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Is This Mere Coincidence or a Cultural Change?

December 5, 2018

Lots of us are disappointed after the last election. Some of us turned off the news for a few weeks as we recovered. I’ve noticed a series of unexpected pleasant surprises during that time. The seeds of serendipity were planted long before the midterm campaigns began.

Laura Carno had social and political contacts long before she knew about the FASTER program. FASTER teaches school staff to be first responders. The FASTER program in Colorado would not exist without Laura’s hard work and also her network of dedicated volunteers. It is as if these firearms instructors and volunteers were waiting for FASTER to be brought to Colorado. FASTER Colorado called to their passion, and at the same time these volunteers were the answer to FASTER’s need for qualified staff. FASTER Colorado could not have happened 10 years ago. Why was it possible today?

Aaron Boyd also lives in Colorado. He was frustrated by the public’s passive acceptance of mass murder in our schools and churches. Aaron started Bullets Both Ways as a resource to organize, promote, and fund efforts for public defense. The idea was born before Aaron learned about FASTER Colorado and about the original FASTER program created by Buckeye Firearms in Ohio. Bullets Both Ways was an asset in search of a plan. Bullets Both Ways is here now, but it did not, and could not, exist a decade ago.

Carl Chinn was personally involved in defending two religious institutions that were physically attacked. Carl documents violence on church property. He also leads the Faith Based Security Network. After the recent attack on the synagogue in Pittsburg, Carl knocked on the door of his local synagogue. To the synagogue’s credit, the door was locked. His visit was unannounced but Carl pressed the buzzer for entry. “Mr. Chinn, we’ve been expecting you. Come right in.” With Carl’s help, the synagogue had a working security plan that day. This wasn’t an empty outline the synagogue could fill in later, but a plan they started that minute. Local churches provided not only copies of their own security plans, but also provided a number of volunteers who regularly staffed security positions at their church. These outside volunteers worked with volunteers from the synagogue as they learned their new security rolls. This would have been impossible five years ago, but these volunteers pulled a program together in hours.

A few months ago, the School Board in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania voted to arm school staff. The vote was a unanimous 9-0. The board did this without knowing that teacher training programs like FASTER already exist. Pennsylvania state law neither prohibits nor permits armed school staff. The board decided their action was permitted since it wasn’t illegal. They knew that some school districts somewhere had armed school staff and they were going to be one of them. They would not have made that decision five years ago, but now the vote was unanimous.

The Florida sheriff leading the investigation into the murders at the Parkland, Florida high school was against arming school staff. That changed as the sheriff reviewed files from the high school security cameras. The sheriff had timelines from the responding deputies and EMS. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, publicly recommends changing state law so teachers may be armed. The Sheriff would not have reached that conclusion two years ago, but times have changed.

Some people didn’t get the memo. Last week the faculty advisory committee at Oakland University in Michigan passed a security plan to issue hockey pucks to students and staff on campus. This was a kinder-and-gentler version of the plan from a Pennsylvania school board who issued a bucket of river-rocks to each classroom. The Oakland U plan was met with widespread criticism.

  • Planning for improvisation isn’t a plan.
  • Unarmed security is a contradiction.
  • Hockey-puck-security is political theater.

At least the faculty knew they needed to do.. something. Would anyone have criticized the intellectuals at Oakland U last year? We openly mock their decision today, and I think I know why.

Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T)

Today we have high school students who want to learn emergency trauma care as part of their community service activities. That indicates a change in attitude. It shows a change in our culture. No one told these students that they will be their own first responders. Self-reliance wasn’t part of a lesson plan or a test question on a weekly social studies quiz. These students looked at the world around them and slowly drew their own conclusions. That is the definition of a cultural shift. Where did this shift come from?

You did that. Social change is the residual of hard work and persistence. You replied to articles in your newspaper and online. You spoke to your friends and took them shooting. You talked about firearms safety and trauma care with new gun owners. You volunteered in your communities. A hundred million handshakes changed the world.

The world is a better place because of the things you did.

Thank you, and drive on.

I gave you 800 words. You gave me much more. RM


Hockey Puck Fantasy Versus Bleeding Reality to Defend Our Schools

December 3, 2018

The topic of school security came up at a faculty meeting at Oakland University in Michigan. Someone said they should fight back against an attacker on campus. That sounded like a good idea. One Pennsylvania school gave each classroom a bucket of rocks with which to fight off an intruder. The Oakland faculty passed a proposal to issue hockey pucks for school security. The local police chief might have planted the idea. A common classroom demonstration uses tennis balls against an attacker who is armed with an airsoft gun.

