STREET FIGHTER-PART FIFTEEN
"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to weep. A time to laugh. A time to love." ---King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
The Street Fighter does not fear death for death will either be a doorway from the world to heaven or simply an end to life. You will not know you are dead. There will not be any emotion. You will come to an end.
In edition fifteen of Street Fighter, we acknowledge Street Fighters perceive a life-threatening situation differently. In order to understand the Street Fighter's psychic predisposition, we must grasp how exactly he responds to a threat. What makes the Street Fighter decide whether or not he can cope with a given threat? First, he must assess that his abilities exceed that of the threat.
A positive assessment of the threat gives the Street Fighter a confident attitude. He develops confidence when he feels he can overcome danger. A negative assessment can be changed into a positive by either improving motivation and skills or by lowering the perception of the threat.
The bold Street Fighter never doubts his abilities. He possesses high morale coupled with an aggressive attitude.
Can we train the Street Fighter to be courageous?
The Street Fighter can train for the unexpected threat but when he is taught to courageously cope and respond, threats stop being unusual or unexpected.
My friend Keith Jones retired Indianapolis LEO, told me: "You can't call yourself 'peaceful' unless you are a Street Fighter capable off staving off violence. If you're not a Street Fighter, you're not peaceful, you're harmless."
We look for a Street Fighter to be a "risk taker." One who has a desire to be heroic even at personal peril. There is an excitement to the Street Fighter's ferrous life that is built on adrenaline and the quest for dangerous and risky missions. These missions have many moving parts that are bound together through training, faith and chutzpah. The Street Fighter oftentimes realizes the most important determinant to mission accomplishment is pure and simple, catching a lucky break.
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who can conquer that fear." ---Nelson Mandela
A predator will usually launch his surprise attack by ambush. In December 2018, FBI Agent Christopher Harper was able to counterattack for he quickly deduced, reasoned, devised and implemented a course of action to defeat an ambush by a drug-dealing Crips gang member in Brooklyn, New York.
Chris had been conducting surveillance on an unrelated case when the gangbanger drove toward him in a dark BMW, going the wrong way on a one-way street. The BMW partially blocked Chris' car. The gangbanger burst out, approached the driver's side door, and pulled a gun out of his hoodie's front pocket and began shooting.
Chris pursued the gangbanger, shooting him in the hand. Chris said, "it felt like my back exploded, then it felt wet. My mind was going one hundred miles an hour. I could see glass breaking around him; I could see my bullets impacting his car. Do I have five seconds to live? Do I have 10 seconds to live? My head starting spinning like a whirlpool. This is it. I'm going to die. I was really scared I wasn't going to see my kids again."
The Street Fighter looks at his old battle wounds as a remembrance of tactical errors not to be repeated, certainly not to allow fading away from memory. The more recent wounds are perpetual admonitions that despite his utmost vigilance, he cannot control every aspect of every battle, but he still has to give it his best shot.
When Chris couldn't control what was happening, he challenged himself to control the way he responded to what was happening. That's true bravery.
Some folks spend an entire lifetime wondering if they have made a difference, Chris will not have that problem.
The unprecedented decline in crime in previous decades came about because of data driven, proactive policing and stricter incarceration of repeat violent offenders. Statistics from 2017 to 2018 show a 15% increase in Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) deaths from 129 to 148. Why has such a transformation occurred in our country and why are LEOs being murdered at such a rate?
Beginning in 2020 teachers in California will no longer be allowed to suspend elementary and middle school students from school for disrupting classroom activities or defying school authorities. Leaving troubled or disruptive students in a classroom is harmful to academic achievement to peers of the offending students. Some of these students are literally violent felons, who create bullying and all its ramifications.
This lack of respect for teacher's authority has spilled over to lack of respect for the LEO. Anger and lack of civility is what fans the flames that catch the LEO in the crosshairs. The recent surge in crime threatens the very foundation of our country's strength and our citizen's lives. However, the greatest danger reposes in the disobedience to our constitution and the legitimization of the rule of law.
The Street Fighter knows that within all of us a battle rages between two lions. One is wicked. It is resentment, bitterness, jealousy, self-reproach, avarice, insolence, reprehensibility, moral deficiencies and vanity. The other lion is righteous. It is happiness, peacefulness, fondness, hopefulness, quiescence, humbleness, dignity, magnanimity, justice and fidelity. Which beast wins? The Street Fighter's retort, "the one you feed".
In order to provoke a group of people to attack another group you first have to cast dispersion on that group by painting a false narrative as to their character and trustworthiness. Once you can get the group to buy into your lies and believe your falsehoods you can then manipulate them to, at first, verbally attack the other with vehemence and disdain. Once this vehemence and disdain becomes a daily acceptance you can guide your group into physically attacking the other group with a wicked vengeance. As "Hands Up-Don't Shoot" gained traction, this monstrous lie turned vast sections of our community against the police. What happens when respect for law and order and the respect for authority is obliterated? We hear the constant chant played over and over by the news media, "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon." Even grammar applications today list "pigs" under synonyms for LEOs appointed to enforce the law.
Knowing that physical evidence contradicted these mendacious lies, politicians allowed these fabrications to fester before they provided the truth to the public. Politician's words and actions signaled that disrespect to LEOs was acceptable. Lacking moral courage suits and elected officials failed to provide an alternative. Troublemakers developed a distrust of law enforcement and felt emboldened and justified in attacking the LEO with savage barbarism.
We have travelled a troubling path from the days of William Boyd. As he closed his television show, "Hop-a-long Cassidy," he talked directly to his young audience. Boyd said, "Keep one thing in mind, don't call him a cop; he's a respected man, and we should call him a respected name, a police officer."
We are in a time where the stock of cannabis companies is soaring and politicians are heralding legalization as low-risk ways to raise tax revenue and at the same time reduce crime. One U.S. Senator blatantly lied on the Senate floor when he said: "States that have legalized marijuana are seeing a marked decrease in violent crime." Power and money are formidable motivators to those in life with no other purpose than their own unpardonable, self-indulging gratification.
The National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that "cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychosis; the higher the use, the greater the risk." An Oxford University study concluded, "People with schizophrenia are five times as likely to commit violent crimes as healthy people, and almost twenty times as likely to commit homicide."
Cannabis fuels violence in psychotic people by causing paranoia. Many drug dealers having psychotic episodes commit homicide when they believe they are in danger from the victim. This creates a colossal danger to the undercover Street Fighter while he is negotiating a drug deal with a paranoid schizophrenic.
In 2016 the FBI initiated a study analyzing attacks against LEOs. In half of the attacks the assailant was under the influence of methamphetamines, marihuana/THC, prescription drugs and/or alcohol. The undercover Street Fighter must always be on the top of his game, never underestimating the drug peddler who has an intuitive shrewdness born of the ghetto. Fueled by chemical supplements the drug peddler often experiences abnormal mood swings. Coupled with sadistic tendencies and a sociopathic temperament this could ignite a bloodletting.
