Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dark Arts For Good Guys: Think Fast!

There is a problem we (society in large) face in trying to thwart,fight,and kill the badmen of the world.

As the "Good" we have concluded that there is unofficially mandated fair play and ethics into trying to fight off those who commit evil.

When I teach on how to defend against mass shootings I tell my students that they have to get their head around shooting an attacker in the back. And turn the targets around for them to do so.

Being in a prolonged gunfight with multiple attackers is not the same fight as with a home invader. You shooting a man in the back as he runs for the front door is at best manslaughter. Understanding that firing into the back of a gunman as he walks around executing people lying on the floor is called tactical advantage and justified. Just as it is for any S.W.A.T and HRT Sniper.

The same holds true for taking a hostage. We have ingrained into our heads that those who take hostages are the bad-guys and the hostage the victim. Always.


There is a point when fighting against and resisting multiple attackers that taking a hostage can save your life.

To be clear. I am not talking about Sally from Accounting or someone's nephew named Nathan.

Rather one of the perpetrators themselves.

On the afternoon of March 22, 1999 Cyndy Vigil (then 22yoa) fled from the mobile home of David Parker_Ray in Elephant Butte, New Mexico. For three days she had been held in captivity, repeatedly raped and tortured until she had the opportunity to escape. When she burst into the kitchen of Darlene Breech's home screaming for help she was naked with the exception of a padlocked collar around her neck and four feet of logging chain dangling behind her. She had escaped by stabbing Cindy Hendy (Ray's accomplice) with an ice pick.

In the summer of 2008 a gang of attackers numbering around 20 brutalized and stabbed a family riding the Saint Louis Metro Train as they returned from vacation from the airport. This became the starting point for roving attackers sometimes numbering close to 100 people mostly made up of teenagers and young adults (again not all of them male).

We have to realize that there may come a point and time when you are simply out matched, outgunned, out numbered or out maneuvered. Surrender is rarely a good option and retreating can be cut off.

Granted in a situations like a train station against a roving gang and being armed when shots are fired most of the perpetrators will flee. Dwindling the number of committed attackers. But take the same mob during something like the LA or Paris riots and the pack mentality dominates.

Facing an armed gang with any gun whether its a 19+1 Sig or a five shot Ruger is over whelming. And in a tooth and nail fight there is one thing you can bet on. Not all of your rounds fired will kill or even severely wound.

Sorry but in the real world there is no one shot/one kill ratio. Though from a tactical standpoint you would be better served putting at least one round into as many attackers as opposed to wasting multiple rounds on a single target.

But what about a smaller and more perversely intimate situation. You're a wife and mother of three who earlier in the day was camped with your family near a nice lake when you were coxed over in a false panic to a truck by another woman asking to help her baby inside. In an instant you are now the victim of a demented sadist couples' kidnapping.

Wake up because they do exist.

In fact now more than ever we are seeing women act as very willing co-conspirators with their male counterparts in criminal activity most noticeably kidnapping and rape.

Regardless of the situation there may be a moment when escape is possible but a flat -out-running-flee is unlikely without being over taken by your pursuers.

When Cyndy Vigil escaped from David Parker Ray's infamous "toy box" she did it by stabbing her female kidnapper with an ice pick and running. Ray was at the time gone, but what if he had been there and the right opportunity to escape still presented itself, but was likely to be short lived as she would have two pursuers to communicate and cut off her escape.

What if in the midst of a mob attack you are low on ammunition or have only a knife or the proverbial pointed stick. Yet you have managed to wound a nearby assailant that is with in arms reach?

While the thought of reaching an grabbing a shirt collar of the guy who moments ago was about to kill you and using him for cover and emotional counter balance may seem morally deplorable to many. I would offer up this single solitary thought:

Who started the crisis that you now exist in?

My point is not simply to raise the moral question but explain the motor skills to do so. There is nothing complicated or magical about taking a hostage you simply have to do it.

For clarity in this exercise the term "Hostage" in this post refers to a previous attacker whose world you have seized control over in order to escape from the ordeal at hand.

A wounded hostage is better. Pain robs the brain of clear thinking and lowers the level of resistance, as does fear.

The use of pressure points is also helpful but not necessary. It is also key to remember when using pressure points not to over use or maintain steady and constant pressure on any one place. The body adapts to the pain. However hitting a pressure point hard for several seconds then releasing for a couple of seconds then bouncing on it again intermittently causes the nerves to become confused and thus they can not adapt to the blow they are being dealt.

