April 27, 2017

Willingness to Use Force and the Permission to do so

Willingness to Use Force and the Permission to do so

It is my belief that there is a small percentage of people who are freely willing to use force at a moment’s notice. There is a larger percentage who, because it is not something in their normal routine, have to grant themselves permission so to speak and still another group of people who resist the use of violence, even at their own peril.

If I asked you if you were willing to use force to protect yourself or a loved one, I believe the majority of you would say “yes”, but the speed at which we give ourselves permission could vary greatly and can have a drastic impact on the outcome of the altercation.
 

Willingness

I am not a violent man; I personally see it as something that should be used as a last possible option, but it must be an option. To those people who say that violence doesn’t solve anything, I would say “it absolutely does.” Violence, in the form of war, ended the Holocaust and slavery, to name just two horrible things. Violence or the threat of violence in the form of self-defense has stopped violent crimes of every type. The police use violence and the threat of violence to stop crimes of all kinds.


“All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

It is my belief that we have an obligation to confront evil. If we see evil being visited on someone and do not attempt to stop it, we incur some of the guilt that is being inflicted. We could personally intervene or call the police to do so.

I also believe we have a moral obligation to use violence to stop violence being visited upon us. If we do not, I believe we incur guilt for any future evil this person inflicts. We also bare guilt for preventing any future good the victim may have done.

I have heard the argument from Christians in the past that they don’t want to use lethal force because they don’t know the condition of the person’s soul. Their soul is not your personal responsibility in that moment. Being there for your family, providing for them, and living the life God has called you to is your responsibility.
 

Permission

The word “permission,” used in this context, feels a little clunky to me but is actually a good fit. As I stated earlier, violence is not something most of us use often. Because of this, when we must use it, we often have to grant ourselves permission. Depending on our background, our self-talk could be a very short “do it” or we might have to convince ourselves that while we may not like it, this person/situation is forcing us to do this and that if we do not, we may be severely hurt or even killed.

To me, the use of force of any kind is a two part equation; one part moral and the other part legal. If standing before God or a judge, I could explain why I felt justified in using force; for fear of bodily harm or worse. I then have all the permission I need.

In the heat of the moment, you might not have time to consider an explanation to God or a judge. For this reason, it is important to give yourself permission to use force under certain conditions. The amount of force used should also scale with the threat. Here are a few of my personal thresholds.

I don’t think anyone should participate in the posturing that often takes place in street fights; the pushing and chest bumping, insulting and cursing at each other and so on. To me, this is the same as a warning shot. De-escalation here is the prudent thing to do; walk away but remain alert. If your safety is truly in danger, don’t flex, just act. If your safety is not in danger and you take part in the posturing, using force as things escalate, your actions will not be viewed as “self-defense” in court.

That being said, if someone is yelling and threatening me, I will get ready to use force, both mentally and possibly physically, by getting in a fighting stance, for instance, if, for example, walking away isn’t an option because of being backed physically into a corner. Now, if the person threatening has a weapon and is making threats, the use of force is more than likely called for.

Once someone places their hands on someone else in a violent manner, from a slap, push, punch or choke, the attacker has given the victim permission to use enough force to stop the aggression.
 

Preemptive Strike

I think preemptive use of force can often prevent a more violent outbreak. For example; you’re out to dinner with your children or grandchildren and someone who has had too much to drink is being verbally abusive to everyone around them. You get up to leave, which draws attention to you, and the man starts cursing you and threatening you as he blocks your exit to the door. Knocking him on his backside could very well stop him from escalating even more and physically attacking you or your loved ones.

Here is another example; a woman is walking by herself in a parking garage. She is approached by a man she doesn’t know. He grabs her by the arm and tells her not to scream. If she either used a combative, aka a punch or kick to cause enough damage to stop the aggression, or pulled a firearm and demanded he leave, she could very well prevent herself being kidnapped, raped and killed.

In neither of these examples did the attacker have a visible weapon, but because of their actions, I believe the victim has a very viable case of using force in self-defense.

 
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Are You Prepared to Use Violence to Stop Violence?

Fight Violence with violence

Are You Prepared to Use Violence to Stop Violence?

If asked, “are you willing to use violence to stop violence against you or a loved one?” many of us would answer “yes”. I know I would. The truth is, unless you’ve been tested, you really don’t know. During the last couple of months, I have put in a lot of drive time, listening to the audiobook “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. This book helped firm up my understanding of humans and their capacity and willingness to use violence. In short, the vast majority of human beings are not wired to use violence on one another.

