Ep. 12 Should I Shoot? Spare Parachute

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A group of paratroopers jumping out of an airplane.

Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

I woke up to a text on my phone, “Turn on the TV. It’s not good.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wake up to bad news. Who does, right? Just once I’d like to get a text or call that says, “Turn on the TV. It’s good news!”

I quickly learned about the mass murder in an Orlando nightclub with nearly 50 confirmed dead and at least that many wounded, some in critical condition. The talking head was doing his best to put out information about the suspect, possible motive and, of course, the guns used by the murderer (who later was confirmed to be a home-grown terrorist). I knew most of the information would be a best guess based on little bits of info the media weaves into a story that is often found to not be the truth when the real story comes out.

What I now know is the murderer is a terrorist who claimed allegiance with ISIS. He might not have been trained in an ISIS camp in Pakistan, but make no mistake, he’s an Islamist terrorist, even if the guy in the big seat claims that since the attack was at a well-known gay nightclub, it was a hate crime. That said, I’m going to get off of the political side of this event and focus on the realities of the world in which we live and try to help you program your software to ensure your safety and the safety of your family.

The title and premise of this column is to give you all types of scenarios and work through the process of employing deadly force if the criteria are met to do so. I’ve been working off of documented events, training scenarios and some real-life stuff I saw as a cop. Sadly, what we are seeing at an alarming rate are acts of terrorism committed by actual terrorists, not some jilted boyfriend or pissed-off employee.

The sad reality is the fight isn’t just in Iraq or Afghanistan — it’s here on our own soil, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. We’ve discussed previously and asked “what if?” questions about encountering a rapid mass murderer while out with the family. What I need you all to start doing, if you haven’t already, is start conducting your own threat assessments of the places you frequent and come up with some plans of action if stuff hits the fan while you are there.

I’m headed to the county fair this week with some family and friends, and I’m not all that jazzed about it — too many variables I can’t control. If I had my way, I’d cancel the trip, build a 20-foot wall topped with razor wire around the house and have a “staycation.” Since I can’t call it off, though, I’ve got to make sure my people understand the possible dangers and what I need them to do if the day includes more than lots of food and rides. We always set up rally points to meet throughout the day. In the past, it was more administrative, just a way to keep track of each other and, usually, to hit me up for some more cash.

This year, I will make sure we have several rally points and I will brief them all on the best places to seek cover if needed. They all have phones. I know the system will be overloaded if something touches off, so if they get to one of the rally points, even if a text can’t get through, I’ll know where to start looking for them. My trip to the fair sounds more like a SWAT mission, but it’s a sign of the times. It’s better to be prepared for the worst and never need to put the plan to use than to be part of the panic if something does happen.

Vacation season is in full swing, which means lots of crowds wherever we go. Take the extra time to do your own assessment and brief the family as thoroughly as possible. I haven’t said it, but if you can carry concealed where you are going, please do. Yes, it’s going to be hot and you don’t want the extra weight on you. Think of it as your spare parachute. You pay good money for it, so don’t leave it on the ground when you jump. If you don’t have it, you give up the option of defending yourself. If you do have it, it just might help you save your life or the life of a loved one.

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • CHARLIE AYCOCK July 23, 2016, 3:26 pm

    YES, UNFORTUNATELY YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT, BUT THE HARDER WE FIGHT TO STOP THIS UNWISE FIX AT THE ASSAULT WEAPON LEVEL, THE LONGER IT WILL BE BEFORE THEY GO AFTER OUR MUZZLE LOADERS. THEY WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED. WHAT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED IF THEY BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS ? WOULD THIS WACKO JUST GIVE UP & SHAKE HANDS OR WOULD HE BUY ONE FROM THE BLACK MARKET OR JUST WALK IN THE PLACE WITH A BOMB? PEOPLE ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO BELIEVE WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE. THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY EVIL ABOUT THE ISLAMIC RELIGION. THEY BELIEVE PRETTY MUCH WHAT WE BELIEVE. THE PROBLEM IS THE WACKO NUT CASES THAT USE IT TO SEIZE POWER AND BRAIN WASH THE IGNORANT MASSES, WHICH IN TURN BECOME NUT CASES & TERRORIST. THE EASIEST THING TO TEACH A HUMAN IS TO HATE SOMEBODY OR SOMETHING. PEOPLE HATE PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT OR BECAUSE SOMEBODY SAID THEY WERE EVIL. THEY HATE GUNS FOR PRETTY MUCH THE SAME REASON. BANNING GUNS WON’T SOLVE ANY PROBLEMS, IT WILL JUST CREATE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. THE NUT CASES ARE THE PROBLEM & UNFORTUNATELY THEY ARE PRETTY RESOURCEFUL. BLOCKING ONE WAY TO KILL WON’T STOP THEM, THEY’LL JUST DO SOMETHING ELSE. REMEMBER THAT SOME OF THE WORST RECENT MASS KILLINGS WERE ACCOMPLISHED WITH BOMBS. JONES USED POISON & HE HAD GUNS. SADDAM USED POISON & HE COULD HAVE USED ANYTHING HE WANTED TO USE.

