Tactical Training Specialties

I Love This Time of Year – Welcome to Fall!

You can’t argue that we skated through summer!  We had some hot and humid days but we had our A/C turned off and windows open for almost two weeks in August.  I can’t remember a summer like that in Missouri.  Now as we get into the fall and winter it is the perfect time to identify your weaknesses and plan some training to refresh and sharpen your skills.  Speaking of training, you will enjoy Cathy Atkins article in this issue where she talking about how important training has become for her and how what we have done in classes has translated into everyday awareness for her.  Cathy really hit a home run with her presentation and I am eager to share it with you.  She heralds a “call to arms” for those who are serious about the safety of their family and how training is the key.  Her honest and candid revelations and personal insights offer a great wake up call to us all!  Welcome to fall everyone…Todd.

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Experienced coaches and tactical operators serve as team leaders for medics in the tactical ems school at Camp Ripley Minnesota September 2017 note the two in yellow vests who act as medical monitors to specifically support the medics decision-making and medical skills during the operation.

Experienced coaches and tactical operators serve as team leaders for medics in the 30th annual Tactical EMS School at Camp Ripley Minnesota September 24-29, 2017. Note the two coaches in yellow vests, one with a GoPro on his head. They act as medical monitors to support and correct the medics’ decision-making and medical skills during the lengthy evening operation. Our program is designed to teach operators how to make correct decisions according to current best practices while under duress. There is a lot more to being a tactical medic than grabbing a backpack full of gear and running around with a SWAT team.

Inside This Issue

Did You Know:

CCW2 Is Back October 14th Get In Now!

This is not only the “what’s next” after CCW1, it is a great way to address multiple skills you need if you plan to carry a pistol or have a pistol as part of your protective tool kit. This is our most often-repeated course due to the skills presented, tested, and practiced.  Many of the 6,000 customers we have served recognize the importance of refreshing, and every so often they choose to do it with us! 10 minutes of dry technical work at home or a weekly trip of 30 minutes and 50 rounds at the range is of great value.  But there is no substitute for having a skilled and experienced coach work with you one-on-one!  NOTE: A “coach” IS NOT someone who looks over your shoulder and watches your target.  A “coach” is someone who can watch YOU and diagnose what YOU are doing correctly and incorrectly, and help remedy that.  Repeat offenders, remember your discount when you repeat any of our courses!


1) Crisis Casualty Care, 2) Practical Pistol Skills, and 3) Defensive Tactics with a Firearm will all return this winter, right after the first of the year.  These are all excellent indoor classes for cooler weather and set up to incorporate your firearms awareness, handling, and skills to round out your effectiveness as an operator.  Watch for more information about each of them in the November/December bulletin and the full winter edition newsletter coming in January!  As soon as dates are selected they will be up on our website as well.

CCW Liability Insurance – Do I Need It?

by Dale Roberts

If you believe the advertising…we all need it!  There are so many good articles on this topic; there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel.  I’ll quote from some of those articles, and provide the link to the articles in the footnotes so you may read the articles in their entirety if you wish.  My goal here is to provide an overview of the topic.

First of all, not all plans are alike.  In fact, not all plans are actually ‘insurance.’  “CCW Safe,” for instance, is not actually insurance.  It is simply a subscription to a network of attorneys who “specialize” in this area of the law.  In that case, the first question you should ask is “How many network attorneys are there in my community?”  But, before we discuss and evaluate the plans, let’s try to identify the need.

These plans play on your fear.  They force you to wonder: “What if I am forced to use deadly force?  What about the after-effects such as criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits?” When you look at these policies you realize that some policies promise to only cover up to a certain amount (of legal fees) while others won’t touch your case if you’re charged with a crime.[1]

In order to determine your need, let’s get an idea of what protection you already have.  Yes, that’s right, even though you don’t yet have any “CCW insurance” you do already have some amount of protection.

I’ll start with criminal prosecution.  If Todd has said it once, I know he has said it a thousand times:  You are legally justified to use deadly force if …

  • You are in imminent fear for your life (or the life of another) and
  • You believe the force you are about to use is necessary to stop the criminal’s life-threatening behavior.

