Category Archives: Awareness

Negative Outcome – Again

Toddler, 2, dies of self-inflicted gunshot with parents not home

People labor under the illusion that a two year old can’t pull a trigger. What a toddler does is put the gun on the floor, where the kid spends most of its time. Eventually, the gun ends up with the butt down, the muzzle up, both of the kid’s thumbs on the trigger, with the kid pushing down on the trigger as hard as it can. Any toddler weighs more than the trigger pull so it has the mechanical advantage to press the trigger all the way through, even on a double action revolver.

A head shot is almost the inevitable result. That’s why so many of these are fatalities and not just wounded casualties.

Serious Mistakes now available as a download

 

Friday Fundamentals – Getting our priorities straight

This popped up as popular in my stats today. I don’t know why but it’s certainly worth repeating.

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 post 741 more words

Door locks work – Part II

SoBro residents on alert after rash of thefts, robbery

‘Until I actually saw the video of him running up to my house and getting in my vehicle, it was just extremely unsettling,’ said a woman whose Land Rover was stolen from her driveway. She said she had accidentally left the keys in the vehicle.
… Besides her surveillance video, her neighbors’ cameras caught what could be the same suspect trying their car doors and rifling through vehicles for valuables.

Continue reading →

Years of experience

An exchange I had yesterday with a POlice Use of Force Instructor reminded me of a quip by a JAG prosecutor I knew years ago.

Some people have 22 years of experience and some people have one year of experience 22 times.

One of my professors in college had taught the exact same math class for 10 years. She used the same overhead transparencies all 10 years. They were scuffed up and she had to write over parts of them to make them readable during our class. That’s the style some subjects are taught in many fields. Concepts are frequently not updated with fresh information. While mathematics doesn’t change much, social sciences and the law can and do change rapidly.

In the exchange with the instructor, I mentioned a recent case that seemed to invalidate his opinion. I even gave him the search string to bring up the case. Rather than doing one minute of research on the case, he trotted out an appeal to authority meme. “I’ve been a cop for 22 years and I teach Use of Force.” I’m afraid to even find out what he teaches his clientele.

In any field, staying up to date is an excellent idea for anyone. For instructors, it’s absolutely mandatory. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with a stated opinion but there needs to be some fact finding and analysis to support the disagreeing opinion.

In Memoriam – Albert Schaufelberger

Thirty-five years ago, at approximately 6:30 pm on May 25, 1983, Lieutenant Commander Albert Schaufelberger, USN, was assassinated by Communist insurgents in El Salvador. He was the Deputy Commander of the US Military Assistance Group there.

Lieutenant Commander Schaufelberger was picking up his girlfriend and had established a predictable pattern. Although his vehicle was armored, the air-conditioning was not functional, and he had removed the driver’s side window. There was speculation that the A/C had been sabotaged. As he waited in his car for his girlfriend, three men exited a Volkswagen Microbus and approached his car. One stopped his girlfriend from approaching, one established security for the ambush, and one ran to the driver’s side window. He then shot Schaufelberger in the head four times with a revolver, killing him instantly. The assassination team then got back in their VW and left.

Complacency kills. RIP Lieutenant Commander Schaufelberger.

ALBERT_SCHAUFELBERGER_MAY_1983

Photo credit: Sacha Rocos

A further analysis of the assassination is here. http://jko.jten.mil/courses/atl1/courseFiles/resources/Albert_Schaufelberger.pdf

Door locks work

“This is the first year since I have been tracking that 100% of vehicle thefts occurred in unlocked vehicles. Not a single car window was broken to steal anything.”

I learned my lesson about this when I was 17 in Chicargo.  It only took one occurrence for me to get the message. One response to Greg’s post on Facebook was:

In that 3 month period my next door neighbor had his UNLOCKED car broken into IIRC 4 times.

Locking your doors is part of what’s called Defense in Depth. Sure, some criminals could still get in but the harder you make it, the more of them will just go somewhere else.

And please don’t leave firearms in your car, either, even if it’s locked. Your car is not a holster, as Pat Rogers put it. If you sometimes have to go into places where you aren’t allowed to have your firearm on your person, get a lockbox or safe for your vehicle. The ‘truck gun’ concept is a load of Horse Hockey.

http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/lock-your-damn-doors-2018-edition

Practicing Awareness: An Interview

I’m very pleased to have been interviewed about Practicing Awareness in this month’s Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network Journal.

https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/practicing-awareness

It was an interesting interview that touched on a number of subjects, some old and some new. The interview builds on the series of posts I’ve written about the topic of awareness and positioning.

Bringing worthwhile content like this to its members is yet another reason I’m a member and fan of the Network.

Can’t help you

This email arrived from a friend today. Things like this are why I do what I do.

Yesterday I was filling my vehicle with gas at my neighborhood Shell station and out of the corner of my eye I saw an unkempt person lurking around the building and heading to the gas pumps. I lost sight of him for a moment due to vehicles entering and exiting the station. Suddenly, he was on the other side of my pump, headed in my direction.

