STREET FIGHTER-PART SIXTEEN
STREET FIGHTER'S CREED
"It's not that I am always prepared, because I'm not. It's not that I have the most advanced technology, because I don't, and it's sure as hell not because I'm Batman!
What I am is a symbol. An idea that anyone can be a true hero. I don't give up. When I am beaten, I regroup and find a way. I am only human, but don't let that fool you either.
Prep time means nothing without execution. Acts of heroism mean nothing if the motives aren't pure. I don't always win, but I will never quit."... The Hagakure
The editions of the DEA Watch Street Fighter are intended to be a handy work tool for readers to have readily available so that in today's pugnacious climate of policing, the reader will emerge safely from a deadly force encounter with his sanity intact.
When the knock-down-drag-out fight of your life comes, conditions will not be 100% perfect. Rain, cold, heat, being mentally drained, physically debilitated, nauseated, or a combination of all, will sap your strength. Performing at 50%, the Street Fighter must call up and bring into play 100% of that 50%.
Street Fighters must prepare for the suck part of life. They must learn to be at ease and function in the harshest of conditions. They must test themselves in the gym, classroom and square range by working with twice the intensity even when they do not feel like it.
While at the FBI Academy I met two brilliant instructors, Bob Taubert and Victor Cortez. What made them brilliant instructors? Bob and Victor not only passed along what they learned to future teachers who will train the next generation of Street Fighters, they understood that there is nothing more dramatic than a man fighting for his life. Nothing more valiant or bold than a man hearing the snap and crack of bullets zipping near his head yet coolly and deliberately returning accurate aimed fire.
They taught their students to be consistent. Consistency leads to predictable results. Never satisfied with accepting things as they are, Bob and Victor constantly collected and studied tactical and marksmanship data. They always tested the results, ran drills until they were dog-tired and bushed.
Bob and Victor did not mince words. Their method was "emotionless correction," meaning don't take corrections personally. Many Law Enforcement Officers [LEOs] unfortunately respond to constructive comments with stubbornness or denial, "Nope, not my fault." Bob and Victor changed that shortcoming to one of "receptive openness."
Bob and Victor knew that it is impossible to plan for what you can't envision might happen. The more their students thought they had planned for every possibility the more startled they would become when something occurred that they had not factored into their response.
Their curriculum was designed to assist their students to beat back the startle response so that they were not overwhelmed by dangers they could not have seen coming. Since not all probabilities can be averted, Bob and Victor prepared students to quickly respond once the threat materialized. They trained their students to have the determination to prevail so that unforeseen events did not become cataclysmic tragedies.
While on covert ops, the Street Fighter must have the flexibility to adjust to rapidly changing conditions. To make things up on the fly, when events start to spiral out of control as they inevitably do. Naturally there are tangible benefits to be gained through preparation but these benefits can sometimes be lacking on hastily concocted missions.
While some publications rigidly stifle their readers ability to think independently by maintaining "their way is the only way," my goal in publishing Street Fighter on DEA Watch is to teach our readers how to "Think your way Through A Gun Battle." Street Fighters need to be dynamic, precise, fluid, able to take a bold calculated risk without hesitation. To be like water in mind and body, quickly conforming to whatever danger they are poured into.
Prioritize and execute. You can't do everything at once. Even if you think everything is a priority, you still need to prioritize. Relax, look around, piss ice water, and make a decision.
Street Fighters train with motivation and purpose so that they will be hard to kill, for strength lies in the heart, the mind and the will. Self-discipline begins by mastering stream of consciousness. If they cannot control their thoughts and emotions, they will not be able to control their actions.
The Street Fighter does not seek a leisurely life tucked snugly into a safe harbor. They seek the vigor and knowledge that allows them to live a dangerous life for evil abounds. Evil pervades every backwater of the world, constantly preying on what is to be taken, always gunning for someone feeble to attack.
"War exposes the best and the worst of those who are called to fight. I know of no man who lacked character in peace and then discovered character in combat."... Major Dick Winters
During World War Two, Dick Winters was the heroic paratroop company commander of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Dick has been featured in a number of books and was portrayed in the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
Dick did not consider himself a natural leader or a masterful tactician. Although he thought his training first rate, it wasn't necessarily the field exercises that prepared him to lead men in combat. He wrote how he spent most of his available free time before jumping into Normandy on 6 June 1944.
He would go off by himself, find a quiet place to study the latest field manuals on offensive and defensive tactics. Dick devoted many hours self-educating and acclimating himself to the perils of the battlefield.
He never denied the presence of clear-cut dangers but remained vigilant, always having a plan to problem solve on the fly when things went to shit. It was not about being frightened and paranoid, it was about mastering the battlefield so as to cut down on the probability of freezing, panicking or making a rash rush at the enemy because he was flustered, enraged, fearful or in shock. Dick's ability to spot subtle signs of risk and to be able to anticipate enemy actions made him a superlative battlefield commander. He remained coolheaded, focused and fluidly applied his knowledge and skills in an integrated manner while uniformly making the correct decision in rapidly unfolding and dangerous situations.
In the Normandy invasion, Dick led the attack on a battery of German howitzers that were firing on the causeways that served as the principal exit from Utah Beach. This action, called the Brecourt Manor Assault, is an example of an assault on a fixed position by a numerically inferior force. After the war Dick lectured extensively at military institutes on this and many other facets of warfare.
Just because you can safely ride your bike on a smooth pavement in pleasant weather does not mean you can hop on a mountain bike and compete in a cross-country endurance race involving a mix of gravel stone roads, fire trails or narrow eroded tracks calling for you to make many dangerous technical decisions.
Most of our law enforcement training is done in such a way as to almost guarantee poor real-world performance in a violent encounter. LEOs are owed better training than they are currently receiving. Recent scientific studies alert us to the fact that the average LEO, within months of leaving the academy, will have little ability to apply skills effectively in a pulsating, dynamic fight to the death with a resistive predator. What is even worse, their decision-making skills will have tanked their ability to respond legally and appropriately with justified force.
Natural talent will only carry the LEO so far. They may have eye-hand coordination or fast reactions; however, the first 75% of learning has little to do with talent, it is all persistence, practice and dogged determination.