Lt. Col. Grossman goes into great detail to explain how, through the earliest of American wars; the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the World Wars, the majority of the men fighting them would purposely miss what they were shooting at. He explained how the aversion to killing another human was so strong that a trained soldier often times would not shoot another, even if it meant losing his own life.

Leading up to the Vietnam War, great effort went into figuring out how to train men, not only to kill but to do so without hesitation. Today’s military are some of the most efficient warriors in the world’s history.

Someone might say that an aversion to violence is a good thing and that Jesus said, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword”. I would agree with Him, but He did not say we should never use the sword. In fact, I believe that if we willingly decide not to act in our own defense or in the defense of another innocent person, we have sinned. We now bare blood guilt and are accountable for all of the future acts of violence our attacker commits. We also bare the guilt of all the good that we or the person we did not defend would have done.
 
 
Less Than Lethal Force

It is my belief that the majority of humans have an aversion to using any form of violence against one another. I’ve mentioned before that I took a real world martial art called “Haganah”. I noticed that almost all new students hesitated using even minimal force to strike their partner. These are people who are aware of the need to learn to defend themselves but have to be trained that it was acceptable to strike another person. I was a wrestler in high school and had a few minor altercations as a young adult. Physical violence wasn’t completely new to me. I still had to retrain myself that using force was not only acceptable in this setting, but encouraged. I trained with some students who hesitated striking with even 10% of their force even after months of training.
 
 
10-80-10 Rule

In the book The Survivors Club, author Ben Sherwood explores a theory developed by a man named John Leach called “The 10-80-10 rule”. In summary, the rule states that the top 10% of people in a crisis excel; they think clearly and take immediate action. The middle group comprises 80% of people; they are “quite simply stunned and bewildered”; “reasoning is significantly impaired and thinking is difficult”. The last 10% of people are the “ones you definitely want to avoid in an emergency”.

A few pages later, he explains something called ‘behavioral inaction’; “The current theory of behavioral inaction goes like this: As your frontal lobes process the site of an airplane wing on fire, they seek to match the information with memories of similar situations in the past. If you have no stored experience of a plane crash, your brain can’t find a match and gets stuck in a loop trying and failing to come up with the right response. Hence: immobility.”

While he was talking about a plane crash, I believe the theory carries over to any type of critical incident. In terms of violence I think that the first 10% are capable of violence, either to harm or to defend. The middle 80% of people are those who will freeze either initially and then take action or remain frozen. The last 10% of people are made up of those who just shut down.
 
 
More Than Fight or Flight

You’ve probably heard of “fight or flight”, but there are at least five possible responses. They are fight, flight, freeze, posture and submit.

Fight – This is a group of people who have a capacity for violence, either to hurt or to protect. Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs is an excellent depiction of those who’re willing to use violence. The wolves are those who prey upon others (the sheep). Sheepdogs are those who’re capable of using violence in protection of themselves and in defense of the sheep.

Posturing – Posturing is combat without making contact, using intimidation. This is frequently seen in the animal world but can be seen in humans as well. Posturing comes easy to those who fight but I have seen some who were not typically thought of as fighter’s posture enough to prevent an attack and back a wolf down.

Flight – This is a group of people who have an innate urge to flee from harm. There are some who might initially flee, only to change to another behavior.

Freeze – People who freeze might do so for mere seconds while their brain catches up to the reality of the situation. They could also be people who are so completely overwhelmed that they simply shut down. People in this group can slide to other groups. For instance, someone might freeze for a second before being able to use violence to defend themselves. Another person might freeze before running away or submitting.

Submit – Submitting is totally giving up to an attacker. There is evidence in the FBI’s annual uniform crime report to suggest that submitting is more dangerous than fighting back. However, feigning compliance and submitting temporarily can give a person the upper hand.
 
 
Putting it all Together

I believe that the 10-80-10 rule and the five possible responses to violence can be combined. The first 10% are the people who are ready and willing to use violence and obviously have no aversion to it. The last 10% are made up of those who flee (and continue to flee), and those who submit. They are so incapable of violence they would rather perish than use force, even to save their own lives. I think that the middle 80% is on a sliding scale of sorts. There are those who, under certain conditions, are capable of using violence. There are also those who might initially freeze and later panic.

Since the majority of us fall into the middle 80% of people who freeze for some length of time, how can we make sure we override any aversion to violence? How can we make sure we don’t remain frozen? How can we make sure we snap out of it and are willing to use violence to stop violence being used against us or another human being?

