Are We Not Men?

My friend Rob talked on Facebook about being in a fast-food restaurant when the power went out.

Power flickered, then came back on, sorta, in a “emergency lighting in a sub” kind of way. The registers and computers all down and they couldn’t figure out how to fill all the many outstanding orders without power.

I finally yelled out what mine was and that it should have been next out and pulled out my pocket FourSevens light to give the guy putting the food together enough light to work by. I got my food and then they hustled everyone out and locked the doors. I don’t think anyone else got their food or even refunds.

Miguel talks about a dramatic water rescue facilitated by someone having a knife and states:

If your Every Day Carry kit does not have a knife (or two), it is time for you to get it.

I agree with both of these ideas 100%. As I sit at my desk in my office right now, scrupulously avoiding finishing a presentation I’m working on, I have a Photon II flashlight and a Leatherman PS on my keychain and a CRKT Pazoda II clipped to my pocket. All of these are innocuous, inoffensive and won’t raise any alarms, yet I’ve pulled each of these out of my pockets and put them to some use in the past week, something I (thankfully) can’t say about my defensive firearm.

Get a clue: Get a knife and a flashlight, and worry about what will happen before you worry about what might happen.


And yes, the title is yet another musical reference.

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.

Re-Re-Thinking The Trunk Gun.

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You’re not going to use your trunk gun to shoot a terrorist in the face. You’re just not. You job is to be your own FIRST responder, not a second responder like the cop who arrives after the shooting starts. Greg Ellifritz makes a really good point on the Ballistic Radio show from a few weeks ago: When the cops roll up on the scene, they are going to be looking for guys with rifles.

You’re on the scene. You have a rifle in your hands. It’s not going to go well for you.

However, that doesn’t mean that a trunk gun is totally useless. You spend a third of your life at work, and trouble can happen right quickly when you’re away from home. If you have to defend your life at work (and maybe the lives of your coworkers), you’ll probably want more than a pistol (if you have one) or a stapler (if you don’t). Turning your home into Warwick Castle means diddley-squat if you’re attacked out side of your ancestral manse.

A Little Respite Would Be Nice.

Can we please go a week without hearing about an Islam-inspired mass murder somewhere in what little remains of Western Civilization or a cop-shooting rampage inspired by a racist hate group?

My thoughts and prayers are for our police officers tonight, and especially for the members of the Baton Rouge police department affected by this mass murder. May justice be swift and sure for those who did this.

With the Republican National Convention starting up, and with more promises of violence at the convention from the people who inspired the attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, my advice to people of Cleveland is simple: Be your own Roof Korean.

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.

The Car Gun In Context.

Car guns and trunk guns are on my mind again. I’ve changed cars, and I no longer drive a dull grey Honda Civic, I’m driving something a bit more… lively now. Because I drive a nicer car, I’m a bigger target, but because the car has a stick shift, I might be a smaller target. I like having at gun (or two) in my car because it gives me options. The concern, however, with doing such is that crooks can break in and steal it, or that your gun will get stolen along with your car.

I can dig it.

I’ve had my car broken into, and I’ve had another car stolen. When my car was broken into, it was because there were items in plain view that the crooks wanted (one time, they mistook my Bible in its cover for a purse. I hope they took some time to read the “Thou Shalt Nots”…). It took me a while, but I realized what the crooks were looking for was not my car (there were plenty of better cars around), it was the things inside my car they were looking for. Since then, I’ve been pretty scrupulous about making it look like there is nothing of value inside my car, and I make sure I don’t have anything on the outside (like an NRA sticker) that says there might be something inside the car a crook might want.

To me, having the means to keep the fight off my front porch, no matter where I might be, is worth the risk of carrying around a trunk gun. I’m more likely to need my fire extinguisher or jumper cables than I am my trunk gun, but there really isn’t a substitute out there for a long gun if you need one in a hurry.

Update: Driving to work yesterday, and what do I see but the local fire department putting out a car-be-cue on the side of the Interstate. Poor dude coulda saved his nice Lexus SUV had he one of these in the cargo compartment.

