safe neighborhoods wondering why the church does what it does. They need a dose of reality. I am highly critical of these type of people. Some of them think that evil can be fought by being good. I think that is true to a certain point. There comes a point when you have to be a person of action. Those who are critical of guns, security, defense, and defense training have never had the need for any of these things. I like this quote:
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” Richard Grenier
They are under the impression that law enforcement will protect them or the military or something. Some of those critics are just a victim of ignorance, but some are critical of the church no matter what it does. I do admit that sometimes the church is a little politically correct for my taste, but that happens in a large organization so I don’t get all worked about it. It is also indicative of a Church trying to teach Christ.
There are lots of people out there that think that the church has to be transparent to the public or its members. It is not the U.S. government. I don’t think because I pay tithing that it entitles me to know every move the church makes. Tithing is not taxes. When it comes to security, it is never good to be in the forefront or open with what you do and how you do it. In the military it is called OPSEC or operational security.
The church has enemies out there. Those enemies look for any opportunity to make the church look bad or ways to destroy it. How the church handles its problems is really none of anyone’s business. They have legal problems from stupid members in positions of authority. Sometimes the problems are real, and others times they are an attack on the church. The investigation of these allegations are usually private but there are those that want them to be open. I say to these people “Tough!” Just because you are not aware of details and what is actually happening, except what you read or hear in the media or worse, the internet, doesn’t mean nothing is happening! Not everything may cross your desk, if you know what I mean!?
I’m glad the church takes serious its security. I wish the world and the members would take theirs as serious. There are serious threats to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and they must be mitigated. Some of these threats are physical threats. Those that believe otherwise are na├»ve at best, and stupid at worst.
Everyone is getting the idea that they are not as safe as they used to be. Almost every business and organization has security interests and people involved in security. Why would the church be any different? Sometimes I think the church is overly sensitive that if the members knew about their existence that it would scare them. I guess ignorance is bliss. I have never felt that way. I think the more knowledge and training one has, the better prepared they are when faced with evil. As I’ve said before I have faith in Christ and my Heavenly father. But I subscribe to this scripture:
“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23; emphasis added)
We must work at doing what is good. We must keep commandments as explained in 1st Timothy.
1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
My opinion is that we should provide protection for our own, among other obligations.
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.”
The Family: A Proclamation To The World
I call this the 3 P’s. Preside, Provide, and Protect.
In 1973 Larry Mullins had a secret calling. He was asked to develop a security program to protect the Prophet. He was instructed to tell no one except his wife. Decades later when President Hinckley's televised funeral brought the role of prophets' bodyguards into the public eye, Larry knew the time had finally come to tell his story.
This program brought church security agents to train with the Secret Service. Executive protection is unlike other forms of protection or police work. There are lots of specifics that go into protecting a principle that must be learned and practiced. Certain facilities are needed for this training and there are only so many places to do this. Years ago when I was a military small arms instructor we trained some local law enforcement and some federal agents too. Why? Because we had the instructors and the facilities. There are more of them out there now but all security and law enforcement rely on these instructors and facilities to train and keep up these skills. Shooting all by itself is a perishable skill. Leave alone protecting a principle, clearing rooms, etc. If a facility is booked and it is needed now, how does an organization deal with that inconvenience and lapse in training? They develop their own programs and facilities. So the church doing this makes perfect sense.
I hope that it works out for them and I’m sure it will. At just the hint of the idea of training themselves the church received all kinds of backlash and critical complaining. So I can understand trying to contain and keep this information confidential. Critics want to jump on it, and members are surprised by it. But the church keeps rolling on!
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Hope Your July 4th Was Great!

I really enjoy video and messages from Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch. This is his July 4th message. He uses colorful language sometimes. I don’t talk this way but understand that many do, especially those from a military background. I have never taken a class from him or have met him (although I’d be honored one day) but I like his teaching and he is certainly qualified.

