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Many Lessons for Self-Defenders from Conflict Escalation of Kareem Mano

There are SO many lessons for self-defenders from this incident involving Kareem Mano and De’Andre Thomas that was caught on camera. Don’t discount them because of first impressions; instead, think critically as a self-defender about how your intent and your actions will be interpreted by a DA and jury!

 

 

If you value what we do at ASP, would you consider becoming an ASP Patron Member to support the work it takes to make the narrated videos like this conflict escalation caught on camera? https://get-asp.com/patron gives the details.

 

Local news story #1: https://get-asp.com/o7pb

 

More details on Thomas: https://get-asp.com/nehq

 

Thomas was out on bail on a robbery charge when this happened: https://get-asp.com/7y5h

 

More on Mano, who had no criminal record and who seems like a decent guy, generally: https://get-asp.com/rd9b

 

What does this video teach us about conflict escalation and self-defense?

 

  1. Mano doesn’t appear to be a terrible kid. Arrest for marijuana possession in 2012, but nothing in GA records about a conviction that I could find, so he doesn’t have any criminal record. He might have a GWL, though Georgia doesn’t make those public. Nevertheless, bad company corrupts good morals, so there’s a lesson for all of us here about choosing your associates wisely!

 

  1. Nevertheless, what Mano did when he drew his firearm was aggravated assault under OCGA 16-5-20 and 16-5-21. The first pillar of lawful, moral self-defense is “innocence.” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ) Innocence requires that we not be the instigator of the fight and that we not be the aggressor or the perpetrator. In some states when we attempt to leave or run we can re-establish innocence in self-defense, but states differ on that. Regardless, getting into a fight is a poor basis for a self-defense claim later, so always live in such a way that innocence isn’t a problem for you.

 

  1. Thomas can’t really claim innocence either, because he had a stolen firearm on his person and by OCGA 16-8-12 (6) (B) he’s committing a felony, and is also facing other charges that he was out on bail for. Again, your claim of self-defense to the jury only needs to fail on one of the five pillars to fail, so his fails.

 

  1. One of the five pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “imminence,” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ). Imminence means the threat is happening RIGHT NOW, that it’s neither too late nor too early for you to defend yourself! The standard of imminence is seen as a triad of ability, opportunity, and jeopardy (also known as the AOJ triad, which is explained here: http://get-asp.com/pm3k in some detail).

 

  1. Another pillar of lawful, moral self-defense is “reasonableness.” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ) In every defensive incident we ask whether the actions of the defender were reasonable from an objective standpoint. Would an objective, reasonable person do what you did in the moment? A good test of whether your actions are reasonable is whether you did them to stop the threat or to punish someone (Charles Humes calls it “The Punisher Test”: https://get-asp.com/nybt it’s a good comparison) Will a jury see Thomas’ pursuit of Mano as reasonable? I doubt that highly. A reasonable, sane, sober, moral person who felt in threat of their life is going to move AWAY from a threat, not into it. A LEO moves into a threat as part of their law enforcement responsibility, but not a reasonable CCW.

 

There are 3 additional lessons for Patron Members and 3 class starters for Instructors from this video, so please join us in those programs to see them!

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Self-Defender Inexplicably Faces Charges for Defensive Gun Use

The fact that this self-defender is facing murder charges for this defensive gun use is mind-boggling, as the news stories below show. But there are lots of lessons from the video of the incident for all of us as we practice Active Self Protection!

 

 

If you value what we do at ASP, would you consider becoming an ASP Patron Member to support the work it takes to make the narrated videos like this defensive gun use? https://get-asp.com/patron gives the details.

 

Initial news story on this defensive gun use: https://get-asp.com/6qh8

 

More from the son of the self-defender, Wayne Parish, that also includes the official filing of the indictment and the police report as well as pictures of Parish’s injuries: https://get-asp.com/qzg5

 

News story with local defense attorneys and experts questioning why he was even indicted: https://get-asp.com/nxt4

 

More information from the mother of the deceased and her version of events: https://get-asp.com/9vwt

 

What does this video teach us about the fight after the fight in a defensive gun use?

