Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jews and Terrorists: JPost

Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with Shooting Sports or RKBA.

Still, it's my blog and I think this is important.

A Jew who interviews Palestinian Terrorists, for years, and survives? I think this it worth some attention.

The Jerusalem Post interviews WND columnist Aaron Klein.

Klein has established his credentials as a bold journalist, and has survived in an environment which we would usually describe as 'suicidal':

"The one thing the terrorists don't like," says author Aaron Klein, "is being called terrorists."

This is why, says Klein - the Jerusalem bureau chief for the right-wing news Web site, and a columnist for the equally conservative Jewish Press - the subjects of his best-selling book, Schmoozing with Terrorists (published by World Ahead Media), are unhappy with its title.

"They prefer to be called 'jihadists,'" explains Klein, noting the apparent nuance that is a clear-cut distinction in the eyes of those who believe it is their religious duty to spread Islam throughout the world, by any means at their disposal.

"My response was to tell those who complained to me about my use of the word that when someone violently targets civilians, that's what he is."

That members and leaders of every major Palestinian terrorist organization ever agreed to talk (via translators) to Klein - a 28-year-old "nice Jewish boy" from Philadelphia - let alone continue to contact him after reading what he writes, seems surprising, if not unlikely. Klein disagrees. Not only does he insist that any journalist who wishes to interview terrorist leaders "can simply phone them up," but, he asserts, "they are proud of their goals and achievements, and glad to have a platform for promotion."
Klein talks about the reasons why Radical Islamics readily sacrifice themselves to kill Jews in Israel ... and non-Jews around the world.
What makes terrorists tick?

That's a good question. A lot of people think that terrorism is about pieces of territory - that Hizbullah just wants to get the Shaba Farms back, for example. Others think that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the whole rest of the alphabet of Palestinian terrorists simply want to destroy Israel or that al-Qaida wants America out of the Middle East. But one thing that has really been driven home to me in all my talks with terrorists - which is the thesis of all of my work - is that they are looking to serve Allah by spreading Islam around the world. That's what makes them tick.

It is often said of terrorists that desperation and poverty - sometimes mental illness - is at the root of their actions. Is there truth to that?

It's true that if you watch CNN or read The New York Times, you would get that impression. Because whenever there's a suicide bombing in Israel, right away they present human interest stories about how the bomber is poor and living under Israeli occupation. And this is in spite of the fact that in the history of modern civilization, there's no other instance of people under occupation blowing themselves up.

But, about a year and a half ago, I met with a 22-year-old Palestinian who had been recruited to become a suicide bomber for Islamic Jihad and his recruiter in Jenin, and I specifically asked them whether they were carrying out their operations because of poverty and desperation. Their response was to get offended and call it Zionist propaganda. They explained that suicide is forbidden in Islam, and that blowing oneself up in the midst of innocent men, women and children does not constitute suicide, but rather jihad for Allah - that therefore it is not only allowed, but it is the creed.

Okay, so you're determined. But ... Suicidal?

Are you not afraid that these terrorists you interview will kidnap or kill you?

I understand that there's danger in what I'm doing. At the same time, if you look at the kidnappings of journalists in the Palestinian areas, you'll note that they were carried out by masked gunmen - not by a particular terrorist interviewed by a reporter. Believe it or not, when you go in, they protect you.
Okay, but still ...
How is it they're willing to talk to you if what you're doing is exposing them? Aren't you killing their lobby, in effect?

Maybe that's the way you see it, but they think I'm doing them a favor - and perhaps I am - by giving them a platform from which to explain themselves. I don't analyze what they say; I quote them, and they are very thankful for this.
What's the difference between the Jews and the Terrorists? They're still killing each other.
Couldn't one argue that there are plenty of Israelis who see Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular, as all evil?

Maybe there are misconceptions on both sides, but on one side there are people telling their kids to become suicide bombers and kill Israelis indiscriminately in cafes, and on the other side, there are people advocating freedom and democracy. So you can't compare the two.
Geez, these guys are bad news. They're forty miles of bad road. How can they live with themselves?
But how do they envision their own society, in the event that their goals of defeating Israel and the US are achieved?

That's just it. They have no plan beyond jihad. Look, there are a million and a half Arabs in Gaza - some would say trapped there. Can you imagineif there were a million and a half Jews trapped there? They'd build Singapore. When I ask the terrorists about why they haven't built anything in Gaza, they say that they can't build anything until they get all of their land back. They don't seem to have a long-term plan beyond that.

And that, Children, is the root of the problem. They aren't rebelling against poverty or against being "second-class citizens". They just want everyone else to be just like them.

Firmly grounded in the sixth century. Mad as hell, ready to kill. And they don't very much care who they kill.

If you don't love Allah, you're just a target.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

IDPA Will Get you Killed!!

The Michael Bane Blog: Thoughts on Competition...

Many years ago, one of the Major Gun Rags published an article titled "IPSC Will Get You Killed!" (or some equivalent verbiage).

