2017-04-28 training log

I tied a rep PR, but the bottom line: I’m stronger.

The workup today brought me to 6 @ 165, which ties a prior rep PR. Thing is, that was set back mid-December on what was my last set of my last cycle of a 1+ week just before my “end of 2016” 1RM testing. So it was a “peak”, if you will. But today? It’s somewhere in the middle of the full cycle, on a 3+ week. So it’s just work along the road, not the end of the road.

Maybe I only tied the PR, but bottom line is I’m stronger. And that’s really what matters.

Opted to use wrist wraps and a belt, to see how that fares for me in terms of helping with my pain issues. Pressing doesn’t normally have a strong problem, but if things are hurting it of course is slightly involved. I do believe it’s a help, and I will continue to use wraps for pressing, at least for now.

Dips didn’t happen. Couple of reasons. First, I picked up a copy of Wendler’s new book, “5/3/1 Forever“. I’ve only just started to read it, but Jim did mention push-ups as assistance work. It was on my brain thinking it might be good not just for pushups, but because it puts my body on the ground (makes me move more, in and out of positions), and it puts my hands, wrists, feet, toes, etc. into some stretched positions that I believe I should spend more time in for my general fitness. I wasn’t sure I was going to swap it in now but, when it came time to dip, someone was monopolizing the dip station so pushups it was.

Anyways, things rolled pretty good today overall. Arms are feeling alright, not 100% but good. Good progress overall today. I’ll take it.

  • Press (superset with pulldowns)
    • bar x whatever
    • 75 x 5
    • 90 x 5
    • 110 x 3
    • 130 x 3
    • 150 x 3
    • 165 x 6
    • 150 x 7
    • 130 x 9
  • Lat Pulldowns (pronated grip, to chest)
    • 115 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
  • Pushups (superset with shrugs)
    • BW x 12
    • BW x 12
    • BW x 10
  • DB Shrugs
    • 85e x 15
    • 85e x 15
    • 75e x 10
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way above head)
    • 25 x 25
    • 25 x 15
    • 25 x 12
  • Skullcrushers
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 9
  • Hammer Curl
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 9
    • 45e x 7

BART takeover robbery

BART police are beefing up patrols at Oakland stations after dozens of juveniles terrorized riders Saturday night when they invaded the Coliseum Station and commandeered at least one train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries.

The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told police that 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

Full story

Shocking and scary.

You’re just trying to get home on the train, when your train car gets flooded with a mob of teenagers. They rob you, they beat you, and within seconds they’re gone.

You’re trapped, because there’s only a couple of exits and they’re all blocked by these criminals, these predators.

It’s crowded, and there are superior numbers.

Trost said police arrived at the station in less than 5 minutes, but that the robberies took place in just seconds.

When I read the article last night, there was a quote to the effect of “we’ve hundreds of miles of track and dozens of stations – we can’t have police everywhere”. The article seems to have been updated to remove that quote. Whatever the exact wording was, the message was clear: the police cannot always be there to protect you as there’s just no physical and realistic way.

Your life is in your hands. It’s well-worth acknowledging that reality.

 

 

Choosing to get involved – Do you know the full story?

Following up from yesterday’s article, Choosing to Get Involved, here’s a case illustrating why choosing to get involved in someone else’s problem can be problematic.

The gun incident happened last March. [Daniel Ray] Brown and his mother were eating near Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem when he saw a white man, screaming for help, being chased by two black men.

Brown… would later tell authorities that he thought the pursuers were drug dealers, or possibly loan sharks, and that the white man was in trouble.

[…]

According to Winston-Salem police, Brown “attempted to stop the struggle by pointing a handgun.”

One of the black men, Fredrick Morgan, testified that Brown pointed his gun at the group and demanded that the scuffling trio show ID.

When the three men wouldn’t listen, Brown fired a bullet into the ground a few feet in front of Morgan.

Daniel Ray Brown sees someone being chased by two people and screaming for help. Obviously the person being chased is the victim and the two other people are assailants bent on causing harm to the person they are chasing.