However the simplest and best course of action is a fist full of shirt collar or hair that allows you to keep your B-I-Q/Hostage in front of you as a shield. If you are taller, stoop to get behind them. If they are taller than you once you have control of the head, collar, hair or ear just pull in the direction you need to go. Up-Down-Left-Right it doesn't matter.

Control the head and the body is forced to follow.

If you are armed don't stick it out in front of your B-I-Q/Hostage where it can be taken from you. Rather put it right at the base of the skull or locked in behind the ear. No one regardless of how fast they are can beat weapon on skin contact in time to prevent injury.

If you are armed and your message of being free to leave by fellow attackers is not being delivered a pistol round fired next to the ear of you B-I-Q/Hostage and into the group of attackers should speak a little more clearly and act as an impromptu force multiplier in the realm of psych war fare.

Because if you haven't caught on yet that is exactly what this is. Psychological War Fare at its most basic level.

Armed with only a knife, ice pick sharp stick, again the base of the skull or slightly inside the ear should give you all the control and undivided attention you desire. The loss of a little of your B-I-Q/Hostage's blood again conveys the seriousness of your mindset in wanting to be let go from your current circumstances.

If you're worried about the legal ramifications after the fact call Massad Ayoob or F. Lee Bailey and see who they recommend for the Defense.

Frankly if its your first thought it will probably be your last as well.

Because in the very real world there are men and women working as Contractors where Al Qaeda still kidnaps and saws peoples head off.

There are women who are kidnapped off the streets and locked in basements never to be heard from again only to turn up buried in a back yard in Ohio.

When you doubt the severity in which you think you need to know how to fight back in this world to save your life go read "Slow Death" by Jim Fielder or "Inside the Mind of a Serial Rapist" by Dennis Stevens, Ph.D or "Profiles in Murder" by Russell Vorpagell.

They are good reminders that there is evil that walks the street and sometimes they come in pairs, or more.

Man or woman. Alone or together. Getting out of the frying pan is on you first, because ultimately You are the First Responder in your crisis.

Friday, November 6, 2009


My plane leaves in a few hours and I'll be off the grid for a bit, so my apologies for not further exploring this.

But it does appear that Major Nidal Hasan was in fact participatory as an adviser for the Presidential Transition Team.

For the sake of transparency it should be noted that the task force was started seven months before the November Election.

The article (hyper-linked below) is from The George Washington University's Homeland Policy Institute titled "Thinking Anew-Security Priorities for the Next Administration" part of the Presidential Transition Task Force from April 2008-January 2009.

Nadal's name is on page 29 and he is credited as a "Task Force Event Participant"

Homeland Policy Institute Presidential Transition Task Force

Guess I've got my light reading for the plane ride.

Be Safe out there.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Real Quick

I apologize for the severe delay between postings. The whole Dark Arts for Good Guys series stems from a mid-summer slow down in my consulting work and since my mind runs a million miles an hour most days and I found myself sitting on my hands I needed something constructive to do (idle hands and all that).

Fall arrived and people apparently began having problems in their lives and I'm back at it. But the other half revolved around after writing Non Permissive Environment Pt I I was struck by writers block for part II. To the effect that are twenty something rough drafts of it floating around on my hard drive.

But the writers block seems to have departed (I hope) and work is not at DefCon 30 so postings "should" return to normal. Including that elusive part II.

Thank you for your continued encouragement in writing here and hopefully you enjoy the latest post below.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Change your mind and the rest will follow

On a regular basis I am interjected into the lives of others. Often enough this comes from when their life hits the fan so to speak. Occasionally I have the time to train others in shooting and what we would generally recognize as self defense. Having myself gone through a fair amount of training in many different aspects there is one thing that I have noticed that escapes most instructors.

To systematically ingrain into students to think positive and to react in a manner that invokes a positive/winning/I-will-feed-you-your heart attitude.

And while it may seem obvious it is not a given teaching method. The truth is it's very easy for all of us to focus on the mechanics of drilling,drawing, and defense that we don't think WIN.

hmmm I hear snickering.

Think for a second of this scenario whether you are a man or woman.

You come home late at night through the front door, pull the key out of the lock, and walk to the other end of the house. Something doesn't seem right and you look back behind you to see a 6'5" 230lbs male in a ski mask with a 10 inch bladed knife between you and the door.

Before you go into that clearing of the holster of that gun you may or may not be wearing. Break down your own personal mindset here.