If the local prosecuting attorney believes you when you tell the Prosecutor:

  • I was in imminent fear for my life (or the life of another), and
  • I believed the force I used was necessary to stop the criminal’s life-threatening behavior;

 Then there should be no prosecution in the first place!

If a criminal case is filed, and you followed what Todd taught you, you still have some measure of protection because once you assert that you were acting in self-defense the burden of proof is upon the state to prove otherwise.

“The defendant shall have the burden of injecting the issue of justification under this section. If a defendant asserts that his or her use of force is described under subdivision (2) of subsection 2 of this section, the burden shall then be on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not reasonably believe that the use of such force was necessary to defend against what he or she reasonably believed was the use or imminent use of unlawful force.”[2]

 The statutes go on to state that the appropriate use of force in self-defense is an absolute bar to both criminal prosecution and civil liability.

“1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 563.016, a person who uses force as described in sections 563.031,563.041563.046563.051563.056, and 563.061 is justified in using such force and such fact shall be an absolute defense to criminal prosecution or civil liability.

2. The court shall award attorney’s fees, court costs, and all reasonable expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant has an absolute defense as provided in subsection 1 of this section.”[3]

That means once the court determines you have justifiably used force in self-defense, then all prosecution must halt and you are immune from civil liability.  Note, I did not say you ‘cannot be sued.’  Anyone with the filing fee can file a suit against you.  But under the example above, that lawsuit will be promptly “thrown out.”   State law requires it.  In addition, you have the right to seek reimbursement of your attorney fees.  Knowing that they might have to pay your attorney’s fees for you keeps most folks from filing frivolous lawsuits.

In Missouri we are blessed with some very strong legislation to protect someone who ‘properly’ uses force in self-defense.  In addition to this statutory protection, you may already have insurance coverage and not realize it.

If you have home owner’s insurance, or renter’s insurance, your policy may already protect you. You can determine that level of protection by discussing the issue with your insurance agent or, if you want to keep this a more private matter, simply reading your insurance policy.  Look for the “wrongful acts” clause in your homeowner’s policy, and check for “intentional acts,” “self-defense,” or “reasonable force” clauses. It may only apply to what happens at home.

If your statutory protection doesn’t comfort you, and you do not have property insurance that adequately protects you, then maybe you should consider “CCW Insurance.”  In that case, when you’re reviewing concealed carry insurance, pay close attention to specific coverage for the following: (a) Self-defense shootings, (b) Negligent discharge, (c) Use of deadly force, (d) Personal firearm use, (e) Spouse or significant other covered as well.

As I said at the outset, there are already several good articles on this issue and rather than try to rewrite the work that already exists, I would refer you to the following.  Click on the title and it will auto-magically open the link.

  1. An In-depth Look At Concealed Carry Insurance: Should You Get It?
  2. Concealed Carry Insurance
  3. What Happens When Your Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover Self-Defense Shootings
  4. Do You Need Concealed Carry Insurance? Comparing a Few of the Top Plans
  5. How Concealed Carry Insurance Works

The bottom line?  Memorize this standard:  You are justified to use deadly force if…“You are in imminent fear for your life (or the life of another) and you believe the force you are about to use is necessary to stop the criminal’s life-threatening behavior.”

Stay Safe,


[1] http://concealednation.org/2015/09/an-in-depth-look-at-concealed-carry-insurance-should-you-get-it/

[2] RSMo 563.031.5  Defense of Persons  http://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=563.031&bid=33873&hl=

[3] RSMo 563.074.  Justification as an absolute defense, when. http://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=563.074&bid=29231&hl=

Self-Defense Insurance or Life Assurance?

by Todd Burke

As I draft this column we are watching the actions of demonstrators in St. Louis (including criminal rioters, vandals, looters, and assailants) as former police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of any criminal charges for shooting Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.  With civil disorder increasing many of us have developed a heightened awareness of violent crime as well as a disgust for how the media is presenting it. As we prepare to be our own first responders by exercising our Second Amendment rights, a relatively new type of insurance is being marketed: self-defense or “CCW insurance.”

