Monday, March 1, 2010

The Five Stages of Awareness

The concept of the Five Stages of Awareness, and the Four Stages of Awareness was developed by Marine officer Jeff Cooper during the Pacific campaign, who later developed the Pistolcraft concept. (Author’s note: I don’t suggest the Pistolcraft concept, but rather the Stressfire method developed by Massad F. Ayoob). He later reduced the five stages to four, which works well for the military, but not so much for law enforcement or civilians. I will explain both here today. The first three stages are identical for both concepts, but differ after that.
Stage 1 (Condition White) Little or no awareness of one’s surroundings. The ultimate example of this is being asleep. However, most people in the United States are in this condition most of the time. Their Ipod playing loud so they can’t hear anything, they’re texting on the phone so they can’t see what’s around them, etc. Anyone carrying a firearm while in condition white is ill prepared for a conflict and will inevitably walk blindly into a deadly situation.
Stage 2 (Condition Yellow) Relaxed Awareness. An example would be someone who can tell you where they are without looking around, or who is behind them without looking first. You need not be armed to be in condition yellow, but if armed, you certainly should be. In condition yellow you are basically keeping your eyes and ears open for a potential threat, so that you can be prepared for it before it happens. A well-adjusted person can spend all his waking hours in condition yellow with no ill effects.
Stage 3 (Condition Orange) You feel, see or hear a potential threat, but are not sure it is a deadly threat yet. Example: You hear glass breaking downstairs at 2am. It could be a burglar or it could be the family pet knocking over a vase. In this condition you should be acutely aware of all sights and sounds. Your weapon may or may not be drawn, but if drawn, should be in a safe, ready position. After all, breaking a vase is not a good reason to shoot the cat!
Stage 4 (Condition Red) You see an eminent threat. Weapon must be drawn by now, but this is where we see the difference in the five stage method and the four stage method.
In the four stage method you next action is to fire or attack. This serves the military well as it is common practice in war to attack your enemy on site. This does not serve law enforcement or civilians because, brandishing the weapon quite often is sufficient to stop the threat, therefore using the weapon is not necessary. As a civilian this is in your best interest as it will greatly reduce your chances of being arrested, charged or sued.
Stage 5 (Condition Black) The fight has begun either because they attacked first or you felt you had no choice but to attack first. In condition black you must stop the immediate threat in front of you, but once that threat is neutralized, you must fight the stress induced tunnel vision and loss of hearing and start scanning the immediate area for another attacker.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Myth: People who carry guns are looking for a fight!

Those who would ban the civilian ownership of defense guns feel that this absorption of potentially deadly power can create dangerous change in the character of the armed man. They fear that a man who before avoided quarrels, whether from reasonable or cowardly fear, will now be so fortified by the artificial potency of the gun that he will pick up on the slightest insult, perhaps escalating minor, everyday arguments into deadly confrontations.
Over many years of carrying guns, and of living in a part of the United States where the practice is commonplace among law-abiding citizens of all levels of society, I have learned otherwise.
In a normal, conscientious person, the presence of that deadly power engenders not belligerence, but an enhanced degree of self-control and coolness in tense moments of real or potential conflict. There are, I think, two reasons.
“If I hadn’t been carrying a gun, I would have punched that wise-ass in the mouth.” I have heard this sentiment many times. I have uttered it myself.
The responsible man who carries a legal gun does not respond to emotional provocation as he might if unarmed. An insult to one’s wife by a punk on the street is a case in point. The instinctive reaction is a threat or a blow. The presence of a gun does not give a reasonable man unnatural arrogance in this situation; rather, it creates a restraint. He knows that what would otherwise be a fistfight could escalate at the moment he, an armed man, engaged the provocator in physical combat, and he knows that the responsibility for the outcome would be his. It forces him to respond to the dictates of reason, not those of outraged pride.
Secondly, the possession of the ultimate degree in personal, physical power gives him an edge that improves his footing in more ways than one. An unarmed man threatened with physical assault responds largely from fear. A danger he is ill prepared to cope with has two results: it clouds his thinking with fear, even panic, and it provokes him to extremes to ensure his own survival. For instance, the two responses may combine, inducing him to attack before the use of force has become entirely necessary.
He who is armed is not above fear, but he experiences it to a lesser degree. The knowledge that he is prepared to cope with and survive the worst, relieves his mind of the heaviest fear, and lets him turn his full mental powers toward a non-violent escape from the situation.
He can afford to try to talk or walk his way out of it. He’s not giving up anything by holding off—his gun, and hopefully his skill with it, will still be the deciding factors if the assailants choose to make it a life or death situation. Another advantage is that he is under no social pressure to reinforce his masculinity with a counterattack: his possession of the gun, and the responsibility that accompanies it, give him an acceptable reason to excuse himself from the conflict.

