Wednesday, December 15, 2010

After every spree shooting, like the one that just happened in Florida at a School Board meeting, everyone wants to play amateur psychologist and find what the gunman's motivations was.

Here is the answer regardless.

He woke up and decided to be an evil bastard with a gun.

When you encounter an individual whose desire is violence, death and destruction you must meet him on equal terms. While it may seem brave for a man to try and lovingly talk a gunman into laying down his gun and save his life or for an old woman to swing her purse at a gunman it simply is not appropriate.

If you have a gun you shoot him, if you have a knife you make a strategic move to get behind him if you can and put the knife into the back of his skull or kidneys. If all you have is a fire extinguisher you blind him with the spray get out of the path of blind fire and use the canister to bludgeon him to death and leave his head a bloody pulp on the linoleum.

While it may sounds gruesome it is not as bad as a friend, a father, a mother, a husband or a wife not coming home.

Lying on the ground while a gunman walks around shooting people is never ever ever the right thing to do regardless what any police chief says at a press conference. Killing the son of a bitch is.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Of the many situations I work at resolving for my clients, those who are victims of stalkers ranks right up there.

As I am continually gathering, studying and, compiling information on several issues. Of those Stalking in my opinion is the most personal. I have seen men and women and, in one case a child, pursued relentlessly until something is done. One client was harassed for no less than five years by a former co-worker's husband.

Ask any Cop and Victim how frustrating such cases can be. Proof is hard to come by (sometimes) and just like any other bad guy, terrorist, assassin or man eating lion they hold a lot advantages.

Catching and repelling Stalkers is one of those jobs that I hate to love, but I digress....

If you have ever been stalked I would appreciate you sharing your story with me. How it started, where it is at now, what it entailed in you successfully getting it resolved. Or did it ever get resolved?

Maybe it was an Ex, a casual acquaintance, a perfect stranger, a member of the opposite sex, or the same. You would be surprised the number of women who are stalked by other women.

If you would like to share please send it to an e-mail address I have specifically set up for this.

Thanks and there are new posts coming.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Carte Blanche Barney Fife

Sorry I've been "off air" so to speak. There has been a lot going on. The Wife suffering some harassment from a quasi-stalker, a client who's family may or may not be trying to kill her, another client who is a victim to a Ponzi scheme of which I=am actively trying to retrieve his quarter of a million dollars, a move to the new residence, and oh yeah the arrival of The Daughter. So life's been a little out there.

Somethings worth mentioning in this whole new debacle of "aviation security". The Pilots may be leading the way in the fight against this false hope of security. There is a lot to read so let's get to it.

PDF Links worth checking out.

First up. A Freedom of Information request to the U.S. Justice Department's Marshall's Service. The link is a response from the U.S. Marshall's Service General Counsel's office to an attorney for the
"Electronic Privacy Information Center". The response is based upon the wanting to know if the Backscatter body imagers can transmit the images downloaded [naked pictures of you] and, the short of it is...yes they can. I am assuming in good faith that the PDF is legit. Back channel resources assure me that it is, and that the response is from Uncle Same hisself. But hey it's the internets so you know....

Body scanners Disclosure letter August 2nd, 2010

The "other" PDF link
This other link for you tin foilers are the the TSA's requirement specs for WBI (whole body imagers) with a finalized date of September 23, 2008. My point being buried in this the TSA's Office of Security Technology System Planning and Evaluation outlined among many things that these body-imagers
be able to take detailed pics of the human body and transmit them electronically.

TSA Procurement_Specs

Finally I have pasted a copy of Captain David Bates of the president of the Allied Pilots Association (which represents 11,500 pilots) letter to his fellow members. It reads as follows:

Fellow Pilots,

In response to increased threats to civil aviation around the world, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented the use of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners at some airport locations.

While I’m sure that each of us recognizes that the threats to our lives are real, the practice of airport security screening of airline pilots has spun out of control and does nothing to improve national security. It’s long past time that policymakers take the steps necessary to exempt commercial pilots from airport security screening and grant designated pilot access to SIDA utilizing either Crew Pass or biometric identification. As I recently wrote to the TSA Administrator:

“Our pilots are highly motivated partners in the effort to protect our nation’s security, with many of us serving as Federal Flight Deck Officers. We are all keenly aware that we may serve as the last line of defense against another terrorist attack on commercial aviation. Rather than being viewed as potential threats, we should be treated commensurate with the authority and responsibility that we are vested with as professional pilots.”

It is important to note that there are “backscatter” AIT devices now being deployed that produce ionizing radiation, which could be harmful to your health. Airline pilots in the United States already receive higher doses of radiation in their on-the-job environment than nearly every other category of worker in the United States, including nuclear power plant employees. As I also stated in my recent letter to the Administrator of the TSA:

“We are exposed to radiation every day on the job. For example, a typical Atlantic crossing during a solar flare can expose a pilot to radiation equivalent to 100 chest X-rays per hour. Requiring pilots to go through the AIT means additional radiation exposure. I share our pilots’ concerns about this additional radiation exposure and plan to recommend that our pilots refrain from going through the AIT. We already experience significantly higher radiation exposure than most other occupations, and there is mounting evidence of higher-than-average cancer rates as a consequence.”

It’s safe to say that most of the APA leadership shares my view that no pilot at American Airlines should subject themselves to the needless privacy invasion and potential health risks caused by the AIT body scanners. I therefore recommend that the pilots of American Airlines consider the following guidelines:

Use designated crew lines if available.

