Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!

This is a repeated post from 2017... December 25th,1843, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum had celebrated Christmas to the fullest. After being awakened about 1 o'clock in the morning by a large group of harmonizing carolers, they had returned to rest until shortly after daybreak. An hour or so was devoted to necessary Church business. Then the day was spent celebrating Christmas by feasting and dancing "in a most cheerful and friendly manner."The evening was capped off by a large party at the Prophet's home. A long haired interloper barged into the room. Joseph and the chief of police tried to throw the invader out and a scuffle ensued. In that effort the party crasher's face was exposed in full to Joseph, who later noted, "to my great surprise and joy untold, I discovered it was my long tried, warm, but cruelly persecuted friend, Orrin Porter Rockwell." Rockwell had escaped from the Missouri jails after spending more than a year threin (without conviction), and had made his way to Nauvoo. It was, for Joseph, the end of a perfect day in which the Lord's birth was celebrated and an old friend restored to the fold. (See History of the Church 6:134135.) After hearing Rockwell=s story, Joseph Smith made a Samson-like prophecy: as long as Rockwell did not cut his hair and remained faithful to the Gospel, his enemies could never touch him. Rockwell lived by the prophet=s promise, cutting his hair only once to make a wig for Joseph=s widowed sister-in-law recovering from typhoid fever. And until his dying day, the prophecy held true for Rockwell who escaped dozens of showdowns with notable marksmen without a scratch. On one such occasion, sharp-shooter Loren Dibble unloaded both his guns at Rockwell on Lehi Main Street in broad daylight without even ruffling Rockwell==s composure. Porter always professed his innocence in the Governor Boggs= assassination attempt, using as his evidence, AI=ve never shot at anybody. If I shoot, they get shot. He=s still alive, isn=t he?@ I hope you can remember the prophets friend and protector and his life sustaining and defending the Church. In a small way this return of Porter=s on Christmas, the Prophet=s and Hyrum=s last Christmas, was a special time for the old body guard. His tactical know-how could not save Joseph Smith but he saved and protected many in the Church throughout his long life. Porter did give his life for the gospel. At this Christmas season 2021-2022 I hope you will remember the real reason for this season. We celebrate the birth, mission, atonement, and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the light and truth of this world and the only way for us to return to our Father in Heaven. Cling only to that testimony and you will never faulter. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Friday, December 31, 2021

