Category Archives: decision making

Failing the Interview

#fridayfundamentals

To my knowledge, John Farnam https://defense-training.com/ coined the term “Failing the Interview.” It is an acknowledgement that the victimization process has two parties, the criminal and the potential victim. Criminals rarely attack victims by doing a ‘Tueller Drill.’ With very rare exceptions, criminal usage of what is commonly called the Tueller Drill is almost exclusively confined to ‘Breaking out of encirclement’ when confronted by the POlice.

Even the most inexperienced criminal knows that proper victim selection is paramount to continued success in criminal endeavors. Poor victim selection, especially in environments where potential victims may be armed, can lead to incarceration at the least and even being shot to death by the victim.

Rather than an abrupt approach, criminals observe a potential victim and decide whether they have or can gain a significant advantage over the victim. It is the first step of Boyd’s Process from the viewpoint of a criminal predator.

This can occur either as an Ambush or during a Movement to Contact, i.e., a hunting expedition. If they feel they can gain an advantage, the victimization process begins. If the criminal doesn’t feel they can gain an advantage, i.e., a GO condition, then they wait or search for another potential victim. This victimization decision process is “The Interview.” It usually takes place without the knowledge of the potential victim, although at times it will be an actual verbal interview.

What I’m looking for, Claude, is big ole bag of money.

A polished and experienced armed robber or extortionist to me on one occasion.

“Failing the interview” is the result of the potential victim’s portrayal of self as being someone who will be difficult to gain an advantage over or who will be uncooperative with the victimization process.

Well, what I’ve got is a bunch of empty tool bags.

My reply to the criminal.

I was tempted to say “I get off work at 10 p.m. Meet me in the parking lot and we’ll get this over with today” but I decided to avoid getting The Last Word In. For both of us, this was merely a rehearsal rather than an actual incident. Criminals practice dry repetitions of their repertoires just like we do.

What is the process to Fail the Interview? The first step to set ourselves up for success in this regard is to be aware of our surroundings. Both we and criminals have an Area of Interest and an Area of Influence.

Joint Publication 3-0 Joint Operations

https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/jp3_0ch1.pdf?ver=2018-11-27-160457-910

We want the criminal to make a NO GO decision on us while we are still in his Area of Interest and before we reach his Area of Influence. The NO GO decision is the absence of a GO decision. The default for criminals is NO GO because criminals know there are plenty of two-legged cheeseburgers walking around and the next one will be along in just a minute or two.

The second step is to portray ourselves as someone who is aware of and will not cooperate with the victimization process. Although the term ‘victim blaming’ is has been in vogue for some years, that concept is often an excuse for ignorant or foolish behavior. When someone gets badly sunburned, we don’t blame the Sun, we ask why the person spent so much time in the Sun without adequate sunscreen.

As my colleague Brian Hill http://www.thecompletecombatant.com/ points out, walking around with one’s face buried in a cell phone places a person in a posture of submission. Whether the person is actually submissive or not, that posture sets the tone for the victimization process to begin. Blithely talking on a cell phone in transitional spaces is another key indicator to a criminal that the potential victim is not paying attention to their surroundings. This is a way of setting one’s self up for predation. Being aware of our surroundings is a passive way of defeating the predator’s intent.

There are also active ways of Failing the Interview. The easiest is to openly indicate an intent to be uncooperative. Changing direction, displaying positive body language, or simply saying NO https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/keep-your-tape-loops-short/ are non-violent ways of signaling an uncooperative attitude. They fall into the areas of Escape and Confront in the Avoid, Escape, Confront, Resist https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/07/31/recognition-primed-decision-making-part-iv/ paradigm.

The list of ways to Fail, or Not Fail, the interview is extensive. The first step of all of them is to recognize that The Interview exists and make conscious and continuous efforts to Fail it. If we are effective at Failing the Interview, we won’t have to escalate to the Resist step of A-E-C-R. Preempting the need to go to active Resistance is our best bet for avoiding a Negative Outcome, either during the encounter or afterward.

