Urban Disaster Preparedness Presentation in Federal Way

On September 29, 2010, the City of Federal Way presented an Urban Disaster Preparedness session.

Think about how to store some food and take action immediately. Many people think nothing will happen or that it will happen to someone else, somewhere else and some other time but if you take that attitude you will be standing in line waiting for supplies that may be rather meager. Act within 24 hours by taking some steps or you may never get started.

Have an evacuation plan but store enough food and water to stay at home for the long term. There may be nowhere else to go. Mylar bags and lockable five-gallon buckets are good for storing food. Think about what you will use to cook hot food.

Terrorists are known to be planning to put something in the food or water supply and any interruption in the distribution system will disturb the food and water supplies in other parts of the country.

An event to honor veterans and first responders is planned for November 13 from 1:00-3:00 PM at Todd Beamer High School. Joe Jackson, a distinguished Medal of Honor recipient, will be speaking. We now realize that stateside duty is just as dangerous as going to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Every place is a danger zone! Modern tactical doctrine has evolved to the point where recognizable fronts and uniformed armies have been replaced with committed packs of warriors that randomly circulate in small teams looking for opportunities. Thus, a teacher, a firefighter or a janitor may need to be just as vigilant as a member of our special forces in Afghanistan!

The potential for danger is all around us every day, not just during an obvious catastrophe. This is why churches and pastors may be the most important key to getting ready for future events. The sense of community that already exists in churches requires that pastors, priests and rabbis- even imams and other leaders- train those within our various spiritual communities so that we do not just react to crises.

Every business organization should be discussing these issues and begin creating a plan. Get into CERT training and classes provided by the City, state and federal governments and recognize First Responders that labor among you.

Many of us already have extra food and emergency supplies. None of us are able to take all the steps necessary to prepare for every contingency. We depend on each other. The beginning of good government is when neighbors voluntarily pool resources in order to provide for each other’s well-being and for the common defense.

Historically, public order starts with volunteerism. People have to take the initiative again by making our voices heard and preparing to confront emergencies and/or threats of violence with or without help from the surrounding community. The police and even your neighbors may be overwhelmed during a big disaster.

Every Thanksgiving, I appreciate America’s Biblical roots, the U.S. Constitution and the freedom to talk and write about such things. I also appreciate the professionals that have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and stand guard over the City!

Federal Way Armed Defense Classes

We presented our third class in Federal Way on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at Federal Way City Hall. We had 16 participants most of whom are volunteers with our local police department and/or volunteer emergency personnel. The May class focused on Washington law and the use of lethal force to protect your home and family.

We are available to meet with your neighborhood group, church or business and present a seminar specially tailored to your needs.

We will customize a presentation for your group or business organization anywhere in Washington State. We can help you develop a threat response plan for your church and will provide legal training for your family members or volunteers. We recently presented the class at Holmes harbor Rod & Gun Club on Whidbey Island in February and almost thirty people attended.

Our motto is think like a man of action and act like a man of thought. Speak cautiously and politely and only use deadly force after you have thought through everything carefully. Apply cautious reasoning powers to each situation but start doing so now, not when you are faced with a decision in which you may have seconds to save your own life or the lives of your loved ones!

We have a message and a curriculum that relates to overcoming threats of violence by a combination of intelligence, moral persuasion, physical courage and deadly force if necessary.

The cost for the class is $49.00 but still only $79.00 for a couple.

Magna Charta

We emphasize development of good legal and tactical reasoning- reasoning that will allow you to understand your situation more accurately if you are ever faced with the necessity of confronting lethal force.

Remember, every principle must be applied by means of thoughtfully contemplating the moral, legal and tactical issues engendered by the subject matter. There are no answers that are always right in every situation.

Marty Hayes, the founder of Firearms Academy of Seattle was our guest speaker for February. Marty discussed the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, FAS and how training protects us legally from accusations that we are acting without knowledge of the legal rules pertaining to use of lethal force. Marty stayed for the three hour class and participated in our discussions, including almost an hour of informal discussion after class was dismissed. Marty has many years experience as an LEO, police instructor and as an instructor of armed citizens. Everyone, including me, learned a great deal from the time spent together.

Classes include but are not limited to:

1. Who should carry;

2. Concealed carry and open carry options, including Washington State case law pertaining to unlawful display of a weapon;

3. How to carry your weapon;

4. Deploying deadly force;

5. When and where to go with your weapon;

6. How to interact with law enforcement before, during and after an incident;

7. Threat response planning for home & business;

8. Stress psychology;

9. Preparing for the aftermath of a justified self-defense scenario.

We expect everyone to take notes! Keep your class notes and materials. Your firearms training materials may someday become necessary to document a life or death decision to use deadly force if you need to defend yourself in court. The stakes will be high- before, during and after a violent confrontation. After the gunfight, however, the thugs may be wearing suits and carrying brief cases!

Keep your class notes sealed in your gun safe or some other secure location so that you have documentation in court for every decision you make during a violent encounter.

Learning is facilitated by asking the right questions and participating in lively and informative discussions. Most of the issues that arise do not have clear answers but in the event that you are confronted with a threat of death or grave bodily harm, the choices become fairly simple. Only use deadly force when you are confronted with deadly force that is an imminent threat to you or an innocent person that is in your immediate presence.

From CMP to Three-Gun IPSC; an Across the Course Overview

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a new law that eventually led to creation of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship. The purpose of this legislative initiative was, “That every facility should be offered citizens outside of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and organized militia [National Guard] to become proficient in rifle shooting, and that this purpose can best be accomplished by means of rifle clubs.”

Even today, federal law provides a definition for an organized and an unorganized militia. The unorganized militia are the able-bodied citizenry at large (traditionally men between certain ages) that are able to defend their country. Pres. Roosevelt believed that America’s military preparedness depended on having people of all ages involved in competitions and other firearms training.

Thus, civilians, the NRA, police & military shooting have all evolved together and there has been a constant interplay of innovation in technology, training techniques, competitions and personnel. Expert civilian competitors often compete right alongside expert military and police marksmen. Those with no police and military training succeed the same way that competitive soldiers, sailors and police succeed- by extra commitment, natural talent and a great deal of training.

The purpose of the DCM was to encourage this kind of interaction and military weapons were distributed from the U.S. surplus. The program almost died out in the Sixties because U.S. policy makers decided that small-arms were almost a thing of the past except for stopping waves of Soviets from crossing into Western Europe. The non-profit CMP was created at the last minute. There are still CMP competitions and reasonably priced WW II Garands and other excellent military weapons are available to folks that participate in competitions and other organized shooting activities.

I belong to Paul Bunyan Shooting Club in Puyallup and starting in February and throughout the summer, the Club will shut most of its facilities for certain days during which CMP practice and various rifle competitions are held. Normal rifle shooting at Paul Bunyan is at 200 yards or less. For me this is one of the few opportunities in which I can experience shooting at a target from 600 yards. In Service Match competition, all competition is with open sights and equipment that is standard for military rifles.

The preferred rifle for many is the semi-automatic version of the M-16 that most U.S. troops use in the field; i.e., semi-auto rifles (that means one shot with each pull of the trigger)that the media refers to as an “assault rifle” because they are usually black, accept magazines that are made to be easily removed and replaced with a fully loaded magazine and look like the full-auto weapons that our armed services deploy in times of war.

Many of the guys and ladies that shoot rifles either own an “AR” or would like to because they are accurate, easy to use and you can easily put a scope on many of them or other interesting equipment like lights and foregrips and things that make them no more threatening than much more powerful guns (that have more recoil and killing power) but those that want to take away guns- and our Constitution- want you to believe that they only want to ban the really evil guns with no legitimate sporting purpose “that are only made to be used for killing lots of people in a war”.

Once certain features (like foregrips) are banned it just becomes a matter of manipulating the definitions. The average member of the public that thinks the media is talking about full-automatic machine guns can hardly be expected to understand all the technical data on which federal and state gun restrictions hinge. It could easily be argued that a semi-automatic pistol is much more insidious than a military style rifle because pistols also hold quite a few bullets, are reloaded with removable clips and can be carried concealed.

Pistols were also designed for use in warfare and have killed many of America’s enemies along with innocent victims of crime. That is why the drafters of the Constitution saw fit to protect the use of such weapons! If they are militarily useful, the weapons can also be used to deter criminals, terrorists or even foreign enemies that might come to our shores.

