What IF (Muddying the Water Further)

cropped-cardefence2.jpgIf you have not read the last few articles I have written, then I highly recommend you go back before looking at this one. I don’t always get a lot of feedback on these but I had a friend that I have a lot of respect for, tell me that my scenario in the first “What If” article really made him think. That is the highest praise I could get and exactly why I write these.

With that in mind let me muddy the water a bit more. While you are going through your “what if” scenarios you need to consider the possible ramifications to you after the action is all over. I like to think of myself as a pretty black and white guy when it comes to decisions. However, having had the pleasure of serving on not only several jury’s, but also a grand jury, I must say that when it comes to firearms I have really had to weigh my options. To me legal should be legal and not legal not. Sadly that is not necessarily the way it is. Jury’s get to do whatever they want, regardless of the letter of the law. They can find you innocent just because they agree with what you did, even though it is clearly illegal, or they can find you guilty, even though you absolutely followed the letter of the law.

When I served on the grand jury one of our cases, in very short form, was this: Sheriff is called to domestic disturbance. When he arrives he sees, through a screen door, a man assaulting his wife. When he calls out the man heads toward him as the sheriff backs off the porch. The suspect comes out of the house cussing at the sheriff and raises a gun towards him. The sheriff shoots and kills the man. An autopsy showed that the suspect had cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time. Pretty black and white right? Well not for this jury. We spent hours. I mean hard hours, trying to explain/convince not one but two soccer moms that it was in fact our job to decide if this needed to go to trial. They could not grasp the concept of bill/no bill. They felt that there was no situation where an officer could shoot someone and not be put on trial.

So how does that effect you? Let’s say that while you are pumping gas you see a man approaching. You tell him to stop while he is still 10 feet away. He raises a screw driver held like a dagger and says “you NEED to buy this.” When you say that you are not interested he continues to approach and says “NO MF you are going to buy this or I am going to kill you with it.” Pretty clear cut. Fear for your life, guy with weapon I think we meet the legal criteria. Draw and shoot. Technically you should not be charged or tried. “What If” the police officer does not think untrained citizens should have guns. “What If” the DA just moved to Texas from New York and he thinks only the police should have guns. “What If” you get 3, 4, or 6 of those moms who demand action on your grand jury and then on your trial jury?

Should you run? There will be jurors on the grand jury that ask why you didn’t. Should you brandish? (Actually no such term in TX law but they have ways to still charge you with a crime) The call will go out to the police that a guy has pulled a gun, and is pointing it at people. Now you are the suspect. Also if this is a hardened type criminal he might call your bluff. Put his hands up and keep coming. Now if you shoot what do the witnesses see? A guy that surrendered being shot down. I promise you though, you will be asked by a jurist on that grand jury why didn’t you just pull your gun and point, or why didn’t you shoot him in the leg.

 

Who Is In My Home?

NegativeWho Is In My Home?

I have had several questions about the resent incidents where children were mistakenly shot in their home by parents. These are usually teens that are sneaking in or out with or without friends.

There are plenty of safety and common sense issues to address here but I am really only going to touch on one, that will solve a ton of troubles. I understand that I am going to tread on some mall ninja, tacticool guru toes here but…. Well see my first post ever on my website.

So you hear a noise in your house. Visions of super cool movie stars stalking through their home with tactical lights flashing here and there and various versions of low ready and such flash through your mind. You go over concealment and cover and the layout of your home. Ok let me say the plain truth. Humans do not function best in the dark. Everything is harder and scarier in the dark. Yes I have heard all the “you know the layout” tactical advantage stuff, but the honest truth is almost everything gets better with light. If you have to search/clear your house. Consider this. TURN ON THE LIGHTS. I have yet to hear a good argument against this. Yes carry your surefire tactical light but almost every room in your home has a switch right by the door. You don’t have to go through to turn it on. Quietly go up, reach your arm through and sweep the switch. Then step back into your dark room slice the pie and handle the door as you normally would. You are not revealing your position any more than you are any time you flash that tactical light. I assure you that the overhead light in a room will allow you to identify who and what is in there much better than even the brightest tactical light. After you have cleared the room you can decide if you are best served by leaving that light on or turning it back off. Have your surefire in your pocket or waistband or wherever leaving your hands free to operate your firearm with both, giving you the most control.

