Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.


Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky All is well,
safely rest.
God is nigh.
Fading light Dims the sight
And a star Gems the sky,
Gleaning bright From afar,
Drawing nigh,
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh. 


why do we need ranks?

Colonel rank insignia for the United States Ar...

Image via Wikipedia

A while back one of my readers asked me to help him in a debate he was having with the leader of a military simulation group he was a member of (computer gaming or Airsoft I assume). This “leader” was apparently against assigning leadership positions because he believed that there was already a “natural leadership” in place. Some people took it upon themselves to call the shots and others followed and he did not want to upset this “democratic army”.

Now, my opinions of gaming and/or MilSim aside, I thought this was a good opportunity to try to define MY concept of leadership, rank and the necessity of is what I wrote.

A “democratic Army”…excuse me while I chuckle at that one. My drill Sgt. said in one of his first soliloquies..”This is the ARMY! This is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship and I AM THE DICK!!” Said for effect of course but there is truth in it. Effective military operations do not happen due to consensus.

If by “MilSim” you mean Airsoft or something of that nature then I guess you guys can run things any way you like, but if you are truly attempting to simulate a military unit than you should have a rank structure. ALL successful militaries, from the Romans to the US Military, have succeeded because of a clearly defined rank structure. Hell, a rank structure is what defines an “Army”…without one all you have is a mob. Rank structure is how an organization remains an organization. People come and go, they die, they retire, they get injured, they get promoted and move on. The “unit” remains because the rank structure provides…well…structure. Even with all new people it can operate as smoothly as it did before. In a “charismatic” group, when people leave it is no longer the same group in an operational sense.

I think your friend is confusing “leadership” with “command” (also known as management). Leadership is the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction, and motivation. The lowest ranking person can be a good “leader”. Command is the authority a person lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of his rank and assignment or position. An organization needs both.

Command is how you sail your ship. The Captain of a ship isnt given responsibility for a vessel because he stepped aboard and began ordering people around. Should the Captain be a good leader? Ideally yes. But in the end what matters is that someone with a modicum of skill and knowledge is vested with the authority to call the shots. That is done by defining someone as the Captain.

Ideally you put good leaders in position of command, but even with substandard leadership, goals can be reached as long as a command structure exists. Thats why you hear all of those WWII stories of privates winding up sergeants or lieutenants by wars end. As the leaders fall someone HAS to take their place. To operate, the command structure HAS to be maintained.

Sure 4-5 guys can get along with no defined “leader”..for a while…but when you are dealing with larger numbers of personnel you have to deal with a concept called “span of control”. For every 3-7 people (5 being ideal) you need someone in command of the group. Defined leadership is the only way to allow a large organization to act “as one”.

Do you routinely train by “killing” the leaders to see what happens? What happens when the “followers” disagree with the “leaders” orders in the heat of battle? With a defined structure you follow the lawful orders of those placed in command.No matter what your leader says, in the real world military/LE operations are not run by consensus.

Even in SAS/Delta..sure they are more flexible in the planning process and less strict in protocol, but you can bet your ass that they adhere to a “who is in charge” system (based on rank) when the green light goes on.

In the real world simply “being the leader” (natural or not) is what is required most of the time. I refer you to:

The problem with the “some guys are natural leaders” meme is the question, “how do you know what a good leader is?” and how do you really know that this guy is the best choice?

Most people I have run into who hold similar beliefs as your guy are usually reluctant to tell the bossy “natural leader” to step-off..or is friends with the “natural leader” and is afraid to rock the boat by assigning positions. Trust me, you will probably find that some of the people your leader thinks are not “natural leaders” would probably turn out better leaders than the guys he thinks are “naturals” if they are given the training and the opportunity to lead. Most of the time issues like this stem from EGO. In a well operating unit you follow the orders of your commander. And a good commander realizes that some of his subordinates may be better “leaders” than he is…and he uses them accordingly.


hiding in the shadows of the warrior


Recently I  came across the excellent work of Mr. Ellis Amdur titled Dueling with O-sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior-Sage, a book I intend to read soon. I happened to locate one of the sections from this book named, Hiding in the Shadows of the Warrior on the web. In it the author explores the connections and differences between the arts we study and their historical roots and applications. In this example he narrates a personal experience that illustrates how sometimes the “high mindedness” many people extol as “warriorship” is an entirely different animal compared to when humans come together in real confrontation.