When under attack by a paranoid predator high on weed the undercover Street Fighter must pop into first gear and put rounds on the threat. The Street Fighter, through practice, must have built an on demand stable skill set. As a marksman he must be able to get fast thorax hits right out of his holster. He must score solid hits while moving forward, backward and lateral. He must be able to use his feet and hands to create distance and cause real physical pain to his attacker. The undercover Street Fighter should never place himself in danger unless he has a stout, unmitigated asymmetrical advantage. The Street Fighter's goal is to prevail, thrive and triumph over Lucifer.
The Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a distraught female who told them, "Oh my God, oh my God, send the police. I need my son removed from my home."
The first deputy confronted the son, Ari Young. He was 21 years old, 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 90 pounds.Young assaulted the deputy, punching her in the face. The deputy fired two shots at point blank range. Missed. Young easily disarmed the deputy, firing one shot at her. The deputy, scared shitless, ran away screaming.Backup deputies arrived. They fired seven shots at Young, slightly wounding him.
The deputy was incapacitated by fear and self-doubt. Both drained her will to fight. She could have gone one of two ways: either vapor lock or panic or flip the switch and auto-revert to her training. She vapor locked and panicked. Untrained, she remained static, frozen. Subconsciously she knew she was unskilled at arms, impotent, helpless, and mismatched. Simply having been issued a gun did not mean she was prepared. She lacked "fighting spirit." She lost the fight because she was both psychologically and physically defeated. She disengaged from the fight of her life because she determined she was unable to muster the physical or mental strength to continue.
The "fighting spirit" the Street Fighter brings to the battle is as important as the gun she carries or the tactics she employs. She did not realize that simply pointing her pistol at her attacker meant jack for he would only understand the violence she projected. Instead, she projected fear and uncertainty. The "fighting spirit" works because it is the mental science of human behavior and coercion.
While locked in a life or death struggle she allowed her attacker to fight with more intensity; underestimating his fierceness, his boldness. She never countered the force that was projected against her. She was unable to detect the threat and the rapid escalation of his unmerciful callousness. She got her ass kicked because she was not resolute enough, accurate enough and yes, passionate enough. Don't work with a partner who has barely squeaked through your agency's "Adam 12 School of Gunfighting". This partner will take you to your grave.
"To ride boldly at what is in front of you, be it fence or enemy, to pray not for comfort, but for combat, to remember that duty is not to be proved on the evil day, but then to be obeyed unquestioning, to love glory more than the temptation of wallowing at ease."---Oliver Wendell Holmes
Shortly after graduating first in her academy class Kefira, reserved and stoic, but burning with an inner fire, volunteered for an undercover assignment.
As in a film noir landscape, derelict warehouses, abandoned for years and left to the ravages of time, lined both sides of the street. The road Kefira had driven on to the meet spot was rough, potholed; curbs full of rubbish and brackish water. The building fagades were dull and funereal. Their only color came from the patchwork of clothes that hung on lines between windows of two-room apartments. The stars were lost in the ominous dark depth of the sky. Near the mouth of the alley there were no street lights, only patches of light from overlooking windows caked with soot. No one walked nearby. Further down the alley a junkie sat nodding off with his back against a dumpster.
As Kefira approached Lucifer, she walked a slow steady pace, her eyes moving back and forth. Lucifer flipped his cigarette away. There was less than a quarter inch of paper between the ash and the filter. The butt landed in a pile of trash. Kefira felt somewhat unnatural, not really fearful, more like super vigilant. Her hands hung relaxed by her hips. She knew hands stuck inside pockets were of no use. Kefira was never inclined to make assumptions. She never cussed because cussing indicates anger, meaning she had lost control of her emotions. Kefira smiled at Lucifer because people who smiled appeared beyond a shadow of doubt to be more trustworthy.
Her surveillance team was unable to keep an eyeball on her because their view was partially obstructed by a graffiti covered bus stop. They had set up across the street, parking on a worn-out soccer field covered in weeds. Off to the side a poor devil snoozed under a cardboard box with a pushcart holding all his earthly belongings next to him.
RIP OFF! One of Kefira's teammates had given her a Beretta Bobcat loaded with eight rounds of .25acp hollow point ammo, 35 grains, velocity 900 feet per second. In the immediate aftermath of a gun battle, nobody gives a damn about caliber, make or model of gun, tactics or rounds fired. All that matters is who's still breathing.
She attempted to draw her blaster from the pocket of her tight jeans with her left hand while deflecting his knife with her support hand. Lucifer's fist smashed into the side of her head causing her vision to momentarily blur out. Her instinctive desire for self-preservation demanded that she remain conscious. She knew there was no reasoning with lunacy. Her only option was to kill.
Kefira had studied Krav Maga, (contact combat) for six years. She had been trained to simultaneously attack and defend; to continually strike her opponent until he was completely incapacitated. Timidity is a paralytic and fatal in a crisis. There is no time for remorse, no time for quarter. Remaining calm, dispassionate and self-reliant, her left elbow struck the bridge of Lucifer's nose, tearing cartilage, sending a spurt of blood cascading down over his mouth and chin. The Bobcat's ejected cartridge cases pitter-pattered onto the pavement, rolling to a stop in a rancid puddle, light shimmering from its casings. The only muted sound came from the cluster of bullet holes in Lucifer's chest. Air was hissing from his still inflated lungs, the last breaths he would ever wheeze.
Kefira walked over to her teammates who were flooding into the alley. She took one last look at the son of the devil she had just killed. In the feeble light Lucifer's eyes were staring at her, the whites already wickedly black from hemorrhaging.
In a gun battle there is so much going on around you. Thinking about positioning, shot placement, number of threats. Kefira kept a tight rein on her mind. Her mind remained fluid in the drone zone. Her only focus is to eliminate the threat. She had done everything possible to prepare for this moment, placing absolute trust in her Krav Maga training. Kefira had taught her physical body to catch up with her mental body, blending both together. She possessed perfect balance as she rode along the ragged edge of kill or be killed.
Kefira had several tactical takeaways from her alley fight. In an entangled fight, a push dagger carried vertical on the belt is difficult to access. Fighting with your arms pinned by an attacker in the booth of a restaurant or a car becomes problematical since you have to lift up your cover garment to grab either your blaster or your push dagger. Carried horizontally, Kefira could defend with her strong hand while using her support hand to draw her push dagger from beneath her cover garment. Even if there wasn't any space between her and the attacker, once Kefira had her hand on the blade all she needed to do was move her hips to unsheathe the blade. With the push dagger indexed on her hip, Kefira could drive the blade into her attacker. The push dagger is a space maker designed to cut your attacker off of you.
Kefira's team selected Craig Douglas' push dagger. Its unique T grip handle, allowed Kefira to get all three fingers onto the handle. The blade protrudes between the 2nd and 3rd knuckle, eliminating wobble. The overall length is 5 inches, blade length 2.75 inches, single blade on the bottom side. The advantage of the shorter blade, there isn't much blade to clear from the sheath.
