Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A quick thank you

So this happened...

The Sound of One Hand Shooting | Shooting Illustrated

Thank you to you all who read my scribbling here on the internet, it encourages me to write more, and apparently now for other people as well.

I've got a new post coming sometime this week for the Practactical 101 series, so stay tuned.

On a side note..

If you happen to be a boy who reads Straight Forward in a Crooked World and you sit everyday in school dreaming about guns, hunting trips, and wild adventures only to hear a teacher tell you to stop "wasting your time day dreaming".

Pay them no mind. And one day prove them wrong.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Practactical 101: Off of body experience

The human is interesting in that amongst God's other creations he is not limited in his means of defense. One could of course argue that a naked human out on the Tundra is as at a clear disadvantage over, say the Polar bear. Of course you could contend that the Polar Bear would be at a far greater disadvantage in Miami. We can concluded with somewhat relative certainty that both situations are almost non-existent.

The old adage of "the greatest weapon is your brain" is remarkably true, followed by your hands.

True we can fight and defend with our feet but beyond heavy boots and hard kicks the feet bear no ability to be weaponized like the hands.

Yet for all of this ability we still must suffer at points in our existence, times of physical vulnerability to an attack. It can be something as simple as when a mother puts her child into a car seat, or having to go someplace while being sick and running a fever. Mentally, in such situations you can be fully aware of potential dangers but from a physical aspect you are weakened or left exposed.

I encounter this very situation three to five times a week when leaving the gym. That the very time I use to invest in the care of my body, to strengthen it in the long run, leaves me somewhat under powered and short of breath in the short term, is not lost on me.

Couple that with on no less than four times this winter did I walk out to the gym's parking lot to find it cloaked in a couple of acres of pitch black because someone on the cleaning crew hit some switch in the process of closing down for the night.

A dark parking will give pause in the realm of one's personal security. Especially when the muscles are shaky.

This is not to say I am unarmed. Far from it in fact.

Every trip to the gym includes the carrying of my smaller "go-bag". Filled with everything from my phone, moleskine, water bottle, pens and sharpies, to a forty-five automatic and a discretely-yet-at-the-ready Cold Steel Brave Heart fixed bladed knife.

Could I carry a mouse gun, like the Beretta Bobcat, on my person as I worked out?

Have done and don't care for the method at the gym, for a few reasons, to be honest. Threat assessing almost everything in life, I have worked out over time and evaluation that the larger concern at this particular place is a mass-shooting scenario, as opposed to a potential street crime scenario in the parking lot.

Don't conclude erroneously here. That possibility is not being dismissed and will bear merit here shortly.

Rather what I see as the larger concern in this environment is potentially larger and more violent in scale, and for that the "mouse" or back-up gun is not a wise choice based upon this perceived possibility.

The gym has multiple levels, and covers almost every demographic in America. Ergo, since spree shootings start with someone with a grudge to bear and there is, at this location, a large potential of people in this immediate area who unbeknownst to me could be under threat of such a grudge (or whatever reason a spree killer has). I do not desire a smaller, close range, short sight radius, poorly sighted defensive handgun.

So my choice is to carry a larger bore, longer barreled, bigger gripped pistol that is capable of delivering accurately placed shots-on-bad-guy-at-potentially-long-distances handgun.

Should things go bad and a bad guy has to be engaged when I am shaky, short breathed and just recently adrenaline dumped from the weight bench, treadmill or pull-up cage, I want a full size pistol I can grab deftly with both hands, look down the barrel and see nice big sights and squeeze-jerk a smooth and appropriate trigger.

In that fight I want a fighting handgun.

Inside the building hallways can run twenty yards long. The main entrance around seventy-five. Add to the mix you have innocent people running around, fleeing and trying to get to cover, this is no place for T.V. Land fiction where a barrage of bullets from the good guy are fired. Instead you are looking to achieve one to five rounds, all on target and, all center mass.

The secondary reason for the big gun, is since it is in a bag, tactical though it maybe, I don't want to have to shove my weak hand (the bag rides on my weak side), in a weakened now amped up state, to dig around to locate some bitty little handgun. I want it in, found, and out.

And let's be honest. If you are carrying off body in a "gun bag" WHY would you carry a small gun?

Thus we come to the crux of this article.

Off body carry is my least favorite way of carrying a defensive weapon of any type. Yes one could argue that a messenger back slung over your body is in effect a closed holstered system on the body. Until placed next to the weight bench or at the feet at a restaurant and is off the body.

