"Not even a mighty warrior can brake a frail arrow when it is multiplied and supported by its fellows. As long as your brothers support one another and render assistance to one another, your enemies will never gain victory over you. But if you fall away from each other your enemy can brake you like frail arrows, one at a time."---Ghenghis Khan
Melvin Purvis was the FBI Agent in Charge of Chicago during the tumultuous gangster era of the 1930's. Purvis will long be remembered in FBI history as a hero who provided the leadership for the gun battles that ended the reign of terror of gangsters like John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Carved on the tombstone of Melvin Purvis are the Latin words 'SAEPE TIMUI NUMQUAM CRURI': I WAS OFTEN AFRAID, BUT I NEVER RAN.
Purvis was successful as the FBI Agent in Charge because he was privileged to lead a team of extraordinary Street Fighters. The skills of every Street Fighter are critical to the success of the mission. Not every Street Fighter achieves legendary status in the pages of history. Herman Hollis was one of them. Born in Des Moines, Iowa in January 1903, Hollis earned a law degree from Georgetown University School of Law in 1927. He immediately began working with the FBI. Upon his arrival in Chicago Herman was appointed the lead firearms instructor. He immediately set about crafting a fledging firearms program built around a basic teaching tenet: design a curriculum that you would want to attend as a student. Herman began training the Chicago FBI agents to be Street Fighters.
In the field, Herman became a key player in the gun battles that killed Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger. Sadly Herman was a victim in the gun battle with Baby Face Nelson. Herman sustained two gunshot wounds. While tactically covering for his partner, Herman was shot in the head and he died instantly at the age of 31. Melvin Purvis described Herman Hollis 'as never knowing the emotion of fear. Herman belonged to the glory company of history, those joyous devils who, from time immemorial, have been vainly waiting for a commander to order a charge on the gateways of hell."
As a Street Fighter Herman Hollis was able to cope with his emotions as he faced life threatening events that would torment most LEOs, making them recoil with dread. He was able to craft a positive and aggressive reaction to stress before the gun battle began. LEOs have two responses to being anxious and fearful; they can view it as either a menace or a challenge. Those who view fear as a menace will have diminished decision-making and marksmanship abilities. Since Herman viewed it as a challenge he was able to avoid emotional and physical paralysis.
Old timers like Herman Hollis were mentally and physically more casehardened than todays LEO. It is doubtful that he spent much time talking about his emotions with some touchy-feely therapist. As a young mid-westerner his days were occupied doing hard physical labor instead of posting on Facebook. Because Herman understood controlled aggression he did not become rattled and unsettled during a violent encounter. He was able to focus on the task at hand. Herman possessed the attributes that make a Street Fighter: moral fiber and iron will, self-mastery, indefatigable tenacity and the balls to pull the trigger.
To put it in perspective, Herman chose courage over cowardice in his every day life; ensuring when the bell tolled he remained steadfast as he faced into the barrage of Baby Face Nelson's bullets and calmly worked the slide of his shotgun. He was able to adapt to the emotional strains of a gun battle because he was resilient. Herman learned from life's checkmates; accepted what he could not modify, used emotions of anguish and anger to fuel his gentleness and valor. Herman always sought opportunity and meaning in the face of hardship. He was problem oriented and mission directed using humor as a tool to help him cope with his fears and to reframe the tragic losses of his FBI teammates. He learned from countless gun battles he could plan for an entire mission, factoring in one contingency after another, trying to foresee when and where the wheels might fall off but, without exception, possibly miss one of the smaller details. World Middleweight Champion Rocky Graziano so eloquently said, "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Herman knew that "IF" is the middle word in life. If_if_if?
In a blitz attack there is no ringing of a bell or the blowing of a whistle to signal you are under attack. A blitz attack is not a wax on, wax off Karate Kid playroom frolic. You are either ready for the smashup or you are not. If you are not vigilant then you are going to get blown to hell. Herman was able to quickly close the gap between his reaction time and his draw stroke. He focused his attention not on the danger in general but on the specific threat. This removed any self-doubt, bridging the gap between reaction time and draw stroke thus eliminating hesitation.
Herman believed that his mindset would be the determining factor in prevailing in a blitz attack. Desire to never let his fellow FBI Agents down was the motivating force that drove Herman to incessantly practice his skill at arms. It was through repetitive practice sessions Herman was able to recognize areas that needed improvement. He was able to grasp his weaknesses and his strengths. Herman's self-confidence came from understanding his shortcomings. Herman knew that his performance in the face of a blitz attack would not be flawless. This was critical as he was on the pathway to become an extraordinary Street Fighter for his ego and performance were always equal. His expectations as a Street Fighter came from an internal feeling he had regarding his performance. In his quest to obtain the unobtainable Herman focused on making incremental improvements as opposed to perfection. In other words, Herman became performance oriented rather than outcome oriented. His slow progress actually enhanced his self-confidence.
No Second Place Winners, written by the renowned Border Patrol Officer Bill Jordan, captures how Herman set his training goal to win. He visualized a winning performance every time he practiced. Herman knew in a blitz attack he would have to deal with unanticipated vagaries outside his control, but his survival could only be obtained by fostering a confident unwavering mindset, before the smell of gunpowder permeated the air. At day's end what made Herman Hollis a Street Fighter was loyalty. In his last moment of life, Herman held his position protecting his buddy Sam Cowley's flank, as he blew the legs out from under Baby Face Nelson. In the words of Winston Churchill, 'Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.' Herman Hollis chose courage.
Street Fighters must not fall for the shenanigan of the phony automatic dim-sighted scan or the scan of a small sector of the field of battle. Do not discount our battlefield as a 360-degree world. Many of our flat range drills are hollow illusions. We fail to assess the current situation and instead apply a worthless drill thus limiting our chance of surviving a deadly force challenge. We are all familiar with this post-shooting scan when the shooter becomes bored with this tedious exercise and the subconscious looks without seeing.Immediately after a deadly force encounter the Street Fighter must scan and assess his surroundings. Again, scanning your surroundings certainly does not mean a perfunctory or indifferent scan, glancing around in a haphazard way hoping to pick up on a threat. Street Fighters must gauge their environs by first collecting then tracking information immediately after a use of force incident.We see shooters bring their pistol into the centerline of their body, quickly rotate their head left and right and then holster. This movement has become so ingrained in their muscle memory that they do it not because they are looking for anything; they do it because it has become part of the drill.