This takes some thought and practice but the family member you don’t shoot, and you will think it is worth the trouble. Feel free to share your thoughts.

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What If Game

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What If Game

So how many of you played that “What if” game I talked about last week? Did you run in to some problems? If not then you have most likely been playing a long time, you are a very decisive person, or you are not playing hard enough.

Let me be clear. If you really think about this it is a very hard game.

I will show you what I mean with an example. What if you are walking in to a small gas station to pay, or buy a drink? As you open the door the cashier counter runs the width of the store just to your right so in order to speak to the cashier you would only need to take five steps in and turn to your right. In that exact spot you see a guy, kind of scruffy looking, holding a gun on the guy behind the register. No one else is around. Solid wall beyond your target so you have a clear shot. Now let’s play. First have you decided if you are an “I only draw my gun if I fear for MY life”, or will you use it to protect others? If you are only going to use it to save you then this is easy. Shut that door and run. Whatever happens inside is none of your concern, and honestly, I cannot say that you are wrong for feeling like this. It will make your life much easier. Personally I can’t do it. My sense of right and wrong and my conscience would just not allow me to leave innocent people to face the wolves alone. So those of you still with me, what is your next move? Do you try to draw and force the gunman to drop his gun? I can tell you that if he decides to turn and shoot you instead there is about a 98% chance that the best outcome you can hope for are mutual hits. Don’t believe me? Come to one of my classes and I will prove it over and over. He can turn and fire before you can register his movement and fire. My first CHL instructor told me that if you drew then you shoot. So is that your choice here? You draw and shoot. You are good and with his arm holding the gun on the other guy your shot takes both lungs and his heart the first shot. He is down immediately and will be gone before you can get to his side. Did we make the right choice? As you move into the store to make sure the cashier is ok you see the cashier laying in a pool of blood behind the counter. The guy you thought was a cashier is now reaching for his own gun and the off duty police officer that you just killed is not going to be any help.

I hope this little example helps you see just how serious this game is and how important it is. I can’t say that playing it will assure you that you never make a mistake but think how much better your chances are if you have considered these things beforehand rather than just stumbling in and having to run through all the possibilities in under a second.

Feel free to list your own answers or post your “what if” example in the comments on my website.

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That Guy

That Guy

FoF 039Having taught traditional martial arts and self-defense seminars for over 30 years “that guy” or girl, that could make me want to reach up and rip the eyes from my own head just for some relief was the “what if” guy. It always went something like this. I am teaching a new technique in class. I have a student act as my attacker and I direct him to grab my shoulder at which time I will demonstrate and explain said technique. I might not even be through with the first demonstration when “that guy” speaks up. “What if he grabs your wrist? What if he grabs your neck? What if he punches you?” The business minded Dojo owner has to smile and explain that if any of those things happen there is a different technique, but at this moment we are working on the one demonstrated.

This happens so much, and is so predictable, it is tedious, and grates on your nerves like fingernails on a chalk board. You want to scream, “I will teach you all that I know, now stand silently, and listen, as I do I, in the order I want!” Of course, as an instructor, you cannot do that, and now, as I type this my tongue is bleeding a bit, YOU need to be “that guy”.

Maybe not in your traditional martial arts class, but as a gun owner, and especially as a gun carrier. If you carry any kind of weapon to defend yourself and/or others you should be asking yourself “what if”, many times a day. What if someone walks up to me while I am pumping gas with a screw driver in his hand? What if when I walk into the fast food restaurant there is a guy holding a gun on the cashier? What if I hear shots while I am at the mall?

