Monday, September 28, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I have a huge problem with the propensity of reality TV shows that air details about police, special forces, DEA, forensic processes and so on. Why? Because the bad guys watch them too and they learn from them.

There have been cases where rapists are wearing condoms and making their victims shower before leaving to destroy any DNA evidence. There's another where a rapist smuggled semen out of prison so his brother could plant it on someone else in a bid to prove there must be someone else out there with matching DNA.

How about home invasions? Someone's going to have to convince me the trend isn't a result of watching SWAT and DEA teams on TV raiding the bad guys houses. Some of the MS-13 crew have even been purported to post snipers out the back of the houses they invade lest someone tries to escape that way. That is straight out of the commando play book on taking down a occupied dwelling.

Not too long ago one of my students told me about his mate in uptown Charlotte. "Steve" (not his real name) was walking home with his woman from dinner and a few drinks. Two black guys walking towards them suddenly lashed grabbed her by the neck and put a gun to her head while his accomplice stood back with his weapon concealed behind his hand in front of his waist area and told Steve to hand over all their stuff (watches, phones, wallets, rings etc). The threat for non-compliance was chilling..."hand it over and don't try anything or we'll kill her while you watch, then we'll kill you."

The way the guy stood with his arm round the girl and the other guy stood back made it look, to anyone passing by, like a group of four friends hanging around chatting on the sidewalk. Even a law enforcement buddy of mine said, after seeing a re-enactment, it wouldn't have raised any alarm bells with him."

Of course at that point there's not much anyone can do. I don't care if you're Jackie Chan on six cups of espresso and Chuck Norris all rolled into are in the kill box of an ambush and there's a good reason they call it that. (This is where S.I.V.A. comes into play...the Selection, Isolation and Verbal portion of that acronym is where the avoidance and awareness comes into play)

When Steve was reporting what happened to the police later he commented on the fact they seemed so organised and had their attack planned...there was non of the usual histrionics and waving guns around, holding them sideways etc. The Sgt taking the report replied that "yes, they're continually evolving and they get most if from TV."

I can only hope that one day a family member, or a member of the media, who think it's cute to air all this stuff becomes the victim of someone who's got their skills watching his show on television. To be hoist by his own petard as it were. How fitting that would be.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Bug In Bag Stuff

Back when I was posting on a regular basis we were in the process of going through the contents of the Bug In Bag. Someone had asked about a small bag and I said I'd get back to them on it, which I will sometime in the very near future.

What I want to cover here though is what do you keep on your person at all times? Bug in Bags are great but there's going to be times when it's just not practical to tote one with you and it will be in the trunk (boot) of the car and you'll be faced with some minor emergency.

Here's what I consider the bare minimum and, as usual, if you have any ideas please feel free to submit them.

1. Cell phone (pretty obvious but they are worth their weight in gold when there's a flap on. Don't forget though that in a big emergency (9/11 and London's equivalent) the system will typically be overloaded and they won't always work.

2. Credit card and cash. Credit cards are always good to have around in an emergency but don't forget some cash as well. In the big power outage (black out) people weren't able to use ATMs due to no electricity.

3. Small key chain flashlight. You've seen them...the tiny LED light that is part of the key chain. These things are a godsend for dropped keys in the dark, finding your seat in a movie theatre etc.

4. Knife. Doesn't much matter to me if you have a tactical folder, a multi-purpose tool like a Leatherman or a Swiss Army Knife but have something. I saw a clip recently where two people trapped in a burning car nearly perished because nobody had a knife to cut them free of their seat belts. Now in some jurisdictions the carriage of a knife can be illegal so make sure you check out the local laws regarding blades. Personally I wouldn't live somewhere that wouldn't let me carry one but hey...that's just me.

That for me is it...the bare bones minimum I carry on a daily basis. Would it be nice to have more? Of course but it's not always practical and it's not always necessary.

As previously mentioned, if you have anything you carry on a daily basis that you can't live without, or find you use all the time, post a comment and I'll make sure it gets aired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Price?

I've got a bunch of friends on one self defense forum in the UK that denigrate what they call the tactical underwear brigade.

The allege that these guys (who supposedly wear camouflage all the time) are over the top when it comes to self protection because they tote kit with them consisting of flashlights, first aid gear, Leatherman multi-purpose tools etc.

Now, are there Walter Mitty's running round waiting for an the world to come to an end, jumping at shadows and imagining all sorts of bad things are going to happen any minute? Sure there are...but they're not unique to the self protection world. A lot of them gravitate there because by nature they fear things that can go wrong and learning self protection is one step in making sure bad things don't happen.

However, I think my mates protest too much. Carrying some gear with you, as in the case of the Bug In Bag I posted about last year, is just plain smart in my humble opinion.

Here's the question to ask...and it's the one I wish the guys on the forum would ask themselves...

What does it cost you if you're right and nothing ever happens (and to most people it doesn't)?
Nothing at all.

What does it cost our prepared friend? Let's be generous and call it $100 for a mini-mag, a Swiss Army knife, a small Adventure first aid kit, a bandana, some water, etc's where it gets interesting...

What does it cost if something DOES happen and you don't have that kit? What does it cost then? I recently watched a clip of a vehicle on fire here in the States and a bunch of people standing around waiting for the emergency services to arrive to extract the driver and baby trapped in the vehicle.

Finally some off duty para-medics get stuck in (without their gear) and they got 3rd degree burns on their arms while struggling with the seat belts etc. If one of my tactical underwear mates had been on hand he'd have whipped out his blade and sliced the seat belts and everyone would have been saved, sans burns and no time wasted.

What did it cost people trapped in the buildings on 9/11 (the anniversary is coming up by the way) and what about the poor sods trapped underground in England during their recent terrorist attack? No lights, no water, people bleeding (in some cases to death) smoke inhalation, and in pain. I wonder what price they'd have been willing to pay for some of the kit my mates carry on a regular basis?

Laugh all you want...but when the proverbial brown stuff hits the ventilating system the guy with the kit is the one doing all the laughing.