It is my intention that DEA Watch be the go-to training digest where readers can master their leadership and tactical skills.
I would like to spark open-minded discussion, questioning and challenging some ingrained tactical concepts for the Street Fighter who strives to be the best.
Most of our academy training on close quarter battle (CQB) has its genesis based on hostage rescue (HR). An important distinction must be made between HR and CQB. In HR the hostage's safety is the number one priority while in CQB the LEOs life takes precedence. HR relies on the team of assaulters entering and flooding the room together, dominating with crisscrossing sectors of fire. The number one and two men first clear their corners creating a safe pathway for the number three and four men who shoot any threats deep in the center of the room. The purpose of flooding the room is to draw fire and divert attention off the hostages. Before clearing their corners, unless a threat is at arm's length distance, the number one and two men do not engage. They cannot hesitate and block the entry point slowing down the number three and four men. It doesn't matter how fast the team makes entry, there will always be a gap before the third man can shoot any deep threats.
CQB's goal is to minimize friendly causalities; therefore, any visible threats must be dealt with pronto regardless of where or how far into the room they are before the team crosses the threshold of the door. In CQB, speed is measured in how fast you can thump bullets into flesh, not how fast you can charge into a room.
In CQB the number one man should be permitted to take a split second to pie off the door and eliminate any visual threats, regardless of how deep, before he enters and clears his corner. Bear in mind hanging out too long in the fatal funnel is never a good idea.
Consider bulking up the size of your team from four to six men so that all the dangerous angles from adjacent rooms and long hallways will be covered before the team can again stack up and move to engage. Once your team has dominated an area in the building it doesn't make any sense to give it up because you lacked sufficient muzzles to cover potential threats.
When discussing tactics, Street Fighters must never be hesitant to ask, "why?" Never accept from the Suits, "this is how we have always done it." You are responsible for your life and the lives of your teammates.
"The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but on the fact, we have trained to repulse his attack."... Sun Tzu
During the 1980 era of the Cocaine Cowboys, Miami DEA battled these bloodthirsty cutthroats who had no trouble circumventing banking regulations intended to restrain the illicit drug trade. They were able to beat the system, buying exotic cars for their inamoratas, as they blatantly laundered billions in cash every year.
The chance that gangs would reach some sort of accommodation or division of power was zilch. That was not how the Cocaine Cowboys worked. You either fought or you died. Like roosters in a cockfight, all engagements terminated in death. Such was life in Miami.
Their ego warded off any compromise. To these young machos, killing was no big deal. Making millions every month, ruling with absolute power; throw in sex, power, and all the cocaine you could snort and you had a recipe for carnage and slaughter.
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." ... Martin Luther King, Jr.
Shortly before 0800 hours, 5 May 2004, Corinne, a female deputy, and her trainee were on patrol when they received a suspicious incident call in an adjoining zone. A bus grinding to an ear-piercing stop behind her patrol car before speeding up, belching a plume of smoke interrupted her train of thought. Dispatch related to Corinne that an eight-year-old boy had called 911 from a cell phone saying strangers were in his house threatening his mother.
Hours before she began her shift a passing cloudburst had dropped an inch of rain in twenty minutes. The air smelt so fresh and clean, she felt so much alive. She had always learned to be on guard, to take precautions. Having worked alone at night in the seamier sides of her county she quickly developed a sixth sense for danger, as if she could see behind herself or feel a threat or smell its scent in the humid air. As a deputy her philosophy was: calm but alert, relaxed but ready, smooth but sharp, humble but confident. With autopilot engaged and her emotions held in check she would drift through her assigned calls for service.
Corinne was oftentimes asked if she found it troublesome trying to make a career in law enforcement as a woman. She would tell her friends it's not any more difficult than making it in any other male dominated field. She would further elaborate she had been lucky in the sense she always had supportive leaders, learning early on that anything she had to prove, she only had to prove to herself.
Fear had always been a constant in her work as a deputy, but she learned fear was often an advantage as long as she didn't allow it to hamper her thought process. Fear put her on top of her game, hyper alert to hazards and abnormalities.
At the sheriff's department she tended to snub off colleagues who never conceded to being fearful when they were in the field. Their swagger did nothing for them and frequently pointed to shortcomings in their psychological makeup. Oftentimes they would make a deadly error that could be traced back to not having confronted their fear. Corinne welcomed the feeling of fear and was wary if it did not pop up; however, she never permitted her fears free rein.
Corinne was lucky that her firearm instructors were from the mold of instructors like Dave Spaulding and Mike Pannone, for they knew that the best knowledge taught in the academy would not be of much use if the LEOs couldn't perform after graduation. Her academy instructors inspired a passion in their recruits, a sense of need and urgency to master their tradecraft. Their fledglings recognized their vulnerabilities and were inspired to take personal ownership and to continue to build and enhance their proficiency with firearms.
The murmur from her radio sounded mute as she scanned her surroundings heading over to link up with her fellow deputies. Corinne felt a familiar tremor of excitement spread throughout her body. The anticipation of a mission about to kick off and her determination to succeed made time speed up and everything one way or another would be finished before fear set in. At least, that is how it always had been.
She drove past fast-food joints, grocery stores and filling stations bunched next to the freeway. Within a couple of blocks they fell away replaced by mostly single-family homes on small lots with yards of dirt and overgrown weeds. Parked in the driveways were rusted out jalopies. Some of the property owners had put up chain-link fences separating themselves from their neighbors. Garish signs festooned the fences warning any trespassers to be aware of vicious dogs.
Arriving at the home, she thought it looked similar to many others on the street, one story tall. A door of a light color stood in its center, offset by narrow windows on either side. All the blinds were drawn tightly shut. There was a narrow concrete pathway leading up to the house from the road.
As she and her trainee arrived there were two deputies on the front lawn talking to a woman who told them three men were in her house and she didn't know what they wanted or why they were there. The woman frantically pointed toward a two-car garage with an open door. Inside the garage was a gold minivan. All of a sudden, the woman cried out "my babies, my babies."