Right?

That’s obvious to anyone viewing this.

Right?

It wasn’t until after Brown had made a new hole in the asphalt that he learned the truth. The white man was mentally ill and had fled from two care workers. The chase was their attempt to corral him near Hanes Mall.

Full article (h/t Hank G. Shepherd)

Getting involved in someone else’s problem resulted in Brown being arrested and convicted of assault by pointing a gun and discharging a firearm within city limits. He also lost his carry permit.

And someone could have lost their life, because a gun is deadly force. Warning shots are not sound (and generally not legal) tactics – no matter what former Vice-President Joe Biden says; and they are still considered use of deadly force.

This is one reason it’s difficult to get involved in someone else’s situation. You often will not know what you are seeing unfold in front of you. What you are seeing is likely a mere sliver of the full story, and your decisions may well put you on the wrong side of the facts. Your involvement may make the situation better, or it may make it worse. No matter what the real story is, whatever you then choose to you, you have to live with the consequences of your actions. Mr. Brown now has a lifetime to have to live with his.

I understand a desire to “do something” and to help people. We generally want to right wrongs and see justice served. But in doing so, we have to tread carefully because once we choose to get involved, we’re in it and the consequences of our involvement are ours to live with. I’m not saying to not get involved – we each have to draw our lines as to what we will and won’t do, where we will and won’t get involved. What I am saying is it’s important to understand what you see may not be what you think, so consider that when you do make your decisions.

 

Ah, SXSW – you crime-filled fun-fest

So SXSW 2017 just started and a top headline?

Musician mugged, shot walking home from show during SXSW

Awesome.

What’s better? The article ends with this:

It’s not clear exactly how much crime is directly tied to SXSW, but a KXAN analysis of police records showed in March 2015, violent and property crime shot up nearly 50 percent downtown compared to the monthly average. Violent crime increased 20 percent in March 2016 from the same time the year before.

KXAN links to a slightly more in-depth article exploring the increase in crime:

That includes nearly 290 cases of theft downtown and 19 aggravated assaults.

Bottom line: SXSW comes to town, crime increases. But note, it’s crime generally localized to where SXSW events occur.

What can we learn from this?

Well, if we follow Farnam’s Law, it’s pretty simple to classify SXSW as a “stupid place” full of “stupid people” doing “stupid things”. And much of what happens goes on after 10 PM.

So regarding your own personal safety, take from that what you will.

Fight on 6th street – what can we learn

So it seems about a week ago there was a fight between 2 women in Downtown Austin on the infamous 6th street.

Of course, that’s not really news. But there is video of this particular incident, and from it we can learn a few things (i.e.: learn from the stupidity of others)

(h/t KLBJ-FM)

First, it’s 6th Street. There’s a high (no pun intended) chance that all involved are drunk or at least somehow inebriated/intoxicated. Always a recipe for success.

Also because it’s 6th street, it violates Farnam’s Law for personal safety: don’t go to stupid places, don’t hang around stupid people, don’t do stupid things (and be in bed by 10PM).

The video starts out with confrontation. Hard to tell what’s going on, but there’s ego investment, someone likely felt disrespected, and the only given “out” was to get stupid.

Instead of listening to friends and walking away, the ego investment continues, the disrespect continues, and punches are thrown.

As is typical when women fight, hair is grabbed.

Within seconds, the fight goes to the ground. Tho in this case, I’d say the fight went to the ground more because everyone’s drunk and has trouble with balance.

Some people try to break it up. Hard to tell if they are friends of the initial folks or just bystanders trying to break it up. Either way, smaller fights break out.

Eventually Austin Police show up and start pepper spraying. And boy, they empty their canisters, dumping a LOT of pepper spray.

And it doesn’t seem to stop anything.

You can tell there’s a little irritation on one of the people, but for the most part everything continues as if there was no pepper spray. Interesting to note is that none of the people involved seemed particularly determined.

