Weekly Training Newsletter
Sorry for no newsletter last week. We've been migrating a lot of content to new software systems and the transition has taken a lot of my time.
It seems like every week there's some new crisis that captivates our country or the world. Since SMT stays out of politics I'll offer no commentary on the who or why of these events, but as a teacher of defensive tactics, I will offer some perspective and advice for navigating our increasingly dangerous urban areas.
In Barcelona, Spain there was another terror attack. Again, it appears that the terrorist used a van to plow people over in a busy pedestrian area. These attacks are simple, cheap, and terribly effective. I went over some strategies and tactics for dealing with these kinds of attacks in the June 7th newsletter, which I've linked for you here. In brief:
- Use the Outside Scanning Process to ID vehicular threats in your area and their avenues of approach
- Avoid being in positions where you're trapped by other people
- Stay away from areas that cars can quickly access
- Identify areas where you can move if you find a vehicle approaching aggressively
What makes the Barcelona attack particularly horrible is that it appears to be a "fallback" plan to a much bigger and more terrible attack. Outlets like CNN and the Telegraph are reporting that it appears the terrorist's primary target was the Sagrada Familia Church and other symbols of the "crusaders."
Remember that these kinds of attackers are ideologically driven. They feel utterly justified in killing you, or your children. That's why it usually requires law enforcement or citizen defenders to stop these threats with lethal force. Here is a video of one of the Barcelona terrorists being stopped by the police. (Video - Warning, violent.)
What really stuns me about this video is that this terrorist is wearing a Suicide Vest and the LEO allows him to get back to his feet and start to approach the officer. Even the person filming this video would be in danger were that an actual S-Vest.
With terrorists like these, wearing a Suicide Belt or Vest, you really cannot take the chance that they close on you. They must be stopped, immediately.
Riots and Civil Unrest
Over the last several weeks there have been several examples of riots and civil unrest in the United States. Each one of these has had the spark of becoming true violent chaos like we saw in Baltimore, MD, or Ferguson, MO last year.
In those kinds of sporadic, random, riotous events it is critical that you have a plan to get yourself and your loved ones out.
For some, the idea of preparing for urban chaos might seem kind of silly. But here's a story from a friend of mine who has trained special operations, high-net worth individuals, security teams, and interested citizen defenders. He had a client that had done a bit of training with him before a holiday trip to an African country.
While the client and his wife were in this foreign land, a major riot started in a large urban area. He managed to get himself and his wife in some shelter by breaking into a store and barricading in the back room. There, he and his wife defended that room against violent invaders and rioters for THREE DAYS. You can imagine the trauma that he and his wife faced, even while being lucky enough to stay alive.
That's what we'd like to avoid by taking some simple steps to prepare for urban based social unrest.
Don't think this kind of chaos can happen here in the US? How quickly we seem to forget that from April 29-May 4,1992, we witnessed something similar to what the client faced overseas - the LA riots.
So what can we do to prepare?
1. Have a Go Bag
This is a kit of equipment that will carry you through 24 to 48 hours of not being in your home or having access to your vehicle. There are tons of great Go Bag set ups on the web. Do some research and put one together that stays with you every time you go into an urban area.
2. Have the ability to break in or break out of situations
The client I mentioned above knew how to break into a building. I know that's not legal, but when you're trying to escape potentially lethal violence, there's a pretty powerful justification for getting into a building where you wouldn't normally have access. Now understand that if you just bust in, it's pretty easy for those vultures to see that someone's busted in and follow you. That's where it can be useful to have experience with lock picking equipment.
As for breaking out of situations: Know how to bust through zip ties. Know how to kick through a car window or get out of a car's trunk and not hurt yourself. Know how to get through a crowd, if you must, and escape.
3. Pay attention to what the crowd is doing
Crowds - riots - are like living organisms. They breathe and grow and die like a living thing. There will be times of great activity and times of total, uncomfortable silence. Listen to these changes and be ready to move.
You may be planning on going to a protest in the future. Maybe you even carry defensive tools on a regular basis. If you plan on going to a protest, DO NOT CARRY. I cannot stress this enough. The laws surrounding self-defense DO NOT APPLY to situations that stem from riots in which YOU have participated. Don't believe me? Here are the Statutes.
Remember our Foundational Legal Perspective:
In order to avoid prosecution or conviction, you MUST be seen by a Prosecutor or a Jury as:
- An “unwilling actor” who is absent of any aggression or provocation.
- That the force you used was necessary and that “no lesser force” would do.
- You had no way to retreat safely.
- That you were in immediate fear of “great bodily harm or death” to yourself or another.
- That you were “reasonable” in the grounds for your fear.
If you're there to protest, or to counter someone else's protest, you are NOT an unwilling participant. Keep this in mind.
As always, train hard and stay safe,