When Corinne heard the woman cry out about her babies, she felt her fists clench, a psychological response that rushed through every fiber of her body. As if on command her senses sharpened, adrenaline seeped into her muscles; however, she anticipated, soon enough, basic psychology would kick in and she would begin to power down from the adrenaline rush.
Later investigation revealed three stick-up men had come to rip-off 350 pounds of marijuana and steal $60,000 in cash from the woman.
The other deputies decided to back off and separate to check the outside of the house. As Corinne walked alone toward the open door of the garage, she thought there probablywasn't anything to worry about. Probablywasn't good enough. Probably got you killed. Probablywas for others; not for her. She no longer felt nervous tension or strain as to what might come. In their place Corinne felt a steely resolve, her breathing leveled off, her heart rate slowed.
Standing still and waiting had never been one of Corinne's strongpoints. If she were to err, she erred on the side of action, to be the aggressor. When spearheading an investigation Corinne wholeheartedly believed in the truism it was always easier to shift on the fly than to try and quick march from a dead stop.
When Corinne entered the garage, the silence was almost spooky. She welcomed it because silence was only frightening when it shouldn't be silent. Crouching down by the driver's side of the van she could see two-year old twins but she couldn't see the young boy who had made the 911 call. The van's door handle was locked so she couldn't get in to pull out the kids. Every one of her internal warning lights seemed to flash in harmony.
A triggerman entered the garage from the house, positioned himself behind the van and began firing at the deputies outside. Spotting Corinne, he turned and began firing at her. A second triggerman fired at her from the hood of the van.
Their bullets thudded into Corinne opening up entry wounds that gushed out globules of blood that painted red stripes in a wide arc on the floor of the garage. With each bullet, Corinne's body jerked in a spasmodic motion. Her body teetered before drifting sideways as her shoulder hit against the side of the van. For an instant her body remained propped upright until gravity took over and she gradually slid down onto her knees. Corinne began to gag as bloody spittle drooled out of her mouth and down her chin.
Being an outstanding athlete and a gym junkie Corinne had developed a high threshold for pain. She was able to endure the pain and then store it in a tiny section of her brain, to recognize it but move past it, to understand that it was not going away no matter what, and to accomplish whatever task she set for herself despite the pain.
Corinne found in this gun battle everything sped up into slow motion, at least that is how it seemed. A blur of fervid action that moved like a glacier. She thought it astounding how much could travel through her mind in a millisecond.
Corinne's cluster of shots caught the triggerman at the front of the van by surprise as he ran his fingers over the holes in his bowels right below his sternum. Blood and fecal matter oozed from his entrails as he futilely tried to halt the spurts of life leaking onto the floor. He gurgled a death rattle as a sightless gaze of staggering disbelief and hopelessness froze forever on his pockmarked face.
Although critically wounded, Corinne knew that the one who wins the fight is the person who is willing to take it to the extreme. She held back any anger because nobody performs best when angry. Synapses don't fire when they are supposed to, thinking becomes mottled and unclear. Gun battles are nasty and brutal. There are no such things as style points when engaged in a life-or-death struggle.
Time stood still as Corinne's sights settled in perfect alignment on the center of the triggerman's forehead at the back of the van. She gently pulled the trigger. The firing pin dimpled the primer creating an explosion of speedily expanding gas, and then a thunderbolt of lead brought her hell upon earth to an abrupt halt. A noise like a wet sponge hitting a wall sounded from the triggerman's skull. His pistol clattered to the floor as Corinne saw the final image of red mist that exploded from his head being replaced by the endless silence of peace.
As deputies stormed into the garage, they were assailed by the unmistakable smell of blood coupled with that of voided bowels certainly nothing like you would see on the silver screen or television. Street Fighters early on in their career learn the fetid business of death.
"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."... Myamoto Musashi
Corinne had many questions, why her? She knew she would never have a suitable response. As a LEO she knew her world was chancy and chaotic in how it apportioned heartless outcomes and oftentimes the devil prevailed for no apparent reason.
Alone in her hospital room during a painful recovery Corinne cried for a few minutes, until she was emotionally exhausted. She darn well knew that her reaction was normal, but she also knew she had to fight through the pain by taking it five minutes at a time, then the next five minutes and so on. She knew she wasn't any use to anyone, including herself, if she became a hopeless basket case. Corinne was determined to turn her pain into power.
Slowly she willed herself into a stronger mental space: she was alive, and she would prevail. She was independent and intelligent, tough, ruggedly fit and could tackle any adversity.
In her grueling recovery Corinne knew she had complete control over her motivation and commitment. She could respond in several ways. For some LEOs their world would be completely torn apart. Their inner strength and trust in themselves would be cracked.
Corinne viewed it as a challenge, an opportunity to see how she performed, of her level of perseverance, how she would adapt. Now with eyes open she could see the long road to recovery that lay ahead. She was not going to roll over and wallow in despair. Corinne was determined to live out and enjoy her life and the people in it.
She sat in bed staring at her police badge lying alongside the lamp on the nightstand. Next to the badge was a dog-eared card with a quote from Bohdi Sanders, "When life puts you in a tough situation, don't say why me, say try me."Blotting the tears from her eyes and ruminating about the last forty-eight hours Corinne began to shift her mental attitude. She resolved to focus on prevailing in the midst of what had occurred. She took heart from other LEOs she had heard of who persevered and thrived through horrendous injuries. If they had been able to do it, she could and would not succumb to self-pity. She may not have been herself by a long shot, but at least she was up off the mat and swinging again.
"To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them."... Charles de Montesquieu
If Street Fighters want loyalty from their troops, they in turn must be loyal to them. In other words, if Street Fighters wants their troops to have their six, the troops must show they have their six.
Street Fighters have learned from poor leaders who do all the talking and none of the listening, signaling to the troops that their thoughts are inconsequential. A know it all with a huge ego who thinks he alone has all the answers. Street Fighters listen and look for feedback knowing they are not the fountains of all knowledge. They put together a team of diverse skill sets and never stop learning. Their biggest concern is when their most passionate teammates fall silent.
Although wild emotional outbursts are inappropriate, extreme stoicism can create barriers. Street Fighters have learned that bold ideas expressed at the appropriate time can be a motivator.