I’ll give the professors an A+ grade for creativity. Unfortunately, anyone with practical experience would have serious doubts about the real-world effectiveness of hockey pucks against an attacker armed with a firearm. Too often, academicians love their fantasy model of the world more than facts. I doubt the school administration will ever test the effectiveness of their hockey puck “security”.

No one who studies institutional security would propose handing out hockey pucks to defend a politician , a celebrity, or a business executive. Someone with an ounce of integrity would at least ask to test this hockey puck proposal by taking video of a simulated attack using airsoft guns and tennis balls. Failure is only a matter of life and death.

I am a shooter. I also study school security, so I will predict the results of that simulated test. An amateure sportsman could repeatedly shoot anyone who isn’t hiding in the “hard corners” of the classroom. The “hard corners” are the corners that can’t be seen until you’ve entered through the doorway. I teach my self-defense students that a gun is a distance tool. In this case, the attacker never has to enter the classroom to kill unopposed.

I give the professors a failing grade, an F, for actual performance. That isn’t the answer they wanted and it isn’t fun to tell someone they failed. This issue is too serious for false evaluations, for a social “pass”.

Real solutions are hard. We spend between a quarter to a third of the cost of school or municipal buildings on meeting fire and other safety code requirements. Those requirements are effective. It has been almost six decades since a student was killed in a school building fire.  In contrast, the attack at Columbine High School was 19 years ago. We’ve yet to incorporate physical security requirements into our building codes for schools, churches and municipal buildings.

The hockey puck proposal has done all it needed to do despite its failure in the real world. The people who proposed and implemented the hockey puck defense never said it would save lives. The proposal was intended to end the debate over campus safety. The hockey puck defense distracts us from facing the deadly serious issues of security on a university campus. Unarmed Security is security theater.

Unarmed security is, frankley, a contradiction in terms, but hockey pucks did what they were supposed to do. The security-theater kept the voters amused and distracted.. so far. Who will be held liable for the lives this charade might cost? Given that it is a state school, the state’s attorney will say the security failure was unimaginable and that that the state is immune from prosecution or lawsuit.

That is negligent. Stop playing political games with our children’s lives.

I gave you 500 words. Please rate, share, and leave a comment. RM

California Wildfires are Socialism at Work

December 1, 2018

California burned. Governor Jerry Brown blamed “global warming” and any other excuse the media would buy. That isn’t the real cause. In fact, California fought fires and regulated the forests for 60 years until their fires were unfightable. Politicians and special interests from San Francisco and Los Angeles determined the lives of people who lived..and the mountains and forests. This is what the politicians and special interests created. This is what the their regulations left behind.

Camp Fire, image from ABC news


Burned church, image from Christianity Today 85310

California regulates forests and rangeland in uncountable ways. They said you have to clear away brush, but also said you can’t clear brush. They said you must manage timber, but then made it impossible to manage timber. The recent fires in California left at least 88 people dead and hundreds are still unaccounted for. These fires destroyed over 8 thousand structures and consumed hundreds of thousands of acres of timber and rangeland. We have a name for it when unaccountable bureaucrats and politicians regulate the lives of people they know nothing about.

This is Socialism. This is Socialism where you need state permission for every action. Under Socialism, the state controls industry and controls the actions of private citizens. The state tells you what you can and cannot do, who you must pay, and what you can charge. The state also levies penalties on its political opponents. That is what California did to its forests.

Who owns California forests? The state owns most of them. The state also controls many of the private timber lands. Thanks to the government, you can’t build roads. That means you can’t harvest your timber or even harvest the state’s trees. Special interests wanted to take the profit out of land management, and they succeeded. Many acres of forest are now uneconomic to manage because of government regulation. Forest lands are often given to the state after the state imposed environmental controls on private lands. That doesn’t solve the larger problem of managing the land. There is no incentive to be good stewards of the land since the land doesn’t benefit anyone in particular. No politician will lose his job because they mismanaged the forests.

If you do want to harvest your own timber, then you have to pay environmental greenmail to politically connected special interests. You can’t burn the underbrush without a state approved plan. You need state permits to thin stands of timber and to harvest them. You have to pay your lawyers fees..and the fees of the special interests who object to everything you do.

If you finally get a permit to have a controlled burn, then the state regulates the fuel height and fuel density. It regulates the allowable soil moisture content, the humidity and the air quality. You need the right wind speed, wind direction, and the right weather forecast. You need your own crews to set and control the fire, and build firebreaks. You can’t burn unless the state has backup crews to fight the fire if it escapes the prescribed area.

