The Greatest Equalizer…

This is a little long, but read the whole thing. It is another example of “Why I Carry.”

I received a text from a relative the other night… this is what it said:So, I’m busy at the time at a business open house and on my way home I give the relative a call.

Background:

Barron For Scale…

Before I get into the details of the story, let me relate the following. This relative is 74 years old, under 5 foot, and has silver-gray hair and is a breast cancer survivor. From now on we will just refer to her as: “Short Lady with the Gray Hair” or SLwtGH for short.  She drives a retired police car we picked up used for a decent price after her previous car finally began to die after 23 years of use.

Story:

I call the SLwtGH and she informs me of the events from her day.  For whatever reason that morning she decided that she needed to carry Tweety, her revolver with her.  She headed into Tacoma to play bridge with some friends.  For those who aren’t familiar with the People’s Republic of Puget Sound, Tacoma isn’t exactly the friendliest depending on where you are, but this was going to be mid day and she would be traveling home by 1500 so it’s not like the animals would be prowling right?

She leaves her friend’s house and at about 1440 she turns left off of E 38th street and heads North on East Portland Ave.

The full frame of the incident. The distance from E38th to Fairbanks is .4 miles.

At the time she turned left she checked her rear view mirror and saw no one behind her, blind spot clear she moved from the left lane to the right lane.

At East Fairbanks she noticed two dark color vehicles approaching from the rear. She maintained speed at 40 thinking  this is nothing significant, other than traffic.

One vehicle rapidly speeds past, immediately pulls in front, rapidly stops forcing the SLwtGH to slam on her brakes. The second car blocks the drivers side preventing immediate egress from the area. The only exit is backwards or through the vehicles.

Three men get out of the vehicles. Two out of the vehicle directly in front. The third got out of the vehicle blocking the driver side. One has a revolver at his side, another has a knife, the third has a semi-automatic pistol. At this point the SLwtGH is dialing 911 and drawing her firearm. She places it in a retention position on her chest.  About midway through their approach of the vehicle the men stop their approach. They begin conversing, the words said are unknown.  At this same time the SLwtGH is relaying her location to dispatch.

Suddenly there is a siren and lights approaching from the east. The officers pull in front of the two black cars blocking any attempted egress and the officers exit the vehicle weapons drawn.  The officer and his partner in the first car immediately took control of the situation and put the individuals in custody. Two other cars arrived shortly after.

After the officers had placed the individuals in custody they approached the SLwtGH , asked to see her weapon and carry permit.  She was then informed they were well acquainted with subjects, she was absolutely justified and had nothing to worry about. They would be going away for an extended period on multiple warrants. She was thanked for maintaining poise and thoughtfulness.

She let the officers clear the scene and then she did so.

Major notes, the criminals were traveling in packs, attempted to attack what they thought they was a soft target. This event happened in broad daylight on a thoroughfare.

AAR and my takes:

Most likely this was an attempted car jacking. As the SLwtGH was driving a retired police car it is both hardened, as well as useful if you want to imitate being an officer to rob people.  Overall the event happened quickly, it was lucky there were officers in the immediate vicinity. The SLwtGH kept her cool and remained calm event though she was under stress.

In this incident all three elements for deadly force existed:

  1. Ability: They were armed and there was no question about them being so.
  2. Opportunity: Two of the individuals were armed with ranged weapons capable of piercing the windshield.
  3. Jeopardy: The men out numbered an elderly, short, woman, blocked her vehicle, were approaching it armed, with no legal reason to be doing so.

Alternative Weapons:

While giving a debrief she noted that even if she attempted to back up, she would have still had difficulty fleeing because of the distance required to get around them. I reminded her of two things.

  1. She was in a hardened vehicle that gives her an advantage others don’t have. She could have backed up enough to wedge through the two vehicles.
  2. Her vehicle has enough power and is reinforced on the front that she could have pushed that front car out-of-the-way.

Remember your vehicle is a weapon, don’t be afraid to use it as such.

It happens fast, remain calm:

This kicked off fairly fast, I’m impressed SLwtGH was able to get 911 on the horn and have her firearm ready to rock.

