Once again, unarmed does not equate to harmless

Then, less than a minute after Falce and the driver first walked toward each other, the man returns to Falce and punches the [70-year old man] in the head.

Falce immediately falls to the ground; he never regained consciousness.

Full story. (h/t Shivworks)

I have written about this before (here, here, here, here, here). There are more, but those are what I could find from a quick search of my archives.

Just because someone is “unarmed” does not mean they are not dangerous. An unarmed person can certainly inflict fatal damage upon another.

I wish people would stop believing in the fallacy that an unarmed person is never and cannot be dangerous and inflict fatal harm.

Exercise is self-defense

I’ve said it before, and Dr. Sherman House said it again:

My point is, it does you or anyone else in your charge little good if you’re a real-life Paul Kersey, but you stroke out after the fight in the immediate aftermath.

I’ve phrased it differently when I said it, but it was Sherm’s phrasing here that spurred me to write.

Aftermath.

About 3 years ago I was involved in a self-defense incident. I’m happy to have been in good physical shape, as I believe it made a difference in not only managing the incident itself, but the aftermath.

I lost 6 pounds of bodyweight that day.

The stress on the entire body, the heart, the lungs, etc.. It’s tremendous, and sudden. Look at yourself right now: do you think your body and internal systems can handle the volume suddenly being turned up to 11?

Being in good physical shape helps with keeping calm, with just enabling the body to function under greater stress, because it’s already used to “greater stress”.

And let’s step back from “self-defense” and just consider something.

You chose to carry a gun to protect and preserve your life, right? Your life is that valuable, that precious to protect – to keep yourself alive.

So, why not do something that will have far greater impact upon your ability to live? Clean up your diet. Get some exercise. Stop smoking. Lose weight. Try to get your body healthy so you can get off meds/drugs.

That’s a far more impactful and daily-impactful defense of your body, your self.

Monsters exist

Hayes and Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted 11-year-old Michaela. The pathologist who conducted the autopsies testified that both suspects’ DNA was found in semen recovered from Michaela’s rectum. Komisarjevsky, who had photographed the sexual assault of the little girl on his cell phone, then provoked Hayes into raping the mother, Jennifer. Hayes raped her on the living room floor. Hayes then strangled Jennifer with a piece of rope, then doused her lifeless body and parts of the house, including the daughters’ rooms, with gasoline. While tied to their beds, both daughters had been doused with gasoline; each had her head covered with a pillowcase. A fire was started, and Hayes and Komisarjevsky fled the scene. Hayley and Michaela both died of smoke inhalation, but only after suffering extensive 2nd and 3rd degree burns on their feet and legs as they lay bound to burning beds.

What’s worse?

The police remained outside the Petit home for more than half an hour, taking these preliminary measures, while the assailants were raping and murdering the women inside the house. The police made no effort to make the assailants aware of their presence, choosing to remain out of sight in an extended perimeter around the home.

You can read the full article in the December 2017 Rangemaster newsletter.

Yes, it’s heinous.

Yes, it makes any human with a shred of decency shudder – but you need to read it –especially for the 6 lessons Tom provides.

You need to understand there are malevolent people who exist on this Earth.

You are more than welcome to hate guns, to wish them gone. You can think violence is a terrible thing and “never the answer”.

But it won’t make evil people disappear.

It won’t stop evil people from inflicting their will upon you.

Ignorance and denial doesn’t make evil things go away.

Monsters exist.

The Civilian Defender

Dr. Sherman House recently rebranded as Civilian Defender. (yes I’m a little late on this… been busy).

I’m very happy to see him embracing this mode, because it’s a great mindset and we need more people not just like Sherm, but doing what Sherm does. Promoting this mentality, this approach, it’s great stuff. If you haven’t read his essay on Becoming the Civilian Defender, you should. It’s a comprehensive look at a topic, and even if you don’t agree – well, that’s a great opportunity to continue the discussion! Because I guess the bottom line is simple: most people enter this “world” because guns, but alas most people never go beyond that thinking.

