Thursday, December 03, 2015

Now What?

"World War 1 British artillerymen in 1915 launched observer balloons to notify gunners along the line to commence firing; the easily seen visual signal was more reliable than rudimentary methods of courier or telephone…"
The balloon has gone up.

Whatever the "official" explanation of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino —workplace violence, climate change, mental health issues, post-partum depression, the Tea Party — I think the adults in the room understand that none of those explanations quite explain a bomb factory in a suburban apartment, 2 heavily armed and armored followers of a religion that is at war with the 21st Century, a couple who casually drop the baby off at granny's house before heading out to slaughter Americans, who attach GoPro cameras to their gear to make sure to document in glorious high definition the slaughter, who choose to shoot it out with police rather than surrender.

There are enough "whys" here to keep forensic technicians, psychologists and politicians talking in endless circles for a decade. Let me step up clarify those "whys" for you — they don't matter. The technicians, the psychologists, the politicians are no more capable of arriving at an understanding than a witch doctor casting the bones of his ancestors. In fact, I would argue that the witch doctor is more likely to come up with the only answer that makes sense…evil exists, and manifests itself in the world.

I would suggest that you can arrive at that very same conclusion by searching "Beheadings" on the Internet. But again, as I wrote in TRAIL SAFE, the "whys" only matter insomuch as they help you protect yourself and your families.

It is not necessary to know the complete backstory, the sad childhood, the deep religious conversion of a plague bacillus, only how to kill it.

From Jim Geraghty at NRO:
They abandoned their child? Okay, stop. This was not driven by a workplace dispute. To leave your infant child and then commit horrific violence that is likely to lead to your death from police action requires an almost otherworldly devotion to . . . some other cause, something you consider more important than life, death, and the inherent biological urge to protect your offspring. “Larry from accounting keeps taking the last doughnut at staff meetings” or “they took my red Swingline stapler” isn’t the sort of motive at work here. 
What motivation have we seen that would make seemingly ordinary people go on mass-murdering attacks? What ideology or twisted religious fervor have we seen people willing to sacrifice their children for, willing to die for?
Forget what we "know;" think about what we can do:

1) You MUST be vigilant as you go about your everyday lives! Yes, it is the holidays, and I'm not going to tell you to avoid crowds, keep out of malls, etc., although heaven knows that makes sense. But you need a heightened sense of awareness. Observe entrances and exits, and ask yourself if shots ring out, were is the best place to take you and your family? Where is cover? Where is a hidey-hole? I strongly urge you to watch the CNN documentary, TERROR AT THE MALL, on the Nairobi Westgate Mall terrorist attack. Study what the survivors did that kept them alive. Watch the defenders — 2 police and 2 CCW holders — work through the Mall.

2) It's not enough to be MUST be trained! Remember our emphasis on DOWN RANGE Radio about the necessity of delivering the shot? You can't be too trained. The more you internalize your silliest with your EDC guns, the more concentration you'll have for negotiating the hellish maze you may face. Make sure your training involved both strong-hand and weak hand-training. I have participated in numerous scenarios where I had to use the non-weapon hand to control a person — spouse, child, whomever — because I needed them to be RIGHT THERE RIGHT THEN! Do you know how to shoot from retention? Do you know how to move with your gun out in such a way that you don't increase the panic? Can you take a 25-yard head shot or a 50-yard center mass body shot with your EDC?

3) Start competing in a shooting sport immediately. Hell, I don't care which one! Even cowboy will help you learn to shoot under stress and how to move from position to position and quickly pick up multiple targets. You need the stress inoculation, building up those stress "antibodies"" so when the real stress happens, you don't stand there like the little mule deer buck in the middle of road last night, eyes wide open, frozen in place. I believe (and I teach) that LAG TIME KILLS. Lag time is defined as the time from your recognition of the stimulus until the initiation of your response. The shorter the lag time, to greater the likelihood that you get to go home that night.

4) Consider your gear. Where you are, right at this very minute, do you have a gun in reach? A reload? A trauma kit? Do you keep a trauma kit in your car? Do you know how to stop a bleeding wound? Do you have a knife and flashlight within reach? Do you know how to use the folding knife you have in your pocket right now? If you're spending a lot of time in public, have you considered carrying a second gun? If the situation goes worst-case, might it be better to have 2 people firing back than one?

5) Finally, you must believe you can win, you can overcome. You must believe in yourself, not in a happy, self-esteemy way, but in that part of your heart and mind that is made of granite. Because if you don't, all the skill in the world is worthless. I refer you to 3 critical books, Larry Gonzales' DEEP SURVIVAL: WHO LIVES; WHO DIES AND WHY, Amanda Ripley's amazing THE UNTHINKABLE: WHO SURVIVES WHEN DISASTER STRIKES AND WHY and Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder's THE BIG BLOODY BOOK OF VIOLENCE: THE SMART PERSON'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING DANGEROUS TIMES. Read them as if your life depends on it, because it does.