IMG_0399Let’s face it. If you ever need to defend yourself, or those you really care about, then your stress level will be at a peak. That is not the time to try and make the most important decisions in your life. You can never train and be ready for everything that could happen, but the more you have planned for, the better chance you will have the answer, or be able to make a slight adjustment and have the answer. Police and firefighters train all the time. They don’t do it just because they are bored. They do it because it helps. If I am going to be in a situation that may cost me or others our lives, then I want the best chance I can get to get it right.

 

When I am walking through the mall I ask myself “what if” I hear shots behind me right now. “What if” I hear them from in front of me? When I am walking to my car I consider “what if” there is a group of five or six teens running towards me? If I have never considered this then there is a lot of info to process in a very short time. Are they running towards me or just past me? How do I know? Do they have weapons, or does that even matter if there are six of them? Are they kids, teens, or young adults? Is there a reason they would be mad at me? Is this a time or place where I should expect violence? Should I run, fight, or wait? Is it possible I could expect aid from nearby? The list goes on and on, and you have a very few seconds to get it right. If you have already considered it then it is no big deal to put your plan in action. You step between the nearby parked cars, limiting their access and approach to you. Now “what if” they pull up and start moving between the cars towards you? “What if” they split up and attempt to pin you between those cars?

“What if” should be a constant and ongoing part of your situational awareness. If you have a likeminded friend or spouse then all the better. The two of you can play the “what if” game much like inspector Clouseau and his faithful man servant. As you sit in a restaurant your wife could ask you, “what if an angry guy walks up and starts yelling at the woman across from us and you see he has a gun tucked in his belt in the small of his back?” Score each other, and discuss possible options. The point is to have as many decisions as possible made, before the situation even occurs.

Tiger Valley_130601_2497One final note on this. Yes when you go to your gun class you should be “that guy” there as well. No don’t drown the instructor in hundreds of possible scenarios but yes call him on something relevant that you think he has special knowledge on, or you have an unanswered question about. I change my plan on “what if” constantly. A good knowledgeable instructor may well have thought of something I have not considered or his reasoning may point out faults in my plan, or his answer may make me surer that what I think is right. You are paying him to help you so make sure you get that help in some form.

Feel free to comment on and discuss what I have written about here. Share it with your friends and get the “what if” game going on Facebook. Like my page for more articles to get you thinking and help you train.

 

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The Politically Incorrect Side of SA.

OverheadThere is a lot of talk these days about situational awareness (SA), and for good reason. It is a great method of proactive defense. You can be the baddest black belt, gun tote’n, ex special opps operator, in the world, and if you let a 15 year old with a knife walk up behind you then they can say all that stuff about you at your funeral. Now in the real world anyone can be ambushed, but we can do a lot to prevent that. The old adage “Don’t do stupid things in stupid places etc.” fits in nicely here. Basically watch what is going on around you and avoid possible danger spots.

Today however, I want to delve into the politically incorrect part of SA. A very important part almost no one will speak of out loud. That part is known as profiling. Several years back the word profiling became politically incorrect when a group started using it to describe what they saw as racism in law enforcement. Simply by saying it so loud and so many times they were able to link the two words together until profiling and racism were the same. This was greatly aided by the fact that as soon as other groups saw that this ploy was having some success, any group wanting to divert attention from any other group would scream out “profiling”, and in our current “don’t offend anyone ever, for any reason” world, “profiling” became a taboo activity.

Now the hard truth is, this is ridiculous. Can profiling be racist? Of course it can. However, just because logical, common sense thinking adversely effects you does not mean that you are the target of racism. If there is a child molester in my neighborhood, then the odds say that an older white guy is probably the culprit and therefore if the police stop me in my white panel van that is not racism that is just adult common sense and statistics. It doesn’t mean I did anything, it is just the most logical course of investigation. At the same time, if someone is climbing the fences and breaking windows to carry off TV’s in that same neighborhood then you can probably not bother the 70 year old white guy. At least at first, take a look at the teens.