 

  1. Sometimes the danger that you must protect yourself and your family from isn’t evil, but is rather deranged. People who aren’t in their right faculties can be a real danger to your family, even if they are not inherently evil. You need the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from evil AND from non-evil threats that pop up! Clearly, this young man was breaking into the car and I am not saying he wasn’t responsible for that, but just as clearly he has significant mental issues. That didn’t make him any less of a threat!

 

  1. One of the most significant paradigms of using deadly force is called the may-should-must paradigm. “May” asks whether your force is lawful (and, if LEO, within policy). “Should” asks whether the rewards outweigh the risks of not acting or of unintended consequences. “Must” asks whether this is the only course of action that can affect the necessary outcome. Knowing how to apply this paradigm in deadly force encounters, in the moment, is an important responsibility for self-defenders! It certainly appears that Parish met the “must” threshold when Charles McDonald rushed him and tried to take his firearm away from him.

 

  1. We must each decide what is worth protecting. Life is always worth protecting because it is of inestimable worth; as unique bearers of the image of God, people are the most valuable “thing” imaginable. Property is something else, though. With property we always have to balance the benefit against the risk to ourselves and our families. Even where it’s legally allowed, you should consider whether it’s wise or prudent to defend your property, because doing so puts you at risk and not just the bad guy. It was totally within Parish’s rights to stop McDonald from breaking into the car on his property, but it’s worth considering that he put himself at great risk to do so.

 

  1. We must each be ready to face the cost of defending ourselves or others, as well as the cost of not defending. If you defend yourself, especially with a firearm, you might well face significant costs financially, socially, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. You must be ready for those costs! The same holds true of defending others, and you must decide if the costs are worth paying for your family. You can expect to hire an attorney, spend time in jail perhaps, face social pressure from the media or family or your church, etc. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t step in, but it does mean that you have to count the cost and accept it. Certainly, to defend your life or the life of a family member, any cost is bearable. But whether you’re willing to pay that cost for a stranger is a matter for personal reflection and consideration. This is why I strongly recommend that every self-defender have SOME kind of defensive legal protection for the fight after the fight. My comparison of the major players can be found at get-asp.com/protcomp if you need help finding a good one.

 

  1. As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t.

 

There are 3 additional lessons for Patron Members and 3 class starters for Instructors from this video, so please join us in those programs to see them!

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Concealed Carrier Highlights the Defensive Display of a Firearm

Concealed Carrier Highlights the Defensive Display of a Firearm

In the Dominican Republic, these kinds of motorcycle bandits are common, and this defensive display of a firearm kept things from escalating! What are the laws like in your state for a concealed carrier to display a defensive firearm?

 

 

If you value what we do at ASP, would you consider becoming an ASP Patron Member to support the work it takes to make the narrated videos like this defensive display of a firearm? https://get-asp.com/patron gives the details.

 

First video of this defensive display with not much more than geographic information: https://get-asp.com/86hz

 

Second video with some audio commentary that I don’t understand because I don’t speak Spanish: https://get-asp.com/4m0j

 

What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against an armed robbery?

 

  1. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. Notice that before the defensive display, the concealed carrier was joyful and having fun, but aware of his surroundings. That’s the way to live!

 

  1. Perhaps the biggest benefit of situational awareness is that it buys you time and space to respond to a threat, and time and space buy you options when considering how to protect yourself and your loved ones from a threat. Time and space give you the chance to escape and evade, or time and space to get your force multiplier in the fight, and time and space to better your defensive position and give you a better chance to be victorious. Here the concealed carrier had the time not only to get his gun in hand, but to chamber a round (which, as I said in the video, I don’t recommend as a carry method). His awareness led to a defensive display of a firearm rather than being far more likely a defensive shooting.
  2. When talking about stopping a threat, we must recognize the legalities of the defensive display of a firearm. (and remember, I am not an attorney and am not offering you legal advice) Mas Ayoob has a good discussion on when it’s appropriate and when it’s not. In most states, “brandishing” a firearm is an offense of one kind or another, and again in most states that requires the exhibition of a firearm in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner. There’s an excellent Reddit thread on the defensive display of a firearm that all self-defenders should read. If you read a two-part question and answer from the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network here and here, you can see that the laws governing defensive display of a firearm differ from state to state. Therefore, it is your responsibility as the defender to know the laws of your jurisdiction and live within them. Generally speaking you can use a firearm against an imminent threat of deadly force or grievous bodily harm, and you can display that firearm in self-defense if that imminent threat is reasonably perceived ahead of time. In my state of Arizona we clarified that statute in 2009 to provide broad leeway for self-defenders, and others have taken note as well.

