Quote Of The Day

Quote of the Day

“It’s starting to seem that a growing number of young adults think group vandalism is an acceptable way to bond.” 

– Editorial opinion of The National Post on Facebook, in response to this story.

Beer bottles, bricks and other debris rained down on police and firefighters in London, Ont., Saturday when St. Patrick’s Day celebrations turned ugly.

London police Chief Bradley Duncan, speaking to reporters Sunday, said he had never seen the level of violence and vandalism that he did Saturday night in his more than three decades on the police force.

“Last night, London experienced the worst case of civil disobedience our community has ever been subjected to,” Duncan said.

He said there was a very real risk that people could have been seriously injured, and even killed, after partygoers turned to setting fires and throwing bottles, stones and two-by-fours at police and firefighters. 

Unlike our cousins in the country formerly known as GREAT Britain, Canadians can still own guns, albeit with some silly (and ultimately useless) restrictions.

I foresee a dramatically huge increase in shotgun ownership in southern Ontario in the near future, with an equally dramatic decrease in youth violence in the areas where legal gun ownership is common. 

More …

A Drive On The Wild Side

A drive on the wild side

I’m shocked, SHOCKED that this happened in South Phoenix.

Phoenix police are searching for a shooting suspect involved in two attempted carjacking incidents Wednesday morning.

According to police on scene, the incidents occurred around 4:30 a.m. near 16th Street and Southern Avenue. 

Ok, first off, driving in that neighborhood at 4:30 in the morning is a health hazard right up there with heavy smoking, eating bacon and lard sandwiches and watching reality TV. 

But if I did have to drive in that neighborhood, you’re darn tootin’ I’m carrying something for my own protection. 

More …

Socially Disordered

Socially Disordered

A while back I talked about what I saw as the two different kinds of threats out there

There are, as I see it, two kinds of violent encounters: Predatorial and Adversarial. The “sudden encounter” is a predator attack, be it mugger, rapist or Rottweiler. Those types of encounter require you to be on your game rightthisveryinstant and respond to the attack with enough force to end things.

The Adversarial attack is road rage or the loudmouth in bar itchin’ for a fight or the jealous spouse of a co-worker or the fight between friends that gets out of hand. Those happen in fairly well-defined patterns and if they get out of hand, they get out of hand in predictable paths that can be countered (or better yet, de-escalated) in predictable ways. 

Ymaa.com has more. 

Generally, violence can be broken down into two very broad categories: social and asocial. Social violence is what, in the natural world, would be the types of violence common within a single species. This intra-species violence does not follow the dynamic or use the same tactics as violence against other species.

The dominance game of snakes wrestling or bears pushing and mouthing is not the same as the way the same species hunt prey. Social violence includes ritualized jockeying for territory or status. It also includes acts to prove or increase group solidarity (a powerful side-effect of hunting as a team) and violence to enforce the rules and mores of the group.

Asocial violence does not target the victim as a person, but as a resource. Asocial violence is the domain of the predator and the humanity of his victim does not enter into the equation. 

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

Play Stupid Games,

Play stupid games,

win stupid prizes

Steve Carbajal with the Tempe Police Department said officers responded to The Clubhouse Music Venue near Broadway and Rural Roads around 11:30 p.m. after receiving a report of shots being fired during a rap concert.

Thirteen victims have been identified and two of those victims were taken to local hospitals in serious condition, according to Carbajal.

In my younger days, I loved going to clubs to listen to live music. 

How I survived it, I will never know. 

And I’ll bet The Clubhouse was posted “No Firearms Allowed” as well, yet this somehow this happened. Maybe they should put up a big “No Shooting Twelve or More People” sign right next to it…

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Half Aware

Half aware

Went out to lunch with a friend of mine yesterday to a decent (but not great – Memo to the cook: Back away from the orange sauce) Thai restaurant in a local strip mall.

Driving up in to the parking lot, I spotted three young men who sent me in to Condition Orange. What set me off? Don’t know, but it did. I met my friend at the restaurant and because of those guys I spotted in the part, asked for a table that had a view of my car outside.

While we were eating, two more young men strolled by that also caught my eye, and as we left the restaurant, i realized why I was on high alert all the time.

The restaurant was right next to a “smoke shop” that advertised drug paraphenalia for sale.

Oops.

Now this restaurant wasn’t in a bad section of town. Not the best, but not the worst. How did I miss such an obvious clue? Driving in to the parking lot, I was focused on the three young men I mentioned earlier and missed the fact there was a head shop right next to where we would be eating.

Oops.

Takeaway here? Don’t let a perceived threat impair your perception of other threats. Focus on the what set you off in to Condition Orange, but beware of tunnel vision.

Because you never know when you’ll need to spot the gorilla.