Remember that the reason people in the 80 portion of the 10-80-10 rule freeze is because their minds can’t quickly latch onto something from their stored experience. What we need to do is make sure there is something in that stored experience.
 
 
Overcoming the Aversion to Violence

As I mentioned, in the book “On Killing”, it is noted that trained soldiers from much of America’s history missed their shot on purpose, even if it meant their own life. If a trained soldier had difficulty overriding the aversion, what hope can the average citizen have?

If you’re not intellectually, emotionally or spiritually averse to the idea of using violence to save you or a loved one, there are some things you can do to train yourself to act in self-defense and in the defense of others.

Lt. Col. Grossman listed several things modern training has done to make the modern warrior act, often without hesitation. I’m not going to cover them in detail, as some just wouldn’t and shouldn’t apply outside of a military setting. Many of the things that we can do are intellectual and psychological.
 
 
Visualization

No, I do not mean that touchy feely, self-affirming “I’m good enough, I’m smart and doggonit people like me” crap. I mean visualize different scenarios and what you might do and say when a threat causes you to go to code orange or red. (If you don’t know what the Cooper Color Code is, follow that link and learn to incorporate it into your daily situational awareness.) For instance, thinking through the following scenario; if this person following me follows the next three right turns I make (walking or driving), I am going to do “x”.

I haven’t ever had someone kick down my door and come in with a weapon. I have thought about what I would do in many different variations of that, and Trudee and I have discussed them.

Visualization is more than just thinking through imaginary scenarios that could happen. I also think about how I would respond to violent encounters I read about, see in the news or even in TV and movies.

By mentally preparing my mind for situations where violence is an acceptable response, I am overriding the natural aversion to violence. This is something that should be done on an ongoing basis, much like weight lifting to build and keep strength.
 
 
Training

Less Than Lethal – I am a big supporter of real world self-defense for multiple reasons. Watching a fist fight on TV or movies is a completely different thing than actually being in one. Of course, not just the physical aspect of it, but also the mental. When you’re on the receiving end of violence, there is a mental shock, which is probably why 80% of people freeze. As I mentioned earlier, there is often a hesitation to strike someone. While it’s possible to overcome that in an actual fight, I suppose, repeatedly striking someone and defending against various attacks gets one used to the initial shock and you learn how to override it and defend.

Lethal Force – If you haven’t taken a handgun training course, take one. If you’ve taken one, then take another. There are some training companies where you enter a “shoot house” and fire at multiple types of targets. There are also some places that use simunition (simulated munition), which is a paint tipped round. They put you in various real world situations and have Joe Dirtbag enter and do dirtbag stuff that you have to react to. Some places also have force on force training with Airsoft or paintball. If you can do those, great! If not, when you’re at your local range, visualize the target as the threat you visualized in the above scenarios.

The goal is not only to excel with your firearm, but also to train you to respond with violence to stop violence.
 
 
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Tidbits Two

 

This week is incredibly busy, trying to get the Preparedness Club off the ground as well as a few life issues to attend to. Today I want to give a quick update on the Preparedness Club and give a preparedness tip I learned while taking CERT.

 

Preparedness Club 3.png

All of the information made available to you today will continue to be free.  The Preparedness Club is a separate venture that will act like a coupon book of sorts.  There were some emails wondering about the price.  We’ve decided to charge $40 per year or $4 per month.  If money is tight and you want to take advantage of some of the discounts, save up!  When you’re ready to make some purchases, join for a month and then cancel your account if you choose.  We’re scrambling to get the finishing touches done and I am really hoping to have it running on 4-15, but it might end up the following week.

Below is a list of the companies who have agreed to support the Preparedness Club.

Ready Made Resources
LPC Survival (AKA The Berkey Guy)
AlertsUSA
Camping Survival
Portable Solar Power Biz
Lucky Gunner
Prepare NOW Outfitters
Mother Earth Products
Minimus.biz
Paladin Press
Quick Stove
Best Prices Storable Foods (AKA Internet Grocer)
Ready Reserve Food
Deepwood Handcraft
First Aid Products
Paracord City

Members will also receive 50% off on all future Prepared Christian eBooks.  I am going to try and do 1-2 per year.

I will continue to reach out to companies to try and get the Preparedness Club more discounts and deals.  If you have a company you would like to join the list of supporting companies, please let me know.  If you have an eBook and would like to offer it at a reduced price, please let me know about that as well.

One of the other benefits of joining is that I will be giving away a minimum of one item a month to Preparedness Club members.  All members will be automatically entered, a member is limited to winning one giveaway per year, in order to “spread the wealth” so to speak.