In every encounter, there is an element of chance.

John Hall, former Head of the FBI Firearms Training Unit

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Defense of Others

#fridayfundamentals

‘Self-defense’ is only one subset of Personal Protection. Defense of Others is the other subset. September’s Armed Citizen column of the NRA Journals Shooting Illustrated – September 2021 has two incidents involving Defense of Others. Both occurred in public places outside the home. One was successful, the other Not So Much. Defense of Others situations often do not fall in the 3 shots, 3 seconds, 3 yards paradigm.

In the successful incident, a man and woman were in a Madera, California Wal-Mart parking lot. The man was attacked, the woman pulled out her pistol from her car, fired one round, and dropped the attacker in his tracks at 10 yards. In the words of commentator Raymond:

In the Not So Much successful incident, Calvin ‘Mad Dog’ Gonnigan shot at three people in Chicargo who were celebrating Independence Day. A nearby Concealed Carry Licensee shot at ‘Mad Dog’ but only peripherally wounded him several times. ‘Mad Dog’ left but then came back to murder one of his victims by shooting her in the face and even further seriously wounding the other two victims. Eventually, the POlice arrived from the District Headquarters, which was a block away, and took ‘Mad Dog’ into custody.

Photo: Chicargo POlice Department

Madera County is largely rural. It’s a likely bet that the woman had practiced her aim before. Chicargo, being an urban area, is unlikely to result in much practice. That’s probably why ‘Mad Dog’ did most of his shooting at close range and probably why the CCL was not particularly successful. The Illinois qualification course can be passed by only hitting one shot out of 10 at 10 yards and that only has to hit an arm of the silhouette target.

For those who carry a gun not only to protect themselves but also to protect their loved ones and friends, getting in a little structured practice can be useful, maybe even life saving. Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com has a series of drills that could be done even in Chicargoland. And Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is included with your purchase.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/ https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Recognition Primed Decision-making (part V)

As stated in Part IV https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/07/31/recognition-primed-decision-making-part-iv/ of the series:

A predator also has a group of Options/Reactions when the intended victim begins to Confront or Resist rather than being caught up in the Victim Mix.

Since Boyd’s Process is iterative and interactive rather than static, a predator takes a ‘turn’ in the process after the intended victim’s response. If the intended victim Freezes or Complies, the predator will exploit the opportunity. Even if the intended victim chooses to Confront or Resist, the predator still has a group of Options/Reactions available, unless he has been instantly put out of action by the intended victim’s Resist choice. These options are similar, but not identical, to the intended victim’s list.

  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Comply
  • Freeze
  • Increment

An example of the criminal’s possibilities would be if an Armed Citizen responded to an armed predator by shooting the predator. If the predator was incapacitated by the shot, it would be a version of Comply because they are no longer threatening the Citizen. If the predator wasn’t incapacitated, he could also choose Flight, which is probably the most common response to armed resistance. In either case, the incident is no longer a gunfight. The Citizen must choose a different response than if the predator chose to Fight.

The sad case of Caroline Schollaert https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/suspect-held-at-gunpoint-temporarily/ makes clear that sometimes predators do choose the Fight option. Fight and Flight are not mutually exclusive. The unfortunate incident involving Lieutenant Williams in Chicargo https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/02/26/using-cover-effectively/ makes this abundantly evident. The lack of mutual exclusivity is another reason why chasing a predator who has taken flight can be dangerous.

Another possibility to consider is that youthful or first time predators may simply Freeze in response to an Armed Citizen Confronting or Resisting. When this happens, it’s neither Fighting nor Failing to Comply but rather simply becoming overwhelmed mentally when the predation doesn’t go according to plan. Initially, this may look like Compliance, say, to a command of “Don’t Move” or “Freeze,” but then when further commands are given, there is no response. We need to recognize the possibility that predators may not be completely in control of their own bodies once actual conflict begins. The attempted home invader in Hesperia, California https://www.foxla.com/news/shocking-video-captures-shootout-between-suspect-who-tried-to-break-into-home-homeowner-in-hesperia probably did not intend to pee in his pants during the gunfight. Even though he had enough presence of mind to use cover and to recover ammunition he had ejected on the ground, he wasn’t completely in control of his body.