I think about some Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics points out. He’ll ask his class how many people had been in a gunfight or seen a gunshot wound in the past year – typically no hands go up. Then he asks how many people had seen a car accident – and hands always go up. Medical skills are useful to everyone, and you’re far more likely to need medical skills in your lifetime than a gun.

And that’s a facet in the comprehensiveness of Civilian Defender.

Check it out. Again, even if you don’t agree, hopefully some thoughts are provoked and you can be spurred into action, into self-improvement in some manner.

We’re approaching that time for New Years Resolutions – so, how are you going to improve yourself in 2018?

(And as an aside, I’m with Sherm about the M&P family. Currently enjoying my M&P9 M2.0 Compact… which I’ll write more about eventually).

When your past affects your future

Dude, that’s not just a funny bumper sticker about your weekend hobby. It’s also discoverable evidence about your mindset should you ever have to defend yourself.

Kathy Jackson, Facebook post.

Recently Kathy reposted it, and I privately messaged her about it. I went private because I didn’t feel like bringing it up in public. Kathy responded:

There are some excellent points in that, John. Wish it weren’t sensitive, because it’s the type of thing that needs to be said. Lots there to ponder. Thanks for sharing it with me.

So I thought about it, and I’m sharing it here. It is important and meaningful, just a little awkward for me to globally share. But that’s OK – if my experiences and my awkwardness improves things for the grander community. I’ve edited it slightly, for composition and presentation.

The Message

That post you just shared about the cute t-shirt, anger issues, discoverable evidence…

So back when my home invasion incident happened, my lawyer wanted my online presence to go dark (a reasonable thing). So blog went private, Twitter, etc..

As I looked back on it, I realized it wouldn’t really have mattered. First, the media already combed the Internets for everything they could – it was interesting to watch the things uncovered and reported about me in the hours immediately after the incident. So they had likely already exhausted my blog.

But that’s the thing – there was no dirt to be found. My blog isn’t full of stupid shit – well, except maybe for the Sunday Metal music posts. 😉 You read my blog and find that I like music, lifting weights, and when I do write about self-defense and guns and such, it may not be something you agree with but it’s not “crazy”. In fact, a lot of what I write is reasonable enough I felt it would help my case if in fact it did go to trial. It would be (then) 7-ish years of proof as to my mindset and stance on everything.

So yeah, it’s a good lesson in living your daily life. Because you don’t get to choose the moment your past becomes relevant to your future.

Why not both?

Greg Ellifritz posted this meme to Facebook:

As expected, comments and sharing ensued.

Via another avenue, I learned about a share of Greg’s posting with sharer commentary. The sharer’s commentary said this was bullshit, that you don’t need to have physical fitness, beards, tattoos – you just need a determined mindset (and even better if it’s determination backed up by a gun). Of course the commenting on that went off the rails too.

While pictorial memes can be fun(ny) and useful, their problem is they cannot convey depth. They’re the modern equivalent of a sound bite. Remember what George Carlin said about that:

And so, on television news there is, oddly, very little emphasis on the present; on today’s actual news. The present exists only in thirty-second stories built around eight-second sound bites. Remember, “sound bite” is their phrase. that’s what they give you. Just a bite. No chewing, no digestion, no nourishment. Malnutrition.

Because here’s the thing: there’s a kernel of truth in what both people are saying. Reality is more nuanced than a meme or a share-rant can provide.

Let’s start with the original meme. The premise is to help in the decision to take tactical training. The creator/poster of the meme believes there are prerequisites to tactical training, such as having a reasonable level of physical fitness, and that maybe this isn’t the first time you’ve gotten punched in the face. On the points, the author isn’t necessarily wrong.

So you want tactical training, so you carry a gun – why? Ostensibly because you want to save lives, to preserve life, etc.. If such is the case, then physical fitness will do more for you. The reality is violent crime and other situations whose answer is “using a gun” are few and far between – they are rare events. Death from heart attacks? obesity, and obesity-related matters? Quite common. You are more likely to die because of that extra 100 lb. you’re hauling around than from a violent crime. So you better believe that physical fitness will do more for your life in general. If you care about protecting life so much, start with your own personal health.

