I sometimes wish the world wasn’t so stinking crazy so that my mind doesn’t have to go through the process it does every time I exit my home. I know I’m not the only one who lives this life and works through this process. There have been many times I’ve entered a cul-de-sac or done loops in a large parking lot when I suspect I’m being followed in a car. If I’m stopped at a red light and a car pulls up even with my windshield, I pull up even more to be out of their line of fire. My wife and kids know the exact tactical seating arrangement when we eat a restaurant and they know where each exit is. I never wear my military uniform off base…EVER! I don’t put any identifying marking on my vehicle, such as military paraphernalia or the little family stickers on the back windshield that displays family size and whether or not you have a dog. I park under street lights when in a parking lot at night. We have a family “break in” procedure in case there’s a burglary (I haven’t set up one yet in this house though, shame on me). To some, this seems like an unnecessary or crazy way to live. But, I’ll tell you one thing that I will not be, and that is a statistic!
I have preached this to anyone that will hear for many, many years to not be a statistic to attacks and violence. This passion of daily survival comes from the history of cowardly attacks that have blown up over the past decade. From my very own eyes, seeing the worst in evil in Iraq and Afghanistan. My sole purpose on this Earth now is to lead my bubble of influence and to protect, educate, and to provide for my wife and children. To do this properly, a lifetime of self-improvement, education, physical fitness, and setting the example must be maintained.
This post surfaces around the tragedy that occurred in Fort Worth, Texas involving yet another church shooting. Once the video surfaced, I never intended to watch it. Videos like that bring an anger in me I don’t like. But, while home for Christmas, someone brought it up and I chose to watch. After watching the video, I had some things I wanted to discuss. What I’d like to do is break down the video. I’d like to point out some things that I saw, good and bad, to hopefully help citizens out there not be a statistic. I want to point out some tactical circumstances that can be improved upon to help mitigate these types of terrorist attacks. And for the record, there are some things that weren’t good that occurred with the men in the congregation. I hate that this happened. My prayers go to the friends and family of the wounded and killed. I mean absolutely no disrespect. I just want to point out possible factors that lead to the death of these men and how we could potentially prevent or at least minimize casualties in the future.
So, bottom line up front. When talking security, you have to profile and judge individuals. You have to consider past vignettes and patterns established by individuals in the past and draw some conclusions. This isn’t a popular statement. I get it. Now eventually, if those conclusions come to be false, then good. Look at the congregation. Just looking at the people there, what do you notice? What is the age range? I see a predominately elderly congregation. It could be an earlier service which typically has more elderly individuals. It could be a traditionally older church. It could be situations where it’s a special event for elderly members that bring them together. Whatever the case, minus a few of the children, I don’t see many more middle-aged individuals (25-45 years old).
So, the shooter gets up and approaches a gentleman standing on the back wall. Now this is where judging and profiling comes in. I read that this church had a security team that has been established by its members for many years. I’m not sure if the gentleman that the shooter approached was on the security team or not. But here are things I noticed and would be looking for in this situation and what you should be looking at also. I can’t tell if he has a long hat of some sorts or if that is long black hair. Looking at his jacket, it almost looks like a motorcycle jacket or a “cut” of some sort. He looks to be much younger than the rest of the congregation. This is enough for me to keep my eyes on him. It’s not aligning with what the rest of the congregation looks like. If I’m a shooter, and I have knowledge that this is an older church, that makes it a good target due to the limited movement and everything else associated with elderly physical abilities.
I then start looking at posture. Typically, people want to keep whatever “bad thing” they have away from you. I can’t see the shooter’s hands, but I see his posture. Hands typically want to be close to the source of the weapon or drugs. That’s why cops, when searching a vehicle, will check predominately everywhere within arm’s reach of the driver first. The driver wants to keep the drugs or weapons close to them. It’s a sense of security. They want to be close to the source so they hesitate hiding it away from their reach. He definitely has his right hip away from the gentleman. And he is leaning in to talk which is a subconscious effort to keep distance from someone who can potentially stop you by getting close. It looks very deliberate. That would be another indication. That is the hip where he pulled the weapon from and the hip away from the gentleman.
Let’s continue with the gentleman the shooter was talking to. What happens when the standing gentleman points to whatever he was pointing at and takes his eyes off the gunman? That’s when the gunman shows his weapon. Keep your eyes on the perceived target. The shooter used this as his moment to strike. Count from the time you first see the gun until the first round is fired…I counted four seconds! I know if not trained or thinking about security in church, that this type of reaction will do this to someone. Have them stall. Fear is gripping. The fight or flight mode wasn’t even able to expose itself. But for those that are involved in this situation, if a gunman is in a church, he is not there to take y’all’s wallets. He’s going to shoot. He’s there to kill. And your ONLY response to such an event is to attack. You have to make up your mind NOW and be ready for it. The saying “action defeats reaction” is true here.