  • Super B July 22, 2016, 11:34 am

    I find it a little amusing when people say to ban religion. How it’s so problematic. How quick people can be to forget that religion founded our country. People came here to be able to worship freely. You can take away my religion and belief in God when you pry my gun out of my dead hand. Period. Religion is the beginning of law. Before politicians started making laws, Religion WAS law. I also think people jump on the mentally ill bandwagon way too fast. Yes mentally ill people commit crimes. But not every killer or criminal is mentally ill. Some people are just bad. Some are just evil. Think about this. If you are religious, you have a concept of what should considered right and wrong. If you are not religious, how do you determine right from wrong? There are no guidelines. Only your own ideas. The world needs religion in a bad way.

    • Jerry Hardy July 22, 2016, 3:45 pm

      Please don’t allow yourself to fall for the politically correct and confuse religion with theocracy. Islam is NOT a religion but a theocracy and should never be confused with religion.

  • Ron Stidham July 22, 2016, 8:06 am

    Kicking and screaming hasn’t moved us in any direction, except the public eye. The Political problems we face are the Politician’s that are trying to empower themselves over the human race, to be what they want. Not what we or anyone else wants. These are hard times indeed. Educate the ones that will listen, not brow beat and over bare the ones that wont. If this country is to remain free, there has to a freedom left for we as a people to enjoy. Yes the nut jobs, religious fanatics will always be there. What is one to do, patients is hard. Being ready is hard also, expect the worst, and pray for the best-we may all make it through this.

  • AK July 13, 2016, 8:49 pm

    When you say the simplest you forget your own words: “how religious and social pressures”. The simplest answer is to ban all religion. I mean if we want to live in a communist regime and infringe on rights, I’d rather not have to see a tax free church or mosque on every corner, it’s not like someone is going to break in to make me read a Gideon’s bible at home but they will to kill or rape. I don’t think these things would be happening if they couldn’t spend on this time on religion, Go out and get a real job(50hrs+) and then tell me how God helped you through the day on the street corner on a soapbox like the rest of the whackjobs.

    • Lamar July 14, 2016, 10:06 am

      I’m not sure if your comment was directed at mine, but I’m certainly willing to discuss how ‘easy’ it’s EVER been to outlaw a religion, any religion.
      Take a quick glance at History and how often a religion has ever been banned. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t ever worked.
      That’s what the religious wars in Europe such as the 30 Years War taught us. You can spend men, money and equipment trying to do it but it just doesn’t work.
      The most effective tool we have is education and even it isn’t all that effective.
      Compare a teacher, even a really good teacher trying to overcome an entire childhood spent hearing “Hey, those people on the other side of this hill are from the devil!” or “God wants you to kill that group of people.”
      That education works at all against that is amazing, but it’s a real uphill fight with lots and lots of losses.

  • Lamar July 13, 2016, 5:47 pm

    It turns out the shooter spent far more time in that gay club than he did in any ISIS camp.
    This whole episode is a perfect storm of how religious and social pressures against homosexuality can cause someone who seemed to already have mental issues to snap.
    It seems highly likely that Omar Mateen was gay, was mentally impaired, gave ample warning of problematic tendencies and attitudes, came from a culture and background that created cognitive dissonance and easy access to very powerful weaponry created a witches brew.
    I do not see a way to parse this into manageable bites.
    All of these were factors.
    I freely admit it doesn’t appear to me that we, as a society, could have headed this tragedy off by dealing with just one or two of these issues, even if we could.
    Just for one moment imagine what it’s like self-identifying as a religious fundamentalist while harboring homosexual tendencies, that’s a fairly toxic mix right there.
    I’ve posted on this blog about how I see the days of AR-15 type weapons being readily available to the civilian population being numbered. That’s got nothing to do with what I want, necessarily, that’s just the way I’m reading the tea leaves. Of course I could be wrong, I’m making a prediction.
    That puts gun folks in a bit of a Catch-22.
    If they want to keep them, then these events have to stop happening.
    For these events to stop happening, we have to keep these weapons out of the hands of people with brains like Omar Mateen’s.
    How do we do that?
    There certainly is no way, that I can see, to do that without making people who want them get, somehow, mentally certified to have them.
    Psychologists and psychiatrists reject this because of doctor-patient confidentiality added to the fact that some psychologist meeting someone a time or two or three and then saying “Yeah, he’s ok,” puts the psychologist on the hook if he is NOT ok.
    The problem is that one of the danger signs that someone will go use their Bushmaster on civilians starts with the desire to have or acquire a Bushmaster.
    The problem the pro-AR-15 folk have is that the simplest solution, howl and scream all you like, is to ban them.
    Please don’t come back with all the statistical “Well, in the period 1992-200…..” I don’t care.
    The public is getting closer and closer to the point when we say “Screw statistics, let’s just do something, because what we’re doing isn’t working.”

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