I avoid it whereas possible. The gym being the exception and not the rule.

If there is a reasonable amount of distance, time, or cover in which you can activate the deployment process known as "the draw" and, pull the handgun from it's bag, then great!

I'm sure there is some off-body/go-bag carry expert out there who can deploy his handgun faster from the bag than the rest of us can from a conventional In-the-Waistband or hip holster.

As for the rest of us....

There is the problem of a bad-guy-in-question, for one reason or another, being able to close the gap, or worse perform a complete blindside attack, preventing a reasonable and effective draw of the handgun from the bag. Or worse, targets the bag itself for theft. Man-purse snatching as it were.

In the mere blink of an eye you may find yourself in a struggle to maintain control of your precious "go-bag" in order to retain your weapon. The very argument some folks make against open-carry can just readily be applied to any off body carry system because clearly you have something of value in that bag that a bad man could want. Not to mention if you have a gun or tactical wear savvy badman. In which case he decided to target YOU because of the bag.

Hence, fighting to regain control of that bag is just as paramount as any law-enforcement officer fighting on the side of the road to retain his weapon. In such dire circumstances the attention of the fight is centered around the bag and, thus you are going to have almost no possible way to deploy the handgun from the bag. So it is time to restructure your defensive decision making paradigm to a secondary weapon or Plan B.

There are reasons you carry a modernized single bladed "tactical" folder. And at the core of those reasoning is a scenario such as this. We mentally rely on the knife here in the 21st century to be deployed as a weapon only in a last ditch effort when we can not reasonably access a firearm in which to defend our life. But what about unreasonable means?

No doubt there is some diabolical irony in having a handgun with you, while simultaneously being in the dire straits of having to rely upon a weapon from the first century to safe guard it AND you.

But as they say, here you are.

Your response has to be fluid in motion while delivering upon your assailant a barrage of counter attacks. Kicks, punches, and stabs.

I see the wheels turning.

"What if this is a simple snatch and grab?"

It is not.

For starters, in most cases criminals who commit robbery in the form of "purse snatching" with no intent to do physical harm to the victim are men and boys targeting women who pose little physical ability to stop them. Sorry ladies if that offends you. I didn't write the staging for the world's mechanics, I merely live in it.

That said, almost every person I know that carries a firearm let alone a firearm in a modern tactical bag has a certain "death stare" or "I'm tactical" look to them. So if you are a guy and, you get a criminal intent on targeting you and/or your personal belongings rest assured he is not only physically capable of handling himself, he is most likely experienced in doing so. Possibly more so than you.

No criminally minded male targets another male unless he feels assured of a victory and does so knowing a very thorough assault will likely have to be given. Hence, if a man attempts to pull that "go-bag" off your shoulder and, you make your play to stop him, understand that most likely the two of you are going to be within eight to eighteen inches of one another at the start, with a maximum distance of a yard.

How so?

First, he has to make contact with the bag in order to take it from you. This is well withing the eight inch distance. Second, you have the point where he has peeled the bag off you. This will become the length of the strap (provided we are talking about a bag and not a day planner or briefcase type carry). Our potential eighteen inches.

Lastly, we have the movement where his arm is at almost full stretch to pull the bag from you and you at almost full stretch to keep the bag with you. This being the probable yard.

The given in this situation is going to be movement away from you, in true human mind set of possession you will want to pull back to maintain. Instead you need to step with and into his direction. Slack in the line will throw him off balance, even for a split second, next you need to cover that ground and begin a counter strike.

Conventional, law-abiding-hippy wisdom states that "nothing in your bag is worth your life". If your gun is in that bag, it is worth everyone's life and your responsibility, moral or otherwise, to maintain possession of it.

You may find, while rapidly deploying that knife of yours, he may not be 110% committed to the fight & theft after a blade buries into flesh and bone a couple of times.

Lest your desire to know more about the where's and how's of deploying a knife in gruesome and realistic fashion I'll point you back to  here and here to further your education on such matters.

People who sell "things" whether it's a blender, a Smith & Wesson M&P or Ruger LCP want you to believe that they have the corner market on solving the problem that product is tasked with doing.

In the real world, away from slick marketing, there are no "perfect" solutions to life. Simply solutions. Something either works or it does not. The width and breadth of solutions are of course dependent upon the problem in which they resolve.

