Saturday, August 31, 2013

Commentary - You’re nothin’ special . . .


Take just a minute or two – read this very short article:

Off-duty Chicago police officer attacked while jogging

The take away phrase for me?

“I’m police, I’m police,” the officer yelled as the man tried to strip off her clothes, according to the report.

The attack is already “on” . . . she’s already down . . . the guy is already ripping her clothes off . . . in other words – he really doesn’t give a crap whether she’s a cop or not.

As for engaging this guy with her gun – she didn’t, even after she got him off her. That means one of two things – she wasn’t carrying (it is Chicago ya know, guns are not needed to protect yourself) or she couldn’t clear her weapon until he was so far away it no longer had value for her defense.

The reason this sentence struck me was that she apparently has the belief that since SHE knows she’s a cop, her likelihood of being attacked is smaller than for the average citizen. (ok, I know I’m putting thoughts in her head, this is just how I took the article.) This should be a lesson to her – and everyone – your station in life means nothing to someone intent on doing you harm. If you look like a victim, “smell” like a victim, act like a victim . . . you raise the likelihood that you will be a victim.

What could she have done better?

The fellow obviously rode around her a number of times on his bike – to me the logical thing to have done was to have stopped, kept eye contact, put her hand on her weapon and then announced she was an armed officer. Instead she allowed herself to become reactive rather than proactive.

Farther still, what does this story mean to us – as defensive shooters?

  • First – Cooper’s Color Code has real value in keeping us safe – integrate it into your life.
  • If possible, move away from a threat – create space between you and it. If you can’t, if you’re in a corner – my opinion is to confront the threat directly and let them know their “cost” won’t be cheap.
  • You’re nothin’ special! You’ve taken training – cool! You’re a “real operator” – very cool! You’re a cop – nice – and thank you, genuinely, for your service. You’re ex-military – again, genuinely, thank you for your service. You’re active duty – thank you. But, under all of that – you’re nothin’ special . . . you are NOT IMMUNE to attack. You die like a normal human being.

Bottom line – be aware, don’t be lazy, carry your gun, train with it . . .

. . . . because to someone, somewhere – your nothing more than an easy target.

Friday, August 30, 2013

16 – Frayed Around the Edges


“You ready to stretch your legs a bit?” E checked the clock on her dash – she’d been sitting for almost 4 hours, she needed a break from the Jeep – and to hit the head, again.

“Sounds good – you just stop when you need to, wouldn’t mind getting out of this seat for a bit myself.” Brad stretched in his seat – a Level III soft vest might be a life saver, but it was hotter than crap to wear. It was going to be a long day!

“We’re just south of a little outlet mall, there’s a Mickey D’s next to it. I’ve stopped there plenty when we headed north or went to the cities shopping, should be a quick stop!”

Five minutes down the road E took the exit, went through two of the strangest “round abouts” that Brad had ever seen just to cross over the expressway and pulled into Mickey’s parking lot. It was moving towards late morning, just a tad after 10:00 hours, the parking lot was empty – the morning rush long since gone.

They stepped to the counter, ordered a breakfast sandwich and a large coffee and found a table. Most wouldn’t have noticed the “selection process” but when they settled both were sitting facing the traffic area, they could see the parking lot, front entrance and had a full view of the counter. They each loosened their fleece just a bit and dug into their sandwiches.

Each was beginning to feel that there may be some type of spark there – it only needed to be fanned a bit. Neither was interested in speed – only getting to know this person next to them. They realized that their “quick coffee” could easily turn into a couple more hours of conversation – and they’d never reach their destination. They grabbed their wrappers, stuffed them in their cups . . . . and E placed a firm hand on Brad’s thigh and gave a bit of a nod towards the door.

A ratty car that had obviously seen much better days had pulled up in the spot just next to the front entrance. Three guys stepped out of their cars – two black, the driver white. Hoodies all round, dark glasses and it looked like none had shaved in weeks. Their movements seemed tight, jerky . . . . and intent.

“I got lead.” Brad said – he knew what was coming, he could just feel it. Brad checked “down range” – the dining area was clear. It was the perfect time for a little hit team to try a quick cash grab, right between the end of the breakfast rush and the start of lunch. “If they show any weapons, I’m going to drop the lead – clear.”

“Roger that, I’ve got the other two.” E checked the lot, confirmed that “down range” was clear and waited. She didn’t have to wait long . . .

The three men hit the door, did a quick assess left and right. The driver took lead . . . drew his weapon and shouted to the staff “I want all your fuckin’ cash . . . NOW.” As soon as his revolver had cleared the front pocket of his hoodie, Brad and E were moving – Brad exited right and E left. Their movement caught the attention of the remaining two – both turning and pulling semi-automatics from the front of their hoodies. That was a mistake.

Brad drew and drove two .45 ACP JHP rounds through the center of the lead’s rib cage. The lead turned to see what had hit him and Brad finished his engagement with a round just below his nose.

E just saw range targets – one round each followed by one more to put them down. Four seconds, three dead . . .

“You OK?” Brad asked. Both did a quick assessment – it was easy to miss a “hit” when you were all amped up. Their hands came away clean. The three remained down and dead. E moved forward, pulled on a glove and moved their weapons away from their reach. Pulses were checked and none were found. Brad and E had just finished their assessments when two squad cars came screaming into the parking lot.

“Let’s make this easy Brad.” E placed her weapon on the floor, stepped back a few steps, got on her knees and put her hands behind her head. Brad followed suit. The cops came in hard – weapons drawn.

“Don’t MOVE! ON YOUR FACE, HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD! INTERLACE YOUR FINGERS AND CROSS YOUR LEGS!” The officer continued to cover them while a second made sure the staff was OK and a third assessed the dead on the floor.

The officer who had talked to the staff appeared around the corner – “You two do this?”

“Yes Sir.” Brad turned his face towards what appeared to be the officer in charge. “They came in hard, drew weapons out of their front pocket and E and I dropped them.”

“That right miss?” The officer now addressing E as she too turned her head towards the officer.

“Yes sir, the rear two drew on me, I was just protecting myself.” E understood the “process”, but was really ready to get up.

“You two have permits for those?” the officer asked, looking at the two Glock 21s in front of E and Brad.

“We do” Brad said “Our permits and badges are on our right front side, clipped to our belts.

“Keep your hands together and legs crossed, just roll over a bit, let me grab ‘em.” The first officer remained – his service weapon clearly covering both E and Brad.

Brad rolled first, then E as their badges and documents were taken from their belts. The officer looked at his partner – “They’re good, you can reholster.”

“You’re good, here are your badges back.” The officer said, holding out the leather pouches. E and Brad unwound themselves and got to their feet. “Glad you two are OK.”

Brad and E took their badges, clipped them to their belts and picked up their Glocks. Both dropped the magazines and inserted fresh, pocketing the partials in their jacket pockets and then reholstered them.

“Where you headed?” the officer asked.

“Up to North Springville – a visit to my mom, was not expecting this type of interruption today.” Brad shook his head, finally coming off his adrenaline rush.

“I can imagine. I’ll need you to come to the station and fill out an account of this – we’ll get you on your way as soon as we can, you understand.” The officer expected a bit of resistance – but received none.

“Yep, I imagined we would, no problem. Let me go out to the Jeep and check in, folks will wonder why we’re late.” E headed for the door and the Jeep – knowing they had just lost a three or four hour chunk of time.

“No problem, come back in when you’re done, well “do what we do” and hopefully we’ll be out of here in a couple hours.” The officer turned to make calls of his own – which soon lead to the arrival of a senior detective and the coroner.

E and Brad got to the Jeep and E picked up the mic – “Control, Demon 62 . . . Copy?”

“Roger copy Demon 62 5X5. What’s up E?”

“Could you get the sheriff on – there’s been a bit of trouble here.”

“Demon 62 – Badger. What’s up E?”

Brad looked at E – “Badger?” “Yep, that’s his call sign – tough as nails, mean as all get out if need be. Hard to believe he’s an art major . .” E shook her head, Brad asked “Art major?” “Long story, another time . . .” E pressed the mic.

“Hey Sheriff – we’re going to be delayed, Brad and I ran into a couple assholes intent on robbing a Mickie D’s at gunpoint. Things did not go well for them.”

“Understood – you two OK, everyone else OK?” Richard knew the answer from the tone of E’s voice, but it was nice to have confirmation.

“Yes sir, everyone is fine, three KIA though. They won’t be grabbing any more cash in this world.”

“Three E? Damn, glad you’re ok. I expect you’ll be asked to make a statement? When you’re done with them email copies my way, the county attorney will want them on file. Hell of a way to start your Monday guys!” Richard was relieved at the confirmation that all were OK.

“Roger that Badger, will keep you apprised. Demon out”. E ended, they could have a more detailed chat later this evening.

“Badger Out”.

A couple hours were, indeed taken to clear the crime scene. E and Brad sipped coffee, gladly provided by the staff that had been the target of the morning’s attempted robbery. Both sat and watched the locals search, prod, photograph, bag evidence – it appeared to be a thorough and pain staking job. Finally, evidence boxed, bodies bagged and removed – the senior detective approached them.

“Morning, name’s Sam. You two mind coming to the station and working on your statements?” He seemed relaxed and friendly to E and Brad. And they had no hesitation in giving a statement.

“Have an email Sam?” Brad asked.