An excerpt:

“New-Age America produces books and workshops on the ‘New Warrior,’ a man or woman who lives impeccably — austere, protecting the weak, willing, perhaps, to stand his or her ground and fight, but more important, calm and graceful — the warrior as metaphor. We imagine the warrior in bed, in the boardroom, in marriage, the warrior on the golf-course. But these writers seem to forget that the warrior’s values, as admirable as they may be, are won at terrible cost. The warrior as metaphor often offends me, because the battlefield stinks of blood and shit, and sings of screams and flies. Certainly the values that writers such as Dan Millman extol are admirable, but I would hesitate to call anyone a warrior unless we are not talking about a fellow ubermenschen, but instead a deeply flawed and guilty human being, who strives at the risk of the loss of comfort, of home, of even his or her own soul to protect what must be protected, to maintain a moral sense in a place where no morality can conceivably exist.

And a final question: The late Donn Draeger, a man I consider a teacher and a forebear in this odd and sectarian world of martial arts, extols the bushi of the late Heian and early Kamakura as the most perfect, most glorious of Japanese warriors, and certainly, among themselves, there was an elaborate code of honor and chivalry. Yet we have contemporary pictures of famous battle campaigns, the bushi arrayed in many colored armor, glittering and helmet-horned like iridescent beetles, magnificent in the cold mechanical beauty of men at war. Some of these pictures show the invasion of a manor or castle, rooms in flames, men put to the sword. And women running. Why are the women running, if the bushi are made of finer stuff than ordinary warriors? What do they have to be afraid of?

— Ellis Amdur, from Dueling with O-sensei

Powerful stuff from a powerful piece of writing. I believe it should be essential reading for anybody with aspirations to “warriorship”.

Go read this work in it’s entirety.

are politicians really this STUPID?!?

Why yes…yes they are.

From an article titled:  Why shooting to wound doesn’t make sense scientifically, legally, or tactically.

The New York Post has just reported that Brooklyn Assembly Members Annette Robinson [D.-Bedford Stuyvesant] and Darryl Towns [D.-East New York] have introduced a “minimum force” bill that would require officers to “shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg” and to use firearms “with the intent to stop, rather than kill.”

Why is it always the Democrats????

More from the article:

The experts we consulted agreed that advocates who push a shoot-to-wound agenda appear to understand little about human dynamics, ballistics, tactics, force legalities or the challenges officers face on the street. Chudwin has found that these critics of police practices can often be enlightened if they are invited to experience force decision-making scenarios on a firearms simulator.

Avery has a more dramatic, if fanciful, idea. “Put them in a cage with a lion,” he suggests. “Then let’s see if they shoot to wound.”

A F’n MEN!!!

Go read the article


tactical preschool 54

Going up?

Stairways are notorious danger areas. An opponent could be around any corner; on landings, above you firing down or below you firing up. If you follow these lessons, you well know that there are numerous methods for handling any given tactical scenario; this holds true for how to negotiate a stairwell. I am going to give you but one example.

The following is a basic two-man method used to advance up a stairwell. Two operators ascend side-by-side, the point man covering the forward area (stairs and landings ahead) while the partner advances backwards covering upper landings and railings. It is important that they synchronize their steps, one step at a time while NEVER crossing their feet or legs (trip hazard).

As the pair reach and clear the landing, they slice-the -pie onto the next flight of stairs and secure the landing.

Now, depending on how many team members you have, you are ready to move some more people up onto the next landing. When your team is staged on the next landing its a matter of “lather-rinse and repeat” until you reach the top. If you are practiced at this technique it will look like a smooth and fluid movement with no pauses. Once the point team is on the landing the next operators simply advance and keep up.