This was most likely because she did not sit in denial of the events happening in front of her. Many people when confronted will deny what’s going on, trying to rationalize that this isn’t really happening or that they’re being hyper critical and the danger they’re seeing isn’t really there.  Process your input and act on it, don’t deny what you’re seeing, don’t down play it. Let the data and events speak for itself. If new data says it’s not as dangerous, great, but don’t trying and play the hypotheticals as it is happening.

Her firearm made the difference.

The presence of her firearm interrupted their game plan. This was a defensive gun use, however statistically this wouldn’t be counted.  As a side note this makes for 5 defensive gun uses in my family, in all 5 instances there wasn’t a shot fired. They had their own preconceived notion of how this was going to go down. They figured it was a soft target and would need little effort other than intimidation. When they approached the vehicle, the firearm caused them to suddenly need to start working on a new game plan. I’ve seen this happen personally in another incident where the individual was armed.

If you find yourself in a similar situation that is the moment you need to capitalize on. What has happened is the initiative has flipped, they no longer have the edge of their plan. This is when you can either talk the person down, I did in one case, wait and see if they’re going to decide discretion is the better part of valor, as the SLwtGH did here.

Additional side note, if they are already committed to performing an act of violence in their plan such as shooting you, they will likely not freeze or stop. I suspect this is because mentally that haven’t counted on the escalation path and the probability of them not surviving the encounter. Someone already committed to the violent act will most likely not waver.

Final thoughts:

Sean’s notes on this are spot on. We’ve got yet another crap gun control initiative in this state being funded by Bloomberg and company. In two weeks time there were two defensive gun uses within my family.

The issue isn’t with firearms, it isn’t with law-abiding gun owners, it’s with the tolerant behavior surrounding violent crime. We’re restricting the rights of the innocent under the guise of stopping criminals, and then acting surprised criminals are becoming bolder, because they don’t care. In the end, criminals prey on the weak. Why are we wanting the people who’ve contributed to society and continue to do so turned into prey?

Final though, don’t tell me you want to ban firearms or otherwise disarm innocent people, I am sick of playing that game. The only way the SLGH had any chance there was a firearm. Even if they had just had clubs, she’s old, small, and out numbered. You’re a sick horrible person and honestly, the body count of innocent people being dead isn’t on us. We carry every day to protect ourselves and those we love. Just look at the pastor who stopped a car jacker when he was taking his 6th car after previously shooting numerous people.

So don’t you dare tell me blood is on our hands for supporting gun owners and law-abiding citizens. 5 defensive gun uses, not a single shot fired in any of them, and in the last one:

The Short Lady with the Grey Hair stared down a bunch of armed thugs to the point where they’re now sitting in jail.

How ready are you for when violence shows up unexpectedly? Remember it doesn’t call ahead, you’re not really going to get a warning until it happens. Are you ready to be like the Short Lady with the Gray Hair?

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

I always thought this was a bad idea…

So I had previously seen a lot of different coverage in different places about the “festival of colors“. For a quick background see this.

I always thought it intriguing yet weird because well my fascination with fire and explosives has taught me the dangers of such things as dust, especially in large quantities. Well my apprehension was evidently well founded.

An article on the incident had this to say,

Explosions and blasts continued to take or put human lives in danger across the globe over the past week as fun and frolic turned into tragedy in the space of minutes. In the Formosa Water Park in the Bali district in Taiwan, over 200 people suffered severe burns after a dust explosion engulfed an area where people were merrily dancing.

I learned about the wonders of dust explosions back in scouts and the ripe age of 13. Non-dairy creamer, flour, really anything in a powdered form that is combustable will produce fantastic results. The MSDS for white chalk further provides data that while it may be chalk, danger is a serious concern for fire and explosion.

So remember, trust your gut and just because a bunch of people are doing it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Screw The Facebooks…

So if you’re friends/follow me on Facebook you will have probably noticed that I, who am normally active and full of commentary have been dead silent. Not only that if you try to hit up my Facebook page it is gone. Every comment I ever wrote, everything. Facebook has scrubbed me entirely from its system.