“Sure, why?” Sam cocked an eyebrow, looking at Brad and the small tablet in his hand.

“Well, we hate to waste time. We’ve both worked up our statements on my phone while we waited, it might speed things up a bit . . .” Brad waited for a response.

“Sounds like a plan, here’s my card. If you’ll follow us, we’re only about 20 minutes from the station.”

Brad nodded, took the card – entered the email address and pressed “send”. Then E and he got in the Jeep and followed the little procession back to Sam’s station. The emailed statements did save some time. Both were interviewed separately, their accounts compared against each other and the statements taken from the staff.

“Alright you two, you can go. Everything seems to be in order. Do you have a couple cards in case we need to chat more?” E and Brad drew their cards and passed them on to Sam. “Just so you know, those assholes you took down this morning have been doing quite a business the last few weeks. Mostly convenience stores, gas stations and a few fast food restaurants. They shot an old man dead this past Saturday just because he came around a rack of candy and surprised them. No one will be sad to see them go.” Sam looked at E – “How you planning to get to North Springville?”

“Well, we’d planned to hit the south beltway, swing around west and head out the northwest corner – why?” E wondered what would make Sam even ask about their travel plans.

“Sounds good. Friendly warning – stay out of the cities for a bit. Things are getting more than a bit loose. There have been real problems with power this spring – hours in the black. And that affects everything – water, sewer, the ability to do the simple things – open stores, route traffic, have your phones work. Honestly, it’s been a bitch and folks are not happy, to say the very least! The wider berth you can give down town, the better.” Sam walked the two to the front door.

“Understood Sam, thanks.” Brad held the door for E and they headed out to the Jeep.

Half an hour down the road E looked at Brad . . . “Call your mom.”

Deep sigh – “Yeah, I should.” Brad grabbed the phone – “Call mom” . . . . “Calling mom”. E snickered – “Not sure I’m gonna get used to that.”

“Hey ma – say, we’re running a bit late.. . . . . I know, just eat, we’ll be there closer to 1800 . . . . 6PM ma, 6PM.”

“We had a bit of a run in during an attempted robbery . . . . no, we were just sitting at Mickie D’s when three assholes came in with guns and bad intentions . . . sorry, three bad guys.”

“They’re dead ma . . . yes ma’am, we did . . . the other deputy . . . no, we’re both ok and no one else was harmed either.” Brad let out a deep sigh – he and his mother had had this same conversation over and over and over . . . .

“I’m a deputy sheriff ma . . . I know, but I’m OK. . . . . I can’t worry about the “next time” ma, you know that. . . . stop crying, please . . . .”

“Tell ya what, we’ll be there around 6, we’ll chat then . . . . yes ma’am, I promise, we’re both OK . . . alright ma . . . love you too. Bye.”

“Well, that went about as well as I expected . . .” Brad again massaged his forehead with both hands, letting out a deep sigh.

“She OK? I suspect she’s more than a little frightened.” E watched Brad absorb the conversation with his mom. Obviously he loved her deeply – yet he was a lawman, and a Marine, through and through. It had to be hard on them both.

“Yeah, she’s fine. We’ve had this conversation a number of times – at my enlistment, during a stint at Bethesda for a round through my shoulder, when I took the job with your Dad. She says she lost the love of her life once . . . and she doesn’t want to go through that again. I simply have no answers for her – I am what I am.” Brad flashed on other such discussions – he suspected that this one would go no better.

“Well, perhaps with me along – with you – as a team . . . it might take some of the fear away from her. Who knows, we won’t know until we get there, no sense grinding on it.” And E just “packed it away”, they would be there soon enough.

The rest of the trip was, gratefully – uneventful. They made a gas/pit stop just south of the cities. Both of them could see the “fraying” around the edges – things were a bit dirtier, folks seemed edgy, gas was through the frickin’ roof – she was happy to be on the county’s dime on this trip. Back in the Jeep they hit the south edge of the beltway a few miles down the road. Twenty miles later they headed out the northeast corner on 94 headed towards Fargo. About 45 minutes down the road they saw the exit for “North Springville – 1 mile”. Ten more minutes found them on the far north side of town in a quiet little subdivision and parked in the driveway of a quaint little two-story. Both took a deep breath – they were more than ready to stop for the day!

About then the front screen went flying open and this small woman, about 5ft nothing and the size of a pixie came flying out and down the walk. Brad barely made it out of the Jeep when she threw herself at him and dragged her down to her level. “Damn it boy, you’ll be the absolute death of me yet!” Tears were freely flowing down her cheeks as she stood back and looked for herself to make sure there were no “extra holes”.

“You OK? Really?” The difference in height was quite pronounced – Brad had to be at least a foot taller than his mother. Yet, he clearly had her eyes and dimples – one slightly above each corner of his mouth, just as she had.

“Yes Ma’am, we’re both fine . . . we’re fine ma!” Brad assured her. And with that, she turned and saw E walking around the front of the Jeep.

“The “other deputy” . . .?” She smiled and extended her arms for a hug. “I’m Annette – Ann for short – and I’m afraid I’m a hugger, not a hand-shaker!” She wrapped E in a warm embrace and then stepped back a bit. Looking over her shoulder at Brad she smirked – “I expected a pudgy old guy showin’ you the ropes – not an attractive young woman, Brad. . . . .I like this better!”

“Nice to meet you Ann, I’m “E”, short for Elizabeth – but please, just “E”. E instantly liked her and could clearly see her in Brad’s features.

Ann grabbed both their arms and showed them into the house.

“Why don’t you two get out of your gear and freshen up a bit, I’ll put out supper. Brad, you room’s still there, not turned it into my office yet! E, Brad will show you the spare room – it has its own facilities, and I put some fresh towels in there this morning.”

Brad and E went to their respective rooms, dropped their vests – kept their weapons in place – and freshened up a bit, then went towards the dining room.

Supper had been kept warm on the stove – an amazing Fettuccine Alfredo with garlic bread and a side of Cesar salad. Glasses of a red wine were by each plate. Everything smelled great. About that time the backdoor opened and in stepped a massive kid – not fat by any means, he was more like the poster child for a fitness club.

“Hey mom – Brad get home yet? Is that his Jeep out front?” About that time Henry Rowley – Hank for short, caught sight of E coming out of her room. Brad exited his at just about the same time.

“Hank! Meet my new partner – E! . . . E – Hank, my baby brother.” E looked at Brad, eyebrow fully elevated . . . “He’s your “little” brother, really?? Looks pretty damn hunky to be bud!”

E turned to Hank, extended her hand and then asked in her sexiest voice – “or are you a hugger??” Hank turned twelve shades of red, stuttered just a bit and said – “No ma’am, a handshake is just fine.” E smiled, shook his hand then moved into a warm hug. “Nice to meet you Hank, I’m E.”

Dinner was again filled with getting acquainted. E found out about Ann’s work at DT, Ann found out much more family history, Hank filled them in on the end of high school and his final season in track . . . it was a good night and good conversation.

“OK, so tell me about this “company” I supposed to take over the HR slot in, what kind of company is it exactly that your grandfather has that he wants me to manage?” Ann had tried to get straight answer this morning after hearing the news about the company being sold and she being asked to take over a new position. She hadn’t been successful.

“OK ma, no problem. First, let me lay out the offer from Mr. Franks . . . He’s offering you three times your current salary . . . he’ll purchase your home – our home for fair market value and he’ll pick up Hank’s tuition at the U of I. “ Looking at Hank, Brad said “And I hear they’re looking for a couple of tackles for the fall season.”

Brad just kind of let that statement “rest” on the table for a bit. His mother’s face was a wonder to watch – shock, confusion, a deep blush . . . . her mouth opened to begin speaking a couple of times to no real effect. Finally . . .

“That would be a bit over $300,000 per year . . . and the house has to be near $450,000. Not sure how I could even think of turning down such an offer – let alone the offer to Hank . . . just what kind of company does he want me to run anyway?” Ann could not imagine what kind of company that needed her so bad that she was being offered such an amazing package.

“Not a “company” ma . . . . a “Rifle Company”.” Brad waited, a smile on his face . . .

“Ah, well – I suppose that makes sense since DT is a weapons company, I have something to offer. What kind of rifle does he want to build?” Her curiosity was piqued now.

Brad smiled one more time - “This “rifle company” doesn’t build rifles – it uses them. A “rifle company”. In the Marines it consisted of three rifle platoons with 36 marines each, 108 Marines total. You would be responsible for managing Mr. Franks “Rifle Company”.

Ann was well and truly confused now . . . “Why on earth does Mr. Franks need a Rifle Company?” Her eyes looked back and forth between E and Brad.

“Because Ma – he’s building an army . . . and he wants you to be the HR manager.” Brad waited to see how this went over . . .

Ann looked back and forth a couple more times . . .

“An Army . . . Oh My!”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Training - What’s Next??


You’ve gotten past the basics . . . or you’ve just finished your first (or second or third) advanced shooter course . . . . or you’ve started to integrate a defensive shotgun into your range work . . . . or . . . .

My point is to have you take a bit of time and ask yourself – “What’s next” for you to work on and to integrate into your defensive skill set or into your training.

Honestly, pure range work can get boring . . . that DOES NOT MEAN you should just skip it – but it can get boring. What can you do to “spice things up” while honing your defensive shooting skills? Some thoughts . . .