After you have eliminated the threat, do not be in a rush to bring your pistol back to ready gun simply to showoff how fast and how Hollywood you can perform the drill. Your pistol is off your line of sight making it more difficult to re-engage. You can't see your pistol if you have to do a magazine change. If you are searching for threats you can't see your pistol and threats at the same time. Instead, bring your pistol to high ready, which allows you to turn all the way around without sweeping teammates with your muzzle. In the high ready position as you turn around and someone tries to grab your pistol you can either elbow him or strike him with your pistol. You can create space by driving out and striking him in the chest.
The Wyatt Protocol is named for Lyle Wyatt who answered the question as to how gun battles differ from marksmanship. Wyatt explained that in a gun battle we fight then we determine if we have to fight anymore. Street Fighters must discipline themselves to look around to see if there is another attacker or does the original attacker need to be anchored to the ground with follow-up shots. Wyatt codified this protocol as FAST: Fight, Access, Scan and Top off our pistol. Wyatt expanded on the last T: Top Off; Take Cover; Talk and Treat Injuries to include a medical self-assessment.
Street Fighters will be visually awe-struck from the original threat before identifying other menaces. The Street Fighter must remain super vigilant when gauging what is happening around him. Is there anyone else nearby who might hurt him? With a distance of five feet or more between you and potential attackers eyeball their center mass, the A zone. This allows you to see their hands and their feet. Don't forget, feet are potential weapons. If there is a weapon in the attacker's hand your eyes are focused exactly where you are going to put your front sight allowing your bullets to thump deep into the X ring.
Focus on preventing a blue on blue shooting. You do not want to shoot the good guy and you definitely do not want the good guy to shoot you. Recently, in Amarillo, Texas, a mass shooting in the sacred confines of a church was avoided when one man joined with a group of congregants to take down the gunman. While the police were on their way, a small group of worshippers rushed and disarmed the gunman. One brave person yelled, "Hey, I got the gun." As he turned, gun in hand, responding officers who had not assessed the threat and not identified him as a good guy, shot and critically wounded him. A Lesson Learned for all Street Fighters.
Street Fighters must become masters of geometry for gun battles are essentially angles of attack and angles of exposure. By moving and changing the angles you are thwarting your attacker's plan allowing you to either retake or maintain the initiative. Move as soon as you can so that you don't get yourself trapped in a hole where you can no longer move or no longer defend. Only move when it is tactically prudent: to obtain cover or concealment, to regroup, to press the attack, or to retire and to fallback.
Street Fighters should not remain standing in the open totally exposed to any potential attacker. If cover or concealment is close by, move to it. If not, choose a position of advantage; moving away from people who might be an unknown threat; putting your back up against a wall to protect your blind side. Do not shift your focus totally from the initial threat because they may still be capable of hurting you. If there is no nearby cover available and your attacker fell with their feet at your twelve o'clock move around them making it more difficult for them to pump rounds in your direction.
Street Fighters must be aware of the Body Alarm Reaction (BAR). The positive effect of the BAR is the release of adrenaline that prepares us to handle the stress of combat. The negative effects of the BAR are the loss of peripheral vision and auditory exclusion that could result in a second adversary remaining unseen. As Street Fighters scan they must assess the information they acquire and update their situational awareness. Tactical breathing techniques will help the Street Fighter alleviate the negative effects of the BAR. Relax while visualizing each number as you count. Breathe in through your nose, counting 1, 2, 3, 4. Stop; hold your breath counting 1, 2, 3, and 4. Exhale through the mouth counting 1, 2, 3, and 4. Hold; count 1, 2, 3, and 4. Repeat four times.
To protect your head, your support hand comes up in a thrust elbow position. Put the palm of your hand on the crown of your head and tuck in your elbow. This permits your head to be covered as you draw to the pectoral position keeping your pistol out of Lucifer's reach. Use your thrust elbow to slam Lucifer hard in his face or sternum. Shoot him in the pelvis, immediately move off line and shoot him in the head.
When you are in a knock down drag out fight, drawing your pistol from the holster and rocking back to shoot your attacker will not work if his arms are long enough to grab your pistol. If you are able to shoot you are at an off angle and your bullets will probably strike the side of his torso and may not immediately incapacitate him. With a close retention position, your rounds will not go into your attacker's high center chest or head. Also as you try to elevate your muzzle you have a minimum amount of space between your pistol and your support hand as you try to repulse his attack. Your intention is to put bullets into your attacker without shooting yourself.
Street Fighters must train for the worst-case scenario when the fight begins at close range. Your firearms skill must mesh smoothly with your unarmed skills. You need the dexterity to quickly get to your pistol and bring it into the fight. As you draw your pistol from the holster, practice grasping the slide with your support hand. Remember you will only be able to fire one shot from this slide override position. Raise your pistol straight up by protecting it with your lead elbow. You could shoot him in the torso but that may not disable him. Instead, push your pistol directly under his chin and take the shot. This should drop him to the ground but if it hasn't rendered him hors de combat, immediately follow through with vicious elbow strikes to what is left of his face. Pivot to your side, power stroke the slide chambering a cartridge and if justified shoot him again in the face. After the first failure to stop, you could disengage, creating distance; tap the base of the magazine, power stroke the slide, go to full two hand presentation and if justified drop the hammer on him. If you were controlling Lucifer with your non shooting hand, tap the magazine on your hip or knee, cycle the slide on your belt or holster and be prepared for a follow up shot.
In lieu of holding the slide tightly with your support hand, which will induce a malfunction, tactical situation permitting, Street Fighters should practice holding the slide loosely with the support hand. This will allow the slide to reciprocate thus seating a round in the chamber. While contact shots, close proximity torso shots and off angle shots are a critical part of your repertoire, your fail-safe will always be the headshot.
The drills in Dave Spaulding's Handgun Combativescourses reflect in depth study on the value of lateral movements in gun battles. Many law enforcement firearms instructors continue to teach that as the shooter performs the presentation from the holster, to take a side step, left or right as he engages the attacker. This protocol is acceptable during initial academy firearm training for it places a little bit of stress on the trainee as he struggles to master various firearm drills: reloading, malfunction drills, etc.