In a subsequent interview leading up to acceptance into her country's premier Tier One Undercover Unit, Kefira was asked about her emotions after killing Lucifer. She replied, "Killing was not necessarily about taking a life, it was more about preserving life. The lives of her countrymen, her teammates, herself." Kefira told her interviewers she felt relief in the sense that her training, her proficiency, her intuition, her wits, her devotion to the mission had not been found lacking. She felt grateful that she was still alive.
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see further." ---Thomas Carlyle
Unlike so-called "elite" military commands that boast about having an eighty percent attrition rate, selection into Kefira's unit was extremely stringent. Barring injury or illness it was expected the selectee would complete the seven-month course, without fail. Almost all of the training was one on one, one trainee to one instructor. A partial subject matter list included Krav Maga, Gracie Jiu jitsu, firearms/tactics, driving and psychology. Although fluent in two languages and comfortable with a third, Kefira spent many days in a language lab.
The goal of her instructors was to combine practice and training together which in turn leads to skill. Skill is what builds sureness and sureness would build Kefira's calmness under fire, preventing panic.
To shave nano seconds from her AIWB draw stroke, in lieu of a cotton fabric, Kefira wore body-hugging spandex under her cover garment.
After seven months Kefira joined her unit for an additional three months of team building. Her team was certified for deployment, possessing collective self-confidence in their tradecraft that they could "dance through raindrops."
Kefira learned from her undercover negotiations with many Lucifer's, she would always try to watch the gears turning in their head for Lucifer could become extremely dangerous as the minutes ticked away. Like a machine that runs on violence Lucifer never rested. She oftentimes felt like the proverbial worm on a hook, dangling out there all by herself.
She realized she had to strike some sort of symmetry in her life, some element of stability if she were to survive in her vocation. Even those like her who live in the cauldron of inhumanity require a safe haven once in a while. Kefira had not yet come to the point in her life where truth had overtaken dreams.
Kefira had confidence in her abilities but knew she was not infallible, so she trained hard knowing the odds had a way of catching up. She worked by stages: manipulate, convince, compel and if necessary, browbeat. She learned how to hide a lie with a smaller, more glaring lie. She always spoke her mind freely, oftentimes lacking social grace.
She was well rehearsed in the dramatic arts. Simple yarn spinning may not be sufficient to bring about the necessary goals in the negotiations. Kefira was good with words-good at using them to convince, to manipulate, to ensnare. She was quite adept at telling Lucifer what he wanted to hear since it is easier for Lucifer to believe a lie than confirm what he believes to be true.
She improved the outcome of the dialogue by the proper usage of timing and delivery. She was able to twist her own goal completely around so it was Lucifer who made the request to her. Kefira added to the dramatic tension by remaining silent, making an obvious show of thinking things over. The deal then would be struck in her favor. It all came down to timing and delivery.
To some degree Kefira was mindful that paranoia is essential for survival. However, she knew her greatest peril was not when she was clearly vulnerable but when she thought she was safe. She kept her worries and anxieties shrouded deep inside herself, presenting an unflinching demeanor.
She realized fear is an emotional response to danger. She could best control fear through cold-blooded logic. The brain first learned fear before it learned to reason, to think rationally. Kefira repressed the portion of her psyche that wanted to be afraid and never allowed feelings or sentiments stifle her judgement. She focused her energy on proven, verifiable and actionable intelligence. At what time and where, not on how come and maybe. Her well-being was dependent on good planning and never relaxing her vigilance no matter how safe at the moment she might think she was.
Kefira knew the downfall of many undercover was "mirror imaging". The mistaken tenet that everyone made decisions like she did. That Lucifer's why and wherefore, his very definition of logic was the same as hers.
"Adapt", was her keyword. Her only protection undercover was to stay one step ahead of a crumbling situation, manipulating it to her favor.
In a life or death situation, Kefira understood what killed most undercover agents is a hesitancy to react quickly. Because their normal everyday life is free of peril, they fail to pick up on the danger signals when death comes knocking. It is more self-doubt, disbelief that Lucifer would kill them. By the time they know the attack is real, it's too late.
All her undercover cases involved denizens from the darker underbelly of the beast who were shrouded in cloak and dagger intrigue. Kefira had a dogged refusal to ever be cowed, bullied or flustered. She was stubbornly persevering and headstrong.
Kefira was a voracious reader, a painstaking planner, possessing the capacity to file away in her mind a colossal amount of information on the off chance she might need to use it in undercover negotiations.
She was not into self-aggrandizement but had built her reputation as a rock solid meragelet (female spy.) No hollow careerism, no lofty haughtiness, but poised modesty. Radiating charm and determined leadership, her teammates enthusiastically followed Kefira. She had steadily gone up the career ladder in "The Institute." When a vacancy had occurred in her unit a few years back even the good old boys in line for the job conceded she was the best choice. Kefira had never sought any assignment by climbing over the back of her colleagues, nor had she ever stabbed any of her mates in the back.
Kefira worked hard at projecting a harmless image, when she was in fact a bad ass. Her mantra, "Wherever you are-be there one hundred percent."
"One may fall but he falls by himself with himself to blame. Who travels the fastest travels alone." ---Rudyard Kipling
When the harag (killer) had phoned Kefira wanting to rush a meeting at a place of his choosing, leaving little or no time to "prep the battlefield," Kefira put him off until the following day. She always picked the meet spot, stacking the odds in her favor if things went to shit. She knew that any undercover meet could be a set-up. The harag's attempt for a hasty parley could result in her un-knowingly getting blindsided and killed. Her gut instinct born of years out in the night screamed something ain't kosher.
Kefira had to remain vigilant for it was always the little things that got one killed. Things like the odd character loafing on a corner next to a double-parked car or a shadow closing fast on her oblique.
The harag paid his legal advisor, who he found cranky and testy, a small fortune to keep him safe from his enemies and out of jail. The mouthpiece was brainy and sharp-witted in devising money-laundering schemes and had many contacts and confidents in intelligence agencies throughout the country. Thus, he was always able to provide the harag an assortment of odds and ends information. It was he who tipped him off that Kefira was a meragelet (female spy), marking her for execution.
Driving to the meet spot Kefira took all appropriate precautions to avoid being tailed. She walked into the cocktail lounge taking stock of all the strange faces that turned to look at her, briefly making eye contact with those who returned her gaze. She did not linger long enough to invite either a challenge or a flirtatious response. Patrons were scattered throughout the cocktail lounge, sitting in booths aligned along the walls, at tables or on stools at the long bar marred and scuffed from thousands of bottles, glasses and ashtrays.
The hustle and bustle again picked up, becoming spirited and noisy. She walked over to a high-top table and ordered a tonic water from the waitress. Kefira knew never to drink anything while undercover except from a sealed bottle. She twisted off the top as she searched for threats. If someone handed her a drink, she was prepared, without fanfare, to simply place the container down with no intention of drinking from it.
