Defensive Gun Use / The Decision to Defend Oneself

Episode 8 - Defensive Gun Use / The Decision to Defend Oneself

Defensive gun use (DGU) is the use or presentation of a firearm for self-defense, or defense of others. Estimates over the number of defensive gun uses vary wildly depending on the study's definition of a defensive gun use, survey design, population, criteria, time-period studied, and other factors. Low-end estimates are in the range of 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year, while high end estimates reach up to 4.7 million per year.

There are not this many actual shootings. In the vast majority of cases, an armed citizen brings his or her firearm to bear on the bad guy or guys, the perps think better of their plans for rape, robbery and/or violent assault, and leave.

You must be prepared to shoot someone who poses an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm. It is important that you be able to draw your gun quickly and efficiently.

This is a simple matter of practice. Start at home. Wearing normal concealment clothes and your carry system (gun and holster), unload your gun, put the ammo in another room, then return and safety check your gun again. Find a safe direction to aim your gun (what would happen if you fired a round?). If there isn’t one (i.e. you live in an urban apartment), find someplace else to practice.

When interviewed after a DGU, a lot of armed self-defenders say they have no idea how their gun got into their hands. If you practice drawing from concealment, not only will you be fast and efficient, you’ll also have a good firing grip and your sights will be on target, automatically. That’s a big, possibly even life-saving advantage to have.

Train with the following in mind.

1. Be prepared to use deadly force.

This emotional, mental and psychological decision must be made long before the incident arrives. You may have to shoot a man, a woman, pregnant lady or a teenager. Think about it before the time arrives.  Be prepared to stop a co-worker, a neighbor, a teammate, friend or even a relative.  You may have to physically hurt or kill someone that you know, someone you’ve talked with, like, or someone you think you know well.

 

2.  Action is faster than reaction.

If someone’s pointing a gun at you, you must act fast. He can pull the trigger anytime he wants to, and you’ll be DRT, dead right there. Never, ever get involved in a so-called Mexican standoff where two people just stand there and point guns at each other.  Save that for Hollywood because in real life, if you do that, you could lose with disastrous results.

3. Have a positive ID on the threat/target, then shoot.

Be absolutely sure of your target before pulling the trigger.  If you’re too quick on the trigger, you might shoot the wrong person at the wrong time.

4. Shoot from behind cover, if available.

Know the difference between cover and concealment.  Get to hard cover and stay there until the threat stops.  Of course, shoot from behind cover and move only if you are gaining a tactical advantage without sacrificing your own safety.

5. Shoot on the move.  Shoot then move.  Move then shoot.

Practice all of these. Static shooting will get you killed.  Save that for target shooting and plinking.

6. Don’t turn your back on the threat.

If you need to retreat do so, but don’t turn your back, if possible.

7. Keep your eyes on the threat.

Your eyes are key in battle.  Protect your eyes and keep your head on a swivel.

8. Don’t hesitate.

Hesitation kills. Hesitation is your enemy, but so is shooting too fast.

10. Shoot center mass.

It’s the largest area on the body. Save shooting the gun out of someone’s hand for the movies.  Don’t shoot the leg or the shoulder, shoot center mass.  The next best target is the head and then the pelvis, but first shoot center mass.

11. Shoot until the threat stops.

If you’re justified to shoot, realize that the attacker might continue even after one or two shots, so keep shooting until the threat has stopped.  If you want some insight into this, plan a visit with an ER doctor in a big, violent city.

12. Have an individual first aid medical kit (IFAK) handy.

You’ll need it when you least expect it. Personal first aid kit, a vehicle kit, and a kit at home to be completely prepared. The kit should address blood stoppage, wound dressing, tourniquets, along with basic needs.

13. Be aggressive.

Violence of action is your friend, as long as it is controlled.  Be tactically smart, but aggressive in movement and attitude.  Call it what you will, but in the end, more violence wins.

14. Train hard.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Training in all its phases must be intensive.”  The harder you train, the more you’ll begin to conquer your own inner weaknesses and the more confidence you’ll gain.

Defensive Mindset / Personal Assessment - The Decision to Defend Oneself

Episode VII / Defensive Mindset/Personal Assessment - The Decision to Defend Oneself

Surviving is as much mental as physical. Teaching the mental aspects of defending oneself is far more esoteric than teaching the physical and mechanical skills needed to survive . The world Is a dangerous place, and sudden violence can occur anywhere.

Awareness Is critical, the right attitude can save you from a fight you never saw coming. I read an interesting remark on the internet, “being armed is a mindset. You don’t need a gun to be armed.” True words that speak of the value of having a defensive mindset.