One who needs to build a fire in order to keep from freezing to death does not much care if that flame comes from road flare or match. The same maybe said about any instrument utilized to save your life or prevent the murder of others.

We all have points and times in life where we are seemingly well armed but, not necessarily well aware or physically well placed to run with our beloved "Plan A" should things go awry. Therefore Plan B is of the same equaled and valued importance lest it be necessary to "go with it".

In some cases that Plan B just maybe a knife.

Train, fight and live accordingly.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Of Crime and Excuse

          As one who is absorbed into the constant study of and hunting of badmen I find some things of particular interest.

The large majority of people who work with criminals do not actually understand how the criminal's mind works and that no matter what, when a crime is committed, society-at-large has been brainwashed into a very clever scheme that the criminal must have had a bad childhood. We give them a pre-disposed excuse.

We should not.

Somewhere in the 1890s "experts" began theorizing that criminal behavior was a result of environment and that ultimately a person turned to crime because they didn't have the same advantages as others. Yet with the national unemployment rate hovering around 7% we don't see that same 7% all become criminals. In fact hardly any of them turn to crime.

We blame the parents, the economy, personal freedom, capitalism and the free market, access to guns as a clear road map to criminal activity. When the Great Depression hit we blamed the rise in crime on poverty. Yet in the 1980s when "Greed was king" we blamed wealth.

For some reason or another we never blame the individual solely and completely themselves. The truth is this crimes are committed based upon choice.

A man chooses to rob a bank, rape a woman, steal a car. A woman chooses to kill her children, embezzle funds, blackmail a former lover.

There is no socio-economical scale for criminals. Everyone will say "yes there is!", yet there are just as many well-to-do Suburban teenagers pushing pills, coke and weed to their confederates as there are in the inner city "bad neighborhoods". And just as there is in rural America as well.

One can point to the most fact proving "statistic" as it were about crime being a choice. And it is provided by the United States Department of Justice.

Crime in the U.S. essential made a steady rise from the 1920s forward. Graphs will show that it "dropped" in the 1950s and 1960s but that is not necessarily true because those rates never fell back to the pre-1920s crime rate. They essentially leveled then began spiking again.

Then something happened that caused crime rates to drop steadily and increasingly across the board.

Individual states began allowing the rank and file citizen to carry a handgun upon their person. The more conceal carry laws spread across the country the lower the crime rate dropped.

The crime rate didn't drop because criminals were being found shot dead in the gutter every morning.

Crime rates dropped because the criminal faced a choice. The choice to try and attack someone who may or may not be able to kill them. When your chosen profession is that of the criminal you look for easy prey. The moment a criminal no longer knows who is and is not easy prey they begin to lose the return in their investment....crime as a job. Getting shot is bad for business since there is no worker-comp insurance.

So the next time you watch the news and see some horrific crime take place don't think "what kind of parents did they have?" .

You choose to wake up everyday and go to work, or better your life.

You choose this.

Crime is a choice made by the criminal. Give them no inherent excuse for their behavior.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stepped off a train

Not all days end well, or for some ever.

Last night, stepping off a train and wrapping up one day's endeavor I was to end up intimately involved in another. Twenty minutes off that Amtrak a colleague and I were in a phone call with a little girl's parents and aunt as they sat some three hours away in a police station, looking for help. Looking for someone to bring their little girl home.

In yesterday's late afternoon a little girl named Hailey Owen, just blocks from her home was snatched off the street and from life by her kidnapper and, ultimately killer.

The Amber Alerts went out as did the BOLOs.

Standing over a phone, talking with her parents I agreed to come down. And in doing so broke one of my rules. I don't break my rules, the real hardline internal ones. I don't break. Last night is a reason why.

I have a lot of scars from doing this job after almost twenty years. Some external, some internal. They are wrapped up in good decisions and bad ones. Victories and losses. But, through it all I have maintained one very solid mandate. Never get involved in any case that leads to finding the body of a child.

It's selfish and unapologetic but, there are somethings that I'd like to, when my time comes to finally lay down to my eternal rest, never see. Perhaps more now than ever as a father. Yet, hearing the family on the other end how do you say no? Because in their minds they are holding out for hope that she is still alive, I should think my colleague was as well.

Yet as I watched the clock make it's final sweep to ten pm, I knew the score.

