Friday, February 29, 2008

Domari Nolo

In my morning reading today, I got linked to another blog I hadn't gotten to previously. Go and read it.

Done reading it? Groovy.

I'll preface what follows by saying I'm usually a very good humored kind of person. Granted, most people think I'm a murderously angry misanthrope, but those who know me know better. I don't get visibly mad, ever. Neither my wife nor my children have ever heard me raise my voice even. While I get irritated sometimes and might even use harsh language (especially while driving), I got angry so rarely it's almost a curious experience.

Today, reading the above story, I went incandescent. There's so many people involved that needed a severe beating. The security guard who 'saw everything,' the unmitigated jackasses who just stood and watched, the contemptible cowards who advised 'just giving them what they want,' and of course the bastards who actually attacked her. Those sub-human troglodytes beat her while she was down, just to get her purse? Those two needed their brain cases ventilated badly.

Speaking of 'just giving them what they want.' Are you kidding me? Has that ever helped anyone? Has sheep-like submission ever got anyone less raped, murdered, robbed, or beaten? 'But if I fight back, they'll just hurt me worse!' (Bleet! Bleet!) Maybe, or maybe they were going to kill you eventually anyway. When you submit sheepishly, you empower your predator and make yourself contemptible in their eyes. Congratulations, in the syllabus of lowlifes, you've labeled yourself a victim to be preyed on. Worse, your attacker will be emboldened to attack others. Way to go!

Our heroine goes on to describe how she would react if she were attacked again. I about stood up and clapped.

"If I'm ever in that position again-- unarmed and under attack -- I mean to come away from the experience(even if dead) with at least the trophy of one eyeball from my tormentor with which to festoon my trophy case. Next time would/will be tooth-and-nail. If I have time to access it, my weighty little Leatherman will be slammed forcefully into an accommodating temple-- I will do my best to kill with my bare, immaculately manicured hands: no more Mr. Nice Bitch. There are kneecaps, eyeballs, shins, insteps and wedding tackle among the array of vulnerable areas on an attacker, and I'll set about my business if I must."

That, gentle reader is the mentality.

From a self-defense perspective, everything is just tools, YOU ARE THE WEAPON. You are the only thing you can always count on having.

"I didn't believe in just handing it over, and I don't even moreso now than ever. I'm still no Linda Hamilton, but I think this is a principle that applies not just to possessions or your life, but to our very freedoms and rights as human beings. Don't just give it away without a fight. Passivity gets you nothing but soundly and thoroughly ensconced in the bitch-seat, and you teach the aggressors they were right to disdain you."

That last sentence is worthy of being a motto.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's all about mentality and situational awareness

It's entirely possible that I harp on these more than most for two reasons. First, I have occasionally rushed in where angels fear to tread. Secondly, back when I was a volunteer rape prevention instructor, these were the two prime tools in the self-defense arsenal.

Of course, it feels odd to refer to mentality and situational awareness as two separate tools, even though they are. For me they are so intertwined and perpetually 'on' that they're one and the same. For me, you can't have one without the other, but I digress, on to the meat.

A lot of pundits have stated that mentality is the single most important element to a personal self-defense strategy and I have to agree with the caveat that situational awareness must be part of it. That's, partially, because predators can tell when someone is watching their entire environment and when that is combined with the proper mentality they will look for other targets. I scan everyone, everywhere I go, my wife says it's like I'm 'sizing them up for a coffin.' An accurate description and I've noticed that damn near every like-minded and similarly trained person I know does the exact same thing.

So, what is the proper mentality? I imagine most people will already know this at least partially, but few take it far enough. "Be polite and courteous to everyone, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet." Glib soundbite perhaps, but spot on. Another one is, "Watch hands, hands kill, in God we trust, everyone else keep your hands where I can see them." Another way that situational awareness ties into mentality. At any given moment, whether at work, home, or other safe environment, walking down a dark alley following a skip, or frequenting a bar in the wrong part of town, one should constantly be scanning your environment. Not jerking your head rapidly side-to-side with every step or stopping every few seconds to do a full circle, that just makes you look nervous. It takes a lot of practice to take in a full 360 every ten to fifteen seconds without being conspicous or running into things. Which is yet another reason to do it ALL THE TIME, practice makes perfect. So, you see someone, doesn't matter where or what he/she looks like, now you look for their hands. Where are they? Could they have a weapon? Are their hands positioned like they could retrieve a concealed weapon quickly? Now you look at posture and attitude. Are they slouched like they're not going anywhere soon? Are they poised like they're going to sping? Are they aware of their surroundings? Looking around? Or absorbed in something they're doing? Here's where it gets fun, are they projecting a false image? Trying to look relaxed and inattentive when they're actually ready to move and act on a moment's notice. Fun. The best part is you should learn to take all this in, in a roomful of people in just a half second or so per person. Hence, lots and lots of practice.

So, is that situational awareness in that you're being aware of your surroundings, or mentality because you're actively engaged in a defensive measure at all times. Both, but then you all knew that by now, didn't you? A defensive mentality must include alertness at all times, as outlined above, but also includes a great many other aspects, which I will try to cover in as much detail as possible. It's impossible to overstress the importance of these two things however. An otherwise completly unprepared, untrained, unarmed person still has a chance to protect him/herself if they recognize a threat early enough. For someone with a little training and firearm or other weapon, well, forewarned is forearmed.

Last thing, once you've mastered the threat scan (all the time, all the time), start playing wargames in your head. Yes, it's complicated and eats up your concentration a bit, but you should be playing the 'if/then' game in your head. 'If emo kid to the left pulls his hand out of his jacket and he has a knife in it, then I'm drawing down on him.' Again, it's all in practice. I'm not sure when it became subconscious for me, I've been doing it my entire adult life, but I'm only very vaguely aware I'm even doing it. My wife has gotten to the point she doesn't realize she's doing it unless I ask a specific question. She can respond instantly without thinking about it at all.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Who the heck do I think I am?

Being new to this whole blogin' thang, I figured I'd introduce myself.

I'm an English speaking, gun loving and patriotic nerd. Even though I only own about one out of every three books I've read, I have somewhere over a thousand in various locales about the manor. I'm a veteran of the Navy during the Clinton years and opening of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have at various points been a wrench turner, combatives instructor, base cop, wrench turner again, boarding team member, a few things I'd rather not mention (not because they're secrets, get real, I just don't want to talk about them), a bail enforcement trainee, a military construction contractor, a health and fitness consultant, and minimum wage GNC sale's associate. Right now I'm in the process of writing a novel I hope to get published, studying and training to get my WA Bail Enforcement license, and kicking my own ass to be able to pass the Special Forces Q course, hopefully as a prelude to joining the WA National Gaurd's Special Forces unit. Fun fun fun.

I'll be blogging about what I think people should do or be doing to make warriors of themselves. Other bloggers have already covered, in far greater detail than any one person could, the benefits, pitfalls, tips, and tricks of using firearms for self-defense, and while I will occasionally contribute to this ocean of knowledge, I will be largely focusing on less covered means of self-defense. Unarmed, improvised weapons, knives, my beloved collapsible batons, you name it. My goal is help people educate themselves to be able to respond to any situation, not just the ones we're most on the look-out for.

Of course, I'll also be venting spleen about politics, singing the praise (or damning the soul) of new authors I've discovered, relating funny anecdotes I think people will like, sharing my covetous thoughts on firearms I wish to acquire (Sig 250, I'm looking at YOU), and anything else I care to throw on here. I may even occasionally answer E-mails. Who knows? It could happen.