What was my transgression I hear you ask. You would think I was excessively nasty or offensive or did something that pissed someone off and the answer to that is a simple no. That isn’t to say I don’t say things that are offensive to some or that I don’t poke the bear, it’s just that I don’t do it in a manner that I walk into someone else’s house to do it.

No the burr up Facebook’s ass is they seem to think my name is not my real name. Let me repeat that, they thinks my name isn’t a real name. Evidently the idea that someone is named Barron with two r’s is just too damn hard to fathom. Now it should be noted I only used my last initial because well they wouldn’t let me suppress the damn thing otherwise. Frankly I’m not a fan of stalkers, supporting stalkers, or making it easier for stalkers, yet here Facebook is doing exactly that. Sure you could do some digging and find my Facebook page, not the one tied to the blog, but the fact of the matter is I’d rather keep the people who are missing the order of fries and the drink in their happy meal away from my personal page. I use the FB mainly to keep in touch with friends and family, if I feel like a debate it’s here or twitter. News flash Facebook, you claim this is to make sure people can find me. Everyone who knows me can find me, quite easily I might add. So please STFU.

So now that my account is disabled though, with no real note of when they will re-enable it if at all, I am wondering. Why do we need Facebook? Why do we need a centralized cloud which can censor everything? I’ve chatted with friends about a possible alternative method to remove the central gate-keeper. The main reason we haven’t is because well who cares? Facebook works right? Why is it worth my time? Well all the sudden you’ve taken the guy with the idea and the means and given him a motive.

So in the mean-time, maybe I should just blog more. Because eventually, we’re not going to need you Mark Zuckerberg and when that day comes you’ll merely be like Tom from MySpace.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Beware of the Snake Oil

So browsing through my FB feeds this morning I saw this “paid advertisement.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 7.15.30 AM

I all the sudden felt a recon red team exercise coming on. I go head and click on over to the website. There was a lot of snake oil in that page and as someone who understands this crap from a system’s perspective, any time you use wireless there are serious possibilities for remote vulnerabilities or exploits. So when I saw this line, my bull crap meter red lined.

Old wired technology. Traditional alarm companies want to put wires in your walls, because they know that ripping their wires out is hard and expensive.

On that above quote, let me tell you, removing wires is not that difficult. It’s called a pair of dykes, knife, spackle, and paint.  I can “remove” that wire in about 5 minutes for about 15 bucks. Actually I can remove every wire associated to any alarm system.  Hell if it’s actually dropped into an electrical box, just put a blank cover plate on it for like 10 cents.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept and give it two thumbs up from that stand point and for most burglars this will probably be fine, until someone makes an App that turns off, disables, or denies service to any SimpliSafe system. Given the sensors communicate wirelessly with a central base station, this seems not only possible, but very within the realm of possibility.

Further as it’s a wireless system said app can now tell me which homes have something inside that they feel the need to protect using a system that I am now capable of disabling.

As I said above, great concept but if one thing as an engineer has taught me, especially with some time in product development, I have never seen someone come in with an idea and really consider security and take it serious from the start. It’s always an afterthought and treated like a bug. Even more than that, wireless is often thrown around like a buzzword as if it’s somehow better just because.  There are serious benefits to wireless but like everything it’s a trade-off.

If I had extra time now I’d totally pick up a system to beat the crap out of. My advice, it’s probably better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but eventually it will be the equivalent of painting an invisible radiating target on your house. For the most part you’re not protecting your house from people like me which is the one saving grace. That said, this will be a joke to any determined attacker for the reasons outlined above.

If they want to send me a system to evaluate, seriously not asking cause my time is precious right now, I’m more than happy to withdraw my basic observations above should they be proven wrong.

*Again I haven’t actually dug into said product, this is based on a review of their site literature and advertising. I am merely providing this as an educational service and food for thought. If you’re from SimpliSafe and feel epic butt-hurt from the above, contact me and we can chat about it.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Quote of the Day – Lyle (5/12/2014)

To say that gun restrictions fail to reduce crime is a bit like saying that rape and robbery “fail to advance love and charity”.

