Archive for August, 2013

shootingpreggers2Recently, a highly controversial issue was brought to my attention: shooting while pregnant. In the last few weeks, several pregnant women have approached our range desiring to get some practice. As I informed them of the potential risks, they were surprised and one even said that their doctor had never mentioned shooting on the list of “forbidden” activities. I had assumed that the risks were well-known to gun enthusiasts, if not doctors, and was surprised by the reactions of the women. I began exploring both pregnancy and shooting blogs and sites and was very surprised to see that most of the advice given is dismissive of the risks and encouraging of the activity. Lead is such a well-known danger to children and babies that my initial reaction was incredulity. I was very surprised to see so many people encouraging pregnant women to expose their babies to such peril. However, I soon found well-researched and documented sites that offered practical advice on the measures a woman may take to mitigate or eliminate her exposure to lead. With my skepticism still firmly in place, I would prefer a scientific study measuring the amounts of lead detected in subjects who take such precautions and in subjects that do not. While the scientist in me bemoans the lack of conclusions such a study would provide, I do realize we are speaking of pregnant women (who are highly cherished and protected in our society) and that such a study is likely to never be approved (and rightly so). The same goes for studying the effects on the developing baby of the sound of a defensive caliber handgun firing. Keeping all this in mind, I have searched for studies that may shed some light on this issue while recognizing concrete answers may never be found. And ultimately it is a personal decision between you, your spouse and God.

The Risks

Lead

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As most of you probably know, much of the ammunition in circulation today contains lead in the projectile (bullet) portion of the cartridge. As the gun is fired, the primer ignites the powder and the powder exploding forces the bullet out of the cartridge, down the barrel and hopefully down range. During this process, some debris from this explosion escapes the firearm and travels out into the air. This debris may contain unburnt powder from the primer and propellent, and likely also contains lead dust. This gun shot residue is adept at finding its way to the shooter’s hands, arms, face, clothes and hair. At this point, the lead dust may be aspirated into the shooter’s lungs, and from there pass into the bloodstream. The lead may also be absorbed through the skin if the shooter neglects to wash off afterwards. Proper ventilation will help reduce the amount of GSR that blows back on the shooter. Once lead is in the body, the majority is stored in the bones while the remaining is stored in the blood and soft tissue. The concern with pregnancy is that lead easily passes through the placenta into the baby and the effects of lead exposure are much worse for infants and children than adults. A fetus is more susceptible to lead toxicity than adults because of the more permeable blood-brain barrier, the significantly lower amount of bone mass for lead sequestration, and the vulnerability of the developing central nervous system. Cord blood tests typically reveal the fetus to have very close Blood Lead Levels to the mother’s BLL. Many people feel they are safe with a blood lead level of <10 μg/dL. However, expectant mothers need to take note that a growing number of studies are finding fetus’ are effected well below the old 10 μg/dL benchmark. Writing for the National Institute of Health, Gilbert and Weiss put it this way,pregnant_1450316c

“Now, not only is there overwhelming evidence of effects at low levels, but it is increasingly apparent that the rate of decline in intellectual impairment is greater at BLLs below 10 μg/dL than above. Overall, every 1 μg/dL increase in blood lead results in a decrease of 0.87 IQ points. For BLLs below 10 μg/dL, a 1 μg/dL increase results in a 1.37 IQ decrease (Canfield et al., 2003).”

In May of 2012, the CDC revised the 10 μg/dL Level of Concern to 5 μg/dL while acknowledging 0 μg/dL is the ultimate goal. So what are these effects that researchers are so concerned about?

Adverse Health Effects of Blood Lead Levels <10 μg/dL

  1. Decreased IQ
  2. Decreased cognitive function
  3. Decreased neurologic function
  4. Slower development
  5. Greater odds of having Dental Caries
  6. Later onset of puberty
  7. Decreased renal function

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/ACCLPP/SupplementalOct04/Work%20Group%20Draft%20Final%20Report_Edited%20October%207,%202004%20-%20single%20spaced.pdf

 foot_coming_out_of_pregnant_belly

Another cause for concern I discovered in my research is that during pregnancy your body may pull lead out of your bones (thereby increasing your Blood Lead Level) in place of calcium. Structurally, lead and calcium are very similar and your body may pull lead out of your bones instead of the calcium it needs. While I was not able to find any scientific studies to back me up, my instincts tell me this means that simply foregoing any shooting while pregnant does not guarantee BLLs will not rise during pregnancy and thus endanger the baby. Translating that into daily life means (though I am a long way from any pregnancy) I will be much more careful to take steps to minimize my lead exposure today to protect any future children I may have.

