Open Carry Is Not Brandishing.

The good people of Milwaukee have decided to burn down a few buildings and smash up a few cop cars because one of their number was shot by the police last night. Unlike previous instances, though, the suspect had a gun and refused to stop when ordered by the police to do so.

Violence and protests erupted in Milwaukee overnight after a man was fatally shot by police during a foot chase.

Police said the victim, 23, was armed with a handgun and shot dead by an officer after fleeing a traffic stop on Milwaukee’s north side Saturday afternoon.

The suspect in question had a lengthy arrest record and was armed with a pistol stolen in a burglary earlier this year, but hey, let’s riot because “he was a good person“.

The man’s criminal record was extensive, and he was carrying 500 rounds of ammunition at the time as well as a gun which had been reported stolen in a burglary earlier this year, however, residents were outraged at the killing as it is an open carry state. Many argue that the suspect shot and killed deserved due process.

One protester spoke to the media the night before and revealed that the people were rallying for the 23-year-old suspect killed because he was a good person. It is estimated that about 200 persons came out to protest.

Cognitive dissonance: It’s not just for breakfast anymore!

Protestors seem upset, though, that because Wisconsin is an open-carry state, anyone with a gun in their hands is therefore not a threat.

Open carry outside.

My open carry rig for hiking. Note that I have a holster, and I use it to carry my gun.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Open carry refers to having a gun on your person that’s in plain view. Brandishing is also having a gun, but you have that gun in your hand, not in a holster. One is legal in a bunch of states, the other is not. If cop rolls up me, my wife, my second cousin twice removed, whoever, and we have a gun in our hands and refuse to set it down, we stand a better-than-average chance of getting shot.

That’s what probably happened in Milwaukee last night, and similar incidents have played out in other cities all over the world dozens of times in the past week. The difference is, in Milwaukee, it was used to touch off a a riot that has caused further pain and suffering to that city. It’s shameful, it’s abhorrent and it will continue as long such actions are rewarded by elements within our political leadership.

In the mean time, carry your guns and keep your head on a swivel.

Things Are More Like They Are Now Than They’ve Ever Been.

Thinking more about yesterday’s post, I’m guessing the five people on that bus who escaped the blaze weren’t expecting something to happen that night. We don’t, because we expect the same things to happen all the time. It’s called “normalcy bias“, and it’s a way to make ourselves believe that nothing bad will happen to us because nothing bad has happened to us so far.

An example: My wife and I’s first house together was in a neighborhood in north-central Chandler, Arizona. We bought a townhome in what was then a nice middle-class neighborhood near a Target and a movie theater and we enjoyed walking through the streets at night pushing a carriage with our first son wrapped up snugly in it.

But things changed. My truck was broken into, twice. The house next to ours was broken into. A townhome across the street was raided by Chandler PD for ties to a meth lab. While all of this was going on, we never once thought “Gosh, we should move, because the neighborhood is getting rough”. The fact is, the crime wave brought about by the Mexican gang wars was starting to affect central Chandler, and that meant that criminals were starting to range further afield for targets of opportunity, and they were moving into our neighborhood.

We’ve since moved out of that townhome (BOY have we moved out of it…), but what sparked our move wasn’t the crime, it was our desire to own a larger home. Looking back on things now, there’s no way we’d live in such a neighborhood again, but we’re older and wiser than we used to be.

A Man’s Car Is His Castle.

ON July 28th, “migrant youths” did this in a suburb outside of Paris to protest the death of a companion of theirs while in police custody.

Methodists. I’m going to bet that radical, extremist Methodism sparked this violence. What else could it be?

April 29th, Florence and Normandie.That attack is nothing unique, however. We’ve seen similar attacks on our streets that rose out of non-violent protests, and we’ll see them again in the future. Blocking freeway traffic is a favorite tactic of Black Lives Matter and other such protests, and all it takes is one overheated exchange to turn an inconvenient blockage of traffic into attempted mass murder.

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I was in St. Louis the night that Ferguson erupted in flames, blissfully unaware of the danger I was in. If the Ferguson rioters had decided that night to block a freeway instead of torch a convince store, I’d be facing a situation like the one above, or worse.