It may take 10 years to find the right conditions to burn 5 years of fuel. That means you can never burn when you want to burn. You’re perpetually fighting a landscape with dense and highly combustible fuels.

Nature doesn’t wait for bureaucracy. Nature imposes a solution of its own. Instead of thinning low brush and clearing away diseased trees, the eventual wildfire consumes everything. This is what happens when politicians and special interests control our forests.

This is the Socialism that California citizens voted for and politicians built. Winter rains will wash away the burnt-bare hillsides, but thank goodness we didn’t harvest the timber.

Carr Fire July 29, 2018 Image from REUTERS/Bob Strong

California leads the nation in poverty because people can’t find jobs. They also import timber because Californian’s can’t harvest the trees in their own backyard. We’ve seen socialism fail for the last century. We’ve seen California forests fail for the last three decades. Things don’t change because the status quo satisfies the special interests, and trees don’t vote. That is Socialism. There is the lesson we can learn.

Special interests would rather let California burn
than let industry manage their own lands.

Millions of people voted for more of the same in the last election. That should frighten us because politicians and special interests may burn down the everything before the voters learn their lesson about Socialism.

Just like the California fires, lives are at stake.

I gave you 700 words for free. Please rate, share, and comment. RM

Camp Fire: At least 196 people still on missing list; death toll remains at 88

Why California’s Best Strategy Against Wildfire Is Hardly Ever Used

Fire on the Mountain: Rethinking Forest Management in the Sierra Nevada

Timber Harvest Plans: A Flawed Effort to Balance Economic and Environmental Needs

Environmentalist Policies Are Exacerbating Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management.

Lack Of Controlled Burns Contributing To California Wildfires

Fighting fire with fire: State policy hampers use of controlled burns

A Century of Fire Suppression Is Why California Is in Flames

California Seeing Dramatic Increase in Cost of Timber Harvesting, According to Study by Cal Poly Institute

Billionaire’s Money Helps Enviros Spend Big On Northwest Races






Gun Control Fails New Jersey

November 29, 2018

Two thugs chased a 19 year old woman across the street, into a store, and then executed her by shooting her 20 times. She died on a weekday afternoon in broad daylight. She was killed in front of witnesses in Trenton, the state capital of New Jersey. The murder was caught on security cameras. Jersey politicians and the news media told us time and again that this could never happen. We were supposed to be safe since the rigorous gun-control laws in New Jersey have disarmed the criminals. That obviously isn’t true and Jersey politicians and the news media lied to us. In fact, honest law abiding people were disarmed while the criminals still have guns. Gun control failed again and today, honest people pay with their lives. Have we had enough?

Gun Control Jersey Style

New Jersey has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States. The Giffords law center funded by Michael Bloomberg gives New Jersey an A- rating for gun-control. I quote,

“New Jersey has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation.. The state requires the licensing of all firearms dealers and their employees, and requires a permit to purchase any handgun.”

Unfortunately, criminals don’t obey gun laws and they don’t buy their guns from federally licensed dealers.

New Jersey requires a permit to purchase any handgun, rifle, or shotgun. All purchases require a background check. You won’t get your concealed carry permit in New Jersey unless you are a politicians or a judge. Honest law abiding citizens can only buy one gun per month, but it takes months to get police permission to buy a handgun. Add a state mandated seven day waiting period on top of those delays. Ammunition magazines are limited to a maximum capacity of ten rounds. Jersey gun owners can be charged with a crime if they are late reporting a stolen gun, and honest gun owners can be held liable for the actions that criminals take if the stolen gun is used in a crime.

Jersey gun laws didn’t stop the murderers who shot the 19 year old woman from getting a gun and carrying their guns in public.

Those laws didn’t stop criminals. It can take an honest person at least half a year to get a firearm legally in New Jersey.  A criminal buys a new one in an hour off the street.


Crime in Trenton

One horrific story is not the same as data. Unfortunately, this story is repeated day after day across the city. Trenton is the 32nd most a dangerous city in the US, though even that does not qualify as the most dangerous city in New Jersey. (That would be Camden at #4.) 94 percent of US cities are safer than Trenton. Your chance of being a crime victim in Trenton are 1 in 26 each year. Even with all the gun laws in New Jersey, the number of crimes in Trenton increased by 9 percent last year. When we look at only violent crimes, Trenton is 249% more dangerous than the US taken as a whole.

Gun Control fails New Jersey

If that is what gun-control looks like, then I don’t want any of it. The reason gun control fails is obvious. In the criminal justice system, only the first crime is expensive: all the other crimes are free. You don’t care if you use a stolen gun or a stolen car once you are going to commit murder. There is no deterrent, no incremental penalty that changes your behaviour, once you’re the gang hitman. That is why gun control only disarms honest people..which is what the Dirty Jersey politicians wanted all along.