Politely decline AIT exposure and request alternative screening.

There is absolutely no denying that the enhanced pat-down is a demeaning experience. In my view, it is unacceptable to submit to one in public while wearing the uniform of a professional airline pilot. I recommend that all pilots insist that such screening is performed in an out-of-view area to protect their privacy and dignity.

If screening delays your arrival at the cockpit, do not cut corners that jeopardize the safety of the flight. Consummate professionalism and safety are always paramount.

Maintain composure and professionalism at all times and recognize that you are probably being videotaped.

If you feel that you have been treated with less than courtesy, respect and professionalism, please submit an observer report to APA. Please be sure to include the time, date, security checkpoint and name of the TSA employee who performed the screening. Avoid confrontation.

Your APA Board of Directors and National Officers are holding a conference call this week to discuss these issues and further guidance may be forthcoming.

While I cannot promise results tomorrow, I pledge to dedicate APA resources in the days and weeks to come to achieve direct access to SIDA for the pilots of American Airlines. In the meantime, I am confident that you will continue to exhibit your usual utmost professionalism as you safely operate and protect our nation’s air transport system.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The .45 ACP Big Bear Medicine ?

We often associate hysteria and hype with the hoplophobes, but if we are honest we know full well it exists in the shooting community as well. Perhaps nowhere more predominately than in the mystical world of "stopping power".

My good friend
Lead Chucker and I were weighing the merits of handgun stopping power against the big Bruins prior to his family's vacation out west earlier this summer. If there is or at least was good justification for buying a new gun it was to prevent death-by-bear. Ultimately he settled on just packing his XD in .45 ACP and has safely returned back across the plains to suffer the summer heat here in the mid-west.

Without a doubt most in the gun culture would quickly enter into a discourse that the illustrious .45 automatic is less than formidable against
Ursus arctos horribilis of the lower 48, and down right suicidal against the Coastal Browns of Alaska. Myself included, but now I have to reconsider such a position in light of evidence that has been proving otherwise.

In late May of this year an
incident report surfaced of a backpacker in Denali National Park being forced to shoot and kill a female Grizzly when she emerged from brush near the trail and charged the man's female companion. He drew his .45 ACP and fired about nine rounds into the bear. The Sow then retreated into the brush and park officials later found it located about a hundred feet away, irrevocably dead.

Now any arm chair commando worth his salt will quickly point out that the bear was still able to travel a hundred feet prior to dying. And that had she chose to she could have had ample time to kill them both.
That the bear collapsed and died in such close proximity bodes to the fact that severe internal trauma took any potential fight from it.

So the fact are this; We know the bear suffered significant and fatal trauma in a respected short distance, that it was killed by several, albeit well placed rounds of .45 ACP.

What we do not know from the reports was how long it took the bear to expire and what type of .45 ammo was used.

Case #2

This was not the first report I am aware of where a Coastal Grizzly was killed by the .45 automatic. A friend of mine and hunting companion has a brother who resides in Alaska's Northwest Arctic Borough year round. Five or six years ago he told me that his brother had killed a large Grizzly on a Caribou hunt, to the extent it was up for consideration for a state record (it did not qualify despite it's size for a few reasons). Since Grizzly bears are not common these days in my area of operation the interest was peaked immediately. I asked what he shot it with. My friend said "I think a Glock .45 or something. A .45 handgun".

While my friend is an avid hunter he is not a handgun shooter by any stretch of the means, so I thought perhaps the story had gotten a little bigger on the road.

A year or so later the Brother had come home for a visit, and my buddy asked if I would mind taking them to the range to do some shooting. I jumped at the chance, as this would allow me to investigate this "bear" story further.

And it turned out to be true. The brother and some friends of his who are part of an Indian tribe were out hunting Caribou. "Carl" was using a .243 for the Caribou and had a Glock 21 on the front of his pack on a snowmobile. The Bear was an unexpected arrival/opportunity and realizing that the .243 would not provide sufficient penetration to the Bear's vitals he opted for the .45.

At that point I wanted details, and in a basic context this is what I was told.

That the Glock had been loaded with hard cast lead +P rounds from Buffalo Bore and that he had shot the Bear from a distance of about 6o yards. When I inquired as to how many rounds he fired in order to anchor the bear, he said a full magazine and that he reloaded a new magazine but did not have to shoot it. Given that this was a few years back and the Glock 21 came into prominence during the '94 Assault Weapons Ban I do not know if a full magazine meant ten rounds +1 or 13 rounds + 1.

Granted there can be an argument made that the Bear was shot under hunting conditions and not from aggressive and attacking self-defense stand point. Hence the reason for the two comparisons.

So what does it all mean?

Is the .45 ACP the new kid on the block for big bear stopping?


However, we all must begin realizing is that new developments in this modern age of ammunition are changing previous held beliefs and results. And that the magical one-shot-stop mindset has to die out. Multiple well placed rounds on target against an aggressor, two or four legged, is ultimately the real solution to the problem.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

For the Defense: Phoning it in

In the moments immediately following a lethal self-defense fight there is an existence of perverse intimacy.

No firearms instructors ever talk about it. That is the reality of being in the same room, the same parking garage, the same empty backwoods trail as your attacker dies and bleeds out because you have done this to him. His life having either left him or is leaving him as he struggles, kicks, moans and dies. It is a dark moment on anyone's life. You may be alone, you maybe with your loved ones, or a completely innocent by-stander, either way, there you are.