So what can we learn?

  • There’s much wisdom in Farnam’s law.
  • Your ego and emotions can get you into trouble.
  • If you happen to get someone’s ego and emotions riled up, give them a way to save face, give them a way to exit (don’t corner the cat).
  • Getting involved in someone else’s business is a tough decision. Just note that someone else’s problem isn’t necessarily your problem, but if you get involved in their problem, for sure now you’re in a problem. Be certain you’re willing to accept the costs.
  • Pepper spray is a useful tool, but it’s not magical, it provides no guarantees.
  • Fights do go to the ground. You don’t always get to choose or control this. But if it happens, you have to deal with it. 
  • There’s really no reason to go to 6th Street.
  • There’s much wisdom in Farnam’s law (yes, it’s worth repeating).

 

Do Concealed Carry Permits Have Any Impact on Crime?

Charles D. Phillips, Texas A&M University School of Public Health, published a paper in 2015 entitled “Concealed Handgun Licensing and Crime in Four States.” He and his research team concluded that concealed handgun licensing had no beneficial effect on crime, and that the main driving force behind more people obtaining a license was the presence of federally licensed firearms dealers. However, there are a number of errors, assumptions, and miscalculations in his research that justify revisiting the question of the relationship between concealed carry laws and crime.

This is a paper written and published by Howard Nemerov. You can obtain the paper here.

The TSRA Sportsman recently published Howard’s article, but unfortunately the printing had numerous errors. I asked Howard about it and he gave me the above link to the full paper.

Sometimes what you avoid matters more

An acquaintance is planning a trip to Austin. She has never been to Austin before, but remembered I lived in Austin, so she asked me for input as to places to stay, things to do, restaurants to check out.

She’s just starting to make her plans, so I gave her some general suggestions. However there are so many options it was tough to provide her with specifics; she’s just starting to plan so she’s not quite sure yet what she wants to do. As we continued to speak, the conversation started to gravitate to what NOT to do, where NOT to go.

For example, the (in)famous 6th Street is OK, but after 10 PM I’d avoid it because drunk young people isn’t a recipe for quiet and well-reasoned behavior. Same for the University of Texas area. Then a couple other places, like I-35 and East Riverside, the I-35/US-183/Rundberg area as worth avoiding.

This is where tools like SpotCrime and specifically in Austin, krimelabb, are useful. You can find the hotspots worth avoiding.

No where is 100% safe, but small steps to manage your safety and security add up. Following Farnam’s Law – avoiding stupid people, avoiding stupid places, avoiding doing stupid things (with stupid people, in stupid places), and generally being in bed by 10 PM – does a lot of good, and is truly a first step towards effective self-defense.

It’s dangerous to go alone… in Austin

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Police are concerned about a trend they are seeing in Austin’s Entertainment District: criminals targeting people walking by themselves.

Police said many of the victims are walking to and from their cars and not paying attention.

“We see both male and females walking by themselves in high crime areas, they’re looking down on their phones because they’re texting, their heads aren’t on a swivel, they’re not situationally aware of what’s going on around them – if people are following them,” said Austin police Senior Patrol Officer, Pedro Loureiro.

full story (h/t Michael Cargill)

Robbery. Assault.

Many stories here in Austin of women jogging alone, with ear buds in, and being sexually assaulted.

Of course, this is talking about Austin’s Entertainment District. To me, that violates Farnam’s Law about not going to stupid places (as part of the way to avoid trouble).

But take it for what it is people: growing trend of crime and violence in Austin.

And much of it is preventable:

  • Don’t be alone.
  • Don’t have your nose in your phone.
  • Don’t have ear buds in.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: have your head up and paying attention.
  • Avoid stupid places. If you must be in a stupid place, see the above 4 points.

 

 

You’re acting suspiciously…

I knew it would happen sooner or later.

