Tag Archives: awareness

i am not afraid. you will be….

Just came across this little nugget:

In the description it states:

Abduction is rampant, even in America. According to the FBI, Sex slavery is now the 2nd highest grossing criminal enterprise in the world (after Drugs). Watch this video to learn what to do and what not to do to avoid falling victim to this social epidemic. For more information, contact us at

Rampant eh? In his book Protecting the Gift, Gavin De Becker states that compared to a stranger kidnapping, a “child is vastly more likely to have a heart attack, and child heart attacks are so rare that most parents never even consider the risk.”

And juvenile kidnapping is a larger percentage of kidnapping statistics as a total than adult kidnapping.

The vid flashes up an assortment of crime statistics implying that you (the woman in a parking lot) are at a dangerous risk of abduction into the sex trade…like a scene right out of “Taken”.

Just critiquing the “facts” presented in this vid… Having been involved  (even if tangentially) in at least one successful Federally prosecuted human trafficking case, I can confidently claim that those statistics are not about the “average woman” being taken in a store parking lot. Women in the US being trafficked come from an entirely different set of life circumstances. Tragic circumstances all the same, but VERY few come form the movie set of “Taken”. Sex slavery is a very complicated crime to approach sensitively when trying to discuss who falls victim and how. While sex slavery may be the “2nd largest grossing criminal enterprise” in the world that does NOT mean that women are being tossed into vans in our suburban parking lots to fuel it. That’s too much movie watching there.

And of that 300,000 children “at risk” of abduction per the FBI stat shown in the vid. “At risk” means something entirely different from actually being abducted. A huge percentage of that number is the non-custodial parent abduction scenario. Depending on what set of statistics you look at juvenile kidnapping is as low as one tenth of a percent of all crimes against individuals.

Be alert, prepared and trained for any circumstance….absolutely. But I don’t know that I support selling martial arts training based on fear mongering founded on inaccurate portrayal of crime statistics.


Veronique Marrier D'Unienville
Image via Wikipedia

After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.

“There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain.

Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit.

“Now it is your turn,” he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground. Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target.

“You have much skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.”




Soy sauce
Image via Wikipedia


One day there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it even collapsed. Many of the monks were terrified. When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, “Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis situation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, because you see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my self-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense – which you may have deduced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never do under ordinary circumstances.”

One of the monks smiled, but didn’t say anything.

“What are you laughing at?” asked the teacher.

“That wasn’t water,” the monk replied, “it was a large glass of soy sauce.”


the zen of reloading


I am a novice reloader. Having started at handloading only a few months ago, I was  immediately struck by how meditative an activity the entire process is. Reloading is an endeavor that requires concentration,  precision and repetition. A mistake like double charging one case with powder (out of the 50-100 that you are working on) could be disastrous so your entire attention is required. There is an exacting process that has to be followed and precise tolerances that have to be met. The numerous steps of this process take on almost ritualistic properties as you move through them. It reminds me somewhat of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Most likely, the average  reloader wouldn’t think that they are meditating while they work, but I would  posit that they indeed are if they are doing so with the utmost of concentration. There is an old Zen proverb that goes:

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”

I could just as easily say, “Before enlightenment; trim, chamfer, measure. After enlightenment; trim, chamfer, measure.”

Now if I could just place my finger on this “enlightenment” thing…


tea master

A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill.

As he was served by his friend, the Zen master could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. “Tomorrow,” the Zen master said, “when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony.”

The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.

The Tea Ceremony:


combative and defensive mindsets

Post Resurrection.


There is a distinct difference between a “combative mindset” and a “defensive mindset” and its rarely discussed. In a “defensive situation” your goal is to escape without harm, using deadly force only when all other options have been exhausted. In a “combative situation” you are attacking; locating, closing with and destroying the threat. In the “real word” you may have to cross back and forth between these mindsets several times in one situation. You may be trying to diffuse a situation, deescalating, retreating, defending then suddenly the only option is offensive action. Or you may find yourself the only armed person in an active shooter situation. To save lives you may have to engage and defeat the shooter. It comes down to defining what “victory” is. Escaping from a threat unharmed is a “defensive victory”. If retreat is not an option or no longer possible then it is time to go on the offensive. A military truism is that victory cannot be achieved through defense.  I know..I know..some arts claim to be “purely defensive”…turning the opponents energy against them…and all that. But if you are facilitating that “turning” then it is just a “passive” form of “offense” as I read it. In my opinion, the serious student has to train for bolth worlds. Sometimes “the only way out is through”.


condition yellow

Take a look at this close call. Note how the robbery suspect is keeping the gun low and concealed to keep people outside the store from seeing what is going on. What do you think your first impression of this situation would have been if you were the person strolling in for a bottle of soda?