OPSEC or Keeping the Car Pool Schedule Secure

I’ve been thinking a lot about OPSEC lately. I know what you’re thinking, “Burn, what in the heck is this military mumbo-jumbo you’re talking about?” And of course you would be right. OPSEC is an acronym for operation security. Now you’re thinking, “What does that have to do with me, living in a small town in Ohio, or a big city in Nevada?” …or where ever you live? “I don’t do any operations!” you might say. And that is where you’re dead wrong. Do you go to work? Do you or your kids go to school? Do you have food storage in your home? Do you have a gun and do you store ammunition? Do you want just anyone knowing the answers to these and many other questions? OPSEC in regular civilian life is basically keeping your mouth shut. And doing the same online. I’m not saying to not have a Facebook page or a Instagram account, I’m just saying don’t put any information, or partial information, online or anywhere for all to see, hear, or know. You don’t have to be paranoid or become a hermit, but you should be careful about who knows what you and your family do. You can still have a car pool, just don’t put the schedule online. You can recommend a business but don’t tell everyone which gym you go to and your schedule for working out. If any of this information is shared, make sure of the integrity of with whom you share. One of the things the military has taught me is that bits and pieces of information about what you and your family do can be compiled with other bits of information to form a bigger picture. For instance, you have some new neighbors. You’ve met them and your kids have played together already. The father drives a Jeep Wrangler and has an NRA sticker on the back window. You’ve also noticed right after Christmas that among the usual Amazon boxes and wrapping paper put out for trash pick up was a long, flat box with “Winchester” on it. You also noticed that your neighbor wears 2nd amendment, and gun manufacturer t-shirts all the time. From these casual observances would you conclude that your neighbor is a hunter or owns guns? With these few things you would probably be right. Whatever you would want to keep private maintaining good OPSEC may be more important than you realize. Especially when it comes to one’s immediate circle of friends (and others) – even those whom you may trust to varying extents. Read that last line a few times. OPSEC became important during the war in Vietnam when military members were too open with what they were involved with. The following is an explanation of the military definition. Identification of Critical information: Critical information is information about friendly intentions, capabilities and activities that allow an adversary to plan effectively to disrupt their operations. Analysis of Threats: A Threat comes from an adversary – any individual or group that may attempt to disrupt or compromise a friendly activity. Analysis of Vulnerabilities: Examining each aspect of the planned operation to identify OPSEC indicators that could reveal critical information and then comparing those indicators with the adversary’s intelligence collection capabilities identified in the previous action. Assessment of Risk: First, planners analyze the vulnerabilities identified in the previous action and identify possible OPSEC measures for each vulnerability. Second, specific OPSEC measures are selected for execution based upon a risk assessment done by the commander and staff. Application of Appropriate OPSEC Measures: The command implements the OPSEC measures selected in the assessment of risk action or, in the case of planned future operations and activities, includes the measures in specific OPSEC plans. Remember the saying from WWII? “Loose lips sink ships.” This is how it can happen even with those you can trust. You mention something to someone in your inner circle. It seemed harmless enough to mention. After all, you trust that person not to blab to the whole world about it, right?. Well here’s the thing… That other person might not have the same level of OPSEC or concern about that particular nugget of information as you do. That info might inadvertently come out during another ‘harmless’ secondary conversation with someone else from THEIR OWN circle of friends. So now that information has been revealed outside your immediate circle. Even if that person who is within the second ring of people is not a blabbermouth, – that person might not realize the OPSEC value of the nugget of information that was casually revealed to them. And then that person might inadvertently (or on purpose?) reveal that information within THEIR OWN own circle (which would now make it three levels away from you). All it takes is one person to potentially take advantage of that information to ‘ruin your day’ so to speak. This seems very vague and broad but this is how information can spread even unintentionally. So how do you function in life with the sword hanging over your head every day? The answer is, “Need to know.” Who needs to know your personal, private life? I’m not saying to be paranoid like me, (tongue in cheek) but rather there are things only you and your family needs to know. Think about you’re about to say, and more importantly, WHO you are saying it to. We live in troubled times. Things seem to be fluid about what society accepts and what others think. To be preparedness minded, or self-sufficiency minded, or even security minded are viewed by many as “extreme”. Politics, your feelings about social issues and even religion are being scrutinized, criticized, and demonized. The security of your family and you personally can change in an instant. Being aware of this and using OPSEC can keep prying eyes, and those “Karens” out of your life and away from you and your family’s business. Be careful out there. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Crazy Ivan Mindset

Thirty-nine years ago this coming May, Lt. Commander Albert Schaufelberger was assassinated in San Salvador in the country of El Salvador on May 35, 1983. Schaufelberger saw his role in El Salvador of preventing a communist takeover of the country for all of the people of El Salvador, not just those of means. He realized, however, that he might be a target of the insurgents, given the success of the weapon interdiction efforts. During his last discussion with journalists covering U.S. advised Salvadoran military operations, Schaufelberger told those present that the insurgents "know who I am, and where I live". His house had apparently already received drive-by gunfire on a recent evening prior to the assassination. Schaufelberger had been dating the manager of a cooperative store, Consuelo Escalante Aguilera for several months and developed a routine of picking her up at the same time and place. On May 25 he arrived and sounded the horn of his armored embassy-provided Ford Maverick, his signal to inform his date that he had arrived. Ms. Aguilera exited her office and observed what she believed to be a white Volkswagen microbus pull up and stop near Schaufelberger's car. Reportedly several individuals were involved with the assassination, with at least one firing through the open window of Schaufelberger's car. Schaufelberger was shot four times in the head. Schaufelberger's car leaped forward, impacting a car directly in front of it. The assassins then jumped into their vehicle and escaped. Unfortunately for him, Schaufelberger had removed the bullet-resistant glass over the driver's-side window after the air conditioner in his vehicle was not working. There was speculation that the A/C had been sabotaged. A group under the umbrella of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), the Central American Revolutionary Workers' Party (PRTC), is thought to have carried out the act. Complacency kills. RIP Lieutenant Commander Schaufelberger. Hindsight is always 20/20. But had the Commander thought about where he was going and how he did things, he may have lived to make a bigger difference in Central America. Most of us are not being targeted as Lt. Commander Schaufelberger knew he was. But in your own life you should assess your operations security. Your family should do this too. The words “operation security” are just a fancy way of saying being aware of your habits and trends and changing them. Something as simple as changing where you park, or changing the route you take to or from school or work can make a difference. Most criminals are not very bright. But career criminals may have learned their “craft” better over time. If I wanted to rob someone, or kidnap someone, I would watch them for a while. Once you can see that like most human beings your target is a creature of habit, you can devise a trap or ambush that will be more effective than to just hope for an opportunity. This can take in many aspects of our lives. Breaking habitual movement or routines is not hard, but situational awareness must always be maintained. Becoming complacent can kill. Little things make a difference. Had Commander Schaufelberger just made sure that the armored vehicle he drove was well maintained he may have survived. Look at your daily routines. Look at your families routines. Teach them to always be aware, and to make frequent, un-routine changes in how they do things. During the Cold War period, the confrontation between Soviet and US submarines was played out across the Seven Seas. Soviet strategic missile submarines were pursued by US hunter submarines, just as Soviet submarines hunted US ones. As Igor Kurdin, former captain of the К-241, К-84 and К-40 ballistic missile submarines told Russia Beyond, the main task of a nuclear-armed submarine on combat duty was to outrun its pursuers, since a vital strategic strike couldn’t be carried out if there was an enemy submarine on its trail. Winning in this cat-and-mouse game was complicated by the fact that each submarine had a “dead zone” or “baffles” — an area behind the vessel that sonar couldn’t “hear” due to the noise of the mechanisms and propellers. US hunters hid in this zone and followed Soviet strategic submarines unmarked. There was a special tactical maneuver to detect such submarines called “Verify absence of tracking,” Kurdin said. Still, the Americans invented their own name for it — “Crazy Ivan.” It essentially consisted of the submarine executing sharp and frequent course reversals in an underwater position, including 90 and even 180 degree turns, in order to detect objects in the “dead zone” using sonar. Even the cold war Russians knew that complacency kills. By changing their route abruptly, they could be on better guard and more effective in their job. Establish your own Crazy Ivan mindset. Change your course and other things that have become habit. Some may say this is paranoia. Not being complacent is not being paranoid. It is being prepared and careful. Remember that complacency can kill. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Preparing For Conflict: Mindset