Tripping The Lights Fantastic

Tripping the lights fantastic

Ever since Guffaw wrote about his flashlights, I’ve been wanting to do a side-by-side comparison of the various and sundry flashlights I have around the house.

So I did.

I don’t have any Tier-1 tactical lights in the house: I just can’t justify spending $50 or more on a AA-powered LED “tactical” light” when there’s good flashlights to be had for half (or a third) of what I’d pay for a “name” brand.

Flashlights

That’s my well-loved 4-D Cell Maglite up top, and then left to right, a Photon Micro-light II, a Fenix E01, an Insight MX3, a Coleman 3AAA LED, a AA Maglite and a Pelican AA LED light.

The testing setup is the same I used for testing the Insight light: I set up my D70 with my 24-70mm lens set at 35mm about 12 feet away from the cinder-block fence in my backyard. The exposure this time was 1 second at f5.6, ISO 400. As a comparison, that’s about 1/1000th the exposure needed for taking photos in daylight.

First up, the Photon Micro-light II.

Photon II

Then, the Fenix E01.

Fenix E01

And the Coleman 3 AAA LED.

Coleman 3AAA LED

And the Pelican AA LED.

Pelican AA

And the Insight light.

Insight MX3

And now the Maglites. First, the AA version,

Maglite AA

And now the 4 D Cell thumper.

4 D Maglite

Conclusions: 

1. That little Photon is pretty astounding. It’s TINY and at under $10, relatively cheap, yet it kicks out an amazing amount of lumens for its size.
2. Either the Pelican or the Coleman are a good choice for someone who wants the lighting capabilities of a Surefire without the Surefire price tag. I’d also add that both of those lights have AA/AAA lithium batteries in them, giving me the long shelf-life advantages of lithium with the flexibility and low-cost of alkalines if needed.
3. The day of the Maglite is over. I’ll still carry that big ol’ 4D Cell mamajama in my car because it comes in handy in other (defensive) ways, but it’s not king of the candlepower hill any more.
4. As a comparison, I took a shot illuminated with my iPhone’s Flashlight app.

iPhone App

Yeah that didn’t work…

Rubberneckin’

Rubberneckin’

First thing in the morning
Last thing at night
I look, stare, everywhere
And I see everything in sight

Elvis Presley 

One of the more useful things I learned from my time at Front Sight last month was in the “Color Code of Mental Awareness” lecture (the one where they DIDN’T mention Jeff Cooper). Our instructor mentioned that if you’re a “people watcher” by nature, you’re well on your way to having good situational awareness and staying in Condition Yellow most of the time. 

I like this approach to mental awareness because it’s so non-threatening to new shooters. Yes, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” sounds all tacticool and oh-rah, but that’s probably the last thing a young woman in a defensive handgun class needs to hear. She doesn’t want to become GI Jane, she wants to be safe and free from fear and the minute she sees wall-to-wall 5.11 gear and hears things like that, her fear level doesn’t decrease, it increases.

Not the desired outcome. 

Finding the points of commonality between leading a life of personal self-protection and our current lives has to be a priority for any successful “gun-culture 2.0”- centric training course. People aren’t looking to become Dirty Harrys or Harriets overnight, they want to keep safe in an uncertain world. Adding to that uncertainty with unfamiliar phrases and methods will make you as an instructor feel more tacticool, but it won’t help your students.

 

Threats Analysis

Threats analysis

I’ve been thinking more about the comment I left in a post last week.

There are, as I see it, two kinds of violent encounters: Predatorial and Adversarial. 

The “sudden encounter” is a predator attack, be it mugger, rapist or Rottweiler. Those types of encounter require you to be on your game rightthisveryinstant and respond to the attack with enough force to end things.

The Adversarial attack is road rage or the loudmouth in bar itchin’ for a fight or the jealous spouse of a co-worker or the fight between friends that gets out of hand. Those happen on pretty well-defined patterns, and if they get out of hand, they get out of hand in predictable paths that can be countered (or better yet, de-escalated) in predictable ways. 

And as things are now, we spend a LOT of time preparing and training for the Predatorial attack: The mugger, the home invasion, the sexual assault. It’s not that these kinds of attacks aren’t real, it’s that for us law-abiding folk, they are just not that common. 

Predators tend to prey on the weak, and if you’ve taken the steps needed to secure your family at and away from home, you are not easy pickin’s no more. When such an attack happens, there’s little you can do to de-escalate the action, in fact, trying to de-escalate it will probably get you killed dead. Such an attack requires the immediate and swift application of force sufficient to end the threat. Anything less just ain’t enough.

Which leaves adversarial encounters. These differ in that we can and should control the level of force needed to end things. “A soft answer turneth away wrath” ain’t in the Bible because it sounds nice, it’s in there ’cause it works. 