Kefira always made it a habit to arrive early so as to be able to pick up on any potential threats. She preferred to fly solo undercover; always insisting her teammates provide close overwatch. There was an abundance of open space around the high-top table. In case things turned nasty, her draw stroke would not be impeded if she had to "go to gun." She considered booths too restrictive. Booths were death traps.
She stood at the high-top table with her back to a safe corner. A great big mirror allowed her to eyeball her flanks. She could see the front door and her peripheral vision allowed her to see the lavatories.
She sipped her nonalcoholic beverage while waiting for the harag. She decided she would give him fifteen minutes which would allow sufficient time if he was caught in heavy traffic. If he didn't arrive within that time frame, too bad, she was out of there.
A few minutes later the harag arrived. He looked older than his surveillance photo. Kefira thought he appeared jittery, either high on nervous energy or maybe jacked up on too much caffeine. She put him at forty years of age, five feet-eight inches tall, one hundred and ninety pounds. His hair was wispy and graying as was his goatee. He wore coke bottles to correct his short sightedness. Unless he had a malformed ribcage, he was packing heat beneath his brown leather jacket. He had an exorbitantly expensive gold chain around his neck.
Spotting Kefira at the table, the harag approached and used the traditional Arabic greeting, "As-salamu alaykum," "peace be upon you." "Wa alaykumu s-salam," Kefira responded, touching her right hand to her heart. "Please take a seat," she said, gesturing to a chair across from her.
As Kefira spoke with the harag, she saw a slight gleam of perspiration on his brow but very little else sent out warning signals as to the dark way he ran his business and how he had accumulated his wealth. He was a revolutionist who survived and prospered in a ruthless and merciless world. A terrorist who had flown under the radar, smart enough until tonight, to evade "The Institute".
Kefira always refrained from shaking hands with her target. She knew nothing might happen if she did, but she would be placing herself in an extremely vulnerable position. The target could pull her in close, off-balance, stab or punch her. With her hand captured he could have a confederate shoot her.
A Sicarius had accepted the harag's contract to kill Kefira. For wheels he had taken a "loner" from a long-term parking lot at the airport. It was a dusty, plain tan car.
The Sicarius carefully plotted his tactics. If he wanted to do the hit on the street his getaway driver would have to be waiting nearby and would see the hit. He knew it was best to work alone indoors, never trusting anyone but himself. When faced with execution nobody could rat him out.
He decided that his wheelman would drop him off at the corner and continue to circle the block, picking him up after the hit. This way if the driver was ever busted and flipped, he wouldn't be able to testify as to what happened inside.
With the wide spread usage of cell phones, if anything changed inside, the harag would be able to alert him, this way the victim would be pinned in place. The Sicarius normal modus operandi was as soon as he entered, he went straight to the "gents" room. This would allow him to check things out at the same time making sure he didn't have a tail. It also gave him a chance to take a piss. He knew from past hits to take care of business quickly so onlookers would be in a state of shock.
He always carried two blasters, one to do the killing, the second as a backup piece. He wanted more stopping power than a .22 caliber, but loud enough to send any onlookers scurrying for cover. He always steered clear of the .44 magnum, the king noise-maker, which could be heard a couple of blocks away by a cop in a squad car.
The Sicarius was a good marksman because he didn't want to get closer than maybe ten or fifteen feet from the victim. As part of his intelligence work up, he always wanted to know if the victim had any of his own tail gunners seated at nearby tables.
For his getaway he always had a change of cars in place. Only when totally alone, would he field strip his blaster and drop it into a dumpster.
Darkness had fallen over the city, certainly no impediment to the Sicarius. He was a creature of the night and welcomed the embrace of its protective cover. Like a panther, the Sicarius was deadly. The panther moved unseen through the underbrush, attacking without warning then disappearing, undetected, ready to strike again. The Sicarius knew, with confidence, he might not be alive tomorrow.
As the Sicarius walked toward Kefira he had absolutely no compassion or concern about judgment day when the good and evil of his life was weighed. Something impelled Kefira to shift her gaze to him. Their eyes met for a brief second, then he hurriedly averted her eyes. Too hastily. An instantaneous chill ran down her spine, she picked up on the danger signals as the Sicarius headed to the lavatory.
Her psychological response caused her adrenal glands to gush adrenaline into her bloodstream, increasing her heart rate, getting her body ready for combat. She willed back the adrenaline rush, gulped in a bunch of deep breaths, holding to the count of four. This broke the cycle of her autonomic nervous system, slowing her heart rate. Kefira couldn't stifle her instincts but she could control them. She knew that undercover Street Fighters who were asininely stupid were rarely around for a repeat performance.
The Sicarius was only in the lavatory scant seconds when the door was thrown open and he began to rapidly close the distance, pistol down alongside his leg.
A lone 9mm hollow point fired from her Sig P229 with an upgraded Grayguns trigger punched through the Sicarius' right eye-ear plane, cracking bone, plowing a trough through his brain. The exit wound was the size of a silver dollar. A mottled cloud of brown matter splattered onto the floor. In a close bad breath distance gun battle, whoever shot second dies first.
Before the harag had sat down at the table Kefira's' s mind had prepared for a possible attack. She had checked out the table estimating it weighed twenty pounds and was not anchored to the floor. She knew the table's center of gravity would be level with the harag's chest. His chair would be high and ill-balanced. The space behind her was uncluttered.
Kefira quickly turned back toward the harag. She shoved the table into his chest, knocking him off-balance. The harag withdrew his pistol from beneath his brown leather jacket but it caught under the lip of the table. He fired a single shot into the floor.
Her eyes became the color of anthracite. Her first shot pulverized bone and body tissue, deforming and expanding as it dug deep into his body. He curiously gazed down at the hole in his chest as though it belonged to someone else.
The harag spat out, "malshin, at bat-zonna, tisaref b'azarel." "Snitch, you daughter of a whore, burn in hell."
Kefira experienced a moment of lethal calm as if she was in the eye of a hurricane. Her second bullet blew into his face just to the left of his ski slope nose.
The sulphurous odor of gunpowder permeated the air, comixing with the devilish odor of death. In a gun battle there are no tricks, just raw bloody carnage. Advantages are won or lost in the space of a pulse beat. A press on the trigger, a life sent to eternity.
Kefira walked out of the cocktail lounge and stood looking at the sky. Once more the angel of death had passed over Kefira. Somewhere out beyond the stars the cosmos continued to the end of time. From where she stood time was way too short.
Kefira had observed firsthand the bane of many undercover agents. Their courses of action were not viable: too much conjecture, too many presumptions, too reliant on hasty impulsiveness. She had an uncanny ability to free her mind of all distractions or worries. A calm mind was aware. Awareness was always her first and best protection. A threat that was seen or heard could either be evaded or countered.
She thought back to her first kill as a rookie in a putrid, nasty, fly blown alley. There were a couple of grey spots where she couldn't remember every complete detail. That was the case after traumatic events. Certain of her life experiences would remain unforgotten for years, while others, not of less consequence, vanished in mere hours. Kefira was not able to grasp the physiological or psychological logic. For the sake of her sanity she didn't want to. She was still alive and on this side of the grave.