There are conventional rules of engagement for the good guys, though they are for the most part unwritten. The first is that you call 9-1-1 and that you stay where you are.

Once while working a kidnapping case in a very rough borough in mid-western city my local contact advised me to make one of two choices should I find myself in a gunfight. The first was to have all my brass wiped clean of fingerprints and get out of the city as fast as possible. Kidnapped victim or no Kidnapped victim. The second was to call the police tell them I was involved in a shooting and that I was driving myself to the hospital due to chest pains. I was advised not to stand pat because the local drug lord owned all the cops that would be responding and, my life expectancy would be precisely: zero

In the end I resolved the situation without a round fired and lived to tell the tale, never having to use my pre-laid decision.

Conventional dictum, rattled off very fast and passed over far too quickly goes something like: "shoot-to-neutralize, reload, threat assess, call 9-1-1 and wait for the Calvary to come pick up the trash".

The problem can lie with the Calvary. And while I may ruffle a few feathers understand it is not my intent, nor is it to make nefarious accusations. Don't read it as such. When officers respond to the scene of a shooting they bring with them some predisposed items. Some is training, some is life, regardless when the first couple of Cops arrive they have to contend with the fact that:
  • everyone with a gun is a bad guy until verified otherwise
  • things are probably not as they are claimed
  • their personal safety is at risk since they know at least one person has willingly pulled the trigger.
  • their partner's safety
  • regret over eating that thing they ate they wished that they hadn't
  • unanswered questions at the scene that revolve around a very violent situation
  • insert life here
The point is this while you are looking at the dead man in the hallway whose chest just stopped rising and falling forever your life as well is forever changed. And the only "for better" part is that you are still alive.

For the first responder it's another day on the job (at best). And when they arrive maintaining the integrity of the crime scene is not as important as making sure any threat is dealt with. The honest cop will tell you that there are more than a couple of idiots on the force that they they have to contend with. The know-it-all, the over-eager, the unprofessional lazy tool, the anti-gun, anti self-defense jerk that the rest of them hate working with.

You may now be working with him as well.

I know of one case where the Cops responded to a father shooting his daughter's abusive ex-boyfriend in the front yard. The Ex-BF showed up drunk with a gallon of gasoline and began dousing the front yard. They also found later that he had several guns in the car and it was thought he planned on shooting everyone as they came out.

Dad responded to the arsonist by killing him via several well placed 9mm rounds to the chest. Everyone saw it as a clear cut case of self-defense.

The local Prosecutor however was bothered by the fact that the shooting took place outside the home, coupled with the fact that two shell casings were missing. In his infinite wisdom the Prosecutor decided that the father must have picked up two of the casings for one reason or another. Charges were filed against him for tampering with a crime scene.

The reality was, a Rookie wanted a souvenir from his first "crime scene" and took two of the spent rounds. Fortunately he fessed up.

What if he hadn't.

There also exists another problem. Should the Bad-Guy-in-Question not be dead the Paramedics are surely going to arrive and try to save him. In doing so a crime scene may get changed. Blood smeared, brass kicked, couches moved, cars made to be backed out of the way.

All well intentioned, but changed. Changes that may, and to be fair, may not hamper your plea of self-defense.

I once witnessed this personally. Walking down the street late in the evening of the Urban environment I lived in when I was single I witnessed two males come out of a club in a bloody fist fight. All was not what it seemed. One was empty handed and the other had a busted bottle and was attempting to slash him, and succeeded pretty well in doing so. When the sirens began wailing he dropped the bottle in the street near the curb. Surprisingly it didn't bust. That is until the ambulance arrived and pulled on top of it. Evidence was crushed. Literally.

My lingering thought was this. What if that had been me and I had been forced to shoot him. I could then only rely on my claim that he had a weapon and witnesses that surely would have included his friends. What then?

The Point.

There is nothing illegal about you taking pictures of the crime scene. Period. The Defense (you) has a legal right to collect and maintain evidence as long as the evidence is not in and of itself illegal (think: unlicensed automatic weapons, illegal drugs, etc).

Therefore your new best friend maybe that little phone in your pocket with the camera.

Unusual, unorthodox yes it is. Some may question that this shows a disturbed state of mind to willingly take pictures of the deceased, but you have to realize that pictures are going to be taken. If its out on the street or in a public location you can rest assured the new media in a chopper somewhere is going to have aerial photographs (which you may also want your lawyer to subpoena). They just generally don't show it on the evening news out of decency these days.

I would point out if I were retained as an Expert Witness that the defendant was extremely sober minded and was very well educated in the matters of self-defense and had read case after case of over zealous Prosecutors going after "Victims".

If your pictures correlate that of the police then it reinforces your position.

However, should you find yourself at the mercy of a Prosecutor who cries murder you have the very first photos of the crime scene when it was you and the attacker prior to anyone else showing up and possibly altering the crime scene, unintentional or otherwise.

This establishes doubt against the the Prosecution's case in both the Judge and Jury's mind. Doubt is what wins in court.

It is generally accepted in court that the Defense is not required to provide Inculpatory (points to guilt) Evidence or Exculpatory (points to innocence) Evidence. The burden is on the Prosecutor, or in the case of a wrongful death suit the Plaintiff's attorney.