Rob Pincus has introduced the idea of “FitShot” – a series of physical fitness exercises integrated into various shooting drills. Google “rob pincus fitshot” under “videos” and you will find a number of examples. Excellent idea!! I’ve added simple squats, sit-ups and some Kettle bell work to my SIRT range work in the office – there is some real benefit there!

Speaking of fitness – anything you can do on the range –AND DO SAFELY – that helps you physically, increases stress on your body and allows you to work on your shooting skills with elevated heart rate and perhaps more winded than you normally are will benefit you as a shooter.

Something as simple as :

  • Doing a simple squat between each shot
  • On our range – jogging between the firing line and the rear of the range between each shot
  • Taking a kettle bell with you and doing a simple lift between each shot
  • Doing a sit up (WATCH YOUR FEET AND KNEES) between each shot

You get the point – stress yourself, work on your physical fitness and learn how to handle the added physical stress while shooting.

Malfunctions – have you worked on malfunctions lately? I mean other than having them come up in your normal course of range work? Buy some GOOD dummy ammo, mix it in with your magazine loads and work on clearing malfunctions. Yes, I know it’s a pain in the butt – do it anyway. My last steel shoot I was shooting my range bag gun – a .22/45 and had a double feed. I locked the bolt, stripped the mag, cleared the double feed and got a new mag in – finished the last plate in just over 17 seconds. Nothing to write home about but I kept my head in the game, cleared the malfunction and got the last round off without “thinking” about it. Clearing malfunctions is the type of process that really only matters “when it matters” – work on it.

Speed Reloads – from where you typically carry your spare magazine. I carry mine in my rear-left pocket. It does me no good to be able to easily do a speed reload from a mag carrier mounded on my belt on my support side . . . that’s not how I carry. Practice from the carry position.

Tactical Reloads – honestly, I don’t practice them much. I’d only do one if I was in a prolonged engagement and behind SOLID COVER – I’ll have time then to do it. Otherwise, in a fight, I’ll shoot my weapon dry and rely on a speed reload to get me up and running.

Shooting from cover/concealment – Most ranges will have barricades of one type or another. If not, work up something out of cardboard and take it to the range with you. Practice rolling out - left and right, shooting kneeling, laying on your side . . . be creative. And, cement it in your mind that if what you’re behind can’t stop a pistol round – it’s CONCEALMENT, not cover.

Plan your next trip to a training company – there’s a broad range of truly good training companies on the market today. Find a skill set you would like to work on – find a company with good credentials and solid references – and then save some cash up and go. Expensive? – yep. Worth every dime? – It will be if you do your research. I know money is tight, I know ammo is scarce – still there is a course out there that is close, cost effective and won’t break the bank – I promise. Find it and take a little “shootie” vacation.

Review the DVD Market – yes, I watch shooting videos. And no, it’s NOT the same as actually taking the course. Still, it’s a good way to be introduced to some new concepts. I will typically try them in dry fire or on the SIRT range and then, if these new ideas “fit” me, I’ll work on integrating them. And, when I find I watch the same instructor frequently, I’ll do my best to take some course work from him/her.

My bottom line with this post is to prod you to choose what you will do on your next range trip. Have a plan. Push your comfort zone. Don’t just go to the range and make holes – make the trip count.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Class Announcement - NRA PPITH Instructor


I’m holding an NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home Instructor course next month – September 28th and 29th.  You can find a link to my course list here.  You must fill out the “Pre-Course Questionnaire” and will need to pass the “Pre-Course Assessment” prior to completing the course.  You will also need to be a current NRA Basic Pistol Instructor.

If your Basic Instructor Training is not current, I will be offering it on September 27th as well.

The course will be held at the Izaak Walton League in Vinton, Iowa.  There is lodging available within our community that is very nice – here is a link to the Cobblestone Inn, they will take good care of you.

Cost for the BIT course is $50.

Cost for the PPITH Instructor Course is $300.


  • Center fire handgun – .38 cal or larger
  • Strong Side Holster
  • Sturdy Belt
  • Magazine carrier
  • Three Magazines or Speed Loaders
  • Ball Cap
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Long Pants
  • Sturdy Shoes
  • 250 rounds of ammunition
  • Small First Aid Kit

I have eight remaining seats.  For those that would like to train with some of the bloggers that pass through – I already have commitments from Keads and Old NFO himself!  Come join us!

You can sign up through the NRA website here – just search for the Personal Protection In the Home Instructor Course in zip code 52349.  Or, you can email me at with the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • City, State  Zip
  • Phone
  • Age

A $100 fee is required to hold your place.

If you have any other questions, feel free to give me a call at 319-640-5532.

So, come learn with some of the bloggers your read every day!

15 – Making it easy


April 2050

Brad sat comfortably in the high-backed rocker on E’s front porch. It had been a truly nice day – he met her “church family”, had a wonderful Sunday dinner and was letting the apple crisp desert find its own place to settle. The days were getting longer quick and, with that – the hint of early Spring warmth. A light fleece, watch cap and a hot cup of Cathy’s black coffee truly set off the day.

Things were moving awfully quickly – a new job, a new assignment – to build an army for God’s sake, the invitation to bring his mom in as a personnel officer and a full ride “scholarship” for his brother to the U of I. It was a lot to wrap his head around. Still, that said – he could feel his country’s uneasiness. Things had never been the same since last fall’s “swarm” riots in D.C. News reports from virtually every large city did nothing to calm folks. “Wildlings” were attacking people virtually every day – beatings, stabbings, robbery, killings. Random acts of violence with deadly results. It made no sense on the surface. But, dig below the surface just a bit – and you found broken homes, addicted parents, absolutely no work to be found and a government long since out of money. If he were honest with himself – the country might make it through the summer without a major “event”, past that – now that he had had a bit of time to look at things more broadly – “it” was coming. Whatever “it” was. If D.C. provided any insight – something would trigger a large city – his bet was on Chicago or New York or St. Louis. If it could be contained – perhaps the “swarms” wouldn’t spread. If not – the large cities could easily burn themselves – and everyone around them – out.

Brad turned his head as he heard the front screen open and E walked out and joined him in another rocker. She settled in – tea held in her hands and asked – “What time do you want to head out tomorrow?”

“It’s about a seven hour drive – be nice to get there early afternoon . . . how about six?” Brad ran the route through his head making sure they stayed south and then west of the twin cities.

“Sounds good. So what do you think . . . .?” E was curious how Brad was taking all of “this” – new job, little things like building an army, her family’s fears and concerns. Honestly, her dad and gramps were dumping a lot on him in pretty short order.

Brad took a long drink of his cooling coffee, thought a bit . . .”Gramps is pretty persuasive. Honestly, I felt “changes” in the cities when I got back. Everyone was on edge, nervous, wondering where their next check was going to come from. Multiply those fears by what – 100 million plus that are dependent on Uncle Sugar? It makes perfect sense when you step back a bit – there’s going to be a “correction”. I had some friends that went into D.C. during the swarm – scared the hell out of them, more so than Africa ever did. I suppose it’s because it was their home – their nation. So yeah, I see where gramps is coming from. Not sure I see where he’s headed.”

“Short term, I think he’s just interested in protecting family, and he considers everyone in this county as “family”. While “Dr. Jack” focused on biology and chemistry – Gramps has focused on farming . . . . on a scale that’s hard to imagine. Remember, he’s had virtually unlimited funds since his late 20s. His degree is in agronomy, his Masters and Doctorate is in “Plant Breeding” – specifically in increasing the yield and energy content of both corn and soybeans. He’s not quite as famous as his dad, but he has dozens of patents for genetically modified corn and soybeans. Don’t let his “aw shucks” farmer act fool you, he owns over nine sections – mostly around our home section here. That’s nearly 5,800 acres. A lot of that is set aside for his own development – projects that he’s worked on his whole adult life. He’s not going to lose that!”

Brad took all this in – again being forced to reevaluate this family. “So you truly are “richer than God,” He stated with a crooked smile.

“That we are . . . that we are. That’s exactly why I had to get away. I never knew if a friend was friendly because of me – or my money. It’s a shitty thing to say, yet true. The last guy I dated – Tony – went into the Marines right out of high school. Shit was beginning to build in the Med, the EU was going sideways in a big hurry – he wanted to make a difference. He graduated three years ahead of me – we kept in touch. God he was such a Marine – and I really didn’t even know what that meant until I found myself standing in front of the recruiter’s office a week after graduation. I’d been accepted at State – Gramp’s school. No worries about money. I had my 3.9 – my apartment rented, classes picked . . . and I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it. Next thing I know – I’m in this little strip mall in CR walking into the Marine recruiter’s office. I was 18, of “sound mind and body” – that’s all that mattered. You should have seen the explosion at home – holy shit!! My mom came completely unglued . . . dad was pissed beyond words. Gramps just sat there – solemn faced – sad almost. After things quieted a bit he asked if we could take a walk. Mom and dad definitely needed a breather so we came out that door and took a walk. He listened to what I had to say – shared “losing his virginity” as he calls it, explained what it was like to watch a friend die . . . to zip them in a bag knowing they’d never draw another breath. Finally – as we reached the porch again he just looked at me and asked – “You sure E?” “Yes sir, I am.” And that was pretty much that – two weeks later I was asshole deep in Boot. I was judged by my ability, my strength – and weaknesses – not my bank account.

