Thursday, December 31, 2009

A loss in the fight



The AP has learned that seven CIA officers and/or employees have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on FOB Chapman in the near Khost City (in the Khost Province).

While Hollywood and conspiracy theorists like to paint C.I.A. "agents" (which they are not called agents btw) as evil, the truth is that they are some of the hardest working men and women in the game. They endure hearing publicly about their failures that are well known and allow their victories to be credited to other people.

I am deeply saddened to hear about this. It's a horrible way to start the new year. We often as a society elevate our men and women in uniform to a hero status, and we are right to do so.

However their job would never go wheels up if it were not for those who work behind the scenes sometimes months and years in advance to build relationships, cultivate assets, and gather viable intelligence.

We have suffered a horrendous lost and tonight families and colleagues will mourn the loss of loved ones that won't be returning home. Sadly it is unlikely that this will be little more than a beep on the nightly news radar as the world will just have to know what piece of clothing some celeb failed to wear as she got out of a car to go celebrate the New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Too big of a toolbox ?

When I started writing the "Dark Arts" series I knew that it would set some people on edge, and understandably so I suppose. And I knew there would be detractors and critics, which to be honest I'm okay with I've got a rather thick hide.

So it came as no surprise when one reader pointed me to a forum where one of my recent posting was being discussed. One gentleman who conducts Self Defense training took um-bridge with me personally (ironic since he doesn't know me and lives in another state) and my advice simply because he had never "heard" of me (whatever that means).

I found the statement somewhat quizzical, yet for all of his critiques there was one statement I found to be a little ridiculous.

It went something like...."some of these guys like to overburden their students with so many tools that the toolbox is too heavy to carry. When I teach I focus only on the basics."

???????????????????????????????????????

Well that's a first.

I will say this about the gentleman who takes disagreement with me. He is an actual trainer and a member of the law enforcement community and by all appearances highly respected in his area of the world. So he's not an arm chair commando. I would also point out that I don't make my living as a trainer, though I am a certified pistol instructor and plans are in the works to develop various training seminars through the company that I own and operate. But my line of work delves into a different area than his.

Let me point to another instance.

Over the summer I attended a morning conference on Church Security over in Illinois, after the murder of the Reverend Fred Winters back in March. The panel was made entirely of law enforcement officers which held a variety of opinions. Panel members where mainly small town police chiefs and most agreed that ultimately in a mass shooting that members of the church would be the first responders to the crisis. Given Illinois anti self-defense laws their were questions concerning what weapons could be legally carried and used.

One local police chief went against the grain of his fellow panel members and said

"you have to remember that this is a law enforcement matter and it is for the Police to respond to. I know you all want to carry a gun, but let me say this as a Chief of Police I don't even let my wife carry pepper spray nor do my teenage children. Any so called self-defense weapon can be taken from you and used against you and they simply aren't worth the risk."

It was an arrogant and disgusting statement.

For someone to say likewise that you can be over burden with to many tools is.....well absurd, because frankly I have yet to find in Sun Tsu's Art of War any quote that reads "stick with the basic levels of training and your campaign will go ok."

Fundamentals are important, but they are the building blocks to further our mindset. We all (myself very included) should always be striving to learn more, train more, think and out think the bad men of the world.

I hope that I never on this blog or in my life come across as someone who thinks he invented the concept of self-defense or outside the box thinking, rather I see myself as a life long student to a school of thought which can only be graduated from by dying.

The irony of it is we live in a world where we over burden ourselves with worry to the point we are told by blue screens in our homes to just take a pill to solve the problem. Yet most of us know that tackling your problems straight on and seeking to defeat them is far more effective than popping legal dope.

Because on Christmas day while most of us were opening gifts and stuffing food into our mouths a vacationing Dutchman was tackling some Nigerinan Farouker (that supposed to be a take on fucker) and preventing him from killing a plane load of people.

There still remains no requirement for being a victim, one doesn't even have to take a physical exam.