If you find yourself in an altercation that has not gone physically violent, but is escalating, take the Perps picture of him screaming threatening, etc. If you can, turn on your phones "voice memo" recorder and get a sound bite of his threats, his ranting, etc. Should you be forced to enter into a lethal encounter against the B-I-Q photos prior to it demonstrate that you were going to call the Police and give them the criminal's photograph of him for future use in his apprehension. What we all essentially know in the world of defense is that you are going to defend yourself far more in life with words that you ever will with a weapon. Having a sound bite and/or a photo that you are trying to de-escalate the situation or at least not the aggressor in the circumstance is a feather in your cap.

You want as many feathers as you can get.

Use your intellect that God gave you. And think about this long before you find yourself there. Training of any type starts in the brain first and having a plan (Rule 13) will help you implement it when the deal goes down.
  • Call 9-1-1 and report it, THEN take the photos. You don't want your Attorney to present them as evidence and the other side point out that the time stamp on the photos is three minutes earlier than your call to the LEOs. It makes you look creepy and perverse.
  • Don't take five thousand photos (again points to creepy) take five maybe a dozen if time allows for it. This will greatly depend on the response time of the Cops. I would advise taking pictures from where YOU were when the feces hits the impeller. Also known as POV (Point of View). As horrendously morbid as it sounds I would take a picture of the attacker especially if he is not dead. Your goal is to maintain integrity of the crime scene that paramedics could potentially disturb. It simply is what it is.
  • Take whatever your photos you can or need before the Police arrive. At the sight of the first flashing light. Stop....stop taking pictures. You don't want an Officer on the stand later saying "when I walked in the Defendant was taking photos of the scene. Remember me mentioning the creepy factor, it's worth mentioning again.
  • Don't play amateur detective if there is some extraordinary amount of time between your 9-1-1 call and the arrival of Law Enforcement. Leave everything alone. If the perp is alive, Don't Talk with Him.
  • Don't.
  • Don't move, touch, disturb or breath hard on anything you NEVER alter the crime scene to make it more favorable to you. This is the very reason you are taking your own photos. You don't lie to defend your integrity.
In the end. Keep your mouth shut about taking pictures. This is to be shared with your attorney and your attorney alone. No one else. Don't saddle up along side the responding Officers and say "yeah I got some pictures as well." Because at that point your phone just became evidence in whatever way the Governing powers see fit to use them.

The justice system here in the United States is an adversarial one. In theory at least, and the defense is supposed to meet the Prosecution on equal ground. Resource against resource, argument against argument and strength against strength. It is what ensures that the system works properly. Your Defense attorney (and your bank account) has an overwhelming fight against the broad and powerful resources of the State.
You are simply trying to close that gap.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Article Series : For the Defense

Recently I had a conversation with a defense attorney, who explained that a client had, in self-defense, shot and killed a would be attacker.

As it was explained to me they were going to have a difficult time defending this case of "well aimed" over kill". Because apparently the Non-Victim had admirably performed a text book Mozambique Drill.

The local Prosecuting Attorney saw this as somehow nefarious and, felt it in everyone's best interest to press charges.

A lengthy diatribe on my part ensued as to why and how this was not an "assassin's maneuver" as the Prosecutor had claimed. What disturbed me the most was not the Prosecutor's angle, but rather the Defense attorney's ignorance. The firm-in-question is considered the "Go-To" defense team in the mid-west. When I had finished explaining why the client had done everything in text book fashion she said "REALLY!?"

Where the "Dark Arts for Good Guys" series has always been about surviving extra-ordinary circumstances in an atmosphere of lawlessness the new series "For the Defense" will examine practical insight into surviving the scarier fight.

The Court room.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dark Arts for Good Guys: Drive Like You Mean It

Somethings in life that you just don't mix. Drinking and Driving, Free-Style Swimming and Great White Sharks, and Shooting and Driving.

Hollywood has made much out the driving and shooting scenes in the action flicks. Automatic weapon fire, Good Guys and bad guys leaning out the window slinging lead.

There is nothing naturally inherent about driving a car. It is a learned skill. Just like shooting.

And if you are in the drivers seat you bear one responsibility. Driving.

Whether you trying to escape from a hostile crooked government or a gang of armed kidnappers, time and distance are your current best friends.

The greater the distance from the “Kill Zone” the longer your life expectancy increases. The problem of course can be compounded if the “Kill Zone” is also mobile.

If distance is your friend, speed and maneuverability are its kissing cousins. Mashing the pedal to the floor and reaming out tachometer may increase your speed, but there is also a likelihood of losing control of the vehicle.Running away from bad men who seek to do you harm is far more intense than running late for work.

Getting killed, injured, wrecked, and/or arrested does you no good. Control of yourself means control of the vehicle. That dire run to Zagreb and that “friend's plane” is the most important thing in your life and if the E59 is riddled with traffic you better know how to bob and weave outside the lines to get there. Good speeding, braking, and driving are a premium.

Lane width tends to run a universal width of 9-12 feet, in most developed nations that have things like paved roads, highways, and expressways. The average automobile is around six feet wide. This gives you plenty of room to maneuver. And by maneuver I mean go between the lanes, between the vehicles and over the lines, and do it with surprisingly little cosmetic damage to the vehicle...if done right.

Whether you call it, the Slip & Slide, Drunk Uncle Charlie, or as a French guy I worked with called it “balancer le bébé” at the end of the day its Offensive (not Defensive) driving. Like eating barbecue spare ribs in public, if you are more worried about offending those around you than you are with concentrating on whats in front of you don't bother to start.