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While there are steps you can take to protect yourself from lead exposure (which might possibly nullify all the dangers of lead listed above), I don’t know of any way possible to shoot a defensive caliber handgun and still protect the baby from the sound of gunfire. We wear hearing protection to protect our ears, but there aren’t any muffs available to protect a baby in the womb. Some argue that the baby’s ears have not developed until 24 weeks and the fetus is not able to hear loud noises until then. However, consider this, the military has long invested time and money developing weapons that use electromagnetic (sound) waves outside of our natural hearing range. These weapons are designed to affect people (make them extremely hot, dizzy, nauseous, etc…), even though the people cannot hear a thing. The baby may not “hear” the noise by way of the ears but loud noises are related to adverse health effects in the fetus. The threshold of pain for most adults is typically around 140 decibels and 120 dB for children. The average defensive handgun is between 153 dB and 164 dB. The shock and stress the baby may feel from such an onslaught of vibrations may be why loud noises are “associated with several disorders, including miscarriage, intrauterine growth retardation, preterm delivery, hearing loss in babies and children, altered immune response in the fetus, and hypertension. A combined exposure to noise and lead seems to have an increased toxicity, causing heart lesions, which are not observed for those agents alone.” http://www.theppsc.org/Staff_Views/Czarnecki/pregnant_officer.htm

There are also new reports indicating babies react negatively to ultrasounds. They may be far more sensitive to electromagnetic waves than we knew.

The Benefits

woman_with_gunSo what are the benefits of shooting while pregnant? Maintaining your skill with a firearm is the foremost benefit. Others have offered the following reasons to continue shooting: relieve some pregnancy-induced stress, spend quality time with loved ones, and continue to qualify for work or sport.

My Conclusion

Why risk it? Pregnancy is for 9 months, but the life developing within you has a lifetime ahead of him or her. Why risk making that life more challenging for that precious child when you have a choice? You have wisely chosen not to drink alcohol or smoke for the sake of your child (along with a myriad of other things). Why not include shooting on that list? And add an airsoft pistol to your gun cabinet.

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Sources:

National Institute of Health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2212280/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lead Exposure from Indoor Firing Ranges Among Students on Shooting Teams, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5423a1.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, A Review of Evidence of Adverse Health Effects Associated with Blood Lead Levels <10 μg/dL in Children http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/ACCLPP/SupplementalOct04/Work%20Group%20Draft%20Final%20Report_Edited%20October%207,%202004%20-%20single%20spaced.pdf

Other Great Resources:

http://www.juliegolob.com/julieg-radio-episode-011-shooting-while-pregnant

http://armedpregnancy.blogspot.com/2011/04/guns-and-pregnancy.html

http://iweb.tntech.edu/cpardue/pregnant.html

http://www.theppsc.org/Staff_Views/Czarnecki/pregnant_officer.htm

Lead

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-dangers-lead-fetus-13275.html

http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/lead/doc/Chap13Preg&Breast.pdf

http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/environmental_health/lead/pdf/pregnancy_fact_sheet_english.pdf

http://lead-poisoning-news.com/html/dangers.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1665421/ first trimester most dangerous?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737040/?tool=pubmed  Sex-specific effects

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5423a1.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/acclpp/final_document_030712.pdf

Sound

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasoundwagner.asp

http://chem-tox.com/pregnancy/ultrasound.htm

http://www.jultrasoundmed.org/content/27/4/541.full

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/089203629400069P

http://www.naturalnews.com/028853_ultrasound_fetus.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8674380.stm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9311552

http://www.naturalnews.com/019910_ultrasound_infant_health.html

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/100/4/724.full

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/554566_3

http://www.ehd.org/movies.php?mov_id=237

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199809/fetal-psychology

Non-lethal sonic weapons

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/csat34.pdf

http://socyberty.com/military/sound-as-a-weapon/

http://science.howstuffworks.com/lrad.htm/printable

http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/256/sonic_weapons.html

http://www.metrogun.com/db_list.html

http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

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Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.07.49 AMLast week a story emerged of a firearms safety instructor shooting one of his students. I happened to see the story on The Blaze, but it was also on CNN, Yahoo! News, Fox News, and other sites. The local newspaper naturally had the best coverage. My first reaction to the story, similar to many others, was outright condemnation and scorn for the instructor. I mentally began making a checklist for ensuring any future instructors I work with won’t be the “type” to do such a thing. I did some research, talked with some people (including coworkers here at Autrey’s and instructors), and developed the following checklist…

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.01.05 AM

A quick YouTube search will turn up numerous examples of bad instructors. Many times shooters fail because they were not taught proper stance or grip.