“There are two things I want you to focus on over the next 363 Days:

1. This is for Heidi and I as well, but be more thankful for the freedoms we have in this amazing country. There are NO other countries that have the freedoms we share, and they have all been paid for with blood, and to this day are still paid for by our military, LE and EMS communities.
It seems to me that being un-American is the American thought right now and it's complete bullshit shared by those most people that have never had to give up anything to live here.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice. Your skill at arms and tactics are perishable skills and your ability to own a firearm in this country is CONSTANTLY under duress. Take the time to go to the range and work on the skills you are not good with. Teach your family and friends how to own and operate a gun safely in their home. Do NOT have friends who will depend on you to save their asses in a fight. Challenge them to get training and get them to the range.

We ONLY get one life and we get to live it in America so let’s encourage others to be grateful for it with kindness and get out there and use our freedoms on the range deck.

Semper Fi,

Happy 4th of July!

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Man/Livestock Tracking: Cutting Sign

The next time you are tracking an escaped prisoner remember these tips.
Actually, this information will be handy for more things that it is typically used for. Unless you are a Border Patrol agent you may not use this information much. But you may be called upon to find a lost child or even find livestock in the brush. These reasons and more are why learning these skills can help you to be better pepared.

This information was given to me by a Border Patrol Agent. (Thanks Green Bro!)It can be used to track animals or people. The sign is the same.

When searching for sign/tracks there are 5 characteristics:
1. Flattening -- leveling of rocks, twigs and dirt caused by weight and pressure of foot
2. Regularity – lines circles or geometric shapes pressed into ground by shoe/foot pressure
3. Color change -- color change in soil, vegetation, or twigs, rocks etc. caused by foot pressure
(i.e., snapped twig, turned leaf, soil difference from scuffing, etc.)
4. Disturbance -- dislodging of stones, twigs, vegetation
5. Transfer -- finding materials moved by sole of shoe "transfer"
Use the angle of the sun to "see" tracks. Greater the angle the more shadow created. A flashlight at
night held close to ground can help locate track.
• Look for path of least resistance--that's how most people move.
• People tend to aim toward something. Look for what might attract their aim.
Following tracks:
1. Draw detailed picture of footprint.
2. Measure:
a. Heel to toe length,
b. Distance across ball of foot
3. Length and width of heel.
Include all visually important information. Learn to describe this picture for radio communication with searchers ahead of you.
Using a the tracking stick-.
1. Stick will record 3 measurements:
a. Step interval: Place tip of stick on back edge of front heel mark and place first elastic at point where the toe of back foot touches stick. THIS IS THE DISTANCE TOE TO HEEL OF STRIDE.
b. Length of foot: first elastic marks the toe front of the print and a second elastic marks the back heel edge. THIS SHORT DISTANCE IS THE TOE TO HEEL FOOT PRINT LENGTH.
c. Stride: this is already marked on your stick; it is the distance from the tip of the stick to the second elastic. STRIDE LENGTH WILL VARY DEPENDING ON TERRAIN, BUT THIS GIVES YOU A DISTANCE THAT YOU MAY CHANGE AS YOU SEE A BETTER AVERAGE EMERGING WHILE TRACKING.
2. USING STICK WHILE TRACKING: Hold the stick at the second elastic over the back edge of the last heel print. Swing stick in arc looking for next heel print near tip of tracking stick. Keep in mind that terrain affects stride length, but print has to be near arc. LOOK FOR SIGN CHARACTERISTICS MENTIONED ABOVE.
Use crepe (toilet) paper to mark track or sign. Break off small twigs tie crepe paper and put into ground at heel of sign. Series of marked tracks can suggest direction when sign is no longer clear.
Grass, low shrubs show passage and direction particularly in early morning (disturbed dew).
Tracking teams could have the sign cutter with two flankers. Flankers work to the sign and slightly behind. Flankers must be very careful not to destroy clues when signcutter is having trouble locating track. Once track and direction is found search can be sent in front with planes or dogs to locate victim.
Be careful not destroy track as you pass through as it may be evidence.

I’ve used some of these techniques in searching for cattle. But there is a lot of good information to learn an practice. Last year I think I did an article about how to avoid being tracked by dogs. The above information can be used to escape and evade.

Semper Paratus
Check 6