Dave recognizes there are several compelling tactical reasons to move. If the Street Fighter is taken by surprise in an open area where cover is nonexistent he must move out of the kill zone till he can bring his pistol into the gun battle. The Street Fighter provides his own cover by placing accurate, well-aimed shots at Lucifer. In other words your cover becomes your outbound fire. Another tactical reason is to first beat feet to the nearest position of cover or concealment before engaging Lucifer with gunfire. Finally, don't discount getting off the X by pulling yourself out of the gun battle all together.
It is to the Street Fighters tactical advantage to move at full blast as he goes to gun during a gun battle. Do not take tiny steps. Push off from your left foot if you are going right and from your right foot if going left. The drill is not to shoot while you move. Move off line until your muzzle is on Lucifer, plant your feet and shoot him. There is no prescribed number of steps to take. You stop and shoot as soon as your pistol is aligned on the threat if you have been able to achieve a fast presentation of 1.5 seconds.
Street Fighters can test the validity of these maneuvers. Using a weapon which fires simunition rounds, stand three to five yards from your buddy. In previous editions of DEA Watch we have delved into the effect the mastery of geometric angles has on your skills as a Street Fighter. Your buddy holding the simunition pistol has the advantage of the angle, not you. Dave recommends that you move a sufficient enough distance in order to compel your attacker to physically re-adjust his body mechanics. Creating as much distance as possible, flanking your opponent and crippling him with headshots is effective.
Street Fighters should practice lateral movement shooting on three-dimensional targets not on a flat paper target. Three-dimensional targets are made from self-sealing polyurethane foam enabling the target to withstand 5,000 to 10,000 rounds of ball ammo. The targets have realistic detail of facial features, hair, clothing, and permit 'Shoot, No Shoot' judgment scenarios. The Street Fighter can practice flanking shots at 30 or 45-degree angles from either side, as well as straight on shots, creating a realistic training scenario.
Norman Hood of Defensive Solutionsteaches a fundamental triangle footwork drill. Sometimes it is tactically prudent for the Street Fighter to close the distance on Lucifer rather than attempt to withdraw or to move lateral. If Lucifer is close enough to give you the cold shivers as he attempts to draw his pistol, moving in on him to thwart his draw and counterstrike might be your best option. If Lucifer is right handed and his body is bladed to the right, a gun take away probably will not work because he is too far away. The best option for the right or left hand Street Fighter is to attack on the X by moving left to the backside of his gun hand. Move forward on a 45-degree angle. You can now restrain both his gun hand as well as his elbow while steering clear of his muzzle. Your bullets are going to thwack into the side of his head so try to center them on the eye-ear plane for quick and total incapacitation. If you are concerned about bystanders, lower your center of gravity as you move. By evaluating the geometric angles your bullet trajectory will be upward, an important tactic for you to employ particularly in a crowd.
The Street Fighter can similarly make use of this tactic when it is safer to move away from Lucifer. Moving straight back is a poor choice so we egress left or right on a 45-degree angle still remaining on the X. Keep your pistol in the guard or ready gun position. If appropriate, punch out to full presentation, acquire a sight picture and shoot him in the head. Practice so you can continue moving, delivering rapid, accurate, sustained fire with either one or both hands.
Running drills moving on the X will go a long way to alleviate the Street Fighters anxiety and apprehension in gun battles. Of course there is no guarantee you will not be scared. Be Prepared_Don't Get Prepaared. The Street Fighter's mental focus should always be, "What is my plan?" By anticipation and rehearsal, the Street Fighter can cut down on lag time. Lucifer's action will dictate the correct tactic and use of force. Always cultivate an adaptive mindset. Never take short cuts or the easy way in training. Train your reactive shooting skills at lightning speed. Remember your intensity of training will make a very real difference in how you perform in gun battles. Make your first shot count; you might not get a second chance.
When the Street Fighter delivers a hit to Lucifer's face, hit with full power and do not be skittish or timid. The Eye Jab is a strike to your attacker's eyes. Think about holding a grapefruit so your hand is configured as a claw. To execute the Eye Jab your wrist needs to be loose. You want to momentarily stun your opponent so that you can withdraw, go to gun or choose another option.
By exerting maximum power, the Face Smash with your support hand will stop your attacker in his tracks. It doesn't matter how many exercises and wrestler bridges Lucifer has done to strengthen his neck, the neck is a natural pivot point. When forcefully struck with an open hand under the jaw, your attacker's head will viciously rock back counterchecking his forward momentum. To execute the Palm/Heel strike, use the heel of your hand supported by the bone structure of your wrist. If you mistakenly strike with your fingers it will not only lack force but you could inadvertently hyper extend your wrist and break one or more fingers. You cannot execute a dispassionate strike and expect to stop the attack. You need to step forward, drive your hand vigorously to unhinge his jawbone. Knock him off balance, draw your pistol into a solid retention position alongside your ribs, and purposely punch your bullets into his lower abdomen or pelvic girdle.
At the FBI Academy the self-defense instructors were fond of repeating, "Where the head goes, the body follows." Your palm strike to his chin upsets his balance driving him back onto his heels. Do not pull back your arm, keep pushing; keep driving into him as he frantically backpedals. He will become more focused on not falling on his ass than hurting you. If you miss with your Face Smash, grab him around the back of his neck with your support hand, pull him into you and gut shoot him.
Street Fighters must create the important window of opportunity before going to gun. Consider how a piston runs. If one piston is up then the opposite piston is down. To gain this time advantage, work the Piston Strike into your skill sets. Follow suit with your arms. You launch your attack with your support arm delivering a straight shot, a stiff arm, to keep your attacker off you. Simultaneously you cock your strong side arm back then powerfully strike your attacker while retracting your support arm. You are still on the dangerous X so keep firing a one-two combination non-stop volley. Keep thundering your attacker with left-rights. When you have created distance, go to gun and finish the fight.
When you are separated by a little more than arm length distance, plant and push off from your rear foot. You must clobber him with a Herculean haymaker causing him intense pain. He will be distracted as you go to gun. The Street Fighter should take two or three steps back off the X at a 45-degree angle and if justified, drop the hammer. Discipline yourself to pick up a flash sight picture covering the attacker with your front sight post. This hasty sight picture will increase your odds of swiftly stopping the threat. If you are bent over and your attacker is beating you on the back trying to drive you down to the deck, hook his leg with your support hand, jerking his leg off the deck thus disrupting his balance. Shoot him and end the fight.
John Steinbeck wrote: "the purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." Street Fighters must train strenuously, train sensibly and when the blitz attack comes be willing to drop the hammer. Remember, it is always important to identify possible witnesses who can corroborate your justification for using deadly force.
