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 filled with my camera in front of her, I wouldn’t have gotten the same expression, and it’s 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 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.

Essential Skills

A really great run down of what a well-prepared, well-protected civilian would need in training, mindset and equipment, over at Revolver Science. I like this list because rather than concentrating on “The Seventeen Ways YOU Can Stop Terrorism With Your AR-15 (And #12 Will Blow His Mind!)!!!”, it lays out, pretty clearly, what our threats are and what can be done to stop them. I really like that “defensive driving” is on the list. Want to avoid a road rage incident? Try not to be a jerk on behind the wheel, and never escalate the situation when someone cuts you off.

Gee, maybe those same principles of heightened awareness, conspicuous politeness and de-escalation might also work when he have a firearm on our waist and well as when we’re behind wheel.

Now that my family’s moved, “Getting into shape in order to help me live longer and with less creaking joints” needs to be on my version of this list.

A Shelter In The Time Of Storm.

You would think that if there was a particular type of crime that was up 1000% percent since 2005, it’d get some airplay on the news programs, right?

Well, in the case of attacks inside and out of the sanctuary, that’s not the case.

Lately we’ve seen a large increase in church security teams coming for firearms and tactics training. (I use the word “church” for any house of worship.) This is a good thing. According to one study violence at religious centers has increased over one thousand percent between the years 2005 to 2010.

Let’s face it: A church should (SHOULD!) be a place where people who are wounded emotionally and spiritually find solace and support to overcome their inner demons. This means that people who engage in questionable, if not outfight illegal and stupid things show up on our doorstep, and that means dealing with people who they associate with. I’ve seen it for myself: I was waiting in the narthex before service one Sunday when a rousing knock-down fight started between a woman and her divorced spouse. Both of them attended the church prior to their divorce, and neither was willing to find a new spiritual home now that they were no longer a couple. Fortunately, cooler (and stronger) heads prevailed, and the fight was quickly broken up and taken to a quieter place for the authorities to handle, but that was my wake-up call that bad things can happen inside a house of God.

Now that we have to deal with the threat of Islamic terrorism on our shores, what are the odds of ISIS doing over here what they’ve committed to doing in Iraq, namely, ridding the world of any and all competing faiths? How soon until we see a terrorist attack on a sanctuary or a synagogue?

It’s coming, and if you church isn’t willing to have a plan for man-made or natural disasters, make one for yourself.

An Argument Against Open Carry That I’ll Accept

On the November 28 episode of The American Warrior Show, William Aprill talks with Mike Seeklander about the criminal mindset, weapon disarms and a bunch of other topics. Interspersed with all of that information is a casual mention of two people getting assaulted and robbed of their open-carry pistols. Aprill points out, quite rightly, that guns along with drugs, are two of the items worth more to a criminal than cold, hard cash is. Therefore, to a crook, the benefits of stealing your gun might outweigh the risks of him getting shot by said gun.

And he’s right.

I support open carry, always have, always will, because it makes concealed carry a lot easier. However, the reality is, when you or I open carry, we are essentially walking around with an expensive watch on our wrists and money coming out of our pockets. We are advertising to the crooks that we have something they want, and that is a bad, bad thing indeed. When we open carry, we need to be aware that we have made ourselves a much more attractive target to the bad guys, and act accordingly, while still acting overly polite.