I see it in classes all the time. People who cannot keep up with even a small bit of physical exertion. I mean, our classes at KR Training may not all be the most physically demanding, but there is a lot of walking that goes on. You will be on your feet all day. You will be in the hot Texas sun all day. It WILL take a physical toll on you. And if you bomb out of the day for those reasons, then it was a lot of your time and money wasted. That $400 for a weekend class may be better spent on an annual gym membership.

But do you need to be able to run a marathon? Do you need to be able to squat 600 lb? Do you need to have 5% bodyfat? in order to take a training class? Probably not, tho that would vary depending upon the class (an Intro to Marksmanship class vs. a Shivworks ECQC do have rather different requirements). So to need to be “physically fit” is certainly relative. As well, should we deny a frail elderly person, or someone with physical handicaps/limitations (including simply being obese) from being able to receive training in self-defense? Nope. But of course, there may be limitations in terms of the training one can receive.

So the original meme has a kernel of truth, but reality isn’t as plain as the meme tries to make it. The sharer’s calling of “bullshit” on the meme has some ground.

And on the sharer’s side they speak of the importance of a determined mindset. There’s no question that is important. We hear the countless stories of people receiving superficial (and totally survivable) wounds and falling over dead because they gave up. Then other people who are put through literal hell, but are so determined to fight and win they do and live to regale us with their battle stories. Determined mindset cannot be discounted, and we all work to teach and imbue that in our students.

What’s interesting is the sharer gave examples like “what do they teach in Army Basic Training”, and allusions to military groups of yore. That those groups are just all about determined mindset. But you know what all those groups received?

Tactical Training.

And you know what’s part of that training? Physical fitness. By pleasant coincidence John M. Buol, Jr. just posted the 2018 Army Combat Readiness Test. How do YOU score on that test? If the US Army thinks physical fitness is an important part of combat readiness – that’s what we call a clue, that physical fitness is an important component and possible prerequisite.

So maybe the original meme has some ground too.

I know we now live in a world of absolutes. Where what I say and believe is right, and what you say and believe is wrong. Where Truth only exists in meme or Tweet-able form, and anything “tl;dr” (like this article) is… well… too long and no one’s going to read it. But no matter how you believe reality to be – reality is what it is, regardless of your belief. And often that reality isn’t as simple nor as black-and-white as you wish to make it. Instead of trying to be right, work to seek Truth. Work to see the other’s point of view, because maybe there is a sliver of merit. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

More Perspectives on Minimum Competency

Four years ago I wrote about Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol. Since then, I’ve had additional writings on the topic. I’m not the only one that cares about this topic. A couple of days ago I saw a summary of a presentation from John Corriea of Active Self Protection and was going to write on it, but Mark Luell over at Growing up Guns beat me to it!

In fact, Mark’s write-up is even better, so I’ll just link to his article: Meta: Critical Skills and Goals for Personal Protection.

In his meta-article, Mark examines the findings from various trainers:

What’s good to see is the overlap. People who study and research this area, and what their conclusions are – and while we do different work, how we tend to reach the same conclusions.

As Tom Givens would say, “That’s what we call a clue.”

Much of this data isn’t new to me, but sometimes seeing the same data presented in a new manner helps you view the data in a new light. Mark’s post did that for me.

Reading Claude’s findings really helps to hit home what is and isn’t important in the context of self-defense firearms skills. For example, retrieving the handgun is a pretty important skill, so however you carry/store your firearm, you better be able to retrieve it successfully. Reloading? Not so much (it’s arguable since you have to load, reload, and unload a firearm just to use it, so long as you do that in a disciplined manner that’s all you really need).

I always love watching John’s videos and analysis. It’s one thing the magic of CCTV, security cameras, camera phones, and YouTube (DailyMotion, Worldstar, etc.) has brought to us: real fights, real incidents, and we can see how they work, how they unfold, how brutal they can be, the realities of what happens, and what we can learn from it. I think John’s collection has done a lot to dispel false notions and beliefs about what goes on, and really give people a good dose of reality.