Someone noticed me walking home from the gym, and considered me suspicious. Shortly after arriving home, I get a notice via Nextdoor:

My husband left for work around 5:45am this morning and saw a man walking with a flashlight on [the street], which isn’t strange except for the fact that he turned his flashlight off as soon as my husband turned onto [the street].
The only description he could get is male wearing athletic shorts and tennis shoes.

My husband said he seemed out of place.

Could be nothing but wanted to pass it on

That was me. I posted a response acknowledging myself and why I did what I did. That I use a flashlight because 1. I want to see (it’s dark out!), 2. I want others to see me, especially cars – and it worked, since her husband saw me. That I don’t keep my flashlight on constantly because there’s no need to: 1. there are streetlights and they do a decent enough job, but sometimes there are dark patches and that’s when I use the flashlight, 2. if it’s about car visibility, once the car passes me the visibility is no longer needed.

All in all, no harm no foul. I even thanked her and her husband for doing what they did! They are looking out, caring about their neighbors and neighborhood. I am thankful to have such neighbors.

So what’s the lesson?

Consider how things you do that you consider normal may be considered suspicious by others.

When you walk into a room/building, do you find yourself pausing and surveying the room? You’re probably trying to get the lay of the land, look for alternative exits, and so on. But how might your actions be perceived by others? That maybe you’re “scoping the place out”?

It doesn’t matter that you know you’re doing good, that you’re harmless, etc.. What matters is their perceptions. And how might your seemingly innocent “sheepdog” “good guy” behaviors be (mis)construed by others.

Just give it some thought. (Re)think your actions. See how you can improve.

How burglars break into homes (and how you can avoid being burglarized)

Continuing our theme of “ask the criminals how they commit their crimes, because that might give you a clue on how to not be a victim”, there’s a new article going around where “We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes” (h/t Brian Brown).

Since people don’t like to click through, here’s a summary:

  • How do they typically break in? Through unlocked doors and windows.
    • If something had to be forced, kicking a door was preferred to breaking glass due to noise and risk of injury.
  • Targets? Jewelry, electronics, cash, credit cards, guns.
    • NRA Bumper Sticker = Lots of guns to steal.
  • Where? Master bedroom, then almost anywhere and everywhere else.
  • When? Mid-day, often just after lunch.
    • A time when people are unlikely to be home.
  • Pets? Big, loud dogs deter.
  • Knock first? Typically yes, again to check if anyone’s home.
    • If someone was, give an excuse and move on.
  • Home alarms? If they go off, they will leave.
  • Security cameras? Generally deter, but could also be a signal to valuables.
  • Lights on inside? Mixed. Some saw “lights on, blinds closed” as an invitation because it’s often a signal no one is home and no one will see you.
  • Radio/TV on? Can deter, but not a deal break breaker.
  • Car in the driveway? Good deterrent.
  • Ideal target? Anything that helps them not be seen.
    • Big fences, overgrown hedges, homes isolated from other homes, blind spots, older window frames, cheap doors.
    • Nice home, nice car = person with money
  • Did they ever conduct surveillance? Sometimes.
    • If they did, it was often to determine the best time to break in.
  • What suggestions do they offer to avoid burglary?
    • Visible property. Good lighting. Trimmed trees and bushes.
    • Know your neighbors. Keep your eyes open. Report suspicious activity to the police.

If you look at this, there’s a few common messages.

They want easy targets that have a good chance of a payoff, and will not have resistance.

Minimize advertising of what you have. Bumper stickers, leaving your garage door open, all those boxes you put out on trash day.

Make your home unappealing by keeping things visible.

Make it seem like someone is home. And if someone is home, make it clear that someone is home. Answer your door – that doesn’t mean you have to unlock/open your door, but at least answer it (your voice carries through the door, or get one of those new video/audio doorbells).

And the biggest and easiest thing you can do?

Lock your doors and windows. And if you have an alarm system, use it.

I encounter this frequently: people leave things unlocked, and have alarm systems but don’t use them.

We can’t eliminate things 100%, but we can reduce our chances of being a victim. Learning how burglars work can teach us a lot on how to not be victimized by them.