 

  1. Keep your firearm ready to fire. Some people carry their firearm with an empty chamber (as this concealed carrier did), but doing so is not recommended for several reasons. First, it assumes that you will have both hands available to you to draw your firearm, which isn’t necessarily the case. You might have a hand engaged or injured. Secondly, it assumes that you’ll have time to chamber a round in a gunfight, but gunfights are won and lost on tenths of seconds. Thankfully this defensive display had plenty of time! Third, it assumes that you’ll have the dexterity to chamber a round under duress, though in the moment many times I have seen people fumble their chambering attempt. Keep your defensive firearm ready to fire, with a round in the chamber!

 

  1. The goal in any defensive firearms use is to stop the threat. Never draw a firearm if you’re not willing to use it, but if the presence of the firearm stops the threat, don’t pull the trigger! This defensive display ended any threat to this man and his loved ones, and not shooting was the right choice for this concealed carrier. If the bad guy flees or surrenders, that’s a very successful defensive firearm use and you’ve met the goal. If your first shots stop the threat, don’t take more shots that can turn a defensive encounter into charges for you. Shoot as many times as you must in order to stop the threat, and once the threat stops, reassess and stop shooting.

 

There are 3 additional lessons for Patron Members and 3 class starters for Instructors from this video, so please join us in those programs to see them!

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Fist Fight Escalates to Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Fist Fight Escalates to Assault with a Deadly Weapon

I don’t have all the details on what precipitated this fist fight, but the assault with a deadly weapon is clear as day. Great reason to practice Active Self Protection!

 

 

If you value what we do at ASP, would you consider becoming an ASP Patron Member to support the work it takes to make the narrated videos like this assault with a deadly weapon? https://get-asp.com/patron gives the details.

 

Original surveillance video is available to members of our Instructor Development Portal.

 

News story on the assault: https://get-asp.com/38b2

 

What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against assault?

 

  1. If you can win “the fight before the fight,” you win. You win that fight by minimizing your potential for being attacked in the first place! That means making smart decisions and living a life of awareness and readiness so that you don’t take unnecessary risks. I don’t know what precipitated this fist fight, but four guys represent a significant risk even before the gun turned it into assault with a deadly weapon.
  2. In a legal sense, the definition of “assault” is “intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.” In some states the definition includes the actual causing of injury as well, but in others that’s a separate crime of battery. Therefore, if someone flashes a force multiplier like a firearm, with the intent of making someone believe you imminently intent to do them harm with that force multiplier, they are guilty of the crime of assault. There are some state statutes that provide immunity to that charge if the display of a firearm is defensive in nature as well. As always, check your state laws!
  3. As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from an assault like this. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t.

 

  1. Do not stay in the danger zone if you can possibly help it. So many times people get decision paralysis and freeze, but you cannot stay in a place where a deadly threat exists! Either act to leave the area, or act to protect yourself. Every second you give an attacker is another opportunity they have to assault you, so don’t allow that. If you can, get out of there immediately. If you can’t, then look for your opportunity to ensure your own safety by whatever means necessary. Before your Kung Fu, and before your Gun Fu, you should consider whether your best defense is Run Fu!

 

  1. While we certainly recommend that people carry the best defensive tools they possibly can, there will be times when those tools are unavailable. In those instances, though, being aware of any environmental weapons of opportunity you might use to defend yourself is helpful! A glass bottle can become a very nasty slashing tool. A pen can be used as a makeshift kubotan. A wrench can become a workable fighting stick. Don’t discount environmental weapons if you don’t have access to purpose-built tools. Here the victim used a large pipe to defend himself from the battery, and that was a good choice in the moment!