Some of the giveaways so far are: the Total Home Prep Now DVD, multiple preparedness and survival related books from Paladin Press, a copy of “Making the Best of Basics”, a Midland weather radio and more.

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest to receive one year of a free membership to the Preparedness Club, i have selected a winner and will contact them later today or possibly tomorrow.

 

Off Grid Survival

Rob from Off Grid Survival sent me a few questions about preparedness and faith and posted them as a Q/A.  For those interested, you can find his column here: “Is Preparedness Biblical? A Talk with Chris Ray of Prepared Christian”.

 

Cribbing

Cribbing is a skill that I learned in CERT.  I have since seen a few other ways to do it.  Cribbing is something you would use if there was someone trapped under something very heavy.  It involves a lever, a fulcrum, and supports durable enough to take the weight of the object you are trying raise.  Here is a

This is a skill that could come in handy after severe weather or an auto accident, among other scenarios.  Unfortunately, it isn’t something that I can explain very well just with text. Below are two resources, one directly from CitizenCorps.gov.  The other is a video taken from one CERT training class.  Many fire departments have pneumatic means of cribbing that can lift very heavy objects, but there could be a scenario where the fire department is overloaded and you may not have access to their means for quite some time.

You’ll notice in the video, they have perfectly cut cribbing.  In a storm, you may have to make do with whatever is on scene.

CERT Leveraging and Cribbing.  (Click the next button once done reading the text.)

 

Survival Fishing

I haven’t fished much since I was a kid, mostly because I just don’t have the time.  I’m not going to cover the basics of fishing.  Instead, I want to go over some tactics for survival fishing.  Some of these ways to fish may or may not be legal in your area.  Check your local laws.  These are good things to have an understanding of.  If you find yourself in a survival situation, legal or not, you’ll do what you need to do survive.

 

Kit

I keep a mini kit in an Altoids Tin in my car.  In it, I have 25 feet of fishing line, some small sinkers, multiple hooks and some rubber minnows.  If I were to go hiking or find myself in a remote area, I would carry the kit with me.  I also carry a 100’ hank of para cord and a pocket knife.  I could make cordage and make a hook.  To me it makes more sense to carry those things, as they are so small and light weight.

 

Bait

Looking for bait should be fairly easy in non-frozen areas.  Turn over rocks and pieces of wood to look for worms and insects that you can put on a hook.  I have even read where people have successfully used flowers as bait.  Once you catch a fish, parts of it can be used for more bait.  One problem that might become an advantage is litter or trash.  If you have or can find a plastic bottle, you can turn it into a minnow trap.  The link shows bread for bait but worms or bugs should work as well.  Here is a link that shows how to make a lure out of a small section of paracord.

 

Trot Line

In a survival situation, there are a lot of things that need to be done.  While you could use traditional fishing methods, with a pole, line, hook and bait, that means you need to be there to watch the line.  With a trot line, once you have it set up, you’re free to go do other things.  As you can see from my very pretty (hand drawn by yours truly) image below, a trot line is basically one long strand of line with many smaller lines attached along its length and a hook at the bottom of each.  In my drawing, I have the line staked at shore, with one anchor in the middle keeping it all from floating to the surface and an anchor and float at the end keeping the line taut. You’ll need to bait each hook and keep them from getting tangled.  Leave it set for a few hours, when you start to “reel” the line in, hopefully you’ve caught more than one fish.

Trot line

Stakeout

This comes from the Army field manual on survival; FM 21-76.

“A stakeout is a fishing device you can use in a hostile environment (Figure 8-18). To construct a stakeout, drive two supple saplings into the bottom of the lake, pond, or stream with their tops just below the water surface. Tie a cord between them and slightly below the surface. Tie two short cords with hooks or gorges to this cord, ensuring that they cannot wrap around the poles or each other. They should also not slip along the long cord. Bait the hooks or gorges.”

Figure 8-18

Netting

If you have the cordage, you can also make a net.  Paracord would work perfectly for this!  Take off the outer shielding, which gives you seven thinner threads.  I’ve never made a net, but below are some instructions from the Army field manual on survival; FM 21-76.  Granted, making a net is fairly labor intensive, but once it is made you can set it and check on it periodically.