Gun control works for Jersey politicians, but fails for New Jersey. Honest people die because of it.

Have you had enough?


I gave you 600 words. Please leave a comment, rate, and share. RM


Should We Leave Our Schools and Churches Unprotected?

November 28, 2018

No one ignores the mass murder of children. We all have an opinion about how to protect our kids. Let’s also face facts; we would have solved the problem of dead children in our schools and in our churches if the solution were easy. Unfortunately, lots of the opinions we see in social media are little more than shallow reasons to stop thinking about a hard and unpleasant problem. Let’s get past that. Let’s open our ears and work past our rationalizations.

What excuses have you heard people use so they don’t have to think deeply about protecting people they love? What fantasies are people clinging to so that they feel safe in an unsafe world? This isn’t a problem of deep thought, but of shallow words. Here are a few of the obvious examples, and I’d like your help with the rest.

-We don’t need guns in our schools because only the police should defend us.
You mean we need people like the School Resource Officer in Florida who walked away while a murderer was killing kids inside his high school? In other attacks, the murderers waited for the uniformed officer to leave campus or they attacked the uniformed officer first. Why do you think that is a good idea?

-Teachers shouldn’t have guns in school because they are not trained like the police.
You are right; teachers and law enforcement officers are not trained the same. Would it change your mind that armed teacher training programs have higher shooting standards for school staff than for the police?

-Police will shoot the bad guys, but teachers will get upset and shoot their students by mistake.
We have over 5 thousand man-years of experience with armed teachers in the classroom. We haven’t seen a trained teacher go crazy. Did you know that civilians are about 5-and-a-half times less likely than the police to shoot the wrong person?

-I still don’t think teachers should have guns in school.
We have thousands of armed school staff today. Are you happy with the results when mass murderers attack unarmed victims?

-Teachers are too volatile to be trusted around children if the teacher has a gun.
Armed teachers have passed an FBI background check. They have also been vetted by the school board and local law enforcement. People with their concealed carry permits are far more law abiding and non-violent than the average person. Are you saying that unarmed teachers are too unstable to be around children and should require more stringent mental health screening?

-There are too many guns in the world so we should confiscate them.
Honest citizens defend themselves with a gun about every thirty seconds. Do you think that criminals and crazy people will give up their guns, or only the law abiding people? Has prohibition worked before?

-Criminals should obey our laws and not bring guns to schools or churches.
Do criminals obey the laws where you live?

-My friend is a school teacher and she doesn’t want to carry a gun.
No one orders teachers to go armed. Teachers are much more likely than the average person to want to get training and go armed at school. Why do you think teachers are so protective?

-Teachers can’t teach if they carry a gun.
Armed teachers have the same rates of student-advancement as teachers who are unarmed. School districts with armed staff have comparable or higher graduation rates when compared with school districts that choose to keep their staff unarmed. Do you have new data?

-A mass murderers will take the teacher’s gun so the school is safer if school staff are disarmed.
Some uniformed security officers have been targeted by mass murderers. I’ve never found an example where a teacher was targeted so the attacker could take the teacher’s gun. How often do you think that has happened?

-If the police can’t stop the attack, then teachers certainly can’t stop it.
People at the scene usually stop mass murderers before police arrive. Do you want these defenders armed or do you want them to face an armed attacker with empty hands?

-I don’t see how armed staff can stop an armed murderer.
Defenders have a huge advantage over an attacker. They protect the children in their classroom. Would you rather that these defenders were unarmed when a murderer is at the classroom door?

-More guns are never the answer.
The people who train police suggested that we train and arm school staff. The first thing we do when there is a threat at a school or a church is call for men and women with guns to come save us. Do you want us to call someone else?

-If you like guns so much, then we should put a police officer in every classroom.
You’re more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed in school by a mass murderer. A minute ago you didn’t want anyone to have guns in schools. Now you want to make every teacher into an armed police officer and put a gun in every classroom. That means we need 25 times more police officers than we have today. I’m not sure we can afford that, but what changed your mind?


These are the trite statements that stop a deeper discussion. I’m sure there are more examples and I’d like you to comment with the ones you’ve heard.

I try to finish each example with a question rather than a statement. A closing statement wins debates but a question can change minds. Don’t you agree?

Please comment with the one-liners that were supposed to end discussion.