Consequently, commands like “Get on the Ground” or “Hands up, Manos Arriba!” may not result in the predator doing what he’s told to do even if he wants to. The predator may not be able to do what he’s being told to. One of the best commands may be “Get out of here.” The idea that a predator will then intentionally flee to ‘a position of cover’ or ‘circle around’ to continue the fight is probably a figbar of gunwriter imagination. We can also give the “Get out of here” command to ourselves, if only mentally.

An experienced predator may choose the Increment response when Confronted. This is a dangerous situation for those Armed Citizens who lack experience at dealing with predators. It is the predator’s equivalent of the Negotiate response by a defender. However, the predator’s intent is to close the distance to the defender and gain a more advantageous position for a takedown or weapon takeaway. Two tactics can help prevent a Negative Outcome from such a situation. The first is that a verbal Confrontation must be forcefully delivered. Most people need to practice delivering commands before they actually need to. The saying “He who hesitates is lost” applies here. Hesitation is not necessarily in terms of time but also to being tentative when delivering a command. The second tactic is to have a ‘line in the sand.’ The concept of a line in the sand is the real utility of the Tueller Principle https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/44-our-journal/86-the-tueller-drill-revisited.

It’s also worthy of note that at any time after the beginning of the predation, third parties can and do inject themselves into the action. The recent case of an Armed Citizen who stopped an Active Killer event but then was shot by a responding Officer is an excellent, although unfortunate, example. Boyd’s Process is far more involved than the simplistic circular diagram usually depicted. Rather, the process then becomes an intricate flowchart that can be very hard to navigate.

Predators have their own array of options that are similar, but not identical, to the Armed Citizen’s. We need to bear in mind what those options are before we initiate our response to the initial predation. Knowing the predator’s possible reactions then allows us to be prepared for their response to Confrontation or Resistance. That response may not be what we want it to be and we will have to either counter it or take advantage of it.

Tactical Professor Information Products

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference
https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Books (all PDF)

Things that guide me tactically – I

#thinkingthursday

  • Try to get along with everyone but don’t let anyone hurt you. – my Father
  • Prior planning prevents poor performance.
  • Danger is no stranger to an Airborne Ranger. – 1st Ranger Battalion
  • It’s better to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.
  • Win, lose, or draw, I’m sending an attacker to the hospital, where those uncomfortable questions from the POlice begin.
I wore the original scroll designed by CSM Gentry

Tactical Professor Information Products

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference
https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Books (all PDF)

STOPP Presentation now available

My Strategies, Tactics, and Options for Personal Protection presentation given at the Rangemaster 2019 Tactical Conference is now available for download. It is the culmination of several years of research and analysis into the issues that confront private citizens when trying to keep themselves and their families safe from criminal predators.

Many people have expressed interest in training with The Tactical Professor but haven’t had the opportunity. This movie is the next best thing. It is The Tactical Professor as his authentic self and is definitely not “Death by PowerPoint.” There is some coarse language but it has been kept to a minimum.

A short sample is available on my YouTube Channel.

Topics covered include:

  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Options
  • Personal Protection
  • Our end goal (STRATEGY) is to make good decisions
  • Decisions determine outcomes
  • Take charge of the situation, don’t let the situation control you.
  • Priorities
  • Decide ahead of time
  • Choose a response
  • Options for Personal Protection
  • Protecting Others
  • Three inputs to good decision making
  • The fun input
  • Use of Force law
  • Know the rules (other)
  • What were you thinking?
  • Have adequate skills
  • Cognitive load
  • Practicing your skills
  • Understand the situation
  • Inputs to bad decision making

The file is an MP4 movie created from the slides and a full recording of the presentation. The movie is 90 minutes long and includes a Question and Answer session with the audience at the end. The file is about 554MB so a fast connection is desirable to download it.