I have made a living with a weapon my entire life. In the U.S. Army as an infantrymen, my career in law enforcement, my time overseas as a contractor, and now in my role of general manager at Royal Range USA. Every day I observe people who carry firearms. Their comments and actions reveal that many of them are not mentally prepared to use their firearm. Many more haven’t taken a single training class to learn how to use their firearm properly for self-defense.

How many people do you know who have a firearm in their purse or in a glove box because someone else bought it for them and said they needed to have it? How many of those people would remember they had the gun if they were ambushed? Giving a gun to an unskilled and unwilling person doesn’t make them armed, just as giving a guitar to an unskilled and unwilling person does not make them a musician.

In my previous blog, I spoke about a number of important considerations to develop situational awareness, the foundation of a defensive mindset. Having a defensive mindset is a life choice. Defending oneself, their families, etc. starts with the decision to be mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared and proficient to the threats that we can be faced with at a moment’s notice.

A defensive mindset will help change the way you see at the world around you. Implementing the 5 key points of situational awareness are the first step:

1.     Don’t look like easy prey.

2.     Minimize distractions.

3.     Be aware of your personal area.

4.     Think like a predator.

5.     Listen to your gut.

The next step is to honestly evaluate your skillset concerning defensive tactics, edged and impact weapon knowledge, firearms experience, first aid skills, knowledge of applicable laws (do’s and don’ts), liability issues, and dealing with the after math of a defensive situation. Be honest with yourself, do you have the skills? What level of proficiency do you possess? Many people because they grew up in certain areas, either rural or urban, served in the military, or their relatives had a background in the military or law enforcement, lie to themselves and believe they are prepared.

Don’t make this mistake, do a true evaluation of the skills you possess, or don’t possess and make a commitment to become proficient. The below list of training should be considered by all when they are assessing themselves:

  • Mindset

  • Situational Awareness

  • Threat Assessment

  • Legalities

  • Patterns of Violent Crime

  • Conflict Avoidance & Deterrence

  • Psychology of Violence

  • Verbal and Non-Verbal Commands

  • Neural Psychology

  • Reactionary Gaps & Lag Times

 

Once you have a clear understanding on the above list, next you must make sure you are proficient in the 4 safety rules of firearms safety:

1.     All firearms are always loaded

2.     Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy

3.     Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target

4.     Be sure of your target and what is beyond it

The next step is assessing your proficiency in the 7 fundamentals of marksmanship:

  • Stance. The stance is the base for the handgun shooting platform

  • Grip. A proper grip aids in control-ling recoil and muzzle flip

  • Sight Alignment

  • Sight Picture

  • Trigger Control

  • Breathing

  • Follow Through

Once you have a solid base in the recommendations above, consider the list below:

  • Weapons Based Combatives (Standing and On the Ground)

  • Dynamic Ready and Dynamic Shooting Positions

  • Defensive Shooting

  • Marksmanship

  • Tactics & Maneuvers

  • CQB

  • After Action and the ramifications thereof

  • Emergency First Aid

  • Threat Recognition

  • Force on Force Scenario Training

In upcoming blogs, I will speak of the items on above and attempt to define them. There is a huge difference between an intellectual understanding and a conditioned and trained response through exposure and repetition.  Common knowledge is not common practice.

The list of bullet points above is obviously an abbreviated list.  However, what is important is how the suggestions above build upon one another and interrelate to create a solid defensive plan.  Understanding that these skills are indivisible from one another in a way that addresses the whole will allow one to achieve a defensive mindset with the skills necessary to apply them.

Situational Awareness

Episode VI - Situational Awareness

As the names implies, situational awareness is simply knowing what’s going on around you. It sounds easy in principle, but in reality, requires much practice. And while it is taught to soldiers, and law enforcement officers, it’s an important skill for civilians to learn as well. In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even seconds before everyone else can keep you and your loved ones safe.

If you learn to pay attention to the people around you in public, you will learn to avoid being a victim. Not having situational awareness explains how most people get mugged. When people don’t pay attention to their surroundings, they have no chance to see bad guys coming until it’s too late.

Psychologists tell us keeping ourselves safe is a basic human instinct, however I have found that surviving is something we have to learn how to do. Additionally, if you choose to carry a gun concealed, you certainly want to avoid that worst-case scenario of having to use it to defend your life.

Self-defense trainers often speak of having a defensive mindset; that your brain is your best defensive tool for keeping you out of trouble. Being aware of our surroundings helps us identify dangers and possibly to avoid those dangers. Similarly, being clueless, distracted, and unprepared is far more likely to attract predators. Awareness of what is around you is where your self-defense begins. This awareness of potential danger is something we have to train and cultivate, especially as our world becomes more complex.