Ask any doctor, cop, fire fighter...or a fixer like myself, that you have to get pragmatic early on in your career. I've often called it "the coldness". It's how every soldier can cry and kiss his family as he deploys and the moment they are out of sight the job takes over.

"We need to go get on the road".

"We need to wait till morning." I said.

I know, I know what you are thinking. Twelve hours.

Twelve to fifteen hours is the window.

Of which by the time we would have arrived would have closed. Had we left at that moment, her parents would still be at the police station and, cops hate nothing more than guys like me walking into their wheel house. And I don't blame them one small bit.

To be honest, while law enforcement has some public relations issues they need to get on and fix with how they interact with the citizenry there is still no worst enemy for the bad men of the world than the American Cop when the flag goes up.

But I had said I would go.

Keep my word.

So once in the door, after a long ride home in the old 4Runner making a lot of pleas with God and wanting to call in any favors I might have had with Him to let her come home, I went operational. The moleskine was getting bullet pointed with "needs", the bedroll dug out, the Gobag brought down from the closet top.

It didn't matter. I already knew it. I was angry. Just angry.

The phone rang just after 5 this morning. My colleague called to say Hailey's killer, (suspect as everyone else will say) had been arrested but, no body yet recovered.

"There is nothing for us to do. They'll find her within the next couple of hours" I said into the phone. Not alive I couldn't really bring myself to say, so I added "Give the family our condolences".

"They haven't found her yet", "they will".

They did. That text came in at 7:20 something.

I grow weary of the bad men of the world killing children. Everyone's politics be damned, I grow tired of the rapist, the killer, the men who commit themselves to sanely devised evil.

Because it is evil and there is evil in this world. It's not one man's perspective over another or another. Some men just want to do evil and they sleep every night free of guilt from it.

And so it is and was with Craig Michael Wood. Child killer. Innocence thief. Destroyer of small worlds and families.

Years back when I started SFIACW it was an outlet for the writer in me who grew weary of a world of bullshit and double talk. It eventually grew less personal and more....XYZ.

So normally this is the part where I say "fight" give the bad men everything you have and leave them on the floor and not you.

But instead I would rather say "do good."

Do good. Because the world is so absent of it at times. You want to be counter cultural? Do good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Securing Your Six: Teacher's Edition

Whether it's psychology, sociology, or a culture of deconstruction we fail to address what the actual problem is with the Spree Killer. Because in all frankness it is neither the before, nor the after, but the during we must contend with.

Having spent close to two decades running backgrounds, building profiles, and trying to predict what people will or won't do despite indicators to potential behavior there are no guarantees as to a "when". Let alone an "if ever" that the behavior of a solitary "known" individual will in fact act upon your predictions.

While you may possess a list of "knowns" you also have the "when's" and "where's".  Given this how can we ever expect to stop some "unknown"?

You of course can not.

"You can!" cries the arm chair expert.

Last year I had a brief opportunity to be attached to a case where a woman was murdered in her home. She had been stabbed multiple (multiple) times and then set on fire. As I walked through the burned out house I couldn't help but notice her collection of books on serial killers. She had, on some level, compiled data in her head concerning the matter yet on the night she was killed she did one very basic thing. Answered the door.

Life and death are often balanced by such simplicity.

Our problem in combating the Spree Killer is that we are facing a continual and, always up hill battle by soft handed arm chair neophytes that have embedded themselves into an ideology of self-sustaining ignorance. They are far more interested in hearing about psychological pathology that may have contributed to an incident but, has no benefit in the future to saving a life....or lives.

After the atrocity at Virginia Tech I was asked by several people what would have been a viable solution to stopping Seung Hui Cho. My answer was simple: Killing him early into his attack would have solved it rather well.

Jeff Cooper, who organized, and promoted modern pistol craft once said it best when a reporter asked him, "Mr. Cooper, won't all of this violence beget violence?". In true Cooper fashion he responded "I certainly hope so".

But for every action, there is of course, an equal and opposite reaction. In the context of which we delve here that opposite reaction is to arm everyone, all the time. It will simply never happen. Base it on the given variances of both law and regional political ideals. There is also the consideration that a fighter, the gun does not make.

A statement true for a variety of reasons.

More realistically based is what can one individual, one teacher, one principal, do against a psychopath bent on the killing of as many people and children as possible? While it is quite a noble feat to lay one's body in front of a door to stop a rampaging killer there is a far better solution, even if one appears to be unarmed in the gun sense.

The solution is not in tech but, rather in history.