You can purchase the full movie for download at https://www.payloadz.com/go/view_cart.asp?id_user=337896

I think you will find it’s $14.99 well spent. As with all my products, my ebook Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is included.

Intended Victim not ‘Subject’

The man did not know he was being followed according to police and once at the man’s home, [the shootee] allegedly produced a firearm and confronted the subject [sic] as he was trying to get out of his vehicle and go into his home.

https://wfxl.com/news/local/valdosta-shooting-ruled-self-defense

‘Subject,’ in POlice terms, is almost always used in the context of a wrong doer. In current times, the default treatment of anyone who shoots someone else is that the shooter is a criminal who must then prove his or her innocence. While some States provide some legal protection for self-defense, unless you never travel outside the county you live in, those protections cannot be relied on. ‘Stand Your Ground’ should always be viewed as a courtroom strategy not a tactical option. Keep that in mind. Do your best to AVOID or ESCAPE prior to being forced into CONFRONT or RESIST.

Surveillance Detection is a useful skill. Your car mirrors are a tool for you to use frequently, especially at 5AM. It’s beneficial to always take a few turns for Surveillance Detection purposes prior to committing yourself to turning into your driveway or other place you cannot escape from. Once you are Decisively Engaged https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/situational-awareness-and-positioning-part-i/ because your path is blocked, you are forced to CONFRONT or RESIST.

Note also that “the man was able to retrieve a handgun of his own.” ‘Retrieve’ most likely means that the gun was in the car not on his person. This mention is not intended as commentary about leaving unsecured guns in cars. Rather, it is an observation that many of the incidents in my database involve successfully accessing guns that are stored off-body.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

The Sandra Ochoa Incident (Shooting Analysis)

Body Worn Video (BWV) not only has value for analysis of Use of Force, it also can be used as a shooting analysis tool. By looking at a BWV in conjunction the results of a subsequent investigation, we can arrive at a more complete picture of the shooting incident.

On May 31, 2020, LAPD officers responded to a radio call of a “murder suspect there now.” Upon arrival, the officers observed the suspect cutting the victim’s throat and an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) occurred. The BWV of both officers present was later released by the LAPD. The incident was adjudicated by the LAPD Board of Police Commissioners on May 4, 2021. The shooting was ruled objectively reasonable, necessary, and In Policy. https://www.lapdonline.org/assets/pdf/023-20-ois-pr.pdf

A short edited and annotated video of the shooting portion of the incident is available on my YouTube Channel.

Several points can be derived from the BWV and the subsequent investigation and rulings. The first is that there is a significant difference between a shooting and gunfight. Noted firearms authority Ken Hackathorn mentioned years ago that a Private Citizen is just as likely to be involved in a ‘shooting’ as in a ‘gunfight,’ if not more so. In a shooting, there is sufficient cause to use a firearm (deadly force) in defense against an assailant who is armed with a contact weapon or personal weapons (fists, shod feet, etc.). This incident is a good example. The assailant was armed with a pair of scissors and succeeded in murdering her victim with those scissors.

The cadence of shooting by Officer A is another item we can analyze. The LAPD Force Investigation Division quantified the officer’s splits (time between shots) as follows:

  • Shot 2 – 0.340
  • Shot 3 – 0.286
  • Shot 4 – 0.232
  • Shot 5 – 0.247

The average of those splits was 0.276 seconds, with a total time for the first 5 shots of 1.105. The officer was shooting at a cyclic rate for the first five shots. Although he said he ‘assessed’ between those shots, it’s unlikely there was any assessment between shots 1 through 5. Shot number 6 had a split time of 0.711. That’s the more likely point of there being an assessment of bullet damage, i.e., target effect.

