Category Archives: Awareness

‘I live in a nice neighborhood’

This week, a 50-year-old transient man (aka bum) was sentenced to 141 years to life in state prison after being convicted for a 2014 crime spree in the high end Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.

https://da.lacounty.gov/media/news/man-sentenced-carjacking-kidnapping-pacific-palisades-crime-spree

scumbag-BRIAN-THOMAS-CRUZ

Note from his picture that he was already a violent bad actor. The criminal used a box cutter as his weapon for this series of crimes. The crime spree occurred on August 11, 2014. He was sentenced on July 6, 2020.

There were three crime scenes in the high end neighborhood where the day’s drama began on a sunny Monday morning at 7:45 a.m. First, there was a home invasion in an apartment complex, which currently has a rental rate of $4,800 per month. After two subsequent crashes, including a second car that he carjacked, he invaded a home which currently has an estimated value of $2,705,500. In that home, he threatened the female occupant and stole the occupants’ Lexus.

Lessons to be Learned

Keep your doors closed and locked. Have a plan and be ready for unwelcome visitors. Serious crime knows no borders, regardless of how nice your neighborhood is.

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In Memoriam and Lessons to be Learned

Twenty-two years ago today, two Border Patrol Agents, Susan Lynn Rodriguez and Ricardo Guillermo Salinas, were murdered in a shootout with a dangerous criminal who was on the run.

BP Agents Rodriguez and Salinas

https://apnews.com/f7fa562c42655a5874bf491be86adff7

The criminal had previously murdered two people and wounded another. He fled the crime scene. Local deputies gave chase and asked the Border Patrol for assistance.

Agents Rodriguez and Salinas set up a perimeter around where the criminal was suspected to be hiding. As they walked back to their vehicle, the suspect emerged from a cornfield and began firing with an AK rifle on them and the other law enforcement officers on the scene. During the ensuing gun battle, Agents Rodriguez and Salinas were killed.

Lessons to be Learned:

The criminal had gone to the home of the initial victims in search of a former girlfriend. When sheltering someone who has been a victim of Domestic Violence, it’s wise to increase our level of Awareness and Defense Condition.

Rifles are devastating weapons in pistol distance gunfights. Although there has been a lot of discounting the efficacy of .22 rifles as deadly weapons lately, this is ill-advised and foolish. Regardless of caliber, rifles are dangerous weapons.

RIP Agents Rodriguez and Salinas.

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RAR link update

https://responsiblyarmedradio.libsyn.com/responsibly-armed-radio-season-1-episode-1

Responsibly Armed Radio Podcast

We had a great inaugural episode of Responsibly Armed Radio. Lou Ann Hamblin and I were the guests. Tatiana Whitlock and Judi Wells were the hosts with Special Guest Appearance by Dave Stall.

Our topics were definitions of Use of Force, Critical Decision-Making, Reasonableness, and Next Steps for those new to our Art.

Here is the link to the show: https://responsiblyarmedradio.libsyn.com/responsibly-armed-radio-season-1-episode-1

I wasn’t nearly as serious as the picture looks. 🙂

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Law Officers Killed FBI Report (2019)

As reported on The Tactical Wire https://www.thetacticalwire.com/releases/78c296b0-c471-40f8-a6d0-0627f774292f today, the FBI has released the 2019 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in 2019 report. This is a section of the annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Report. https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2019 The Assaulted section is due to be released in the fall of this year.

The report is filled with statistical data about how Law Officers are killed in the Line of Duty, both intentionally (Feloniously) and accidentally. However, the most valuable part of the report is what is called Summaries: Officers Feloniously Killed. https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2019/resource-pages/summaries-officers-feloniously-killed The statistical data, while slightly interesting, provides no information about the circumstances that led to the murder of the officers. Reading about the circumstances is what provides insight into how we might avoid a similar Negative Outcome. The off-duty incidents should be particularly of interest to Private Citizens, especially those who believe that Intervention in the affairs of others is an appropriate action.

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Know The Rules

#fridayfundamentals

know the rules

Along with learning gun safety principles and procedures, new gunowners should begin to acquire an understanding of the Rules pertinent to defensive use of firearms. Periodically, long time gunowners should also review them. This is especially true for those who have programmed their Orient Phase with platitudes such as “Better tried by 12 than carried by six, I’ll shoot anyone I find in my home, Don’t draw your gun unless you’re going to shoot,” ad nauseum.

There are two good initial sources for this review. The first is the legal statutes for using Force and Deadly Force of your State. For instance, in the State of Georgia the use of Force and Deadly Force is covered by OCGA 16-3-21, https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-16/chapter-3/article-2/16-3-21, OCGA 16-3-23, and OCGA 16-3-24.

