Can you articulate?

A few days ago a news report and video went around of an incident in Bellmead, TX.

In short, outside a WalMart a man tried to snatch an elderly woman’s purse. A bunch of good people observed this, gave chase, and were able to apprehend the man; it appears the intention was to hold him for police. Frankly up to this point, all things seem good and like any reasonable citizen would applaud.

Then the amateur video starts. In the video a woman was seen using a gun in a manner that appears to be trying to hold the man at gunpoint. The purse-snatcher breaks free of the men restraining him and begins to run off.

That’s when the woman fires her gun.

Here’s an updated news story.

According to Bellmead Police, the armed female chose to fire a round over Andre and she left the scene without making contact with law enforcement.

As the video continues, the woman then dangles the gun at her side, sees the police arrive, and she walks off. According to the updated news story, it seems this woman has now visited the police and was released pending investigation. According to the news story, not only was the man arrested and charged with theft and credit card abuse, but it seems the woman may be charged with something and her behavior may be sent before a grand jury.

And should it?

Yes it should.

Here’s the thing.

Massad Ayoob often asks what CYA means. No, it’s not “cover your ass”. It’s “can you articulate?”

A gun is deadly force. Can she articulate how her life or someone else’s life was in danger?

Can this woman articulate why she pointed a gun at this man?

Can this woman articulate why she fired the gun?

In terms of public perception, the man was running away. As well, any shots fired then would be “in the back”. Can she articulate her reasoning for her actions given that situation?

Can this woman articulate why she chose to fire the gun over the man?

Can she articulate why she left the scene without speaking with police?

Because if she cannot articulate, she’s in for a heap of trouble.

And even if she can articulate, does it mesh with our legal framework?

I know I’m about to armchair quarterback this based off a little video and news story, so take the following in that light.

A gun is not a solution to every problem; it can be a tool used to aid in solving particular problems. Usually those particular problems involve some sort of immediate danger to your life or the life of someone else. Could there be something in the whole of this situation that involved such danger? Possible, because the video only shows so much.

But there’s so much the video does show that makes me think things are not going to go well for this woman. That she made a great many poor decisions, and it’s fortunate that no one was harmed by her poor choices. Slight correction: that the only person that’s going to be harmed by her poor choices is herself.

Thing is, if she had a gun on her, I would reckon she has a Texas Concealed Handgun License. Granted, she might not, but we’ll assume she does. Do you know what the CHL classes are all about? The law. Even if she didn’t have a CHL, it doesn’t preclude her from not knowing about the law. You need to know and understand the law – when you can, and when you cannot use force or deadly force – because you are directly affecting people’s lives. I don’t get the impression this woman understands those laws, and for that, she’s likely to pay the price.

Folks, when you choose to carry a gun you choose to accept a strong responsibility. Yes, some punk mugging an old woman is a scumbag, and I applaud the spirit of the people that didn’t want to see this dude get away with it. But in trying to stop his lawless behavior, we must remain within the law. We must know the law, and we must be able to articulate our choices.

The ability to articulate? It does not come from having a gun, or even from taking the minimal “training” that the CHL class provides. No, it comes from joining groups like the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network (disclosure: I’m a member), because they provide a great deal of education – as well as legal defense, if ever needed. But hopefully the education will serve you best.

It comes from taking additional training, not just in marksmanship, but also decision-making. Scenario training, also known as “force-on-force”, is invaluable towards helping you learn how to handle actual situations. It gives you a safe place to learn – which means making mistakes – so when the flag does fly, you have improved your chances of arriving at an acceptable outcome.

It comes from continuing education. Grandpa taking you into the back pasture as a kid may be a nice way to start, but it should not be the last time you received any sort of education. Going to the gun range once a year doesn’t count either. You need a good instructor (disclosure: I am an assistant instructor at KR Training). You need to spend time on topics that challenge you, that may humble you, but that will give you the skills needed to keep you out of trouble.

Because even if this woman lucks out, the need to obtain a lawyer, deal with a grand jury, and who knows what else may come her way… that can add up to thousands of dollars, much stress, much headache, maybe even jail time, the loss of her carry license, and who knows what other fallout.

As they often say, if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

OK then…

“If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

Washington D.C. Police Chief, Cathy Lanier

Full story. Additional story.