(Before we go any further, I would like to point out that uncles, husbands,boyfriendsfriends, etc... , who were in the _____(Army, Marines, Police, etc…) for ____ years do not make good firearms instructors. Just because a person is experienced in a skill does not mean they are able to teach that skill. And just because they were in the military does not necessarily mean they are experienced with handguns. Large majority of the military never carry handguns. As for Law Enforcement, many of them are not trained in the advanced skills and techniques of shooting. And, no matter what level of training a person has received, just because that person is experienced and proficient with firearms does not mean they will do well instructing you. The second problem [and probably the more common one I see at our range] with spouses and loved ones teaching others how to shoot is that spouses and significant others tend to have a hard time accepting correction from their loved one. It simply does not go over well when a husband tells his wife she is doing something wrong. Yet, I’ve seen an objective third-party say the exact same thing and the wife accepts their correction easily and immediately. So, I will repeat… Loved ones do not make for good firearms instructors.)

My Checklist…

1. ___ Do my fellow gun enthusiasts recommend him?130410-gun-show-hmed-11a.photoblog600

Word of mouth is often the best way to find a quality, local instructor. You may find a local gun store, range, shooting competition or gun show a good place to ask around. However, do your due diligence in selecting the gun enthusiasts to question. Attending a Tactical Course solely based on the opinion of one “expert” whom you happened to meet at the gun store is not likely to result in a great experience. Also, numerous instructors are excellent teachers of the basics of firearm safety and handling, yet are not qualified to teach more technical skills. For example, the number of instructors experienced in and qualified to train civilians in Close Quarters Combat is highly limited. Anyone who says the local Handgun Basics instructor can also teach such highly technical courses should be thoroughly questioned.

2. ___ Is he certified?gapatch

There are several nationally recognized organizations that train and certify instructors, the NRA being the most common. An instructor may also be certified through the State licensing board, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Safety, and others. These certifications provide a type of quality control for the firearms instruction community. A certified instructor has documented experience in the material they teach. The certifications also frequently demonstrate the level of commitment the instructor has to instructing. Typically (but not always), the more certifications an instructor has the more time and money they have invested into their chosen career field and the higher quality of instruction you are likely to receive.

600x400-John3

3. ___ Are our personalities compatible?

Though an instructor may meet all your qualifications, if he speaks in a manner that gets under your skin you will not learn well from him. There are instructors that are gruff and from whom some women are uncomfortable learning. And there are female instructors from whom men are uncomfortable learning. Call the instructor and have a conversation. The reviews and critiques of former students may also give you some insight into your instructor.

4. ___ Can he teach?

There are many skilled firearms owners and competitors that are not gifted with the ability to teach. When you talk with a potential instructor, ask for references and critiques from past students. These will likely give you great insight into their teaching ability, safety consciousness, and how personable they are. As you are talking with him, do your best to determine his purpose in teaching. Is he passionate about imparting knowledge that may save people’s lives? Does he enjoy teaching for the sake of seeing that “light-bulb” moment when a student “get’s it?” Or is he in it for the paycheck?

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5. ___ Is he experienced in the area I want to be trained in?

At the Introduction to Handguns level this is not so concerning, but as you move up in your skill development you need to ensure the instructor knows the material physically as well as mentally. Just as people without children will often foolishly advise people with children how they should raise said children, there are many things that sound great in theory but breakdown in reality. So also is the world of self-defense and combat. There are many theories about how things “should” be done but unless the instructor has tested his theories in the battlefield of reality the value of his training is limited. Even for a Basic Handgun Course, question the instructor on the basic fundamentals. If he doesn’t mention things like: stance, grip, sight alignment, breath control, trigger control, etc… then you should probably find somebody else. He is not experienced in the proper techniques of shooting.

