15 April 2015

Why a 73 year old insurance man and reserved deputy was put in a position to kill

The only ones who don't know the answer to why Robert Charles "Bob" Bates was put in a position to accidentally shoot and kill a suspect are those who are not cops.  There is lots of hay being made out of the fact that he had donated thousands of dollars to the Tulsa Sheriff's Office over the years.  For those that are not familiar this is a very common thing in many jurisdictions and states.  More than ever agencies are hurting for money and looking to add money to their coffers from any legal source.  This was the case here.

In many areas affluent business and citizen give agencies money for everything from body armor to new vehicles and mayors, city councils, chiefs, and sheriff's are happy to take it.  Often these agencies have auxiliary and reserve units, that in days gone by...and not so gone by were basically a way for those who were not police to ride around with their buddies who were.  It only makes sense that a fella like Bob Bates who had done so much for the SO would be involved with their reserve program.

Now don't get me wrong, I am friends with and have trained some auxiliary and reserve officers who were better motivated and better trained than the full timers.  In most cases, they had careers that allowed them to make much more money than a police officer does, and came to a time in their lives when they had the time to volunteer for the department and fulfill a life long dream.  The problem is that very often they just want to wear a cop costume to get looked at.  Not surprising since there are lots of full time police that are the same way.  They want to wear the Superman costume but have no interest in fighting crime.  What do they both have in common?  Little to no interest in training, especially if it is physical training.

In my honest opinion, the majority of police excessive force cases could be avoided by two things, punching officers in the face during their interview, and continuing to punch them in the face during training.  Violence is the 800 pound Gorilla in law enforcement.  Sooner or later no matter how old you are, no matter what color you are, you will have to arrest someone who does not want to go.  In the days before OC and Tasers you had two options...use your hands, or use your stick/sap/jack.  This meant that officers were no strangers to violence and did not get flustered when people fought through OC or a Taser went clack clack clack with no visible effect to the suspect.  They did not automatically go to gun, they just hit them again and harder.

It is this lack of inoculation to violence and reliance of things that spit a substance or electricity that causes excessive force.

Back to old Bob.  He was a reserve deputy, but in every agency there are guys like him that should not be carrying a badge much less a Taser or a gun.  These guys are usually thought, called, or considered "goofs'.  They would make a good neighbor, or in this case an insurance salesman, a nice enough guy, but not a cop.  They usually have no interest in firearms or any officer survival related skill sets and stand in the back of the group.  In Bob's case, the bosses would not be very happy if the instructor said something and Bob stopped cutting checks.  But in most cases, they are regular officers who if pushed by an instructor will do one of two things, either fake an injury and cause a loss time injury, which is the death null to a training program, or just call off sick that night because they are sore.

As soon as society and police administrators come to grips with the fact that policing can be violent and the ability to recognize when and how much violence to use early on in a situation will cut down on the injuries to officers and offenders we will be better off.  I am not holding my breath.  Don't Tase me bro.

09 April 2015

NEW COURSE- Parent & Children Protection Course

Course- Parent & Child Protection Course

Course Description- This topical two hour course taught by a retired police officer and experienced dad, is intented to give both the parent and child confidence and peace of mind in their ability to deal with the dangers our society.  The information is delivered in a matter of fact way that is as non threatening as possible while still providing attendees with the skills needed to stay safe.  Through a combination of discussion, scenarios and drills the kids learn the following-

  • What is intuition and why do I need to trust it
  • How do I know if I am being bullied and how to stop it
  • How to use my voice to get help
  • How to spot good guys fast
  • Bathroom safety
  • How to physically get away from someone who is bigger and stronger 
  • What to do if someone gets me in their car
  • How to remember someones description, including their car

This course is intended to be attended by one or both parents and any child between the ages of 7-12.

Please call 717-889-1753 to host this course.