The choice to carry a firearm is serious business.  There is no doubt that if you are involved in an incident where you are required to use deadly force to defend your life, or the life of another, you will never be the same.  Now stop for a second and let what I just said, and what I am about to say, sink in.  Using a firearm to stop a criminal’s life-threatening activity can be appropriate, lawful, just, and biblically proper.  It can also be an epiphany moment that most cannot truly appreciate or understand.  It will change you forever, but this change does not have to be bad or diminishing.  Certainly it will be difficult, and this bears consideration for preparing in advance just as we preplan for any other type of emergency.

I am often asked: (1) Is this type of insurance a good idea, and (2) Is it something you should have if a firearm is a part of your personal safety toolbox.  These are two distinctly different questions that I answer (1) YES, and; (2) It depends.  It depends entirely upon YOU and your perspective and belief system.  Is insurance good to have?  Yes, without a doubt.  But if you are like me there is a need to prioritize where to spend the limited funds you have available.  For instance, most people would not benefit from spending $3,000 on an AR-15 as much as they would from spending $1,000 on an AR-15 and an optic and $2,000 in ammunition (to spread over many training sessions) and professional training!  Having the best rifle made does not mean you will win a fight for you life and having a bazillion dollar CCW insurance policy doesn’t mean that you will be protected from harm either.

So consider something that I don’t think most people realize.  It is the difference between life insurance and life assurance.  The insurance part comes into play after the “final exam” is over and usually offers resources such as an attorney experienced in firearms law and money.  The assurance part is what too many people overlook because they are busy or they simply don’t know what to do after buying a gun and getting their permit.  This is one of the things we most often hear from those who take our course CCW2: The Principles of Personal Defense, “Wow, I didn’t know what I didn’t know!”  Life assurance is the process of keeping yourself out of harm’s way and, if that fails, managing threats when they confront you.  Examples include:

  • Knowing your rights and the law, thereby reducing the fear of defending yourself,
  • Learning your limitations and how to improve or compensate for them,
  • Being more than just safe, but proficient with your equipment and tactics – this means training, education, and actual physical practice under the supervision of someone who can spot what you may be doing incorrectly and help you fix it!

The third point is the physical activity “do” part where you address what we call “preparing for the final exam.”  To be blunt, the best insurance in the world will be of no benefit to you if you fail the final exam!  And maybe you don’t completely fail…maybe you only wind up in the neurological intensive care unit for 3 months and then spend the next year learning to walk again.  (Thank goodness for affordable health care, right?)  My point is this: too many good people are approaching this process in the wrong way.  (1) Purchase pistol, (2) purchase permit, (3) purchase gear to carry pistol, (4) purchase insurance.  Insert “get professional training” in the #1 or #2 spot!  Getting training is life assurance and will also save you time and money in helping you get the right gear, and more importantly not getting the wrong gear!  If the place you get your training from is also worth a dang, they will support you with written materials, a synopsis of your training, and on-going communication so that you can continue to train on your own – and all that costs you is your time!

fear ccw1 tactical specialties todd burke hallsville missouriIf you look at some of the information out there regarding the insurance policies, they contain an element of fear-mongering.  Remember one of the first things we discussed when you took CCW1 with me?  Recall the picture of the crying little girl clinging to her teddy bear as the backlit shadow of the boogeyman enters the room.  Sucks, right?  We have all been here at some point in our lives.  We talked about fear and how all normal people have it – “The Gift of Fear” as a gift from God to help us pay attention and remain situationally aware.  We can constructively use and channel fear in a positive way..and WIN!  Then the rest of the day we addressed our fears in a logical, methodical, controlled way.  (Cathy Atkins talks about this in her guest column in this edition.)

According to a recent estimate by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than 15 million Americans are now licensed to carry a firearm in the United States.  (Important Note: When quoting or examining “statistical research” or “factual information” I cannot overemphasize how important it is to know where the information is coming from.  The founder and president of the CPRC, for example, is John Lott (a good guy).  Read the first footnote.  Billionaire and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (a not-good guy) is the founder of “Everytown for Gun Safety” and he continues to plow money into decimating our Second Amendment rights.  Bloomberg has pledged $25 million in 2018 to fight our collective rights for CCW and reciprocity among states.  Stay alert and know who is producing the news you read!)