I gave you 900 words for free. Please leave a comment, rate this article, and share it with a friend. RM

Repost- Worried About Mass Shootings? Be Glad You’re An American | Power Line Blog

November 26, 2018

Liberals constantly assert..that the U.S. is alone among civilized nations in suffering the phenomenon of mass shootings. Like so many claims, it suits the Left’s narrative while being entirely untrue.

But America doesn’t lead the world in mass public shootings. We’re not even close. …Over the course of 18 years, from 1998 to 2015, our list contains 2,354 attacks and at least 4,880 shooters outside the United States and 53 attacks and 57 shooters within this country. By our count, the U.S. makes up 1.49 percent of the murders worldwide, 2.20 percent of the attacks, and less than 1.15 percent of the mass public shooters. All these are much less than America’s 4.6 percent share of the world population.

Source: Worried About Mass Shootings? Be Glad You’re An American | Power Line

Training Armed Teachers in Colorado: just your everyday warrior-hero

November 25, 2018

What does it mean to be a warrior, a hero, and a first responder. I sat in on a class where volunteer school staff learned to stop an armed attack. They learned how to treat the injured until help arrives at their school. When they need these skills, they will need them urgently. Mere seconds will count and lives will depend on their actions. We need more of these trained teachers.

The training program is called FASTER for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. This class in the Denver area drew about two dozen school staff from across the state of Colorado. Since the attack on the school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, about two thousand teachers across the US have taken FASTER training.  The volunteers in this class came from both new schools that were setting up their first security program and from existing districts that were expanding their staff. There was a lot to cover in this three day survey course.

I call it a survey course because the information we learned one minute had to be applied the next. These teachers will take these basic building blocks and their medical kits home with them. There, they will taylor the program for their particular school. The attendees ranged from school superintendents to bus drivers and custodians. We can call all of them teachers, but 60 percent of FASTER students are from non-classroom positions. While the FASTER Colorado instruction and instructors are world class, the application is cutting edge.

The training course borrows everything it can. They take emergency trauma training from the military. From police academies, they borrow training techniques on how to shoot. The course uses concealed carry methods from the civilian world. With all it borrows, the application is unique to FASTER.

Armed first responders are not the police. These teachers don’t have to chase fleeing bad guys across town. Neither are these teachers like private gun owners who can retreat, lock their bedroom door, and wait for police to arrive. Defending our kids requires a special mix of determination and restraint. Each volunteer and each school applies what they learned in a way that fits their unique resources and needs. Some of these schools expected the police to arrive 40 minutes after they are called. They are on their own until help arrives.

FASTER medical training. Image from Recoil Web

These volunteers learned a lot. Some of these volunteer school staff were new to carrying a concealed firearm. They overcame their uncertainty as they were trained. They learned the new mechanical skills with practice. They also learned emergency trauma care. We put on tourniquets and packed wounds. We learned about the legal use of lethal force, and how to apply chest seals to save a life. That was the easy part.


The hard part was attitude and mental preparation. Everyone wants to stop the killing, but no one wants to kill. The sad, hard, fact is that sometimes we have to shoot someone in order to save lives. That warrior ethic was the hard part for us to grasp. These teachers accepted the uncomfortable and unfamiliar roll of warrior because of who they love. They love their kids. These school staff will risk their life to save their students.

These volunteer school staff sacrificed their innocence to become protectors.
Their character and their commitment were essential.

Mindset is the key to saving lives. You might have a slow draw as you present your firearm to stop the threat. That adds fractions of a second, but denying that the gunshot you heard down the hall is real can add forever. That denial is our all-too-normal response.

We assume the sound we heard isn’t a gunshot since we don’t expect an attack on our schools. We assume the screams we hear are a from a game or a fight since we don’t normally hear our children screaming in terror. Unfortunately, today, those nightmares can be real. Now what are we going to do?

The warrior mindset says that those sounds are the worst thing we can imagine. We will go find the cause and be prepared to stop someone who could be killing our kids. That determination to do whatever it takes to save lives is the attitude of a hero.

We don’t use the term “hero” very often. It took me a minute to be comfortable with it. Maybe you are familiar with a hero’s attitude. See for yourself if I’m using it correctly.

This is a hero’s prayer-

I hope that evil never comes to my school. But if my children are threatened, then I pray that I am there. Let it be me who stops it.

For if not me, then who? If not now, then when?

I wish you could meet the instructors and students I saw. We are blessed that volunteer school staff are eager to save our children. We are rich beyond measure that they are our neighbors.

We need more volunteers like them.



FASTER CO Program Sponsors-


I gave you 800 words. Please leave a comment, rate, and share this article. RM

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