She took a deep breath – look a Brad . . . “It was a good choice.”

“I get it – sometimes “away” is the best place to be.” Brad took a breath . . . “My dad died shortly after my brother was born. Nothing dramatic – wrong place at the wrong time. A semi with a sleepy driver simply ran a red light. Hit the driver’s side – he was killed instantly. It was tough for mom – she’d finished Junior College – a two year degree in accounting. But she truly does have a knack for numbers and people. She finished her BS at night school and worked during the day for a small manufacturing company. In fact – you know them – DT – Defense Technologies. Hell, I carried one of their ARs during my Africa tour. Anyway – let’s just say she had quite a “footprint” there, had no problem speaking her mind. The owner liked that . . . the rest, as they say – is history. Today she heads their HR department. They’re still small, around 120 employees. But damn – do they turn out a solid weapon! It’s going to be a bitch to get her to leave!’

“Anyway, I did the jock thing – football, track, baseball – hit the books? Well, not so much. I graduated, was accepted to the same Junior College mom went to – tried if for the first semester and just couldn’t do it. From there, our stories seem to be pretty much the same – recruiter, teary mom and off to boot. And, I agree – it was a good choice. “ He looked a E – a fellow marine and a woman who was starting to interest him as something more than a fellow deputy. “Funny how it all seems to work out.” He said.

The rest of the afternoon was spent is quiet conversation – really the beginnings of feeling each other out. Everything from music to foods, carbines to handguns – it would have seems an odd conversation to a passer-by. But, for these two – it was the very beginnings of what would be a lifelong bond – one that would be tested beyond what either could begin to imagine.

Supper was quiet and simple. Pot roast sandwiches made with homemade bread, an assortment of raw vegetables and frozen blue berries from last year covered with heavy cream and sugar for desert. The conversation was quiet yet still probing. A broader family was being formed, Brad – whether he realized it or not – was being brought into their fold.

Brad was the first to push back from the table. “Folks, it gotta get going. E is one of those “hard charger” type marines, wants to be on the road by 6AM. I really need to pack it in.” With that, he cleared his dishes – E following suit. He said his goodnights as E walked him to his SUV. “You ready for a road trip tomorrow?” he asked. “It didn’t sound like we were given much choice” E replied – smiling as she remembered the “orders” from Gramps and her dad. “But, the trip should be fine – weather sounds like we’ll catch a break. As long as we stop and stretch everyone once in a while, I stiffen up pretty damn quick if I just sit.”

“No problem – the amount of coffee I drink, hitting the head is just like breathing!” Brad smiled, climbed into his SUV and headed back to his motel room. It was going to be a quick night.

The night did, indeed go quick. E picked him up at about six and they headed to the sheriffs’ office. Linda buzzed them in as they headed back to the armory. “Again??” E asked as Linda walked into the lobby to walk them back to the armory. “No rest for the wicked.” She said. “I’m trying to bank some time with your dad for an extended vacation this summer – we’ll see how that works out.” She reached out, swiped her access card and they walked into the armory.

Both took off their fleece and put on a Level III soft vest then covered them with their fleece. I’d stop virtually any handgun round – past that, well – not so much. Each still had their Glock 21 carry weapons – and each picked up another three magazines. E walked over to the wall and removed a couple of M4s from the rack, handing one to Brad. “Expecting trouble?” he asked? “Yep, always!” E replied and each picked up three full mags. Each weapon was checked for clear, magazines inserted, rounds chambered and weapons placed on “safe”. Brad and E were on the same page – an unloaded weapon was only so much iron – and neither would ever think of traveling with unloaded weapons.

E looked at Linda, “What’s the comm scheme?”

“The Encode Key is BENTONIA, you key code is 62” E would enter this into the Jeep’s comm gear. It would automatically link their radio back to the sheriffs’ office, regardless of where they traveled in their state – or any state for that matter. 62 was her “squelch” – she would only hear traffic directed at them – or any other vehicle using the same code – namely her dad.

“Got a call sign you want to use E?” These were typically used to designate a specific officer on the net. E smiled – “How about Demon 62?” she said, watching for Brad’s reaction. “Really? That’s what you want?” Linda sighed and shook her head. “Alrighty then, Demon 62 it is! Here, slap these decals on your front door panels – should help you with the locals. She handed E and Brad door-sized magnetic decals with a sheriffs’ star – the “Protect and Serve” logo round the outside with an outline of their state in the middle. “And here are your weapon permits, ID cards and badges. The clip will hold them to your belt. That should cover you with the state and local forces up north.”

Brad and E walked out to the Jeep, slapped the decals on the front door panels, locked their M4s in the carriers mounted above and behind each of their heads and headed off to the “north country”.

A couple hours later found them one pit-stop down and just leaving Iowa and entering Minnesota. “You talked to your mom yet – does she even know we’re coming?” E had her eyes forward but she was wondering what kind of reception they were going to get.

“No, not yet – but she’s at work by now, I suppose there’s no time like the present.” Brad reached for his “phone” which was more a cross between a phone and small tablet than just a phone. “Call Mom” he said . . . “Calling Mom” came the reply. “Really??” said E – shaking her head and smiling.

“Hey ma – how’s your day goin’?” She sounded just a bit . . . antsy to him.

“Yep, I’m headed your way – even as we speak. I have another deputy with me.”

“Yeah ma, the job seems fine – I spent most of the weekend with the sheriff’s family – nice folks, you’d like them!”

“Yes – that’s the sheriff’s name – Franks . . . . yes ma’am, THAT Franks.” Brad shook his head, kneaded his forehead with his hand as he listened . . .

“Actually, I’m coming to talk to you about a job offer . . . from the sheriff and his father.”

“Yes ma’m, that’s what I said – a job offer . . .”

“A new job?? Really? Ah – a new position . . . . within DT? Doing what exactly? Aren’t you already in HR? What kind of dedicated position? Company management – OK. No? You’re managing a company . . . for DT? Sounds confusing ma. I’m coming to offer you a new job – for Sheriff Franks. “

“Yes ma’am – his name is Earl . . . Earl Franks. That’s Sheriff Frank’s dad.”

“Excuse me . . . what did you say? New owner . . . DT has a new owner. That was quick – any idea how that is going to work out for everyone. What do you mean – ask him – him who?”

“Earl Franks is the new owner . . . Sheriff Frank’s father is the new owner of DT. When the hell did that happen?? That’s a hell of a way to start a Monday mom. When do you get these “new instructions” you’re talking about. This is all just a little weird ma . . . yes, we’re in Minnesota – I’d say about 5 hours out, be there around 13:30 or so . . . 1:30 in the afternoon ma . . . it’s not hard to figure out.”

“OK, we will . . . love you too.” And Brad punched off and just sat there. Finally, he took a deep breath and looked at E. “Well, Gramps made this a much easier trip that I’d though it would be . . . he bought DT this morning . . . . fifty three million – cash. You weren’t kidding – more money than God!”

E was every bit as shocked as Brad – there had been no heads-up from anyone. Hell, it may well be that only Gramps knew of this little transaction. But, thinking about it, it made sense. If Gramps wanted an army, he’d had to dicker with a shitload of companies to arm up. DT was the perfect solution – he’d have his own weapon’s company. They made everything from M4s through bolt action sniper rifles. They had a solid reputation in the field, and they were small enough that the whole acquisition was “doable”. “It’s signature Gramps . . . it makes sense to gain control of a weapons manufacturer, especially since he’s looking at outfitting an entire Rifle Company. It gives him complete control and that sounds exactly like Gramps!”

It wouldn’t have occurred to just anyone to simply build an army or to purchase a weapons manufacturer for that matter . . . but then Earl Franks – Gramps – didn’t think like “just anyone”.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gov.crap–20% tax on guns


I try to stay away from simply regurgitating news headlines, that’s not the purpose of this blog.  That said, some things – Gov Crap – can drastically affect those this blog truly cares about . . . shooters.

This article caught my eye in my daily read today:

Representative Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) are sponsoring legislation which amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include a 20 percent tax on handguns--"pistols [and] revolvers"--as well as a 50 percent tax on "shells and cartridges."

Here’s a link to the whole story.

It’s the kind of crackpot idea way to many Republicans could sign on to because we all know “we have to do something” about gun violence.

Usual words here – call reps, raise hell, stupid idea, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Of course, it’s being proposed by Democrats . . . . so . . . . yeah.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Training – Why Are You Here?


“So, before we get started . . . . why are you here?”

This is, literally, the first sentence of lecture of every course I do, whether in my “day job” or any of the firearms courses I teach. Why the heck are you – the student – sitting in that chair?

For me – as an instructor, it accomplishes a couple things:

Takes the focus off me: Hey, I have as big an ego as anyone out there. But, THAT is not the purpose of my teaching shooters – something to build my ego. This question helps me “turn my eyes around” and put the focus where it needs to be – on the students. They have specific expectations – things they want to learn. This is their opportunity to directly tell me what they are. They may also have some misconceptions about what I am about to teach them and this provides the opportunity for me to clarify what exactly is about to happen and what is NOT going to happen.

Clarifies things for me: While the core of each and every course and skill set I teach is pretty well fixed, each individual shooter will learn the skillset differently. This question helps me evaluate each person and probe just a bit to start to see how I can meet their need to learn. The expectation I have of myself is that I CAN teach each and every skill to each and every student. This question helps me begin to see how I might have to tweak the presentation to certain students.