Insurance, like extended product warranties you can purchase at checkout, should be weighed according to logical measures and perceived need.  Is it a high frequency, low impact event like a thunderstorm that is a bit scary but usually not very damaging?  Or it is a lower-frequency, high impact event like a criminal attack with a firearm that can be catastrophic and forever life-changing?  It is important to assess and prepare for both and prioritize your needs.  If your equipment, training, and experience are well-balanced, and you are a proficient tactical operator who continues to train, insurance might be a good value for you.  Just remember to correctly prioritize your needs.  It makes little sense to start mopping up your flooded basement until you first turn off the water source that is causing the damage!

Note: The CPRC was founded by Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., an economist and a world recognized expert on guns and crime.  Lott has held research or teaching positions at various academic institutions including the University of Chicago, Yale University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Rice University, and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988-1989. He is currently a Fox News columnist.  He holds a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA.  Lott is the author of nine books to include “More Guns, Less Crime” and “The Bias Against Guns” and his most recent work “Dumbing Down the Courts: How politics keeps the smartest judges off the bench.”

I Owe it to Myself

by Cathy Atkins

For years we have been a softball family. Both our daughters played. When we made the commitment to join the team we knew what we were walking into. Life habits would change some. Our weekends would be spent on the fields, our week nights would be spent with various practices and batting coaches. A portion of our finances would be reallocated to gear, fees, hotels and food. We believed it was a reasonable investment. We watched our girls play a game they loved, demonstrate confidence and teamwork, improve their skills, perform under tough conditions and learn to gracefully handle both winning and losing. For our family, it was an investment in life skills. Both girls have since grown and moved on to other pursuits, but during that season we accepted the responsibility of playing. It was an investment that required a commitment beyond just stepping into the dirt between those white lines on a Saturday afternoon. We wanted them to be ready for game day. A tournament is not the time to practice or say that you wish you’d practiced more. It’s the time to perform and be your best.

The same is true in many life situations. It’s true in everything from parenting to growing in your career to improving a golf game. And I believe it’s absolutely true in accepting the responsibility of being a citizen who carries a gun.  A year ago, my husband and I became successful graduates of Todd Burke’s CCW1 course. Taking that class was inspired by my daughters and their love of shooting sports. For me, it was inspired by overcoming my fear of guns. What I learned from the class went much deeper. I learned that I didn’t have to be afraid!

Since then the training has opened a new lens through which I see the world around me. It’s changed the way I perceive my environment. I move through my day more aware.  Carrying a firearm requires that I stay mentally grounded and calmly observant. It requires that I remain situationally aware in a room of people and stay attentive to my gut feelings and instincts. Sound paranoid?  Not really. Paranoia breeds panic. Panic does not benefit anyone and it suppresses logical thinking and grounded awareness. This new level of awareness comes from a place of calm confidence. It comes from training and practice.

I am very aware of what I have accepted the responsibility to be prepared to do. It is not melodramatic to say that lives could be at stake. It is logical to me that, like my girls with their softball skills, I need to continue to train and improve if I am going to perform under pressure and deal with a threat. Todd reminds us that under pressure you will not rise to the level of your expectations but rather fall to the level of your training. In my mind, not training is irresponsible.

Prior to CCW2, every class I had taken with Todd, my husband and I had taken together. We have a lot of fun doing it together and I depend on him. We make an effective team and he’s certainly stronger and more experienced that I am. So being with him gives me an element of security. However, the reality is that he isn’t with me 24/7. Reality is that it is likely that I could encounter a threat at a time when he’s not around. So it made sense for me to step out of my comfort zone and take CCW2 by myself.

I will confess to feeling a little nervous and intimidated. The class, by design, felt a little more intense for me than CCW1. Todd and his instructors are, as usual, patient and kind but thorough and precise. Lessons build on each other as the day progresses: changing hands, working with a partner, kneeling to work low, changing sides, navigating behind barriers, managing malfunctions and stoppages, reloading tactically, etc. Needless to say there is a lot to remember.