"History?" you think aloud.

History indeed.

Primary Education

Whether you choose to look at Columbine, Jonesboro or Sandy Hook what you are examining are attackers laying siege to a occupied establishment, both on the large scale (a school) and the small scale (the individual classroom). It is the classroom to which we are looking at defending.

One killer against One room.

Everything begins at the door. The door is a chokepoint. That narrow gap which decreases an aggressor's ability to attack, while increasing your odds for a successful defense. Everything depends upon what does or does not happen here. Therefore THE primary concern is to prevent an active shooter from gaining entry to the room. Locking a door is a problem if the door doesn't have locks. Reasoning as to why they don't is not the objective here. Creating a solution is.

Of course the prevailing thought is to push a desk against the door. A decent piece of advice on the surface, unless the door opens into the hallway instead of the classroom.

Yet access can be denied to a room without ever locking a door, provided the hallway floors are not carpeted. A simple gallon (or two) of cooking oil poured, albeit frantically, into the hallway creates a viscous barrier that denies an attacker the ability to enter.

One need not to complicate the process. Take the lid off, tip the jug over into the hallway, stomp your foot down on to it, cover the floor and shut the door.

The eye brows have raised and now come the hands...

"What about the people down the hall? What if they can't get across?" "How would the police feel about this?" "How do we get out of the room if the hall is covered with oil?"

With all do respect to law enforcement. Their problem is not your problem. Sounds harsh but doing nothing as opposed to oiling up a hallway to prevent the loss of life is far more harsher. Yet the question of getting out of room whose main entrance is now viscous bears merit.

The answer of course is simple.

In the closet where you keep that gallon (or more) of cooking oil should also be a very large bag  (30lbs) of kitty litter and a sizable scoop (2-4 cups). When the time comes that you need to exfil apply with deftness and walk out on it.

Beyond oiling the floor one must how to barricade a door shut when no lock is present. If the door swings inward (into the classroom) something as simple as two or three non skid rubber door stops kicked under the door have essentially locked the door . One by itself might allow for a possible slip, two or three however work as fail safes. A door wedged shut can be kicked and shot with all the fury in the world but, that does not mean it will open.

Faced with a door that swings outward, rather than inward a very simple solution comprised of one or two six foot long 2x4s screwed together, two or three eye bolts inserted into the 2x4s, and three short steel cables looped at the end and secured at the other to the eye bolts is a quick fix.

The 2x4s lay across the bottom of the doorway overlapping each side of the door jamb by one foot or more, the looped end of the steel cables are slipped over the door knob. The key is not having slack in the cables. Something as basic as this can keep a door help shut long enough to buy time and save lives.

I get it. It's undignified. Somewhere in the closet is this six foot 2x4 with cables attached to that may rest there forever and you have to explain why if someone asks. Allow me explain this another way.

What you are doing is barricading. While you may find the idea of raw lumber and cable not exactly technologically advanced in the world of the smart phone, "tech" such as that kept cities, castles, and citadels safe for a few thousand years.While you may snub such a simple idea the question posed to you is this.

What do you have planned right now that prevents a gun man from entering your classroom and murdering everyone in it?

Life and death are just that basic. If an aggressor can not enter he can not win.

School for the blind

The prevailing winds are finally beginning to change in contending with the Spree Shooter. The 90s feel good advice of "hiding & cowering" has proven to be what the rest of us always knew. Fatal.

Much like the concept of  a "lock down" with no locks fails in rather short fashion the legions of ignorant peaceniks and cowards have discovered that desk chairs and hands clasped over the back of heads do not actually stop bullets.

Not long back I spoke with a woman who had been violently abused by an ex-lover and that he kept breaking into her home and assaulting her. This, despite the fact she called the police every-time and had a restraining order. When I asked her what her course of action was when this happened she said "what do you mean?" so in plain English I asked "what-do-you-do-when-he-breaks-in?".

She hid in her bathroom or the bedroom closet. I asked her if those are places she felt most comfortable dying. The doors where cheap, the closet did not lock and she kept no weapon. Her problem was a combination of both fear and willful ignorance. Finally, after much discussion I told her that she should atleast die on her feet with some sense of dignity or... she could engage him. Offering to her that the next time he broke in not to run away from him but TO him or at the very least to the kitchen, open the knife drawer and keep the biggest knife she had in her hand and throw every steak knife, paring knife, lettuce knife and butter knife at him till he fled or died.