As an adult, a nation, and even a world, we all need to realize the realities of what is going on. Authorities have more than enough to keep them busy and if we want to proactively defend ourselves and our loved ones then we need to understand logical measures. If you are looking for child molesters then don’t spend a ton of time on 20 something females. If you are looking for who did the drive by, then start with the local gangs, and if you are looking for terrorist, then start with the Muslim males. That is not racist it is statistics.

How does that affect us personally in our proactive defense and SA? Well first don’t worry about being racist. The best way to not be racist is to not be racist. My neighbor happens to be black. Great guy. My best friend in the neighborhood, another black guy. I met these guys in the normal course of life in the neighborhood. Had I seen them in hoodies sitting in front of the local convenience store would I have seen them in the same light? I can assure you I would not have. Would they have been the same men I know today? I dare say they would not have been, at the very least they would have put themselves in a place to be viewed differently. That is not racist that is situationally aware. If I stop at the Quicktrip up the street to get gas and two or three black guys in hoodies are standing around I watch them as possible trouble. The fact is, if it is two or three white, or Hispanic guys in hoodies, or they are all tatted up, or just dirty and unkept, then I keep a watchful eye on them.  Where my safety and that of my loved ones is concerned I base my thoughts and actions on logic and don’t worry about political correctness.

Why does the young girl get on the elevator in the parking garage with two young punk looking males? Why does the black trucker that stopped at the bar in the middle of nowhere still walk in when he opens the door and sees the all white crowd stop talking and stare at him? Why does the older white guy get out of his Infinity at the car wash where three black males are just hanging out? They do it because of political correctness. We don’t want to offend anyone. So what happens if the young girl doesn’t get on that elevator? Well the two punks might be offended. They might laugh at her or even call her the B word, but she definitely does not get raped on that elevator. What happens to the black trucker if he turns around and leaves that bar? He might get laughed at and even called the N word for walking away, but he definitely doesn’t find out that this is the local skinhead hangout and disappear in the swamp in the middle of nowhere. Finally the old white guy might have to drive around in a dirty Infinity. He might get laughed at or even called a racist, but he definitely won’t get carjacked or mugged at that car wash.

Look sports fans, you all profile every day. If you say you don’t then you are lying to me or yourself but you are wrong. If you don’t fly on planes with one or more engines that are not working, then you profiled. If you only stay in hotels with more than 3 stars, you profiled. Profiling is in every part of our lives. It helps us find our dates, our mates, and our friends. So use it wisely to help you be situationally aware and proactively defensive.

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Why Force on Force Training?

FoF 024

Recently I was talking to a friend about training and he said something that I have heard several times lately. He said “Firearms classes are expensive. I am just going to compete in IDPA or other competitions because those are cheap and they give you real world scenarios, and real world training.”

Since I have heard this several times I just wanted to talk about training in general and maybe put some perspective on it.

Martial training of any type is generally carried out in the same basic way.

First they take you over to the side alone and have you work on very basic techniques in the air. “Throw this punch, kick, or whatever 100 times.” In the gun world this might be equated to getting your new gun, reading the manual, and dry firing. Step one of your training complete.

Next they put a target in front of you. This might be a bag that you actually hit or even a person that you are supposed to pull your technique just short of hitting. Let’s go back to the gun world. Now you are at the range actually putting rounds on paper.

As you continue your martial journey now you have a real opponent that you interact with. Either he reacts to you or you react to him but it is in a prearranged manor. Everyone knows basically what everyone else is going to do and what is supposed to be the result. This might be some “self-defense” techniques. I am sorry to shock awe you but back in our gun training this is the stage that IDPA falls under. Now before you start spitting and snorting I am not saying this is bad training. It is actually great training. Just like any other martial art this competition starts adding complexity, mental components, and STRESS that you have not had before. All that makes for great training.