The white lines on the road are like fences. Good fences make good neighbors, so when you break the natural flow and order of the system you are going to freak the "peoples" out in a big way (except for maybe India). So expect plenty of brake lights, horns, yelling. In some cases the vehicles ahead of you, if they are paying attention to the rear view mirror, may try to block you. And lets face it, its reasonable. In their shoes you would do the same thing.

Not wanting to be killed by the maniac on the freeway is perfectly natural, so in turn they will also make room for you.

Either way you are going to leave a path of destruction in your wake on some level. And to a certain extent you want this.

Decisions made behind the wheel have to be deliberate every-step-of-the-way. Because while you are conscious of the extreme measures you are going to everyone else is going to see chaos. And chaos travels fast.

At 40 MPH you are covering 60 feet a second. At 80mph 120 feet a second. Reaction times get significantly decreased. So its a kin to playing Death-by-Chess, because you have to be at least one move ahead.

Drivers slamming on their brakes, swerving to avoid the "^%$(*@# Idiot" driving down the center lane will cause mass concern, panic and wariness. How far you have to keep running your escape and evasion tactic will be determined by who your pursuers are, and of what value you hold for them.

If you are attempting to out run and out drive a couple of crooked Geral De Policias I wish you the best of luck. Work in those certain "quiet status'" overseas operations long enough though and sooner or later the pooch will get screwed and everyone with a badge and a gun may be chasing you. Even if you are trying to do the right thing.

If your pursuers are criminals that are not moonlighting their pursuit may not be quite so lengthy.

You might as well expect to ding, dent and crinkle the paint on the car but what you will be surprised to find is that 98% of the damage done to the vehicle is going to be to the sides. And since your vehicle will be rubbing and grinding against the sides of other car you are not going to get structural damage by and large.

You do however want to keep your tires away from their bumpers. As I can attest to personally. Tires that get under or hooked to a bumper is going to blow it. And while you can run a long way on a flat tire, you are not going to do it quickly and maneuverability of the overall vehicle is gone. If you have copious amounts of trunk space or other cargo area and your pursuers are right behind you, a good slam on the brakes may disable their vehicle for a number of reasons.

If you go this route before you nail the brakes, brace your body (neck to). Yeah I know some people will tell you just go limp so your body isn't injured. Its also a really good way for your brain to slam into your skull from copious neck and head movement. Its the reason NASCAR drivers wear helmets and neck support.

Overall the better route is to keep your car in the best condition as possible. If you need to keep the traffic around you and behind you in a state of confusion short bursts of excessive speed with the lighting up of the brake lights will do wonders to bring traffic to an effective jam.

Either way if the course of the day led to this being a solution to you getting home alive in an all or nothing scenario. Drive like you mean it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Returning soon

Geez who runs this blog anyway.

In the next few weeks there are more "Dark Arts" postings coming. Two concerning defensive driving, an interesting application for extension cord use, and a study on human anatomy and how the body dies from trauma.

Another related but untitled as such post to the "Dark Arts" series is understanding and deciding on equipment when bugging out....realistically and very practically speaking.

Farther on out past that I am working on a year long gun study project called "one year-one rifle: The .357 Magnum Lever Action".

As always thanks for reading Straight Forward in a Crooked World.

And remember if the bad men come be their worst nightmare.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Get on your knees and Aim

In the world of "concealed & carry" and self-defense with handguns there is an well perpetuated axiom that if one is forced to use their handgun in self-defense that it is likely to occur under the following conditions:

less than 5 rounds fired at seven yards in low light conditions.

Whether the very old statistical data is true or not it has created some very significant problems in the CCW world (imho). One is that it inbreeds laziness on a certain level. To the extent that even the gun manufacturers have caught onto this given the current crop of 0oz plastic .380s with non-existent sights.

We have in the gun-carry culture become so focused on ourselves that many of us would rather not be "inconvenienced" by carrying a full or medium size handgun. Steel, plastic or otherwise.

Over reliance on tiny back up guns as primary pieces on a regular basis, combined with the vast majority of our ammo being expended at the 7 yards range is that it creates inherently bad habits. Sub-consciously we place self-imposed limitations on our fighting ability. Telling ourselves ahead of time through this prediction what the fight is going to be, usually with statements such as “Oh I'm just running down to the _______”.

In truth the least talked about, the least trained for situation is contending with a mass shooter. Yet, in no small irony it is usually the main motivator for people seeking out a CCW permit. If we are going to go up against a well armed aggressor we need to be prepared to fight and kill him (or her), and do so accurately.

Going to the range and expending a few magazines at short distances in no way prepares you for this.

Work in Executive Protection even a short amount of time and you realize very quickly that there is general problematic area you are going to have to deal with should the feces hit the impeller.

Other people. Innocent other people.

We (as the good guys) are responsible for the terminal resting place of every round fired from our weapons. Shooting and wounding or killing an innocent individual while you are attempting to kill the M-S-I-Q (Mass Shooter In Question) is not only unacceptable but will likely lead to your facing of a jury pool.

Our shots fired at a M-S-I-Q can be farther than you think and through a narrower gap. Next time you are walking to the office coffee pot or taking your kids back to Sunday School pace off the distance from one end of the hall way to the other. It's most likely not seven yards. Given some hallways in modern homes shots could be over ten and fifteen yards.