The smoking light had been lit so to speak.

Years of fear became a grin. "What do I do if I run out of knives?" I told her to throw pots and if he advanced through the hail of kitchenware to stab him to the point of significant discouragement brought about by pain and blood loss. Of course all of this to say that a handgun would serve her much better.

While it is safe to say that most teacher's desk will never hold a butcher's block full of knives there should be conveniently parked near one of the legs or within easy reach a fire extinguisher. It should be larger enough for the individual to use freely in all manner of speaking.

While the chemistry composition of the fire retardant inside the red can is difficult, the application for our purposes is simple. Use to fire extinguisher to engage an attacker from a distance, blinding him with the foam/powder until empty or sufficiently applied.

Then beat him with the can and take the gun from him.

Lest I depart from this particular means of defense in vague terms allow me to instruct a little more precisely.

A person blinded in any kind of situation whether accidental or intentional will instinctively lower their head and raise their hands towards the face. This is self-protecting posture. When the head lowers the neck becomes exposed, as does the back of the head. Utilizing the nozzle and trigger area of the fire extinguisher as a grip area bring the base of the can down onto the neck in hard fast blows. If the neck is not exposed or the angle is wrong use the can to attack the sides of the head and face, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, etc.

These blows should be delivered repeatedly with as much power as possible. Should the moment present itself in the course of action that the gunman can be disarmed then do so. One of course should scream "DROP THE GUN" as you bludgeon. Or take the weapon from them if the fail to comply. The gun no matter what it is relies on four fingers curled around a grip. Nothing more. If the hand does not open upon request and the weapon dropped...hit with the can.

Force x Velocity

Much like one does not want to rely upon the door wedge alone, the fire extinguisher while making for a sufficient tool to blind and labor an attacker's breathing is really only fair as an impact weapon. Fortunately the world is filled with everyday items that excel as impact weapons while allowing for reasonable excuses to be in a teacher's possession.

Call it applied science, the history of hand tools, or constructive camouflage, but there are innumerable reasons for a teacher to have a short pry bar, a claw hammer, or a two foot piece of re-bar tucked away in a closet or a drawer.

In 1835 Solymon Merrick applied for the first patent on a wrench. The tool changed the course of construction history with it's grip giving mechanical advantage by applying torque in the tightening of bolts and nuts. One combination wrench I have on my work bench measures around fifteen inches long and weighs over a pound. If someone needed to lecture on the history or use of tools, for example, a wrench such as this would be ideal, due to it's size so that people seated in the back could see it easily enough.

From a perspective of defensive use the design makes it available to gain a significant grip on one end to be swung hard and fast, while it's all steel construction ensures that blows will literally crush bone and cut skin.

Much like applying the blunt force from a fire extinguisher a hammer, crow bar, wrench or re-bar does so only better. Such items allow a good purchase on the grip handle as not to be easily taken from you, while light and fast enough to deliver wicked blows in rapid succession. A foot long pry-bar can smash against the fingers wrapped around a gun, or deliver a decisive blow to the head. If the upper arm were the only target available to a teacher defending a classroom of children from a would be mass murderer, one hand is free to fight for control of the gun while the hand gripping the steel bar can crush the humerus and the clavicle in under five seconds. Elbows can be rendered inoperable upon impact.

One must understand that it is not the attacker, the killer, the would be murderer as a whole that must be defeated. A killer is only as dangerous as his hands and brain. If you begin doing systematic damage to one or both he his forced to cease an attack.

One can not will broken bone to work.

Have your cake and eat it to

I know a metal shop teacher who is forbidden by school policy from carrying a pocket knife. He has access to a dizzying array of tools, not to mention the ability to forge a sword if he so desired. Apparently there is substantial hoplophobic fear towards the Case Trapper or Victorinox Spartan that can potentially lock-down an entire school. This despite the fact both designs predate the public school system.

The war on common sense not withstanding, a teacher or parent can walk into school with a birthday cake and twelve inch butcher knife and no one will bat an eye.

Throw a party and leave the knife.

When I wrote about the after math of the Virginia tech massacre I couldn't help but wonder how many young men cowered under a desk with a pocket clip sticking out from their pants pocket. A backpack in the face and a judicious use of blade would have saved countless lives.

I see the over-acted rolling of the eyes and read your mind "You expect me to take on a gunman with a claw hammer and a butcher knife?"