Many years ago I found myself in combat. It was my first experience with someone shooting at me and me trying to kill someone. Before then, I was always curious how I would respond in that type of pressure. I did OK but after that first battle I had an adrenaline crash. It happened to me again but by the 3rd firefight I was accustomed to the terror and didn’t have the same crash. I watched some guys completely fold. They were non-functioning until they too were acclimated to the feelings, sounds, and smells of battle. I found that training had a lot to do with how you react. I’d like to share some of what I learned so you can be better prepared for a life threatening situation. First of all is training. You don’t want to have to really think about gripping your gun, drawing, extending, aiming, and pressing the trigger. Most of these things should be like breathing. You should be able to draw and make ready your weapon without really knowing that it’s happening. Understanding fear and how to use it to your advantage, is a skill very few bother to learn. Most people have the normalcy bias, and think nothing will ever happen to them. Admit to yourself you are afraid, then move on. Concentrate your mental energies on the task at hand, not on your fear of death, injury, or loss of ego. Avoid dwelling on the chance of failure. Concentrate on finding a way to win. Take control of yourself. Autogenic breathing is the very best and most efficient way to do this. Focus on getting the job done. Have a Plan B. Always, always, always, expect Plan A to fail. Expect your gun to malfunction. Expect the attacker to stay up after being hit solidly. Expect to be injured. If any of these things occur, have a pre-planned option to continue (Plan B). Turn anger into a motivator. Who does this clown think he is? What makes him think he has the right to (rob/rape/kill/threaten) me? Accept an element of fate in every situation. You can get hurt by accident after doing everything right. Control everything you CAN control (selection of equipment, getting adequate training and practice, being alert, thinking tactically) so there are fewer things you CAN NOT control. Stack the odds in your favor, and fate has a lot less impact. Courage under fire is not a matter of being without fear. It is a matter of being able to control fear and accomplish your mission, which is to stay alive. Only fools are fearless. Training, did I say training? Training! “We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” ― Archilochus Archilochus was a Greek poet but also a soldier. His combative spirit expressed itself in warfare. He joined the Parian colony on Thasos and battled the indigenous Thracians, expressing himself in his poems as a cynical, hard-bitten soldier fighting for a country he doesn't love ("Thasos, thrice miserable city") on behalf of a people he scorns, yet he values his closest comrades and their stalwart, unglamorous commander. But I think he understood about training. Fear is something that should not be feared (pardon the pun). But should be managed to your advantage. If you’re interested in fear I would recommend the book: “The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence” by Gavin de Becker If you can do these things, you will be better prepared for something that you may never have to deal with. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