6. ___ Is the course material from an established organization?pistolguide

If you are unsure of the local, independent instructors you may be better off going to one that is using the course material of an established organization (such as the NRA). Established organizations are typically founded on the reality-tested experience of an individual(s) and focus on training other instructors in the lessons learned through that testing. To ensure students receive the benefit of that life experience, instructors are severely restricted from making any deviations from the course material. This provides for continuity across county and state lines.

7. ___ Does he have a good reputation?

Gun+Enthusiasts+Attend+Machine+Gun+Shoot+Military+dhKX-6Rcre0lOnce you have narrowed down the list of instructors and schools, begin looking into their reputations. Internet reviews may be very helpful in this, but take each review with a very large grain of salt. Negative reviews may be posted by competition and positive reviews may be posted by those associated with the organization. It is also possible for one unhappy, previous student to take to the internet for his/her revenge. Gun shows and stores may be other good resources for determining the reputation of an organization, course or instructor.

8. ___ Is he insured?

Having insurance is another indication of the commitment level of the instructor as well as being extremely important if something unfortunate happens.

9. ___ Does he have an emergency plan if something goes wrong?ROTHCO-EMSTraumaBagBlue

A professional instructor should have an emergency plan in place if something unfortunate were to happen. Not having such a plan may be an indicator that the instructor is either inexperienced, naive, arrogant or unprofessional… none of which I want in a firearms instructor.

10. ___ Is he within budget?

Financial constraints are a concern for most U.S. citizens and many times our training decisions are limited by these constraints. There are many amazing nationally renowned courses we would love to attend but simply cannot afford it. With that in mind, a local course is very appealing. So long as the instructor is safe, we may be willing to compromise on skill or experience in order to advance in our firearm handling. Recently, Limatunes wrote an encouraging post on budgeting for firearms training that will likely help you budget for next year’s training.

What Is It I’m Really Looking For?th

Before you begin looking for an instructor, it is very important to first determine what your objectives are. If self-defense is your overall goal, several objectives may be to learn situational awareness, basic handgun handling, how to use pepper (OC) spray, hand to hand combat, and home defense strategies. If winning competitive shoots is your goal, you will need an entirely different set of firearms courses. For either situation, the optimal instructor will be qualified and competent in teaching all of the subjects you desire to master. By sticking with the same instructor throughout a series of courses you will have the advantage of maintaining continuity. A good instructor will learn your strengths, weaknesses, and how you learn. As he gives you direction and instruction he will tailor it to the method that best suits you. As a student, you will also learn his methods, style and format. Building that loyalty between instructor and student will yield many rewards. While the above scenario is the optimal situation, you may not find such an instructor in your area or you may desire to progress past the level of your current instructor. In whichever situation you find yourself, I believe the above information will help you avoid the worst of the instructors, protect you from the scam artists, and hopefully help you find an instructor that best suits you.

Conclusion

While digging into the best steps to take to ensure I train only with a highly qualified and safe instructor, I incidentally discovered the trainer in the headlines, Terry Dunlap, Sr., is actually a highly qualified and exceptionally experienced instructor and range master. He has successfully instructed both civilians and law enforcement for decades. See this Active Response Training post or this Examiner article for more details. As far as I can tell, this instructor would have passed all of my checkpoints. So where does that leave me? I must conclude that all efforts of self-preservation are limited and ultimately my trust must not be in my efforts but God’s love and protection. Thankfully, He’s a lot better at protecting me than I am anyways.

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-1369988450
Other Resources…

An interesting read into what mindset a professional instructor should have? http://www.corneredcat.com/article/teaching-others/how-to-become-a-firearms-instructor/

http://www.usacarry.com/13-tips-choosing-right-firearm-instructor/

http://packingpretty.com/2012/02/24/finding-the-right-firearms-instructor/

http://news.yahoo.com/va-couple-accidentally-shot-gun-safety-class-111518724.html

http://www.guns.com/2011/01/10/how-to-find-a-good-shooting-instructor-the-essential-questions-to-ask-yourself-and-your-instructor/

http://www.officer.com/article/10711536/negligent-discharges-preventable-or-inevitable

http://www.policeone.com/police-products/firearms/articles/1354124-Causes-and-cures-for-the-negligent-discharge/