Now let’s transition to the gentleman sitting down to the right of the man standing (left side as you are looking at the screen). He, I’m guessing, is a part of the security team. I think this (and I could be wrong) because he has his eyes fixed on the shooter the whole time. At some point the man sitting down does a waving motion. Not sure what it was signaling. But count how long it takes for the man sitting down to pull his gun out before the gunman shot first…around 4-5 seconds! It’s hard telling what it was that took so long. Nerves? Tight holster? Couldn’t get a grip of pistol? Jacket in the way? Any of these are possible scenarios. I also wonder how many times he trained shooting a weapon sitting down? This could have been a possibility to keep his profile lower and reduce surface area for the shooter to hit while drawing his weapon. The article I read was that these security men shot regularly. If you are going to the range to work on self-defense shooting, that needs to be very creative. You need to train while sitting in a chair. You need to train with objects in the way. You need to train with a malfunction or unknown magazine capacity (give your range buddy your mags and have them place a spent cartridge or unknown number of bullets in mags to simulate malfunctions and magazine changes). You need to train with your weapon close to your body. You need to conduct stress shoots. This is where you do exercises or anything that gets the heart rate up that affects your thinking, muscles, vision and breathing. You can get on YouTube and research any of these drills. This is establishing your “IADs” or Immediate Action Drills. Those drills that you’ve done a million times that become muscle memory.
Now we see the church member shoot the gunman with a well-placed shot to the head and he drops immediately. This is a good thing. Next, he approaches the gunman and still has his gun drawn to the enemy. That’s what you want to do, keep your weapon drawn on the enemy until their death is confirmed. We then see, what I can count, four men with weapons drawn approaching the enemy. QUICK, FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THIS VIDEO OR HEARD OF THIS STORY, HOW MANY OTHER SHOOTERS ARE THERE?!?! You don’t know do you? Well neither do they. The men had tunnel vision and all funneled to the shooter. Security on the gunman was great, but what about a possible second shooter? Someone has to get enough frame of mind and take charge and orient their fires or at least their visual to the congregation to engage more targets. Whether it’s a shooter or an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Iraq or Afghanistan, work off the notion that “if there’s one, then there’s two.”
***Random observation here. But as I watched the video for the umpteenth time, when the shooter was shot in the head, I did not see any splatter on the wall. This leads me to believe he was wearing something on his head***
Now follow the man who shot the enemy and watch where he stops. Watch a few seconds later a man with a red shirt cover the enemy as well. What do you notice about their two positions in relation to each other? Do you feel uneasy about their position? Let’s say the gunman was only wounded and immediately popped up. What do you suspect could happen? Friendly fire for sure because the angle suggests they are across from one another. It’s a marksmanship safety principle of “know your target and what’s beyond it.” Know that if you miss or a round goes through your intended target of where that bullet could possibly go.
I also work off the thought of “being the most dangerous man in the room” theory. I am not talking about the man who is wearing Solomon tactical shoes with 5.11 pants. The one wearing his Glock T-shirt and sweet Oakley ballistic glasses with his “killem all and let God sort them out” camo hat and tattoos all over. Hiis Nalgene bottle looks like he’s sponsored by every main gun retailer and tactical company out there. Even though this man just may be the most dangerous man in the room, who knows this man is dangerous? Everyone can at least perceive he is such and that alone makes him a target. A gunman will target that man in any situation because he poses the biggest threat. To properly be “the most dangerous man in the room,” be dangerous, but don’t look it. In a church setting, if you are on a security team, you should be mistaken as a Sunday greeter. Don’t make yourself a target.
I urge everyone reading this to start evaluating and assessing how you protect yourself and others around you. Evaluate where you sit in public places and what the pattern of life is around you and whether or not it’s normal. Has a vehicle been following you? Do you have a house defense plan? Have you talked these things through with your kids? The heck with scaring them. If you are fostering the right environment, they will seek safety and trust within you. They need the knowledge to know what to do when you say to do something in a situation like this. I show my kids these videos. I broke this down to them as I did here, educating them. I always ask my daughter, who is 12, how it makes her feel and she says “I understand why you do it and if you aren’t scared, then neither am I.”
Not everyone is able to or willing to carry a gun. Ok that’s fine. Another option is what is called a “tactical pen.” These pens are a little larger than normal pens. They are thick and heavy and have a blunt point on the end. These can be used to strike an enemy in the temple to incapacitate him or her or use to break windows. They are also great because they can go through an airport or even a sports security since it isn’t a weapon. It’s a pen, but it is a weapon. It’s great. Get on amazon now and get one for everyone in your family.
I’d be willing to bet that if we went back all the way to the Columbine shooting in Colorado many years ago and talk to every friend and family and victim involved in every public shooting since then, that 100% of them would have the same statement…”Never thought it would happen to me.” Don’t be a statistic. Whether you are 18 or 80, and you have decided to take the responsibility to protect yourself and others, ensure you aren’t just going through the motions. If I run two miles every day for one year, I will not improve and be able to run a marathon and do well at it. Neither can you expect to shoot your weapon even once a week and only shoot at targets, at the same distance, in the same scenario and expect to be absolutely efficient in a self-defense scenario. Again, my family’s prayers are sent to the families affected by this shooting and past victims’ families. I just want this country to wake up and get their noses out of their phones. For men to step up and learn how to protect others and educate those around them and be ready to protect when the time is called. God bless our service members around the world and all our first responders protecting us in our communities. Thank you for everything you do. #merica!