07 April 2015

Invicta 19258- The Poor man's Observer Watch

Actually, Invicta calls it the Men's 19258 I-Force Analog Display Japanese Quartz Black Watch.  My love of watches started about 20 years ago I guess, at times I have had as many as a dozen or so. Right now in my stable is about six.  Before this Invicta, they were all Seikos and Citizens.  Recently, I got the itch for something new.

Since I am a little bigger than the average bear, I like bigger watches, usually over 44MM.  With the exception of my Citizen Nighthawk, my watches were all divers.  My favorite thing about the Nighthawk was that it was big and flat.  The only thing I don't like is how busy the dial is, hard on my old eyes.  I wanted something that was big, flat, simple, easy to read, with good lume.  That is not too much to ask, is it?  Usually the more you want, the more you will pay.  Not in this case.

After doing some research, I realized that what I had in my mind's eye was the same thing they issued to pilots & observers during WWII.  Commonly called observer watches, they had a big, simple, easy to read faces.  They also had lume so as to be easily read in low light conditions.  If you want a real one, you will spend thousands.  Even an authentic reproduction is going to run you $400-$500 and then go up from there.  Below you will find some of the quality reproductions that are out there.  You can see where Invicta got their inspiration for this homage (a watch that inspired by another watch, usually a very expensive classic).
Observer by Laco

Observer by Zenno

Invicta Observer

The Invicta 19258 is available on Amazon for around $80.  For some reason, you will always see the list price for all Invicta watches at about 3-4 times what they actually cost, and I am not sure why. At any rate, many watch purists will thumb their noses at Invictas.  For this reason, I hesitated to purchase one.  But at the end of the day, it is the only way I was going to get an Observer watch, and I am so happy I did.

The 19258 is 45MM wide, but in my opinion, looks bigger on the wrist because of the simplicity of the dial.  At this price point the lume is very impressive, at least on the minute and hour hands, which is really all you need.  After exposed to very bright light, you can make out the lume on the minute numbers but it does not last long.  Spending a lot of time riding a motorcycle, it is important to me to be able to read the time fast and the hands on the 19258 make this fast and easy day or night.

Something else that is very cool that you seldom see on inexpensive watches is that it is "hackable" meaning that when the crown is pulled all the way out to set the time the second hand stops allowing you precise time setting using this site.  I have been wearing this watch for two weeks and it has not lost a second.  The Japanese quartz movement sees to that.

The band is 22MM which I have found to be the most common size.  The black band with white contrast stitching featuring a silver buckle was of good quality.  My only issue, and it is a personal one, was that it was of a tapered design and I prefer otherwise.  Currently, I am wearing it on a black leather Zulu type band but plan on ordering a brown leather one to further pay homage to the original Observer watches.

The 19258 is water resistant to 330 which should be more than enough since this is not a dive watch. Another attractive feature is the date observer where you can not only see the current date but also the day before and day after.

Of course the most striking thing about the watch is the dial.  The minutes are in the prominent position usually reserved for the hours.  Inside them in red is the 12 hour clock, and inside of them is the 24 hour clock.

Overall the watch is very attractive and I have to admit I cannot stop looking at it.  This is the first watch I have ever reviewed so some may wonder why I am doing so now.  A quality watch has always been part of my EDC since high school.  Add that to the fact that we like to review gear that anyone can afford and you can probably see why now.  If you are on the market for a new watch, and like the look of the Observer type, don't hesitate to pick up this one from Invicta.

31 March 2015

Bullshit and Fairy Dust- The business of making the simple complex

Albert Einstein said- If you cannot explain it simply, then you don't understand it completely.  The truth is this applies to everything, especially fighting and self defense.  The problem is that there is no money keeping it simple.  

In classes I always tell people that if you are practicing a martial art 3-4 nights a week in a dojo and suffer no serious injuries then don't expect what you are learning to work on the street.  But these days with everyone wearing an Infidel Punisher t-shirt, there is a bigger market than ever for the five finger death punch and Spetznaz only tactics.