Other negligent discharges…

http://www.theppsc.org/Archives/Firearms-Safety/ArlingtonTX-Cops.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZdeAVOiQmU

http://www.twincities.com/ci_23046960/gun-safety-instructor-accidentally-fires-gun-stillwater-class

http://www.examiner.com/article/nancy-reagan-s-secret-service-agent-shoots-self-hip-pics

http://soldiersystems.net/2012/11/08/cqb-training-lets-be-careful-out-there/

http://toptacticalsolutions.com/firearms-safety-the-sympathetic-squeeze/

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080520/NEWS/805200357

riots_la1

LA Riots in 1992

Sides-LA-Riots-6_525As unlikely as it appears to many US citizens, the riots of Europe, the Middle East, South America and Los Angeles may conceivably occur in cities across the US. While the current political climate is not conducive to riots in the US, as we have recently seen in Europe it does not take much to set off a firestorm of violence and chaos. Riots are often sparked by food shortages, high prices, government oppression, racial tensions, religious tensions, and politics. For example, during the Zimmerman trial there were many threats of mass riots all across the country. Thankfully, little came of those threats but they do provide an excellent opportunity for strategic analysis. For those of us in the Atlanta area, have you ever considered what you would do if riots break out Downtown Atlanta? What if you were working downtown when the riot erupts? How would you get home? If you are outside the Perimeter, can you stay there indefinitely? What steps should you take if you find yourself needing to travel through the riot area?

world-riots-brazil-riots

Brazil Riots

Naturally, the best thing is to avoid a riot completely. Just don’t go there. By avoiding the chaos, your personal injury and damage will be severely limited. However, as not everybody has the luxury of avoiding Downtown Atlanta (due to health, family or business), what steps can you take to mitigate your chance of injury or loss should you find yourself traveling through a hostile area?

  1. Be armed — While a firearm is certainly an effective way of dealing with assailants, it also will attract a lot of attention. Attention is the last thing you want in the midst of a riot. Gaining the attention of the rioters may get you attacked and gaining negative attention from the police may get you shot. Utilizing mace or a knife is a far more stealthy option that may help you escape a riot unscathed. Knives have the added benefit of never needing a reload but the downside of requiring close quarters to use. Mace/OC Spray has the advantage of clearing an area instead of just one person. One person may get the full effect of the spray, but most of the people around them are also going to clear the area in an attempt to escape the spray.

    riots

    French Rioter Wears Protective Clothing

  2. Wear Protective Clothing — Long sleeves and long pants will help protect you from some of the crowd control measures utilized by police. Jeans and a long-sleeved shirt can somewhat mitigate the damage caused by rubber bullets, spray and other crowd control measures. Preparing beforehand is the best way to insure you will have such protective clothing available in the eventuality a riot begins while you are away from home and/or at work. I recommend keeping an extra set of clothes in your car or desk drawer (especially if tensions are mounting).
  3. Blend In — do your best to look as much like the rioters as possible. Again, you do not want to gain the attention of the crowd nor the police. Standing out in this kind of crowd will likely be very detrimental to your health. Wear clothes that are similar to those the rioters/protesters are wearing. Shout the same slogans the rioters are shouting. Suddenly become the biggest supporter of the rioters and their cause. Remember, at this point your goal is to survive not be politically correct. Discard anything that looks authoritative: security badges, uniforms, (even referee or umpire uniforms), etc…

    riot(2)

    There’s a Reason for the Flow

  4. Go with the Flow — If you are caught up in a moving riot, go in the same general direction the crowd is going. Walking in the opposite direction will likely cause you to bump into somebody, and that small infraction may trigger a harsh reaction. Also, if the crowd is running a certain direction they may be running from something. The police may have just released large amounts of Tear Gas or other types of crowd control agents (or in the worse case, may be shooting live rounds into the crowd). Following the crowd is not a technique I normally advocate in life, but there is certainly a time and a place for it…. And that would be the time.
  5. Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Keep Calm!! — Maintaining your awareness and clarity of mind is key for such a time. If you are to escape unscathed from the chaos you will need to keep an eye out for 1) opportunities to escape, 2) potential threats, 3) ensuring any loved ones traveling with you stay with you. Depend on no one but God for help. In a riot situation the Police are not there to help, they are only present to contain and control. Do not run towards them for help or you may be seriously injured or killed. The Police will see movement towards them as a threat and will react as such.

    urban-survival

    In this case, you want a bag that will be as unobtrusive as possible… No ALICE or MOLLE packs. You need to BLEND IN!!