An ironic sidenote, just before I got a text from Seeklander yesterday  telling me to turn on the television, I was on the phone the THE BEST DEFENSE Producer Jeff Murray. Jeff and I were talking about Episode 13 for 2016, essentially an episode where all of us pick out shows that we'd like to re-emphasize. Jeff asked me which show I personally wanted to focus on. I immediately said "The Office Attack," a show we modeled on the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in Paris. I told him that, "God help us, Jeff, but I believe that is our future." He agreed. Ten minutes later, we were proven right.


Anonymous said...

It was a Christmas party not a Holiday party. The Left will feel that totally justified the shooting.

nj larry said...

MB I asked this question elsewhere and got blown off (imagine that !). But I really do think this is worthwhile noodling on. Maybe you can add something....

Let me start with this memory from the way back machine...Being of the boomer generation I have all these memories of 1950 tv shows. One was "reality" show of the day. Basically stories in a half or full hour. 1920's in NYC lower East side. Tough neighborhood. Street patrolman in the middle of the day corners a bad guy. Right in the middle of the street in front of all the tenements teaming with people. No radios back then. BG won't obey the young cop. No body helps by calling the precinct. So there he is for 2 hours in the summer. Blistering NYC 100 degree heat holding the BG at gun point. TWO HOURS.... nearly fainting, arms shaking with fatigue...

Anyone who has shot competitive knows that stress and asking for physical effort to maintain sights on target only lasts seconds. Its downhill very quickly. Holding a 14 lb Anschutz 1913 offhand deteriorates into spasms of wild swings.

So I am watching the other day the Paris attacks. It triggers all these thoughts. When the battle lasts potentially for HOURS how and what does the good guy do in terms of gun control? I saw cops just letting their handguns lie across car roofs. Standing around with handgun dangling at hip. Long guns quickly brought up on target then crash back down. I tried the other night to see how long I could maintain my AR up on shoulder. Well this old guy couldn't reasonably get pass several minutes before muscle fatigue set in an I was shaking. That was an 8 lb AR. Even from all the competitions I have watched, these are short term events. Maybe I am wrong but are there competitions that require you to shoot and move for say an hour straight?

It just seems that we are reaching a turning point for even the civilian population where we might be dragged into protracted "battle" as opposed to a quick an nasty DGU. Just wondering how folks should handle it from the fundamentals. I hope I conveyed my thoughts clearly enough.

Anonymous said...

"What motivation have we seen that would make seemingly ordinary people go on mass-murdering attacks? What ideology or twisted religious fervor have we seen people willing to sacrifice their children for, willing to die for? To Obama, Democrats and other leftist elitists: the answer is simply "GUN OWNERSHIP". Just repeat after them, using your best Jon Lovitz impersonation: "Yeah, that's it! Gun ownership is the cause of mass murders!"

Even to a space-alien, that just doesn't make any sense, yet it keeps being repeated and repeated.

Remember, everything that liberals do or want to do is actually the reverse of the correct thing to do.

Life Member

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for the surgery ahead! Thanks for the balloon going up. Been meaning to find the origin. Knew what you meant

Thanks for your posts!

Defcon 1

Will said...


can I suggest that you do a video of accurate shooting of various carry size handguns at extended ranges? I'm thinking that 25 yds is too short a distance to practice at, for real world anti-jihadi action.

Public areas commonly have much greater distances, and it may not be practical to get within spitting distance of the BGs in many places. IIRC, the school officer that engaged a shooter at Columbine was dealing with a 70 yd hallway, and he was ineffective, running out of ammo without results. It was mentioned that he had never practiced shooting his pistol at anywhere near that range. Lots of mall areas easily match or exceed this distance.

An outdoor range I visit a couple times a year has a 40 yd tin can range. My target is a steel juice can about 5" tall, and 2" dia. I figure that a 5" circle is approx head size. I am using a 2" snubbie, shot DAO (mod 442). I hope to try the 100 yd tin can range next time I go. IIRC, British police 100+ years ago had long range competitions with their handguns. Maybe this could be added to various shooting competitions to encourage shooters to consider it a feasible ability?

Publicola said...

Nj Larry,
In High Power matches, there are two stages that last 20 minutes each. One is slow fire from the standing position at a 200 yard target with a 13 inches of scoring rings in black. The other is slow fire from prone at a 600 yard target with 36 inches of scoring rings in black. Neither requires movement (aside from getting into position), but both events require manually loading 1 cartridge into the rifle per shot for 20 shots (excluding 2 sighters). I should note that standing is different from off-hand - in the former you use your skeleton more than your musculature to support the rifle.

It's the closest I can think of to what you were asking about, & especially at first it can be a bit tiring as you repeatedly shoulder & aim the rifle, shoot, evaluate your shot, then reload. But it's not continually pointing the rifle at the target as you seem to be wondering about.

In any metro area there's slim chance any non-cop would be engaged with a bad guy(s) for more than 20-ish minutes on his/her own. Back up would arrive & hopefully provide relief (providing they didn't attack the defender by mistake).

Anything could happen, but I wouldn't worry too much about getting into a protracted battle with a non government actor. (If your name is beside an unchecked box on some bureaucrats form that's another story..)