A common concern shared by many Street Fighters is the fear of getting shot. However, a shattered ulna of the right arm requiring the services of an orthopedic surgeon can also put a Street Fighter in the hurt locker for many months. Sporting a plaster cast extending from the palm of my hand up to my bicep seriously limited my ability to defend myself in the field. Fortunately, my Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) partner was John O'Brien, patriotic, intelligent, strong and proud. John was a man of action whose mental processes were quick and direct. He remained calm and cool in the midst of chaos. John played a major role in breaking up an international heroin smuggling ring in addition to arresting hoodlums from one of the five New York crime families.
Late on a Sunday night I received a phone call from a snitch telling me about a dope peddler in Spanish Harlem who had stashed a couple of ounces of heroin under a mattress in his baby's crib. Within the hour, John and I were kicking down the door. This low-life put up a desperate fight while shattering my right arm. FBN agents were lethal to the mob because we took deadly, calculated risks on the streets and in back alleys. We were constantly burning and developing stoolies. We were effective because we worked with a partner with whom we shared both the dangers and the thrills of the chase. We were immensely proud of our FBN legacy.
Several weeks later John and I were covering Lenny, a West Pointer who was working undercover, on a buy-bust operation in Hell's Kitchen in lower Manhattan. In the 1800s it was said that neighborhood gangsters were ruthless savages and were too violent to swab Hell's Kitchen, thus the name. The N.Y. Sanitation Department had been on a work slowdown resulting in mounds of garbage piled alongside ramshackle tenements. I was momentarily distracted from surveillance as I watched hordes of rabid rats burrow into the fetid garbage. I was jerked back into reality when the thunderous voice of a New York State trooper boomed over the radio, "it's a rip off."
Lenny had been knocked on his ass in the middle of the street as one of the gang's confederates made a grab for the flash roll. John was beating on the gorilla who had Lenny pinned to the ground. Behind me I heard an FBN agent shout "he's got my gun." I turned to see one of the thugs trying to wrest the agent's revolver from his hand. I attacked him, driving him back against a parked car while trying to choke him out with my left hand. I had no other option and couldn't go to gun because my right arm was still encased in plaster. Over my right shoulder I saw John ram the barrel of his J Frame Snubby into the thug's mouth and pull the trigger. Nothing happened. John had bent the trigger guard behind the trigger when he was fighting to protect Lenny. The good for nothing lowlife got an FBN thumping. After we finished processing the prisoners, I was back in the Bronx V.A. Hospital having my cracked plaster cast cut off and replaced by a sturdy combat grade cast. This would not be the last time I needed to replace the cast.
In the eighteenth century when Rudyard Kipling penned The Thousandth Man, he was describing the Street Fighter. " One man in a thousand, Solomon says will stick more close than a brother. And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days if you find him before the other. Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend on what the world sees in you, but the Thousandth Man (Street Fighter) will stand your friend with the whole world agin you."
As a young pistoleer many of us would sit transfixed in front of our black and white television sets. After adjusting the rabbit ears antenna, we would catch the latest western. Our hero, wearing the badge and white hat, would end many a fight by buffaloing the bad guy over the head with his buntline single action revolver. In today's litigious world, before a Street Fighter decides to physically strike an attacker with a weapon, the legal definition of deadly force must be considered. Deadly force is any force that can cause death, permanent disfigurement, serious physical injury or long-term damage to the function of any part of the body. Non-deadly force is any physical force that doesn't meet the death or serious bodily harm threshold.
Pistol-whipping an attacker simply to get him to comply with your verbal order would be defined as gross negligence and would likely result in your prosecution. Your pistol should never be used as an impact weapon unless you are certain lethal force is justified. Many of our law enforcement training facilities prominently display a baton-training chart by Safairland showing the Monadnock Color Escalation of Trauma Zone. The chart graphically shows the primary target areas that are vital and vulnerable. It features body illustrations of a predator's front and rear that are color coded by zones. Green is the minimal level of trauma where the injury tends to be temporary rather than long lasting. Except for the head, neck and spine almost the entire body is a green target area. Yellow depicts moderate to serious level of resultant trauma. Red is the highest level of resultant trauma that could result in unconsciousness, serious body injury, shock or death.
Mike Seeklander trains law enforcement officers [LEOs] in using their pistols as an impact weapon. Utilizing your pistol as an impact weapon is an option only if there is sufficient legal justification to use a baton to defend yourself in the face of a deadly encounter. Remember, if you decide to hit your attacker with your pistol, keep your finger outside the trigger guard indexed high up and firmly pressed against the slide. Do not strike your attacker with the bottom of the magazine well. If you damage both the floor plate and magazine well, you will be unable to fire the pistol without first replacing the magazine.
Mike teaches the Jab Strike, a linear strike with the pistol's muzzle as the impact point. With the Boxer's Hook, as you strike use the top of the slide in a hooking motion. When you strike your attacker with your pistol, drive the muzzle right into his face then step back and smash his face with your support hand. Be careful not to have a negligent discharge driving a bullet into your support hand. Remember to step back with your off side foot. Do not hit with a hammer strike where the bottom of the barrel is the striking surface. You will undoubtedly bend the trigger guard behind the trigger keeping the trigger from moving. This is what happened to my partner, John O'Brien, in the Hell's Kitchen rip off.
Late on a Saturday evening, 1 October 2011, Frank Pobjecky, an unarmed off duty police officer, waited for a pizza he had ordered at Marie's Pizza. He was the only customer inside the pizzeria. Tara, the restaurant manager, carried a concealed pistol on his hip. Four robbers, only one of whom was armed, entered the store. Tara struggled with one of the robbers over the possession of the robber's pistol. Pobjecky pulled the store manager's pistol from his holster and shot all four robbers in the back as they attempted to flee the pizzeria. Pobjecky fired the only shots that night.