I remember at one point in the day feeling stressed at needing to remember the layers of instruction. At one point I was focusing so hard on the tactics I’d just learned that I forgot to step in and clear my leg when I holstered my pistol. Todd’s voice came quickly and gently from behind and he asked me to repeat the holstering process again calmly and safely. I took a deep breath and gave myself a pep talk: “You can do this. Stay calm. Think. It’s all you. You’ve got this.” Like many, I have had my share of life challenges that have tested my skills and resolve. Through those experiences I learned that I’m stronger than I think I am. This class was no different.

For me, these classes are about a lot more than gun training. They are exercises in mental and emotional toughness. I have no idea if that’s true for the men in the class, but it is certainly true for me. As a mom who didn’t even handle a gun until less than 2 years ago, the classes train me to find something inside myself that I didn’t know was there. I really feel like they help me own a little bit more of myself after each class. It’s a beautiful thing when confidence grows and comes from someplace inside rather than from something external such as an incident.

Even with practice I realize I will never be as good as a trained law enforcement officer. Yet I accept responsibility for more than just myself when I choose to carry a firearm. Therefore, like my daughters’ softball regimen, I accept responsibility to train and improve. A real-life threat situation is not the time to wish you’d practiced more. I owe it to my family and anyone I might someday be called upon to protect to be as good as I possibly can be.

I owe it to myself to be ready for game day.

Cathy Atkins CCW2 exiting car with muzzle in correct orientation and finger indexed

Most think that in a crisis, and under duress, you will simply “do what you need to do.”  Something mundane like exiting your vehicle with your firearm could become a catastrophic event if you have not practiced the actual skill.

Cathy Atkins tactical reload CCW2 with Todd Burke Tactical Training Specialties Missouri

Being able to “run your gun” by keeping it loaded and correcting stoppages if it stops running because of a mechanical failure or operator error.  The “tactical reload” should be bread and butter for anyone carrying a pistol for self-defense.

Cathy Atkins family with Tactical Training Specialties Todd Burke Hallsville Missouri

Cathy and her family were featured last year after she and her husband completed CCW1 with us.  A family that plays together, stays together…but a family that can take care of each other or manage an emergency gets even more cool points!

October and November Courses

CCW2 – October 14th – Principles of Personal Defense

CCW2 the principles of personal defense by todd burke tactical training specialties at green valley rifle & pistol club hallsville missouri

CCW3 – October 21st – Prevailing In Low Light

CCW3 prevailing in low light at green valley rifle & pistol club hallsville missouri by todd burke tactical training specialties how to fight in low light with your pistol

Tactical Rifle Camp – November 3/4

tactical rifle camp by todd burke tactical training specialties at green valley rifle & pistol club

Christmas Gift Certificates are Available Now!

Purchase a gift certificate AT A DISCOUNT for someone you care about, or give the gift of training to yourself!  Quality porfessional training is one of the best insurance measures you can provide!

Santa and Tactical Training Specialties in Hallsville Missouri with Todd Burke

Todd and his Team Are the Best! Ho, Ho, Ho!

Once again we are pleased to offer you 4 options for Holiday sharing:

  1. Certificate for CCW1 $90 (regularly $100, save $10)
  2. Certificate for AR101  $135 (regularly $150, save $15)
  3. Training Partners certificate (allows two people to attend CCW1 together) $175 (save $25)
  4. Continuing Education certificate (valid for any 8 hour course regularly $175) $150 (save $25)

Friends will appreciate your gift, our approach to training, and their new knowledge / skill set that can save a life!

Certificates are valid for one year.  E-mail me to get the ball rolling: todd@tactical-specialties.com

Folks We Trust and Do Business With…and You Should Too!

ADVERTISING – THIS IS HOW WE ROLL…Many have asked how much it costs to advertise in The Shooting Times.    The answer is ZERO.  I don’t currently accept paid advertising.  The folks you see in our newsletter are people I know and trust and do business with myself.  They share the good word about me and I do the same for them.  Same kind of barter thing that helped get our country going.  Still works today.  So when you see an ad, a business card, or a referral in The Shooting Times, they didn’t pay for it…they earned it!  Thanks everyone!