An important part of the personal defense mindset is situational awareness. Be alert to your surroundings. Many people go through life asleep and oblivious to the dangers around them. They may sidestep an open manhole cover and not slip on a freshly mopped floor but then miss the street person who is going to assault them for their wallet.

How exactly do we increase our situational awareness? How do we create that “defensive mindset?” I’ve found that concrete exercises help the most—when we have something to actively do, we find it easier to be more aware.

The following tips will help you take in your surroundings and actually register what you are seeing.

1. Don’t look like easy prey

Don’t look easy. Keep your head up and your eyes looking at your surroundings. Research shows that eye contact alone can help eliminate you from a criminal’s wish list. Square your shoulders and try to lift your spine and add an inch to your height. Don’t look like the weak member of the herd.

2. Minimize distractions

Don’t let texting, phone calls, window-shopping, or other activities shift your focus from what’s in your immediate area. Our visual processing seems to decrease when we’re listening to someone talking, or even to music. As a result, cell-phone users make great targets, especially those that have ear-buds stuck in their ears.

3. Be aware of your personal area

Imagine that you are the center of a 15-yard diameter circle. Look all around you—360 degrees—and evaluate each of the people within that radius. Start close and work out. See anything unusual? In that same area, note anything that could be used for defense—something to hide behind and anything that can be used to defend or strike. Lastly, determine your best exit routes.

4. Think like a predator

Pick someone in your personal zone. Now, starting at the head and moving down to the feet, describe that person’s most distinctive features. This exercise helps you look more closely at people; when you do, you’ll naturally process more information about them. Observe if that person is paying attention to their own surroundings and others or not. See if you can pick out the weak and the strong. The confident, and the meek.

5. Listen to your gut

Our intuition is amazingly accurate. Our gut feeling simply represents a different level of our brain monitoring and evaluating our surroundings. When something seems wrong, our brain tries to get our attention. Too often those “feelings” are discounted, discredited, and even banished as we strive to complete the tasks at hand. Criminals know this and count on it to provide them with an advantage.

If the ideal scenario is avoiding a problem, then good situational awareness is your first line of defense. Incorporating these exercises into a daily mental workout will get your mind used to paying more attention to your surroundings. With just a bit of practice, they will get easier, and soon they’ll be a natural part of your daily life. They’ll also help teach you places and situations to avoid.

Stay tuned for the next blog in this series. Be Aware, Be Prepared.

Mass Murderers - Personality Types

Episode 5.1 / Mass Murderers-Personality Types 

Humans kill because we're not dispassionate, robotic beings. We have wants and needs and possess the ability to pursue them. Let’s look at the definitions below of several types of personalities that have been derived from crimes. The below list was compiled by Laurence Miller, Ph.D., who is a clinical and forensic psychologist and law enforcement educator. 

Chronically Aggressive Individuals are easily frustrated, limited or poor impulse control. Frequently express anger or hostility. Resents authority, defiant with supervisors. May express hostility through “passive-aggressive” behavior. Believes violence and/or aggression are legitimate responses to various interpersonal problems in life (i.e., if someone provokes you, you fight back).Although they might never admit it, pleasure or reinforcement is derived from the expression of anger (i.e., it feels good to blow someone off; it makes you feel alive; it gives you a sense of power).Often display the characteristics of a “stimulus seeker” - they engage in bold, fearless, or reckless behavior and are prone towards substance abuse. Most typically, violence occurs in a situational context: an offense, fight, or disagreement. Sometimes just get carried away in a particular situation (domestic violence, child battering). Less likely to engage in acts of unexpected “explosive” violence. 

The Over-Controlled Hostility Type rarely displays or expresses anger - they don’t cuss or yell and may be offended by such. Emotionally rigid and inflexible: appear to be polite, serious, and sober, rarely “loose” or jocular. Cognitively rigid and inflexible: very strict about interpreting rules; usually go for the letter, rather than the spirit of the law. Morally righteous and upstanding: see themselves as “good people “Often judgmental: see others as “not such good people”. On-assertive or passive; their passivity causes others to take advantage of them. Anger builds up like in a pressure cooker, before they explode. After the violence, people say that they never expected it, “he always seemed like such a nice guy; he was always so quiet”. 

The Hurt and Resentful feel that people walk on them and that they are never treated fairly. When they are passed over, there is always someone else to blame. Things are easier for everyone else: other people get more and have more advantages. They do not accept criticism well. In response to reprimands, they develop grudges, which are sometimes deeply held. They are often whiners and complainers, as a matter of attitude. They wallow in their victimization and are psychologically impotent. Violence occurs because they hold grudges and are “impotent” to deal with their anger in other ways. 

The Traumatized has aggression that occurs in response to a single, massive assault on their identity. Something happens that is potently offensive, absolutely intolerable, and which strips 

them of all sense of personal power. The essence of their existence (or their manhood) will be destroyed if they do not respond. Violence is predictable & preventable. 