The Statute(s) for every State are available online with a little searching. Some States’ laws are relatively easy to read. Others are confusing tangles of legal gobbledygook. If reading your particular State’s law makes your head hurt, think about what it would be like trying to justify your actions in a criminal court using that miasma.

Keep in mind that there is a significant legal difference between Force and Deadly Force. Discharging a firearm intentionally at another person is a use of Deadly Force, even if the other person isn’t injured. The legal justification for using Deadly Force is very high in every State. Displaying a firearm MAY be a use of [non-deadly] Force in your State or it MAY be a serious felony, such as Aggravated Assault.

The second source is the pamphlet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law. https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/learn/what-every-gun-owner-needs-to-know It is a general document based on the Model Penal Code that gives an overview of what the process can be like but does not go into the specifics of State laws because they vary so much. The Network will send a free hard copy upon request and a PDF is available at the link.

Normalcy note

I sat on the deck while having my morning coffee today. There were lots of birds out and I like watching them and listening to their calls. A group of three Cardinals flew into a small tree just beyond the deck. At first, I thought one of them was a Sparrow because its plumage wasn’t very colorful but in a little bit it came into better view. The bird had the distinctively colored beak of a Cardinal along with the crest on the head. It must have been immature, although it seemed to be bigger than the two brightly colored one. I’ll have to research the species a little more.

Dale Carnegie note

Please stop berating those who have recently bought guns in a panic, those who don’t have many everyday staples on hand, or who rushed out to buy 27 years’ worth of toilet paper. Doing so is a variation of the psychological game “I told you so.” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1177/036215377600600306?journalCode=rtaj20

It’s nicer to keep in mind Dale Carnegie’s number One principle from The Golden Book summation of How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Become a Friendlier Person

Don’t criticize, condemn[,] or complain.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Fair Disclaimers:

  1. I am a member of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network and a local affiliate trainer. However, I receive no compensation for providing the link to it.
  2. I am NOT a lawyer and nothing in this post constitutes legal advice.

Stifle yourself

As I sat there, I contemplated Werner’s Pentagon of Performance, particularly the ‘Stifle Yourself’ corner.

Pentagon of Performance diagram

Several times the question came up about what ‘stifle yourself’ means in my Pentagon of Performance.

“Stifle yourself” was a catchphrase used by Archie Bunker in the series All in the Family.

What it means to me is to exercise a bit of conscious self-control. We’ve all experienced situations where we have verbal diarrhea, we allow ourselves to become excited when deep down we know it’s not in our best interest, or we do something that we know we’ll regret. Whenever we say to ourselves “I’ve got to do something [now]!,” it’s often a cue to stifle ourselves.

Numerous examples of where ‘Stifle Yourself’ are applicable to personal protection.

  • Talking to the POlice
  • Telling others about the extent of our preparations for the Apocalypse
  • Rushing the shot
  • Not practicing despite knowing our skills are weak
  • Chasing criminals after they cease to be a threat
  • Closing with predators when we could just as easily move in a different direction
  • Intervening in matters that don’t directly affect you and your loved ones
  • And many others

Numerous examples of where ‘Stifle Yourself’ are applicable to life in general.

  • Buying more paper products than your family can use in a year
  • Selling or buying assets when the market isn’t favorable
  • Reposting memes about popular topics for the 1000th time
  • Talking when we should be listening
  • Offering unwanted advice
  • Offering unwanted emotions
  • And many others

Stifle yourself can apply to both action and inaction. Procrastination is a good example. Procrastinating is merely giving in to the desire to put something off that needs to be done. That desire to procrastinate (inaction) is something else that can be stifled.

Often fear is often at the root of actions and inactions that need to be stifled. Uncertainty is another. My friend and colleague Nick Hughes has a very pertinent question that is often worth spending a second to ask ourselves.

Am I doing [or not doing] this because I need to or because I want to [because it makes me feel better]?

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Vallejo Parking Lot Shooting – Collateral Action

off-duty cop shoots and kills father-of-six

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7921335/Video-shows-moment-duty-cop-shoots-dead-man-got-dispute-parking-space.html

How about that as a way to describe a convicted felon who kept “a semi-automatic handgun with a 30-round magazine [in] its hiding place under the hood”

Hat tip to my friend and colleague Greg Ellifritz https://www.activeresponsetraining.net for bringing up the incident. Greg mentioned the fact that concealing weapons [and drugs] underneath the hood is a common technique for the criminal element.

The Vallejo POlice Department posted several videos of the incident on YouTube.

Video #4 is very useful from the collateral action (avoidance of becoming collateral damage) perspective.

It wasn’t these folks’ first rodeo; you don’t see them trying to get video for WorldStar.