Clarifies things for the student: There are times when I ask that question, and I see the “deer in the headlights” stare returned. That person truly has no idea WHY they are there, it just sounded like the thing to do. It gives me an opportunity to help them become more purposeful before the day starts and will lead to a much better experience for them

Sorts out the students: It helps me find the “mouse” and the “ninja” and everything in between. The “mouse” is shy, quiet, will not make eye contact type – and will need to be engage a bit more, usually with a bit of humor and teasing. The “ninja” is the shooter who already knows everything – they really aren’t sure why they need to learn anything from me, but they’re here anyway. My typical approach to them is – “turn your brain off and do things my way for today, then take away what you want.” By addressing them directly, if front of the other shooters – it pressures them to do exactly that, otherwise they look like a jerk and most of their egos won’t accept that. Of course, every now and then I do run into the asshole – I just give them their money back and ask them to leave. Better at the beginning than them hindering the other shooters throughout the entire class.

Enrolls them is the course: Once a student opens their mouth and shares with a class of shooters – they’re “enrolled” in the course, they have a stake to it. I find that it increases their participation significantly.

For those that are clear that they are taking the course to either meet a training requirement to get a carry permit – or they are taking the course to improve their carry skills, it opens the door for a whole different level of discussion.

Why do you want a carry permit? And Do you intend to carry a defensive weapon?

For any number of NEW shooters, they have been so focused on the desire to get a carry permit, they really haven’t paid much attention to the WHY, and as an instructor, I find that’s important to me to know. (and please, let’s set aside the “2nd Amendment Right” argument – I’m right there with you) Many have not even begun to evaluate the process of defensive carry, what it entails, the protection it affords or the risks it brings. This is an important discussion for new shooters to have and one that can be addressed from different angles throughout the course.

For “experienced” shooters who have a carry permit and are in more advanced classes, it provides an opening to discuss “when they carry”. My experience is that way to many carry when they are going someplace they feel uncomfortable – say the “bad side of town”. But, for the vast majority of their days, their defensive weapon rests quietly in their safe, in their bed stand or on a closet shelf. This affords the opportunity to share with them that the only proper place for a defensive weapon is ON THEIR BODY, period. And, hopefully I can move them to full-time-carry, rather that only when they feel uncomfortable.

These two specific questions also open the door for discussion on taking more coursework, at least annually. And, it lets me make my differentiation between “learning” and “training”. I see shooters in my courses as people who want to LEARN a skill. Once they return home, they can TRAIN that skill into their skillset. It takes away the crutch of “oh yeah – I took a training course this year, I’m set” mentality that puts them in the mindset that the “training” course is more important that range time. New shooters that simply want a permit – and see that as the “end” of the process, do themselves – and those they believe they are protecting – no good. These questions force them to move past the basics and on to becoming a true defensive shooter.

So, as a shooter – why do you carry? Can you reach out, as you read this, and draw your weapon? If not, what stories are you telling yourself so you don’t have it with you? Do you carry every day – regardless of destination (giving full due to those that will not allow carry on their property)? My usual explanation is that the last piece of clothing I put on EVERYDAY is my carry weapon, and it’s the first thing I take off and place – in its holster – next to my bed when I get ready to pack it in for the night. And yes, it includes today, Sunday, when I dress for Mass. I do believe God protects me and those I love – and one of the ways he does that is by allowing me to learn the skill set to use a defensive weapon, even in His house.

If you’re an instructor – give these questions a try and let me know what kind of answers you got back and if they helped refocus some of your lecture.

If you’re a shooter – do they help clarify the “whys and wherefores” of your carry and your course work?

Finally, regardless if you are an instructor or a shooter – the next time you take a course, spend a little more time becoming clear on why you’re there and, BE there – set aside your “knowledge” and just experience what the instructor is trying to teach . . . I truly believe it will help you get the most out of the course!

Friday, August 23, 2013

14 – First Contact


August 2093

Brad and Marion turned their backs on the dead raiders and headed back to the OP. Looking at the OP shift commander Marion said “Take care of our guests. And get me Hank – now!” The commander nodded at one of the shooters who took off at a trot to get Hank. Brad picked up the hand set and pushed the ring button . . .

“Command – OP 19”

“OP 19 – Command, Go” The response immediate and terse.

“E – nothing good on this end. There are two – repeat two – remaining recon squads of raiders in our county. Only reason we know about this on is that they went a bit cowboy – it was NOT part of their mission. They were to observe and report only. Here’s the thumbnail. This crew was responsible for moving up 82, there are also raider scouts coming up 21 and 151. Their purpose is to observe river crossings, estimate our fighting strength, inventory any equipment they see and report the level of resistance that could be expected. Copy?”

“OP – Command, I fucking copy! Damn it, why are we totally in the dark on this? We have two more raider scout patrols in our county – confirm!” E felt the surge of adrenaline throughout her body. “Not good, not good . . .!” she thought.

“Command – OP, confirm. It gets worse E. The same probe is going on with our neighbors to the west, coming up 63, V18 and P Ave. All six scout parties are in place, I say again, they are in place. Copy?” Brad’s mind had not stopped running this situation since the first 30 minutes into their interrogation. Six raider scout parties – thirty raiders, somewhere in their county and watching all movements in their county and India38 just to the west. . . . not good!

“OP – Command. Roger that, I’ll warn Chet ASAP. Why do I get there is more here?” E could feel a cold chill begin to go down her neck. This was way too much effort and exposure for just a simple “snatch and grab” raid – something bigger was coming.

“Roger that E – there’s more. Our intel was right on the 50 or so raiders coming our way. And, they were chewed down from around the one hundred or so that were in the party when they first started. What everyone missed was that the sacrifice is purposeful – to keep everyone focused on them while the remaining raiders found their way north. They are focused on six bridges across the river, the three in India37 and the three in India38. Each raiding party is company strength – I say again, company strength, approximately 100 raiders each. Total of 300 raiders for India37 and 300 for India 38. 600 all tolled that’s two full Battalions. E. Copy?” Brad had a hard time wrapping his head around that number – they hadn’t seen a raiding party that size since the reinforced raid that killed Richard and Catherine back in ’75.

E’s blood simply ran cold – 600 raiders? She gathered her breath and focused on the problem at hand. Her fears could wait, her questions could wait – what she needed now was time.

“OP – Command. Understood. Two Battalions. When does the party start?” E was already picking response teams – estimating travel times.

“E, our guests said the preliminary target date is the 1st – September 1st. They were to gather intel and report on our general strength and movements around the bridges until then.” Brad could see why India37 and India38 were chosen for the probe. Sparsely populated, filled with farming communities – they probably thought they would have a pretty easy go of things. They were wrong, of course. But, on a map, from a distance – he could see how they could be so mistaken.

“Roger that Brad – September 1st. That’ll give us two weeks – they’ll regret that. Any other tidbits? Why take the bridges? There has to be a purpose for that – did these assholes know why? “ There was just a nibble of fear – true fear – at the back of E’s mind. Quite a commitment to take six bridges, there had to be a reason!

“You won’t like it E . . . they have friends coming, and lots of them. Two full Regiments of raiders – six Battalions stocked and ready to move in St Louis. As soon as they get word that the bridges are secure – they’ll be heading our way. And they mean to own us E – body and soul.”

E’s heart turned to ice. Two full regiments . . . . six Battalions . . . . eighteen hundred additional “Sons of Missouri” – “No Mercy” raiders. They were looking at nearly twenty five hundred raiders – looking to “own” them – in every sense of the word. “Fuck Me!” E shook her head and refocused.

“OP – Command, roger that . . . roger that. First things first, let’s find the rest of the fucking recon group, cut the next crew’s vision a bit. We have a couple of days to ramp up and get in to position to take these assholes on. Perhaps if we can grind them into the ground, secure the bridges and make it painful enough – we can change their minds down there in St. Louis just a bit.” “First things first!” E thought.

“Brad, I going to move the response teams from Q1 and Q4 your way. I want double teams in each OP from this point on. One up, one in the rack in full gear. Next I want you to send out a couple of patrols, nice and quiet – find these assholes, then we’ll deal with them. We need some survivors to confirm this intel. They can join their friends once we have full confirmation across the board. And, I want this done yesterday! Clear?”

“Command – OP, yes Ma’am, clear. Double teams, one down, one in the rack – full gear. Patrols will go out as soon as the OPs are doubled up. Confirm intel, no need to keep the sources around once confirmation is complete. Marion and I will stay here for now – make sure things roll out ok. E, another thought. The other raider scouts are here, somewhere. If I were them, I’d take a good, long look around. We need “eyes up” – I’d suggest getting Willie on the water tower ASAP. Get the “nests” manned in the other water towers as well. Let’s hope the get sloppy.” Brad was running the location of the water towers through his head – there were six in total, one in each of the county’s small communities. Each gave probably a 3-8 mile view around each town and that’s where these guys would be – watching what was going on.

“Roger that Brad, good idea. Let me get the ball rolling here, check back in 30. Command out.” And with that, they both got to work.

“Hard to believe.” Hank stood quietly in the corner of the OP. “Been a long time since anyone even gave us a second glance. Why now? What the hell is going on?”