The Obsessive is a typically immature and narcissistic individual who demand or crave attention and affection. They absolutely cannot stand to be deprived of desired gratifications, like a baby who cries because mother removes the breast. When deprived of love, they continue crying: repeated phone calls, following the object of their obsession, etc. As frustration continues, they escalate: “dead flowers”, punctured tires, suicide gestures. Violence because: “if I can’t have her, nobody can.” ... or: “if she won’t have me, she won’t have anything.” 

The Paranoid is a jealous type who delusionally believes their lover is unfaithful. The persecuted type who delusionally believes that people are out to get him. Typically engage in behaviors which make their paranoid beliefs come true. Delusions may reach the point at which the person is grossly out of contact with reality (may be insane). 

The Insane is a very rare case, one who does not understand the nature and quality of their actions. More typical is one who has fundamental misperceptions of reality, incapable of rational behavior, delusional beliefs deprive them of the ability to know that their behavior is wrong, beliefs and perceptions are incongruent with reality. Twisted, psychotic beliefs about what is right, what is wrong, and what is necessary. 

The Just Plain Bad & Angry is a combination of most of the above (except for insane): angry, hostile, jealous, resentful, impotent, and disturbed individuals, who are socially isolated, socially inadequate, and who feel worthless and may be seeking attention and revenge. 

A “normal” person doesn’t just go on a mass murderous rampage. The person who commits these acts have shown similar signs, time and time again. The perpetrators are typically individuals with longstanding histories of contact with the legal, mental health, and/or substance abuse treatment systems. The cycle that leads to the lethal explosion typically begins when an individual experience a build-up of stressors stemming from health, employment, or romantic problems. But the violence-prone individual is typically an externalizer – he’s looking for someone to blame and his reaction often involves a noxious brew of persecutory ideation, projection of fault, and violent revenge fantasies. This is partly due to his general sense of narcissistic entitlement and tendency toward impulsive self-gratification, paradoxically fueled by his self-perceived incompetence to take any real constructive action. As these thoughts and emotions continue to percolate, the individual increasingly isolates himself from the input of others and accretes a mindset of self-justified martyrdom, often leading to hopeless suicidality with a retaliatory tinge: “If they can screw me, I can screw them back – bigtime. Why should other people go on having what they want and enjoying themselves, when I can’t? I may be going out, but I’m not going out alone.” The perpetrator fantasizes that after he’s gone, his Rambo like exploits will be reported to millions of people around the world; his name will be a 

household word. Far from meekly slinking away, our hero will leave this world in a blaze of martial glory, just like in the movies. The operational plan may be executed impulsively and immediately, or it may undergo meticulous planning with numerous revisions. The last step is the violent act itself, which may occur any time from hours to months to years following the final perceived injustice. Vengeance has a long memory. Once again, the firearm is not the problem, the person is the problem. Responsible firearm ownership is a right of all free people.

Mass Murder - Not a Gun Problem

Episode V: Mass Murder- Not a Gun Problem

Mass murder is defined as the killing of multiple victims in a single incident, typically using the highest level of lethal technology available to the killer, which in most cases involves one or more of the following: firearms, bladed instruments, explosives, arson, and/or vehicles. 

Most humans must overcome a powerful neural wiring to commit the crime of murder, especially mass murder or serial murders. The human brain is coded for compassion, for guilt, for a kind of empathic pain that causes the person inflicting harm to feel a degree of suffering that is in many ways almost as intense as what the victim is experiencing.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet proclaimed, "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!"

 Humans have created phenomenal architectural structures ranging from pyramids to skyscrapers. We've explored the depths of the ocean and the surface of the moon. We've created works of art that can affect emotions and provoke thoughtful conversations. Perhaps what makes us even more remarkable is that we have this seemingly infinite capacity to achieve remarkable things, and yet our history is filled with violence toward one another. How can we dedicate countless hours to matters of art, science, and other sophisticated pursuits and still commit acts of murder or wage globe-spanning wars?

For most people, killing another person, or many other people, isn't a trivial matter. But there are times when one person ends the life of another that seem to defy reason. What makes that happen? So, what causes an individual to commit these atrocities of mass murder?

Knowing right from wrong is important in the legal world. It separates sane people from the insane. An insane person, by legal definition, is one incapable of distinguishing reality from fantasy, or can’t control his or her own actions. Just because a person demonstrates sociopathic tendencies doesn't mean that person is insane.

A lack of empathy and the drive to seek out thrills can lead to violent confrontations. Many serial killers and mass murderers fall into this designation, they kill because they lack the inhibitions and empathy the rest of us possess.