Our club has some CMP Garands and the club occasionally lets members use them to participate in shooting events. The club’s Garands are semi-automatic 30.06 tack-drivers, modified with match-grade, free-floated barrels for more accuracy when the barrel heats up in competition. M-1 Garands hold eight rounds.

Hitting a six-foot high target at 600 yards with iron sights is an accomplishment in itself! Hitting the X-ring is extremely gratifying. Many teenagers are very skilled in such competition. It takes the ability to go into an extreme state of focused quietude that is the opposite of football, video games and other activities to which many of us are habituated. Women of all ages are also devoted to various disciplines involving both rifle and pistol shooting- and shotguns.

Another amazing event is an Appleseed Shoot. This is a grueling weekend of training that is similar to boot camp. While you learn the techniques that “make every man, woman and child a Rifleman,” you also learn about our Revolutionary War heritage. Every kind of rifle is used and every age and background. This movement is nationwide and draws people from all over. I went back and attended in North Idaho because I lived there for many years. In Couer d’Alene at the Fernan Range and Gun Club, I met men and women from Montana, Seattle and many places in the Northwest.

The rifleman’s skills are just as important now as ever before in our history.

I have also shot Steel Plate competitions. At Paul Bunyan we have very young kids that participate with their moms and dads and the young ladies (and older ones) often outshoot grown men that have years of military experience.

There is also a group of guys that work in public maintenance for Sumner with whom I have competed in combat-style IPSC shooting. USPSA, however, is the name of the organization under which many of the competitions are conducted. There is another branch of combat pistol competition called IDPA that tries to make the match more like you and I would experience if we encountered armed opponents on the streets. In all these “combat” shooting events, you run through a maze of multiple targets while shooting for speed and accuracy (sometimes at moving targets). I mention the guys from Sumner because if anyone ever attacked the City of Sumner with guns, the SWAT team could arrive late and the bad guys might be in more trouble than the residents of Sumner. These guys have trained to hit when they shoot and they train to shoot fast. They reload and shoot rapid-fire with pistols while they sprint past targets. My approach is to learn to do what they do while walking with an occasional jog.

Everyone is helpful and one reason to be there is to train to shoot faster while remaining accurate and handle jams and other unexpected developments while you have gobs of adrenaline downgrading your fine motor skills. After you run through one course and shoot as many as ten or twenty- or sometimes thirty rounds- you begin to get a feel for how men trained in times past- like the Texas Rangers that learned to shoot from the saddle while riding past a target at full gallop.

A new sport that is becoming very popular is cowboy action shooting. The Renton Fish & Game Club hosts these colorful affairs. All the guns are copies or originals from before 1900 and people wear expensive cowboy costumes and assume fictional identities (often from favorite Western dramas). Ladies seem to be especially drawn to this and everyone shoots a shotgun, usually two six-shooters and lever-action rifles. The targets tend to pop up, roll on the ground or spin and often loom within mock-ups of saloons, mining shafts and stage coaches. There also cowboy events held on horseback

Another sport that is becoming just as popular as cowboy action shooting is three-gun IPSC. Based on the multiple-targeted configurations discussed above, 3-gun competitors race through mazes with military-style carbines that are semi-auto versions of the weapons used by our U.S. military in warfare. Pistol and tactical shotguns are also part of the fun. Targets may be close or 500 yards away so many of the rifles hold more than one kind of sighting system in order to transition from close quarters combat to distances at which you can barely see a man-sized target.

Some of these competitions emphasize shooting from cover and attempt to recreate what happens in actual combat. Although recreationists and professionals often use simulated ammunition to conduct exercises against actual opponents that shoot back, you cannot substitute for training with real weapons.

Many attend schools like the Firearms Academy of Seattle (that I attended) where the skills of legal reasoning, sound tactical judgment and good decisions are provided. I announced a class on the LAW OF ARMED DEFENSE in January, 2010 and over forty people attended- many of them husbands and wives. All these activities are marked by prudence and the highest regard for safety and good citizenship. Even though more people have more guns than ever before, gun accidents are lower than ever before.

More people are carrying in public (judging by the increased number of CPLs issued across the U.S. recently) so it is good that so much education and training is available. Every state now has concealed carry except for Wisconsin and Illinois. A concealed carry law was passed in Wisconsin and then vetoed by the Governor a few years ago.

In all these competitions and training events there are some that will be going into the military or law enforcement, others that have already served and many that will go into other pursuits. After the Civil War, shooting sports became fashionable in colleges, the mansions of the wealthy and every part of American society from shooting ranges in working class neighborhoods to the White House. The U.S. may be experiencing another time like we saw in the early 1900s when shooting sports were integrated into American life- including the public schools. Justice Scalia tells how he would ride the subway in NY and take his .22 rifle with him for shooting practice afterw school.

A Ninth Circuit judge recently stated in a written appellate decision concurring with the majority opinion in the NORDYKE case that a terrorist attack like the Mumbai attack (in which 179 innocent people were killed by automatic weapon fire) would not get very far in the United States because of the Second Amendment.

But without the citizens that exercise their right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment would only be words on paper for lawyers to argue about. Incidentally, almost every Constitutional legal expert now concedes that the 2nd Amendment means what the Founders thought it meant when they drafted it. Pres. Roosevelt was right! Whatever goals people that shoot pursue, they add strength to our nation.

Federal Way Citizens Prepare for Emergencies

WHEN LEAD IS WORTH MORE THAN GOLD

On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, Federal Way’s Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Gross presented a seminar entitled at City Hall “LONG TERM DISASTER SURVIVAL; BEYOND THE FIRST 72 HOURS”. There are several varieties of catastrophic events that most us would never contemplate.

The governmental infrastructure, including police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel will be overwhelmed during catastrophic events. It could take a week for help to arrive- or much longer! Keep in mind that historically social breakdown is never far away.

Life will go on after a catastrophe. You will have to pay your mortgage. Attorneys, government officials and insurance companies will ask for copies of legal records. You will need doccumentation to claim your home and to work and keep your loved ones out of the government system. Stay in control of your family’s physical needs, including food, water, shelter and protection.

You can barter food and water. Ammunition will be in demand and outdoor clothing, tents, generators, firewood and seeds are goods that you and your neighbors will need. Make sure to have a tarp to seal any holes in your roof. The tarp will also work well for making a temporary shelter if you need to camp out.

You need a long term supply of food, water, medicine, clothing and tools and a kit kept ready in your vehicle in order to leave quickly. First-aid supplies will be important and you should anticipate the possibility that you will have bodies of loved ones about you without any normal means of dealing with the bodies.

Grief, injuries, aggressive animals and unemployment are all exacerbated when there is a lack of community. Many of us barely know our neighbors! How will your neighbors react if they see you eating well during a time when their larders are bare? The time to create a unified community is now and one place to start doing it is in the churches.

Pastors and church leaders in Federal Way should organize with other churches and emergency response officials for emergencies. Community-minded people (especially men and women of faith) will keep up morale better than those that only care for themselves. You should make plans to secure your home and neighborhood. During a time of social breakdown, you may choose not to fight and run from your home but may never be able to return.

Most government emergency materials contain lists of all the things you should have in an emergency- extra water, flashlights, batteries, water filters, whistles, bandages and aspirin, to name a few. Gross, a former Marine, asks whether you will know how to handle a weapon if you choose to exercise your Second Amendment rights.

You need to be realistic as to your capacity to react to violence with deadly force. You can only be a neighbor with arms outstretched to share light, food and warmth with your neighbors if you are also prepared to resist those that would take by force.

Think about issues like hygiene, garbage disposal and first-aid. Talk to your neighbors and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Encourage them to engage in planning now. Obtain a Concealed Pistol License, get some professional firearms training. Stock up on extra ammunition. You can never have enough bullets when lead is worth more than gold!

King County, Washington: Preparing for the Flood

Clint Smith, the Director of Thunder Ranch, a firearms school in Oregon, says, “You have the rest of your life to solve your problems. How long you live depends on how well you do it.” Of course, not all problems are life-threatening; most problems that pose threats to life or property will never be solved with combat shooting skills. The question of whether you think you need such skills is akin to the question of whether you would have helped Noah build the ark- it all depends on your perception as to whether the water is likely to get as deep as Noah said it would.

I have had the good fortune to meet many armed citizens, local people that are just as well trained as the most proficient military and police professionals- but without arrest powers. Many lawyers and other professionals participate in competitions and other shooting events. In fact, folks from all walks of life are going to schools like the Firearms Academy of Seattle (near Centralia, Washington).