“The raiders we took knew time tables, general plans – but not the “whys” of the operation. Looking at them, I suspect details were not their strong point. I’m hoping we can grab a couple of the company commanders that are headed our way – they should have a much better level of intel for us. I want you to find the remaining scout patrols. Should be two out there somewhere, one to the east and one to the west. Find them and silence them. Grab any gear they have – they have to be getting the information back to St. Louis some way. We put eyes up, they should help. We need this done yesterday!” Brad was already spinning through the “what-ifs” of the coming fight. “Shit!” he thought.

“Roger that, Brad. I’ll take my team – grab one from Rick and we will find these assholes. Any need to chat with any of them?” Hank really didn’t care one way or another, but wanted to make sure Brad had the choice.

“You heard what I know – confirm it with each raider scout team. Once you’re done – plant ‘em.”

And the conversation ended – Brad left to insure the response teams were rolled out and Hank went to make contact with Rick, secure a team and go hunting.

Distance and technology worked in E’s favor. Everyone was either on foot or on horseback. Had motorized vehicles been used, the raider’s presence couldn’t have been kept “quiet” as it were. It also meant that the raiders coming to secure the bridges would have a hard time making a “dash”. While animal power was slow – it was reliable. She had some time to get her troops moving!

“Bill – get ahold of Doug and Tony. Fill them in . . . nah – easier way. Bring everyone – everyone up on the comm. Quad Commanders, OPs and see if you can patch Chet in as well, may as well not have to repeat myself more than once. I’m going to hit the head, have them ready in fifteen. Willie, you’re with me.” E headed out of the comm center towards the head, Willie in tow. Bill got to work.

“Doesn’t sound good Grams –not good.” Willie had pick up the headset that E had handed her while she got Brad’s report. “You want me on the tower?”

“Yeah – that I do. With Fred down and probably needed at Doc’s anyway – you have a spotter you can work with?” E knew Willie had been teaching Fred to be her spotter, but a medic was worth more today than a spotter.

“Yes Ma’am, not problem – I’ll take Matt, Fred couldn’t replace him yet anyway – even if he was fit.” E pictured the skinny, red headed kid. He looked a lot like his grand dad did on their first dance Tony had asked her to. It seemed forever ago. “Besides, he’s as good a shooter as I am, you’ll get two for the price of one. Mind if I take a security team as well, this could get dicy.”

“Sounds like a plan – I want you up within the hour. Take a couple night scopes – maybe these guys will get sloppy when the sun goes down.” Willie nodded and headed for the door while E continued on to the head. “Duties” done she went back to the comm room.

“Everyone online Bill?” E fitted the headset, took a seat and looked at the map spread before her on the table.

“They’re here E.” Bill said and with that E began. She relayed all the info she’d gotten from Brad. She heard the occasional curse, a mumble here and there, responded to pointed questions as they arose . . . it was a fast hour. But, by its end – people were moving, gear was being drawn, plans were being refined and the most precious ally of the “Sons of Missouri” was lost . . . surprise.

“Any final questions? . . . . . . hearing none, I want a check-in every hour on the hour – without fail. If you come under fire or engage the raiders at any time – put out an all-call. We have four KIA here today folks – at the hands of these assholes. When they say “No Mercy” – that is exactly what they mean. I intend to return the favor. Chet . . . I feel like I’m steeling your thunder here. Do you have anything to add?” While E had a clear idea of the path forward, it would be a wasted effort if Chet didn’t sign on. And, the reality was, he was responsible for the defense of his county as she and Brad were of theirs. They had been lifelong friends and Chet had been sheriff for about as long a Brad.

“Wondering if you were going to give me a chance to talk today E.” Chet replied, just a bit of kidding in his voice. “No problem from this end – just damn glad you stumbled onto these guys. Your rollout is just what we’ve planned for since ’75 – no surprises here. The number of raiders coming though – gotta tell ya E, sounds like it’s going to be bad. We notified our response teams while you were filling me in, I’ll have “eyes up” within the hour, double response team across the southern half of the county and I’ll put three teams out looking for our visitors – we’ll find them. I’m good here E, no worries.” And he was. Chet had tremendous respect for Brand and E, been through a couple bad scrapes with them and knew that both he and E would do their best to take on these assholes.

“Roger that Chet, thanks. Any last questions? . . . . Hearing none, time here is 17:00, first check in is 18:00. Quadrant commanders, I’d like you all online at 18:30 for an update – Chet, shall we do this together?” E waited for his response – though she was pretty sure he’d go along.

“Sounds good E, will make sure we can patch in all our Quad commanders as well at 18:30. I have nothing else.”

“Roger that Chet – folks, we’re done. First come check in 60 minutes, don’t be late. Will talk to all commanders for India 37 and India38 at 18:30. E out.” And with that – their first war council was done.

Training – SIRT Pistol Training Wall . . . An Update


After yesterday discussion about multiple target engagements, I thought I would post an update photo of my SIRT Pistol training wall:


The “standard” reduced size IDPA targets have been surrounded by hostage targets, “bad guy” targets, the “Dot Torture” drill, the “FAST” target, a trigger press analysis target and a multi-distance target by “10-8” Training. Here are some links:

The largest profile targets are roughly 1/3 size – 7ft represents 21ft. The smallest are 1/6 size – 7ft represents 42ft. I can practice virtually any range trip I want to work on before I go to the range. And, this allows me to easily pick up 30 minutes of trigger time every day. This setup works fine with my LaserLyte round in my carry weapon and works even better with my SIRT pistol. You can easily work on marksmanship with Dot Torture and then switch to multi-threat engagements. You can “move back” by shooting the smaller size targets and, with the 10-8 Dry Fire Target – configured for you being 4-yards away – you can work on marksmanship all the way out to 25 yards.

Your only investment here is printer paper and either a LaserLyte round, SIRT pistol or just plain dry fire with no hit indicator. Regardless, you are working on stance, draw, rotation, metal on meat or sighted fire, and your reholstering skill set (remember – YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD TO REHOLSTER YOUR WEAPON!!).

Find a corner of your basement, spare bedroom, garage – wherever, and setup your dry fire range. Then, DON’T SO ANYTHING STUPID – CHECK YOUR WEAPON THREE TIMES TO MAKE SURE IT IS EMPTY!!. Then use your SIRT pistol or LasyerLyte round and get some good range time each and every day!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Training – Multiple Targets


Many ranges impose limits on the type and level of training a shooter can work at. Many do not allow a draw from a holster, some limit our range of lateral movement – or movement in general, and most do not allow a shooter to engage multiple threats at the same time. If this is true in your case – you need to broaden your range selection. For this post, I want to specifically talk about engaging multiple targets.

A quick review of the past year’s confrontations between armed civilians and direct threats to them, you will find multiple cases of a person being attacked by more than one person. While strictly empirical, it seemed like most of home invasions I read about this year, there were more than one invader and in most cases each of the invaders was armed. If your typical range session involves a single target – you are training your body to simply engage a single threat. Should the real world involve three invaders coming into your house, you need to be nimble enough mentally to engage all three.

Honestly, this is a trap I fall into myself. It takes more time to set up two or three threats on the range, to record, evaluate and tape three threats after each drill . . . . and most of the time I “don’t bother” and just shoot a single target. Not a good range habit and one I do my best to consciously break. So, let’s assume you have finally made time to “do it right”. What would that look like? Well, my suggestion would be something like this:

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Number the targets left to right 1-2-3. On our range we have five lanes. If I have the range to myself, I set up on lane 1,3 and 5 – that gives me about 4 feet between each target. This will give you a good amount of “spread” that you will need to handle. To add to the mix you can include colored squares of paper to provide more “cognition drills” as well. More variety, more things that you may need to think about – is better for this kind range drill. Another thing that helps with this is a range partner for the day – giving you each a chance to work on multiple targets.

There are some things that DO NOT change, regardless of the number of threats:

The Draw: A grip, draw and rotate needs to be accomplished smoothly – regardless of the number of threats. That is why each and every draw is important regardless of the number of targets you are shooting.

Focus on your threat: For defensive shooting, I suggest the “metal on meat” method of target acquisition. Place the rear outline of your slide center mass of the threat and press the trigger three or four times. Remember, “rule of three” – three yards, three rounds, three seconds – you don’t have the time for “sight alignment” and “sight picture”, nor do you need to for combat effective hits.

Multiple Hits: Build multiple trigger presses into your training. Many shooters are fond of the “shoot and look” method. This will make you dead! Every defensive pistol engagement – training or real life – should simply involve pressing the trigger multiple times. In multiple threat cases the necessity of the moment may limit you to a single round a threat - “tactical sequence” or a single round – closest to most distance threat - “tactical priority”. This is one of the primary elements of IDPA competition and one of the values I find in it. Once each threat has been hit once – reevaluate your situation. Keep shooting until you are certain ALL threats are down – period. This is the primary argument for carrying multiple magazines. Three threats – you could easily go through 5 rounds per threat.

Past this, some things change, target acquisition for example. You have to move your eyes to the new threat. Move your eyes FIRST – then move your weapon TO your eyes. Again, you are moving the REAR OF THE SLIDE (the metal) to CENTER MASS (the meat). That will get rounds on target. Repeat until you have a round per threat – repeat as necessary. Your eyes will take your weapon where it needs to go.