What about acts of genocide? How do societies justify wiping out an entire subsection of people? According to a hypothesis posed by Ervin Staub, genocide is a result of a combination of environmental hardships and psychological coping. Staub suggests that when times are hard, people look for an excuse or scapegoat. That can include identifying a subsection of the population as being responsible for the hardship the community experiences. Wiping out that population is a way to cope with the hardship. It's a means to solve a problem, even though the solution and problem aren't necessarily connected in reality

What about the rest of us? What could drive us to kill? Since our decisions are based upon both emotions and reason, we can sometimes favor one over the other. In emotionally charged situations, we may allow ourselves to act impulsively, ignoring rationality. These so-called crimes of passion can happen between people with strong emotional bonds. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 30 percent of all female murder victims were killed by their spouses. Another 18.3 percent were killed by ex-spouses. Only 8.7 percent of all female victims were killed by a stranger. The assorted reasons for crimes of passion are numerous. Common motives include jealousy, revenge, fear and anger. These feelings may be conscious or unconscious. The act of killing may be spontaneous or premeditated.

Predicting a mass murder is very hard. Murder is an act as old as man himself. I do not believe that legislation of weapons, particularly firearms is the answer to preventing these incidents. Firearms and firearms ownership is not the problem, people are the problem. Do not fall for the propaganda that is gun control. Do not give up the fight for our rights to protect ourselves, families, and property. The Constitution of the United States and the 2nd Amendment are not guarantees of these rights, they are merely a declaration of these rights. The right to keep and bear arms is a right of all free people.

More to come on this subject next time. 

Tribalism-The Destruction of the American Way of Life

Episode IV: Tribalism-The Destruction of the American Way of Life

I have friends that are from many different religious groups, Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, atheists and agnostics. Most all my friends are tolerant of each other’s beliefs in religion, but when the discussion turns to politics, the conversation suddenly gets tribal. Most of my friends are dogmatic in their political commitments. My politically active friends are likely to explain their affiliation in terms of deep moral commitments and high social stakes.

I have seen firsthand the effects of tribalism in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Religious, political, and moral tribalism between factions such as the Sunni, Shia, Christian, Hebrew, between Bedouin tribes amongst the Arabs, racial and ethnic tribalism in Afghanistan between the Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aymāq, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Arab, Brahui, Pamiri and a few others. These tribal issues have been going on thousands of years, and is the main factor that keeps this part of the world at a boiling point and prevents stability in these regions.

The definition of tribalism is the state of being organized by, or advocating for, tribes or tribal lifestyles. Some scholars postulate that human evolution has occurred in small groups, as opposed to mass societies, and that humans naturally maintain a social network. The American scholar Peter Killworth estimates that the median social network in the United States is 231 people. The social structure of a tribe usually involves a relatively undifferentiated role structure, with few significant political or economic distinctions between individuals.

Tribalism implies the possession of a strong cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the members of another group. Based on strong relations of proximity and kinship, members of a tribe tend to possess a strong feeling of identity. A few writers have postulated that the human brain is hard-wired towards tribalism by its evolutionary advantages. In today’s world the tribal effect is multiplied using social media.

Political and moral tribalism is creating a dangerous situation in America today. The lack of common ground and the ability to engage in proper discourse of different opinions, while retaining the desire to keep our country grounded in the values that enabled the USA to achieve great strides for its citizens and the world, is being lost due to tribalism.

The United States appears to be split more now than since our civil war. I believe there is very little concern for love of our country and the freedoms we possess. A love for freedom, family, community, and patriotic values seems to take a back seat to paranoia, and unacceptance of another’s opinion.

Our fore fathers created a republic, while flawed, (nothing is perfect), that was the shining beacon to those that wanted to improve themselves and their families. The promise of the American dream for prosperity, equality, and acceptance is the very foundation of the American dream. What happened? The constant attack of our constitution and its amendments is at an all-time high. The willingness to relinquish our freedoms brought on by the paranoia that tribalism fosters is reaching dangerous proportions, and threatens our very way of life.

The following is taken directly from Amy Chau’s book; Political Tribes Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations

For the first time in US history, white Americans are faced with the prospect of becoming a minority in their “own country.” While many in our multicultural cities may well celebrate the “browning of America” as a welcome step away from “white supremacy”, it’s safe to say that large numbers of American whites are more anxious about this phenomenon, whether they admit it or not. Tellingly, a 2012 study showed that more than half of white Americans believe that “whites have replaced blacks as the ‘primary victims of discrimination’.”

Meanwhile, the coming demographic shift has done little to allay minority concerns about discrimination. A recent survey found that 43% of black Americans do not believe America will ever make the changes necessary to give blacks equal rights. Most disconcertingly, hate crimes have increased 20% in the wake of the 2016 election.