 

There are 3 additional lessons for Patron Members and 3 class starters for Instructors from this ATTACK, so please join us in those programs to see them!

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Rangemaster 3-Day Instructor Development Course After Action Report

Rangemaster 3-Day Instructor Development Course After Action Report

 

October 28-30, 2016

 

Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ

 

Tom Givens, Lead Instructor

 

Lynn Givens and John O’Connell, Assistant Instructors

 

Cost: $575 registration, 1000 rounds of FMJ ammunition ($200 for me), travel expenses (minimal for me, as this was in my home town; if not, add airfare/gas, lodging, per diem)

 

rangeExecutive Summary: Tom Givens puts on an excellent course, and as a follow-up course and additional certification for those with more basic pistol certifications this course will add to your repertoire significantly. For all pistol shooters, this course will challenge your shooting skills as well and ensure that you have solid fundamentals in marksmanship with a pistol. I recommend it highly.

 

 

Detailed description

 

October 28-30, 2016 I attended Rangemaster Instructor Development Course with Tom and Lynn Givens at Ben Avery Shooting Facility. I have been a firearms instructor for about 5 years now, and take my training, my knowledge, and my abilities seriously. I learned some things, shot well, and came away impressed with Tom and the course content.

 

On Friday we began in the classroom with administration and introductions, and it was clear from the beginning that we had a wider swath of shooters than I had anticipated. I thought we’d mostly have NRA instructors looking for their next certificate, and there were a few of those. (::raises hand::) But we had everything from an 18-year-old young woman out for a weekend with her mom of training, to two Well Armed Woman chapter leaders, to Combat Focus Shooting certified instructors, to active duty soldiers, to a jiu jitsu black belt instructor, to LEO shooting instructors, to competitive shooters and professional trainers. We had 12 men and 3 women as students. It was a diverse group!  I was interested to see where I “fit” in the flow of the group, but with such a diverse set of backgrounds, there was plenty of room for everyone. Tom and Lynn and John were friendly and welcoming to all.

 

instructingTom is a business-like guy in the classroom and on the range, and when it’s time to go, he runs his courses like a man who gets what he wants. He started on time, wasted no time with people dragging their feet getting back from breaks, and expected people to keep up with him in the classroom and on the range. Tom has a mouth like a drunken sailor so if language offends you that might be a problem. In 8 years in the Navy I heard a LOT worse; heck, I have heard as bad on my kids’ middle school campus. Regardless, students need to come prepared and on time to keep up. With that said, Tom is also funny, kind, and likeable. His Tennessee drawl helps take the edge off, and I found him engaging and easy to learn from.

 

The course provides a 200-page instructor student manual that instructors are expected to know. The test on that manual includes fill in the blank questions that must be answered precisely, and so students should expect to spend their evenings studying the manual and getting some terminology precise for the exam. Since students must score 90% on the exam, this is an important point! I wish that perhaps Tom would have sent us the manual in advance to read over and be proficient in, to prepare us for that. Regardless, the manual has a LOT of information for instructors, broken into major sections on “hardware” and “software.” It’ll stay in my reference library for sure.

 

The classes all three days alternated between classroom instruction and range time, and we shot 900-1000 rounds in the 3 days. This course was a serious shooting course, and Tom expects every student to be able to shoot to a high standard. We also used the coach-pupil method throughout, with two lines running, so when you weren’t shooting you were expected to give your fellow student professional and significant coaching to help them improve. On the line, Tom brooked no shenanigans but he was also funny and engaging. He has a natural flair for teaching and getting students to see what he is doing and why. We shot from 3 yards out to 25 yards, and students who hadn’t really developed good marksmanship fundamentals struggled at the longer distances.