"You Can't Handle The Truth!" - Justifying Guns In My Life

I was asked about my beliefs about war, the military, and guns as a Christian, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was not the first time, and probably won’t be the last. How do I justify causing death, destruction, and killing? I don’t. War sucks. It usually doesn’t do what it set out to accomplish. Yet, I believe there are some things worth fighting for. The problem I have with those that believe in being a pacifist is that one: Christ was not a pacifist, he didn’t ask the money changers nicely if they wouldn’t mind leaving the temple, and two: these people usually have never had their lives or freedom threatened. Now what does this have to do with war? War is complicated. Usually it is not very justified. But I also feel that most citizens cannot make that assessment. Often it’s an emotional response. I do not advocate war but I support the military. These people volunteered to defend you and me. We don’t have to like the politicians and generals that sent them to war or their reasons, but supporting and sustaining the war fighter is imperative. So, how do you defend yourself and your family, or country, and remain a good, and decent human being? I’ve learned to do this through scripture. Alma 44:2, 5 2 Behold, we have not come out to battle against you that we might shed your blood for power; neither do we desire to bring any one to the yoke of bondage. But this is the very cause for which ye have come against us; yea, and ye are angry with us because of our religion. 5 And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you, by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children, by that liberty which binds us to our lands and our country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us— Alma 46:12, 13, 20 12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole. 13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land— 20 Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them. This is how we justify carrying a weapon. This is how I have answered those who say I am not Christian if I am willing to do violence. This is the kind of man I strive to be. As was Moroni. Some would say “But you are not fighting for liberty. You are not at war.” I would beg to differ. Crime and terrorism deprives us of our liberty and our God given rights. When we defend ourselves against crime and terrorism we are defending our liberty. There are also those who threaten our God-given rights. They think they know better than God. Christ taught peace in almost every aspect of his ministry. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” President Howard W. Hunter said: “Peace can come to an individual only by an unconditional surrender—surrender to him who is the Prince of peace, who has the power to confer peace.” Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Is there any question that the “Prince of Peace” wants us to embrace peace? But peace is not merely the absence of violence. The peace Christ offers is the peace of the atonement and of a way back to the father. So considering the Saviors teaching can we ever consider violence to defend ourselves? I think we can. Alma 43 9 And now the design of the Nephites was to support their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires. 13 And the people of Ammon did give unto the Nephites a large portion of their substance to support their armies; 17 And Moroni took all the command, and the government of their wars. And he was only twenty and five years old when he was appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites. 18 And it came to pass that he met the Lamanites in the borders of Jershon, and his people were armed with swords, and with cimeters, and all manner of weapons of war. 19 And when the armies of the Lamanites saw that the people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing— They had taken time and resources to make their weapons. The people of Ammon had given a large portion of their substance so Moroni had them make great preparations. Were the Nephites war-like? They were not. They were not “men of blood”. Alma 44 1 And it came to pass that they did stop and withdrew a pace from them. And Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: Behold, Zerahemnah, that we do not desire to be men of blood. Ye know that ye are in our hands, yet we do not desire to slay you. Moroni teaches us a great lesson in defense here. He knows that seeking after someone’s death for revenge or retribution or to get a thrill is not what we should desire. Keep that in mind if you train for defense. Don’t let your training turn you into “men of blood.” To be defensive takes a little guts. It takes some aggressiveness. If someone is squeamish or timid about violence then in my experience that person will probably die. It takes some forcefulness to defend. Often if there is hesitation that is the last thing one might do. I’m not saying you have to be a battle hardened soldier, but you must have a capacity for violence. Believe it or not, you can be meek, mild, and humble and still handle violence. If Moroni can do it, so can we. We as humans on this earth regard death as so horrible. I’m not saying we should not cherish life, we should. But death to our Heavenly father, and in the eternal scheme of things, is just another step. It’s scary to the living because it is the unknown. Caring for each other as brothers and sisters is one of the things we came to this world to learn to do. But to continue to care for each other and our families, and to do the Lord’s work it would be good to remain here to complete our missions. This is why we should defend. If someone comes at you with a knife and you don’t have a knife or the skill to use one, you will not be able to defend yourself. Please don’t depend on someone else. The Police really aren’t there to defend you, although faced with it, they would courageously. But there are not enough police for each of us to have a body guard. The responsibility lies with us. We cannot shirk or pass this duty off to someone else. Many try but when it comes down to it, unless you’re paying someone to be your, or your families, personal security, it’s not going to happen. Should an attack come, bad things will happen to good people. In this country there is little of that going on although it seems to be worsening. Do not mistake preparing to defend with wanting something to happen. Don’t let that happen to you. I have watched those preparing so long for something that they just want it to happen so they can respond. I understand having to be “on” so much in training to where you might want the event to just come. But we must not want it to come. It may come, but don’t hasten the day. Prepare but don’t let the preparation get the best of you. This is why I justify violence. Many cannot stomach violence. I understand. But don’t hate those who are willing to give violence against those coming for you. Just as the fictitious Col Jessup said in the movie “A Few Good Men”, “we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it?... You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall -- you need me on that wall.” Now this character was a bit too arrogant for my taste but I do understand and agree with the basic sentiment. So don’t be one of those who “…can’t handle the truth!” That’s how I justify guns in my life. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