Street Fighters will put on their team a "disruptor" who challenges the status quo, not to be troublesome, but to offer a fresh perspective, which could result in better-informed decisions. Suits have the "cookie cutter" mentality. They only bring on board folks who have the same point of view, narrow minded with similar temperaments and background. Their teams are echo chambers where new ideas and approaches die. Suits will never admit they brought poor performers on board until a tremendous amount of harm has been done.
Street Fighters have worked for Suits who are fearful of "rocking the boat." They don't make tough decisions, avoid confrontations and stifle bold new ideas. These Suits fail to delegate, instead they delineate each and every step and then dogmatically enforce these steps. Suits provide inadequate direction and murky perspectives allowing their team to run helter-skelter in all different directions of the compass.
Suits lead from the sidelines and rarely if ever step out onto the playing field. They are quick to say "no." They are stodgy, suffocating initiative and enthusiasm with red tape and endless layers of endorsement. They hide from problems. Street Fighters on the other hand empower their teams, are problem solvers rather than obstructionists. Street Fighters take prudent risks and are willing to transform institutional inertia. They accept certain mistakes and slip-ups as part of their learning curve, which fosters an opportunity for growth.
Suits are unable to deal positively with friction and discord, cannot defuse tense predicaments and cannot provide clear guidance in the face of instability and change. Suits have never learned that they should not push loyal Street Fighters to the point where they no longer give a fuck.
Street Fighters intimidate poor leaders. Lacking confidence, they do not want their troops to have more knowledge and skill than themselves. Street Fighters want their troops to be better than them all the while nurturing the next generation of proven leaders.
Street Fighters who have worked under Suits have a front row seat on what not to do remaining mindful not to mimic these bad leaders. Having worked for a bad boss who never provides encouragement, the Street Fighter develops self-motivation and does not take a bad boss's acerbic attitude personally.
Bad bosses lack patience so Street Fighters learn to be crisp in their oral and written presentations. They learn to read the body language of bad bosses, a great non-verbal indicator as to how they are receiving their ideas.
Suits become volatile when feeling challenged. Street Fighters learn how to keep their cool, minimize conflict and pick their battles.
Does a LEO have to wait until the muzzle of a gun is pointed at him before he can fire his blaster? A Colorado U.S. Court of Appeals in their decision Valverde v. Dodge answered this question.
On the afternoon of 2 July 2014, SWAT Officer Justin Dodge shot and killed Joseph Valverde. During the arrest Dodge saw Valverde pull out a gun from his waistband. Although the gun was not pointed at him, Dodge shot Valverde three times with his M4 carbine without issuing any verbal commands. One bullet hit Valverde in the chest, one in the back of his right elbow and one in his right back. In deciding whether any hostile motions with the weapon were made towards the officer the court concluded that Dodge's belief was reasonable. To wait to see what Valverde would do with the weapon could be fatal. The sound of Dodge's shot was less than a second after Valverde pulled out his gun. The last shot was a mere second after the first. The law does not require that a police officer know what is in the heart and mind of his assailant. Perhaps a suspect is just pulling out a weapon to discard it rather than to fire it. But waiting to find out what the suspect planned to do with the weapon could be suicidal. The law does not require the officer to await the glint of steel before taking self-protective action; by then, it is often too late to take safety precautions.
The court declared: "No citizen can fairly expect to draw a gun on police without risking tragic consequences. And no court can expect a human being to remain passive in the face of an active threat on his life, The Constitution simply does not require police to gamble with their lives in the face of a serious threat of harm."
The Eight Circuit-United States Court of Appeals decided in the case Wenzel v.Stormif a LEO was justified in shooting an unarmed man.
Bourbon, Missouri Police Officer Carl Storm shot and killed Gary Wenzel on 5 March 2014. During a high-speed pursuit lasting eleven minutes, dispatch advised Storm that Wenzel was classified as having "J3" status, meaning Wenzel was known to be violent with weapons and violent towards law enforcement.
The video from the patrol car showed Wenzel quickly exiting his vehicle and walking aggressively toward Storm. Wenzel appeared angry, his arms swinging as he walked. The videos showed that Wenzel did not comply with or even react to Storm's commands. He instead continued to approach Storm, coming to within a few steps from him, whereupon Storm fired his weapon three times. Wenzel was unarmed.
The Eight Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment concluding Storm's use of deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances. Evidence showed Wenzel was a fleeing suspect whose reckless driving constituted a hazard to oncoming motorists. Storm was aware of Wenzel's "J3" status while his angry visage upon exiting his vehicle was in keeping with the reputation he had earned during his earlier interactions with law enforcement officers. Given his knowledge of that reputation and the scant three seconds he had to observe Wenzel's unabated approach towards him, it was reasonable for Storm to believe that Wenzel posed an immediate threat of serious physical harm to him, notwithstanding the fact that Storm could see that Wenzel's hands were empty and the later discovered fact that Wenzel was unarmed.
Citing Graham v. Connor, a reasonable officer on the scene would have viewed Wenzel's indisputable aggressive approach as a precursor to a physical altercation. The court wrote in their decision Storm was required to make a split-second decision in unpredictable and dangerous circumstances. He was not constitutionally required to attempt to re-holster his firearm, grab his baton or pepper spray canister, and do battle with the fast-approaching, confrontational Wenzel.
On 16 September 2016 Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer Betty Shelby responded to a call involving a stalled SUV left abandoned in the middle of the road. The driver, Terrence Crutcher, despite repeated warnings walked toward the officer alternately putting and removing his hands from his pockets. Crutcher reached into his driver's side window. One officer fired his Taser at him. Shelby fired one shot killing Crutcher. There was no weapon. A toxicology report revealed Crutcher had acute levels of PCP and another hallucinogenic in his system. Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter. A jury found Shelby not guilty.
Attorney Andrew Branca teaches that fear has to be reasonable fear, meaning it has to be fear that's not based on speculation or imagination, but based on actual evidence. A speculative fear of harm is not sufficient to justify the use of deadly force.