 

It’s worth noting that while Tom has some strong preferences, he isn’t dogmatic about his way and doesn’t badger students to agree with him. A good example is the thumbs-forward grip, which Tom definitely doesn’t like. He spent some time talking about why he doesn’t like it, why we shouldn’t do it or teach it, and how he thinks to do it right. But when it was time to qualify, he didn’t give me a hard time at ALL about using the grip I am practiced with.

 

Sunday was evaluation day, and Tom’s evaluations were no joke. We had a lot of learning to do on Sunday as well, but the core of the day was spent on testing to ensure instructor candidates can adequately shoot. First we shot the FBI qualification test (60 rounds) on IALEFI QP targets. Tom likes to say that the FBI qual course is a “sobriety test,” but the reality is that it isn’t easy if you can’t shoot at distance! Still, with the scoring zone being the entire bottle target, and with the times being not too difficult, it’s not too hard to pass with the required score of 90%. (that score was chosen to match what the FBI requires of its instructors). After the FBI qualification we shot the Rangemaster Instructor Qualification (50 rounds), which is a very similar test but requires movement at 3 and 5 yards and scores hits in the center circles only (without penalty). It requires a 90% score as well. Each are shot twice, with the student keeping the best of their two scores.

 

kneelingI work hard at my shooting skills, and I must say that I sweated the shooting portion after hearing from previous students that it was no joke. I worked my dry fire practice hard and got to the range several times in the weeks leading up, and that work paid off. I shot both quals clean, earning me 100 points each. (Tom takes your percentage of points possible on each test as your score) There were several other students who did as well, and I must say that the shooting at 15 yards from kneeling can be challenging.

 

Finally, at the end of the day, we took the written exam. That exam isn’t easy because some of the questions are fill in the blank and required precise answers. A 90% score was required to pass, though there were enough true/false and multiple choice that I don’t think passing was ridiculously difficult. I scored 94.1 on the exam.

 

At the end of the weekend Tom gives those who pass all three tests a certificate of completion. We had 13 of 15 students qualify (including the 18-year-old young woman!). Tom also gives out an award for the highest aggregate score combining all three assessments normalized to 100%, and the one who has the overall highest score is awarded the distinction of being “Top Gun” for the class. The Top Gun scored I believe 95.4, so he edged me out by 1.3 points and I took second in the class. I am very happy with those results.

 

Overall, this course has great strengths and a few time-constrained limitations. We focused a lot on shooting skills, and it’s important to have those skills to pass on to students. We spent a good bit of time at the range. Tom made sure in the classroom that we had a modicum of legal knowledge and a good discussion of marksmanship theory and practice, which is important. The limitation was in teaching theory, course and drill design, knowledge transfer, and assessment for instructors, but those might be in the advanced instructor course as well.

 

certificateI am very glad to have attended and very pleased to say that I am a Rangemaster Certified Instructor. I will take the Advanced Instructor Course and recommend that any handgun instructor take the course as well!

Man Who Threatened Paramedics with Knife Shot by Police

Man Who Threatened Paramedics with Knife Shot by Police

The way you watch this video really determines whether you think it’s a justified shooting or not. I think that the back story really tips the scales, and that everyone in this video has some Active Self Protection lessons to learn!

If you value what we do at ASP, would you consider becoming an ASP Patron Member to support the work it takes to make the narrated videos like this officer-involved shooting? https://get-asp.com/patron gives the details.

 

Original video with some detail on the officer involved shooting is available in our Instructor Development Portal.

 

News story on the police-involved shooting from local sources, with significant details: https://get-asp.com/fuwz

 

Second story with follow-up from the family: https://get-asp.com/d287

 

What does this police officer teach us about defending ourselves against a threat?

 

  1. Sometimes the danger that you must protect yourself and your family from isn’t evil, but is rather deranged. People who aren’t in their right faculties can be a real danger to your family, even if they are not inherently evil. You need the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from evil AND from non-evil threats that pop up!

 

  1. The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the hands are the windows to the intent of a person. If you’re in a potential conflict, ALWAYS pay attention to what the aggressor is doing with their hands. They might have a force multiplier in their hand, or they might be hiding their hand so that you can’t see what is in it or using their hand to conceal something. If their hands are empty, there is a difference between someone with fists and someone whose hands are open and relaxed. As a self-defender your situational awareness must include seeing the hands of any potential threat in your vicinity, so watch the hands!