When groups feel threatened, they retreat into tribalism. When groups feel mistreated and disrespected, they close ranks and become more insular, more defensive, more punitive, more us-versus-them.

In America today, every group feels this way to some extent. Whites and blacks, Latinos and Asians, men and women, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, straight people and gay people, liberals and conservatives – all feel their groups are being attacked, bullied, persecuted, discriminated against.

Of course, one group’s claims to feeling threatened and voiceless are often met by another group’s derision because it discounts their own feelings of persecution – but such is political tribalism.

The 2016 elections brought the growing separation to light caused by political tribalism. Political tribalism in not new, but the growth of this phenomena has been exacerbated through the availability of connecting via the internet and social media. The political climate in the United States has always had conservative and liberals, war hawks and war doves, pessimists and optimists. The differences today are a lack of empathy, manners, morals, willingness to discuss our views, and the ability to reach a workable compromise. Today it seems like the middle ground has fallen into a void. America seems to be a runaway train, a wreck waiting to happen.

Our Declaration of Independence, one our most sacred documents, states in the second paragraph: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Political tribalism has created a violent situation, causing each group to engage in hateful criticism, outrage, and condemnation. The ability to share our different views, engage in a positive debate, and find a workable solution seems unachievable. The solution, I believe is in education, knowledge of our history, and fully understanding that the negativity that tribalism fosters prevents us as a society to be that shining beacon for hope, prosperity, and equality.

THE RIGHT OF SELF DEFENSE

Episode III: The Right of Self Defense

The definition of the right of self-defense is for people to be able to use reasonable force or defensive force, for the purpose of defending one’s own life or the lives of others, including, in certain circumstances, the use of deadly force.

The early theories of self-defense make no distinction between defense of the person and defense of property. Whether consciously or not, this builds on the Roman Law principle of dominium where any attack on the members of the family or the property it owned was a personal attack on the pater familias – the male head of the household, sole owner of all property belonging to the household, and endowed by law with dominion over all his descendants through the male line no matter their age.

Some scholars believe that the right to self-defense is referenced in religious texts as a God given right to protect oneself, family, and property. Among God’s first words to Noah after the Flood subsided was this declaration of the importance of human life and the price paid for spilling human blood: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:6) This statement is not made to a nation-state or to a police force but instead to a small band of people who are rebuilding human society from the ground up. The principle is clear: Human life is precious, and God mandates the ultimate penalty for taking life. Going forward, the morality of the right of self-defense is presumed. Nehemiah, when he was rebuilding Jerusalem in the face of hatred (not in wartime, but when tribal neighbors were seeking to carry out vigilante attacks on Jews) instructed his people: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14).

In the climax of the Book of Esther it is told that Jews gathered together in an act of self-defense, when a despotic king was persuaded to allow them to fight against their attackers: “the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods.”  (Esther 8:11).  The Jews then “struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those that hated them.” (Esther 9:5). Before Esther’s intervention a king would have denied the Jews their right of self-defense. After Esther’s intervention, the Jews didn’t merely look to law enforcement for salvation but took matters into their own hands for their self defense.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) is one of England’s most influential political philosophers. In his book Leviathan (published in 1651), Hobbes (using the English term self-defense for the first time) proposed the foundation political theory that distinguishes between a state of nature where there is no authority and a modern state. Hobbes argues that although some may be stronger or more intelligent than others in their natural state, none are so strong as to be beyond a fear of violent death, which justifies self-defense as the highest necessity.

Castle doctrine, also known as a castle law or a defense of habitation law,( 17th century English common law that was eventually brought to all states in the U.S.), is a legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode or any legally occupied place (for example, a vehicle or home) as a place in which that person has protections and immunities permitting one, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend oneself against an intruder, free from legal prosecution for the consequences of the force used.

In earlier times before the development of national policing, an attack on the family home was effectively either an assault on the people inside or an indirect assault on their welfare by depriving them of shelter and/or the means of production. This linkage between a personal attack and property weakened as societies developed but the threat of violence remains a key factor in exercising the right of self-defense.

The right of self-defense is a constitutional right. The Second Amendment grants us the right to keep and bear arms for personal protection and protection from government or other entities that want to impose their will over an unarmed populace.

Self-defense in today’s litigious society carries many issues of concern, those being the obvious chance of criminal prosecution if not all particulars are adhered to that are defined by law, civil lawsuits from the perpetrator involved in the incident or the family of the offender seeking financial remuneration, to the biggest personal issue that of the morality of the act and the ability to “live with the decision” of using violence to protect oneself that may include up to the taking of the life of another.