I regret missing an opportunity to train with Darryl and look forward to that opportunity. There’s a lot of good and unique stuff in Darryl’s notes, but one that stood out to me is the split times. I’ve wondered about doing a long block of training forcing myself to shoot to that standard and seeing what it did for me. I think it would be quite insightful.

John Hearne is becoming the E.F. Hutton of the firearms training community: when he talks, you should listen. His examination and study of human performance is a higher-order topic, but a vital one towards really understanding and working to maximize performance. It helps steer training, both as instructors with curriculum and individuals determining what skills to focus on. I especially like the last point about training emotional control.

Give a read to Mark’s meta-post. Seek these people out. Read what they write. Take classes from them if you can. You will be better for it.

Want to attend Paul-E-Palooza 4?

Want to attend Paul-E-Palooza 4?

Want to do it for free?

I can’t help you with the “free” part, but KR Training can cover the cost of the event fee.

Karl’s offering up a scholarship. Click-through and find out how.

AAR: Dark Angel Medical, Direct Action Response Training, July 2017

A car wreck doesn’t care about your gender. Severe bleeding doesn’t care about your politics. Falling from a great height disregards ideology. Injury and death can happen to any of us – do you have the medical skills to address it?

One of my goals for 2017 was to get more “other” training, and continuing my education in medical skills was one of those areas. I’ve taken a number of classes from Lone Star Medics and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done. I like to seek out other instructors because there’s great benefit in doing so. Yes, much of the material may be the same, but that’s great! Redundancy fosters learning. You might hear an old thing presented in a new way, or with additional insight. And there can simply be new things to learn. When I saw Dark Angel Medical was coming to Austin to teach their Direct Action Response Training course, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I have heard many good things about Dark Angel, so I wanted to see what they were about and further my medical knowledge.

Location & Details

The course was held on July 15-16, 2017 at The Range at Austin, a new and rather swanky gun range and training facility. It’s only been open for a short while, and this was my first time visiting the facility. It’s quite nice. Very large, spacious. HUGE showroom, selling a number of high-end firearms (no Hi-Points here), some more obscure/exotic ones as well. Very tactically oriented (vs. field/hunting oriented). Large range area, many lanes. Well lit. Seemed well-ventilated (tho I didn’t go into the range area, I didn’t see smoke or other issues). Very modern facility. Expensive, but nice.

The training there is headed by Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts.  Jeff’s a good guy, and we know each other from some past dealings, but haven’t seen each other in a few years. I did manage to catch him the morning of day 2, and it was good to catch up. I’ve long wanted to take some classes from Jeff, but he always taught on the road and rarely in the Austin-area. But now that he’s here, I am going to try to find time to take some stuff from him one of these days.

The class was taught solo by the head of Dark Angel, Kerry “Pocket Doc” Davis. There were 22 students (21 men, 1 woman), many from Austin but others drove in from Dallas, Waco-area, and a couple people came from Florida.

The class is 100% indoors, in classroom. No shooting, no real physicality (you’ll be sitting most of the time). The facility classroom was clean, well-lit, nice big-screen TV for PowerPoint and videos. Each room should have had a whiteboard, but alas ours did not. I did think the room was a little cramped for 22 full-grown adults (the table & chair arrangement, as well as room dimensions), but it wasn’t too bad and we all managed throughout the weekend just fine.

Classes ran 8:30AM to 5:30PM, with about an hour break mid-day for lunch. Given The Range’s location in Austin (very close to Southpark Meadows), there’s a good deal of dining options for lunch within a very short drive. Or just bring your lunch (like I did) and spend time perusing the showroom floor looking at all the $3000 AR’s and 1911’s that you can’t afford. 🙂  (that said, I did get to look a little more at the SIG 320; such a tempting platform).

Class Itself

Again, this course is 100% classroom. You might consider it “death by PowerPoint”, but that’s not really bad. Kerry doesn’t just read from the slides – they are supporting material. But note, that is what the majority of what D.A.R.T. is: information. From their website:

Direct Action Response Training fills a niche between military self-aid/buddy care training and civilian EMS training and is geared towards those with little to no medical training or background. It provides the student with critical, need-to-know information, which can be utilized in a myriad of situations and stresses the ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ principle as well as our own principle of “Simplicity Under Stress”.