MOVE!!! If you are static with a single threat – your chances of a ride home in a Ziploc increase significantly. If you are static with 2, 3, 4 threats in front of you – your death is assured. Make THEM react to YOU while you are using “metal on meat” to engage the different threats. Sound complicated?? Honestly, it’s not – but it takes practices, again stressing the importance of finding a range where a draw from a holster and movement is allowed.

Expand your training, work past simply “holes on paper” to a tactical target and finally to multiple tactical targets. In today’s world, the possibility of facing multiple threats is very real . . . . you need to train for it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

13 - An Army is Born . . .


Brad sat there, trying to put all of this into perspective . . . . and it was damn hard to do. A month ago he was getting his “civilian legs” after a hitch in the Marines . . . one that had seen too many of this friends go home in body bags. But the Twin Cities just wasn’t for him anymore – he needed room . . . space . . . less people. The job in this quiet little town was perfect – the Sheriff primarily wanted a weapon’s instructor – and with his military training he had that covered in spades. He’d obviously made the same deal with the local community college that he had for E to get Brad his state required certifications, and in the meantime – he was an interim Deputy Sheriff. All of this was well and good. The town was exactly what he was looking for. The pay was fine as was the company of his new partner – E. But – honestly, listening to “Gramps” as everyone called him, well . . . it all sounded just a little bit paranoid . . . . maybe even a touch crazy . . . .

“You think I’m a nut case son??” Gramps could hear the wheels turning in Brad’s head and he could hardly blame the kid. Hell, they were both only a couple years into their 20s. Yet, both had been the “pointy end” of the spear – and E had almost come in one her countries finest aluminum boxes, complete with a draped flag. They were young, but both had aged significantly during their 4-year hitch. Perhaps a different approach then . . .

“Just what the fuck do you think’s going to happen Marine??” Gramp’s asked – with the sharpened edge of a seasoned NCO in his voice! “You think all these assholes in all these steel jungles are just going to roll over and wait for their “Uncle” another year to solve the shit sandwich our government’s handed them?? Or two?? They get nearly $1,500 on their little red and white cards every month . . . . only thing is that it only buys half of what they need to live. There are no jobs. There is not hope . . . . they are well and truly fucked! Just what do you think they are going to do??? You read about the D.C. Swarm – what a fuckin’ mess! And it’s not over yet. My people send regular reports back – about the attacks, the thefts, the roving gangs that are reaching south well into Virginia. You won’t hear about it much on the news – this government has the lid down tight – but the pressure is building.” His voice earnest, his passion obvious – Gramps moved his chair to within an arm’s length of Brad. “All hell is about to break loose . . . . and you know it!” His eye’s softened a bit . . . “Are you going to help us? Or do you truly think I’m crazy? If so, no harm done . . . we’ll keep looking for the right man.”

And that was it. Gramps had made his argument, laid out his evidence and challenged him Marine to Marine. If Brad couldn’t see it . . . then they had “chosen poorly” and they would go back to the pool of names he and Richard had and try again.

It was obvious to Brad that Gramps and Richard truly believed what they were telling him. Hell, he could feel that things weren’t right on his ride from the airport in the Twin Cities to his mother’s place just off the northeast corner of the beltway. He’d made the mistake of deciding to see “downtown” on his way home after being gone for nearly three years. It had been a mistake. The city of his youth was gone – stores empty, half of the hotels boarded up, people walking the streets always checking their six . . . not what he was expecting at all. Things were “frayed” as Gramps had said. But, ready to be torn to shreds . . . Brad wasn’t quite so sure. Still . . .

“No sir – I don’t think your nuts.” Brad returned Gramp’s gaze without batting an eye. “I’m not sure I’m ready to buy the whole story – but that won’t get in my way of doing my job. You want the rest of your deputies trained up – I’m your guy. You want me and E to build you an Army . . . . I have no fuckin’ idea how to do that at all!! But . . . . I’ll learn!” Brad simply stopped talking. Both sides had said their piece, made their arguments . . .

Gramps looked at Richard – and they shared a nod, both coming to the same decision at the same time. “Fair enough Brad, fair enough. There are other considerations as well . . . . your family for instance. How far are they outside of the city?”

A shadow of concern crossed Brad’s face – “About 30 miles to the northeast, maybe 10 miles off the beltway – why” But he knew why – if the cities exploded as Gramps believed they would . . . his mom and “little” brother would be in real trouble.

“You’re mom’s a plant manager, right?” Brad simply nodded to Gramps. “I suspect she could manage to keep track of a small army . . . couldn’t she?” Gramps had two things to consider – he needed a good manager and his contacts gave Brad’s mom very high marks in that area . . . and he needed her safe for Brad’s sake. “Two birds with one stone” Gramps decided.

“Yes sir, I’m sure she could. But there are other considerations . . . she’d have to be convinced, sell her house, find a college for my brother, move . . . and the pay would have to cover her expenses . . . . it’s a big step sir, a big step.” The more he thought about it . . . well, he knew it’d be a hard sell.

“Let’s see if I can sweeten the pot a bit then . .” Gramps pulled out his tablet to take a few notes. “Whatever her current salary it, I’ll triple it. I’ll buy her home at fair market value and I have a number of homes on my property – I’m confident she’ll find one she’ll like. If not, well summer’s almost here – hell, we can build her anything she wants. As far as your brother and school – well, if the lid stays on, he’d be hard pressed to find a better school than the U of I and I’ll cover his tuition. Think that’ll get your mother’s attention?” Gramps was relaxed again and leaned back a bit in his chair. The serious stare of moments ago had been replaced by a humorous little gleam.

Brad sat there more than a little stunned. He had a rough idea of his mother’s salary – Gramp’s offer came to nearly $300,000 per year. Add in another $400,000 for the house and a couple hundred for his brother’s school tab . . . . this man simply couldn’t be serious. Still – he saw no doubt in Gramp’s eyes – the offer was genuine.

“Sir, no disrespect . . . . but you are talking millions of dollars over the next couple years . . . “ Brad was subconsciously looking around this very, very modest – almost primitive home. Warm, sturdy . . . . but nothing to indicate that the folks here could pony up that kind of money . . . other than Gramp’s sincerity. “I’d hate to convince my mom to make this kind of decision only to have everything turn to shit – pardon my language – and she’s left to pick up the pieces. You know what I’m sayin’ sir??”

Serious once again – Gramps took a moment . . . “Son, if you commit to us, you’re family – plain and simple. And I take my family responsibilities serious – as do Richard and Cathy. And I hear the concern in your voice for you family as well – I like that. For your mother’s and brother’s sake – you need to get them the hell outta dodge – and soon! As for the financing of this, and what I intend to build – let’s just say I, well, WE, the family – have some pretty deep pockets.” Turning to E he asked “Child, you haven’t shared with this young man your little secret??” Gramps smiled – he already knew she hadn’t, she never did.

“No Gramps – you know how weird folks get when they finally recognize our name. Men especially – that’s one of the reasons I like “E” so much better than Elisabeth. Once they know a real first name they always want to know the last name . . .” She looked at Brad . . . “So I tell them it’s Franks. It never ends there . . . they want to know where I’m from . . . . so I say “Iowa” . . . and they just sit there a bit.” She watch Brad – waiting for the little light to flash on in his eyes – the same one she’d seen dozens of times . . . yep – there it was. “They they’ll typically ask – ‘Say, you any relation to that Dr. Jack Franks?? The one who cured cancer??’ “ Brad’s eye went from curious to . . . well, that completely shocked look she’d seen so many times before.

“And then Gramps – everything just goes to shit! Ya know?” She sighed and just waited for the questions to come . . . .

Brad just sat there – stunned, really. Everyone knew about Dr. Jack Franks, the man who “cured” cancer. It wasn’t that long ago, ’24 if he remembered right. Dr. Franks was an organic chemist specializing in the development of target chemotherapy treatments. In the mid ‘teens a method had been developed to shape nanoparticles to attach themselves to cancerous cells . . . and cancerous cells ONLY. The target cytotoxic compound was “simply” attached to the nanoparticle and “voila” you have a cure. Since the nanoparticle could be targeted for virtually any type of cancerous cell – well, this combination of organic chemistry and nano-technology cured about 95% of all known cancers. The results were breathtaking – with millions cured virtually overnight . . . Brad had been quiet for a number of minutes, running this history through his head . . . trying to draw a correlation between Dr. Franks and E . . .

“See why I don’t tell anyone Gramps . . . it turns their brain to mush . . .” E was looking a Brad – with just a bit of a smile, while talking to Gramps.

Brad closed his eyes, took a deep breath, rubbed his face with both his hands and after he’d lowered them and his vision had cleared . . . he looked at E . . .

“And you went in the fuckin’ Marines . . . are you out of your fucking mind???” Brad just shook his head. “We’ll sir, I suspect you can afford to do pretty much anything you want??!!” E smiled, Gramps just chuckled . . . . “You could say that son, you could say that. So, you in?”

“Yes sir . . . yes sir, I’m in.” And with that Brad, his mother and brother became “family”.

“Good to hear son, good to hear. Cathy? Could we get some more ice – Richard, how about another finger or two, let’s move on to the describing to these two a bit more about our plans and what they need to be looking for. Anyone who needs to should hit the head again, we still have a bunch of talkin’” to do!”