However, you need not see an actual weapon. If someone threatens to shoot you and then reaches for their weapon you can make an inference from their words that verbalized threat in combination with their conduct that they are about to draw their weapon. The law does not require that you be right about the inference. It is perfectly acceptable that you are mistaken about the inference. You are not required to make a perfect decision in self-defense; you are required to make reasonable decisions in self-defense.
A car dealer watched on his close circuit security camera as rioters destroyed his business. Despite his desperate 911 calls for help the police dispatcher told him the area was way too dangerous for police officers to respond. As his lifetime of work went up in a puff of smoke, on his final call, he told the dispatcher "no need to come I no longer have a business."
Recently police in Colorado were ordered to stand down twice to avoid arresting a violent felon. Guess why? The felon had been terrorizing residents of an apartment complex, exposed himself to a group of kids, threw a rock through a sliding glass door and vandalized cars in a parking lot. Two girls locked themselves in a second-floor bedroom when the felon attempted to sexually assault them.
The Deputy Chief said, "We were trying to get the situation peacefully resolved and if the officers had attempted to take the felon into custody it could have led to the use of deadly force. I told my officers to stand down and walk away."
What happened to the two girls who were locked in the second-floor bedroom? After the police left the girls had to be rescued by fire department ladders.
Consider this horrendous incident that happened in the early morning hours of Sunday 16 March 1975. Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro. Who shared a third-floor room, heard the door of their downstairs neighbor, Mary Douglas, kicked in. Two men entered Douglas' apartment, one forced Douglas to perform oral sex while the other raped her.
Warren, hearing Douglas' screams called 911. The dispatcher assured her police would be promptly dispatched. Police cars drove past without stopping. Hearing Douglas' continued screams Warren called 911 and was again assured police were on the way; however, this time no police were dispatched.
The two rapists captured Warren and Taliaferro and for the next fourteen hours the three captives were raped beaten and forced to commit perverted sexual acts on one another.
In Warren v. District of Columbia,the court ruled based on the police duty doctrine that "the duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists.
In other words, the three rape victims, Warren, Taliaferro and Douglas, were shit out of luck as were the car dealer and the citizens of Colorado.
If there is suspicious activity outside the Street Fighter's home, he should not bust out through his door gun in hand. He just might have set himself up to be ambushed.
You might have to accept vandalism outside your home because it beats being maimed, killed or having to face an overzealous prosecutor or a biased news media. You sure don't want to have to fight for your freedom in a criminal proceeding or face financial ruin with the attendant legal fees or judgment in civil proceedings.
The suspicious activity may have been simply caused by rowdy teenagers, an autistic child, an elderly neighbor suffering from dementia or the most dangerous scenario, LEOs at the wrong address.
Let's take a close look at how a couple of real-life critical incidents unfolded so that the Street Fighter is better prepared to face the nightmare of a home invasion.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 17 October 1992. Hattori, a Japanese exchange student along with a male friend were on their way to a Halloween party and by mistake knocked on the door of the wrong house. The property owner, Rodney Peairs, fatally shot Hattori, thinking he was criminally trespassing. Peairs had walked out his front door to confront Hattori who was dressed in a Halloween costume. Peairs told Hattori to freeze. Hattori moved toward Peairs holding a camera, which Peairs mistook for a weapon. Peairs shot Hattori once in the chest at five feet. Peairs was charged with manslaughter. After three hours of deliberation the jury returned a not guilty verdict.
On 28 June 2020 Mark and Patricia McCloskey, both attorneys, made national headlines after photos of them holding a rifle and pistol went viral. Protestors, some of whom were armed, broke down a fence to their gated community and threatened to burn down their home.
With their mayor in stupid mode, lock-downs, massive unemployment, drug abuse, alarming increase in crime, civil unrest and to top it off a police chief who had advised his community on how to behave as good victims, the McCloskey's confronted the trespassers outside their home fearing the protest was going to turn violent. Missouri's Castle Doctrine allows people to defend not only their home but also their property. The Missouri Attorney General announced he would move to get the case dismissed while the Missouri governor said if charged, he would likely pardon the McCloskey's.
The Street Fighter's best tactical option is to call 911, stay ensconced behind hard cover, gather your family together and let the threat come to you. Eyeball any potential breach point. By extending your safety zone you increase your tactical advantage by buying time so that your decision to use deadly force will not be based on irrational or unreasonable fear.
Once Street Fighters have made the conscious decision to use lethal force, the faster they can eliminate the threat, the better their chance of prevailing. Handguns have a higher access-to-bore ratio so recoil travels upward. Because your carbines bore is in line with the stock, the recoil travels straight back to your shoulder.
There are certain principles that can be applied in a confined space such as kneeling while positioned up close against a barricade or shooting over the roof of a vehicle so as not to be pushed back off your center of gravity. To maintain balance while shooting around a barricade, a right-handed shooter should place his right foot forward of his left foot as he leans to his right. If he had placed his right foot further back recoil would knock off his balance.
While stance is important to control recoil, stance cannot be relied on fully because in some tactical situations, such as uneven terrain, the perfect stance may not be possible. Some instructors still teach the old hold-over from MP5 days to square your body to the threat. This stance does very little to prevent your body from being shoved back because of recoil. As soon as your shoulders are pushed back behind your feet your carbine starts to rise. To compensate the shooter will then push down causing his bullets to impact low. To counter this position your strong side foot behind your shoulders, stance wider than shoulder width. The rule of thumb is to keep shoulders in front of your back foot, preventing you from losing balance. Load most of your weight on your support side leg, abdomen tight. The higher you can stand, the more information you pick up when looking out over dead space.
Refrain from placing the stock in the traditional position on the outer portion of your shoulder. Doing so allows the recoil to twist your body. This pushes the bullet's impact from either iron or red dot sights high right or for southpaws, high left. By dropping your strong side elbow your deltoid and pectoral muscles will flex creating a pocket for the carbine's butt. With your elbow tucked down close to your body as opposed to flopping around out in space, it will be less likely your elbow will be hit by a bullet while shooting around cover.