[…]

The course covers the following:

Physiological and Psychological reactions to environmental stress
The importance of having the proper Combat Mindset
Basic Anatomy and Physiology of life-sustaining systems
H, A, B, C’s—Hemorrhage, Airway, Breathing and Circulation
Breakdown and usage of Individual Med Kit components
Proper stowage and employment of the IMK
Hands-on application of the IMK
Basic and Advanced Airway management -treating and monitoring tension pneumothorax, sucking chest wound and flail chest
Airway adjunct device placement-Nasopharyngeal Airway
Basic First Aid and Advanced wound care
Application of Bandages and Hemostatic Agents
Application of tourniquets
Recognition and Treatment of various injuries (Gunshot, Laceration, Burn, Airway, Head, Orthopedic, Environmental)
Recognition and treatment of hypovolemic (hemorrhagic) shock
Moving and positioning victims with various injuries
Response to active shooter situation
Proper use of cover and cover vs. concealment
Casualty recovery in an Active Shooter situation
Mass casualty triage procedure
Emergency Medical Dialect/Lingo (911 protocol, cooperation with LE, Fire and EMS and First Responders)

That’s a LOT of material, and sure enough, you are drinking from the firehose. I think that’s actually a benefit of the PowerPoint slides: you are then provided with a printout/booklet of all the slides, which provides a great reference for later to help you remember and refresh yourself on what you learned in class.

All of the above information? Yup, it’s covered. And while for sure the class was full of “gun people” and held at a gun range, in no way is the class a “gun class”. It was a medical class. Kerry worked well at shaping the information towards life in general, because people tend to encounter life more often than being the victim of violent crime. Car wrecks, falling off ladders, or as much as I hate to say it but these days terrorist attacks. This is a medical class.

All of Day 1 and the first part of Day 2 are just going through the information. There’s a lot, but it’s presented well. Kerry makes the learning fun and works to help retention. For example, providing memory aids (H.A.B.C.D.E.); repeating and reviewing previously covered material as the class goes along (building); and working to provide information to more deeply understand what’s going on, but not getting so deep as to be overwhelming (no going down rabbit holes).

The second part of Day 2 then has some hands-on. Kerry demonstrates some things. The class gets up and rotates between various stations to get some hands-on with various types of equipment. Then a couple short scenarios are done to try putting everything to use.

One thing that ran through the whole class was working on the rapid application of tourniquets. Each student was given a TQ, taught how to use it as the first agenda item. Then throughout class and random times, Kerry would yell out “right arm” or “left leg” and we would have to apply the TQ to that body part, correctly, and as quickly as possible.

My Take-Home

Bottom line: I’m overall happy with the course. I am happy to have spent my weekend and my money taking this course. Yes, a lot of the material was things I already knew, but I enjoy that because again, redundancy fosters learning. To hear some of the same things presented in a different way? It helped to provide different perspective, but also continue to drive it home without being the same old thing again and again.

I do wish there was more hands-on, as the act of doing is a great reinforcer. Tell us about some skill, show us, have us do it, observe and provide feedback, etc.. Given some of the constraints of the class (so much material to cover and only so much time, student-teacher ratio, the sheer amount of gear that would be required, etc.), I can understand why there wasn’t as much hands-on. And again, some things were done to try to address this, such as repetition, review, quizes – these can help; think of it like visualization and how the brain can’t really tell between you visualizing the thing and actually doing the thing. So it’s still some repetitions, still some reinforcement. But it only goes so far; e.g. carries were presented in the slides, but just discussed – it would have been welcome to actually do the carries.

That said, the constant work with TQ’s I thought was a fair way of working through class on that important skill. If there was time, it’d have been good to do individual checks and feedback on each student’s application. Why? Because I did see people not applying them well. They were more concerned with “making time”, or because of stuff in their pockets might apply the TQ just above the knee instead of “high and tight”. Reps are good, but when people are learning a skill they should get some direct feedback on their application of that skill.