This is a huge WTF because Chief Lanier has worked tirelessly to disarm and hold helpless the citizens of Washington D.C.. It’s not like she’s helpful in getting licenses approved…

Fact is, what she says is correct. It’s an admission of reality that many choose to still ignore: that police cannot be there, that police cannot immediately respond. It takes time for them to learn about an event, respond, travel to the location. In a good city, you’re lucky to get 5-7 minute response times – that’s a GOOD response time, so you have to realize many times responses will be longer.

How much damage can happen in that time?

And who can do anything about it?

Let’s not even think of massive terrorist-style attacks. Let’s consider more “mundane” events like robbery, mugging, assault, rape. When a violent crime is occurring, who is there in the immediate area? For certain, the attacker and the victim. Of those, who do you think could do something about the safety of the victim?

I’m not saying we all need to cowboy up and all citizens be police, because that’s not how our current system of laws work, nor how our society is structured.

But what our laws and society do allow is for citizens to be pro-active in their own safety. To have directly on-hand the tools that could be utilized to save their own lives. And the simple fact we see more and more professional law enforcement speaking up and confessing reality… that’s what we call “a clue”.

Now if Chief Lanier will just enable the citizens of D.C. to do what she suggests.

Sunday Metal – Annihilator

Been trying Apple Music (so far enjoying it). A playlist “Best of Thrash/Speed Metal” came up, and I thought it’d make for a good Sunday Metal series.

Annihilator – Alison Hell

Friday Fundamentals – Getting our priorities straight


While it’s important to train for critical events (e.g. your life being in immediate danger), realize there are many more mundane things that put your life in danger than someone robbing you or breaking into your house.

Do you have any sort of first aid training? My bud Caleb Causey from Lone Star Medics makes the excellent point that unless you’re active duty military or LEO, you likely encounter more car accidents in a year than gunshot wounds. How many lives could you help save with some first aid training?

Do you lock your doors? I know so many people that are lax about locking the doors and windows to their house. So many burglaries are prefaced by a simple check for (un)locked doors and windows, and if locked they just move along… because they know eventually one will be unlocked and a much easier target.

And yes please… while I know it’s hard to resist the addiction of txting and Facebook and whatever else on your phone, realize that it puts you in “code white” (technical term for “head up your ass” and “totally unaware of what’s around you”). While sometimes that is unavoidable, usually it is avoidable. Take a few seconds to resist the urge and keep yourself safe, because bad guys don’t materialize “out of nowhere”; “nowhere” happens because you weren’t paying attention. And if you must bury your nose in your phone, take a moment to first put yourself in a situation that guards against the issues.

Little things add up.

Originally posted on tacticalprofessor:

The attacks in Paris by Radical Islamists have captured the attention of the world and obviously people in the United States. Over 100 people were killed and several hundred more were wounded. Along with many people, I mourn for the casualties of these horrific and barbaric events.

In the aftermath, numerous articles are being written about surviving active shooter events, etc. In addition, some folks are saying they’re going to make some massive changes in the way they socialize. It’s always good to examine our vulnerabilities. However, let’s look at things in perspective.

According to the FBI:

In 2014, the estimated number of murders in the [United States] was 14,249.

In 2014, there were an estimated 741,291 aggravated assaults in the [United States].

There were an estimated 84,041 rapes (legacy definition) reported to law enforcement in 2014.

The FBI definition of Aggravated assault is:

An unlawful attack by one…

View original 741 more words

2015-11-20 training log

Just a day.

Same results and behaviors to report — everything’s going down.

It is what it is right now.

That said, I am taking a planned off week next week. I’m taking the week off work, and I’m sorely in need of rest and recoup. Between work stress, diet stress, etc. I just need some time to tune-out and recover. Plus the Thanksgiving meal is my first (planned) “cheat/refeed” meal since the beginning of the month. So I may hold steady on weight or even gain a hair, but any gain likely is going to just be a temporary bloat that should quickly shed. The time off, the diet during the week, the turkey dinner, etc. is all planned and worked out with Nick @ RP. My body should be happy from this.

That’s something to realize. Since I started on the Defattening Project about 15-16 months ago, I haven’t really taken any time off. Normally I’d go 6-8 weeks or so then hit a deload, even sometimes a “jack shit” deload — i.e. allow my body the recovery it needs. But because of the needs of the diet, I have to keep working. Maybe a light week, but there’s really no ability to just “jack shit” it. That’s taken a toll on me for sure. But it’s just part of the process.