Here in the 21st Century where everything is climate controlled, and for many the outdoors is walking on a gravel path as opposed to blacktop; one might be surprised to learn that the North American continent was settled by way of butcher knife and tomahawk as much as it was the flintlock rifle. Modern day New York state with all of it's nannyness was fought and lost, fought and won in hand to hand combat. Because once fired if the attacker was able to close the gap before that musket was reloaded, your great great great great granddad transitioned from gun to knife and war hammer.

A solitary gunman, despite the fact that he may have the appearance of god of war, is no such thing. Incapacitating his view with a cloud of fire retardant, then launching an immediate assault upon him with a butcher knife and claw hammer will yield in lives saved.

It is not only potentially winnable it is probable.

We must remember if these socially inferior cowards like Cho or Lanza wanted a fight they would attack a police station or call 911 and wait. Instead they want helpless victimized, terrorized targets of opportunity.  One should instead inflict a war upon them.

And I mean that quite sincerely.

Problem Solving
A large part of the problem is that we lose lives in these attacks because no one plans to fight.

Lock down is not a plan, and it's not a solution. It is a law enforcement procedure gone mainstream. The idea that a first floor classroom filled with children, with no lock on the door and no reasonable means of defense are simply supposed to wait for death to arrive is barbaric and sadistic.

Were I a teacher looking out at a school's football field, play ground or parking lot that was merely a two foot drop to the ground I would apply a chair to the window and encourage every child able to do so as well, and I would take my students and leave.

Left with no reasonable means of retreat, I would instead prepare to resist any siege and prepare to put my defense plan into action. The ones that were rehearsed at home, after school, and countless times in my head. Knowing it like any fire drill. Should the time arise. Implement it.

Hiding children in a closet, laying down in front of a door have the hallmarks of heroism without a doubt. Yet why no one would think to pile twenty (or more) desks and chairs on top of each other, along with every table available in front of the door is simply beyond me.

I understand. The profession is education not fighting. But there comes a point and time when lay people run out of excuses. Of course always will there be the cry for gun control, the weeping and gnashing of teeth to reduce the capacity of bullets capable of being fired from a gun, yet some of us seem to forget that people murdered each other long before someone thought up the rifle barrel and gun powder.

There is this resounding remark after every atrocity that invariably makes the rounds of "I don't want to live in a world where principals and teachers have to...."

You already do.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Practactical 101: Light it up

For the better part of two decades I've carried a flashlight everyday in my pocket. To the point that I can honestly say that if one where to count the hours in a race per se the flashlight would very well trump both the pistol and knife in my carrying. If only for the sake of being separated from two of those articles due to legal constraints (court rooms and airplanes).

I've walked through burned out buildings, crime scenes, tied flies to a line, read a book, cleared more than a few buildings and done all those "neat" tactical moves like they do on the t.v. , all with a flashlight between my fingers or teeth. Yet it was a power outage a few years back that taught me something really useful to do with a light.

Point it up.

If you're in the dark, inside, and not doing one of those uber cool room clears (you should practice that by the way) but, just trying to maneuver through the dark point your light straight up. This working especially well on ceilings 8-12 ft high.

What does it do that pointing it out in front of me doesn't do?

Well for starters it places your feet inside a ring of light as opposed to a shroud of darkness.

The secondary advantage is given the high lumen output on so many lights one can end up blinding others if you turn without thinking, putting your light on them. When pointed in the traditional method you get light only where the cone goes and how the beam is focused. Bounce it off the ceiling and you get the same effect of a floor lamp....wide spread illumination.

Lastly, it does one other thing. Brings about a calm to other people with you who don't have a light. The guy with the light gets to calm his heighten concerns first because the flashlight goes wherever thought's tell it to, anyone else by default is forced to observe whatever the torch bearer observes leaving them literally in the dark. With the light pointed up and three hundred and sixty degrees of illumination  provided everyone else can look where they so choose.

It may not sound like much, but moving through some dark place with a child clinging to your pant leg crippled with a fear of the dark can be at most a real problem and at the least a frustration. Thus causing your freedom of movement to be semi-impeded.

"Tactical" lights as we call them now days are phenomenal for blinding an aggressor but, day in and day out you are going to be called to use that light in everyday occurrences.

The better the illumination the safer and calmer anyone (and everyone) is going to be in an already trying and tense situation.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Primary concerns

I came across this quote today.