Here is what I see as the bad point for us in the gun world. All other martial arts then move on to a free style real world training method. Depending on the art it could be anything from points fighting (somewhat real world) to full on MMA style. In any case it is a free sparing situation where neither party knows what the other is going to do and pain, defeat, even injury are possible. This is true for every martial art including sword training except for guns. In the gun world, for obvious reasons we have stopped our training back at the “staged” level. Yes simunitions have been around for a while but these are expensive and hard for even some LE to get and use.

Thank goodness for technology and people that think outside of the box. Airsoft has given us a way to take that next step and actually train against opponents in real world scenarios, without, well, killing each other. Being hit by an airsoft gun does hurt. That is good. It gives us negative feedback and causes us to flinch and react like we would in a real fight. You don’t “want” to get shot. The stress is super high. Let’s face it. IDPA stress is only there from the standpoint of, you don’t want to look bad at the game. Your targets are fixed and they do not shoot back. So once you have done it a few times and you know the game, the stress comes way down. With airsoft the more I get hit the less I want to get hit. Force on Force is the final step in martial training for the gunfighter. In most cases you can actually get the exact airsoft version of your personal conceal carry gun. I carry a Sig 228. I found a Sig 228 full metal, blow back, airsoft gun. The controls are in the same place and the gun operates exactly like my EDC. Except I can use it to learn how to WIN gunfights with real opponents.

Now as a final thought I will address the “training is expensive” part of this. My question is, is it really? I look at it much like I look at a gun purchase. Why am I buying this gun? If it is strictly as a hobby or for fun or even as a collector then ok set your price accordingly. If however you are buying that gun with the idea that you are going to use it to protect your life or the life of others then I think that price should be the last consideration. Not that you should not consider it but it should be the last factor. I want a gun that I am sure will function 100% of the time. A gun that carries as much fire power both in raw power and number of rounds, that I will carry 100% of the time. A gun that feels good to me and instills confidence in my ability to handle and hit with it. Last I need that gun to be one I can afford. Now when I say that, I don’t mean I have to have the money in my pocket today. If the gun I described is $700 and a gun that is sorta good is $400 then for goodness sake do whatever you did to get the $400, and get another $300 to get the gun that meets all your other criteria. I look at it like this. A good gun will last you the rest of your life and most likely your kids. Average the price of it out for 30 or 60 years and even the highest price is pretty reasonable. Now apply that to your training. If you are training as a hobby or to play IDPA then price is a huge consideration. If you are actually training to be able to defend yourself then price has to be way down on the list of considerations. Most of us are only going to know how our training holds up once in our lives. If I save $375 on training and get shot by a street punk, am I really going to think that was a good deal? You can get in a Force on Force class for $400 for two days. Yes that is not chicken feed but how much did you spend going to the deer lease last week? Heck how much did it cost you to take the family out for dinner and a movie? I skipped two of those movie nights and got my tail in class:)

Let’s Get This Started

Just so everyone is clear and there are no hurt feelings 🙂 I am not a politically correct guy and some of the things I say here wont be either. I am not out to hurt or offend anyone but I am not going to “not say” what is real and obvious. I don’t think “everyone should get a trophy”, and you should always be shielded from all adversity. I will say, and allow to be said, any reasonable thoughts or opinions on the topic at hand.

Now, before you try to comment or post read that all again. Don’t skip over the part where I said I was not out to hurt or offend. I wont allow anything like that to be published. When your comment is not published don’t ask me why, just come back here and read this again. Don’t spend hours writing me a huge post about how I offended you as I am just going to point you back here.

Next, I am not a lawyer. Nothing I say here is legal advice. If it sounds like legal advice it is not. It is a thought or opinion. Period! If you decide to use it then do so at your own risk. Fact check it. Consider it, and then use it as YOU see fit.

Finally, have fun. I would love to see this section of the website full of great ideas and helpful info. I am constantly learning so when I post things please join in with your ideas.