That said then, what will happen after the break? I’m not sure. Best I can say is to see how my body responds. Who knows… maybe that Thanksgiving refeed will kick everything in the pants and I’ll be able to go for another few weeks. Or maybe my body will say “no mas” and I need to mid for a month then start back up again. I don’t know; many thoughts in my head, but the main one is to see how things are after I rest and recoup.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is visible and growing brighter. :-)

  • Cheat Curls
    • 40 x 12
    • 50 x 10
    • 60 x 8
    • 70 x 6 (cheated last few reps)
    • 70 x 6 (cheated)
  • DB Curls
    • 30e x 8
    • 30e x 8
    • 30e x 8
    • 30e x 8
  • Reverse Curls (just a rest-pause set)
    • 40 x 20
    • 40 x 10
    • 40 x 6
  • Close-Grip Bench
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 115 x 5
    • 135 x 4
    • 155 x 3
    • 175 x 2
    • 195 x 1
    • 155 x 13 (AMRAP)
    • 155 x 6 (50%)
  • Lying Triceps Extensions
    • 40 x 12
    • 50 x 10
    • 60 x 8
    • 60 x 7
  • Overhead Rope Triceps Extensions (rest-pause set)
    • 40 x 16
    • 40 x 11
    • 40 x 7
  • Preacher Curls (superset with pushdowns; rest-pause)
    • 40 x 15
    • 40 x 9
    • 40 x 5

2015-11-19 training log

Today was…. meh. I’ll put it in the 80% column, but on the lower end. That said, I had some fun at the end.

I figure it’s just the same story: no food, no go, everything regressing — including my weight. 202 this morning. So close.

So at the end of the session I skipped pulldowns and opted to do pull-ups! Why? I’ve just wanted to. I didn’t want to stop them before but had to due to my shoulders. Now that they’re feeling much better, I want to see about getting back to them.

I knew I wouldn’t get a lot of reps in, so the goal was to just do pull-ups until I couldn’t…. as many reps per set as I could, then once I hit 1 rep switch to chin-ups. I kept the grip shoulder width and went full-range. True dead-hang, chin clearing the bar, then controlled descent — not trying to get a 30X0 type of tempo (tho that’s what it wound up being like), but just wanting to be controlled through it all so I could go all the way to a dead hang and not kill my shoulders. And then, just keep going until I couldn’t go any more. Even it was few reps per set, I’ll take as many sets as I could get, and I got a lot.

So it was a fun way to end it. I was happy to get the reps I did. Sure it wasn’t much, but it was after all that other back work. And putting that together with my lifetime of sucking? Geez, I’m happy.

Oh, and I didn’t drop a 10# plate on my foot today. That was most important. ;-)

  • Barbell Rows
    • bar x 10
    • 105 x 5
    • 125 x 4
    • 145 x 3
    • 165 x 2
    • 185 x 1
    • 145 x 11 (AMRAP)
    • 145 x 6 (50%)
  • Cable Row
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
  • Behind-the-back BB Shrugs (smith machine)
    • 135 x 20
    • 165 x 20
    • 185 x 17
    • 185 x 15
    • 155 x 20
  • Pull-ups
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 1
  • Chin-ups
    • BW x 3
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 1
    • BW x 1

Don’t let “them” win

Did you ever think that getting angry, that causing us to lose our compassion and empathy, is exactly what they want?

There are a lot of contexts and topics on which this applies, both current events and past ones (and certainly future ones, at this rate).

And there are a lot of people/groups that classify as “them”. Even groups you may identify with.

I’m not saying: don’t be angry, don’t be frustrated, tolerate everything. What I am saying is to keep love, compassion, and empathy as your guiding force – not hate, not anger, not resentment, not guilt, not envy, not greed. To think and make decisions with a clear, informed, and thoughtful mind (not a knee-jerk, pandering, emotional, nor irrational one).

Don’t let them play you. Don’t give them what they want… else, they won.

2015-11-17 training log

Sometimes you just have to take what you’re given.

I have no gas in the tank. Lack of food, and lack of sleep. I think it’s the lack of sleep that really got me. That concert this past Friday? Getting to bed at 2 AM (WAY WAY WAY past my bedtime) and all that’s cascaded since then… I had a mid-day doze, then crashed hard and early on the couch last night, woke up hard from my alarm this morning. Yeah, my body needs to recoup. Once I hit the squats AMRAP and couldn’t crank, I knew that was it. I changed up, did get some work in, but didn’t push it hard like I normally do. Normally these leg days are very hard and leave me quite drained — I don’t need to do that right now, if I’m this far in the hole already.