No, They Are NOT Looking At You.

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… so I took out the tacticool tourniquet pack out for a spin a few days ago, concealing it under an un-tucked grey t-shirt. I went to Staples, the public library and I did the Wal-Mart walk.

Nothing happened. No one stared, no one pointed, no one asked me if that was an iPhone 6+ or was I just happy to see them. That tells me it’s ok to start adding that into my daily concealed carry.

Cool.

A Useful Concealed Carry Trauma Kit.

I have been struggling mightily to come up with a way to carry a trauma kit (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) on a day in, day out basis. I have my one in my car, one if I’m not in my car, and one at work., which all very well and good, but the fact remains that all those kits are NEAR me, not WITH me. That distance can make a difference in how quickly and effectively I can render aid to someone when their life is on the line, especially if that someone is me. What I needed was a concealed carry trauma kit that had enough gear to be useful but was small enough to fit in with my other carry gear.

We use the phrase “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away” quite a lot in the concealed carry community, but somehow, we don’t stop and think that paramedics are also minutes away (and usually arrive after the police do). We wouldn’t consider ourselves ready for a gunfight if our gun was in the car, why then would we consider ourselves to be ready to deal with the effects of a gunfight if our trauma kit is in the car?

I’ve tried to carry a Cleer EDC Kit, and while it’s terrific, it still is just a little too big to conceal under an untucked t-shirt, and the Patrol Officer’s “Pocket Trauma Kit” is not made for civilian pockets.

However, whilst perusing the aisles of my local Big Blue Box Store, I spotted a “Quick Seal” wound care kit that looked tiny enough to carry every day.

And it is.
concealed carry gunshot wound kit

As you can see in the photo, I ditched everything in the store-bought kit except two small containers of Celox, two gauze pads and an antiseptic pad. I teamed those items up with nitrile gloves and a SWAT-T tourniquet, and stuffed everything into a MOLLE-compatible iPhone 6+ case, and it works quite well. I think I’ll add a short strip of peel away duct tape to help keep things in-place if needed, but other than that, I’m happy with how this kit is set up.

concealed carry trauma kit

Concealable trauma kitThat’s my extra mag for my Shield on the right, in its belt pouch for a size comparison. Crunching down everything this small did involve some trade-offs. There’s not a lot of blood-clotting agent and bandages in this kit, and the SWAT-T tourniquet isn’t perhaps the best solution out there, but it beats jetting out arterial blood at 60 beats a minute. Also, because the tourniquet is essentially just a big rubber band, it folds flat. This means that when teamed up with the soft nylon iPhone case, it wraps around my waist when I carry it, rather than remaining stiff and inflexible and noticeable. This is important because when it comes to concealed carry, thinness is the most important attribute a gadget can have. As you can see in the photo, while the kit is not 100% invisible under an untucked t-shirt, it’s unnoticeable from the front or side, what you can see from the rear looks like the cell phone case it really is, and not like a concealed carry trauma kit.

Would I carry this kit if I were headed out to Khandahar tomorrow? No, I’d carry an IFAK, and probably more than one. Will this new kit help save lives more than not having it on me will? Yes, and that’s reason enough for me to carry it every day.

We Also Walk Dogs.

What if retail gun stores stopped being about guns and started being about lifestyle? What would they look like? They’d sell guns, and DIY home alarm kits. They’d have a range, and a dojo and a service that (for a small fee) will walk through a customer’s home and make recommendations on home security. They’d sell first aid kits and car emergency kits and flashlights and have classes on pistol shooting, prepping on a budget, preventing credit card fraud and how to stay safe on vacation.

They’d cover all the bases, not just the gun base. Gun Culture 1.0 stores sell camo clothing and tents and decoys and barbecues and other items only tangentially related to pulling the trigger. Why should a Gun Culture 2.0 store be just about guns?

* And this time, it’s a science fiction reference in the title, not a music reference.