Just like Sergeant Tim Gramins in 2013 https://www.police1.com/officer-shootings/articles/why-one-cop-carries-145-rounds-of-ammo-on-the-job-clGBbLYpnqqHxwMq/ , he may have said to himself, “Hey, I need to slow down and aim better.” I.e., shoot better – meaning, achieve an adequate sight picture and perform a smoother trigger press. What likely occurred by the officer was a ‘Bullet damage assessment’ after 5 shots, followed by a marksmanship improvement and a more accurate 6th shot.

Of the 6 shots fired, 2 were hits. There’s no way to say for sure but the likelihood is that of the first 5 shots, 1 was a hit. The 6th shot was likely a hit and perhaps a better hit that got the message across. Viewed this way, there were actually 2 sequences of fire. Sequence 1 consisted of 5 shots resulting in 1 hit, a 20% hit ratio. Sequence 2 consisted of 1 shot, which resulted in 1 hit, a 100% hit ratio.

Nothing in this analysis is intended as a criticism of the officer. Shooting someone who isn’t immediately adjacent to a victim is difficult enough. Shooting with an innocent downrange and right next to the assailant is a very difficult task that is seldom practiced for.

Although the victim in this case died, there’s a good chance she had been fatally wounded prior to the shooting. The officer did the best he could under the circumstances. Not all situations have a Positive Outcome.

Other items of note were that, as is frequently the case, the officer under-estimated the number of shots he fired. There’s nothing uncommon about that. In most of the Categorical Use of Force reports, when more than two shots are fired, the officer undercounts. On the other hand, the officer estimated the distance of the shot quite accurately. He thought it was 20 to 25 feet and the actual distance was 18 feet. Very few people’s eyeballs are calibrated to better than 10% margin of error for distance.

The full LAPD news release video (NRF023-20) is posted on the LAPD YouTube Channel.

Incidents like these, but involving off duty officer incidents, is why I found my work on Real Shootouts of the LAPD https://realshootoutsofthelapd.com/ so worthwhile. The off duty Officer Involved Shootings very much mirrored the thousands of Private Citizen Armed Encountered I have studied. However, there was a great deal more detail available about what led up to the encounter and how it unfolded.

Other Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Suspect Held at Gunpoint (temporarily)

https://www.foxnews.com/us/caroline-schollaert-murder-florida-man-charged

Sequence of events

  • Perp establishes Line of Business consisting of checking car door handles for unlocked cars to burglarize
  • Perp finds gun in unlocked car and steals it
    • “The firearm used by the suspect in this murder was found to be stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the same neighborhood just eleven days prior.” –JSO
  • Eleven days later, perp is carrying said stolen pistol while burglarizing the car of a USCG Servicemember
  • Servicemember detects the burglary in progress
  • SM calls 911
  • SM gets own pistol and confronts would-be burglar, ordering him to remain in place until POlice arrive
  • Perp refuses to comply and instead draws stolen pistol
  • Perp fires several shots and hits SM at least once, incapacitating her
  • Perp departs
  • POlice arrive and ‘attend’ to SM
  • SM dies from wounds
  • POlice identify perp
  • Perp turns himself in
  • Family, friends, and fellow SM are heartbroken
  • Perp is charged with murder in the second degree
  • Family, friends, and fellow SM are still heartbroken

Negative Outcome for everyone involved

“Don’t go looking for trouble not expecting to find it.” –John Farnam https://defense-training.https://defense-training.com/present-tense/com/present-tense/

Possible tactical alternatives

  • If you feel compelled to challenge a criminal, do so from a position of cover (concealment does not count as cover). If no cover is available, do not challenge.
  • Use a high intensity flashlight to illuminate and blind the perp before issuing the challenge.
  • If your car door is locked, illuminate the perp with your flashlight from a considerable distance without issuing a challenge.
  • At your own residence, have a large bear-spray type canister of OC close at hand. Spray the perp, without warning, at the maximum range of the container. Be sure to saturate him from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. Then immediately seek cover if you’re not already behind it.
    • “Begin to attrit the enemy at the maximum effective range of your weapons.” –Infantry maxim