Again, chairs shuffled – “visits” were made, a bowl of snacks appeared . . . . Gramps checked the clock – it was closing in on 2200 already, damn the night was going fast! Finally all were back, glasses filled and snacks in hand. It was time to pick up again . . .

“Alright – it’s getting late so here’s the thumbnail. Brad, we’ve scoped you out pretty good – let’s just say my money allows me to have “friends” that can get things done. I know what a talented woman your mother is – she’ll be perfect as our “Personnel Officer”. She’ll be responsible for every person on our staff – exactly along the lines of a Marine personnel officer. You’ll put together a training team – martial arts, QCB and weapons. I want you to find us a tactician – someone who knows their shit, someone who can work out a plan to defend our little piece of the world.”

E stared off in the distance a bit – then looked at Gramps . . .”Gramps – what’s Tony doin’ – is he still in?” She had been Tony’s date for his Senior prom even though he was three years older. Like E – he’d enlisted in the Marines right out of high school. She’d even bumped into him in Africa early on in his tour – he was already a Platoon Sargent – a testament to how shorthanded the Corps were and, frankly, how talented Tony was. He knew his shit and he knew the area. If he was available, E thought he’d be a great choice.

“No idea E” Gramps said, “Find out and see what Brad thinks.” Gramps was working down the list on his tablet. “As for personnel and command structure – Richard will be the equivalent of the OIC (Officer In Charge), we’ll need four LTs, each will be responsible for a Rifle Platoon made up of four fire teams. I know, the numbers are a bit different than the corps – just live with it. And each Rifle Platoon will have two Platoon Sergeants responsible for two fire teams each. That shakes out to 140 Marines . . . guess my math was off a bit.” Brad spoke up – “No sir, it was just fine, you just added a couple LTs, and I like that. That give us 35 men per platoon, I like that”. Gramps just nodded and continued.

“I want these Marines to be family men . . . I want them to feel invested in the community – with something to defend and protect. As part of their sign-on bonus, I’ll include a home, I’ll double their last pay grade in the Corps and I’ll provide a full kit. That said, the other part of their “contract” if you will is that they’ll need to “work the farm” along with the rest of us. It is my intention to become fully self-sufficient within the next three years – and that’s a hell of a lot harder to do than it is to say! Everyone needs to buy into this – everyone. You’ll need to screen your candidates carefully – Brad, I suspect your mom will be able to help with that. So, while military skillsets are important – so is some knowledge of farming, general mechanics, we’ll need some folks who specialize in communications, radio communications, computers – the works. You two see where I’m going with this?” Brad and E glanced at each other and nodded – “We’re essentially building a Company Command – a bit smaller, but the same basic structure” E replied. Gramps smiled – “Yes Ma-am, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

E’s eyes clouded over a bit while she was mulling over the mechanics of what she’d just heard. “That’s going to take a lot Gramps – money, land, housing . . . . we’re talking about a shitload of stuff here. Can we really pull that off??” She had never really stopped and thought through the ripple effect of Dr. Jack Franks’s discoveries had had on her family.

Gramps smiled – “Child, we have – as they say – “more money than God” – and I intend to spend a good chunk of it protecting us and our new family. As for space – well, we now own the entire section – including all the housing and farms. A lot of our neighbors were ready to retire – they were grateful for the windfall and moved into town or moved on. Those that wanted to stay got their home paid for and all their debt cleared with the expectation that they would continue to farm for the “company”. Most stayed – and those that didn’t want to, well – I sweetened the pot a bit – made them “offers they couldn’t refuse” and they went to spend their profits elsewhere. Which leaves me with a number of properties just waiting to be occupied.” Looking Brad’s way he said “I suspect your mother will find something to her liking, maybe you as well.”

“Past that, I’m in “negotiations” to expand our holdings a bit, should have that settled by the time you two get back.” And Gramps waited . . .

“Get back?” E asked . . .

“Yep, you two need to go up and get Brads mom and brother and bring them home. We have a shitload of work to do and I fear that time is running out much faster than any of us think. Brad, I want you to give your mom a call first thing in the morning, let her know you’re coming. Don’t tell her why; wait until you can chat face to face. Tomorrow’s Sunday – there’s Mass at 10:30 and our Sunday meal around noon – I expect you here. You’re welcome to come to Mass with us if you like, just meet us at the church around 10:15, we have room in our pew for you.” Gramps smiled – they always sat in the third row back, up close to the right side of the alter. He’d sat in that same spot with his father . . . it truly felt like “their pew”.

“Sounds good Sir, I’ll meet you there. I assume you’d like us to head out first thing Monday?” Brad was already running the arguments for his mother through his head – she’d think he was nuts!

Richard took over the conversation – “Sooner is better, Monday is fine. A few rules though – been chatting with some of my sheriff friends between here and the cities. There have been a number of random car jackings, attacks at rest areas and even a few restaurants. It’s starting to get a bit dicey out there. You’re deputies – I want you to go out in full kit – vests, spare mags and a carbine each. Probably won’t need them – but no sense taking chances. And stay the hell out of the cities – downtown is getting more squirrelly by the day. The only thing keeping the lid on is that it’s still colder than crap up there – come summer, it ain’t going to be pretty. You two clear?”

“Yes Sir” a perfect duet of sound came from E and Brad. Both chuckled a bit.

“Well sir, if I’m going to be presentable for Mass tomorrow, I better head out. I’ll see you all in the morning.” And with that, Brad said good night and left the family to their thoughts.

“I like him.” Cathleen said. “Agreed” Allison threw in. “He started out a bit slow – but Gramps – you did your usual good job of laying out your nutty ideas, he’s on board.” She smiled at Gramps – realizing just how serious he thought things were becoming and what lengths we was willing to go to in order to protect his family.

Richard followed suit . . .“Right there with ya Allison – dad is nuts . . . ok, just kiddin’ Dad. Seriously, I think we have “chosen well”. E, I expect a full report after your trip, let me know how it went, how he really felt about things away from us and especially how his mother bought into the whole idea. We are going to be depending on her skills a lot – I need to know she’s really on board.” Richard looked at his daughter – where the hell had the little blond girl gone who’d sat on his lap, went camping with him and ate smores by the fire ring . . . damn, time was flying by too damn fast!!

“Will do dad – will do. Now, I’m gonna pack it in, been a long day and I may have had one or two fingers too many tonight.” E smiled, gave them all a peck good night and headed off to bed.

“Well Richard, what do you think?” Gramps was watching his son – knowing he was about to shoulder a tremendous weight . . . “A good start dad – a good start.”

UPDATE:  Minor changes to story line.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Personal – 41 years . . .


I first saw her in Biology class in the spring ’65. She simply struck a cord in my soul . . . I brought her flowers. Actually – wild flowers for a Biology project . . . just to share, you understand.

That summer she showed up at the little mom & pop grocery store that I worked at to buy an orange “push-up”. . . . all summer long. Fall saw our first formal date . . . January our first kiss on her 16th birthday. The remaining two years of high school simply disappeared . . . . June ’68. Just before the 6 month anniversary of Tet. Much to her shock and sadness I enlisted. Honestly, it made no difference – everyone was getting “the letter”. Ten months later I was bound for Taiwan . . . wondering if she’d wait, if I’d see her again.

Christmas ’70 I gave her and my mom their Christmas present – my request for a direct transfer to Viet Nam had been accepted . . . I wouldn’t be home in April, it would be another year . . . . and still she waited.

Vietnam 70

May 70 the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel came out – she sent me the lyrics, hand written on blue paper with white dots – her explanation of her love. The letter still sits in the drawer next to my side of the bed. And she waited . . .

April 21st-ish . . . I’m sitting on a commercial aircraft rolling out on the runway at DaNang . . . I’d made my DEROS date . . . Shortly after liftoff the pilot came online saying we were beyond B-40 range . . . . then rifle range . . . . finally SAM range . . . . we were “safe”. What an odd feeling, the relief of that word . . .

4 hours after I left we landed at McChord AFB (International Dateline) for the trip to SeaTac and a 747 headed for Chicago and finally Flint, Michigan. I was in the very rear seat of a 7XX somethin’ when we came to a halt. The stewardess asked where I was coming from, I said I was home from Vietnam. She asked the other folks to let me off the plane first with a nice round of applause from the folks on my way out . . . . across the tarmac . . . and into the arms of the love of my life . . . .

She went to work (yep, she had to work that night!) while I went to find some new clothes – I literally had only the clothes on my back, a set of 1505s. Evening found me at her home, waiting for her to get home. We took a short drive, to say hello, to see if the connection was still there, so she could see if a psyco sat next to her – or if I was still “her” Bill. We ended up at the church parking lot . . . and I had to know.

“Will you marry me??” No hesitation, no delay – a simple “Yes” crossed her lips.

The following day – again at her home – we prepared to go out for dinner, she and I, to celebrate life, love and our formal beginning. This was my lovely wife-to-be, April 1971:

susie 4-71

A year later – August 19th, 1972, we stood before family and God and pledged our lives together. It’s been 41 years since that date. Some smooth as glass, some simply ripped us to shreds . . . still, under all of it, and through all of it . . . . our love and life together has survived and thrived.

So, to my lovely and loving wife . . . I can never possibly express what you mean to me, the joy I felt being wrapped in your arms after two years apart, and the comfort I find that being wrapped in your arms feels exactly the same today!


Happy Anniversary kid . . . I love you with all of my heart!