Depending on the tactical situation you may wish to leave an operator on the top and bottom of each stairwell to prevent an opponent from coming up behind you.


dont be “common”

Worlds Largest American Flag
Image by BlueSun Photography via Flickr

I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. To seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me – not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say: `This, with God’s help, I have done.’ All this is what it means to be an American.

– “My Creed”, by Dean Alfange.


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do your part to protect our border

== Summary == from
Image via Wikipedia

I learned about this website at a drug interdiction class.

The Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition (TBSC) has joined BlueServoSM in a public-private partnership to deploy the Virtual Community Watch, an innovative real-time surveillance program designed to empower the public to proactively participate in fighting border crime.

The TBSC BlueServoSM Virtual Community WatchSM is a FREE service consisting of a network of cameras and sensors along the Texas-Mexico border. This network feeds live streaming video FREE-OF-CHARGE to the user’s computer, which they can access by creating a FREE account at Users will log in to the BlueServoSM website and directly monitor suspicious criminal activity along the border via this virtual fenceSM.

Citizens can sign up as Virtual Texas DeputiesSM to participate in border surveillance through this social network. Virtual Texas DeputiesSM from around the country will monitor the streaming video from these cameras 24/7 and report any suspicious activities directly to the Border Sheriffs via email. All emails regarding suspicious activity will be submitted anonymously.

The Public, acting as Virtual Texas DeputiesSM, is limited to reporting suspicious activities via email. Local county Sheriffs will respond to these reports, conduct all investigations, and take appropriate actions. This service will provide millions of dollars in benefits to local border Sheriffs, with the public acting as additional pairs of eyes for Deputies on the ground. This extra surveillance will allow the public to directly participate in reducing crime and improving their communities. It is a well-established fact that citizen involvement in community watch programs such as this one reduces crime.

Another facet of this program is the ability of the public to connect their own cameras to to create local Virtual Neighborhood WatchesSM in order to protect their own homes, neighborhoods, and families from criminal acts. These Virtual Neighborhood WatchesSM can, in turn, be connected to form additional Virtual Community WatchesSM.

Membership on site is free and open to anyone by signing up and obtaining a User Log-In. Because is an internet social network, in the future, BlueServoSM anticipates that high volume of traffic to its website will generate advertising revenue to defray the operations cost of the Virtual Community WatchSM to the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition.

You can actually sit at home watching the border for illegal crossers. I have even heard stories of people watching border patrol show up and then help them in “real time” by giving them directions towards suspects hiding locations. Pretty cool.

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tactical preschool 53

Todays lesson incorporates some of the fundamentals that have been covered in previous sessions. Namely that of flanking and covered routes.

A situation that I see far too often in law enforcement related shootings is the “pile-on effect”. Say you are responding to a shots fired call and on approach you are fortunate enough to see the bad guy down the street. You then bail out of your car an engage from a distance.

I say fortunate because there have been a number of cases where the LEO wasn’t sure of where the bad guy was and pulled right up to him…which is a bad thing.

Now being alone in a gunfight is even a worse thing, so the next officer in arrives to cover you.

Pretty soon everybody starts responding to help. While “the more the merrier”, what tends to happen is that everybody starts converging on the same spot. Either out of “driving tunnel vision”, where the officer is experiencing the stress of emergency response, or because he is trying to determine the location as he is approaching and feels the need to arrive as fast as he can to help his comrades, what happens is that the follow on officers keep right on driving into the “kill zone”.

If you can manage to stay calm and keep you wits about you, a better approach is to take advantage of your opponents OODA cycle by arriving from an unknown location. Use your familiarity with your patrol area by arriving on an adjacent street. Even if it means having to jump some fences and run through some yards, the advantage you gain could be what makes the difference in the outcome. If you are fortunate enough to be armed with a patrol rifle, you will have the advantage of range coupled with your flanking approach.

Even if the opponent is inside of a structure or you are unable to get a line of sight on him, this method of approach starts to form a perimeter on the danger zone which is a vital component of starting to take control of a critical situation.

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