Pobjecky was in a close quarter gun battle with multiple, potentially armed assailants, who forced him to make split second, life or death decisions. With a now empty pistol Pobjecky locked the front door and waited for the police to arrive. During the shooting he never identified his office or gave any verbal warnings or commands. One of the robbers died at the scene; the three surviving assailants were convicted of felony murder.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, No. 17-1757, on 28 February 2018 in a unanimous three judge ruling exonerated Pobjecky of any wrongdoing. The court cited Ford v. Childers which had found if a suspect threatens an officer with a weapon or if there is probable cause to believe the suspect has committed a crime including the infliction or the threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used, if necessary, to prevent escape. Regarding the issue that the assailants may have attempted to surrender, the court found based upon the evidence, no reasonable jury would conclude the shooting was unreasonable on the basis of the footage frame from surveillance cameras. Citing Johnson v. Scott, not all surrenders however are genuine, and the police are entitled to err on the side of caution when faced with an uncertain or threatening situation. As to Pobjecky's duty to provide medical care the court relied on Ortiz v. City of Chicago four factors to determine whether an officer's actions regarding medical care were objectively unreasonable: (1) whether the officer had notice of the medical needs; (2) the seriousness of the medical needs; (3) the scope of the requested treatment; and (4) police interest that might inhibit providing treatment.
Pobjecky, after exhausting all his ammunition neutralizing the assailants, at least temporarily, locked the front door. He did not know whether some assailants were regrouping or summoning reinforcements. Pobjecky then dialed 911, what any police officer would immediately do in a similar situation. The court wrote that judges view facts from afar, long after the gun smoke cleared, and might take months or longer to decide cases that forced police officers to make split second decisions in life or death situations with limited information. Pobjecky reasonably assumed three other assailants may be armed citing Sherrod v. Berry, "Knowledge of facts and circumstances gained after the fact (that the suspect was unarmed) has no place in the trial court's or jury's post-hoc analysis of the reasonableness of the actor's judgment.
However, the court strongly cautioned in Ellis v. Wynalda,"even though an officer may in one moment confront circumstances in which he could constitutionally use deadly force, that does not necessarily mean he may still constitutionally use deadly force the next moment. Circumstances may materially change when an officer faces a situation in which he could justifiably shoot, he does not retain the right to shoot anytime thereafter with impunity." The district court ruled Pobjecky acted reasonably when confronted with a perilous, life-threatening situation. Pobjecky did not violate the constitution. We affirm the district court.
Several years ago I attended an outstanding class taught by Tom Givens whose training company is Rangemasters. Tom is a retired Memphis, Tennessee police officer with over 25 years of experience. Tom told us he has had 65 students who have been in self-defense shootings. Not one of the students who were armed (62) has ever lost a court hearing. That means 100% of them successfully used what they learned from Tom as a defense. However, three of Tom's students who found themselves in need of a defensive handgun were not carrying one. All three were killed in separate street robberies. In the last incident, the victim had handed over his wallet and cell phone and was standing with his hands in the air when Lucifer shot him in the face and killed him. Lesson learned: don't be lazy. You don't get an invitation to a gun battle always carry your blaster.
For many predators, the knife is their ultimate tool for creating mayhem. It's small, flat, easy to conceal, intimidating, cheap and soundless. It doesn't need any ammunition, will not jam and is capable of slicing its way deep into the torso. Many assaults take place within arm's length distance. A maniacal predator attacking with a blade will try to overwhelm the Street Fighter with a blur of quick thrusts and slashes. These flurries are almost impossible to defend against without incurring injury. The predator will unleash his attack with a series of stabs and slashes aimed at your closest body part. You may lose fingers, have tendons in your arm severed and your flesh mutilated and be left stone dead with a knife sunk into your eye, throat or torso.
Street Fighters should avoid carrying a folding knife clipped inside the pocket. The knife's primary purpose is a last ditch weapon brought into the fight after all else has failed. Before a folder can be brought into the fray it must be opened which is difficult, dangerous and slow. The Street Fighter can clumsily bungle his draw and it may fail to lock open. To boot, the Street Fighter could severely gash himself or fail to establish a fighting grip in his moment of desperation. Carrying the folder is equivalent to carrying your pistol with an empty chamber.
Street Fighters who do choose to carry a folder must make some critical decisions as to the positioning, drawing and tactics used. They must decide as to the how and where to carry their folder. Most modern tactical folding knives have a pocket clip meant to keep the folder properly positioned in the pocket. It is best to carry the folder in the front pants pocket, either point up or point down. Carrying with the point down may not be the best option. When you draw the folder it ends up in an awkward position in your hand. You will have to turn the knife because you do not have a full grip. Point up is the preferred carry method. As you draw the folder you already have a master grip permitting a more dexterous opening with a minimum of fingering. As with any weapon system you must practice and practice so you don't fumble.
None of the aforementioned problems occur with a fixed blade. A small fixed blade knife carried by the undercover Street Fighter concealed, centerline of the body allowing quick access by either hand, is vastly superior to a folder. The primary reason for carrying is for defense in a close quarter encounter. It is assumed you will probably be grappling with your attacker and must be able to draw your knife with either hand. You can't do this with a pocket folder.
Many fixed blades come with a leather or kydex sheath for wearing around the neck. This configuration also allows wearing inside your waist. When wearing around the neck the chain should be about a foot in length and must be a ball chain. The purpose of the ball chain is to break away if the predator tries to choke you with the chain. If you elect to strictly carry inside the waistband you can substitute 550 cord for the ball chain. To set up for inside the waistband carry, take the end of the 550 cord's loop thread it under the belt then pass the sheath through the loop. Snug it down near your hip flexor alongside your groin line. Friction alone will not keep the kydex sheath from slipping down inside your waistband. Purchase some of the rubber grip tape that's intended for the bottom of the bathtub. Place the tape on both sides of the sheath; this keeps your knife from shifting around. To draw, thrust your thumb deep behind the sheath pulling the knife free of its sheath. Do NOT attempt to re-sheath your knife while the sheath is inside your waistband!
To practice your fixed blade draw, attach two balloons, throat high, onto a used target from firearms qualifications. Draw your fixed blade from concealment with your right hand and pop the balloon. Repeat with your left hand. Street Fighters should be able to pop the balloon in under a second, ultimately setting for oneself an extremely fast goal of .75 of a second. Combine your blade strike with a close shot from retention. A decent shot time would be between 1.0 to 1.50 seconds, generally about a quarter of a second slower than your blade strike. The blade is a great force multiplier. Street Fighters should practice a twofold weapons deployment particularly when faced with multiple attackers. You can take out the close threat with your blade while simultaneously shooting his partner in crime.
Compare the speed of the fixed blade to the folder. The average speed for the folder hovers around 2.50 seconds, way too long for the undercover Street Fighter attempting to live through a rip off. Be aware that when you are in a fight for life it will be even slower. Think about the potential extent of your injuries in the two seconds difference between the time it takes to deploy a folder instead of a fixed blade.