A scrawny dude, who looked like a 1960's flower child selling weed at a rock concert, walked past her.
"The most dangerous predator of any society is the man who has nothing to lose." ---James Baldwin
A good surveillance team can enhance the success of an undercover operation. Unfortunately, many Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) are dreadfully lousy on surveillance. They just don't have what it takes and are totally lacking in discipline. Hopelessly bored with the tedium, they grumble and become ruffled. They miss important intelligence. They are boring do nothings endangering the life of the undercover Street Fighter.
However, on surveillance the Street Fighter does not become bored. He does not grumble. He does not become ruffled. He stays focused, on top of his game, no matter the time, no matter the environs. Anyone with decent vision can see, can detect, can observe. But to be a master at surveillance requires not being seen by the target.
On the flip side, the Street Fighter must be well versed in the art of counter-surveillance. From practical knowledge picked up over time, the Street Fighter finds that people paid more heed to threats that could be behind them, instead of what was to their front.
As the gray man, nothing in the Street Fighter's demeanor should unmask him. He elicits no attention from other people because he looks and acts just as they do. The Street Fighter selects his apparel so as to present a subdued, neutral persona. Anyone who tried to recall the Street Fighter would be hard pressed to accurately describe him. He dresses appropriately for the mission: neat, confident but not domineering. In other words, be forgettable.
If possible, the Street Fighter should never leave through the same exit or come back through the same entrance twice. If either practical or appropriate, a wise choice for the Street Fighter is to take the stairs rather than the elevator. An elevator traps the Street Fighter in a box. When the elevator door opens, he is vulnerable to a waiting threat.
Habits are chancy. Habits lead to routines. Habits can be spotted by predators. Habits blunt situational awareness and facilitate sluggishness.
No matter how cautiously the Street Fighter plots his movements, he cannot foresee every potential risk. It's exactly what he hadn't taken into consideration that can kill him. He wants to stay one step ahead of the predator, to forefeel, not to be surprised. Don't react to the predator, initiate action.
When looking out a window with closed blinds or drapes, the Street Fighter stands with his shoulder to the wall. He moves the curtain an inch or two and warily peers out. He does the same on the other side of the window so as to check out the opposite side of the street.
When the Street Fighter is undercover and Lucifer admits him to his apartment, he enters half-turned through the doorway. He never presents Lucifer his back.
While walking outdoors, the Street Fighter tries to remain unnoticed by blending into the crowd. On narrow sidewalks he stays away from walking near the curb or too close to building fronts. The Street Fighter walks facing oncoming traffic, a simple precaution. This way he mitigates the danger of cars coming up behind him. On a cold day he wears shooting gloves so he doesn't have to warm his hands in his pockets.
The Street Fighter sizes up everyone crossing his path for a possible threat. He picks up in a glance height, weight and body composition. He watches for litheness of movement and sturdiness of posture.
While driving at night he mentally files vehicles that drift in and out of his rearview mirror. Vehicle headlights give off a distinctive glow at night. Take note of the configuration of the various lenses, their curvature and separation. All these telltale indicators, combined together, can readily identify a vehicle that hangs on his tail for any length of time.
A Street Fighter trusts his senses. If something seems out of place, more than likely it is. To a Street Fighter optimism is blissful ignorance.
Fifty years ago, in the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), it was not uncommon on one of our major cases for agents to spend thirty-six or more hours on surveillance. Since we always worked with a partner, one of us could take a "combat nap" while our buddy had the eyeball.
Napping in a vehicle may not be either smart or safe, but there were a couple of steps we took to mitigate the danger. Knowing we might have to fend off a bloody assassination attempt, armed robbery or carjacking we would find a safe location such as a fire station. We kept doors locked, windows closed, blaster close at hand.
Street Fighters must be mindful that long-term sleep deprivation depletes mental stamina and jeopardizes physical health. Problem solving skills are not up to par. A lack of sleep can negatively impact short and long-term memory. It can make a Street Fighter moody, emotional, quick to anger and quick to use excessive force. There is a great risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and heart disease.
Lack of sleep can crucially affect the Street Fighter's balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, increasing the risk for car accidents. Unfortunately, a Street Fighter cannot, over time, accumulate a sleep debt and then log a bunch of sleep hours to make up for the deficit.
Oftentimes a hot meal for us in FBN consisted of a large container of coffee, black, a couple of burgers with all the trimmings and a bag of greasy fries. For those who smoked dessert was a heavy dose of nicotine from a pack of Lucky Strike. Street Fighters who take their performance seriously, need to ingest the correct amount of protein. There is no short cut for a magic protein elixir.
The Street Fighter must supplement his diet with protein. Whey protein causes an immediate spike in protein synthesis that will last about three hours. Whey is tolerated well by people with lactose intolerance. Casein protein causes the same increase in protein synthesis but over a much longer period of time.
Blonyx egg white protein isolate is a supplement that tastes good, has all essential amino acids including leucine and carbohydrates. The advantage egg protein has over Whey and Casein is that eggs are the most available protein in nature, meaning it is the easiest for your body to synthesize into new tissue.
Every couple of weeks we read about a LEO having been fired for posting some really witless and unwise comments on the Internet. Before the Internet, LEOs vented in their all male locker room or in their patrol vehicle to their like-minded partner.
LEOs have now become so enamored with texting and Facebook that they do not understand how the First Amendment applies to them as public employees. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the 1892 case McAuliffe v.City of New Bedfordregarding a LEO's First Amendment rights, he "may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman."
Putting it in a nutshell, Papas v. Giuliani, 290 F. 3d 143 (2nd Cir. 2002):"The effectiveness of a city's police department depends importantly on the respect and trust of the community and on the perception in the community that it enforces the law fairly, even-handedly, and without bias! If the police department treats a segment of the population of any race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual preference, etc., with contempt, so that the particular minority comes to regard the police as oppressor rather than protector, respect for law enforcement is eroded and the ability of the police to do its work in that community is impaired."
Before opening his mouth or posting on social media the LEO must ask himself this salient question, "Can what I am saying or writing be perceived as diminishing my ability to perform my job or adversely affect my department's ability to do their job?" It is your decision, but err and you will be out of a job. Be careful! Tengo Cuidado!
Entrapment occurs when an undercover Street Fighter coerces or induces Lucifer to commit a crime. Matthews v. United States, 485 U.S. 58,63 (1988).
The key component of entrapment: undercover Street Fighters must not entrap Lucifer simply by offering him an (opportunity)to commit a crime. Courts expect folks to resist any ordinary temptations to commit a crime.
An entrapment defense arises when an undercover Street Fighter resorts to egregious behavior such as the use of intimidation, torment, or fraud to induce Lucifer to commit a criminal act.
Undercover Street Fighters are permitted to tell lies. It should be noted that an entrapment defense does not occur if private citizens convince Lucifer to commit a crime.
Since entrapment is an affirmative defense the burden to convince the court an undercover Street Fighter actions rose to the level of entrapment rests on Lucifer's attorneys. Lucifer must also offer evidence he was not predisposed to commit the crime.