Complicated will get you killed.  Too many choices will gets you killed.  Hesitation will get you killed.  People spend lots of time and invest considerable amounts of money learning things that have nothing to do with their application.  If you enjoy being a Tactical LARPER read no further.

Experience tells us that you are much more likely to be punched in the face than be stabbed or shot.  Experience also tells us that about 95% of the time that punch will come in the form of a roundhouse.  But if you go to a dojo or double top secret Ninja camp you will find very little time being dedicated to effectively defending against a roundhouse punch.  The reason is that the teacher knows there is no money in the fundamentals, and the student is interested in learning about the other things that "could" happen.  

The other interesting thing is that usually when someone gets punched in the face they momentarily forget about the gun or knife on their hip.  But training in those skill sets seems to make some believe it will stop them from getting punched in the face.

So the idea of this rant is to remember that everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face, so make sure the first time you get punched in the face is in training and not in the street.  Once you realize how much it sucks consider learning how to effectively defend against it before moving on to fancy crap.  Instead of adding more techniques, consider changing the conditions by defending against the roundhouse from the right and the left, from the flanks, after being spun around, while sitting, while getting out of a car etc.  You will be surprise at how much you can learn while concentrating on fundamentals.   Don't forget if both you and your training partner are not feeling it, you are dancing, not fighting.

18 March 2015

First Look- Yukon Outfitters Torent DryBag 25L

One of the new pieces of gear I picked up at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg was the Torent Dry Bag 25L from Yukon Outfitters. For years I have been using the old USGI wet weather bags, contractor bags, and zip locks instead of more expensively priced dry bags. Most of the time these bags were used in the woods. Starting a few years ago, I started doing about 90% of my traveling from early March to late December on my motorcycle. Unfortunately getting wet often goes hand in hand with motorcycling. The need for a proper wet weather bag for the bike along with the "Hyper Green" color of the Yukon bag put me over the edge. 

 On a motorcycle, visibility is everything, so I figured the bag would be great for the back of the bike. Yesterday I picked my bike up at the shop after getting new tires, plugs, brakes, and such. I wanted to take my spare motorcycle cover to where I work and began thinking of how I was going to accomplish this. Then I remembered the Torent Dry Bag that had been sitting in my closet since February. I have the 25L, the smallest of the Torent series, its big brothers are 30L and 40L respectively.

. The cover, designed for a V Twin Harley Davidson, only took up about a third of the bag. Rolling and then securing the buckle on the bag gave me confidence that water did not stand a chance of getting inside. In the future I plan to do a dunk test even though the bag is marketed only as water resistant. The bag also sports attachment points for the included adjustable sling strap. This came in handy for securing the bag horizontily across my Mountainsmith Red Rock pack that was already on my bike with my EDC gear. During the 25 miles to work, the bag stayed put. Having its neon color on the back of the bike is a plus. I plan on getting one of the larger bags for motorcycle camping this summer. At under $19 from Amazon this bag is cheap insurance to keep your gear dry. Here is some of the info from the company. 

  •  Keeps Your Gear and Valuables Dry 
  • Durable Water Resistant Construction 
  • Welded Seams with Watertight Roll Top 
  • Closure Integrated Grab and Go Shoulder Sling 
  • UTX Buckles

11 March 2015

Another order of Knockers on their way across the pond

Hmmm, for some reason these are extremely popular in other countries.

Knockers pictured with Fellhoelter Ti Bold Pen & Microtech UDT

Get yours today

Follow Modern Combative Systems's board MCS Knockers (Slung Shot) on Pinterest.


10 March 2015

Top 3 signs of adrenaline dump and how to effectively manage it

In the tactical world, there is a lot of time spent talking about the adrenaline dump that you experience during a real life or death situation.  Lots of that is dedicated to listing the changes that will occur in your body.

A principle belief of MCS is that you are far more likely to get punched in the face than shot or stabbed, even if you eventually get shot or stabbed in the altercation.

There are two types of scenarios; brewing and spontaneous.  Basically with warning or without, of course most of the time there is ample warning that is either not observed or ignored.
Over the years I have been involved in a handful of spontaneous incidents that just pop up like  grease fire.  The vast majority were brewing scenarios.