Facebook link to Sheriff’s Office Press Conference

https://fb.watch/7l5H9RudgH/

We strongly recommend citizens lock their vehicles and absolutely remove their firearms when exiting. Please do not provide criminals with easy access to a gun that will only be used in more criminal, and as in this case, violent acts.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Very sad. RIP Airman Schollaert

Recognition Primed Decision-making (part IV)

RPD in the context of Personal Protection has two components. The first is Recognizing what is happening. The second is making a Decision about what to do about it. That Decision is the result of overlaying our ‘Options’ on ‘People’ and ‘Situations’ to achieve an appropriate response. Our response represents the Confront and Resist components of the Avoid, Escape, Confront, Resist model. The best decisions are made in advance and then implemented in the moment of need.

Part I of the series Recognition Primed Decision-making (part I) discussed the types of people we might encounter.

  • Benign person
  • Angry person
  • Predator or angry person with personal weapons (fists, shod feet, etc.)
  • Angry person or predator with a contact weapon
  • Predator or angry person with a projectile weapon(s)

Examples of situations were also discussed.

  • Area of limited visibility such as a parking deck
  • Walking alone in unfamiliar territory
  • Being in the presence of a person who makes us uncomfortable
  • Having an unknown person approach us
  • Being home in a state of Unawareness or Unfocused on personal protection
  • Etc.

Part II Recognition Primed Decision-making (part II) listed our Reactions or Options to an attempted predation.

  • Freeze
  • Submit (at least temporarily)
  • Negotiate
  • Posture
  • Flight
  • Fight
    • Unarmed
    • Non-Lethal
    • Lethal

Our Confront and Resist Options are based on our personal situation and value choices. These can change over time or rapidly, even second to second. A person may not be initially comfortable with carrying potentially lethal tools but be perfectly comfortable with unarmed combat or non-lethal tools. As time goes on, they may become more comfortable with a wider range of Options or they may not.

Changes in available tools varies with the situation. For instance, a person may not choose to carry a firearm in their place of employment but instead to lock it in their vehicle while working. During the walk from the business place to the vehicle, they might only be equipped with pepper spray and a flashlight. Immediately upon entering and locking the vehicle, the person may don a handgun and impact tool. During the walk, the person may choose a previously developed response tactic that only involves using the tools on their person. While this may not be the optimal solution, it is the one available at the time. Upon upgrading their Defense Condition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON with a handgun, the chosen tactic may be different.

It’s useful to view the context of Boyd’s Process as an iterative and interactive model between two parties rather than the single party static model usually described. In a predation, the predator will make the first move, the intended victim will respond with a Reaction or Option, and then the predator will choose or react from his/her range of Options.

A predator also has a group of Options/Reactions when the intended victim begins to Confront or Resist rather than being caught up in the Victim Mix. Part V will explore what these are and how they affect our Decisions.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Low Light Indoor Match

#flashlightfriday

I had the opportunity to attend a low light shooting match at a local indoor range yesterday evening. My goal for the evening was to observe closely so I didn’t shoot it. The format consisted of clearing three rooms and a hallway constructed of plastic sheets. It was done three times with targets moved around each time. The shooters had a look at the layout lighted the first time but subsequent stages were not.

Non-threat targets (Don’t Shoots) were designated with hands painted on them.

These non-threat targets were interspersed among the threat targets.

Some of the shooters had weapon mounted lights but many did not.

A few observations:

  • Some attendees, although regular shooters, had never shot while using a flashlight.
  • Most of the shooters had some familiarity with flashlight technique but mostly on a theoretical basis.
  • The cadence of shooting, in terms of splits, transitions, and moving from position to position, really slows down when using a flashlight in low light.
  • The difference in light intensity when going from almost no light,

to illuminating with a high intensity light

can be momentarily disconcerting, even to the person holding the light.

Matches like these represent the practical application of theoretical techniques. They are a valuable exercise for everyone who participates.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)