Several years ago I attended a pistol/knife fighting class in Kentucky. The instructor's choice of knife was the Cold Steel T shaped push knife. The stabbing motion uses the same angle and hand position as a punch without damaging your wrist and allows defensive slashes in either direction. Palm the push knife between index and middle finger; for more stability place your thumb on top of the grip. The push knife's T shaped handle allows for a solid grip making it extremely difficult for it to slip as you drive the blade into your assailant. An added benefit of the push knife, you can perform all one hand pistol malfunction drills by cycling the slide on the push knife's handle.
Practice is critical. You must bring your fixed blade into play while having to contend with the adrenal dump of a startling blitz attack. Then you must integrate the presentation of the knife with its proper defensive employment. Push knives are excellent weak hand standoff weapons to assist in getting your pistol un-holstered and into the fight. A push knife can be un-sheathed darn fast in a close quarter encounter; by stabbing and cutting you will create the necessary distance so critical to enable you to deploy your pistol. Street Fighters must check their local and state laws regarding knife use. Street Fighters would be well advised to obtain written authorization to carry a knife from their agency/department and there must be a written policy and procedure in place.
At the end of 2017, an 18-year veteran Baltimore homicide detective was fatally shot in the head with his own pistol after a brief struggle with his killer. The homicide detective had been investigating a murder when he saw a man in the vicinity exhibiting suspicious behavior. During the struggle with his killer the detective made a brief unintelligible call on his police radio. Background noise on the radio picked up apparent sounds of gunfire. Police spokesman remarked that the detective sounded severely distressed. The detective was found dead still clutching his radio. His partner was of little help having run across the street ostensibly to seek cover. Never work with a partner who is totally lacking in moral and physical courage who will bail out on you during a fight.
Weapon retention is one of the most crucial self-defense skills a Street Fighter must master. A Street Fighter must be able to control his weapon in any violent physical encounter. We previously learned Officer Richards' failure to retain possession of his pistol at the Forza Coffee Shop in Lakeland, Washington cost him his life as he was shot with his own Glock service pistol. Trying to shoot Lucifer when he is attempting to disarm you is extremely hazardous because you are doing your utmost to fend off his attack while at the same time trying to shoot him. Obviously a few written paragraphs on DEA Watch will in no way substitute for hands on training with a competent self-defense expert like Craig Douglas.
An effective technique that has been validated is to raise your pistol to a high pectoral position as you draw. Grab the top of your slide with your support hand. By placing your support hand over the top of your slide you make it extremely difficult for Lucifer to jerk your pistol out of your hand. Keeping your hand away from your muzzle, use your lead elbow for strength and thrust your pistol under Lucifer's chin. Finish the fight.
If your attacker grabs your pistol while it is still in the holster, push down with your strong hand with all the power you can muster to include your body weight. Sweep his hand off your pistol by placing the web of your hand on top of where his wrist and thumb join, directly on top of his tendon. Press his hand straight down your body past your groin. Once his hand is off your pistol, finish the fight.
There is another in-holster weapon retention technique that you can default to if your attacker is right up against you or if he is driving you back into a parked car. First secure your pistol down inside the holster, widen your stance and palm strike him in the side of his face followed by a strike into the interior of his arm on top of his elbow, giving you a clean separation. By spinning on your right leg you might be able to drive him down onto the deck. Use the same technique if he grabs with his right hand, come down with your right hand to control his wrist sinking your weight. Palm-strike his face followed by a strike to the outside of his elbow. This technique works well if he grabs with both hands. Come down with your strong side hand grabbing one of his wrists, strike his face as many times as necessary to disorient him. Hit his near side elbow driving him off your pistol.
If your attacker grabs your pistol with two hands push your support hand down between his two hands. Brace your elbow against your body, lifting your support hand up freeing your pistol from his grasp. You are essentially prying his hands off your pistol. This technique works just as well in ground fighting. Brace your support elbow against your left knee (reverse if left handed), support hand between his arms prying his hands off your pistol. This is a lethal force confrontation so you can use your fixed blade. Preemptively draw your fixed blade first striking him in the throat; continue with the previous tactic.
In a close retention struggle with your pistol aimed at Lucifer's gut your attacker may grab your pistol with both hands and try to wrench your pistol out of your hands. The Street Fighter counters by firmly maintaining both hands on his pistol. Bring your pistol into a tight center hold position; drive forward by leading with your strong side foot. Drive into your attacker keeping your muzzle aimed at his vitals. This will cause your attacker to try and re-establish his balance by pushing back against your forward momentum as you drive him back onto his heels. The Street Fighter then rotates his pistol, ejection port facing up, pulling back with all your strength. Simultaneously take a few steps to the rear. You must use vigorous, forceful lunges both forward and backward. Trying to muddle through with half ass movement of your arms will not turn the trick. Finish the fight.
Another basic technique the Street Fighter can use in pistol retention while fighting on the ground involves the attacker straddling your body and grabbing your pistol with both hands. He has a terrifying superiority of leverage. It's best you have a plan or else you are screwed. Bend your knees for a strong base. Still controlling your pistol, shove your pistol over either left or right shoulder, driving your opposite foot off the ground. Keep your strong hand on your pistol, at the same time release your support hand. Come under the pistol to wrest from his grip. Push into his elbow, freeing your pistol from his hold. Finish the fight by shooting him under his armpit. If you were unable to pry your pistol from his grasp the only other viable action is to go to knife and stab him repeatedly under his armpit.
Once your attacker grabs your holstered pistol lock it in by placing your hand on top of his hand. Gun grabs usually go to the ground. As your assailant tackles you knocking you to the ground, you must keep your hand locked onto his as he tries to wrench your pistol from the holster. If he tries to punch you in the face with his free hand, block his punch with your support hand. Create space between you and your attacker by shoving his head back at the same time bringing your gun side leg up placing your foot into his knee. Driving out with your foot will cause your attacker to flatten out. As you flatten him out draw your pistol and without hesitation shoot him in the top of the head.
Street Fighters know and understand combat. They know how to push everything that has no bearing on the gunplay out of their mind, making their goal solely committed to kill or be killed. Caught in a rip off, the undercover Street Fighter knows to quickly scan the eyes of any potential attacker. Always do the scan in any menacing situation. First determine their will; then determine their skill. Street Fighters learn early on in their profession-at-arms while under fire one does not rise to the occasion; instead one defaults to the level of ability previously mastered.