The adage of “I had rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6” is bravado at best, and is a simplistic way some justify the possibility of the act of taking another’s life in self-defense. The use of self defense requires hours of pondering on the ramifications morally, financially, and emotionally of engaging in this act, along with seeking education on how to prepare one self to properly execute a means of self-defense the individual feels adequate in using.

Essentially self-defense has been an inherent right that has existed throughout the history of civil society. All rights, of course, are subject to some limits (the right of free speech is not unlimited, for example), and there is much room for debate on the extent of those limits, but state action against the right of self-defense is by default a violation of the natural rights of man, and the state’s political judgment about the limitations of that right should be viewed with extreme skepticism and must overcome a heavy burden of justification.

I personally believe every man, woman, and child should be motivated to seek education in the ways of personal self defense while being well grounded in their moral, emotional and mental states regarding its use. I believe that a person that is confident in their ability to defend their self is the cornerstone of a well-rounded individual, and that this in turn creates the foundation of a strong capable individual that translates into the possibilities of a stable family, secure community, and better world.

THE 2ND AMENDMENT

Episode II: THE 2ND AMENDMENT

On Friday, April 6, 2018, U.S. District Judge William Young said assault weapons are military firearms and aren’t protected by the constitutional right to “bear arms.” Sorry Judge, you are wrong on several accounts.

The term “assault weapon” is a term made up by the gun control lobby to strike fear into the hearts and minds of Americans. Gun control activists rely very heavily on fear-based language to persuade Americans that guns are inherently evil, and that the only solution is to pass stricter gun control laws.

Assault is an action; it is a verb, not a noun. A firearm is incapable of an independent action. People or other living organisms can and do engage in many kinds of actions. A hammer, a car, or any other item, must be used or activated by a living breathing entity to perform an action. A firearm doesn’t possess artificial intelligence allowing it to perform an action, either bad or good, legal or illegal. The difference is the human, not the tool or firearm. Are your intentions good or evil?  A good person with a firearm stopping an evil act by a bad person with a firearm is an action. The firearm wielded by both people, the good and the evil, is inconsequential to the act. Firearms are merely a means, a device to aid in completing an action by a person.

The sword was a means of self-defense and a tool of war, and it was also banned in some locations, not because of mass slayings by citizens, but by others to keep control of the unarmed masses.The desire to restrict the possession of weapons has always come from those who wished to not only monopolize power but to do so on their own terms. When the crossbow was invented, the medieval nobility attempted to ban it because it reduced the effectiveness of the armored and mounted knight. Failing in that, they attempted to restrict, with some success, its ownership to people they could control. The Samurai in Japan enforced ruthlessly their rule that only Samurai should carry swords. When the conscripts of British Army returned to Britain after the First World War, the British government passed the first serious laws regulating gun ownership not because they feared that the British would begin to murder one another in considerable numbers but because they feared a Communist revolution.

According to the Nexis News database, the first mention of “assault weapons” appeared in a 1980 New York Times story. Over the past several decades, gun-control proponents have heavily relied on this terminology and have blanket-applied it to any firearm that looked scary. The public mistakes the “AR” in AR-15 to mean “assault rifle or automatic rifle”. “The “AR” in “AR-15” stands for “ArmaLite Rifle,” the company that first manufactured the AR-15 in December 1959, thanks to the genius of Eugene Stoner.

In 1903 and 1905, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company introduced the first semi-automatic rimfire and centerfire rifles designed especially for the civilian market. Semi auto firearms have been in public circulation for more than 100 years. It wasn’t until almost 50 years later after the introduction of the semi auto rifle to the public, that we saw one used in a mass shooting.

Most rifles used by the military are not semi-automatic only, the majority are select fire which gives the option of semi, controlled bursts (usually 2 to 3 shots) on some, and then fully automatic. Handguns used by the military have counterparts that are almost the same that are sold to the general public. U.S. District Judge William Young’s point that they are military firearms is a very misleading statement.

Most gun control advocates never visit the land of common sense and logic. The First Amendment guarantees our right to freedom of speech; however, it is not a license to wallow in ignorance to try and create legislation that advocates the opposite freedoms that our Constitution guarantees us.

A common misconception about the Second Amendment is that it only protects arms for the militia, or in modern day, the National Guard (The National Guard, as it exists today, wasn’t created until 1903,) or other government-organized military groups. This is simply untrue; a belief arising from ignorance about the language used in the Second Amendment and understanding its meaning as it was understood originally when the Bill of Rights was ratified.

In the Supreme Court case, D.C. vs Heller, the court explains that all citizens are the militia; the Second Amendment is an individual right, just like every other right protected in the Bill of Rights, and is independent of membership in any organized group or military unit.

The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There are two clauses that comprise the Second Amendment, an operative clause, and a prefatory clause.