My first visual image was Claude Werner, hand up, saying I can’t help you, followed by me doing the same thing, as I moved around the corner of my car to get an object and distance between the fellow and me. He did not even finish his opening line, he turned and looked for someone else to approach.

Claude, you taught me well! Thank you very much!

Note that this was a decision made in advance (to be aggressively uncooperative) and then chosen as a response in the moment. That’s the best way.

Keep your tape loops short

One word is best.

As much as I like the:

You look familiar. You got any warrants?

method, last night I defaulted to ‘No’ when I was approached last night by a female panhandler in the Publix parking lot. Because I keep my head up, I saw the encounter coming.

“Something, something, car, homeless.”

“No.”

“What?”

“No.”

“Okay.” She then walked away.

I didn’t say it in an ugly way, just very firmly. The power of a firm ‘No’ is very strong.

No_Revocatoria_Lima_2013 Simbolo

I also had my pepper spray in hand in case things went any further.

The Telephone Game and the Training Industry

Telephone [in the United States]  –is an internationally popular game, in which one person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming misheard and altered along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening.

Often, a message that starts out like “My uncle shook hands with the Mayor once” eventually turns into “President Reagan’s grandmother slept with Batman for years” or something equally mistransmitted.

Telephone game issues plague the firearms training industry and are a problem. Several occurrences of it have been brought to my attention just this week. One of the most important things I’ve learned in the training industry is to assume everything that anyone tells me secondhand is wrong. Whenever possible, I go back to the source or vet the information through several other sources, if necessary.

Items that are most vulnerable to mistransmission are intellectual, statistical, or theoretical concepts. These include items such as:

  • Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes
  • Statistics from ‘the FBI’
  • Legal issues
  • Hick’s Law without the power law of practice refutation
  • My personal favorite, Col. John Boyd’s work, aka ‘the OODA Loop’

What first brought this to my attention this week was reviewing an article a friend wrote about Situational Awareness. In my review, I pointed out that Cooper himself said that even while he was actively teaching, the Color Codes were being grossly misinterpreted. He explicitly stated that they are NOT a system of Situational Awareness but rather stages of Mental Preparation and triggers for Personal Defense. Upon mentioning this to my friend, he said:

And I think it says quite a bit about how misunderstood the concept is that you’re literally the only person to point out that Cooper never intended the colors as situational awareness levels, but rather mental preparedness. Out of a dozen people giving me feedback.

Cooper’s writings on the subject are readily available on the Internet with just a small amount of research. In Volume 13, No. 1 of his Commentaries, he says:

The Color Code refers not to a condition of peril, but rather to a condition of readiness to take life.

He elaborates on the meaning of the Color Codes in no less than six of his Commentaries over the years. All his Commentaries are available on the Internet. There is even a video of his entire lecture about the Color Codes available on YouTube.

He makes a point at 15:20 in the lecture about the distinction explicitly.

In the course of doing the review, I came across a blog post that purported to explain Cooper’s Codes. While the cursory overview given wasn’t awful, the post stated that the Codes were contained in the ‘Awareness’ chapter of Cooper’s book Principles of Personal Defense. Unfortunately, there is no such chapter. Principle One in the book is Alertness but no mention of the Color Codes is contained therein. False memory at work.

In that sense, the Color Codes are similar to Boyd’s work, which has been mostly butchered into unusability by the training community. Not an hour after making my comments to my friend, I came across yet another recently published article about ‘the OODA Loop’ that grossly oversimplified Boyd’s work. The ways I have seen Boyd’s work grotesquely misstated are legion. We can easily portray the oversimplification of John Boyd’s work in a graphic.

OODA loop NO

One article last year by a member of a well-known and regarded training company claimed that Boyd had developed ‘the OODA Loop’ during the Korean War to counter the ‘shocking losses’ of F-86s at the hands of Mig pilots. In fact, Boyd’s first mention of ODA [only one O] was in 1976 after he had transitioned to strategic acquisition planning and no longer even flew aircraft. Estimates of the kill ratio in Korea for the Sabre jet has dropped from 10 Migs for each Sabre to 5.6/1 but this isn’t a ‘shocking loss’ statistic in the slightest. Clearly, the author hadn’t done one bit of research on the topic but was just regurgitating a distorted and false memory.

Despite the readiness of information in the Internet age, there is often a tremendous amount of intellectual laziness within the training community. Doing research isn’t as much fun as shooting. Hearing someone regurgitate important concepts in a class or even a side conversation and then failing to go back to the source to vet and understand it is poor scholarship. It would get a college freshman an F on a simple term paper. If we in the community can’t even get a passing grade on a college term paper, should we be teaching people how to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones?

Let’s turn to the research and vetting issue from the standpoint of the practitioner. Someone who wants to defend their own life and the lives of their loved ones ought to be able to get that passing term paper grade, too. When you hear something ‘important’ attributed to a third party, don’t accept it at face value. Research it on your own and find out what was actually said or published. It’s rarely hard and usually doesn’t take much time. You may be surprised at how different the two versions are.