Street Fighters learn how to control fear, to put timidity in the back of the mind, to direct attention to the current problem at hand, to believe that whatever perils lie ahead, they will overcome and defeat them. A Street Fighter never lets anger overcome reason. When caught in a rip off, the lone undercover Street Fighter's last resort lies solely in asymmetrical tactics: audacity, fearlessly staying on the offensive, careful planning, stealth, surprise and deception as force multipliers. Above all, maintain cold blooded mental control by pissing ice water!
While under fire, Street Fighters must intuitively remember geometric angles and how angles can create both perils and benefits. Street Fighters comprehend there are two sorts of angles: angles of attack and angles of exposure. An angle of attack is an angle of ground that is covered by either our muzzle or a comrade's muzzle. An angle of exposure is an angle from which our opponent can assault us. These two types of angles are pervasive in every tactical situation we may encounter; however, if we are under fire in a confined space, angles become obviously more consequential because they restrict the reaction time needed to respond to imminent threats. Having an eyeball on your attacker can make the difference between the Street Fighter living or dying.
Bob Taubert and Victor Cortez taught the undercover Street Fighter at the FBI Academy how to keep the assailant off balance while under fire. This is accomplished through speed, surprise and violence of action. Street Fighters cannot move faster than they can perform and at the same time make correct tactical decisions. Bob and Victor emphasized to the Street Fighters in their charge that if they were under fire and had to escape from a building, rushing impulsively through rooms and hallways is a good way to get killed. However, by maintaining a slow methodical pace, clearing as you move, will keep Lucifer off-balanced and thwart any plans of attack he might have. The Street Fighter mixes momentum with violence of action and creates the requisite element of surprise. Surprise gives the undercover Street Fighter the initiative to prevail over Lucifer.
The best way for the undercover Street Fighter to maintain momentum while under fire is not to blindly rush into a potential kill zone nor to stop and over analyze the next move. Think on the fly. Constantly cycle your possible courses of action. Keep your head on a swivel, check close, check distance, check high, and check low before you step out into an unknown. Bob and Victor stressed that if the undercover Street Fighter decides to close the distance and attack, explosive violence is your preferable choice. On the other hand, if the undercover Street Fighter decides to back away from Lucifer you want your movement to be furtive.
Undercover Street Fighters must always look before entering any space. Before getting into a vehicle Street Fighters should look through the windows into the vehicle's interior prior to opening the door. Before an undercover Street Fighter goes into a bar to negotiate a drug deal, look through the outside windows as well as the windows of the door. When walking down a hallway in a drug house, look into the doorways before you walk past so as to eliminate surprises.
Street Fighters must enhance their peripheral vision. This can be practiced by standing in the threshold of a doorway looking into a room. Stand where you barely break the plane of the doorframe. Do not turn your head, keep eyes front and center. Try widening your focus until you can see the corners of the room along with all the objects. Eventually you will perfect this skill. When you are walking down the street you will be able to quickly pick up on any aggressive actions coming your way.
The Street Fighter must also work at developing eye speed, both horizontal and vertical. On a wall, fix two, 1 inch colored dots at eye level, three feet apart. Stand back five yards, focus on the left dot then quickly shift your eyes to the right dot. Continue for a total of twenty-five repetitions. To improve visual scanning speed, place one colored dot at chest height and the second dot three feet higher. Repeat the drill.
Over the years I have witnessed the lack of planning by undercover Street Fighters to mitigate the likelihood of getting trapped in a rip off. I have heard such asinine excuses, as "we will play it by ear" to "we will just wing it." Street Fighters learn early on in combat that when the predator launches his rip off he anticipates that you will fill his preconceived role by either making a run for it or becoming flustered, frozen, immobile. The Street Fighter's best defensive tactics include: turning the tables, doing the unexpected, and attacking directly into the threat. You can run and hide but when you can't hide anymore, you must face reality and fight.
Consider a tactic called the Comanche Drill. The most dangerous aspect of any undercover deal is when both the money and the dope come together. The 'Comanche Drill' calls for male and female Street Fighters to work in unison. The male Street Fighter manages the negotiations while the female Street Fighter is responsible for the flash roll. It is imperative both Street Fighters are totally focused on possible angles of attack and possible angles of exposure. Safety requires that they must remain in close proximity to each other.
When the dope dealers go to gun and shout, "give me the fucking money," the male Street Fighter, with as little fanfare as possible, protectively pulls his female partner behind him. All the while, he is shouting words meant to buy them critical time to implement their counterstrike. The male Street Fighter first wants to feign submission while at the same time moving his hands as close to his pistol as possible. To enhance the ploy keep the palms facing toward the predator.
The female Street Fighter determines her best angle of attack. With her draw stroke being masked by her partner, she shouts an authoritative command to her partner to either "go right" or "go left". If she has decided to go right, she steps out with her right foot, drags her left foot and remaining coolheaded punches bullets into a predator. She also has the option, depending on her physical adroitness, to cross left foot over right. The advantage of this maneuver is that it more quickly creates separation between partners. The male Street Fighter obviously follows the command, goes left with previously practiced footwork and imperturbably hammers bullets into Lucifer. During practice reverse the roles.
Partners should practice the Comanche Drill on steel. It is well known that many shooters work on their reaction time to threats but usually stop once they become comfortable with their base times. Reaction time is where the shooter has made a prejudgment to shoot even before he hears the beep from the timer. He knows exactly where the target has been placed and may already be staring at the target while awaiting the beep.
Female Street Fighters may wish to pay close attention to their draw stroke during practice. In training, I have observed that females frequently get the draw stroke hung up on their garments. Either their nails were too long or else clasps or sharp edges on their jewelry were the culprits. Female Street Fighters work through tough, arduous, physically demanding training. Determine what works and what doesn't work for a fast, accurate draw stroke and take immediate corrective action.
Most training stops at this point. The Street Fighter must train beyond to become lethal. This next step gauges our response time by varying the location of the steel target. The Street Fighter faces away from the target while his training buddy moves the target. Reaction time is still measured; however, the Street Fighter will first have to turn his head to locate the target as he pivots his body.