 

  1. Part of your training must be knowing when to use verbal commands, and when to abandon verbal commands and move to physical or deadly force. Many times self-defenders (and LEO) get caught in a loop of issuing the same command repeatedly to no effect. Using verbal commands is an important part of your force options training, and part of that training in verbal commands is knowing when to talk and when to stop talking and act. The officer tried to use verbal commands here, but there is really no way they could have worked because the man was both deaf and deranged. He had to transition to something else to stop the threat.

 

  1. In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training! The officer here didn’t have time to make a significant plan…he just had to go.

 

  1. You must know your firearm, how it functions, and how you’ll respond with it in the moment of need. Pressure testing your firearms manipulations in force on force and other training classes is critical because you need to know that you can get your firearm in the fight and keep it in the fight! If your habits will inadvertently drop the magazine or your grip will cause the slide not to lock back on empty or other induce other malfunctions, you do NOT want to find that out when the balloon goes up.

There are 3 additional lessons for Patron Members and 3 class starters for Instructors from this officer involved shooting, so please join us in those programs to see them!

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This is Why You Want to Get Up Fast in a Street Fight

This is Why You Want to Get Up Fast in a Street Fight

I am all about having ground fighting skills at Active Self Protection, but in a defensive street fight, you want to get up fast. This is a great example of why!

Original video of the street fight: https://get-asp.com/dnjz

 

What does this street fight teach us about defending ourselves on the ground?

 

  1. A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders. I don’t know what precipitated this street fight, but I guarantee you the guy in the white shirt wishes he had avoided it!
  2. One of the pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “reasonableness.” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ) In every defensive incident we ask whether the actions of the defender were reasonable from an objective standpoint. Would an objective, reasonable person do what you did in the moment? A good test of whether your actions are reasonable is whether you did them to stop the threat or to punish someone (Charles Humes calls it “The Punisher Test”: https://get-asp.com/nybt it’s a good comparison) In this street fight the guy in the dark shirt was probably okay right up until the kick. Kicking an unconscious man isn’t self-defense, it’s assault.

 

  1. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. This fight isn’t a deadly force encounter until the very, very end. That said, it’s critical to be able to fight with your hands because this street fight doesn’t show any good places to get to a tool.

 

  1. Fights are physically demanding. Sure, a pure gunfight might last 10 seconds and not place a huge burden on you physically, but the vast majority of encounters we see here at ASP involve physical self-defense as well. Getting into a honest-to-goodness fight with someone is incredibly physically demanding, so being physically fit is an important part of maximizing your chances to protect yourself. Fit people are harder to beat and harder to kill!

 

  1. You must be able to fight and defend yourself from all different stages of action. One of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, likes to say that we must be able to fight wherever the fight happens to be! So whether we are at contact stage (just able to come in physical contact with our attacker), penetration stage (where attacks can contact and penetrate significantly), or manipulation stage (a clinch or similar where joint and body manipulations are possible), we must be able to use effective technique to protect ourselves.

 

  1. Skip is also fond of saying that the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it!

 

  1. One of the biggest reasons that ground fighting is dangerous is the presence of accomplices/multiple attackers. While you’re tied up with someone on the ground working for a choke or submission, his buddies can stomp you or otherwise intervene to radically change your chances. While we can’t always control whether a fight ends up on the ground, we can train and practice and work to get up and regain our mobility and awareness as fast as possible.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Crazy Russian Unfazed by Being Shot in the Leg

Crazy Russian Unfazed by Being Shot in the Leg

Why is it a bad idea to shoot someone who is threatening you in the leg? Simple: it just doesn’t work. It’s also morally wrong, and at Active Self Protection we want our self-defense to be both effective AND moral!

Original video of the ineffective leg shot, with details: https://get-asp.com/ygy3

 

What does this crazy attack teach us about defending ourselves with a firearm?

