Another week and more quality articles for you to peruse! In this edition: a defensive encounter where the good guy did a lot of bad things; how to make your training more realistic; smart TV warning; what apartment burglars do; testing you and your gear over a weekend; dealing with disruptive airline passengers; a Sikh yoga instructor uses a revolver and wins; and why we harp about safety in force-on-force training.
Not something to emulate
Lots of people shared this story on social media, with most expressing a “good job!” attitude. I don’t see it that way; when I read this story, I see a guy who did everything wrong and was exceptionally lucky to come out of the encounter unscathed. Some points to consider: 1) Don’t leave loaded guns around where others can find them. Secure them; secure your immediate defensive arm in a quick-access safe of some sort so that you can get to it quickly, but no one else can. 2) Have an early warning system; a barking dog would likely have been all it took to wake the homeowner and given him time to respond more thoughtfully. 3) If you don’t absolutely need to, don’t go running through your house looking for the bad guy. Barricade yourself and call the authorities; let them do the dangerous job. 4) The first tool you grab shouldn’t be the gun, it should be a flashlight. 5) When you’re suddenly awakened it takes time for your foggy mind to clear and for your confusion to dissipate. That’s really not a time you want to have a loaded gun in your hand. I could go on, but suffice it to say there were several ways this incident could easily have turned into a negative outcome, all because of the homeowner’s poorly considered actions. Don’t be like him.
Thinking about thinking
This is a surprisingly good article on the need to force information processing into your defensive training. His exercises at the end could be better (particularly the second one), and I’ll disagree with a few minor details here and there, but most of what he’s written is largely on-point. We need to constantly evaluate what’s happening during a defensive incident and make decisions based on that evaluation. That means binary shoot/no-shoot decisions and exercises aren’t very useful. Start with an honest assessment about the conditions under which you’d actually use lethal force, and then practice realistically based on your preloaded decisions.
Maybe that smart TV isn’t such a smart purchase
New technologies bring with them new vulnerabilities. At least Samsung is honest enough to admit the problem.
Think you know about apartment burglaries?
A short article that covers some commonly held beliefs about apartment break-ins. Many of them are true for single family homes, too, especially the one about the burglar being a stranger. In a previous life I had the opportunity to interact with thieves, and they very often either knew the victim or knew someone who did. While you’re worried about the stranger in the night, your teenager is bringing casual “friends” into your home who are telling their shady buddies about what you have. Be very careful who you let in your door.
So, you’ve got all that cool survival and disaster preparedness gear. You’re ready to bug out at a moment’s notice and survive for a week, if necessary. Have you ever really tried to do that? A “lights out weekend”, as this article suggests, is a great way to find out if you’re really prepared — or just pretending.
Flying isn’t all friendly skies
Maybe it’s just the confirmation bias at work, but I’m seeing more and more cases of unruly passengers on domestic airline flights. I fly more than average, and I haven’t encountered one yet, but plenty of other people have. How would you react to a violent passenger on your next flight? Greg Ellifritz has some tips.
Pro-tip: Don’t mess with a Sikh.
This woman, an American who lives and works in Chile, woke up to four armed home invaders. She managed to prevail against them using a revolver. You know, the gun so many range rats and tactical hobbyists say is “obsolete” for self defense? (She apparently didn’t have any sort of early warning system, which I strongly recommend, and I’d never suggest keeping a gun under the pillow. She did a lot wrong and was still, through her force of will and dedication to not be a victim, able to win her fight. I hope she’s able to look at the weaknesses in her defensive preparations and make some changes going forward.)
“Reality training” goes very wrong
You may have heard of this case. A 73-year-old retired librarian named Mary Knowlton was killed in a shoot/no-shoot training scenario put on by her local police department. Punta Gorda, FL Officer Lee Coel shot her several times with a gun he thought had been loaded with blanks. There were a number of failures in training, protocol, and oversight which resulted in her death, which is why Coel and his Chief, Tom Lewis, have been charged in the case. I bring this up for two reasons: first, force-on-force training has to be done in a very specific way, with very specific protocols for safety. There are a lot of people out there playing fast and loose with safety, and this can be the result. If you’re taking a class which includes force-on-force, you need to ask hard questions about the safety protocols in force and who has certified the people involved. Second, I counsel everyone who asks: never take part in force-on-force training events put on by a law enforcement agency. I hate to paint with a broad brush, but I’ve run across too many such events with appalling safety practices. If your local agency asks you to participate in any event where shooting will be simulated, I strongly urge you to politely decline. Better safe than sorry.
P.S.: If you missed the announcement, I’ll be teaching my famous Threat-Centered Revolver course in Phoenix this November! If you can make it to the course, my book Protect Yourself With Your Snubnose Revolver is the next best thing. It’s available now in Kindle, iBooks, and paperback versions.