So, the day what it was. Got some work in, and hopefully didn’t dig the hole too much deeper.

One cool thing was going back to leg presses from high-bar squats. I did it for two reasons: 1. just to drop the work down, 2. I was curious if my knee would still complain. I just did a very easy work-up on the presses, and my knee was happy. That was cool.

I suspect I will keep my squat work-up the same but drop the AMRAP weights down maybe 10%. I need to focus on “getting lots of work/volume” so… Everything else will probably be adjusted accordingly as well.

  • Squat
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 115 x 5
    • 145 x 4
    • 170 x 3
    • 215 x 2
    • 240 x 1
    • 210 x 8 (AMRAP)
    • 210 x 4 (50%)
  • Leg Press
    • Empty Sled x 20
    • 135 x 20
    • 185 x 20
    • 225 x 20
    • 135 x 17
  • Leg Extensions
    • 40 x 15
    • 45 x 15
    • 50 x 15
    • 55 x 15
    • 44 x 17
  • Leg Curls (superset with Extensions)
    • 30 x 15
    • 35 x 12
    • 40 x 10
    • 45 x 8
    • 30 x 10
  • Standing Calf Raises
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10

2015-11-16 training log

Confirmed: strength is fading.

This is just the nature of the beast. I’m starting, I believe, my 15th week on this diet cut cycle. I’ve been seeing everything go down the past couple weeks, but you can’t be sure if it was just an off day or truly the start of something. But now that it’s been a few weeks of constant decline…. yeah…. I’m losing. It is to be expected, but it’s just no fun. It’s a reminder of all the ground gained and now lost that will have to be regained. But of course in the bigger picture, it’s OK because again the fat-loss is my focus and for sure that’s happening.

203 this morning.

Going forward, I’m unsure of what to do. Next week I will actually take some time off, including turkey dinner being my first cheat meal this month. After Thanksgiving, do I start back into things? Do I ramp it up even more (e.g. more dietary cutbacks, increased workload) to try to get things down even more? I don’t know. Body is slowing down, and if I want to get to 190, that’s maybe 2 more months of work. I’m not really sure I want to keep going without a break. At first I was thinking to just go on a weekly basis post-Thanksgiving, each week assessing and either continuing or stopping. Then I figured I’m so close, why not try to just gut it out until Christmas. But now I’m back to thinking about a weekly assessment or even just starting a few weeks of mid during December and start back on a serious cut after Christmas. So when I step back and look at all of this, the best I can say is: just take it day-by-day, week-by-week. I will get there — I’m closer than ever before.

That said, today was OK. Obvious drop in work because I just can’t “go” any more. But I pushed it as much as I could.

  • Incline Press
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 85 x 5
    • 105 x 4
    • 125 x 3
    • 155 x 2
    • 175 x 1
    • 155 x 10 (AMRAP)
    • 155 x 6 (50%)
  • DB Bench Press (4-0-1-0 tempo)
    • 55e x 10
    • 55e x 10
    • 55e x 10
    • 55e x 8
    • 55e x 8
  • DB Flat Flies
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
  • Press Behind Neck (seated, smith machine)
    • 95 x 8
    • 95 x 7
  • Seated DB Press
    • 40e x 10
    • 40e x 8
    • 40e x 7
    • 40e x 6
    • 40e x 6
  • Front Plate Raise
    • 20 X 50

In Concert: King Diamond (and others, at the Housecore Fest) 2015-11-13

This past Friday night (Friday the 13th) I was able to realize something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school: see King Diamond live.

For the past few years, Phil Anselmo (best known for being the lead singer of Pantera) has run a festival called the Housecore Horror Festival. It’s a 3-day music and horror movie fest. Now I don’t care much for horror movies, but the music lineup is always pretty awesome. They held the festival in Austin the past couple years but I wasn’t able to attend. This year they moved it to San Antonio (a much more metal town than Austin), and announced King Diamond would be playing. And not just playing, but playing the full “Abigail” album. I had to go.

It was a long night with 6 bands on the bill. Held at the Aztec Theater in San Antonio (interesting venue, with it’s Aztec theming and tiered “floor”, which gave pretty much everyone in the venue a good view of the stage).