This is something that can happen to all of us, because the mobs who do such things can form faster than the media can report on it or cops can respond to it, leaving us to deal with a potential mob scene on our own, with what is available to us inside of our car at that very moment. No running around outside to grab the AR in your trunk: What you have within arm’s reach is what you have to deal with what’s going on.

Then there’s the legal elements to consider: Is a large group of unarmed protesters an “immediate and grave danger” to your life or the lives of the people inside your vehicle? In the state where you live, is your vehicle considered to be a “domicile” because you are currently occupying it, and therefore the laws that cover self-defense of your home cover you in your vehicle? Is a brick through your windshield considered deadly force?

Above all, though, remember you are in a large steel box that moves faster than the fastest person can run, so if you can more out of the danger area, do so, and do so as safe as possible.


On a semi-unrelated note, I was shocked at how little there is out there on the how and when you can defend your life in a car. Maybe my Google-Fu is weak on this sort of thing, but it seems there is page after page of information on defending your home, but precious little on what is considered your home when you’re away from home.

Setting The Narrative.

You see what you expect to seeBreach, Bang and Clear posted a photo from the North Miami police department on a recent police-involved shooting that went really, really wrong.

The police shooting of an African-American caregiver, who was lying in the street trying to help an autism patient, was accidental, according to the local police union representing the North Miami officer.

The officer had intended to shoot the patient, whom he thought posed a danger, but accidentally shot the caregiver instead, said John Rivera, the President of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association.

Now, the question is, why did the cops roll in there thinking that there was a danger of someone getting shot? Because the dispatcher told them there was a man with a gun on-scene threatening suicide.

Turns out it was a toy truck.

There are lots and lots of things to talk about here regarding police training and use-of-force, but I’m going to let others talk about such things. My takeaway from this is different: Because of the bad information that was sent to the dispatchers from the calling in the incident, the cops rolled up expecting to see certain things, and reacted as if those things were occurring, even though they weren’t.

Still think you shouldn’t call the cops and be the one to set the narrative in their minds after a defensive gun use?

I don’t. The first narrative is always, always the one that tends to stick. The sooner you get your story out in front of law enforcement (under the guidance of a lawyer, of course), the better off you’ll be.

What Makes A Civilian Defender When Everyone Has Guns?

Golindrianas ladyConsistency and the ability to make the shot on-demand, that’s what. Consider this quote from an article which asks the question, “What makes a photographer when everyone is taking pictures?”.

“If you were there when the Hindenburg caught on fire, and you took a picture of it, that’s a great photograph. But you’re not a great photographer, because you can’t repeat that in everyday things,” he continues. “What a great photographer does is, they are consistently able to make something in a style that’s personal to themselves.”

Been there, done that, have the contact sheets to prove it. For the best (photo) shot I’ve taken, I had time to snap exactly one frame (that’s the image to the right). It was on a medical mission trip to a small town in the coastal jungles of Ecuador, and I was along to document the trip. The lady in the picture was waiting for her turn to see the doctor, and I had to be very circumspect with my photos. I rounded a corner, saw her, saw the light, ducked back around the corner, set my camera for the exposure I wanted and pre-set the focus for the estimated distance from me to her, turned back around the corner, framed the shot, fine-tuned the focus and snapped the shot. If I had taken more than one shot or stuffed my camera up in front of her, I wouldn’t have gotten the same expression, and it wouldn’t have been as strong of a photo.

The whole thing took far, far less time to do than for me to write about it up there. Think there’s a corollary here with personal defense? I do.

I knew my camera (a Nikon FG with an 105mm f2.5 lens), I knew my film (Fujichrome 100), I knew lighting, I knew the rules of composition and, most importantly, I didn’t have to stop and consider what options would be best at the moment the shot presented itself. I knew there was enough light coming in from the left side window to expose her face, I knew there was enough light coming in from the right to separate her out from the background, and I knew there’d be enough light from the window that the picture would be sharp at 1/125 at f.28. Keep in mind this was pre-digital: If you’re not ± one half stop exposure on chromes, you’re toast, and so my ISO was 100, period. No cheating by cranking up to ISO12800 with the turn of a wheel, and no chimping, either.

That’s what a civilian defender does. They may have the same gear as a dilletante, they may talk about the same things as a dilettante, but when push comes to shove and they see the shot, they take it, and they take it in confidence.