I’m not faulting this officer at all, the way the offender was holding the gun she most likely would never been able to see it as she walked in; and from all appearances it probably looked just like any other customer purchasing something. You can’t be doing 3-5 second rushes through every parking lot you pull into and you probably wont be slicing the pie into the local 7-11 when you stop by to grab a Big Gulp. There but for the grace of God go I….numerous times. I’ve just never had the misfortune to walk in on the robbery in progress.

But how easily this could have turned ugly.

It is in your best interest to look at everybody in a situation like this as a potential robbery suspect. In uniform you should be in “condition yellow” at all times. I admit there have been times that I have just avoided going into a convience store due to some of the customers that were inside. Instead of thinking myself paranoid, or a coward, I parked across the street and watched them till they got in their vehicle and left. I would rather deal with a robbery in progress from across the street in my squad than I would wading into the store to see who the better gunfighter was. To date my “gut” hasn’t been correct, but I will always try to listen to it.

Of course that is easier for me to do at 0300hrs than it is for you “daylight people” but I think I made my point.

And its my personal advice to do your best to get a look at the hands of every person within your threat envelope.

Stay safe out there.


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tactical preschool 7

When you are approaching an area where there is a distinct possibility that you could get yourself killed, you should be paying attention about exactly HOW you are approaching that area.


To begin with, if you are arriving via a vehicle, pulling right up in front of the house is a bad idea. Park down the street and walk your lazy ass a few extra yards. As you are approaching, be aware of what types of cover and concealment are available. You should know by now that “cover” is something that is likely to stop bullets and “concealment” is something that just conceals you from view. While “cover” is always better, don’t poo-poo the value of concealment. If you are not being actively engaged, getting behind available concealment between areas of cover is better than exposing yourself for a long period as you move from cover to cover.


If you are approaching a structure on a “routine call”, I’m not suggesting that you make a “fire team rush” from cover to cover while the citizenry are rolling their shopping carts out of the store, but you should be walking with the intent of passing close to areas of cover and concealment that your “Terminator Vision” is selecting as you walk along.

Speaking of “fire team rushes”..if at some point you do need to maneuver under fire, the rule of thumb is that you should be selecting an area to move to that is only 3-5 seconds away. That is the average time it takes for an opponent to see you “pop-up”…raise his weapon and get you in his sights…and fire. This of course is dependent on the range that is between you. The closer you are, the shorter your exposure time should be. I was taught to tell myself “I’M UP!”…”I’M MOVING!”…”HE SEES ME!…”I’M DOWN!” as I was moving from position to position. However that does not mean that you plop your can down in an open parking lot just because your “time was up”. These are just rules of thumb here…keep your common sense device engaged at all times.

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follow me if you want to live

Another GREAT post over at Straight Forward in a crooked world. This one is called Dark arts for Good Guys: Flight Plan. In it the author discusses how to “beat feet” if you are ever caught away from home when the shit hits the fan. Right away he addresses what is perhaps the the most important issue when it come to getting people to do ANYTHING…leadership:

The other thing you are going to have to do is lead. You may think its a given, but its one of the single biggest components missing in a crisis. When the shit has hit the fan there is no room for democracy. One person must lead and direct and the others must follow.

CCW classes teach about using shooting tactics and techniques, clearing holsters, and repeating the worn and increasingly untrue statement that most shootings happen at night with less than five shots fired inside seven yards. Very few are teaching students how to lead their people and/or families out of harms way.

Hang with me on this, because the immensity of leading a group, regardless of who they are in your life (co-workers or family), out of an extended hostile environment is far more important than the weapons cache you have in your room.

I’ve been taking to reading this guys stuff more and more lately. In my blogging I tend to focus on “rules of thumb” and “information nuggets” with a philosophical or opinion piece here and there. This guy has a talent for explaining the “nuts and bolts” of this sort of stuff. Give it a read.