High quality triggernometry schools now exist in most regions of the United States. Providing classes on the legalities of armed self-defense and basic pistol skills, many of the schools offer a curriculum that includes tactics on par with SWAT training. If you doubt the need for such skills, you are likely to conclude that developing proficiency with any kind of weapon will constitute an expensive and time-consuming ego trip.

On the other hand, if you are an investigative journalist writing stories about organized crime, a judge sentencing dangerous felons to years in prison, or a soccer mom that drives the kids to practices, you may have reason to anticipate how dangerous the world can suddenly become. Once you invest the time and money into being prepared for the possibility of violence (many of us have a hard time even thinking about dealing with such a possibility), your outlook will gradually shift from a sheepish mentality toward the attitude of the sheepdogs; i.e., police and other security personnel.

Friends- even family- will call you paranoid, paradoxically suggesting that a perpetrator will “take the gun away and use it against you”! But training will give you the confidence to handle many situations like a professional.

The predators that are still on the loose after assassinating a police officer in Seattle this week will think nothing of killing you or your family. You don’t want to cross paths with any predators at the wrong time. The wrong time could be during the aftermath of a flood in the Green River area or another situation where law enforcement is too busy to respond.

If predatory violence becomes an imminent problem, how much time will you and your loved ones have to prepare? It does not normally take five minutes for the police to arrive in a city like Federal Way, Auburn or Kent. But you should not plan to obtain your training when seconds count and the police are just minutes away. How does the weather look lately?

Washington State Firearms Law and Civil Defense

We encourage reading all the Massad Ayoob articles. Go to the links herein and click on one of articles; there is a list of links to Ayoob’s articles about dealing with threatening situations at:

http://www.backwoodshome.com/ayoob_index.html

Ayoob is an eminent firearms author and lecturer trained in law and police work. Mr. Ayoob trains law enforcement, military and civilians in combat shooting skills and teaches at the Firearms Academy of Seattle (in Onalaska, Washington) every year.

If you think that small arms are not likely to be deployed as deadly instrumentalities of terror by jihadist or other terrorist teams read the following:

Armed Intrusions and Building Occupations

“Attackers using small arms are a growing threat. Even “routine” workplace shootings can prove disastrous for business continuity. A single disgruntled employee with no training, no accomplices, no support, and with little reconnaissance and preparation has been able in the past to penetrate a variety of workplaces, systematically murder workers, and wreak havoc on businesses.”

One such case occurred in a mall in Omaha and another earlier in the year in Salt Lake City, killing eight and five, respectively. Most of these tragedies occur in so- called “gun-free zones”. Imagine what multiple coordinated, trained and well-equipped terrorist teams might be able to accomplish with detailed support and advance planning if they hit at the same time in several strategic locations.

“The prospect of a business office or campus takeover, a media spectacle hostage crisis, or instances of mass murder cannot be ruled out in the coming years.” (From Anticipating Terror Threats by Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D.)

http://www.disaster-resource.com/articles/05p_058.shtml

The above-referenced Disaster Resource website is designed for business managers and disaster planning professionals. It contains many excellent articles for busibess management. The Chandler article makes an excellent point relating to how carefully the potential for attacks against business operations has been quantified by insurance actuaries since 911.

Those that are in denial about the potential for further attacks like the WTC attacks are already paying for potential damage in the cost of insurance premiums, directly or passed on via the price of goods and services. The economics of the insurance industry are far less susceptible to political manipulation than Fox News audiences, CNN viewers or, for that matter, MoveOn.Org enthusiasts.

Another good link is to the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. which now offers a UTAH concealed firearm permit that is good in 27 states- and it only costs $85.00 to take the class which does not include the permit fee of $65.25.

http://www.firearmsacademy.com/utpermit.htm

FAS offers classes at almost every level of shooting from basic safety to advanced tactical and combat shooting with most types of firearms. Massad Ayoob is a regular lecturer at the Academy which includes legal professionals among its instructors. The law of armed defense is one of the primary components of the FAS course work.

I recently attended the Lethal Force Institute for four days and will discuss the details of the training at this site in the near future. Two days of classroom lecture pertaining to the legal elements of armed defense were followed by two days of hands-on firearms training with Ayoob and several other instructors providing excellent guidance.

We started in the classroom with detailed discussion as to when a reasonable person is justified in using deadly force. The equal force that is reasonable for a civilian is quite different than the necessary force deployed by a police officer. Carrying in public is a privilege so it is necessary for armed citizens to understand the legal and physical limitations presented in real life situations.

We are not forces of good battling forces of evil but men and women that are imperfect. It is important that as an armed citizen you are not provoking a disturbance in any way. The person that may end up confronting you in a parking lot or other public place has a family and wants to live as much as you do. The best way to confront an angry person is with calm well-measured words but if that other person is presenting deadly force and demonstrating to you that you are in jeopardy, you should not hesitate to stop that individual from taking the opportunity to separate you from your family and those that you love.

The circumstances that justify presenting deadly force are immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to innocent person(s). Any consent to enter into mutual combat negates innocence on your part and makes you part of the problem rather than part of the solution to the threat of criminal violence. Your words should be chosen carefully, for example, if another driver confronts you in a road rage incident.

If an unarmed attacker assaults you, lethal force is not justified without disparity of force. In other words, you cannot present your weapon if another man attcks with his bare hands- even if he is bigger than you! The bottom line is that you still have to know how to fight. If someone tries to take your weapon from its holster, the equation changes considerably.

There was recently a case in Sturgis, South Dakota where a Hell’s Angel (or several Hell’s Angel’s) had a police officer on the floor and may have been trying to take his weapon when he shot one of his attackers. The fact that the Seattle Police Officer (who was in Sturgis for some extra-curricular motorcycle activity) was on the floor where a boot can deliver a crushing blow, in and of itself put him in jeopardy of death or grave bodily harm.

When you add the fact that there were probably three attackers and they were allegedly attempting to remove his weapon, it is not hard to anticipate that he will probably not be charged with any crimes related to discharging his weapon. A Hell’s Angel went to the hospital and it remains to be seen whether there will be more to the story.

In the legal world every rule has its exceptions. The discussion herein is not intended to impart the details of when to use lethal force. Our only goal is to encourage taking a class because no amount of reading is going to prepare you to fight for your life on the street or in the legal aftermath of a firefight. One thing is certain, at some point you will have to articulate your decisions after the fact and your decisions and statements pertaining to why you decided as you did will have consequences that will determine a great deal about your future. Although most attorneys (including this one) will advise you to remain silent, it is important to identify yourself as the victim of an assault and make sure the officers know who the witnesses are and that you feared for your life. It may also be important to identify potential evidence (e.g., weapons and/or spent casings).

Officers understand the importance of not talking unnecessarily right after undergoing so much stress. Police officers are taught to wait until they can speak with their attorneys after a shooting incident and they will respect your decision to wait until your attorney can be present.

The criteria in determining whether to use lethal force is to look at the assailant’s ability to produce death or grave bodily harm based on what you know at the time that you are forced to make the decision. In other words, even if an attacker is coming at you with no weapon in his hands, you may have a medical condition or know of some previous history on the part of the assailant that puts you in reasonable fear that he will injure you to the point of producing death or grave bodily harm (e.g., he is known to you to be prone to weapons produced from concealment and he kills or maims his victims). On the other hand, if there is any way to avoid taking a life, take the option that spares a life even if that means letting an assailant or intruder in your home run away.

Women are usually considered to lack the upper body strength to defend against a male attacker and so use of deadly force may be justified for a female under circumstances where a smaller, weaker man would be expected to defend without use of a weapon.

Opportunity must also be present. A man with a baseball bat that is 100 yards away from you does not have the opportunity to hurt you no matter how much he verbally threatens to hurt you. On the other hand, an athletic individual with a knife or other contact weapon can run twenty feet and cut you before you can react.

We ran drills in the Lethal Force class and it only takes slightly over a second for a determined assailant to reach you. Unless you are exceptionally well-trained and have quick reflexes, your reaction time (ability to make the decision to draw and shoot) is probably over two seconds. You may hit center of body mass with one or more rounds and be killed by the momentum of a knife-wielding assailant’s body charging at you.

See Jihad.

Ability, opportunity and jeopardy are the criteria. Three men with sheath knives on their belts walking past you on the street have the ability and opportunity to produce death but the mere fact that they are approaching you on the sidewalk does not indicate jeopardy without more. On the other hand, if one of them takes out a knife and demands your wallet… well, it is just possible that you are in jeopardy!

Normally the police will apprehend burglars soon enough and you and I do not have the training to deal with holding an intruder for the police. The “experts” that claim that most burglars are not armed are wrong and when the perpetrators are in the penitentiary they have all day long to practice furtively producing weapons and disarming people like you and I that have some training but not enough.

If you think you are dealing with someone that is determined to come back and harm you and your family and feel that you have to hold them at gunpoint you should not appoach them and you should stay behind cover. Have someone else call, the police and provide your description to the 911 operator along with the fact that you are holding the intruder at gunpoint.

If at all possible, stay in a safe room in the event that a home invasion is occurring and call the police rather than exposing yourself to an intruder that has the tactical advantage (and maybe several friends to back him up). We cannot go beyond the information already provided herein because much of the training information could be used against honest people.

Remember that if you ever have to make such a decision, you are making a split-second decision that you will have to live with the rest of your life. If you hesitate or make the wrong decision, your life may end right at that critical place and time. If you panic and draw your gun where no jeopardy exists, the mere fact that three men on the street had the opportunity and ability to hurt you will not get you out of charges of displaying a weapon with the intent to intimidate or even more serious charges.

So spend the time and money to get trained now. You cannot gain the training you need to exercise your privilege to carry a weapon in public just from a website or a book. The fact that people like you and I are willing to learn from professionals is evidence that we take our responsibilities as armed citizens very seriously and that we are facing the risks honestly.

Please forward our site to friends. Family and friends serving overseas and at home in the armed forces need to know that we appreciate their role in keeping the rest of us safe. Please keep us informed.

In closing, we also need to let members of the armed forces know that we agree with their mission and appreciate their ongoing fight for our freedom. Without our police and armed forces, we could not debate the issues and say almost anything we damned-well please without getting our heads sawed off with a blunt scimitar. The people of Iraq and other countries are also starting to experience peace and freedom from terrorism due to the efforts of our fighting men and women.

Bear in mind that the watchman watches in vain unless God guards the city.

Terrorism Awareness in Federal Way

The concept of situational awareness is critical when preparing to confront an enemy or a potential disaster of any kind. The first step in developing such awareness is to know that an enemy exists and to identify from where the enemy threat may develop. These issues were the thrust of the November 29th, 2007, Terrorism Awareness Presentation. Ray Gross, Federal Way’s Emergency Preparedness Manager, presided over the presentation and facilitated some helpful discussion with a good cross-section of the Federal Way community.

Ray Gross, spent eight years in the Marines, obtained a degree in accounting and started out in the field of emergency management in Southern California. Ray will tell you that the Northwest has environmental extremists, professional anarchists and assorted other home grown extremists that are escalating toward more violent exploits. They cannot operate without a social groundwork to provide camouflage and support.

The purpose of this report is to apply theoretical knowledge from a variety of sources to tactical issues in Federal Way. Think about scenarios that could develop locally in the same way that the military creates opposing teams that work up plans, with one team pretending to be the Taliban, insurrectionists or homegrown organizations bent on attacking military installations, pipelines, nuclear facilities, etc. In case you are not reading the newspapers, several actual plans have been discovered; e.g., the young men of Middle-Eastern descent that were trying to acquire assault weapons from “Al Qaeda” (actually a federal agent) for the purpose of attacking Fort Dix.

In another well reported case, convicts hatched a plan that they actually began to execute after they were released from prison. The plan was to rob businesses in order to acquire funds to finance larger attacks against Jewish facilities in the U.S., U.S. military installations and “valuable” civilian targets.

“Target Value” to a terrorist indicates a potential to create overwhelming bewilderment that causes the population to lose confidence in the ability of the government to protect us.

While some of the material herein was presented on November 29th, the conclusions are solely based on the author’s interpretation of situational dynamics gleaned from a variety of sources that may need to be identified as time goes on.

One intriguing aspect of the blog format is the ability to throw out some raw material and then draw on the comments and other feedback. Since our format is always a continuing work in progress, statements and suggestions can be adjusted, revised and tested by the unfolding impact of subsequent events. As they say in warfare, the only thing that is for sure is that the plan will be changed as things go wrong on the battlefield and unanticipated circumstances materialize. In other words, we welcome your comments and analyses. There are no real experts in this area, just people that are willing to pay attention and people that blithely sail on ignoring the brewing storm.

The first point then is to make clear that we are in a war. The numbers of groups that pose threats of violence are legion. These groups may link up on an operational level even when they oppose each other ideologically; e.g., Al Qaeda (a Sunni extremist base of operations conducts operations in conjunction with Iran, governed by a regime that is Shiite and diametrically opposed to the Sunni sect).

Think about white supremacists like Timothy McVeigh and the potential for homegrown brands of extremism to operate in tandem with any number of groups that hate Israel and the U.S. Government.

One important concept to Islamicists, according to intelligence generated from interrogation rooms and jihadist internet training sites is that of “the perfect day”. This would be like a perfect storm where many apparently unrelated forces and individuals come together via certain triggering events.

By way of explanation: there have been at least two instances where men of the Islamic persuasion have attacked offices of the Jewish Federation, once here in Seattle and once in San Francisco. In each case there was no evidence reported by the media that these men were affiliated with any organized extremist groups so the stories were not reported by the media as terrorist incidents:

The idea that a lone individual will appear seemingly out of nowhere to launch a horrific terrorist attack sends shivers down the spines of public security planners and law enforcement officers — not to mention average citizens. Because of their unique traits, “lone wolves” present very real challenges to the law enforcement and security professionals charged with guarding against such threats.

See Jihad & Lone Wolf terrorists.

When we look at the larger pattern, however, it becomes apparent that many other such individuals may actually be programmed by their belief system to act (apparently spontaneously) and certain events may trigger such apparently spontaneous terrorist activities in the future.

The man in San Francisco (who started his homicidal drive through the City by assaulting Jews near the Jewish Federation in San Francisco) and another man at a university in the Southeastern United States used vehicles to assault and murder numerous pedestrians.

At least one of these murderers demonstrated perfect rationality (within the premises of his own belief system). He planned the attacks for days, going through all the rituals required by his faith prior to a jihad attack. The man has all the earmarks of a Takfiri, a loose knit group of extremists from North Africa that are more deadly and insidious than Al Qaeda.

A Takfiri (from the Arabic word ÊßÝíÑí) accuses other Muslims of apostasy. Takfiris are not bound by the usual religious constraints regarding wearing a beard, drinking alcohol, or eating pork when such restrictions would interfere with waging effective jihad. To Takfiris, strict adherence to those laws interferes with the covert action necessary to “defend” Islam. Because Takfiris “blend in,” they can organize, plan, and take action necessitated by the overriding duty of jihad with less risk of identification, interference, or interception.

The Northwest has had a tradition of aiding and abetting anarchy that goes back at least to the days when Eugene Debbs organized the Industrial Workers of the World.

“Big Bill” Haywood, and two other WFM leaders, Mssrs. Pettibone and Moyer, were prosecuted for the murder of Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg after the Governor was assassinated for keeping order in North Idaho. His home was blown up by Harry Orchard, a professional bomber for the Western Federation of Miners. It was the trial of the century and many famous personalities, including Clarence Darrow for the defense, played starring roles.

The Wobblies clashed with the U.S. Government and local governments, especially after the WW I began. By advocating that WW I was a war of the capitalist class and the international bankers, the Wobblies who were loggers, unemployed bindlestiffs and members of other crafts were violating the Espionage Act and other laws by interfering with the U.S. Government’s ability to fight the Great War. The IWW and its enemies also participated in armed violence and bombings that killed many people.

Distinguished members of the bar around the United States, including Clarence Darrow, and local lawyers like Seattle’s own George Francis Vanderveer (See The Counsel for the Damned, by Lowell S. Hawley and Ralph Bushnell Potts), came to the Wobblies’ defense and aggressively represented the “Wobblies”, as they came to be known. The IWW’s support resided in a network of mining camps, radical trade unionists like the Western Federation of Miners and a far flung criminal underground that included professional assassins, saboteurs and organizers. See also “Cabal of Death: Harry Orchard and His Associates in Murder in the Western Mining Wars” (Gem Book)by Robert Grimmett. The IWW was philosophically not far removed from the professional Anarchists that terrorized Seattle during the WTO riots several years ago.

It is a sure bet that, the next time the WTO comes to town, Anarchists will progress beyond just vandalizing the storefronts of such symbols of corporate abuse as Starbucks Coffee. The same kind of people went beyond breaking windows to assaulting delegates at the Republican Convention in Twin Cities this summer. The fact that such groups exist and may have a propensity for violence (think about environmental terrorists and so-called animal rights activists- ELF and ALF respectively) raises the issue of whether these groups represent the same degree of imminent danger as jihadists who have sworn to destroy the U.S. and Israel in order to establish a worldwide Caliphate under Shariah law.

The main reason for discussing these organizations in so much detail is to show that Washington State and the whole West Coast is an environment in which violence prone “activists” may be able to find a refuge. We live in a social sea that provides habitat for radical schools of fish to swim, with food, cover and places to blend in with their surroundings.

This brings us to the first target in Federal Way that satisfies all the criteria for likely target selection- Weyerhauser Corporation. Located on its semi-wooded campus in Federal Way, Weyerhauser has visibility and value as a symbol of corporate interests that are antithetical to many in the environmental movement (think Enviromental Liberation Movement- they already have graduated beyond arson to more serious crimes).

People arrive at Weyerhauser at predictable times via predictable routes and it is relatively accessible. Nevertheless, Weyerhauser lacks one key criterion as a probable target, the management is aware of the threat, not unaware. The employees on their way to work, though, are another story.

Does anyone remember the Pakistani jihadist that appeared outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, killed two employees waiting to turn into the parking lot and then disappeared into Pakistan for almost five years? That was in the early 1990’s. The FBI finally got their man but they had to go to Pakistan and actually abduct him (with some help from the nice government over there).

We have a major pipeline for natural gas transmission that runs right through the boundary between our city and neighboring Auburn. It is relatively close to residential areas and Weyerhauser. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently featured an article about Communist terrorists in Mexico. They blew up pipelines that caused billions of dollars in damage and great loss of life. An ocean going ship carrying liquefied natural gas and putting into the Port of Tacoma can be used in such a way as to create an explosion that will physically impact areas as far away as Federal Way.

The most likely way to prevent explosions, deployment of chemical weapons and biological agents is by interrupting the perpetrators at their most vulnerable point in the cycle of destruction. The vulnerable point is at the point where the terrorist organization surveils its targets far ahead of an actual detonation or other point where the plan is executed. In order to select a target some individuals will begin reconnoitering the area. The enemy needs to plan and deploy and of course companies like Weyerhauser and cities like New York City and Los Angeles employ intelligence professionals to anticipate attacks.

What is the Commons Mall in Federal Way doing to obtain intelligence? Or the City of Federal Way, for that matter? Or your local church or small business? Here I may sound alarmist again but most of us have heard of how Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has attacked shoppers in the market place, public officials and Christian churches in Iraq (many mosques have also seen carnage). And they have been wildly successful at killing Iraqi police recruits, little children and even our own troops while the troops were in highly secured areas. The jihadists often perpetrated such atrocities by dressing like police. So if you feel comfortable- don’t be.

The WSJ had an interesting article on November 30, 2007, explaining the ways in which the conflict with the Taliban in Afghanistan is more a battle of the mind than of the flesh (in a sense, isn’t every war like that?). The goal of the insurrection is to get the U.S. installations “by the belt”. This means to infiltrate closely enough within secured perimeters that the security forces are afraid to shoot for fear of hitting their own men and women.

Remember the Chechens that murdered Russian school children in Beslan? The LAPD and other agencies that have jurisdiction in localities where there are extensive support systems for Chechen minorities, already are monitoring many of these groups, that can be motivated by money and politics at the same time (they send the money home to fund their insurrection against Russia and other republics of the former USSR0. They look just like Ukrainians, Russians, Irishmen or Scandinavians; i.e., white, Anglo and American. And they could be teamed up with the M-13 gang (literally an international army with many thousands of soldiers all over the U.S.) or other mercenary gangs from South of the border. The moral of this story is to know those that labor among you. Talk to your local police and get involved in the CERT program or some of the local volunteer law enforcement assistance programs. Block Watches work.

Ironically, perhaps, it is the secular humanist world-view that provides the best cultural support system for terror networks. There is nothing wrong with diversity but we need to be able to discuss community safety issues without the chilling-effect of having to talk as though pro-life activists pose a threat that is commensurate to Al Qaeda’s activities and goals (some people apparently equate the convicted terrorist, Eric Rudolph, with parents that spank their children or lawfully demonstrate in front of abortion clinics).

If your church, business or police force is not out gathering intelligence, don’t feel too upset. Intelligence gathering is expensive and sophisticated in nature. The federal government itself keeps telling us that its defense system depends on observant people like you and I that listen to our guts and make that phone call when we see suspicious activity at the local mall, freeway viaduct or intersection.

As a lawyer, I have to warn you. If you make a call about an employee, neighbor or some suspicious looking customer or business activity, you may be sued! This may not surprise you but you need to understand that the threat of legal action is a recognized weapon of terrorists. The Council of Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) and other Islamic “civil rights” groups have done a great deal to undermine the ability of government officials and other responsible authorities to take action against determined enemies. There has been at least one RICO suit against CAIR that alleges that they are in a conspiracy orchestrated with known terrorist groups to make America more vulnerable to attacks.

Remember the clerics that boarded an airliner and acted very suspiciously and then sued when they were “discriminated” against?

People that are aware of “diversity” issues are often sensitive to other people’s rights and justifiably concerned about legal liability.

Other people will tell you that fundamentalist Christians are tantamount to jihadists. Many people right here in Federal Way think Bush is the enemy and do not believe we are even at war.

Meanwhile there is viable intelligence indicating that Islamic males have been boarding school buses around the United States, possibly just to see what kind of reaction develops- is the reaction predictable?

Terrorists are known to test their prospective victims the same way a shark bumps a potential victim in the water. So if you see a ladder against your building, check on why it is there. A jihadist scout may be waiting to see how long it takes before someone checks to see whether someone is on the roof.

We need some armed school bus drivers and teachers that are trained volunteers in the battle to protect our children. The voters should be telling elected officials and administrators at every level to start providing training for volunteer school district staff; training now- not after our children are captured, tortured and raped. You may think I am exaggerating. Just remember, while you are getting angry at the messenger, some people are planning to perpetrate atrocities on our little ones and others will react violently against innocent Muslims if atrocities against children actually occur.

Provoking a violent reaction is the end-goal of the jihadist strategy. Their ultimate goal is to recruit soldiers in the war to destroy our way of life but to get there they have to create division within our society (it is working, in case you have not noticed). Do not be so complacent and smug that you believe that destruction of our American way of life is impossible.

If you work at any level of school administration, government or your church, start getting trained by professionals that teach defensive use of deadly force.

At present, you cannot take a weapon into a school or many government buildings legally. Nevertheless, it takes time to become proficient with use of a pistol even if you already have some familiarity. So start learning now.

It is just a matter of time before you will be glad that you heeded the advice herein. Do not discount small-arms as potent weapons in the hands of honest citizens, as well as terrorists. A few teams of jihadist shooters that are prepared to die can go into an intersection or mall and cause pain, death and fear that will shut down the American economy for years.

We need trained people in every walk of life, including teachers and journalists that are willing to protect our children, families and way of life. You do not even need a concealed carry license to protect yourself with a pistol in your home and business. But you still have to travel to your place of business and a permit will usually eliminate the mandatory wait period for purchasing a handgun.

Incidentally, China is the leading country that is quietly testing every vulnerability within cyberspace. Not just military and intelligence data is at risk. Business-to-business linkage is virtually universal and failure in key industries could mean that the whole country is at risk. The way this applies to your business is that you could be doing business with a Boeing vendor or other defense related supplier. That relationship alone makes you a target for worms, robots and Trojan Horses. You, the small business person, become an unwitting host for mole programs that are as dangerous as sleeper cells unless you spend a great deal of time and money overseeing your network.

“A report issued Thursday by security-software firm McAfee said government-affiliated hackers in China are at the forefront of a brewing “cyber Cold War” still in its infancy:

Within two decades, according to McAfee, the scuffle could erupt into a worldwide conflict involving hundreds of countries attacking one another’s online networks with sophisticated software.

“America is under widespread attack in cyberspace,” Gen. James Cartwright, then-commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military’s computer grid, told Congress in March. “Our freedom to use cyberspace is threatened by the actions of criminals, terrorists and nations alike.”

The department received 37,000 reports of attempted breaches on government and private systems in fiscal 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared with 24,000 the previous year. Assaults on federal agencies increased 152 percent during that period, from 5,143 to 12,986.
A worst-case attack could shut down computer command-and-control systems that run banking, water and sewer systems, traffic lights, oil and gas networks and nearly every other element of the public infrastructure.

The roster of adversaries in cyberspace includes foreign militaries and intelligence services, hackers who could be working in league with foreign governments, and “hacktivists” — hackers with political agendas.

Terrorists, thus far, are considered only a limited threat, but they could become more dangerous as technically proficient younger members join the ranks, the Government Accountability Office said in September, citing the CIA.”

In the years leading up to September 11th, our government was focused on China as the main source of any potential threat to U.S. security. Many officials (and candidates) are now focusing on Islamo-terrorism but China is still a threat.

Remember that, in an environment where terrorism proliferates, the opportunities multiply for covert operational linkage between ideologically opposed groups. Additionally, look at the world map displaying recent terrorist incidents worldwide.

An event does not have to maim or kill. Even the initial apprehension of nuclear radiation may severely disrupt normal life and chill economic activities in a way that hampers security and impacts the way of life in the U.S.

The Posse Comitatus Act, enacted after the Civil War, was intended to prevent the situation in the formerly Confederate South (where federal troops constituted an occupational government perceived to threaten the Southern way of life). U.S. Troops cannot carry their military weapons stateside (outside of military bases and reservations) without potentially running afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act.

The Bush administration provided a new level of protection that did not exist previously with the Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act, allowing active and retired police officers to carry their personal weapons anywhere in the United States.

Maybe such a provision for qualified members of the armed forces would help to ensure safety on the streets and in homes, businesses, schools, etc.

Training and Equipment for Personal Defense

LE Targets’ DST-5 is very effective for live-fire drills. (Photos Dave Spaulding)

The following excerpt is from Law Officer Magazine. Entitled What Should I Practice? Dave Spaulding explains the drills he performs in order to stay ready for personal defense:

One of the most common questions I receive from readers or students is, “What should I practice?” It’s a legitimate question, especially with skyrocketing ammunition prices. Recently, I was at the local Wal-Mart buying some Winchester White Box 9mm ammo (the cheapest I can find) and paid $19.23 for 100 rounds. I noticed that .40 S&W of the same brand was $28.12 and .45 ACP was just under $30!

This no doubt affects law enforcement agencies in how much ammunition they can purchase, but also the individual officer who might want to keep his skills sharp while paying the mortgage, car payment, buying groceries, clothing and all the other things necessary for daily life. Since blowing up ammo needlessly is certainly recognized as expensive, we need to shoot our limited ammo supply wisely.

I’m a firm believer in fundamentals, and while many officers get bored practicing basics, these basic skills are necessary to prevail in a fight. I don’t know who said, “Advanced skills are the basics mastered,” (many have laid claim to it), but it’s true. Thus, practicing basics is a great place to start.

A Dry Run
Fortunately, many fundamental skills are mastered without firing a shot. Dry fire is the best way to improve draw, reload, malfunction clearances (using dummy rounds), shooting around cover (with a mirror at the opposing side to see how much you expose of yourself), one-hand manipulation, unconventional shooting positions (kneeling, prone, on the side, “roll back”, etc.) and any other skill that doesn’t require actual trigger manipulation. The purchase of a dry fire training aid such as the Beamhit) can give first shot feedback via a laser fit into the barrel of your carry gun.

Before beginning any dry fire training program, make double, triple and quadruple sure that your gun is empty and that no live ammo is in the room with you. A capable dry fire pad, such as the one manufactured by Safe Direction, is a very good idea. That way, if you suffer a “brain fart,” the round will be captured harmlessly and a valuable lesson learned.

The Real Deal
Now that we’ve narrowed the skills needed for live fire practice, let’s look at when we do need live ammo.

The two skills that must be practiced live fire are trigger and recoil control. Trigger control is the most important skill required for accurate shooting and the most difficult to master. In a nutshell, the index finger on the shooting hand presses the trigger to the rear, working independently of the rest of the hand, without interrupting muzzle to target alignment.

Think about how many times a day you open and close your hand, using the thumb and fingers in concert with one another. Then you can get some idea of how complex this action really is! Taking this into consideration, is it really hard to understand why shooters squeeze their whole hand when they shoot, something I call “milking the grip?”

Independent trigger control requires intense concentration and needs to be mastered before all other skills. It must be practiced regularly, as it’s the most perishable of a skill set that’s already very perishable. Luckily, recoil control isn’t quite as difficult and is really a function of upper body position and applying forward force to a pistol.

To the Range
With the previous thoughts in mind as I head to the range, I start out with a few timed drills to see where I’m at. I like to do these drills “cold,” as I believe they are a better indicator of performance than after I have shot for a while. Remember, it’s unlikely you’ll have just come from a practice session at the range when your gunfight occurs. You’ll more than likely be “cold” as well.

I shoot these drills at 20 feet on the Law Enforcement Targets’ DST-5 target. Only hits in the 8″ Primary Neutralization Zone in the high chest count. I consider live fire a confirmation of the dry practice drills. I do each drill twice—anyone can get lucky and perform a single session well. One after another is more telling.

These are the drills I perform:

One shot from ready in 1 second;
One shot from the holster in 1.5 seconds;
One shot, reload, one shot in 3 seconds;
Draw, two shots, reload, two shots on two targets in 4 seconds;
“Bill Drill” of draw and shoot six shots looking for a consistent time between each shot in 3 seconds or less;
El Presidente’ Drill (10 yards on three targets, turn 180 degrees, shoot two shots on each target, reload, shoot two shots on each target again in 10 seconds or less; and
John Farnum’s “DTI Dance” (see January 2008 issue of Law Officer).

These drills take 15–20 minutes and consume 70 rounds. You may decide to shorten this test to conserve ammo. To me, they give an idea of where I am lacking and what to work on. But don’t shoot any faster than you can hit! A “lucky run” isn’t educational, only deceiving. These drills should be learning points, not ego gratifiers. Also, you have just spent around $20—make it worthwhile.

Trigger Focus

I then shoot several magazines focusing on trigger control, which, as previously stated, is one area where dry fire does not suffice. I start at 10 feet, shooting the small dots on the bottom of the DST-5 target, going agonizingly slow, trying to shoot one jagged hole. I focus completely on what my hands are doing, making them control the trigger and not milking the entire grip, find the reset point and then smoothly pressing through the trigger action.

I also take note of my body position, making sure my shoulders are over my toes. I move back 5 feet at a time, shooting 5 to 6 rounds at each distance, trying to stay on the 3″-dot, concentrating on “sight, press.” Somewhere around 30–35 feet, I start to miss the 3″-dot and move to the larger, 5″-dots and work my way back to 50 feet or so. By this time, I have fired 100 rounds, give or take, so if the ammo supply is low, I stop.

More Practice
If I have additional ammo available, I then work on delivering the gun to the target from one of several “ready” positions, ensuring the delivery is consistent and feels right. The felt aspects of shooting are grossly under-rated. I then move to the draw stroke, making sure it’s consistent and direct to the target. Think of the draw stroke as an upside-down L with the gun coming up and out from the holster, directly to the target.

Lateral movement should be part of this drill. I also work on picking up the front sight in my field of vision as quickly as possible. Make sure you practice with the same carry gear that you use daily, including a concealing garment. Add a few drills, which simulate combat conditions, while kneeling or from extreme close quarters, and you will have a reasonable 200-round practice session.

No, these drills do not account for all of what might happen in a gunfight, but understand there’s no way to prepare for any conflict. History has shown that the person who prevails in armed conflict is the one who can keep his head and decide which of their practiced skills will solve the problem at hand. The officer that never practices is the one who will fail to decide. Stay safe, stay alert and practice your skills often.

Dave Spaulding is a 28-year law-enforcement veteran, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He currently works for a federal security contractor. He’s worked in all facets of law enforcement—corrections, communications, patrol, evidence collection, investigations, undercover operations, training and SWAT—and has authored more than 800 articles for various firearm and law enforcement periodicals. He is also the author of the best-selling books Defensive Living and Handgun Combatives.

WHICH WEAPON IS BEST FOR PERSONAL DEFENSE?

By Mark S. Knapp, Attorney

A weapon has to fit your personal defense strategy. For example, a young man that has spent years studying martial arts may not feel the need to carry a pistol. On the other hand, a single mom or a grandfather that lives out in Grays Harbor County may wish to have a shotgun or pistol to protect the home.

The choice of strategies and weapons is personal; you need to look at your environment, training, life philosophy and personal budgetary issues. And you owe it to those that love and depend on you to strategize. To avoid planning for and dealing with potential violence is also a choice called denial.

People sometimes say to me, “Yes, I will protect my family if I have to!” Do you have a CPL? Access to a weapon? Have you taken the time to learn to shoot? It doesn’t take years and years and years but you don’t want to learn to shoot while you are being assaulted! Every homestead, sheep camp and ranch in America had a shotgun near to hand- truly the weapon that won the West. Your wife can use a 20-gauge, however, more effectively than a 12-gauge because there is less recoil and the stopping power is about equal to the 12-gauge if you choose the right ammunition.

Most shotguns and rifles are too long to utilize within the confines of your home during an emergency. Stay in a safe place, usually the bedroom, behind cover and call the police. If you have to leave your safe room to help others in your family, a short tactical shotgun will work. If you decide on a 12-gauge, a Remington 870 is quite suitable and the price is about $300.00.

If you want to protect your family away from home then you probably need to carry a pistol. Even if you do not own or carry a pistol, you should obtain a Concealed Pistol License. The CPL will normally permit purchasing a pistol without the mandatory five-day waiting period.

If you are like the majority of gun owners that don’t practice much, get a small .38 revolver. Revolvers go bang every time you pull the trigger. Revolvers normally have only five or six shots, however. The semi-automatic GLOCK is popular because of its price and quick deployment when concealed. But look at the SPRINGFIELD XD. It has a well-engineered trigger, cycles well and has features that are not available with most pistols in the $500.00 range.

If you have not shot a great deal, you may learn faster with a smaller caliber. Many law officers are using .40 caliber pistols. The recoil is manageable and your hits stop the bad guy(s) immediately. Go to a range, rent guns and see how each weapon feels in your hand before you buy. More than ever before, seniors, women and minorities that are targets of hate crimes are beginning to realize why pistols are still called equalizers in the New West.

Does Your Church Have a Threat Response Plan?

SOME GUIDELINES FOR CHURCH THREAT RESPONSE PLANS

The following are some thoughts and observations related to security issues based on suggestions we have received from a church member in Texas. Although the strategy is focused on preventing violence at churches, the material may also apply to other workplace settings, especially in situations where it becomes cost prohibitive to retain professional security officers.

The first consideration is to identify members of your organization that have experience as police officers. The rules of engagement are quite different for law enforcement than for military. Training can be acquired fairly quickly but good judgment comes with experience. Additionally, a little bit of legal knowledge about armed self-defense can go a long way- toward creating tragedy, legal liability and a bad image for your church or business.

The laws vary in every state. In the State of Washington, we are permitted to carry a weapon concealed (with a Concealed Pistol License- CPL) or openly in many situations. Some states have laws that restrict weapons in churches. Since Washington gun law treats a church like any other business, anyone that can legally carry on the street can carry in church. In fact, the owner and those authorized by the owners can carry in a church or business without CPL. Keep in mind, however, that if you are in a vehicle or off the premises you need a CPL unless you carry openly which we are only recommending for uniformed Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).

A church has the same right and responsibility as any other private party to restrict what happens on its own premises but you do not want to deter visitors from coming onto your premises while appropriately armed. That visitor may save someone’s life. Criminals will not hesitate just because they see a sign that bans weapons on your premises.

Thus, a church or other organization has to take reasonable precautions to protect invitees that enter the premises. There is already some precedent for law suits proceeding against institutions like Virginia Tech. Pastors and elders also need to look at these issues from a spiritual standpoint. If you take your responsibility seriously, then you have to protect the flock that God has entrusted to your care.

More violent attacks against Christians and other religious minorities are foreseeable. Churches that take a Scriptural stand on the self-evident truths of Scripture – truths that have become so controversial to the crooked generation in which we live- are more likely to be attacked. The Lord Jesus articulated a self evident truth when he commanded his disciples to make it a priority to obtain a sword even if they sell their own clothing to purchase one.

Most churches have at least some active duty police officers. In Washington, police officers are permitted to work as armed security when they are not on regular duty. Keep in mind that in many of the mass shootings that have occurred, uniformed police officers have been targeted first. The presence of a uniformed officer is a good thing but there needs to be one or more armed individuals in plain clothes backing up the officer(s).

Security guards need to be licensed and properly supervised so do not take any steps indicating that any of your volunteers are security guards without undergoing the appropriate legal procedures. Nevertheless, we encourage you as a church to discuss appropriate threat responses and to create threat response plans with folks in your church that are called to protect the flock.

Remember, your team is made up of volunteers and should be moving around the church just like any other members unless they are ushers or greeters or have similar assignments. Armed volunteers should be going about their normal activities but in such a way that they are prepared to implement your church’s well planned response if a threat materializes.

Assigning specific individuals to guard or secure a particular area.

You may want to informally designate areas of responsibility for various volunteers. Working in pairs makes sense. If members are identified as security personnel and/or wear clothing that indicates certain members are official security personnel, you may be in violation of the law. Additionally, this creates more potential for liability if an incident occurs in which someone is injured by the commission of a negligent act or the failure to take appropriate action.

Wearing clothing that identifies members of the “security” team encourages church members to rely on the presence of armed security and makes those designated individuals into potential targets themselves. The first principle of self-defense is that each person has the primary obligation to protect himself or herself and loved ones from death or grave bodily harm.

Anyone that asks the question “when can I draw my weapon” is probably not ready for the responsibility. Each person that is armed needs to have requisite training, knowledge and experience to know what to do if a threat of deadly force develops. An individual who only focuses on how and when to shoot will not be remotely prepared for the scenarios that may develop in your church.

Surveillance Detection.

Look at the size and layout of your building and ask yourself where a terrorist might stand to observe your building and what activities might be of interest for a potential attacker that is taking notes. There has not been a case of a terrorist attack against a church in the United States- that we know of- but it happens frequently in other countries. When things develop, they develop quickly. So take the time to study surveillance detection. Many times the mere fact that surveillance is being observed will prevent an attack from developing.

Greeters should be at every door and in the parking lot for those who need help or for ministry. Greeters should be observant. Know the signs of trouble. Disturbances that may occur are shouting at preacher during the sermon, a fight between teens or a potential domestic violence situation. Make sure that “gatekeepers” know about impending threats, stalking situations and/or domestic violence protection orders. Pastoral counseling and assistance to abused women (or men) can put those that intervene and the whole congregation right in the line of fire!

Dealing with a threat where no deadly force is present.

1. Every disturbance has the potential to escalate to Code Red very quickly. Your team should normally be in a state of heightened vigilance but outwardly relaxed/alert (Code Yellow). Code Orange is the point at which an unspecified incident or disturbance puts your team on full alert. At this point, you become aware of cover, lanes of movement for accessing and exiting the space you and others may be in. Who controls access to certain areas and is that person aware of indications that a situation may be developing?

Condition red is the point where an armed encounter with one or more opponents has materialized. The “trouble maker” has now demonstrated the ability to produce death or grave bodily harm combined with the opportunity and legal jeopardy (the perpetrator is in your church or parking lot of your business with a deadly weapon evidencing the intent to cause harm to innocent people). Grave bodily harm includes a life-threatening, crippling or disfiguring injury. In Afghanistan, the Taliban throws acid in women’s faces. What about the protesters that threw liquids at the delegates to the Republican convention last summer?

2. Give the location in the building where the disturbance is occurring. Do not tell law enforcement that there are armed volunteers present if the disturbance is not one that presents the threat of deadly force. If the first responders think that you have involved armed civilians, the police may not arrive until the SWAT team arrives which takes a great deal of time in most instances.

3. The person that goes to call the police should walk and not run. Walking indicates you are in control. Have someone that is prepared to take control of the situation go to all the buildings on your campus to lock doors and let teachers and staff know what is taking place.

4. You need an exit plan for the congregation. The church body needs to know they are to follow instructions from leaders. Visitors that do not attend regularly will follow the regular members. These leaders may be women or men. They need to know a place to go outside the church building. In the case of a larger church it may be another building that can be locked. Start walking people out- do not run. Tell them, “follow the leader, walk don’t run.”

Running shows fear. Walking says, “I am in control”.

Never stop. Never look at the trouble maker. Walk out. Start the church congregation singing as they walk out- “Jesus Loves Me” or some other song of praise that calms the congregation’s minds and blocks out whatever the active shooter may be saying to create fear or confusion. The goal is take control completely out of the hands of the trouble maker(s) or active shooter(s). Active shooter is a term of art that refers to a person or persons intent on taking as many lives as possible.

Be aware that there may be more than one shooter including embedded outriders/outliers that can mingle in the congregation and operate as backup for the visibly active shooter; i.e., the threat that you are able to immediately identify. The tactics that the world witnessed in Mumbai with automatic weapons and grenades may constitute the shape of future terrorist attacks. Attacks with small arms have long been predicted by almost all the credible experts.

If dealing with an armed troublemaker, the armed volunteers should be using cover but also need to be moving quickly toward the active shooter but do not surround him. If you are surrounding a shooter you are all in the line of each other’s fire! Stay in control and walk purposefully with an awareness of the big 360 degree picture.

Give commands forcefully but calmly. If there is no weapon displayed by the person creating a threat then keep your hands out front in the open. Pointed fingers or threatening actions may provoke more trouble. Stay two arms length away from the threat if possible. If it is a fist fight between two combatants intervene with great caution. Better two brawlers hurt each other than have someone turn on you with a knife or gun

If you are armed, you should avoid any physical contact that may lead to losing control of your weapon. If you are confronted with disparity of force (more than one assailant or a deadly weapon) do what you see as appropriate.

When law enforcement arrives clear away and point at the perpetrator without talking. In this manner the police will know immediately who the bad guy is. The police will need plenty of safe space to deal with the threat without having to be concerned about bystanders that may also pose a threat.

Sit down somewhere and keep the witnesses together. Wait for the police to ask questions. Wait until asked for identification before informing the police that you are armed. The police do not need assistance to catch the troublemaker if he runs away.

Practice verbal responses so you can remember them when you need to use them. Physical responses need to be practiced, so do verbal ones. Do not hesitate to call the police! It is alright to tell the officer that you have it resolved but may need an officer to remain close by.

If confronted with contact weapons such as knives, bats, screw drivers or other sharp objects do not run away.

1. Command the church body “Everyone get down on the floor and do not run. Get on the floor.”

2. Have someone call the police.

3. Armed volunteers should approach carefully while keeping a good distance from the attacker. A man with a contact weapon can move twenty feet before you can react especially if people are running around and creating confusion. In a loud command voice tell the perpetrator, “Put down the knife and face the wall. Put it down and get on the floor….”

4. Remember the 21 ft rule.

5. Stay at safe distance and wait for law enforcement. If your gun is out (which it normally would be if you are confronted with a contact weapon) reholster when the police arrive- but stay prepared. You should have a good distance between your tactical team and the perpetrator.

Do not attempt to handcuff or make any physical contact with an individual. You are not trained to do that. If there is even a possibility that the troublemaker is armed then stay behind cover at all times if possible.

If shooting starts.

1. Do not hesitate, now is the time to run and do not stop. Call 911 and inform law enforcement of the location of the shooting. Do not return.

2. Shooter may never give a clear shot at him. Will be walking down aisle; shooting at contact range. People will probably run in spite of commands.

3. Holler give commands, to congregation, “Get on the floor. Do not run, get down.”

4. If there is a circle of people around the active shooter as he walks between the church pews, no one can return fire without hitting other volunteers. If he is on an outside aisle against a wall there is a better possibility of obtaining a clear shot if everyone gets on the floor. By kneeling or shooting from close to the floor your rounds may travel upward, thus minimizing the chance of stray rounds hitting innocent bystanders. Bullets pass through walls and people, striking innocent people. Police use ammunition that breaks up when it hits and you may want to carefully consider the ammunition that you choose.

5. Those willing to take the shooter down should rush the shooter and keep coming until he is down. Push people down or out of the way, even run over children while shouting commands, “Get down, do not run, get on the floor!”

6. Those who choose to fight should focus on the weapon not the person. Control the weapon even if you have to absorb a shot to do so. Remember, an apparently lone attacker may have a partner acting as an oulier. After the active shooter(s) have been subdued, march everyone out to a safe place in the manner described above. You have now fulfilled Hebrews 11 by quenching the violence of fire, delivering your loved ones from the edge of the sword and administering justice. You have “waxed valiant in fight” and put alien armies to flight. Someone needs to call for medical assistance at this point.

7. When LEOs arrive all weapons should already be put away if possible. Make sure not to pick up the shooter’s weapon but keep your foot on it or secure it if there is a chance someone may pick it up. Do what the police tell you to do. Identify the wrongdoer to the police and make sure the police know that he had to be stopped in order to prevent innocent people from becoming victims. Point out evidence such as spent casings, weapons, etc. but do not provide details without a lawyer present.

Note well: Police officers have been taught the importance of obtaining legal counsel prior to making detailed statements so they will understand that you need some time before you answer questions. You will be experiencing an enormous rush of adrenaline but resist the urge to talk too much and make sure that you are not holding a weapon or doing anything when the police arrive that might cause them to regard you as a threat. That means to drop your gun on the floor without hesitation when commanded to do so.

This is not legal advice because, even though the author is a lawyer, every situation is governed upon very specific facts. Get training in the laws of self-defense and know the laws of your jurisdiction. Talk to local police authorities and make sure they are aware of your threat response plan. You alone are responsible for your actions, especially if you decide that you are faced with the deadly force that justifies deploying a weapon.

If anything herein is helpful, you or your church or business should feel free to reproduce these guidelines in whole or in part. We encourage you to submit your planning concepts and questions so that we can augment or correct what we have provided so far. This article is a work in progress.

Reality-Based Training is Practical for Police and Armed Citizens

Law enforcement agencies require “qualification” tests at least one time each year.

Firearms qualification ensures that officers can make a certain number of holes in a paper target within a given amount of time. Almost every department requires additional tests of proficiency for its officers.

At the Federal Way Police Department, four training sessions occur each year. This Federal Way requirement is now becoming the regional standard. Almost every agency in our region meets the regional standard and some agencies may exceed this standard by shooting six times a year.

One of the four training sessions that Federal Way police officers undergo is proficiency or “qualification” testing. Two are other live-fire training. And one is reality-based training scenarios with live role players and Simunitions marking cartridges or Airsoft weapons. Most sessions include service pistols and patrol rifles.

FWPD started doing some things years ago that are being done by most agencies now, such as reality-based training. Many officers hired from other agencies, especially from outside of our state, lack familiarity with moving while shooting. FWPD requires moving while shooting as part of the basic qualification course. Many agencies train on it, but don’t test on it. FWPD requires 100 percent hits on target as part of the qualification course.

Many other agencies don’t require all rounds fired to hit within the silhouette; they only require their officers to meet (or exceed) a minimum passing score, which can allow for a complete miss. The trend is toward requiring 100 percent hits. Our source in the department observed that, although many departments throughout the State of Washington have standards similar to Federal Way standards, the feedback from discussions at the statewide law enforcement instructor school — and from officers at smaller agencies on the Eastside — is that some firearms training programs are weak compared to FWPD’s standards.

Reality-based training has become a phenomenon in the “civilian” world also. The number of stores that sell paintball equipment and supplies is amazing. Airsoft guns look exactly like real weapons and even the military practices with such reality-based equipment. A few years back, I took a class at the Marksman (a local pistol range) in which instructors and police officers from the Puyallup Police Department explained the laws of armed self-defense for civilians. The high point in the class was deploying a Glock pistol that shoots a laser beam onto a life-size screen.

The object is to distinguish between unarmed bystanders and predators that come at you wielding deadly force. Such “shoot/don’t shoot” scenarios help the student to apply the practical legal reasoning that is taught in class. It sounds easy to sort out the victims from the predators until you are the one having to make split-second decisions with someone pointing a gun at you. Military and police are using simulators for everything from rifle practice to shooting simulated grenades at simulated tanks.

All of the new technology, however, will never replace getting out and practicing with the weapon you actually carry. A malfunction or other unexpected contingency can only be identified when your training is as close to reality as possible.

See Israeli Tactical Training.