Sylvia Buchanan v. City of San Jose: The US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit decided if it is reasonable for LEOs to shot an on-rushing knife wielder at an estimated 65 feet, or does the so called "21 foot rule" suggest a would-be attacker that far away does not pose an immediate threat justifying deadly force?
LEOs responded to an emergency telephone call from Phillip Watkins, who falsely reported a man was at his address threatening his family with a knife. When LEOs arrived at the address, they saw Watkins, armed with a knife, standing outside his house next to two women. At that point, the distance between the LEOs and Watkins was more than 130 feet. Watkins immediately advanced toward the LEOs in a threatening manner intending to commit "suicide by cop."
Within seconds, LEOs opened fire, striking him ten times. Watkins fell to the ground fatally wounded. When Watkins fell, he was approximately 18 feet from them, running at a speed of 12 feet per second.
The 21-foot rule came about 40 years ago when Dennis Tueller found the average healthy adult male, running with a knife in hand, could cover a distance of 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. The average LEO can draw and fire his pistol and place two center-mass hits on his attacker in about 1.5 seconds. It was concluded within a 21-foot radius a LEO might not have the time to draw and shoot to stop the threat before the attacker was on him.
The Ninth Circuit ruled the 21-foot rule provides that a person at that distance may pose a threat to the safety of a LEO. It does not follow that an armed suspect never possesses an immediate threat beyond 21 feet.
"There is no case law that a LEO must wait until an armed suspect is within 21 feet before being justified in using deadly force."
"The LEOs use of force was reasonable under the circumstances."
Street Fighters, rightfully so, have concerns about being photographed in public. In the wrong hands these pictures could be harmful to both the Street Fighter and his family.
Street Fighters should familiarize themselves with case law: Sharp v. Baltimore, Gilko v. Cunniffee and Garcia v. Montgomery.Also, LEOs should review their department's policy as well as training material from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Starting with the Rodney King incident on March 3rd 1991, the proliferation of video recording capabilities in cellphones, smartphones, and similar devices have made it easy for the public to record events and activities of LEOs.
Under the First Amendment the public has a right to record any police activity performed in public or where the recording party otherwise has a legal right to be present as a form of constitutionally protected free speech.
Public spaces include parks, beaches streets and buildings designated for public use. Private residences and other private properties are not open to the public unless the owner has given permission for others to be present.
However, these rights are not absolute. Recording parties must maintain a reasonable distance from LEOs engaged in enforcement duties. They may not take actions that unduly delay police attempts to conduct emergency activities. They can be restricted from certain areas or directed to move, if necessary, to ensure the safety of LEOs, victims and witnesses.
All seizures and searches of recording devices require either a court order or a warrant in accordance with provisions of the Fourth Amendment.
LEOs may encounter recording persons who purposely engage officers by using confrontational, inflammatory, insulting language or actions. This practice may be a mechanism to provoke a negative response from the officer that can be recorded and distributed, providing a basis for a later lawsuit.
No matter how difficult, LEOs should ignore the recording individual. However, LEOs can mitigate and discourage such individuals from continuing their provocation by directing them to move to a reasonable location that provides LEOs with an acceptable distance in case of an unprovoked attack.
It must be stressed to LEOs that any enforcement actions, up to and including arrest, cannot be used against an individual solely on his recording.
Seventy years ago, many of us read dime novels and watched on our black and white television sets as John Wayne as Gunsmoke's Marshall Dillon and the lethal, grizzled Clint Eastwood smoked bandits in chalky towns. These whistle stop towns were brutally ruled and life expectancies were short.
Bat Masterson was one of the icons, the quick drawing, sharpshooting sheriff, facing down a desperado on a dusty street with guns blazing. In 1902 he moved to New York City, where he worked as a columnist for the New York Morning Telegraph.
This legendary lawman carried a reputation as a hell of a marksman. At the battle of Adobe Wells in 1874, he and a small group of hunters prevailed, fighting off a five-day attack by a Cheyenne raiding party. A year later Bat was involved in a shootout in Sweetwater, Texas. Melvin King shot Bat in the hip. Bat stayed in the fight firing a single shot into King's heart.
In 1907 Bat wrote, "Looking through the sights is a very essential thing to do when shooting at an adversary who is returning your fire. Courage is to step out and fight to the death with a pistol is an important quality a man must possess in order to last long in this hazardous business. A man may possess the greatest amount of courage possible and still be a pathetic failure as gunfighter. Courage is of little use to a man trying to arbitrate a difference with a pistol if he is inexperienced in the use of the weapon he is going to use. Then again, he may possess both courage and experience and still fail if he lacks deliberation."
"Focus on making yourself better, not on thinking that you are better." ---Bohdi Sanders
At his Kentucky class Rob Pincus taught a variety of methods to present the blaster from the seated position.
To draw from an Appendix Inside Waistband Holster (AIWB) while seated, you may have to either lean back or over to the side. Sit on an angle or corner of the chair for a faster presentation. Avoid sitting in a low chair or one with a curving back. As the muzzle clears the lip of the holster do not twist your blaster so it is pointed back into your torso. Move your strong side leg, foot and knee, to the centerline of your body so you do not muzzle flash yourself. Once the muzzle is clear you can go ahead and shift your strong side leg back. Remain seated with your head in line with your hips then extend out to full presentation. Be sure to get your body weight forward.
Shooting strong hand only while seated, do not grab the armrest with your support hand, this will cause your body to twist and adversely affect recoil management.
Practice standing up from the chair without pushing off with your support hand. Move your strong side leg back toward the chair. As you begin to rise, pivot on your support foot while moving backward behind the chair. Pivoting avoids becoming entangled with the chair.
When seated at a table, avoid a scooping or bowling presentation so you do not hit your muzzle against the table. Execute your draw stroke straight-up, marry up with your support hand, then punch straight out.
Do not re-holster while seated. Calm yourself with a couple of deep breaths. Push out from your hips, drop your strong leg back, pause, finger outside the trigger guard. Engage safety or de-cock. Thumb on exposed hammer or back of slide cover plate. Look your pistol back into your holster.
When I attended the Sig Academy class, we were taught numerous southpaw manipulations for both pistol and rifle.
A technique for releasing the magazine without having to adjust the firing hand's grip on the pistol allowing for a rapid reload and a speedy re-engagement of the threat. Bring your pistol back into your workspace, rotate your non-firing index or middle finger between the trigger and middle finger of your firing hand. Feel for the magazine release button, press and release the magazine.
Another method, rotate the pistol, press the magazine release with your trigger finger.
A nifty tactical reload. Press the magazine release, capture the bottom of the magazine against your chest so the magazine does not drop to the deck. Retrieve your full magazine from your pouch. Slide the full magazine between your index and middle finger of your support hand. Cup your partial empty magazine between your thumb and index finger. Insert your fully loaded magazine, returning your partially empty magazine to your pouch. Re-engage the threat.