Firearm Safety Is Never A Joke

I was at the range the other day. As I prepared to shoot I carefully brought out the three handguns I was going to shoot. Two autos and one revolver. I’m not much of a revolver person but I feel I need to be more competent with one so I’ve included it in my training for a while now. As I took each weapon out of its case I thought about the tragedy that happened with an actor shooting and killing an assistant director and injuring the director. I know that morning no one thought they would be facing a life or death event that day. I don’t want this to be a political article but in some ways it must be addressed. I’m not anti-Alec Baldwin. I don’t agree with his politics and he seems like a typical arrogant left leaning celebrity. But I really don’t know the guy. What I do know is that he is anti-gun. He’s ranted about it before. But he is so anti that the numerous times he’s had training with firearms he’s blown it off. He broke the gun handling safety rules because of an antagonistic view of guns. Had he been serious he would not have broken every rule. After hearing other actors who have talked about the armorers they have a worked with before, it seems the armorer on this movie was less than adequate. I don’t have any clue what it’s like to work on a movie set. I can only imagine. But I am a gun instructor. I know what it’s like to try to teach people who don’t really care about what you’re teaching or are very unfamiliar with what you’re teaching. There have been numerous times I’ve frustrated students because I would ask about the safety rules over and over throughout their training. I had one guy say to me, “We know the rules already!” I saw him several years later and he understood why I kept repeating and have the students repeat the 4 safety rules. These rules are: 1. All guns are always loaded. 2. Never let the muzzle cover (point at) anything you don’t want to destroy. 3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. 4. Be sure of your target and beyond the target. All of these rules support each other and give us several layers of ensured safety. Using the “safety” on a gun is always a risky thing. When I was an instructor in the military I tested this theory. We were in between classes with our range M-16’s waiting for another class to start. I went through each gun and loaded each with one round. We put each gun on safe and then proceeded to walk down the firing line pulling each trigger. Of the 10 weapons we had, 3 shot the only round it was loaded with. We took those guns out of service and replaced them. Now these guns were well used, but always clean and maintained. Do not trust a mechanical safety. Be like “Hoot” in the movie Blackhawk Down. When an officer questions why he has his weapon off of “safe” he puts his finger up and bends it like he’s pressing a trigger and says, “This, is my safety Sir!” Being safe with a firearm should be something that is taught from a young age. I have several kids who are now all adults. But each of them, the boys and the girls, learned gun safety at the age of 8. Some of them are still into guns as an adult, some are not. But all of them have a knowledge of safety that they will never forget. I still test them to this day. “There’s a gun on the bed. Show me how you handle it and clear it.” Often they roll their eyes at me, but they always comply and show me proper gun handling safety. As prevalent as guns are, I believe gun safety should be taught to all. Many people I have known, including my own Mom, are afraid of guns. Once they learn that a gun is a tool that can be dangerous if not used correctly, like a power tool, they are less afraid and more confident. I know most people won’t become gun people like I have been, and I don’t expect that. But everyone should have a basic knowledge of how to handle, clear (ensure the weapon is not loaded), and secure a gun. As a child it could save your life, as an adult it can save others lives. As I see those opposed to guns constantly break the safety rules I’m convinced that often they are the problem, not those who own guns and handle them a lot. Be safe no matter what your feelings for firearms are. Get safety training and practice this training with a hot glue gun if that’s what you’ve got. I’ve noticed that when I pick up anything that is designed like a gun, I find myself performing the safety rules that were pounded into my brain as a kid, and that I have tried to teach others for many years. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn