A positive spin on firearms training

I was noodling things a bit last week after attending a class on Florida self-defense law put on by Donald Day and Step By Step Gun Training. The class emphasized (as all good classes like this do) that retreat and de-escalizing is almost ALWAYS preferable to armed confrontation.

I realized that we when give up our “right” to be upset at the actions of others, we gain the ability to save our lives and the lives of our loved ones. 

And that’s a pretty big thing indeed.

Maybe it’s a good thing that Tracking Point went out of business

Because the same WiFi connection they use on their rifles to foist off video onto an iPad can be used to seriously mess with the aiming system of their wiz-bang rifle.

The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing. In a demonstration for WIRED (shown in the video above), the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hit a bullseye of the hacker’s choosing rather than the one chosen by the shooter.

That’s… not good, and further proof that anything that can be used to push data out can be used as a way to force data in. Security and safety should extend to your gadgets and gear, not just your firearms.

Lessons from Chattanooga

We may poo-poo the idea of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” tragedies like the jihad in Tennessee, but I’d rather learn from these incidents than pretend they don’t exist or hope and pray they don’t happen to me or my loved ones.

Number One:
The shooter in this latest incident was a Kuwaiti who didn’t exactly come from an impoverished background.

Terrorist house

Lesson to be learned here: Just because you live in a “nice” neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re safe from jihad. Naples, where I live, is nothing if not wall-to-wall “nice” neighborhoods, and we’re DARN close to Cuba as well. If you think you’re safe because you’re not in the military, you’re dead wrong. Jihadis have shot up schools, shopping malls, churches, airports and hotels; they’re going to have issues shooting up your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Number Two:
Carry as much firepower as you can, all the time. I’m carrying my CZ P07 off-work as of 5pm on Thursday, rather than the Shield I’ve been carrying. 9 rounds of ammo is good. 16 rounds is better, and another 16 in a spare mag on my belt, (with an AR in the trunk), is even more better. If you can’t carry at work, have a flashlight, a first aid kit and an escape plan.

Number Three: 
Carry more than a gun. I’ve got my tactical man-purse with me pretty much all the time now, and it has the things I need to deal with a day’s worth of what life might throw at me. If that’s too much for you, carry the four things you should have besides your gun and some means of mitigating the effects of a gunshot wound to yourself or others, and know how to use your gear.

To be honest, I’d much prefer to not worry about such things. It’s sad that we must consider terrorism on our home soil as a very real thing, but the consequences of not considering it are even sadder.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again

There are two possible responses to a dispersed threat such as “lone wolf” terrorism: Increasing security and reducing civil rights to the point where it is indistinguishable from tyranny, or a dispersed response that empowers individuals to not be victims.

Thoughts and prayers for the people of Chattanooga and all the Marines out there.

If only there were some compact and effective way for trained personnel to deter such attacks. Maybe something like this would stop the next tragedy before it happens.

Until our armed forces are allowed to be, you know, ARMED, they are targets, not soldiers.

 

Securing the sanctuary.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” 

– Matthew 5:43-45, NIV

If nothing else, the horror in Charleston last week should prompt churches into realizing that loving your enemies and relying on God to protect you is a great idea, but relying on God and 124 grain hollowpoints is a better idea. I don’t hate my enemies, but I won’t let them destroy me, either.

If you’re a church leader, and your church does not have a disaster plan, MAKE ONE, for God’s (literal) sake. That plan should cover fire, armed intruders and whatever natural disasters are common to your region: A church in Saskatchewan probably shouldn’t worry about a hurricane, but a blizzard that traps in a congregation overnight is a very real possibility in such climes.

Have a plan. Have a backup plan, and have the means to put those plans into action.

Stuff happens, and the Gospel of Matthew tells us it happens on the righteous and unrighteous in equal amounts. Pray about it, and then deal with it.

A World of Pain

knightTemplar

I carry a gun in church, and I’ve done so for as long as I could legally carry a gun on my person.

I’ve always understood that churches are a target for the those who wish to do harm to a great number of people at one time, just like people at a movie theater are a target, or a school, or a mall.

Motive, means, and opportunity, and churches represent a big opportunity for people who wish to commit such horrors.

My heart bleeds for my brothers in Christ in South Carolina. I pray for their safety, and for the safety of believers all around the world.

And I also carry a gun in church.

On track, on target, out of touch.

There’s an unfortunate tendency in some training circles to poo-poo the idea of “situational awareness” as a defensive tool.

“Situational awareness isn’t going to work”, they say, “You WILL be surprised by an attacker, and as such, you need to be ready to react to the bad guy and take charge of the situation.”

As with most things, there is an element of truth to this. As armed civilians, we don’t go out hunting for trouble like the cops do, trouble (unfortunately) finds us, so of course we’ll most likely be reacting to a situation and need to work on dealing with our startle response.

But that doesn’t mean that situational awareness isn’t an absolutely vital part of the armed lifestyle.

Take a moment to watch this video. Yes, I know, it’s aboot hockey, but watch what happens after the interview when the participants get to spend some quality time with Lord Stanley’s Cup. Two minutes into it, one fan stays true to the task she was assigned, and spends minute after minute filling out paperwork, blissfully unaware that one her life’s greatest dreams is sitting mere feet away from her.

She had a task to perform, and that task took 100% of her attention. Nothing else mattered, all she was worried about was filling out that paperwork. The Leprechaun Liberation Army could have been in the room, waiting to perform Irish jihad on her @$$, and she would have missed them and ended up as dead as disco.

Is situational awareness cloaking shield that stops you from having anything bad happen to you?
No.
Does it help stop bad things before they happen?
Absolutely yes.

The day and the hour is unknown

Yikes. Scary stuff happening in Waco yesterday.

Gunfire erupted Sunday among rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, leaving at least nine people dead, according to police.

Authorities had anticipated trouble and pre-positioned officers.

“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman.

The fight broke out at Twin Peaks restaurant and spilled into the parking lot. It quickly escalated from hands and feet, as weapons, to gunfire, Swanton said.

  1. Kudos the Waco police for being on top of the situation from the get-go.
  2. This didn’t happen at Biker Billy’s Beef N Booze Roadhouse, it happened at a Twin Peaks, a chain restaurant in the grand tradition of Hooters, Tilted Kilt, etc.
  3. If you see a bunch of cops staked out at a restaurant, DON’T GO INTO THE RESTAURANT.
  4. If you don’t see the cops and still go into the restaurant, if there a lot of bikers fingering weapons and growling menacingly, LEAVE THE RESTAURANT. There isn’t a beer in the world worth dying over.
    Well, except for Saisson Dupont, of course…
  5. Sometimes, the bear finds you. The pastor at my old church was at Bike Week in Laughlin the day this happened, and he was literally minutes away from mixed up in this mess. Have a plan to avoid everything altogether, a plan to get out, and a plan if you can’t get out.

Your Viewpoint Determines Your Vision

Stephen King asks three questions which provide us with an interesting peek into the mind of an anti-gun activist, (via Kathy Jackson).

“I guess the question is, how paranoid do you want to be? How many guns does it take to make you feel safe? And how do you simultaneously keep them loaded and close at hand, but still out of reach of your inquisitive children or grandchildren?”

Let’s address those three questions individually.

“How paranoid do you want to be?”
This question assumes that deciding to be your own first responder is a paranoid act, as if having a fire extinguisher means you’re convinced there’s an arsonist on the loose or having a first aid kit means you’re surrounded by clumsy oafs who constantly injure themselves.

Actually, as I have two young sons, that last sentence is, in truth, correct …

I digress.

It’s not a question of being paranoid, because paranoia is by definition based on unreasonable fears, and wanting to defend your loved ones from harm is an entirely reasonable desire that inhabits the entire animal kingdom. Every critter in the forest defends what’s important to them, why should mankind be any different?

It’s important to note here that acknowledging the existence of tigers in the forest does not detract from the beauty of the forest itself. I don’t consider my life as an armed individual to be any less rewarding or fulfilling than my unarmed life. If anything, I feel more empowered because I know for certain I can effectively deal with whatever life can throw at me.

It’s not paranoia that drives me, Mr. King, it’s empowerment.

How many guns does it take to make you feel safe?
That one’s easy: How many guns? However many it takes to stop a threat to myself or my loved ones. The actual number of guns involved will vary from time to time and from person to person. For me, that number is four: A gun on my person, a gun near me when I’m outside of the house that is more powerful than the gun on my person, a gun near me in the home, and a gun in my home that is more powerful than the other home gun.

YMMV.

How do you simultaneously keep them loaded and close at hand, but still out of reach of your inquisitive children or grandchildren?
There are two ways I accomplish the first part of that question. The first way is to keep a gun on my person wherever and whenever I can, including when I’m relaxing around the house. If the safest and quickest way to store a gun when I’m outside the house is on my person, it makes sense that the safest and easiest way to store a gun inside the house is also on my person.

Duh.

Secondly, I am a BIG proponent of the easy-access gun safe for home defense pistols. We did a simple test over at Teamgunblogger that showed that getting a gun out of a safe was just as easy and just as fast as finding one in your sock drawer, so I’m pretty confident in both the security of my guns and the security of my house.

To answer the second part of that question, I deal with the inquisitive nature of children in my life by reducing the allure of guns. If guns are commonplace and a part of your everyday life, they aren’t as a unusual or seen as the “forbidden fruit”. My kids know (and practice) the guidelines laid down in the NRA’s “Eddie The Eagle” program, and I whole-hearted recommend it as a starting point for teaching gun safety to children.

Mr. King’s questions are valid and right, from his point of view. It’s a point of view that is not shared by millions and millions of other people, but it is nevertheless a point of view that is commonplace and, in some ways, informative, because it shows the underlying fears that anti-gun activists have. They KNOW the world is “unsafe”, they just can’t put their finger on “why”, so they blame the instruments of violence rather than the instigators of violence. It’s a beguiling intellectual shortcut to solving the problem of violence, but it’s a shortcut that leads to a dead-end: Even if you reduce the instruments of violence down to man’s most basic tools, the knife and blunt instrument, the violence still remains.

The problem isn’t what’s in a man’s hand, the problem is in his heart. Banning or restricting what  man can use to defend lives will never, ever change his heart.