  6. Prepare Now! — As we have already seen in LA, Europe, the Middle East and other places around the world, mass riots can begin with little warning given to the everyday citizen and in a matter of a precious few hours. Many of us prepare for the eventuality of getting mugged, assaulted, or otherwise accosted (which is why we carry) but we also need to expand our preparations to include common sense items that will assist us in any emergency. Cash may get you gas for your car, bribe a rioter into letting you pass, or buy you food when the grid is down. Keep emergency cash on hand: on your person, in your glove box, etc… Stash some food and clothes in a bag and keep the bag in your car or you could also stash them in your desk at work. If a mass riot breaks out while you are working (or shopping in) downtown, you may be trapped. Having food on hand will help you both physically and mentally. You may also want to do as I did and throw a small Bible in your emergency bag as well. During such a time, a Bible will likely be very comforting.  A deck of cards may also be a good idea (if you happen to be one of those that still knows how to play with actual cards and not just digital ones).

lariot01While many of us pray such a scenario of utter chaos will never unfold in this country, a realistic look around the world and at history reveals the odds are stacked against us and it is likely only a matter of time. While we are still on the peaceful side of such an event it behooves us to analyze our weak and strong points, our travel patterns, and those of our family members so we may quickly plan the best avenues for escape, concealment and defensive positions. For example, a non-threatening shop/business such as a sewing shop or craft store is a better place to hole up than fuel stations, restaurants or other locations that bring crowds or numerous customers. It is also best to avoid places that may attract thieves to loot; i.e. a jewelry or grocery store. While there will be little we can do once a riot erupts, preparing beforehand will dramatically increase the effectiveness of what we are able to do. The oft quoted “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially applicable to just such an emergency situation.

US-social-racism-riots-anniversary-files Riot

Other Sources

http://www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com/how-to-survive-a-riot/

http://howtosurviveit.com/how-to-survive-a-riot/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Emergency-Drills—Practicing-What-to-Do-In-Case-of-a-Riot&id=7435911

http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Survive-Riots-and-Civil-Unrest-When-The-SHTF-%28With-Or-Without-Zombies%29&id=7430687

http://www.theexpathub.com/what-to-do-if-caught-up-in-a-riot/5087/

http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/archives/392  Voice of Experience…

http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/archives/392

http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2009/11/so-you-think-you-want-revolution.html  eye-witness account of a mass riot

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/middle-class-guy/2011/aug/11/london-style-riots-can-happen-here/

http://bonniegadsden.blogspot.com/2012/03/1992-la-riots-first-hand-account-part-i.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/penn-state-riot-pictures-2011-11?op=1

And I do not mean this type of Flash Mob…Flash-Mobs

This is what I’m talking about….

flash-mob-robbery_606usa-trayvon-martin-prayer-rally-600x350ottowa-flash-rob

During and after the Zimmerman trial there was much talk about riots. Some places experienced mass protests while in other cities the protests were fairly localized. Just before the verdict was announced, there were concerns of mass rioting across the US. While these concerns have dissipated and it appears that the LA Zimmerman protests were as bad as it’s going to get, flash mobs and race riots are an ongoing threat to the peace and safety for the law-abiding US citizens. And while many of us recognize that we would do well to be mentally and physically prepared to encounter such a mob, how many of us actually know what to do?

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In researching this topic, I realized mobs/riots can be separated into two categories: street riots and city riots. Street riots are localized centers of mass criminal activities that tend to catch innocent bystanders unaware. City riots are characterized by large areas of a city being taken over by rioters/demonstrators and police; such as in the LA Riots, Argentine Crisis of 2001 and The Arab Spring). While a few of the tactics recommended by security instructors apply to both categories, for the sake of clarity I will separate them into two blog posts. As street riots are happening all across the US in increasing numbers, these riots are the more pressing threat and thus I will focus on that type for this first post.