“Gill Net

If a gill net is not available, you can make one using parachute suspension line or similar material (Figure 8-19). Remove the core lines from the suspension line and tie the easing between two trees. Attach several core lines to the easing by doubling them over and tying them with prusik knots or girth hitches. The length of the desired net and the size of the mesh determine the number of core lines used and the space between them. Starting at one end of the easing, tie the second and the third core lines together using an overhand knot. Then tie the fourth and fifth, sixth and seventh, and so on, until you reach the last core line. You should now have all core lines tied in pairs with a single core line hanging at each end. Start the second row with the first core line, tie it to the second, the third to the fourth, and so on.”

figure 8-19

“To keep the rows even and to regulate the size of the mesh, tie a guideline to the trees. Position the guideline on the opposite side of the net you are working on. Move the guideline down after completing each row. The lines will always hang in pairs and you always tie a cord from one pair to a cord from an adjoining pair. Continue tying rows until the net is the desired width. Thread a suspension line easing along the bottom of the net to strengthen it. Use the gill net as shown in Figure 8-20.”

Figure 8-20

Here is a video showing how to make a net.

 

 

Fish Traps

Another option, trapping, is fairly labor intensive as well.  Again, once it is made you can set it and check on it periodically.  Here is some information, also from the Army field manual on survival; FM 21-76.

“You may trap fish using several methods (Figure 8-21). Fish baskets are one method. You construct them by lashing several sticks together with vines into a funnel shape. You close the top, leaving a hole large enough for the fish to swim through.”

 

Figure 8-21
“You can also use traps to catch saltwater fish, as schools regularly approach the shore with the incoming tide and often move parallel to the shore. Pick a location at high tide and build the trap at low tide. On rocky shores, use natural rock pools. On coral islands, use natural pools on the surface of reefs by blocking the openings as the tide recedes. On sandy shores, use sandbars and the ditches they enclose. Build the trap as a low stone wall extending outward into the water and forming an angle with the shore.”

Here is a site that shows you how to make a fish trap, not quite step by step, but many more pictures than what the Army manual has.

 

Spearfishing

Also from the Army field manual on survival; FM 21-76.

“If you are near shallow water (about waist deep) where the fish are large and plentiful, you can spear them. To make a spear, cut a long, straight sapling (Figure 8-22). Sharpen the end to a point or attach a knife, jagged piece of bone, or sharpened metal. You can also make a spear by splitting the shaft a few inches down from the end and inserting a piece of wood to act as a spreader. You then sharpen the two separated halves to points. To spear fish, find an area where fish either gather or where there is a fish run. Place the spear point into the water and slowly move it toward the fish. Then, with a sudden push, impale the fish on the stream bottom. Do not try to lift the fish with the spear, as it with probably slip off and you will lose it; hold the spear with one hand and grab and hold the fish with the other. Do not throw the spear, especially if the point is a knife. You cannot afford to lose a knife in a survival situation. Be alert to the problems caused by light refraction when looking at objects in the water.”

There is a type of spear called a “frog gig” that I actually like better than the one described.  Below is a picture.  Clicking the picture will take you to a video that explains how to make it.

Frog Gig

Cooking Fish

Also from the Army field manual on survival; FM 21-76.

“You must know how to prepare fish and game for cooking and storage in a survival situation. Improper cleaning or storage can result in inedible fish or game.

Do not eat fish that appears spoiled. Cooking does not ensure that spoiled fish will be edible. Signs of spoilage are–

  • Sunken eyes.
  • Peculiar odor.
  • Suspicious color. (Gills should be red to pink. Scales should be a pronounced shade of gray, not faded.)
  • Dents stay in the fish’s flesh after pressing it with your thumb.
  • Slimy, rather than moist or wet body.
  • Sharp or peppery taste.

Eating spoiled or rotten fish may cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, vomiting, itching, paralysis, or a metallic taste in the mouth. These symptoms appear suddenly, one to six hours after eating. Induce vomiting if symptoms appear.

Fish spoils quickly after death, especially on a hot day. Prepare fish for eating as soon as possible after catching it. Cut out the gills and large blood vessels that lie near the spine. Gut fish that is more than 10 centimeters long. Scale or skin the fish.

You can impale a whole fish on a stick and cook it over an open fire. However, boiling the fish with the skin on is the best way to get the most food value. The fats and oil are under the skin and, by boiling, you can save the juices for broth. You can use any of the methods used to cook plant food to cook fish. Pack fish into a ball of clay and bury it in the coals of a fire until the clay hardens. Break open the clay ball to get to the cooked fish. Fish is done when the meat flakes off. If you plan to keep the fish for later, smoke or fry it. To prepare fish for smoking, cut off the head and remove the backbone.”

 

 
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