The slide locked to the rear can be released by hitting the slide release with your index finger of strong hand or come around with middle finger of support hand and hit the slide release.
Lock the slide to the rear. Grasp the rear serrations between thumb and index finger, power stroke the slide to the rear. Push up on the slide release with index finger of strong hand.
Glock pistols: consider replacing the factory slide release with a Vickers/Wilson extended slide release. Doing so will save you a tremendous amount of aggravation.
A foolproof method of locking the slide to the rear, hook your rear sight on your belt at the nine o'clock position. Press down while at the same time pushing up on the slide release with index finger of your left hand.
If you have medical issues with your hands "administratively" lock the slide to the rear by inserting an empty magazine and power stroke the slide.
When a southpaw shoots his M4, lube and spent powder will splash onto the right forearm. It could be annoying, get used to it. Your forearm will not interfere with ejection of spent cartridge cases.
Obviously, you operate your charging handle with your right hand. If your optics blocks this method, operate your charging handle with your left hand.
There are several options to move the selector lever from fire to safe and from safe to fire. Slide the knuckle of your index finger under the lever and sweep up. To move selector lever to fire, slide the lower part (proximate phalange) above the lever and press down.
An alternate method to go from safe to fire and fire to safe, tip of index finger to pad of thumb, creating the okay symbol.
Release your magazine by hitting the magazine release with thumb of right hand.
To release the bolt, come in front of the magazine well with right hand, hit the bolt release with middle finger. You must hit the bolt release on top of the paddle.
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." ---Benjamin Franklin
Many LEOs live their lives on past experiences. This is very dangerous. It is a fatal illusion to judge ourselves safe because of some act we felt we accomplished ten years ago.
Being a Street Fighter is a lifelong commitment. Maybe at one time you were an expert combat shooter but this does not mean you can rest on your laurels. Firearms training is akin to paddling a canoe up river. As soon as you stop paddling, the current pushes your canoe backwards.
At the water cooler many LEOs rate themselves as being highly proficient with their weapons. They are not. They fail to see things as they are: a dangerous, egotistical fantasy. A LEO will never achieve success by doing the bare minimum. According to two psychology professors, Dunning and Kruger, "Incompetent people do not recognize just how incompetent they are."
Street Fighters must perform an accurate self-assessment. This is accomplished by establishing a set of standards. The disturbing question is how do we define an acceptable level of standards and are these standards relevant? Many agencies set the standard at the minimal level to get their officers certified in the shortest amount of time with the least expense.
The Sig Academy teaches that in order to improve as a marksman we must first lay a strong foundation. Watch your draw stroke in a mirror. Be honest with yourself. What you think you are doing, what it feels like you are doing, is not always what you are doing. Remember to control what you practice. You may get really good at the wrong thing.
Occasionally slow your training down. Break your moves down by the numbers. Avoid jetting through your practice session. Stop and evaluate what you are doing. As you tire your techniques are the first to deteriorate. You weaken and get sloppy, losing your crispness.
Don't get yourself caught up trying to look flashy and slick. Avoid gimmicky tricks. Discipline yourself to do the boring things over and over for that is the pathway to becoming a Street Fighter.
Don't be afraid of changing the way you practice. Many shooters fire a couple of hundred rounds at the range, running one to three drills. The problem with this training methodology is you are simply driving the gun to where you know the target is located. This is not the real world for gun battles are dynamic and chaotic.
Instead, I suggest you set up six or eight steel targets. Create for yourself at least three different shooting positions. Mix it up by starting from different spots, shoot the steel targets in different order. Reposition your steel targets and don't shoot a run more than twice.
There are many benefits to this practice since you are constantly performing something new. This helps you get better at reading your sights. Because you are constantly changing things up you have to rely on solid fundamentals. Go ahead and give it a try.
When firing this or any other course of fire, if you find your bullets hitting left or right, don't rush in getting out your sight tool to drift your sights. Instead, attempt these corrective actions first.
Establish a strong grip on your pistol. Lower your pistol making sure the pistol is in line with your arm all the way up to your shoulder. Draw a two-inch line in the web of your shooting hand.
Present to target, verifying the line you drew is in the center of your pistol. If the line is off center your bullets will go either left or right.
I learned from Dave Spaulding and Norm Hood how important it is to properly place your finger on the trigger. Street Fighters should place the meaty part of their index finger, between the end of the finger and the first knuckle on the trigger. Too far in one direction or the other can result in pushing or pulling shots.
Only the second knuckle is bent and the finger makes a 90% angle. This way your finger pulls directly back instead of pulling to one side or the other. For a right-hand shooter, if rounds are grouping to the left on the target, it means the trigger finger is curling too much and forcing the pistol barrel to the left. Vice versa for a southpaw shooter.
The pencil drill helps train your finger to pull directly to the rear. Hold a pencil in your non-firing hand and practice pulling the pencil directly to the rear.
Train to take the slack out of your trigger. You are finding your trigger's travel distance before it engages the trigger's sear. Place your finger on the trigger and pull it back until it stops at the sear. If the gun fires, you've gone too far.
Isolate your trigger finger. You shouldn't forget about grip but focus on your finger and move it like it's the only part of your hand. This will help from having your sight alignment/picture interrupted. Your finger and the trigger become one. The only thing moving are the finger and trigger, not your entire hand.
In practice focusing on the trigger reset (slowly pressing the trigger to the rear and then releasing it until you hear the audible click) typically leads to a tighter group. But let's take a moment to think about this. In a gun battle do you think you will feel or hear the click? Nope, you won't. So, what do you think you will do? Slapping the trigger, not trigger reset, is your body's natural reaction in a gun battle. Your groups might open a tad; however, it is quicker and easier if you can slap the trigger without moving the muzzle. In a gun battle you will not have the time to think "slow! steady! pull! release to click."
What is the value of electronic shot timers? Many Street Fighters put unnecessary psychological pressure on themselves by allowing the electronic shot time to rattle them. Simply look at it as a recording device. It cannot physically hurt you, all it can do is bruise your feelings.
Street Fighters use the electronic timer to record a base line for incremental improvement. They also train themselves to ease up, to chill out, to prepare themselves for when they have to hammer bullets into Lucifer.
To become a Street Fighter, one must travel a long and tortuous path strewn with many twists, turns and fateful crossroads. Two basic traits guide the Street Fighter on his marksmanship quest: his willingness to reject widely supported but erroneous concepts and his confidence to forge himself through trial and error.
Attached is a brief film clip edited by former Delta shooter, Larry Vickers, as he takes us through a Tom Cruise multiple shooter scene in the movie Collateral.