 

  1. One of the five pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “proportionality,” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ). Proportionality requires that the response is proportional to the threat, and escalating conflict is not allowed legally or morally. When we fail the test of proportionality by escalating conflict, we lose our innocence in the eyes of the law and put ourselves at risk of spending significant time in prison. Proportionality is also why I carry a pepper spray, because non-lethal threats require non-lethal responses. (I carry this one: http://amzn.to/1kxJ3v8 ) I don’t think that this was a deadly threat, and so a firearm wasn’t a proportional response.

 

  1. In almost all instances and jurisdictions you cannot use deadly physical force to defend property. (Texas is the rare exception to this, but recognize that TPC 9.42 has some significant limitations) Even in cases where you COULD use deadly physical force to defend property, it’s worth considering whether it is WISE to use deadly physical force because of the risk to yourself and to any bystanders that could come because you choose to continue to engage the criminal(s). That doesn’t usually apply to occupied buildings and cars because of the inherent value of the people inside of them, and the defense of property does vary considerably from state to state as to what’s acceptable. Please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction to be sure that you understand the laws of your area!

 

  1. Sometimes the danger that you must protect yourself and your family from isn’t evil, but is rather deranged. People who aren’t in their right faculties can be a real danger to your family, even if they are not inherently evil. You need the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from evil AND from non-evil threats that pop up!

 

  1. A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders.

 

  1. An important part of spiritual fitness is knowing what you are willing and able to fight for. As bearers of the image of God, humans are uniquely valuable and it is always acceptable to protect human life, whether your own or someone else’s. Property is something else entirely, and while in some states it is legal in some instances to protect property with deadly force it is not acceptable ethically for self-defenders to use deadly force to protect stuff. If a robber threatens your person to take your possessions, then by all means stop them from harming you and end the threat to your life. But if they are not a threat to life or limb, don’t become a perpetrator yourself by using deadly force without proper justification.

 

  1. Our goal as self-defenders is to stop the threat. We are not vigilantes and we are not out to kill, we seek to stop the threat against us. Shooting to wound will not stop the threat reliably, and neither will shooting an attacker in an extremity. The only reliably means to stop an aggressor who means us death or grievous bodily harm is to put shots in the center of their available mass to cause nervous system collapse or bleeding out. (exsanguination is the technical term)

 

  1. If you can use your car to escape, that’s normally your best bet. If you CAN’T use your car to escape for whatever reason (you’re blocked in, it’s dead, etc.) then it becomes a mobile coffin where you can’t really move, and you can’t freely maneuver to engage threats all around you. In that case, do what you can to get away from the coffin. Use the car as cover or concealment if you can, but don’t stay in the car if it’s not going to be moving.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Armed Robbers Try to Take Cop's Gun

Armed Robbers Try to Take Cop’s Gun

These armed robbers were pretty well organized and reasonably smart, but that’s why we talk about practicing Active Self Protection when you’re a self-defender! Would you have drawn immediately, or waited like this officer did?

Original video of the armed robbers being run off, with some details (Google Translate from Portuguese required): https://get-asp.com/ys1k

 

What does this off duty officer teach us about defending ourselves against armed robbers?

 

  1. Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. The officer had almost no notice that the armed robbers were coming, and that’s par for the course and what all armed robbers want to do. When you’re in a transitional space, make sure you know your vulnerabilities and do the best you can.

 

  1. In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. The armed robbers got TWO ambushes here: first, they all got to ambush the entire store; second, armed robbers 2 and 3 got to ambush the officer. Surviving the ambush is a critical part of your defensive plan, whether you’re an officer or CCW.

 

  1. In the moment armed robbers attack you, you must look for your opportunity to protect yourself. It is strongly possible that the moment of the attack is not that moment. You want to wait for the time that the armed robbers are not focusing on you to act with decisiveness to protect yourself. I don’t blame the officer for taking his time here, but he almost let his opportunity go when the first of the armed robbers (the one with the gun) went past him, to launch a counter-ambush.