As cliche as it may sound, the thing I would focus on is having a plan to get to your long gun in the first place. Most folks don't tote their muskets into the mall whilst shopping (which is a shame as I have a few barbecue rifles that are almost too pretty to leave in the truck...) & sometimes a handgun just ain't enough. So using your handgun to fight your way to your long guns would be the thing to think about, should Jihad Joe & Jane decide to shoot up your mall.

If such an unpleasant scenario drags on for 20 minutes or longer, I'd worry much more about running out of ammo than muscle fatigue. At 20 rounds a minute you'd burn through 400 rounds in 1/3rd of an hour. As paranoid as I am I only have about 10 minutes worth of ammo for my trunk gun (though now that I think about it I may have to change that...)

Michael Bane said...

Larry…My rehab has been a great reminder to me…the harder I work, the stronger I get. I will never be the athlete I once was. The years, the abuse and the damage have taken their toll. But before NZ (and the destruction of my knee), I walked a lot. I got a 13 pound iron bar and strapped a sling on it and hiked. I was hardly nimble, but I did the climb, carried the weight and pulled the trigger. I say focus on techniques to preserve your strength. I've training on holding people at gunpoint in an energy was as possible. At the time, I thought it was a waste of time…boy, was I wrong about that.

I spent some time with a friend of mine who is quite literally a legend in the Special Forces community. He's more beat up than me. Walking/hiking is like magic for us sad old bastards. When my doctors allow, I will start carrying the weight walking.

I am also increasingly focused on lighter weapons. Six pounds should be a goal on an AR. The house carbine, which is 3 yards from my right hand, is a little beefy at 7 pounds. My DoubleStar C3 is less than 6 pounds with Aimpoint T1. I may well settle on the Sig MCX.

Will…we have gone WAY TOO FAR in the wrong direction in terms of self-defense training. Because of the stats that most assaults take place inside that 7-6-or 5 yard radius (depending on the studies), we have overwhelming focused our training on close in shots. I will confess to that myself. The world is changing. Yes, we need those close in skills, and we need CQB skills, but I believe we must address the issue of longer shots. I'm stealing this directly from Gabe Suarez (sorry, Gabe), but the next time you're at Wally World or a Costco or Sam's Club or even a big supermarket, pick a long aisle and pace the length of the aisle off. Longer than 7 yards, isn't it? 25 yards? 50 yards?

Let's set a minimum skill here…start out with the ability to make a 25 yard head shot with your EDC gun. Not your match gun. My STI Marauder 9mm will ring a 6-inch plate at 25 yards all day long. But I don't carry that gun. So my practice is with my carry guns…and it is harder. But we need to know what we have to do to make that shot. Second basic skill…center mass hits on a silhouette target at 50 yards. Remember that aisle at Sam's Club? Start closer…take a paper plate and set it up at 10 yards, then move it back as you improve. If those standards are too easy for you, hey, make it harder.

There is no suck thing as too much skill!

I strongly urge you to sign up for a class specifically on these issues:

Multiple courses from Marty Hayes' FIREARMS ACADEMY OF SEATTLE

GUNSITE'S new Active Shooter/Terrorist response class:

SI Active Shooter/Terrorist Interdiction

Active Response Training

Tactical Defense Institute

Mike Seeklander's Shooting Performance TV is an invaluable resource:
Definitely checkout the 5 X 5 challenge video.

Ditto for Michael Janich's Distance Learning Program


kmitch200 said...

The CA attack wasn't "workplace violence". It was a direct result of the delta smelt not getting enough water! Hellooo, there's drought conditions in CA!
See? It all makes sense.

The best way I've found to teach new(ish) shooters to take long shots with a pistol is informal plinking against a dirt backstop where they can see the bullet impact.
Get a pile of ammo and start pushing to extreme limits and make it fun. Steel is MUCH more fun than paper with it's immediate feedback.

@NJLarry - nobody holds their weapon in firing position for any significant amount of time. Do you hold your long gun up to your shoulder the whole time you're hunting? Of course not, that would be dumb.
Police/military snipers can be behind their scopes for HOURS relaying intel and waiting for a shot but only if they are in a position of relative comfort where that is possible and I can gaurantee they are NOT holding the weight of the rifle.

jerry from pcola said...

went out shooting today with my EDC glock 26. 10 yards head shots no problem 25 and I suck!! all over the target but still center mass. Thanks for making me use my EDC instead of my sig 226 or glock 35 which are way to big to carry.

Dry fire, dry fire and more range time.

ps- only have night sights no red dot!!

Michael Bane said...


You're not alone…but I am getting better! Tomorrow is dry fire, dry fire, range.

Oddly enough I got a speeding ticket today (well, not so oddy)…I told the LEO that I had a licensed gun crossdraw and how did he want me to proceed. He said "How about you don't draw yours and I won't draw mine." I said cool, that works. Took my medicine ($98 and 1 point), then before he left the Sheriff's Deputy said, "Thank you, sir, for taking the time to learn how to use a gun and carrying. A lot of us are really glad that there are more and more armed, trained civilians like you. Sorry about the ticket, but that you for that gun."

Surprised me.


Michael Bane said...

"thank you for that gun," I meant…


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