I found this class quite complementary to other training I’ve taken. Much of the same mindset and approach, tho of course each instructor is different. I found some new things, and my mind changed on a few topics as well (I’ll write about that later). And since I know people will ask, what I will say is take all the training you can from all the good trainers you can find. No one has the monopoly on Truth. The more information you can gather, the more exposure you can have, the better. Plus with medical training, it changes rapidly. Given time, budget, and life constraints, consider taking at least 1 course every 1-2 years to keep up with the latest advances and keep your skills and knowledge fresh, and rotate with whom you take the course to maximize your exposure.

I think that was a big help for me. This is not my first such class, and because of the repeated exposure I feel I know the information better, stronger. I feel a greater confidence because of the redundancy.

Kerry came across as knowledgable, passionate, and with a great desire to help people. It was my first time meeting him, and I got to talk with him one-on-one during lunch on Day 1. He seems a solid man, doing good work.

Medical training is important. I know many of my readers are people who carry a gun because they understand the importance of preservation of life. Well, the simple reality is you’re more likely to need medical skills than a gun. I look at my own life and the times I’ve called upon my medical skills vs. the times I’ve called upon a gun. No question that I’ve used my medical skills and knowledge more.

It may not be as fun as throwing thousands of rounds downrange during a carbine course, but there’s also not much that’s going to be as truly useful in your daily life as medical training.

Get some.

Lt. Brian Murphy – the Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooting

Lt. Brian Murphy was the first police officer to respond to the events at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012. Lt. Murphy was shot 15 times – twice in the head – but fought on.

I’ve been told that if I ever had a chance to hear him speak I should listen. Well, ProArms Podcast Episode 103 features Lt. Murphy telling his story.

It’s a riveting listen.

A few things I took from it:

  1. There are evil people in this world. Monsters. I already know this, but still people go through this world in denial, and refuse to take steps to be prepared for it. All these people were doing was going to church, and for some reason that we’ll never know, this malevolent monster killed them.
  2. As I’m fond of saying, “when you’re dead, you’re dead; until then, keep fighting”. Lt. Murphy was shot 15 times – just hearing about the first shot that hit him in the head? How he didn’t die from that, how he didn’t have a psychological stop from that? He wasn’t going to quit. He wasn’t dead, so he kept fighting. Mindset. Determination. Have it.
  3. Fighting back matters. In fact, it’s the best thing you can do. Could you die? Perhaps. But then at least you’ve got a chance to live, or help others live. Around 35:00 in the podcast, Lt. Murphy tells of Satwant Singh Kaleka (President of the Gurdwara) who pleaded with the murderer, was shot, but as he was not yet dead drew his kirpan (a small ceremonial knife, not sharp), and started stabbing the monster in the leg. Then he dropped the kirpan and wrapped his hands around the monster’s leg, trying to prevent him from moving. Kaleka fought until he died. And from what Lt. Murphy later tells, Kaleka’s fighting bought time; it delayed this monster from inflicting more evil. It gave the responders more time, and it certainly saved lives (listen to the podcast, you’ll see what I mean).
  4. Time matters. Help may come, but that’s just it – it might come, and if it does come, it’s going to take time for it to get there. Meanwhile, evil continues to rampage. What could have been done to make better use of time? And yes I’ll go there: what if the Sikh were armed? Would the monster have gotten so far? When the monster was visiting the temple performing reconnaissance, if it was evident they were armed would any of this have happened?

About a year ago, Greg Ellifritz attended a different presentation from Lt. Murphy. The ProArms Podcast recording was from an event by the body armor company, so it tells of the story plus the benefits of the body armor (it’s a wee bit of a long commercial). It seems the presentation Ellifritz attended had a different approach, like it was a presentation for police officers. Read Greg’s assessment, including some critical but justified commentary from Greg.

Plain and simple. The world is overwhelming full of good people. But evil does lurk amongst us, and it doesn’t care about you, it doesn’t prescribe to your standards, morals, and ethics. However you choose to face that evil, be accepting of what your choices will bring.