The initial sucking in of air and "oh shit" is completely allowed because we all (a-l-l) get caught off guard in life but the next response should be in your head should be:


and by "GO!" I mean you need to have a mind set of being able to Go-straight-at-him with a total intent on leaving him dead on the floor. Whether you are a man or a woman.

There is a prevalent thought in the defense world that you need to turn and put distance between you and him. So prevalent that this is an acceptable response both amongst instructors and even legislators where we have become ingrained that our first obligation is to flee. Mention the concept of "counter attack" and the defense attorneys begin sweating.

The entire concept of fleeing from an attacker can be appropriate at times. Sometimes you are simply out matched-out gunned-out maneuvered. In Executive Protection "fleeing" is a doctrinal part of protection work. However there is also the point where sometimes you are left with no other option than to fight.

The moment you flee from anything it is incredibly difficult to then stop the flight signals in your brain and turn them over to fight. That's not just conceptual that chemical. Once adrenaline and the flight response kicks off in your head you damn near have to manually over ride it. Combine this with a society that systematically tells you to flee, or have zero tolerance policies for self defense and we are left with sheep dead in the streets.

This is why members of the armed forces, police and firefighters go through boot camps and academies. They see a potentially lethal situation and run towards it with the entire mindset of defeating that which aims to kill.

Some of this has also become subconsciously ingrained into the Defensive/CCW/Shooting Community. At least in a couple of ways that I see it (personally).

One is simply the caliber debate.

We have given far far to much credit to Ed Sanow and Evan Marshall (respectively) in that the concept of the one shot stop is interesting "science" however it is certainly not an applicable one.

The far reaching consequences of the one-shot-stop business is that it makes us question our equipment and think we aren't using enough gun. The physical fact is a .32 ACP does not make as large of a hole as .45 ACP, but six or seven bullets into the body of an assailant is going to either have a lasting effect or an effect that will end his life very soon.

True enough we've all heard the stories of how the .380 entered someones face and skirted under the skin and came out the other side doing no damage. What I can guarantee is that you have never read of an account of seven .380s doing that.

Don't worry about your "caliber" of choice near as much as whether or not you can make all of your hits count and that your equipment is reliable...

And that you have a plan when it is not.

Which may mean when your Glock's magazine fails to feed properly you dump it and go to your spare magazine that you carry (right?). Or that you pull your Sure Fire flashlight and one handed opener knife and make ready for up close work.

For all the debate surrounding pistol calibers no one questions a rifle's ability to make a supposed “one shot stop”.

The 5.56/.223 in the extremely popular M4 configuration being used by our troops has a relatively low reputation in CQB where Operators are having to put three and six shots into an enemy.

Yet as one SpecOps guy I know says “so you just shoot again. Whats the problem?”

So return back to our Ski Masked Attacker in the home with his bare bladed knife.

He is the living nightmare we have all read about, the guy who is laden with PCP and soaks up round after round of .357 Magnum.

Are they out there? Sure.

Are they common? No.

Case in point. I very recently had a client find herself backed into a corner armed with a Snub-nosed Smith & Wesson .38 Special (loaded with Glaser safety slugs). She had never fired the weapon, didn't want a gun in her home and yet when the time came she fired once into the very very large body builder typed attacker. The bullet striking him where the foot meets the leg.

One single round.

He fled/drug himself from her house and collapsed in the street where police found him.

"Come to the nightmare that is me."

Talk about a winning mindset. This is where your head should be. Where YOUR confidence should be. Your gun, knife, baton whatever is simply the tool. The weapon is you.

There is one thing I instituted for myself along time ago in dealing with everything from potentially violent encounters to verbal confrontations to even shooting sessions at the range. It is the simplest confidence booster for bad situations. it's free and it works.

I smile.

Not a big toothy Burt Lancaster smile, but I grin inward and outward. I raise my head up and whether its at the paper target in front of me or a stalker that has been haunting my client, I smile.

I do so because it reminds me that I am capable, the equipment that I carry is reliable.

The bad men who roam the world are not the Boogy man. Cut them they bleed. Shoot them they die. They have nothing on you other than whether you allow yourself to be mentally beaten from the start.

When the feces hits the impeller (and it does constantly in life). You are the motor to the fan. You either shut down or you speed up.

Speed up.


Our conversation had started with me asking “ So who shot you in the throat? ”, a basic conclusion on my part, b ecause on one sid...