LyleComment to Quote of the day—Chris and Jeff Knox
May 11th, 2014


[The thing is, many would find this a humorous joke. I can’t laugh through because honestly he nailed it.

I did see something else interesting last night on the news.  A man was eager to get people who lost family in the Oso mudslide in front of state legislators to push for more logging regulations. He even stated while we don’t have the facts currently, we do have emotional support and hopefully that should be enough for emergency measures.

Excuse me?  I swear people would rather live in a world governed by emotion instead of reason and logic.  They’d rather live by their feelings and intuition even if all facts, logic, and reason proved those things to be false.

Where did everyone go and how the hell can I get off the crazy train? -B]

 

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Citizens take law into own hands

Not only did the Sheriff’s Office narrow its scope to “life-threatening” situations, but it even encouraged people who felt unsafe to relocate. “… the Sheriff’s Office regretfully advises that, if you know you are in a potentially volatile situation (for example, you are a protected person in a restraining order that you believe the respondent may violate), you may want to consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services,” the original release stated.

Selig’s community watch group, looking to fill in the law enforcement cracks, now meets once a month to discuss crime and teach its approximately 100 members about personal safety. The group also has a trained “response team,” which consists of 12 people who will respond to the scene of a reported non-life-threatening situation if called.

I’ll summarize the full details real quick for everyone.  A county in Oregon lost a federal grant for timber that was a large source of revenue for them.  The county attempted to pass a tax levy to make up the difference, but it was voted down.  Because of this, they cut law enforcement back because that’s the obvious area to reduce funding. *SMH* One of the officers who was forced to retire early because of this mess decides to create a neighborhood watch group that is basically performing some of the duties of law enforcement mainly focused around property crime.  They’re not handing out tickets or arresting anyone, at least from what the article said.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.  There are obviously legal ramifications here.  There are liability issues and then the question of what they do when they are in a situation where they should arrest a person.  So far it seems like everything they’ve been involved in has been pretty harmless, but I’m sure that won’t last forever.  While I don’t agree with the scope of law enforcement at times, I also don’t want to trivialize their job and make it sound like anyone can do it.  Since it’s a prior officer that’s running this thing, I’m hoping that there is some good quality training going on and that the people doing this are prior MIL/LEO.

Some of the citizens are saying that the local government is cutting law enforcement to basically force their hand and get them to approve the levy.  I haven’t seen their budget, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this was the case.  Regardless of whether or not there is enough money, I’m impressed with the citizens’ willingness to step up and get the job done.  While law enforcement isn’t the first place I would think that we should have citizens stepping up to fill the gap, I am glad to see them doing what needs to be done, and I’m really hoping they do it right since this is the type of thing that can set a precedent going forward.

~John

SSCC #566: Kern County

The victim reported that two deputies went to her home in the Tehachapi area at about 11:00 p.m., to investigate a burglary involving a man who was at her home. 

While speaking to deputies in her home she was handcuffed and led into a room by one of the deputies to be searched.  While being searched she was sexually assaulted by the deputy, according to reports.

Violated not once but twice.  First by the criminal who stole her property and then by the agent of the state sent there to investigate the crime.  This isn’t the first time something like this has happened either.

Not only that but he returned and assaulted her again.

State Sponsored Criminal #566: Gabriel Lopez

Because when a woman reports a crime you can just commit one against her yourself right?

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Quote of the Day – Robb Allen (3/14/2013)

These are the people who consider themselves more enlightened than you or I and who think they have what it takes to rule your life. It’s like watching a retarded kid scream about how your tying your shoelaces wrong and then gets confused over the Velcro straps holding his sandals on his hands.

Robb AllenIgnorance can be deadly
March 14th, 2013


[And it isn’t just one or two people who seem to think like the person who wrote the provoking tweet either.  Look at this recent tweet that came across twitter.

Don’t worry I responded as my snarky self.

After which he couldn’t take it and promptly banned me.  Not unexpected given their prevalence for reasoned discourse.

Honestly I think Robb nailed our opponents with that analogy. -B]

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.