Position your shooting hand as high up on the pistol grip as you can while still allowing dexterity with your trigger finger. Apply firm grip pressure, pulling the rifle straight back into your chest. If you don't pull the carbine straight back there will be a lot of slop allowing the muzzle to wander left-right, up-down. Do not let the butt creep up on your shoulder. Always ride the safety with your thumb. For southpaws, without an ambidextrous safety, either move your thumb to the rifle's left side or use your pointer finger to manipulate the safety to the on/off position.
Grip your rifle as far forward as possible with your support hand placing your thumb on top of the hand guard so you can hold it down countering muzzle flip. Doing so will give greater leverage in increasing recoil control. As an added benefit it provides better mechanical advantage as you snap to engage multiple threats. Do not place your support hand back by the magazine well. Push your cheek into the stock getting a good cheek weld. This will help to settle your iron or red dot sights. The Street Fighter's goal is to master the carbine so that you can shoot to very high standards with effective performance.
Many LEOs have trouble finding their red dot holographic sights. As they bring their carbine up, they fish around with their head or jockey their carbine searching for the red dot. This is oftentimes brought about because of inconsistently placing their stock in the shoulder pocket. Your natural point of aim should drive your red dot directly to the threat. Practice shooting a 5 by 5 piece of colored construction paper at 5 yards until you can obtain consistent hits in a half second from the low ready. The Street Fighter must master throttle control, how fast or how slow they are shooting. Most shoot either way too fast or way too slow. Too fast results in terrible accuracy or too slow with hundred percent accuracy is atrociously snaillike. Speed is not more important than accuracy or vice versa. As your threat moves further away, accuracy becomes more important. As your threat gets within bad breath distance, speed becomes more important. Focus on not going too fast while training with your carbine. If you begin to miss, slow down. If you are simply shooting fast and missing more than half your shots you are creating bad habits hampering your ability to achieve the next level of marksmanship.
A drill to improve your speed and accuracy with your carbine: shoot at two adjacent circles, one six inches the other three inches in diameter, set at a distance of seven yards. Fire four rounds into the large circle, four rounds into the smaller circle. Then vary the drill first firing into the smaller circle and then the larger circle. This drill will force you to either speed up or slow down depending on the difficulty of the shot required. Your goal: 3.5 seconds. The Street Fighter wants to set goals of both accuracy and speed. Don't practice aimlessly, self-diagnose along the way. Remember in a gun battle fast accuracy will always defeat slow accuracy.
Elmer Keith, a turn of the century Idaho rancher, was instrumental in developing the first magnum revolver cartridge, the .357 magnum, as well as the theory of shooting outside the notch.
Keith devised a technique that permitted him to hit man-size long-range targets hundreds of yards away. His key to getting consistent hits was to lift the tip of his front sight blade above the rear sight notch. Keith then held at six o'clock allowing him to be able to acquire a full sight picture. He knew that to hit the target he had to be able to see it.
The most important variable to long range handgun shooting is being able to handle recoil. Your trigger press is critical while minimizing the wobble radius of the front sight. Every jerky movement of your trigger finger will be multiplied many times over as the distance increases.
Gravity and air friction pull the bullet down during flight. You need to calculate how much to elevate the tip of the front sight within the rear sight notch. The equation is bullet drop, divided by the distance to the target, times the sight radius-all in inches.
|100 yards||9mm 124 grain||Bullet drop -9 inches front sight correction 0.10||200 yards||9mm 124 grain||Bullet drop -63 inches front sight correction 0.28||300 yards||9mm 124 grain||Bullet drop -164 inches front sight correction 0.48|
Give shooting outside the notch a try. Street Fighters do not simply practice new skills, they practice learning new skills. Street Fighters have a deep-rooted commitment to knowledge, growth and being a student of the "art of the gun." They are not wedded to success but to the process of learning.
For some Street Fighters each time they pull the trigger their support hand slips a little bit forward on their blaster. The way you are gripping your blaster is the reason the grip slips, forcing you to keep adjusting. The support hand is in front of the firing hand with the thumb of the firing hand resting atop some portion of the support hand's thumb. Extend the support arm, elbow joint almost locked. There should be a pronounced bend in the strong arm's elbow. Recoil finds its way to the strong arm's elbow resulting in the thumb of the support hand slipping along the frame toward the muzzle. To correct this, take some of the bend out of your strong arm's elbow.
To build a crush grip on your blaster, the meat of your support hand should make firm contact with as much of the grip frame as possible. Rotate the heels of your hand inward against the back strap at the same time push your pinkies into the palm/heel of your hand. Be sure to maintain a slight bend in your elbows, flared out a little and not pointed at the ground. Your elbows will act as shock absorbers. To mitigate muzzle flip, lock the tendons of your wrist. Assume aggressive fighting stance with chin/chest to the threat, nose over toes, weight on the balls of your feet, toes gripping the ground.
Street Fighters can measurably increase the speed of their draw from AIWB by using a claw grip. Don't try to wedge the thumb of your strong hand into the gap between your abdomen and blaster to obtain a proper grip. Instead, rest your thumb on your rear sight as an index point. If the size of your blaster precludes you from doing this, then position your thumb on the back of the slide, which is tucked against your body. As you present from holster, let your thumb slip further down until you have achieved your natural grip. This will substantially speed up your draw stroke because you are not wasting time trying to jam your thumb behind the slide.
Another tip to consider in lieu of scoping your blaster from the holster in an upward sweep of your hand is to try a downward stabbing movement. This will result in your blaster seeming to bounce up and out of your holster. A Texas Ranger, John Hughes, aptly said, "Always remembers your hand ain't got no eyes. Maybe it might find the gun, and maybe it won't. Let your fingers guide your hand to the gun, and don't get in such a hell of a hurry."
As a quick refresher, draw until your arm will no longer fold. This is important because you can always recreate this angle. It doesn't matter if you are standing or sitting. Next step, lower your elbow and drive straight out to the threat. Practice refining the draw stroke. The line to follow is the eye-target line not the line from the holster to full extension. The quicker Street Fighters can get their blaster onto the eye-target line, the quicker they can begin to refine the sight alignment and sight picture. Incorporate some empty hand drills with your presentations. Hold an item in either your support or gun hand. On a signal drop it as you go to gun.