"Focus on making yourself better, not on thinking you are better. Tomorrow's battle is won during today's practice." ---Bohdi Sanders
Barricade Pistol Drill Steel Silhouette (25 yards)
2 shots standing at 25 yards, run to 20 yards,
2 shots standing, left/right barricade, run to 15 yards,
2 shots kneeling, left/right barricade, run back to 25 yards,
2 shots standing
Barricade Rifle Drill Steel Silhouette (50 yards)
2 shots standing at 50 yards, run to 45 yards,
2 shots standing, left/right barricade, run to 40 yards,
2 shots kneeling, left/right barricade, run back to 50 yards
2 shots standing
Tier One: Under 20 seconds
Tier Two: Under 22 seconds
Tier Three: Under 25 seconds
NO GO: One miss or over 25 seconds
Course of Fire
Target: NRA B8 Repair Center
Distance: 5 yards
Time Limit 2.5 seconds per stage
Stage One: Draw, Fire 1 round
Stage Two: Low Ready, Fire 4 rounds
Stage Three: Strong Hand Only, Low Ready, Fire 3 rounds
Stage Four: Support Hand Only, Low Ready, Fire 2 rounds
Tier One: 96 points
Tier Two: 94 points
Tier Three: 92 points
NO GO: Below 92 points or exceed time limit
"When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today." ---French Legionnaire, Dien Bien Phu, 1954
The infantryman knows from his own experience of having "seen the elephant", that the antonym for fear is not fearlessness but courage. It is the bravery to manage fear and perform gallantly while under fire. Courage is the infantryman's primary virtue while cowardice is his primary vice.
Courage is doing what you are afraid of doing. Discipline, pride, self-mastery and the quest for glory are the attributes possessed by the infantryman. An infantryman is never more alive than in the midst of battle with death murmuring around his ears.
Sunday, 12 March 1967, at first light, in the hesitant grayness of early dawn, the static on my PRC-25 radio was broken. My good friend, Lieutenant Steve Karopczyc, was taking causalities in a firefight with the North Vietnamese Army (NVA).
I waited until the Forward Air Controller (FAC) put out the grid coordinates before moving toward Steve.
In the infantry, loyalty was all you had in jungle combat. Knowing when trapped in an untenable position, your buddies were coming for you and would fight through hell to save your ass. Strong bonds of comradeship are forged by living and fighting alongside brother warriors. It generates unsurpassable loyalty and unbeatable ferocity.
An infantry officer keeps his troopers alive by continually calculating the NVAs strength and capabilities. Foreseeing threats before they become real and acting instead of reacting. He uses his psychological response to danger to his advantage; he is a problem solver, dispassionate and cold-blooded.
With bullets buzzing overhead and foliage being shredded, because of the jungle's denseness, it was difficult to spot the NVA.
Using our knees and elbows we crawled forward into the kill zones. Hearing nothing but our heavy breathing; staying close to the ground. From experience shooting low, certain that like us, the NVA would stay close to the ground. Our fire compelled the NVA to keep their heads down as our crescendo of fire built up.
We were reloading as we wiped sweat out of our eyes. Seeking cover in the minimum patches of low ground or behind anthills or the thick roots of trees.
My fire team leaders got their troopers into a low crouch and led them from one position of cover to the next. Branches would tug at our gear as bullets thumped into trees, into soldiers. Movement would catch our eye as splinters from trees dug into our flesh.
Steve depended on us. We couldn't stay immobile. We couldn't allow the NVA to set up on the high ground. Talking gulps of air to lower our heart rate we spotted the NVA moving fast from tree to tree. We spit dirt from our parched mouths and fired. We too moved forward, not wanting to stay in the same place, knowing the NVA would try to outflank us.
I heard the close static of gunfire. An NVA soldier came around a tree a few yards in front of me. His face was tense with restrained aggressiveness. Head rotating left, right. Eyes searching. Hands clutching his AK-47 rifle. I shot him between wind and water with a 12-gauge slug. He lurched back, his mouth fitfully opening and closing. His legs crumpled from under him. He let out a bestial scream. I shot him again.
In jungle combat by the time a trooper spotted the NVA it was too late. Infantrymen had to develop the inherent skill to recognize potential danger before the danger manifested itself. It all came down to a split nano second between life and death.
An NVA machine gunner hit one of my troopers full in the chest with a burst of fire. The jungle was so thick it held his body fully upright. In his last seconds as he bled out, he sang, "the eyes of Texas are upon me, till Gabriel blows her horn". Then he was dead. His close buddy, who had gone on R&R with him, gallantly tried to fight his way to his comrade. He too was shot dead. Life and death came down to a binary choice. You juked left around a tree when you should have juked right. The NVA gunner saw them first and punched their tickets to Valhalla.
A couple of gloomy, wind driven clouds floated across the face of the morning sky momentarily blocking out the sun. Withdrawal was not feasible and hunkering down doing nothing would lead to death. Attack was the final option.
I could hear the sonic crack of bullets flying over me. A few feet in front of me a wounded NVA soldier was on his knees fumbling with his AK-47 rifle. I shot a 12-gauge slug into his neck. His eyes flickered like a light bulb with a faulty filament. Hours later, as I looked up at the sky, it appeared as though all the day's blood had congealed on the clouds and had turned them black.
Sooner or later your hourglass runs out of sand. Blood had saturated Steve's fatigue shirt, seeping out with every beat of his heart. Steve had tried to stem the flow of blood with his hands. His eyes said that he was unafraid but knew that there would not be any more tomorrows. All of us sensed that our own predetermined end would someday come and we wished to meet death as gallantly and nobly as Steve.
Steve inspired his men with his stamina and guts. He filled them with hope and zeal. He was a natural leader with a taste for combat and danger. For his actions on Sunday, 12 March 1967, Steve Karopczyc was awarded the Medal of Honor. Steve is buried in the veteran's cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.
Those of us who lived returned from Vietnam with deep-seated feelings of personal skepticism as to why others died and why we survived.
In order to gain clarity, the Street Fighter must first take a seat at the back of the bus and observe how other people on the bus fit into his life and he into their life. Are they moving forward in their life? Have they left him behind? Have they fallen behind while he has chosen to move forward? Is there someone from his past driving the bus and taking him on a path he does not wish to travel?
Start moving closer to the driver's seat. How quickly the Street Fighter moves is not important. Some of the passengers on the bus may try to impede him as he moves forward. If they do the Street Fighter should remain tolerant and simply go around them.
The Street Fighter's goal is to sit in the driver's seat and take control of his life. This will necessitate courage, persistence and patience. If a passenger is detrimental, he may have to tell him to get off the bus. Likewise, he may have the right passenger on the bus but in the wrong seat. The Street Fighter provides that passenger with the necessary skill sets as he shifts him into a more responsible seat.
Sometimes he may have to take a seat in the middle of the bus to rest and assess his next move. This is okay. The Street Fighter uses this pause to think where he wants to steer the bus once he is up front and at the wheel.
Once he is in the driver's seat, there may be times he is not sure as to his course of action. He stops and parks the bus for a while. It doesn't matter how long he stops because he is in control. He takes his time, trusts his judgment and decides whom he wants as companions on his next journey. He looks for those with character, commitment and integrity. He chooses those who will support and enhance his core values. The most effective way to keep the wrong passenger off the bus is simply don't let him on the bus in the first place.
The Street Fighter keeps in mind that he alone holds the key to his dreams.