Mass Shooters are generally well armed with everything from high capacity rifles and/or handguns to pipe bombs. What they lack in skill they make up for in an abundance of firepower. Ourselves on the other hand will generally be less-than-adequately armed with a pistol and hopefully at the very least a full spare reload. So we need to be better trained than that of the aggressor.

There are a few fundamental things we need to understand when returning fire with “the peoples” running and fleeing as an attack occurs. Our reaction will be just that. A reaction.

Be realistic in understanding that in such a scenario that as loud as gunfire is, it can also be very readily muffled inside of a building and distorted to the point where your brain decides that it must really be something else.

Your first encounter in a mass shooting situation may be seeing a fleeing panicked crowd and over hearing “GUN!” before you identify who the M-S-I-Q is.

The second thing you realize is that time is on your side... to a degree. You won't necessarily have minutes but you will have seconds. So use your time wisely and most importantly develop and implement a plan.

A plan?

Yes a plan. We're not talking about laying siege to Tyre rather K.I.S.S. as dad said.

Get to cover. Cover being something that will stop incoming bullets. Despite all of those heroic images you have in your mind you stand a pretty damn good chance of getting shot when guns pointed in your direction start going off.

Three, Get on your knees and aim.

Dropping into and shooting from the "California Prayer" position aids in concealing your position from the M-S-I-Q. Because even bad guys threat assess.

Getting low also presents your targets vitals better and since people trying to flee or hide from a roaming gunman will either crawl into the fetal position, lay down or crouch run, lowering your position puts your muzzle and target generally above other people.

In the likelihood of a missed shot your round stands a better chance of being lodged into the upper portion of a wall.

On the bad guy's anatomy you are given an upward angle on the head and better exposure (albeit small) to the throat. But this also allows for bullet connectivity to the Cervical Vertebrae and the Clavicle area. Not to mention the Carotid arteries.

Shots placed into the torso will angle slightly upward. And upward means a longer wound channel. Longer wound channel means more blood loss and increased chance of lung deflation. A bad guy focused on trying to catch his breath means he slows down. His focus becomes less on shooting and more on breathing. It also makes him a more stable target.

Shooting from a low knee position also places the lower abdomen and crotch area in a direct line of sight. This means lots of soft tissue damage AND more importantly better access to the Femoral and Deep Femoral arteries. The targeting of this area if you are shooting a heavier caliber handgun round also means straight on availability to the hip bones. Not even the most PCP laden gunman can will broken bone to work or support the rest of the body.

For yourself shooting from cover, prone or from your knees may also mean having the opportunity to shoot from a rest, and you need to get every advantage you can in order to do one thing.


Armed in society means a greater responsibility. You have removed yourself as merely a gun owner and placed yourself on a voluntary pedestal. We all need to shoot, train....and be armed accordingly.

The fight will always be what it's going to be. Not what you want it to be.

Because someday you may be facing down a terrorist driving a bulldozer with your pistol like Israeli citizen Yaki Asael did in July of 2008.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gear Review: Luminox Watch

Open any gun magazine, sporting catalog or watch any spy/special forces genre action movie or tv show and at some point you're gonna see the subtle product placement of a tactical watch on the heroes wrist.

Nothing new to this really. James Bond through the decades has worn Rolex's, Omega's, and Breitlings. Clive Cussler's character Dirk Pitt has worn and orange faced Doxa dive watch for years. Even Jack Bauer (or maybe more so) with his character wearing the hundred pound MTM tactical watch that has “a light on it that can be seen a mile away”.

Actually I once owned a Rolex President for 45 seconds when a Principal I was working gave it to me by mistake at a Christmas party. I realized the mistake immediately and handed it back to him and said “couldn't I have a nice Parazzi 12 gauge instead”.

The funny thing about watch companies is they have to go out and find someone to endorse it, pay them large sums of money to get the reputation built. After all everyone has to start somewhere.

But the story of Luminox (Latin for light night) Watches is a vastly different one than that of its competitors. Necessity being the mother of invention after all.

In the late 1980s business partners Barry Cohen and Richard Timbo (Richard-Barry Marketing Group) were actively looking for proprietary technology that could push them out and ahead of the competition. And like dedicated hunters they found their prize treasure on a trip to Switzerland in the form of a small Swiss watch firm. The relatively obscure Swiss company had created a then unknown and unique illumination technology for watches that relied on micro gas lighting as opposed to heat or battery power to illuminate watch hands.

Barry recognizing the immediate potential for solving one of life's simplest realities, degenerating eyesight, saw a market for older aging eyes. Without missing a beat they negotiated an exclusive deal for the use of the new micro gas technology in North America. And with that the world's most luminous watch was born.

But birth doesn't equal success. Soon enough the newly formed Luminox Watch Co realized that they were a small unknown firm in the world of reputable Swiss watch makers. A life boat bobbing in the shipping lane as it were. Then in 1993 something fortuitous happened. One of those once in a lifetime golden egg opportunities came knocking at their door. The U.S. Government.

Actually it was a little known representative of the Government, Procurement Officer (read: scrounger), Chief Nick North of SEAL Team 5. North explained that the SEALs were in need of a self-sustaining illuminating watch for night missions and having heard of their little known Luminox Watches asked if they could build the SEALs a new dive watch for.

Obviously when the best of the best knock on your door you answer. And nine months later in 1994 the first Navy SEAL dive watch was launched.