Street Fighters can help family and friends who have a tough time locking their slide back. While strength is an important component knowing the proper technique will make it easier. Place the web of the shooting hand high on the back strap, trigger finger straight along the frame, no splay to fingers on grip, bore line of blaster in line with forearm, strong side thumb straight and tight on frame. Blaster held in high compressed ready position, elbows close to chest, blaster parallel to the deck. The thumb of the strong hand is pushing up on the slide stop lever until it cannot go any further, come over with the support hand positioned behind the ejection port configured like a saddle, push the strong hand forward and away from the body while at the same time pulling the slide to the rear. Once the slide stops moving, let go of the slide. Because of the upward pressure being applied to the slide-stop lever the slide will automatically be engaged in the slide indentation.
Southpaws will push up on the slide-stop lever with your trigger finger and follow the previous steps. I find it helpful to use the rear sight to rack the slide on my belt pushing up on the slide-stop lever with my trigger finger. Rack the slide at the eight o'clock position on your belt. If this doesn't solve the problem, insert an empty magazine and cycle the slide. The slide will now be locked to the rear. Installing a Larry Vickers Tactical Slide Stop easily solves the problem with Glocks. Gunfights are unforgiving so why take a chance when Larry's slide-stop lever enables positive slide lock and release even while wearing gloves.
Many of us can think back to those cold frigid days at the range when our fingers felt like icicles. Before the advent of speed loaders, we tried stuffing individual cartridges from our pockets into the cylinder of our revolver. It was hard to make your hands perform what your brain was telling them to do. If your hands freeze, you lose the gunfight. There is a tactical reason to keep your fingers from becoming numb. It is hard to think tactics when your hands are painfully cold except about how cold your hands are! Patrol officers use disposable hand warmers that generate heat to keep their fingers from freezing. To get through the winter these disposable hand warmers cost a small fortune and at one time were the only viable option. They took forever to heat your frigid fingers and you couldn't control their temperature. As a more affordable option than the disposable hand warmers, Street Fighters might give Quick Heat Hand Warmers a try. Quick Heat Hand Warmers go from off to hot with one click of a button. There is no more waiting while your frozen fingers ache. They have three levels of adjustments so if its colder out you can make it go hotter and they last up to four hours before recharging.
"A warrior lives by acting, not thinking about acting, not by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting."... Caarlos Castaneda
Street Fighters must be able to quickly close the gap between their reaction time and their draw stroke by focusing their attention not on the danger but on the specific threat. This removes any self-doubt, bridging the gap between reaction time and draw stroke thus eliminating hesitation.
The predator will launch his attack when least expected. He will not announce his intention from twenty feet away. When it comes it will be at bad breath distance. Your heart will thump, your lungs will heave and your adrenaline dump will happen twice as fast as a blink of an eye. A quarter of a second later you will be faced with a choice, take control or stay frazzled. Your natural flinch response of throwing your hands up in a natural defensive move will hinder your draw stroke from concealment. Your attacker's gun will be out and you will be staring down his muzzle while your blaster is still tucked under your cover garment.
You may be confronted by multiple attackers because they want to maximize their chances of success, get what they want and escape without getting hurt or busted by the police. They want to scare you with numbers and weapons. It ultimately comes down to a roll of the dice; however, this is the moment you have trained for. Now you live or now you die.
To counter this blitz attack there are a couple of components Street Fighters must build into their training regime.
Combat Vision: Speed at which you can switch from one threat to another and how quickly your vision can stabilize before and after moving into the kill zone. As you present to the threat bring your sights up to your eyes to pick up the sight picture. This is way more efficient than dropping your head and eyes down searching for your sights at the same time you elevate your blaster.
Counter Ambuscade Skills: Oftentimes real-world threats do not always occur the way we trained in the classroom or on the square range. There will be baffling angles and distances which will put you at a distinct handicap. The more compromised the position or the graver your injury the more importance is placed on fast and accurate shooting.
There are two big components to shooting while under mental or nervous tension that are often ignored in training. How effective will you be in dealing with the case of the jitters? You can either feed the beast or else you can use your adrenaline dump as a fuel source to optimize your actions. It will all boil down to whether or not your training techniques crumble under stress or remain stress proof.
First hit draw stroke, getting the first hit on your attacker completely changes the dynamics of a gun battle. Even if your hit does not have a conscious effect on your attacker because he is drugged, drunk or deranged it will have a subconscious effect. It will get the wheels spinning in his head giving you enough time to hit him again, hopefully in the brain bucket.
The first piece of lead that penetrates into meat starts a countdown on his clock until he ceases being a threat. His clock could either be very fast or very slow. The Street Fighter's goal is to punch his pause button to gain sufficient enough time to hit something life ending.
Street Fighters who are serious about their personal safety need to make "trigger response stimulation" a priority in their training regime. Use a holstered blue gun and set up a countdown timer that will emit a loud tone at random intervals. No matter where you are in your home, immediately draw your blue gun to a close retention position and visually search for threats. Street Fighters with families obviously will have to make adjustments. This "trigger response stimulation" will help you quickly pass through the time frames of reaction time and draw stroke.
Early in their profession the Street Fighter learns that gun battles are both uncontrolled and unpredictable. Regardless of how much they train some malnourished meth head still may whack them, but they still train.
They train to quickly flip the "on" switch when called upon to employ justifiable lethal force. However, the Street Fighter can also flip the "off" switch. It is now almost a daily occurrence that LEOs are getting themselves into a staggering amount of trouble by overreacting to a perceived threat with an excessive amount of force.
On 18 July 2017 Justine Damond was fatally shot by a Minneapolis LEO. Justine had called 911 to report the possible assault of a woman in an alleyway behind her house. The LEO responding to the report arrived in the alley and was startled by a loud banging on his patrol vehicle. Mistakenly believing he was under attack, he fired through his open window killing Justine Damond. The LEO was sentenced to twelve years in prison.
Whenever a Street Fighter fires the blaster two things occur. The first is marksmanship, aligning the sights, pressing the trigger. The second is backdrop, what is going on around you, meaning everything but the act of shooting your blaster. Think of your brain as a computer. Say it is devoting 80% of its power to marksmanship; it can only devote 20% to your backdrop. However, if you have trained to become a proficient marksman, you can instead devote 10% of your brain power to marksmanship and 90% to managing the legal and tactical situation you are at the time facing. This in turn will prevent you from making a fatefully wrong decision like the one made by the Minneapolis LEO.