"While there is some concern of overpenetration with a handgun cartridge, your primary concern should be that your defensive round of choice will have sufficient penetration to reach vital organs and cause incapacitating blood loss in an attacker."

On the surface the statement is clearly logical enough, provided we remove one aspect of it.

"... your primary concern should be ...."

Lest you ever find yourself in a lethal use of force encounter...or potential lethal use of force encounter, sufficient penetration of your ammo is far from the primary concern.

Your primary concern is to make sure that what you are seeing is in fact accurate, ala use exemplary judgement.

And I mean it. THAT is your primary concern.

"Hold on a minute" you're thinking.

"If I'm startled from my sleep in the middle of the night to someone breaking into my house I need to win that fight short and quick.".

Of which I would concur with you. However, you still need to confirm that what you believe to be happening is in fact happening. Don't misinterpret what I am saying, you can in most instances come to the conclussion that you need to apply the lethal use of force very very quickly. In some cases a mere blink of an eye.

However, time and time again we allow preconceived scenarios other people have laid out for us to become our future predictors. There is a distinct difference between sitting at a red light and seeing pistol pressed against the driver's side window and, sitting in an outdoor cafe somewhere and hearing gun fire, followed by a guy with a handgun running in your direction.

Gun does not always equal threat.

Clearly in the millisecond it takes to recognize a gun at the car window you understand what is happening and can justifiable respond in unkind fashion.

Judgement, in other words, of that situation was rendered most ricky-tick. But, if we revisit our cafe scene where we see a lone gunman running in our direction the "primary" concern here would be to either get behind something that conceals or covers (preferably both) in order to buy more time to make a judgement call, while drawing our handgun to make ready for a fight.

Because what if, in your quick-to-judge-and-shoot mindset you see the man, see the gun, draw your own handgun, aim, fire and kill, a man who in all reality was up until a few minutes ago doing exactly the same thing as you were. And instead of being a "lone gunman" was instead running point with his wife and children in single file tow behind him.

As you turn pasty and palms sweaty at the thought of killing a fellow conceal carrier/good guy we can also examine the situation from the polar opposite angle. Where we see everything going on as mentioned before, sitting in a cafe, hearing shots, seeing a man run towards you and suddenly begins firing random shots, or aims his gun at you (remember that part about cover and concealment). It does not take very long to determine who the bad-guy-in-question is here.

Freeze here a moment. Is now your secondary concern sufficient ammo penetration?


Your secondary concern, assuming you've already drawn your handgun may be one of several things. If the distance is closing very quickly where we judge it in feet over yards then your secondary concern may in all likelihood be aiming center mass.

It may also be seeking cover for any loved ones who are with you before ultimately deciding to engage in a shoot out. Because let's be precise about this. That is exactly what you are doing. Shooting it out.

The target range it ain't.

Even then, sufficient penetration of ammunition fired into an aggressor is not even tertiary in the level of importance. Knowing what is beyond your target is.

"In my world a person wounded by a shoot through round is considered collateral damage." cries the internet Tier one operator.

It is certainly cavalier to think you would not be effected on many levels if your shot went through the bad-guy-in-question and spined a six year old boy or nicked the liver of a mom out for a day of shopping with her daughters only to bleed out in front of them from the bullet you fired.

"are you saying I have to wait for a clear shot while this tango has a target rich environment?"


Do not misread or misinterpret what I am saying. If you encounter a bad guy who is bent on destroying the life that you or others live, you shoot to stop the threat, but you shoot to stop the threat accurately, sufficiently and responsibly. And that is from every shot fired whether it is the first or the fifteenth. 

If left with the choice between accuracy and penetration I will choose accuracy every time.

Can you have both?

Certainly. As a matter of fact we live in the golden age of ammunition. Great accuracy that performs with superb results. But it bears mentioning that if you do not apply repetitive training and "what if" role playing in your head (which aids in those sense-of-immediacy-judgement-calls), to your life then what you may find is that you have poorly delivered shot placement with superb results on an unintended human being.

Make no mistake.

You want the best ammunition available, that will deliver destructive results WITH sufficient penetration. However it is not, amongst your gun carrying days the "primary concern". The fight is going to be what it is going to be, not what you want it to be.

Our rights to bear arms does not come with a permission to maim. When I carry a firearm amongst the populace, which is daily and for hours and hours at a time I take into consideration that I want all of the good guys to go home after any fracas that may find me involved in it. I would hope you would as well.