 

  1. The root word of gunfight is “fight,” not “gun.” Whether you carry a firearm or not, recognize that you need to know how to fight and protect yourself against an attacker! Even if you do carry a firearm, you need empty-handed skills to be able to fight your way to your gun or defend yourself before you get the opportunity to draw. To think otherwise is madness. This officer had multiple armed robbers hanging on him before he could get to his firearm; he needed those empty-handed skills!

 

  1. One of the challenges that is more and more common with multiple attackers like these armed robbers is the concept of a “trailing accomplice.” What we see fairly often is a point man/gun man who launches the attack, and a trailing accomplice who observes from a distance and comes in when it’s time to secure what they’re after or after they identify any resistance. Just because you don’t see multiple attackers at the beginning of an encounter doesn’t mean they’re not there, so if you’re in a defensive encounter expect there to be multiple attackers.

 

  1. As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it! Here the armed robbers thankfully discontinued their attack from the ground (not positive why), but knowing that you may well need those skills, you better learn to fight from the ground!

 

  1. You must know how to fight to keep your firearm from being taken from you. If you carry a gun or keep one nearby, you must do what it takes to keep unauthorized people from accessing it and using it against you. If it is on your person, you must be trained and proficient in keeping the gun from being taken from its holster. (yes, that means a quality belt, a quality holster, and if openly carried, at least level 2 retention; the only one I recommend is the Safariland ALS: http://amzn.to/1SjOirW ) If it is not on your person, it must not be accessible to unauthorized people. There can be no workarounds for this rule! Your force on force and empty-handed skills training must include training on firearms retention. The officer needed those retention skills against these armed robbers, and that lesson shouldn’t be missed.

 

  1. The “fleeing felon rule” generally applies to Law Enforcement Officers in the performance of their duties, and since 1985’s Tennessee vs. Garner decision the ability to use deadly force to apprehend a fleeing felon like these armed robbers by LEO has been limited to cases where the officer has probable cause to believe that the fleeing felon is a continuing threat of serious physical harm to the officer or the public. However, how that law applies to non-LEO varies state by state. Make sure to know your local laws so that you know the limitations of shooting a fleeing felon, especially if you’re not a police officer.

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This is Why You MUST Have Retention on an Open Carry Firearm

This is Why You MUST Have Retention on an Open Carry Firearm

Do you ever open carry? If you open carry your firearm, you must think about retention as part of your Active Self Protection. There’s a reason law enforcement uses retention holsters!

Original video of the open carry firearm being taken: https://get-asp.com/zbtk

 

What does this video teach us about defending ourselves from having our firearm taken?

 

  1. You must know how to fight to keep your firearm from being taken from you. If you carry a gun or keep one nearby, you must do what it takes to keep unauthorized people from accessing it and using it against you. If it is on your person, you must be trained and proficient in keeping the gun from being taken from its holster. (yes, that means a quality belt, a quality holster, and if you open carry, at least level 2 retention; the only one I recommend is the Safariland ALS: http://amzn.to/1SjOirW ) If it is not on your person, it must not be accessible to unauthorized people. There can be no workarounds for this rule! Your force on force and empty-handed skills training must include training on firearms retention.

 

  1. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. If you open carry you must know that you have a very valuable item available for all to see, so being aware of who might want it is important. This isn’t really different than wearing an expensive watch.

 

  1. In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. Here the perp saw a moment of opportunity to grab the gun, and open carry definitely played a part in that.

 

  1. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. Fourth, this open carry situation demonstrates that you could conceivably lose the use of your firearm, and in that moment you need to still be able to protect your family!

 

  1. The Five Ds are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against an armed attacker when we are not armed ourselves. (or if we are armed but outdrawn such that we must deal with the problem with our hands) Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. We pursue them from first to last, in order, to give us the best chance of successfully defending ourselves against an armed opponent. Deflect their force multiplier, Dominate as much as possible (best is the whole person, second is the arm with the tool, last is the tool itself), Distract the attacker (usually using pain, redirection, movement, etc.), Disarm the attacker, and Disable the attacker. This open carry theft shows that sometimes, we need to know these strategies not to take someone else’s tool from them, but to take our own tool back for ourselves!

 

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

 

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)

 

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.