Street Fighters know that misses in a gun battle are not okay. You are not only burning up the clock but you are opening yourself up to a myriad of legal issues. On the square range the Street Fighter works on cadence, meaning shooting at the appropriate speed to stop the threat. However, in a gun battle they must be able to process key decision-making information. They cannot act either hastily or impulsively; instead they must react deliberately and analytically. A decision must be made, do I shoot my attacker and how many rounds should I dump into him?
If you practice working on getting your split times down to around the 0.25 level you are practicing shooting faster than you are capable of making correct decisions. It is the continued existence of the threat that controls your trigger speed. The faster you unthinkingly pull the trigger the more time it will take you to decide to get off the trigger. What is an appropriate split time? A sensible split time would be around 0.50 seconds. This is a legitimate speed to assure surgical hits while allowing your brain time to process information.
As you work on your presentation from the holster to break your shot, the Street Fighter must recognize there may come a time you may need a fast presentation but not have the legal justification to drop your hammer. It behooves Street Fighters to mix up some of their presentations absent the "bang."
For many decades those LEOs who carried a pistol in lieu of a revolver were armed with either a single action with both a manual safety and grip safety or a double action/single action with a de-cocker. Thirty years ago, police agencies switched to the striker-fired Glock with a light trigger and no external safety.
LEOs were taught before reholstering to first check that their trigger finger was indexed on the slide or frame. They were next instructed to clear their cover garment looking to make sure nothing would snag the trigger. As a final precaution they were told to thrust their hips out, strong side leg back so as not to muzzle flash themselves.
With a hammer-fired pistol many LEOs pin the hammer with their thumb to preclude their pistol from firing if a drawstring or a piece of garment snuck its way inside the trigger guard. Even if a moment of stress or darkness prohibited the LEO from looking inside his holster, pinning the hammer would prevent an unintentional discharge from happening.
Glock shooters were out of luck and could not use this safety option until a couple of savvy pistol smiths developed the Striker Control Device. This nifty device replaces the slide cover plate on the back of the Glock's slide. It in no way will change the Glock's outstanding reliability. However upon re-holstering, by applying thumb pressure to the slide cover plate, the movement of the striker and the trigger are blocked. Your Glock cannot fire.
Recently there has been some innovative research conducted to help Street Fighters improve their reaction time to a threat. Our brain processes visual stimulation and auditory stimulation differently.
Most LEOs practice using a shot timer as their "go to gun signal." When they hear the beep, they respond. This does improve their reaction time to an auditory stimulus; however, auditory stimuli rarely play a significant role in deadly force encounters.
In a down and out nasty fight for your life you will in all probability base your decision on what you see rather than what you hear. The predator will not blow a whistle or yell out to you "gun" or "threat." Unfortunately, working solely on improving your draw speed to respond to an auditory stimulation will not improve your reaction time to visual stimulation. The threat can come from front, a flank or behind you.
Street Fighters can learn from skeet and trap shooters. They have developed their perception and reaction skills to visual stimuli as they react to a clay target flying down range at various angles and speed. We can also learn from the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. They react to a blinking light positioned in the center of a steel target. The light is set to flash between two to five seconds from the ready command. Competitors fire wax bullets at varying distances with draw strokes hovering around .46 seconds.
In your dry fire drills place a Range Tech Shot Timer alongside your dry fire target set on a random start delay. You will get both a flashing green light as well as an audible beep. This handy shot timer helps your brain react to both an auditory and visual signal. Give it a try.
Several years ago, I attended Tom Givens' Rangemaster Course in Kentucky. To pass we had to shoot his Casino Drill with 100% hits, time limit 21 seconds. Tom explained that time, ammunition and money are finite quantities, necessitating we make the most of our training resources. He designed his Casino Drill to permit the marksman to practice and evaluate his skill sets in a single exercise.
Tom's Casino Drill tests a rapid presentation from concealment, fast multiple shots on a demanding target, rapid target acquisition on multiple targets at odd angles, target identification, two forced reloads under time restraints, and thinking on your feet.
The real purpose of Tom's drill is to force you to think about something else other than the mechanics of shooting. It tests how well your hold up under stress.
Street Fighters will need three magazines, 7 rounds each, and 21 total rounds. Follow the number sequence firing the number of rounds according to the target ID sequence. Distance: 5 yards.
|Tier One: 20 seconds||No Go: One miss or exceed time limit||Shoot it backwards starting at #6 and working down to #1.||Tier Two: 23 seconds||Variance to the Casino Drill:||Shoot all the odd numbers, then all the even numbers.||Tier Three: 25 seconds||Load your magazine with 6, 7 or 8 rounds, shuffle them, randomizing reloads.||Put a dummy cartridge in one of your magazines. Shuffle them, which will cause an unexpected malfunction during the drill.|
Tom told us many LEOs only qualify with their firearms once a year shooting 100 rounds. He equates this to someone who doesn't know how to drive a car. Give them a couple of days of driving instruction, only at a very low speed in an empty parking lot, with no traffic. They do not drive again for a year. Bring them back and again drive at low speed in an empty lot. A couple of months later they will be called upon to respond to a critical incident and have to zoom down the highway in traffic at 100 miles per hour. How well will they do? That is exactly how many LEOs are trained when it comes to firearms.
Tom sets the gold standard as a trainer. At the end of his class, he made the following recommendations:
"Every struggle in your life has shaped you into the person you are today. Be thankful for the hard times, they can only make you stronger."... Keanu Reeves
If you could magically go back in time and change a profound experience that happened, then you would not be the same person since every sensation, every hurt and every success has made you into the Street Fighter you are today. The more challenges you triumphed over, the stronger and wiser you became.
Your past is no longer real. Granted it was real at a previous time, but not now. You cannot change the past so do not live a life of regret. Forgive yourself; no one is perfect.
Embrace your current life. Be a better person today than you were yesterday, and a better person tomorrow than you are today.