Operative clause: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The operative clause is the actual protected right. The court wrote: “1. Operative Clause. a. ‘Right of the People.’ [used 3 times in Bill of Rights] … All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.”

Prefatory clause: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.”

“The Amendment’s prefatory clause announced a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority of this opinion from the court.

The court also stated: “The Amendment could be rephrased, ‘Because a well-regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.’”

The founding fathers understood that those who hold political power will almost always strive to reduce the freedom of those they rule and that many of the ruled will always be tempted to trade their liberty for empty promises of security.

The U.S. Constitution, including the Second Amendment, is a device designed to frustrate the domineering tendencies of the politically ambitious. The Second Amendment also plays a significant role in fostering the kind of civic virtue that resists the cowardly urge to trade liberty for an illusion of safety. Armed citizens take responsibility for their own security, thereby exhibiting and cultivating the self-reliance and vigorous spirit that are ultimately indispensable for genuine self-government.

School Shootings "A New Trend in Gun Violence"

Episode I: School Shootings “A new trend in gun violence”

Welcome to the first episode of The “Art” of War. I would like to offer my opinions on the current tragedies involving active shooters in our nation. Murders have taken place in public locations since the earliest recorded history of man. Mass killings are nothing new. When these incidents happen at our places of worship and where we educate our children, then the heartbreak and trauma is multiplied a thousand-fold.

The first recorded mass killing in a school was July 26, 1764 in Greencastle, Pennsylvania with 10 dead and 2 injured. This happened at Enock Brown school during Pontiac’s War or Rebellion. Four Delaware American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and nine children. Only two children survived. The schoolmaster was shot with a firearm, and the children were murdered with bladed and impact weapons of the day.

November 12, 1840 in Charlottesville, Virginia, John Anthony Gardner Davis, a law professor at the University of Virginia, was shot by student Joseph Semmes, and died from his wound three days later.

November 2, 1853 in Louisville, Kentucky. Student Matthew Ward took a pistol to school, where he shot the schoolmaster Mr. Butler as revenge for what Ward thought was excessive punishment of his brother the day before.

August 16, 1856 in Florence, Alabama, the schoolmaster had a tame sparrow and had warned the students not to harm it, threatening death. One of the boys stepped on the bird and killed it; he was afraid to return to school but did so. After lessons, the master took the boy into a private room and strangled him to death. The boy’s father went to the school and shot the schoolmaster.

The list goes on and on till modern times. Humans committing murder because of passion, greed, or mental issues as occurred since man has walked the earth.

With the high school massacre in Parkland, Fl. we were bombarded with facts and figures suggesting that the problem of school shootings was out of control. We were informed, for example, that since 2013 there has been an average of one school shooting a week in the U.S., and 18 since the beginning of this year. These statistics stretched the definition of a school shooting.

“Every town for Gun Safety” (https://everytown.org/), reported that there have been 290 school shootings since the massacre in Newtown, Conn., more than five years ago. However, very few of these were anything akin to Sandy Hook or Parkland. Sure, they all involved a school of some type (including technical schools and colleges) as well as a firearm, but the outcomes were hardly similar. Nearly half of the 290 were completed or attempted suicides, accidental discharges of a gun, or shootings with not a single individual being injured. Of the remainder, the clear majority involved either one fatality or none.

Since 1990, there have been 22 shootings at elementary and secondary schools in which two or more people were killed, not counting those perpetrators who committed suicide. Five of these incidents have occurred over the past five-plus years since 2013, claiming the lives of 27 victims (17 at Parkland), the latter half of the 1990s witnessed seven multiple-fatality shootings with a total of 33 killed (13 at Columbine).

The 1997-98 school year saw four multiple-fatality shooting sprees at the hands of armed students (in Pearl, Miss.; West Paducah, Ky.; Jonesboro, Ark.; and Springfield, Ore.). President Clinton formed a White House expert committee to advise him after this rash of shooting. Ten years later, President Bush convened a White House Conference on School Safety in the wake of multiple-fatality incidents during his administration. No lasting solutions came out these actions.

One shooting in a school or any public place is one too many, however we cannot pass feel good legislation that does nothing at all. We have laws on the books and procedures in place that are not being adhered to.

Many states fail to fully report felony convictions to the federal government, either in a timely manner or at all. Failure to properly and promptly report these convictions creates a breakdown in the NCIS (National Crime Information Center) which is the national data base used for background checks when a firearm is purchased (Form 4473).

The deinstitutionalization of our mental health facilities and not having a suitable way to vet and report persons who are having issues that may lead to mass shootings is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Banning a firearm is not the answer, not to use a cliché, but it is a “Heart” and “Mind” issue.