The Street Fighter can add target identification as a third phase to training. You are still training reaction as well as location but you have to differentiate between shoot, no shoot targets and priority of threats. These are excellent drills for undercover Street Fighters to practice together making them kickass partners. Hit first, hit fast, hit last. When your gut is instinctively screaming that something isn't right you've got to go to trigger. View this clip on a Brazilian off duty police officer response to an armed robbery. He is the epitome of a Street Fighter, the gray man, and pure vanilla. He shields his wife with his body, awaits his window of opportunity, and with absolutely no hesitation violently ends the hostility.
For basic dry firing drills using Laser Ammo and a Personal Electronic Timer (PET), review Street Fighter Part Eleven. The following drills will enhance your firing skills and will provide additional training ideas.
Street Fighters understand the high stakes of violence; therefore, they train and fight for a higher purpose. Street Fighters are members of a rare fraternity, motivated by respect of others. They are students of the art of combat, knowing that it is not good enough to only train hard, but also to train smart. Occasionally it is prudent to downshift and get back to the basics and realize the importance of training and practice to enhance our defensive skills. In training we receive instruction from a coach to either learn new skills or hone existing skills. However, it is practice where we correctly repeat the skills taught us in training to build speed, accuracy and efficiency.
Street Fighters know the importance of being able to rise to the challenge in a life or death struggle with a gladiator just released from prison. In the gym, Street Fighters are constantly pushing the limits of their physical endurance knowing that they must be prepared when an unforeseen challenge presents itself. For many LEOs their day to day physical exercise consists of nothing more than getting out of bed in the morning, in and out of the patrol car, up a flight of stairs and frequent walks to the coffee pot. If no physical effort exists outside these mundane tasks, the physical fitness condition of the lazy LEO is atrocious.
To get better at shooting, a strength-training program will help the Street Fighter achieve a desired level of firearms proficiency. We will focus on those muscles needed to hold the weapon steady while maintaining balance in the standing and kneeling positions. You are least steady in the standing position since you only have two points of contact with the ground whereas in the kneeling position you have three or four points. However, the standing position does have benefits for it allows the Street Fighter mobility. He can quickly move from high to low or covered to concealed positions. Kneeling provides the Street Fighter more stability and also permits him to change the angle of his shots.
A Kettle Bell workout routine is perfect for building muscle strength. Hold two Kettle bells chest high. As you start to squat, inhale as you push the Kettle bells forward straightening your arms. Exhale as you stand back up, tucking the Kettle bells back to your chest. Do six sets of twelve repetitions.
Hold two Kettle bells chest high. Start to walk, pushing the Kettle bells forward while straightening your arms. Hold at full extension for a count of three. Return to chest. Complete two sets every twenty-five yards. The initial goal is two hundred fifty yards. Increase the distance as your strength improves.
With one or both knees on the ground, hold your Kettle bells in the rack position, push the Kettle bells overhead to full extension, slowly lower back to chest. Brace, do not arch your back. Do six sets of twelve repetitions.
Bob Taubert frequently encouraged his fellow instructors at the FBI Academy to motivate the students to achieve their greatest potential. Endurance can only be developed through hardship. The physical fitness staff at the FBI Academy taught new agents a series of exercises intended to improve their grip strength to prepare them for the day they would literally "shoot for their job". The firearms qualification course was not easy and over the years many aspiring agents were sent home. Firing a double action revolver before the advent of speed loaders on a frigid day with snow clouds blanketing the skies was not for the weak or feint of heart. I recall seeing new agents voluntarily show up at the range on the weekend to dry fire with their red handled revolvers.
At that time the qualification course encompassed prone shooting at sixty yards, sitting and barricade shooting at fifty yards, kneeling and barricade shooting at twenty-five yards, off hand shooting at fifteen yards and point shooting at seven yards. All fired with strict time limits. To prepare for this demanding test, the new agents practiced the following Grip Strengthening Exercises.
Street Fighters know the importance of shooting drills that test various skills. In the first several editions of Street Fighter we outlined the three pillars of gun fighting: mindset, skills and tools. Street Fighters first practice the skill and then check their proficiency by shooting drills. By shooting and recording scores Street Fighters can determine their baseline and over time notice improvements or regressions in their skills. Many of our Street Fighter drills test several skills and these can assist in unscrambling what specific subset skills could possibly be causing a slow-down, i.e. split times, reloads, presentation from concealment etc. When properly practiced, drills provide predictability as to how well the Street Fighter has mastered a specific skill.
Set an 8-inch circle target. Load 2 magazines with each magazine holding 2 rounds for a total of 4 rounds in the pistol. Fire from concealment at 8 yards. Shoot pistol to slide lock; perform speed reload.
Time Tier One
One miss or exceeded 12 seconds
Download the 10-8 target online. The dots are numbered from 1 to 5, small to large. From 10 yards, fire 5 shots per dot. NO GO: One miss or exceed time limits.
Tier Three One
13 seconds Two
U.S. Marine history is filled with deeds of heroic accomplishments. In October 1942 Gunny Sergeant "Manila" John Basilone took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for using a machine gun to hold off an attack by a far superior Japanese force. He turned down an officer's commission and repeatedly requested to return to the war. On the first day of fighting on Iwo Jima, serving as a machine gun section leader, he was killed attacking a heavily fortified blockhouse. He was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism.
Following in Basilone's footsteps, on 19 February 1945 US Marines assaulted the heavily defended beaches of Iwo Jima. Our American victory came at a terrible price resulting in more than 26,000 casualties, including 6,800 KIA. Twenty-two Medals of Honor were awarded to Marines who fought on Iwo Jima.
At 1020 hours on 23 February a Marine patrol fought its way up Mount Suribachi. Attaching our American flag to a Japanese iron water pipe found at the top, the flagstaff was raised and planted. The raising of our national colors immediately caused a loud cheering from the American warriors on the beach below and on ships near the beach. In the next few days, three of the flag raisers were KIA.
Linda Cunningham wrote in Ode to the Flag: "Our Nation's Flag is a stirring sight. Red stands for courage and hardiness. The white means innocence and purity. Blue stands for justice, perseverance and vigilance. In its promise to keep us free many brave men have fought and died to protect it from dishonor and disgrace. Wives have mourned and mothers have cried so we could remain free. The sight of our flag is meant to bring feelings of joy, of courage, pride and freedom to all." Neither Gunny Sergeant John Basilone nor the thousands of other honorable Marines took a knee on Iwo Jima. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLCupx1UEx
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