Then in 1999 a call came from Edwards Air Force base. The bombing pilots loved Luminox watches. What they didn't like was that they were wearing a “Squids” watch. The USAF asked if Luminox would make them their own model.

How do you say no to that?

Instead of making a model for the Air Force Luminox talked with Lockheed Martin to acquire licensing rights related to some of their more unique aviation properties. If you ever wondered what watch F-117 Stealth Fighter Pilots wear now you know.

So how does a Navy SEAL designed watch and a major U.S. Watch manufacturer get tied in here at SFICW?

After ten years of wearing (and abusing) my stainless Kenneth Cole Chronograph I was in dire need of a new watch. I specifically realized this on a very dark night this past July working in a mosquito and tick infested stretch of woods trying to gather intelligence for a new client. No moon made it dark enough, a heavy canopy of leaves made it a helluva lot darker and occasionally these nights out and about gathering intel can be hourly sensitive. So I had to do this hunker down -pull out SureFire-close eyes-bulb down-heat watch method to keep on my time target.

By the drive home at 5am my ten years of nostalgic feelings towards the watch were gone. The search for a new mission ready watch was on. I pulled out catalogs, looked on-line, for applicable watches. By now you're thinking buy a “Timex” dude. I hear you. Honestly. I'm not an image whore to be honest, but I am a hard-use gear whore if there is such a thing.

I looked at a couple of the new “tacti-cool” watches out there being hawked by some actors. As soon as I saw the $1000+ price tags I was looking else where. I looked at the MTM “Warrior” watches. Was the on-board light idea intriguing?


But the must charge once a month/ not leave said charger in an airport-hotel-basement was not.

I then remembered a conversation I had a little over ten years ago. I had spent the weekend with some overseas contractors running some training drills, one of them was a former Navy SEAL. One evening at dinner I noticed his watch and asked if it was a Luminox. He replied that it was. When I asked him how well he liked it his response was "Best ******* watch I have ever owned." The watch was dinged and worn but worked flawlessly. Who would want anything else.

So I called Luminox's Director of U.S. Operations, Max Robertson, and told him my beef with the competitions over priced watches, and what I needed from a watch. With out missing a beat Max recommended the the Luminox Black Ops 8401 with black face. I thanked Max for his time and placed my order.

A week later and a half hour before walking out the door to go camping for my birthday with friends, Bill from FedEx dropped off my new watch. Talk about perfect timing from a watch company.

So five months, two seasons, a couple of trips, some shooting clinics and hunting seasons later what are my thoughts?

A fantastic watch.

I like the heft and styling, it is definitely masculine, and the bright green dials and numbers are fantastic when you are laying in the tent during deer season and don't have to fumble for a head lamp to see if you have three hours or three minutes before you get up and meet the cold blackness of morning. The other brilliant idea is the orange illumination for 12 O' Clock. It may not sound like that big of a deal but if the watch is off your wrist and on the desk top in a dark hotel room it can be hard to tell exactly what time it is. The orange dot allows for immediate perspective.

How is that made possible?

Implanted tritium undergoes what is called beta decay. This is a release of electrons which causes a phosphor layer to fluoresce. When being manufactured a length of borosilicate glass tubing has its inside surface coated with a phosphor-containing compound and filled with radioactive tritium. The tube is then fused with a CO2 laser at the desired length. The borosilicate is relied on for its strength and resistance to breakage. In the tube, the tritium gives off a steady stream of electrons due to beta decay. The particles excite the phosphor, and hence you get the emitting low and constant glow to the watch hands.

Or so I've (cough) read elsewhere.

The other thing I have personally come to like (and you don't have to have a Luminox for this) is the rubber wrist band. Laugh if you want but I have worn a fixed stainless clasp band on my two previous watches for twenty years. Now having the option of being able to wear my watch on the outside of a winter jacket or wet-suit, instead of fumbling with gloves to push clothing back is a nice option to have.

If you are looking for a rugged, hard use watch that you can take anywhere and do damn near anything to Luminox is probably the way to go. Because after all you must be doing something right as a company when the Federal Government allows you to laser engrave the Special Warfare insignia on the back of your watch.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not for the faint of heart

Since the Dark Arts for Good Guys series started I have striven to paint an accurate picture of what social meltdown looks like en masse.

Sometime back I ran across VBS.TV put out by Spike Jonze. They are currently running an 8 part series on "the vice guide to Liberia". While its not for the faint of heart it is well worth if you've never seen first hand an apocalypse situation. Because dear people of earth they do exist, and it can happen anywhere.

Which is why Dark Arts got started to begin with. I encourage you to watch it and put it in your own context of understanding and remove the "oh it won't happen here" mindset.

The Vice Guide to Liberia

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In one man's opinion

When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted the in-flight bombing of Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas day the immediate fall out was a demand for mandatory backscatter X-ray machines in U.S. airports. On the counter side of the coin privacy advocates have continually argued that this type of technology not only violates personal privacy but may prove to be the end privacy as we know it.

Aviation Security officials have responded that if we are to be secure in our travel that we must all be willing to sacrifice some personal liberty for “safety's sake”. The problem is that the air travel situation in this country is an amazing first world nightmare. Airlines are constantly in a poor financial state year end and year out. And it seems five years can not go by with out one major air carrier seeking protection from bankruptcy.

There is the constant problem of planes being late, passengers stranded on board for hours, and additional fees for having the audacity to pack luggage. Add to it the ineffective bureaucratic and politically correct nightmare of federally controlled aviation security. The band-aid on the band aid solution of treating the cancer that is terrorism.