Adversarial encounters can get out of hand quickly if no one choses to de-escalate. Ask any cop who’s had to arrest someone for a barfight or the murder of a friend and he’ll tell you the number one thing they’ll hear from the poor soul who’s now cuffed on the curb is “Why didn’t he just back down?”. 

I turn that around and ask “Why didn’t YOU just back down?”

Is an insult, a bad lane change or a loud remark worth twenty years of your life and the loss of your firearms freedoms? Is it worth not seeing your kids grow up or your friends? Is it worth a black mark on your record that will follow you wherever you go? 

We spend hours on the range and in the dojo preparing for the predator’s attack. How much time do we spend learning the difference between backing down and giving up? 

 

Defence By The Numbers Part II

Defence By The Numbers Part II

Ok, so we know what type of violent enocunters are most likely to happen around us. What about the “Black Swan” moments, or expecting the unexpected? 

Aye, there’s the rub. 

Three examples.

One: Many years ago (too many, if I’m honest…) a group of friends from my church’s college group were camping out on the Mogollon Rim, about to fall asleep, when another campsite erupted wild drunken hoots, hollers and gunfire, with what I assumed at the time were shotgun blasts into the air. 

There were twelve of us, seven college-age men and 5 girls (in a seperate tent. This was a church outing, after all…), and the best defensive weapon we had was a hatchet. If those drunks decided they wanted to “party” with the girls, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it. 

Two: My wife grew up on an acreage in the forests of northeastern Arizona, surround by her Dad’s extended family. One night, the black sheep of said family decided to invite Arizona’s most notorious motorcycle gang up to his property for the night. Her Dad spent the entire evening on their front porch with his shotgun in his lap, watching over his family as gang members loudly partied less than a 200 yards away from his house. The gang left in the morning and didn’t come back, but it made for a tense, sleepless night for her family. 

Three: Right after my wife and I were married, a cousin of hers took what I considered to be an unhealthy amount of interest in her whereabouts and well-being. Said cousin was 6’5″, 220lbs with a prior conviction for manslaughter for killing an undercover cop during a drug bust. He has since done the world a favour and killed himself, but it did make for a few tense months in our lives as I wasn’t sure how to handle someone like that if he came to our home with evil on his mind. 

What do all three of those examples have in common? 

1. There was a threat of imminent lethal force. 
2. The nature of the threat is outside the daily routine. 
3. Non-lethal force would not be an effective deterrent. 

We don’t carry because we expect trouble, we carry because trouble happens when we least expect it. If a shootout can start up outside of a quiet suburban shopping mall, it can start anywhere. 

Defence By The Numbers, Part 1

Defence By The Numbers, Part 1

We shoot. We train. We compete. We carry our sidearms with us every day so we can defend ourselves on that horrible day when we need them.

But what do we really need them for? What exactly are your risks?

With the help of crimereports.com, I’m able to see the type and severity of crime in my quiet surbanan Phoenix neighborhood, and the answers surprised me. This is what the police responded to within a one-mile radius of my home over the past six months.

Type of Crime Number of Crimes since April 2011
Assault w/ Deadly 2
Breaking and Entering 7
Disorderly Conduct (Fighting) 11
Other Assault 11

Right off the bat, the number of violent, non-lethal crimes jumped out at me. I am much more likely to get my @$$ kicked than I am stabbed or shot (although one of the Assault With A Deadly Weapon Incidents happened on my street. Yikes!).

Also, no sexual assaults or rapes, although there is one registered Level 3 sex offender within a mile of my house.

Oh joy.

A number of those assault charges are multiple charges for the same offence on the same day, i.e. Disorderly Conduct and Assault With Reckless Injury charges.

I’m also more likely to have my house broken into than I am facing a deadly weapon, which suggests than an alarm system, big dog, porch lights and anything else I can do to “harden” my home and make it less attractive to burglars is a good thing.

Now, does this mean I should forgo firearms training and run to the dojo?

No, of course not.

For one thing, there is no real substitute for a defensive sidearm. Martial arts and pepper spray can help, but the only sure way to end an attack with lethal force is to respond in-kind. The chances of defending myself against an active shooter are infinitesimally small, but the same skills that I use to keep myself safe day in and day out also apply equally as well against a homicidal madman.

Also, those are the stats for my neighborhood, but that is not my world. I regularly travel throughout to the Phoenix area, sometimes to nice places, sometimes not.

What these numbers tell me, though, is that I need to integrate my training. I need to be able to stop any threat, any time, from 1 inch away to 100 feet away, with whatever tools are appropriate and handy. Training and training for a 20 yard pistol headshot does me little good if someone throws a punch at my head.

Part II Tomorrow: What about random acts of violence?