Surviving a Street Riot or Flash Mob

Prevention
  1. Have an exit plan: Any time you and your family are in a large public gathering, identify at least two escape routes. Should a flash mob occur, you will not have time to pick out a safe path to travel. You and your family will need to react very quickly to avoid getting caught up in the violence. As soon as you see large groups of suspicious people amassing, get going. Do not wait for the violence to start or it may be too late.
  2. Be aware: Pay attention to what is going on around you. Identify the norm for that event or area and give strict scrutiny to anyone or anything outside that norm. Listen to your instincts. That uneasy feeling could save your life, don’t dismiss it.
  3. story_mainTrain your family: Just because you’re aware and prepared to flee doesn’t mean your family is. They may be completely oblivious to that sudden influx of urban youth at the far corner of the concert. Training everyone to recognize and react to a code word will speed up the reaction time of your family and increase your chances of escaping unharmed. Also, it is human nature to stop and watch mayhem from a “safe” distance, for the same reason traffic slows to a crawl when there is a bad accident on the other side of the highway. Take this natural instinct into account when you train your family to flee the scene. It is also a good idea to teach your family not to stand behind you if you are forced into gun fight. Even though it is a natural instinct to stand between them and danger, it will also put them directly in the line of any return fire that may come your way. It is strongly recommended for your family to keep running to a predetermined meeting place (such as the car) while you deal with the criminals.
  4. Establish meeting places: Should your family get separated, it is important to pre-establish a meeting place or two. One meeting place inside the perimeter and one outside. The car may be a natural choice for a meeting place outside the perimeter. To ensure your children are able to get into the security of the car as quickly as possible you may also want to give them copies of the vehicle keys.
  5. Be prepared: When you attend a large public gathering, carry extra defensive weapons with you. Anecdotally, OC spray (mace/pepper spray) is great defensive option during a flash mob or riot. Most of the criminals are looking for an easy victim and as soon as you demonstrate your willingness to fight back with a quick spray to the face they tend to move on to find easier prey. In comparison to a firearm, a knife also has the advantages of not spooking the crowd, being easier to retain in close quarters, never runs out of ammo, and will not over-penetrate. In addition to bringing extra defensive weapons with you, it is also a good idea to ensure your family wears the type of shoes which make evacuating the situation a better possibility. Many people prefer to wear flip-flops during the summer, but I’d strongly urge you to trade in the flip-flops for tennis shoes when going to the Braves game or Six Flags.
If, despite your best preparations, you get caught up in a mob, then what?

vancouver riot

  1. Try to be inconspicuous: If at all possible, try to blend in with the rioters. For example, if they are rioting because their favorite team lost (or won), yelling the name of that team might help you. Of course, if the mob you’re encountering is like this one then your best options are fight or flight.
  2. Get your back to a wall: Find a way to minimize your vulnerabilities and reduce the visual area you are monitoring. As an additional benefit, retreating to the wall may get you far enough away from the most violent of the mob and help you avoid injury.
  3. Go with the flow: Mobs and riots are frequently like a fast-flowing river, the middle moves the fastest. If you are caught up in the middle of a riot don’t try to fight the flow. Going cross-current will bring unwanted attention and may also cause you to stumble and get trampled. Go with the flow of the crowd while patiently working your way to the side. Escape the mob as soon as you find a safe way to exit.
  4. Escape, don’t fight (if at all possible): Make every attempt to escape. One man fighting 10 or 20 is never a good proposition. Men, there is no shame in acknowledging an unfavorable situation and enacting a tactical retreat at a high rate of speed. If you are cornered, fight with all that you have. Small blunt instruments, knives and OC spray work best in such environments. Using a firearm should be your last resort. In such an environment, there is a high potential for the firearm  to be taken from you, you may miss or over-penetrate your target and hit an innocent, the sound of gunfire may galvanize the mob, and you may be mistaken by the police as one of the criminals and be shot.
  5. panic in waterDon’t panic–There will chaos, panic, anger, and fear all around you. It is vital you do not give into these emotions or you will lose your ability to safely navigate your way out of the mob. Thinking and praying are key to escaping such a situation, neither one is done well in a blind panic.

Conclusion

Mobs and Riots are best avoided when at all possible, and escaping when not. Fight only when you are personally accosted and save your gun for your last resort. Use your head not your fists, until fists are needed to protect your head. Stay Safe…

My Sources and Other Recommended Readings:

http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/black-mob-violence-and-the-media-silence/

http://personaldefensesolutions.net/ArticleGP-FlashMob.htm

http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/surviving-the-flash-mob

http://offgridsurvival.com/riots/