Continue reading →

Get Ready

It’s often apparent in classes how much time it takes people to switch gears and ‘Get Ready.’ Transitioning our Defense Condition, both mentally and physically, from Not Ready to Ready may be the most important skill we develop. We don’t necessarily have to deal with the Tueller Principle but even if a criminal is moving at a brisk walk, we seldom have 12 seconds to ‘Get Ready.’

Ready to jump

U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres

Ten to 12 seconds is a common response time to a Ready command during firing squad practice on the firing line during classes. That’s a luxury of time we will seldom have prior to a criminal attack. Often people will look around to see what others are doing before Getting Ready. When a criminal comes for you, others will seldom even notice, much do anything to give you an Alert.

Get Ready is actually what Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes are about. They describe a state of mental readiness to act.

Mental condition comes first and can be followed by increasing our physical Readiness status.

  • Ready positions worth practicing
    • Hands in front
    • Hand on gun
    • Transition from OC (OC canister at arm’s length)
    • Low Ready

When is Low Ready appropriate? Avoiding Aggravated Assault charges is just as important as avoiding the assault itself. Either can change our lives forever. A good guideline comes from the Los Angeles POlice Department.

Continue reading →

Thinking about what’s important

Man shot in neighbor’s home charged after allegedly undressing in 12-year-old’s bedroom during break-in

https://www.wdrb.com/news/man-shot-in-neighbor-s-home-charged-after-allegedly-undressing/article_184841ce-5f90-11e9-be1f-e328e3b39e3e.html

Although this incident occurred in April, it recently re-surfaced as an example of a Defensive Gun Use. As is frequently the case, Internet common taters had numerous things to say about it.

  • Needs more practice.
  • Only six? Should have emptied the magazine!
  • Too bad the dirtbag’s not in the morgue.
  • Etc.

It’s easy to focus on the unimportant aspects of an incident. All of the commentary focused on feelings, which are unimportant, instead of Lessons to be Learned (LTBL), which are important.

How do we focus on what’s important? One way to start is to identify who was involved by role rather than name. Most the time, news stories use last names but that tends to obscure who did what. Substituting a role for names in the story leads to more clarity about the actions of the participants. For this incident, it would look as follows.

Cast of characters in the drama

Donald Oliver – Intruder

Tina Burton – female of household (Female)

Ali Bracey – male of household (Male)

Daughter

Important aspects of the incident

  • The Male knew there was an actual intruder because of the Daughter’s text.
  • Despite knowing it wasn’t just a ‘bump in the night,’ the Male went to confront the intruder unarmed.
  • The confrontation between the Male and Intruder started verbally and then turned physical.
  • It was either an entangled fight or within arm’s length.
  • When it went physical, the male employed an improvised weapon, to wit: a broom.
  • The broom was apparently ineffective in the confrontation, so the male continued using unspecified improvised weapons.
  • They had a gun but didn’t think initially to bring it to the fight.
  • The Female eventually brought the gun to the Male to use.
  • There was a weapon handoff from the Female to the Male.
  • Shooting the gun caused the Intruder to flee.

Unimportant aspects of the incident

  • The intruder wasn’t killed.
  • The householder didn’t practice enough at the gun range.

Lessons To Be Learned (LBTL) and other important aspects

Guns are not useful if you don’t bring them to the fight. Have a plan ahead of time about how to handle an intrusion.

You can’t practice appropriately for an entangled or close range fight at a gun range anyway. This would most likely have been best handled as a retention shooting situation. Retention shooting is a skill best learned by taking a class from someone who knows what they’re doing. Few instructors are qualified to teach this task. I can recommend Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, and Craig Douglas of Shivworks.

Males of the household will often confront an intruder unarmed. It’s not uncommon for another family member to have to access the firearm and bring it to the fight. A handoff to the Male periodically occurs at that point. This means that several implied Personal Protection tasks for the other family member come into play.

  1. Know where the gun is.
  2. Be able to access the gun. Is it in a safe and can the family member open it?
  3. If the gun is not stored Ready to Fire, be able to place the gun into Ready to Fire condition.
  4. Move safely from the storage location to the fight location. Having an Unintentional Discharge en route will probably be a Tactical Disaster.
  5. Either be able to engage the Intruder with the firearm, or
  6. Safely hand off the firearm to the Male engaged in the confrontation. If the confrontation is physically entangled, a handoff may not be safely possible.

Whether the Intruder is killed or not is completely irrelevant. Let’s keep in mind The Cost of Killing. Achieving a Break In Contact is our objective as Non-Sworn Citizens. Note that in this incident, the Intruder had to be taken to court in a wheelchair. That probably means that he has some serious injuries, perhaps debilitating for his entire life.

We need to focus on the important tasks in Personal Protection incident analysis and not our feelings, which are unimportant. That is what I will be doing in the monthly incident analysis on my Patreon page.

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor