Being a Spokane area Firearms Lawyer who shoots with many folks from law enforcement and military backgrounds, I am acquainted with a few people in law enforcement. As the political and legal environment becomes more hostile to law enforcement officers, it has become apparent to me that cops and armed citizens need to look outContinue reading “Gray Men & Patriots”
The power of government to move armies also requires the power to maintain roads through the desert. Travel through the regions referenced in the Old and New Testaments depended on straight paths that were made crooked by shifting sand and mountainous terrain. Thus, it took many laborers to carve out the roads and keep them clear. Today the Palestinian controlled enclave of Gaza blocks travel from Israel to Egypt.
The LAW OFFICE OF MARK KNAPP provides NFA Gun Trusts, protects the gun rights of individuals and represents those who are charged with crimes in the State of Washington; i.e., criminal defense work. We have also been very involved in forming and promoting the Action Training Group in North Idaho and the greater Spokane area.Continue reading “The Beef in Your Marketing Arsenal?”
Texas Gun Politics
By Mark Knapp, Firearms Lawyer
Originally published in SandpointPR.
Watch the video Fire and Ice near the end of this contribution.
Finland & the Progressive War on Common Sense
Wendy Davis is a Democrat running for governor in Texas that supports the right to openly carry firearms- at least the right to carry for some Texans. If the truth be known, the state senator from Texas, who became famous as a champion for abortion rights in the Texas legislature, probably has views about firearms that are like most others in her party.
The fact that leaders in the Democratic Party tend to hate guns creates a big problem for Davis, Texans love their guns and don’t vote for folks that hate babies or guns. But Texas has recently had a series of open carry demonstrations in which people show up with rifles slung. The catch, however, is that Davis thinks the Second Amendment should not apply in cities, just on farms and ranches- and, of course, for sporting purposes.
“Obviously in Texas we have a culture that respects the Second Amendment right and privilege of owning and carrying guns — but we also, of course, have respect and understand the rights and privileges of property owners to make decisions about what’s right for them.”
“My position on open carry reflects my respect for both of those principles, and I believe that municipalities, school districts, hospitals, private property owners should be the ones that ultimately have a say as to whether this is right for them and their facilities,” she said.
Liberals constantly tell us that they believe in the Second Amendment but that it only applies to the state militias. Or that we have to have more “common sense” gun laws. Most states recognize that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains common sense by including similar provisions in state constitutions that make it clear that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right that belongs to the people! The opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (not exactly a bastion of Conservative thought) stated in NORDYKE V ALAMEDA COUNTY:
“The right to bear arms is a bulwark against external invasion. We should not be overconfident that oceans on our east and west coasts alone can preserve security. We recently saw in the case of the terrorist attack on Mumbai that terrorists may enter a country covertly by ocean routes, landing in small craft and then assembling to wreak havoc. That we have a lawfully armed populace adds a measure of security for all of us and makes it less likely that a band of terrorists could make headway in an attack on any community before more professional forces arrived.
Second, the right to bear arms is a protection against the possibility that even our own government could degenerate into tyranny, and though this may seem unlikely, this possibility should be guarded against with individual diligence.”
Read the text of the Nordyke case.
Every day in the news we see situations all over the world in which city dwellers and rural folks alike are confronted with situations requiring the use of violence to stop violence. In the Ukraine, there have been armed citizens standing up against well-armed folks that claim they are not members of Russia’s elite military units.
There have been news reports that volunteers in Mexico have successfully taken up arms against the Knights Templar, a vicious cartel that has oppressed whole areas by cutting off the heads of law enforcement officers and any others that get in their way.
In Nigeria, whole villages have begged their government to arm the people against the Boko Haram that has kidnapped school children and terrorized people. Our own government has armed volunteers in places like Libya and Syria so that the people can defend themselves against corrupt regimes.
What about situations where the violence comes from groups that are allegedly sponsored by government but maintain some kind of plausible deniability like the “volunteers” in Eastern Ukraine that seem to be so well equipped?
Or, for example, some of the volunteers in Mexico think the Mexican and even the U.S. Government assist some cartels in order to advance the war being waged against other cartels. It is often not immediately apparent who perpetrates attacks but it is historically demonstrated that governments do attack their own people for various reasons.
All these considerations raise the issue of why some liberals like Davis claim that the Second Amendment is only for rural areas and should not be applied in urban environments.
Liberals are constantly accusing government of every variety of perfidy. Moreover, Progressives invariably characterize Republican administrations as Nazi or Fascist! So why shouldn’t urban minorities be armed, especially with so much latent genocide lurking in the heart of the U.S. government?
At this point in the conversation, the astute Progressive intellect usually objects, saying something like, “But how do you expect to stand on your front porch with a deer rifle and defend against armored vehicles and attack helicopters?”
I am so glad you asked that question. Let me tell you about Finland’s two wars with Stalin’s mighty Red Army in 1939 and 1941.
Finland’s geography is much like North Idaho without mountains. It is covered with lakes and rivers and forests that become frozen killing zones for Stalin’s troops during the Winter War of 1939. The Finnish people worked in the woods, underground in mining, hunted and often got around on skis in the winter time.
After WW I, the Finnish government began acquiring Mosin Nagant rifles in anticipation of a confrontation with Russia. The idea was to arm troops with the same weapons and ammunition deployed by their potential enemies.
In short, when Stalin demanded that Finnish land be annexed to Russia, tiny Finland was ready to make sure it was not digested as food for the Eastern Front and the Red Army’s war machine; the Ukraine and so many other countries never came out of that experience until the 1990s when the Soviet Union supposedly ceased to exist.
Stalin’s troops came into Finland with trucks and armor, which pinned down units near the roads. Finnish snipers decimated the Soviet personnel and then emerged from the woods to scoop up guns and ammunition. Pursuit was futile because the Finns vanished back into the wooded areas on skis.
Hostilities ceased with the Finns giving up very little land. But by 1941, Stalin resumed his quest to conquer tiny Finland. The result of the Continuation War was about the same as the 1939 Winter War. Finland had very little in the way of an army and Britain and the U.S. scared away any assistance Finland expected from her neighbors by declaring war against Finland for defying our Soviet ally!
Finland is still very much a nation that honors its heritage as an armed and fiercely independent people, like Switzerland and the U.S.A.
Watch the 2006 video FIRE AND ICE : THE WINTER WAR OF FINLAND AND RUSSIA if you want to learn how to stop a tank in its tracks. This is a beautiful and eloquent video history of Finland’s repulsion of a Russian invasion that dwarfed the Allied invasion at Normandy Beach. The video is a Finnish re-enactment that realistically documents this little known episode in man’s struggle against brutal tyranny.
Stalin thought it would only take “one shot” to turn the Karelian Isthmus into the Northern terminus of the Eastern Front, replete with conscript troops and slave labor.
See this article in Sandpoint PR with video: Fire and Ice.
Senator Davis, we need all law abiding Americans to have legal access to firearms. The American heritage of firepower, the Gun Culture, encourages familiarity with weapons. The knowledge and understanding gained from easily keeping and bearing arms prepares all of us to protect what we hold dear. Not just a few white Texans that go to elite schools or live on ranches and farms! And despite our appreciation for your permission to carry openly, most of us still prefer to carry unobtrusively.
When the first aircraft struck the World Trade Center what were your thoughts? Was terrorism your first thought? Or, was your first thought more like “How could that happen?” The first crash caught most people trying to figure out what human or mechanical error could have caused the crash. However, a little over 15 minutes later and the instant Flight 175 came into view we knew we were under attack. As the jet slammed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center our view changed and the response of police and fire personnel to the WTC and the other incidents changed.
Our response changed because the additional information of the second aircraft changed our perception regarding the first. Our perceptions moved closer to the reality because additional information gave meaning and enhanced our comprehension of what we were observing. By gaining additional information we became aware of the true nature of the situation.
Situational awareness was a term originally used to describe the tactical situation during aerial combat. While the term doesn’t go back as far, the idea surfaces in World War I, when pilots first took to the sky in combat. At first, it was the ability of the pilot to know where he was in relation to the enemy and the other pilots of his flight. In reality that is only positional awareness. However, when pilots added their knowledge of aircraft capabilities and known battle tactics with positional awareness, they were able interpret, comprehend and anticipate. Comprehension of observation is the essence of situational awareness.
Police officers use situational awareness daily. While it has obvious applications for street tactics, it is likely most used in the development of reasonable suspicion (RS) and probable cause (PC). Both RS and PC are an officer’s interpretation of observations based on their education, training and experience. Whenever you detain someone, conduct a warrantless search or make an arrest you are practicing situational awareness. Just as you and I were able to make better arrests as we gained knowledge on the job, we were also safer. Our safety was enhanced because there is a predictive element to total situational awareness.
Situational awareness has three levels – perceiving critical factors, understanding those factors and finally understanding what those factors will cause to happen in the near future. Just as we gained an edge over the common criminal element by education, training and experience, we can gain that edge over terrorists by enhancing our comprehension of what we observe as it relates to terrorism. We can protect our communities and ourselves by an enhanced situational awareness of terrorism.
Know what terrorism is
In the first article of this series, Terrorism: Crime or Asymmetrical Warfare, we noted that the “the definition of a crime dictates our response.” In that article we further explored the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s definition of terrorism:
“ Domestic terrorism refers to activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and, occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States .”
You will increase your situational awareness, or the ability to use your comprehension of the facts to predict short-term future events, by understanding the history and nature of terrorism.
Know your beat
If you received a radio call of a shooting on the southwest corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Central Avenue you would have some positional awareness, but not much situational awareness. You would know the best route to get to the call, and probably the best way to approach, but little more. However, what if you knew the location was an apartment building rife with druggies? Alternatively, what if you knew the location was a Jewish Daycare Center? Either set of facts would add to your situational awareness, it would change the way in which you handled your approach and the call.
Most of the literature for first responders on terrorism emphasizes the need to be aware of the critical infrastructure in your community. However, how you define critical infrastructure may somewhat limit your situational awareness. As an example, the Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets: Definition and Identification report to Congress ultimately defined critical infrastructure as:
“The framework of interdependent network and systems comprising identifiable industries, institutions (including people and procedures), and distribution capabilities that provide a reliable flow of products and services essential to the defense and economic security of the United States, the smoothing function of government at all levels, and society as a whole .”
Based on this definition, bridges, chemical factories and government facilities, etc. are part of the critical infrastructure. However, given the purpose of terrorism, first responders should be aware of their community’s political, social and cultural infrastructure. The Jewish Daycare Center probably doesn’t fall into the category of critical infrastructure, yet it would be part of your community’s social and cultural infrastructure and in today’s world a potential terrorist target.
The following list of indicators is a checklist that is by no-means all-inclusive. It should be viewed as a place from which to start your discussion about terrorist planning:
1. Possession of extremist or radical literature;
2. Interest in law enforcement tactics, yet not in law enforcement;
3. Surveillance of critical infrastructure, or community political, cultural or social infrastructure;
4. Possession or attempts to obtain surveillance or planning materials, i.e., maps, photographs, blueprints, cameras, surveillance equipment;
5. Possession or attempts to obtain materials for improvised explosive devices i.e., chemicals, timers, wires or other components;
6. Possession (or the attempt to obtain fraudulently) identification documents;
7. The rental, or attempt to rent, storage units or a living space for a large group of people;
8. Economical and non-descript lifestyle;
9. The abandonment of typical cultural identifiers such as facial hair or clothing;
10. No interest in learning English; and,
11. Relationships with suspicious groups.
Note: This checklist is by no-means all-inclusive. It should be viewed as a place from which to start your discussion about terrorist planning.
Since 1996 the State Department has issued an annual report on patterns of global terrorism. Between 1996 and 2004, the varying reports list well over one hundred different foreign terrorist organizations. Furthermore, this does not include the large number of domestic terrorist or potential domestic terrorist groups and individuals. Clearly, it is impossible for the first responder to have an in-depth knowledge about the all the potential threats. Similarly, in Los Angeles it would be difficult to have an in-depth understanding of every gang; however, it would be possible to understand enough about gang members in order to increase your situational awareness. In order to increase our situational awareness, we want to understand some overarching principles about terrorists:
• For the terrorist, the end justifies the means. The result is that no matter how bad the act, if the terrorist perceives the act as moving toward their goal, they do not consider the impact of the act on the individual or groups. Their only concern is the impact of the act on their end goal.
• The planning and execution of most terrorist acts seems to indicate that first responders are dealing with criminals that have an above average intelligence and are tactically astute. Research indicates that many terrorist leaders come from middle class families and are relatively well-educated.
• The point of terrorism is always publicity for the cause, through terror. Think of it this way – in war, the point of a mine field is to slow or stop enemy progression; with terrorism, the point of an improvised explosive device along a highway is to gain publicity for the cause.
• The target and the victim need not be the same. On September 11th, the victims who were killed or injured were not the targets. The United States government was the target. This concept reinforces the idea that for every terrorist – the end justifies the means.
Know current intelligence
The current national system for a terrorist alert is almost too general to be of much use to the average first responder. There have been, however, instances when the Department of Homeland Security has issued alerts that were specific enough to be useful. An alert that says that financial institutions in a specific region should be in a higher state of preparedness is specific enough for the first responder to take action. Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security not only issues alerts, but general recommendations for action based on those alerts. Every first responder should have a good grasp of how a heightened alert impacts their assignment.
One of the most common deliver methods of explosives is through the use of a vehicle. Some of the indicators may be:
• Vehicles that have a strong chemical smell, or the scent of something burning coming from them;
• Signs of recent body work, especially of poor quality, or with patches welded to the cab or body of the truck;
• Extra fuel tanks or extra antennas, or recent signs of a reinforced suspension;
• Inappropriate license plates or misspelled artwork or badly executed stencil painting;
• Heavily tinted windows, particularly if used in an unusual manner (for example, if the front screen of a delivery truck is tinted); and,
• Signs that the vehicle is heavily over-loaded on its suspension.
One of the problems with American law enforcement is that we tend to “stove-pipe” critical communications. That is, we send information up and down a specific chain of command, often failing a timely dissemination of the information to where it is most needed. You can work to short-circuit this by developing your own sources of information. Whether you subscribe to the Department of Defense e-mail briefings, the State Department email advisories or any one of the great public sources of Open Source Intelligence, you should find a source of information that you continually and regularly consult for intelligence on the latest trends in terrorism.
Total situational awareness is gained through increased comprehension of what we observe. It results in a greater ability to make short-term predictions about what is going to happen and therefore make decisions regarding our response. Comprehension is gained through education, training and experience. If you attain total situational awareness you will be better able to prevent, respond and apprehend.
“© 2007 http://www.police-writers.com reprinted with permission”
About the Author
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA is author of Police Technology (Prentice Hall, July 2004), and co-author of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style (Quill Driver Books, August 2006), From NYPD to LAPD: An Introduction to Policing (Prentice Hall, July 2007), over fifty articles on technology, policing, leadership and terrorism and a dozen educational websites like http://www.police-writers.com. Raymond can be reached at email@example.com or through his blog at http://www.terrorism-online.blogspot.com.