France Calls For More First Responders.

Rocked with wave after wave of Methodist Presbyterian Huguenot youth of indeterminate origin violence, the French Interior Minister is appealing to the people of France to help prevent more attacks on French soil by becoming reserve police officers.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Saturday called on young citizens to become reservists and help boost security forces in the wake of the country’s latest terror attack.

France’s “operational reservists” include French citizens with or without military experience as well as former soldiers.

“I want to call on all French patriots who wish to do so, to join this operational reserve,” said Cazeneuve.

If only France had some organization out there to train civilians in the marksmanship needed to defend their country, and if only French citizens had to keep and bear arms in their own defence as well as the defence of their country.

If only… if only.

You are, and always have been, your own first responder. The cops don’t get there first, you do.

Late To The Party Here But…

If your movement is filled with people who are willing to march on the streets shouting “Pigs In A Blanket, Fry Them Like Bacon!”, don’t be too shocked when someone decides to make that happen.

The 70’s had better music than we have now, but fashions and cars were much, much worse. The terrorists of the 70’s may have been more effective at planting bombs, but the terrorist of 2016 are better at getting their message out. A bomb can go off and change the lives of a couple of hundred people. Ideas, however, can change nations. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

We don’t live in the 70’s. Our era is much more dangerous.

All Things Be Ready If Our Minds Be So.

As Alcoholics Anonymous says, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem, and that’s true of personal safety as well. Like some of my colleagues, I became aware at an early age that there were predators in the jungle, so I never really lived in what some call “Condition White” for any great length of time. Some may see that as living in fear, I call it living in reality, because we’re only fearful of the unknown.

With that overly-long introduction out of the way, here’s three good articles on staying aware of what’s going on around you and what you should do about it. Stuff like this isn’t as sexy as dressing up like The Punishera six second El Presidenté or a $3000 1911, but its more important.

Grant Cunningham on finding out what the real threats are in your life:

Consider the threat of a job loss or severe economic downturn; what would happen if there were a drought in your part of the country? How about an accident that closes the only road into your town for a couple of weeks? A monthlong power outage? These are all things that have happened somewhere in this country just in the last year! How about having your gas main, electrical service, or water cut off during a major storm? (My wife and I had to deal with a widespread week-long power outage, in the middle of winter, twice in our lifetimes — once when we were living in one of the most affluent cities in our state!) Finally, a big risk might be unresolved health issues that are under your control.

How to listen to what someone’s body language is telling you:

  • Don’t make the usual mistakes: Take context, clusters, baseline, and biases into consideration.

  • First impressions are often accurate: With a number of traits you can trust your gut. But know which ones.

  • Trust mimicry and emotional expression: But they have to be sustained and consistent.

  • Awful people have tells: Pay attention to notice them. And look for narcissists in flashy clothing.

Dr. Sherman House on becoming a “civilian defender”.

… here is what I feel should constitute the undergraduate education of the civilian defender:

  1. Criminology/Street Smarts/Physical Preparedness

  2. Defensive Driving

  3. Emergency Medical

  4. Legal Preparation, Aftermath and Rules of Engagement

  5. Less Lethal skills

  6. Handgun Carry Course

  7. Handgun Skills and Tactics Course

  8. Defensive Tactics

Note: Dressing up like Batman is NOT listed there.

Crowded Source.

Some really great advice on dealing with crowds and tense situations here.

The KEY to surviving any event in a crowded venue will depend almost entirely on your ability to control personal panic, to assess the situation, and to take immediate action. If you panic, you drastically increase your odds of injury or death.

My wife and I were walking up and down the Strip in Vegas a few years ago, and we took one of the escalators up to one of the crosswalks they have there over the busy intersections. The escalator was packed with fellow tourists enjoying a night out on the town, and unfortunately, at the top was another large group of tourists packed shoulder-to-shoulder on the walkway. The overpass was packed to capacity, and yet more people were about to be dumped on it thanks to the crowded escalator behind us.

Fortunately, I saw what we were about to run into, and immediately moved to the edge of the overpass and edged our way out of the crowd and away from any potential crush.

Knowing, as they say, is half the battle.