For the citizen, if you are in a brewing scenario, remove yourself by what ever means necessary if you can.  If you can't, then you are in the same situation as the cop, bouncer, or corrections officer, eventually things are going to boil over and one of you is going to initiate physical contact.

Your reptilian brain that controls the fight or flight response will subconsciously kick in way before you are consciously aware that you are going to be in a fight.  The truth is that your reptilian brain does not trust your higher functioning "this is not happening", "I am not ready to fight" brain to allow you to survive, so the reptilian brain just pushes your higher functioning brain out of the driver's seat and takes everything over.  If you survive, the reptilian brain will give your higher functioning brain a little pat on the head and hand the controls back over until it's needed again.

There is nothing you can do to stop the above from happening.  Why would you want to?  If you did, you would not survive very long.  The only thing you can do is train into it and not against it.  The biggest problem is that the reptilian brain does not like tools, it hates them.  All it cares about is getting away or fighting to get away.  So there are two options, you employ tools before hand or inoculate yourself to the point where you can manage the effects to the point where you can deploy tools.  Basically, being calm enough that the reptilian brain reluctantly hands the the controls over to the higher functioning brain.

Since we already realize that we cannot stop the reptilian brain from taking over, the best way to manage is to realize as fast as possible that it has taken over the controls.   All the physical training, shooting on the range, and in most cases time on the mat or in tournament will do little to help you prepare.  The reason why is that for an all out "I might die today" adrenaline dump to take place you have to believe that there is a very real possibility of you not surviving.  The reptilian brain does not like to be needlessly bothered.

Most confrontations begin verbally, and it is then that about 95% of people go black and are unable to do anything but run away which of course is the best option but it may not be available or you are paid to be in the situation.  If you are doing scenario training without lots of noise, threats, and cursing, you are not training for reality.  Again, most scenarios begin verbally and during this stage is when the reptilian brain takes over, so it is during this time you must train to recognize it and prove to it that you are in control and able to recognize your options.

As I sit here writing about it and thinking of all the scenarios I have been in, I want to point out things that will probably be the first things you will notice within your own body that will tell you to fight to take back the controls.  I am listing these as they have always appeared to me.  I call these the big three because they are what I always noticed first and reminded me to get a hold of myself.  Just remember TMT- Trembling, Mouth, Tunnel

Trembling hands-  your hands are shaking because your body knows a fight is coming and all your blood is pooling out of your extremities into your core to feed the heart and lungs.  

Your mouth will become dry- just like the blood from your limbs, your body is shutting down the digestive system of which the salivary glands are a part of.

Tunnel vision-  some have said it is like looking through two toilet paper rolls, actually it can be more like looking through two soda straws.  The first part of the OODA Loop is Observe and that is exactly what your eyes do.  They focus on the most prominent threat, eyes as big as dinner plates.  The primary reason training to shoot pistol with one eye closed is a waist of time.

So now that you know TMT, how do you use it?  Breathe, look around,  move, and repeat.  You need oxygen to your brain to process information.  You need to look around for subsequent threats and options.  You need to move because above all else movement is the natural key to survival.  Not only does it keep your attacker from setting up on you, it also makes you harder to hit if he does begin to attack in anyway.   Most often terrified people will continue to stand right in front of the threat.  If you want to ensure this, just put both hands on your gun, especially under 15 yards or so.  Why?  Because it inhibits natural breathing, your shoulder stops your head from rotating, and on the square range where most training is done you either have to stand still in your lane or can only move straight forward or straight back.  Another example of "traditional" square range training can get you killed on the street. So BLM- Breathe, Look, Move.  Continue as needed until the situation is resolved.

Incorporate the above into your mindset and training and you will substantially increase your chances of survival.  Remember the reptilian mind is an abacus and the majority training is for super computers.  Some things just are not going to work and some things are likely to get you killed.