Child Bite

Never heard of them before. But they weren’t bad. I’m not sure I’m totally sold on them, but I will check out their albums. They had a lot of energy and were really into their music, which is always good. There are some bands that get up on stage and come off like they just don’t care about their own music, but these guys weren’t like that.


I’ve heard about these guys, mostly because of their strong affiliation with Anselmo. I listened to their albums a bit, and it didn’t move me much. But I know that in recent years live performance has gotten me into bands that the albums didn’t. So I was really looking forward to seeing them.

I dug it! I want to go back and check these guys out more for sure.

That said, I also aspire to be as metal as their guitar player, Scott Shelby.


Heard about this guys forever. Every time I try to listen to them I just can’t get into them. It’s the vocals for one, but it’s also the whole vibe of the band; just not my thing.

That said, I really dug them last night. The riffage is awesome. Bower-power indeed. I’ll probably give them another try, but it doesn’t change the fact their vibe doesn’t jive with me. Still, I have a newfound respect for the band.


What can you say? It’s Exodus.

They were much better than the last time I saw them; but that was plagued with crappy sound. I also to like Zetro more than Dukes, but Dukes-era I’ve come to appreciate. Still, for me Exodus is Baloff and Zetro, and Zetro was in great form last night. Holt wasn’t with the band, due to Slayer, but really… with Zetro singing you just were happy to hear it. The Toxic Waltz was in full effect.

The set had to be short with so many bands, but they came out and just pummeled the crowd. Boom boom boom. Murder in the front row. Some old, some new, just a great set. I was not disappointed. Metal takes its price, bonded by blood.

Waltz it up!


Meh. I wish this was more of a Superjoint set, but well… when it’s Phil’s festival, and when it’s Phil on stage, there’s going to be a lot of Phil. I swear he talked longer between songs than the songs were themselves. But that’s Phil, and generally it’s always amusing.

For sure the whole evening had a fun vibe. It wasn’t just a straight show, but because it was the festival, because it was a lot of one-offs for the bands involved, and because it’s just a Phil sort of weekend, there was a lot of fun to be had. Lots of people came out from backstage and just hung on the side for the Superjoint set because Phil.

That said, Phil’s voice was shot and didn’t sound too good. The band was tight and the songs were intense, like Superjoint is. But there weren’t too many songs played as Phil was…. Phil.

Still, it was enjoyable, and within the greater scope of the whole festival weekend, it was good to let Phil have his emcee and “proud papa” moment.

The Superjoint party

King Diamond

This is what the crowd was there for.

An elaborate stage set was unfolded. I appreciated the nice touches that they put into it, such as King didn’t have water bottles but wine glasses (goblets); it’s a small thing, but when you think about it, having King drinking bottled water would shatter the illusion and vibe being created.

The set was focused around performing the entire “Abigail” album. But it started out with classics from that era as well. Actually I dug that the warm-up for the show was Uriah Heep’s “The Wizard”. Then it kicked in officially with “Out of the Asylum” and “Welcome Home”. An actress playing “Grandma” wheeled onto the stage, and having the first thing you hear King sing is “GRANDMA!!!!” was just about the perfect way to start the show.

“Sleepless Nights” was next, and that satisfied me. “Conspiracy” is my favorite King Diamond album, so that scratched my itch. “Eye of the Witch” came next, and that was the latest song played the whole night; certainly an old-school evening. “Halloween” followed, and then two Mercyful Fate songs, “Evil” and “Melissa”.

What got me? King’s voice was excellent. A lot of singers at this point in their career can’t hit the notes, have to tune the instruments down, but there was no evidence of that. The band was in excellent form; I think Andy LaRocque is an underappreciated guitar hero.

Then, into “Abigail”, including a good amount of stage-show to act out the album and really bring it to life…. so to speak, given the storyline of “Abigail”. This did not disappoint. Just a polished, well-performed show.

I dug how at the end of the show, King slowly walked the front row shaking hands and pretty much giving some thank yous to just about everyone in the audience. He comes off as a very gracious and genuine man.

King Diamond


Apart from it being a long night of standing, my feet and back killing me, it was a great time. I’m glad to have finally seen King Diamond (and on Friday the 13th at that). The other bands were great to see too, and I’m going to check some of the new (to me) ones out a little more.

Now to go have a nice cup of tea…