Custom Hearing Protection

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More Than A Surplus Store!

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Columbia’s Indoor Archery Range

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Parting Shots

by Todd Burke

Photo by Hilary Swift for The New York Times

What happened in Las Vegas is terrible but not surprising.  A man with a disturbed and evil soul has set the new record that was previously held by another evil person in Orlando, Florida since June 2016.  And someone in the future will surpass the number killed and injured and yet create another new record.  This “record” is part of a macabre trend that the National Threat Assessment Center, part of the United States Secret Service, identified in a study on mass murders in American schools conducted in 2002.  There we learned and quantified much of what we know about “active shooters” today.  At the same time, the media sets new records for ignorance, poor taste, and “breaking news” agendas.  Politicians, including one mean, arrogant woman who came close to becoming president, push hard with their own self-serving agendas and set new benchmark lows for stupidity and cruelty.  In some aspects our culture is devolving.  We spent much of the summer watching rallies and protests (riots) as groups bullied schools, churches, and local governments to tear down statues and symbols of culture and history.  In doing so they are attempting to re-write our history.  Challenge them and you are a racist.  Point out empirical facts to counter their emotional anecdotes and you are a hate-monger.  Again, they have an agenda.  When we will burn books (again) and who will choose which books will go first?

The speculations and hallucinations surrounding Las Vegas are pretty much the same as always.  As days go by and more information is released the picture changes.  I mean no disrespect to those who have suffered loss or who are in pain.  We will all continue to suffer losses as long as we continue to have the same arguments, behave in the same disrespectful ways, blame the same inanimate objects, use the same cliches, propose the same useless legislation, and expect for there to be a different result – this is Einstein’s definition of insanity.  A firearm is not a weapon; it is a tool.  I AM THE WEAPON and what I put into my hands is simply a tool I use to extend my will.  I can extend my will for justice or for evil.  While we sit back and bicker about “assault rifles,” magazine capacities, bump-fire stocks, silencers or suppressors, registration or confiscation, legally versus illegally obtained firearms, was it an act of terrorism or not according to the FBI definition, why no one noticed cameras or strange behaviors when room service was delivered to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, or how he got so many rifles into his room unnoticed, consider this – a better trained marksman with that number of rifles, the quantity of ammunition, and a high ground platform over a crowd of 30,000 people could have affected more than the 60 killed and 500 injured.  And we don’t yet know what the 500 injuries were or what they were from, gunfire, a stampede, or a scratch from bumping into a wall – the media only wants numbers.  Just firing into the crowd may have yielded more misses than hits, so while horrible, it could have been even worse had he been more skilled in his delivery and attack.  Only time and the official investigation will tell as facts are discovered and shared.  But one thing is certain that everyone needs to come to grips with…the next event to make Las Vegas pale in comparison is being planned right now!

All events like these begin with extensive preplanning and intelligence gathering.  It would be great if we could stop every event but that does not seem likely.  We are so divided as a nation in our behaviors and beliefs and many of our elected leaders cannot even behave in a civil, ethical, or appropriate way.  (St. Louis Senator Chappelle-Nadal publicly suggesting our president’s assassination…really?)  Our liberty and freedom involve a balance of our rights and security.  We can give up more personal rights in order for more perceived security, presumably provided by more government, but I don’t want that.  I don’t want to shift our republic based upon democratic principles to another form of government.  There are smarter, more productive things we can do first such as to become more situationally aware, learn to notice things, and to speak up.  We can trust our gut when our “spidey senses” tingle or something doesn’t seem quite right.  I will say it again – “It’s not all about the guns.”  My carrying a pistol and a go-bag would mean little in a situation like Las Vegas.  Having an evacuation plan, as well as a plan B, would initially be more useful than my pistol or tourniquet.  Knowing basic medical procedures is very worthwhile.  Being able to keep myself under control in a time of extreme duress and share actionable intelligence with professional responders would be useful.  I’m sure there were many good people in Las Vegas who did things like this.

