Friday, May 13, 2016

Better safe than sorry

Is this your worst nightmare? If so, you better be prepared.

I was asleep and then suddenly… awake. My brain was foggy and the clock read 2:14am. There it is again – the sound of broken glass! Grabbing my pistol from the nightstand it dawned on me that I had neglected to set the alarm. My wife was sleeping soundly and I made my way to the bedroom door and stepped out into the hallway at the top of the stairs.

No one is supposed to be in my house but my wife and I and there at the bottom of the stairway is a man. His hand flashes and I fire and fire again and watch as he falls backwards. The sound is tremendous in the quiet house and I realize I just shot a home intruder.

This is one of the scenarios of the simulator training I underwent at the College of the Mainland last week. The instructor is Baytownian Daniel Blackford. He teaches deadly force training to a wide range of students and law-officers in a modern facility at the college. His expertise and credentials are as long as my arm and I have jokingly told him more than once, that if I win a large lottery, he will be my bodyguard for life.

I spent two hours with him in a one-on-one training session where we exchanged ideas about the difference in my way of handling bad guys when it is only one and they are not armed and the police way of doing the same thing. They differed considerably. On the scenarios where I was a policeman, I responded sluggishly; often hesitating or totally confused on how to handle anything from a domestic dispute to a suicide bridge jumper.

When the bad guy showed he possessed a weapon, I pretty much got the draw on him and shot him first. The simulator shows bullet placement and believe it or not, blood. It is very accurate. Another time I approached the back door of a warehouse and a man armed with an AK-47 stepped out and I fired 7 rounds, hitting his body armor a couple of times and missing him with the rest. I would have lost that confrontation and I could have sworn I was aiming true.

As a law officer, I arrived at a motel to answer a domestic dispute and could hear yelling coming from the second floor. A woman stepped out screaming and I drew my firearm. As a side note, Daniel told me sometimes police academy students have to practice drawing their firearm for 45 minutes before he is satisfied, but I think I passed that one quickly. At one time years ago, I worked a fast draw rig to the point that I wore out the six-shooter and it had to be repaired.

The woman lunged out of the open door with a knife stuck in her chest! Immediately a very angry man came out holding a swaddled baby! I’ll be honest, he kept screaming at me to shut-up and possibly tossing or hurtling the baby to the ground. It confused me. The woman was most likely bleeding out and screaming and I did the only thing I knew to do and that was holster the firearm. This continued for at least 2 minutes before the man laid the baby down and was distraught and surrendered. I felt overwhelmed.

Daniel Blackford is qualified
Daniel told me this was a no win situation, but all too common and it didn’t take me long to realize being a cop is putting yourself in danger and under a microscope for everyone to second guess your actions. He told me I did the right thing.

A couple more scenarios came up that after I reacted and yes, shot more bad people before they got me, we would discuss the situation. Being a martial artist and trained in self-awareness, I would point out that I wouldn’t allow myself to be put in the situation depicted. He understood this, being a man who can handle himself. My bride is always telling me I think too much, but it has kept me out of harms way more than a few times.

I’ve touched on the psychology of defending yourself in the past and if you remember, I stressed that no matter how much training you receive, the innate nature to stand and resist cannot really be taught. You either have it, or don’t and when that time comes, only the situation will determine your response. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train, it means just the opposite and the simulation exposure offered at the college puts you in a real life situational environment.

Friendly professional training
I am a firm believer in going through life never having to point and shoot my firearm at anyone. I don’t sit around and imagine what it would be like either. I can pretty much tell you it would be a nightmare and something I do not want to relive countless times as I wonder if I made the right decision. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a victim, so I will continue to be vigilant when out and about and take precautions as needed.

If you are licensed to carry, I strongly suggest you take a course such as this, whether in Texas City or somewhere else.

For more information on this realistic training call 409-933-8485 and ask for Daniel Blackford.


Anonymous said...

Daniel Blackford: Great article, I enjoyed having you down there for some training. Thank you.

Brian C said...

Nice writeup...I did the simulation at Baytowns Citizens Police Academy...very eye opening experience thru the different scenarios. I always carry me a 1991A1 (I refer to it as my "violence extinguisher") you said, better safe than sorry

Anonymous said...

David Clark: Bad things happen when good men do nothing!

Anonymous said...

Dandy Don Cunningham: Very good column this morning in The Baytown Sun, Bert. Whether it's our eternal destiny, or finding an intruder in your house at 2am, we need to be prepared. Several years ago, my Dad got up early one morning and walked into the kitchen. There, lying on the living room floor, is a man. My Dad, who didn't own a pistol, got the only thing he could think of, and that was a .22 cal. single shot rifle that WASN'T EVEN LOADED, and woke the guy up. Turned out the man was drunk and apparently found their front door open and went inside and fell asleep on the living room floor. Dad called the police and they said that this guy had done that before. That could have turned out very differently.My Dad wasn't very prepared. Great column! Great job, Daniel Blackford.

Anonymous said...

Gilbert Morton: That's a good article. I need to be proactive in this area too.

Warren Fitts said...

Great article Bert, nice to see people like Daniel Blackford doing this service for people.. as a military trained soldier from a few years back , that some survival items are different in civilian world, but one thing is the same "Repetition Is The Mother of Skill".. in todays world crime happens in the day or night so as you say Bert being aware of your surroundings is Spot On... avoiding a bad situation is a good but also being ready is today Top Priority to protect your family and yourself.. I also observe my police officers brothers and sisters when they have someone stopped, to see all in control.. being involved in your community as eyes and ears scares criminals.. supporting our law enforcement pays big dividends in keeping people safe and secure.. Knowing proper way of defense is a must for ALL to know especially with ISIS and illegals now adding to already criminals in America..

Anonymous said...

Roger A Park: Always train and prepare for how you would respond in a situation where you might need to use force. Not using force when needed for survival then makes you a sheep or more likely, candidate for worm food. Don't wait for someone to come save you, be a part of the solution and save yourself.

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