• From the book: In The Gravest Extreme. By Massad F. Ayoob

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Castle Doctrine. What it is and why your state needs it.

The Castle Doctrine, in the simplest terms gives the law abiding, licensed firearm carrier two valuable rights.
1. While in a place that you have every right to reside such as your home, vehicle or place of business, you have the right to stand your ground if threatened by a violent criminal, even if that puts you in a position to use deadly force to protect yourself or your family. You are not required by law to flee, if the opportunity presents itself.
2. Neither the perpetrator that you shoot, nor their family has the legal right to sue you for damages.
The following states already have this law, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The following states DO NOT HAVE THE CASTLE DOCTRINE! California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin,
If you are a resident of one of these states that do not have the Castle Doctrine, I strongly recommend that you contact your governor, local representatives, your state Rifle Association (if you have one) and the National Rifle Association asking for their help in passing the extremely valuable law in your state.

Here is a link to an example of a Castle Doctrine law from the state of Texas. Most state Castle Doctrine laws are similar in wording.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Guns-at-Work law needed in many more states

I invite all of you to copy this letter, changing the name and state, and send it to your governor if your state does not currently have this law.

Dear Governor,
It has come to my attention that Texas is in need of a new law to protect its citizens. The law I am referring to is the “Guns-at-Work” law. This law prohibits Texas businesses from terminating an employee for having a legal firearm in their vehicle on company property. Many states have already passed this law including Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Why hasn’t Texas?
I am a law abiding Texan with a Concealed Handgun License and my company policy forbids me keeping my gun in my car while I’m at work. This not only prevents me from protecting myself at work, but also during the commute to and from work. My only recourse right now is to risk termination by keeping my firearm in my car anyway or park my vehicle off of company property which is unrealistic.
The law already provides a solution for “gun-free-zones” such as schools, airports, federal buildings etc, by allowing the law abiding gun owner to leave the firearm in their car even though it’s parked in the parking lot of these places. Let’s send a message to all businesses and corporations with locations in Texas that they do not have the right to terminate their employees for exercising their constitutional rights.

Cody [last name withheld]
NRA Member

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why do I need a gun when we have Police?

If we do not fight crime on a personal level we are abdicating our personal responsibilities as citizens and condoning evil. Yet for decades we have been told by big-city police departments to give the criminal what he wants. Do not resist because you might get hurt. We have allowed our schools to demonize firearms, which are the most effective weapons for personal defense. We have been encouraged to rely on authority to protect us.
However, things have changed since 1993. One of the positive things that came out of the terrorist attacks in September 2001 and, more recently, Hurricane Katrina, is that people realized that the government can not protect them. The veneer of civilized society is exceeding thin.
The other thing that has been happening in the past two decades is that concealed-weapons laws have rampaged through state legislatures. At this writing forty states have laws that make it relatively easy for law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns for protection. More than three million people have licenses to carry handguns concealed in public.
All the ordinary citizens who go to the expense and trouble of getting concealed-carry licenses are taking the first small steps toward being responsible for their own safety. They have taken a stand against the degradation and humiliation of being victims of crime. They have indicated that they are willing to take the risk of fighting back.
 From the book: Thank God I Had A Gun, by: Chris Bird

The odds of the average US citizen being a victim of a violent crime in their lifetime:
1 in 150.

The odds of law enforcement being there to protect you at the time of the attack:
1 in 1000.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Four Basic Laws of Firearm Safety

Law 1
Always treat a firearm as if it were loaded.
By doing this you greatly reduce your chances of a negligent firing.

Law 2
Never aim a firearm, loaded or unloaded, at anything you are not willing to destroy.
Like Law 1, this will greatly reduce your chances of making a very serious and costly mistake.

Law 3
Never put your finger on the trigger or in the trigger guard until you are aiming at your intended target and are ready to fire.
Firearm trigger pull can range from very heavy 10 pounds or more to very light 2 pounds or less (hair trigger). Firearms will only fire when the trigger is pulled, the firearm is dropped and lands just right or there is a malfunction. Since it is designed to fire when the trigger is pulled, keep your finger off of the trigger until you ready to fire. The trigger finger should rest on the frame, slide or cylinder above the trigger and on the side of the firearm until you are ready to fire.

Law 4
Never handle a firearm that you are unfamiliar with unless you are being trained how to use the firearm by a responsible adult who is familiar with it.
Like Laws 1 and 2, this will greatly reduce your chances of a negligent firing.