I will contend immediately that I am not an expert in aviation security. However, one must realize that the security issues that passengers contend with prior to boarding airplanes is not in itself aviation security. Rather it is access control, and when done effectively it is also target hardening. The second thing we must remember is that terrorism is theater.

Whatever the body count is at the end of the day whether it is a suicide bomb in Falujah or the attacks on 9/11, the concept is to use fear, dead bodies, and streaming television to grind the target audience to a dead stop. To the point that everything stops. Whether it's the fruit market or the financial one.

Fourteen years in the private security industry I have at times been retained by various corporations to conduct physical security auditing in order to look for holes in their already implemented security procedures. The first thing I tell them is that every system has points of failure, but this does not necessarily reflect that the entire system is in and of itself a failure. The second thing that I do is let them know that between two sets of dates I will attempt to physically breach their security.

When weak and vulnerable areas are exposed the clients will almost immediately request the latest technology to solve the problem, and in some cases technology is the answer.

However there is no such thing as a 100% solution in the world of security. And like any other ongoing fight adapting to the situation is the key to finding, and then exploiting your enemies weaknesses. And that is precisely what is being done to us. Because to some we are the enemy they are fighting.

The problems, and there are many. Begin with feel good politics. You can rely on technology only so far, but ask any security professional for a real answer in preventing terrorism in the skies and they will tell you profiling.

We have demonized this word on the already too large alter of political correctness. If you say profiling then automatically it is insinuated that you mean “racial” profiling. In truth what Hollywood calls profiling and the media demonizes the F.B.I. calls “criminal investigative analysis”. Which is in effect the third wave of investigative science.

The first wave, developed by Scotland Yard in the 1800s was the study of clues left by the criminal themselves, the second wave is the study of the crime itself. Whereas the “third” wave is the study of the criminal's psyche.

Profiling (in my own opinion) suffers from its own prejudices within the criminal investigative community. For instance, when the Beltway sniper was shooting people the F.B.I. “Profilers” believed they should be looking for a white male who was disgruntled against the U.S. Government and was also a gun rights advocate. They further felt that he may be apart of a larger group (militia) and that this may be part of a domestic terrorism program being delivered.

Analyst were shocked to discover that the Belt Way Sniper was in fact a pair Muslim black males. The ring leader John Allen Muhammad when finally caught stated that he was waging a “jihad”.

This is not to say that profiling is a failure. Quite the contrary Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway (the Green River Killer) were caught through criminal investigative analysis. So we know that “Profiling” does in deed work, however one must keep an open mind about the unknowns they are investigating. Local law enforcement also needs to step out of the dark ages and embrace the fact that not only are we in a war, but that it is not just a military problem to contend with overseas. And so do rank and file civilians.

The problem we face with this new backscatter 3d imaging in that not only is it still in its early years, where we can not be sure of what health implications after long term and prolonged exposure. It also is one more “thing” that leads us to become complacent, lulled into a false comfort where technology begins to replace the intense hard work of criminal detection.

While backscatter technology can inform the screener that a person has something in their pocket that is non-metal in nature it can not say whether it is hand sanitizer or fertilizer, or C-4.

The fact of the matter is we already have some of the best bomb detection “technology” available to us, that would lead to more job opportunities and long term employment. It has an amazing rate of success, is able to give an immediate profile with no prejudices inherited to its system. And for every new scanner placed in an airport ten-twelve explosive detection “systems” could be deployed. I am of course talking about K-9 bomb detection units.

It would put more man power in the airports, provide long reaching job opportunities in every way from breeders, trainers, educators, to officers/handlers. Yet since it isn't “new” or “glamorous” we won't pursue it as an idea

If the United States was committed to fighting the war-on-terror-in-the-skies posters of wanted terrorists would line the numerous bare walls in airports giving people a heads up to be on the look out for these suspected individuals. This would be akin to the highly successful television series America's Most Wanted (as of the date of this writing has led to the capture of 1,099 individuals).

Instead we have a nebulous “no fly list” of suspected individuals which according to Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff only contains the names of 2,500 people while the ACLU contends that the number of individuals suspected and listed to varying degrees actually numbers around one million. Including persons who have criticized the TSA publicly (bloggers included).

The time as come that we must realize that while the rank and file TSA agents have a difficult job, we need to do away with the men an women in nice blazers and clip on ties and replace them with well trained highly motivated armed men and women in BDUs. It is also time that we employed our National Guard on the exterior of our airports and began giving them mass education in civil liberties.

Someone needs to lead the charge to turn our airports into money making business enterprises instead of bureaucratic city controlled chaos. The result would be efficiency, profitability, and security. Imagine if Lee Iacocca ran Laguardia.

As presented to us now, the powers that be have no intention of making air travel any safer (or more convenient for that matter) only a politically correct appearance of doing something. Unless of course the idea is to frustrate the terrorists with delays and inefficiency.

We need our elected officials to step up and stop this continual interruption of free commerce by delaying business persons who need to move about the country in order to restore our economy and end this concept that it is better to inhibit the personal privacy of all rather than offend the sensibilities of some.

Because the last time I checked the war out there that continually comes to our soil from the air is not being waged by old women in orthopedic shoes and five year olds with apple juice containers. It is being waged by Muslim Extremists who seek to kill, murder, destroy....and terrorize.


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...