I don’t accept these attacks as being normal, but it seems they are a part of our culture that is here to stay for awhile.  Until we get real in dealing with organized criminal and hate groups such as “Black Lives Matter” and Antifa, civil disorder will continue to threaten our communities and decorum of civilized life.  And let’s call people who commit crimes in groups what they actually are: rioters and criminals.  They are not “protesters” lawfully exercising their Constitutional rights.  They are bugs wearing masks to hide their identity, and bugs should be swatted, sprayed, or squashed.  The more we allow this to continue the stronger the message we send to ALL criminals including those who plan an incident of mass murder like Las Vegas.  We send the message that we are weak and afraid.  Premeditated acts of this nature, even on a smaller scale, are occurring weekly and they have been since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murder in December 2012.  Once the first shot is fired and the “stopwatch of death” begins, the evil one knows their time is limited in executing their plan.  In the majority of cases, when the murderer thinks they have gone as far as they can go, they kill themselves.  Rarely are they prepared to duke it out with police or someone with training and resolve –  but this may change.  Occasionally the media will mention a smaller incident where someone intervenes and

Angela McQueen

stops the murderer.  Current and future criminals need to see that we will not just hide and wait for the police.  You play a stupid game and you will win a stupid prize from someone right next to you like math teacher Angela McQueen from Mattoon High School in Illinois on September 20, 2017.  When an idiot with a rifle opened fire in the school cafeteria, she tacked him and held him down while he was still shooting and limited the number of people shot to only one, and that student will recover (Right on Angela!)  Attacks like these occur each day and we can make an immediate difference just as Angela McQueen did.  When something like Las Vegas happens we can simply do the best that we can with what we have until the right tools arrive.   What happened in Las Vegas certainly warranted a tactical response and I am NOT saying that the general citizenry is up to that type of challenge…yet.  People in Las Vegas did exactly what they needed to do…they used Nike Ju-Jitsu – they ran!

Realize that there are other ways to attack large groups of people when someone with the requisite knowledge base and access to their tool of choice decides to make a plan and attempt to carry it out.  We will begin seeing this more in the future just as Israel did when firearm “terror” attacks ceased being effective as citizens became armed and trained.  Even if those who believe in more laws and restrictions could wave a magic wand and remove all guns (or bump-stocks) from the face of the earth, there remain many ways to terrorize large groups of people such as with flammable and corrosive liquids, poisons made at home with grocery store chemicals, garden sprayers, ventilation system attacks, commercial and homemade explosives, or even a truck driven through a crowd – these are a few of the possibilities.  All you have to do is look at a stadium, concert arena, school, church, mall, county fair, graduation or prom…and think like a bad guy.  Decide what tool may work for your mass-murderous plan.  Take your time.  Make notes, maps, and equipment lists. Use the internet.  Then engineer in reverse.  Conduct site visits and walk-throughs.  Not a difficult task, but quite uncomfortable and disturbing to fathom.  New example: if you have not heard of carfentanyl, click on it and see what is happening in Ohio and has all emergency responders taking new safety measures.  (And if you hold the real drug in your hand like the reporter is doing with a simulated substance, you will die!)

There will be much more to learn in coming days about what happened in Las Vegas.  There are things we can do to “harden the target.”  We can have intelligent discussions.  We can learn.  We can prepare.  We can prevent and we can train to respond ourselves.  But we must remember that while disengagement is rarely wrong, running away is not a defense.  Remember that the goal and purpose of terrorism is to terrorize; to make us limit and change our way of life, to make our cages smaller.  I choose to live my life and seek out the joy I can share with my family and friends.  I owe it to myself and my family and I choose to be prepared for game day.  And how do I prepare?  Well I guess that’s the real question, isn’t it?  Each of us will have to answer that one for ourselves.  Just remember what Rush sang in “Freewill”, “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice!”

“This is the law.  The purpose for fighting is to win.  The sword is mightier than the shield, and skill is more important than either.  The brain is the ultimate weapon.  All else is supplemental.”   John Steinbeck.

Psalm 144:1 – “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”