The general thrust of the article was that IPSC competition (our local equivalent would be "USPSA Competition") teaches 'bad habits', such as engaging targets in the open, with no encouragement to 'seek cover' or 'failure to retain undepleted magazines to deny access to ammunition from the aggressor'. (I may not be quoting the IDPA content accurately, but the context is applicable.)

IDPA USE OF COVER - Appendix Five:
When barricades or other range props designed to allow the shooter to use them for cover are provided, make sure that they are used properly. Make the shooter use the cover area while actually shooting and reloading. Vision and physical barriers should be used to force the shooter to shoot from the specified positions (shooting ports also work well and tend to eliminate SO judgment calls). Use of props such as brief cases, tables (especially with drawers), automobiles, simulated ATM machines, bed/night stand combos, etc. is encouraged.
Reload with Retention (RWR) is recharging the gun during a lull in the action by:
A. Dropping the partial magazine from the gun.
B. Stowing the partial magazine properly (See “proper magazine retention” in the glossary).
C. Drawing a spare magazine.
D. Inserting the spare magazine into the gun.
NOTE: Should the CoF call for a Reload with Retention and the magazine is empty while a round remains in the chamber, the empty magazine must be retained.
NOTE: HQ urges course designers to draft scenario courses that do not require tac-loads or reloads with retention to be performed “on the clock”.
(NB: USPSA competitors reload whenever the mood moves them. They care not a whit what happens to the dropped magazine or whether the dropped magazine contains usable ammunition, neither do they care whether there is a round in the chamber.)

In a recent blog article, Michael Bane discussed self-defense issues. He is talking about the gun-handling skills which are part of training for competition. This is typically in reference to 'extreme shooting' sports such as USPSA and IDPA.

Having no intent to restart the eternal discourse over whether USPSA or IDPA provides better 'self-defense' training, it is still difficult to ignore Bane's cogent remarks on the "mind set" generated by the two similar, yet different, ingrained training.

...I think competition has a major effect in three specific areas:

1) Gun-handling skills
2) The ability to "game" a situation
3) Stress inoculation

As it happens, all three of those areas are critical in terms of Real Life shooting skills. First and foremost are gun-handling skills. Let me watch a shooter for 5 minutes and I can tell you if he or she shoots competition simply by watching the gun-handling skills.
I tend to agree on these points of discussion, although you will need to read the whole article (or the rewrite of the book) to decide whether you agree with the last.

To continue:
Second, the ability to "game" a situation...I know IDPA rants about how this is a bad thing, but that's bullshit. The difference between living and dying is measured by an individual's ability to perceive a situation, process the information and proceed to the correct action. That is the definition of "gaming." I strongly refer you to Malcolm Gladwell's book BLINK on how quickly we can truly process information. You might also consider Amanda Ripley's THE UNTHINKABLE: WHO SURVIVES WHEN DISASTER STRIKES — AND WHY or Larry Gonzales' DEEP SURVIVAL: WHO LIVES, WHO DIES AND WHY. I';d also recommend my book TRAIL SAFE, but you gotta pay too much for it on eBay these days...I will have an updated version in a couple of months. The ability to game is a fundamental survival skill, and all the shooting sports teach it. As we become more experienced on the range, our ability to game is drastically enhanced...I figure a good USPSA or IDPA competitor has a stage gamed out in less than half-a-second after seeing it...he or she doesn't need to walk around pointing a finger pistol at the target to understand what needs to be done.
Bane continues in a conciliatory mode, paying homage to IDPA even though he has already declared, in reference to 'gaming', that "... that's bullshit...".

But I do accept the statement "...I figure a good USPSA or IDPA competitor has a stage gamed out in less than half-a-second after seeing it...".

So what does it all mean?

Going back to the IDPA Rules of Competition:
C 4. Individual rehearsals of a CoF are not permitted.
C 5. Airgunning and/or sight pictures are not permitted. (See glossary for definitions.)
C 6. Competitors will use all available cover.
USPSA competitors are accustomed to having a five-minute 'walk-through' of any stage before engaging it. Sight pictures are permitted, all the other stuff is permitted and USPSA competitors are not constrained to engage targets behind "available cover".

(If we were to compare IDPA rules with USPSA rules, the IDPA constrictions obviously encourage much more 'defensive' activities, such as seeking cover, while the USPSA rules encourage 'aggressive' activities, such as moving in the open with no regard to the possibility that they may be under 'return fire'.)

The USPSA philosophy seems, at first blanch, to be more likely to "get you killed" in a defensive situation.

But Bane is talking specifically about the mind-set, in terms of 'gaming' a competitive stage, which may prove to be a viable asset in a defensive situation.

Think: "Finding an edge".

Think: "Cheating the other guy".

It is Bane's thesis that USPSA competition may better train a defensive shooter in the attitude needed to win a gunfight, rather than to survive it.

We can't get inside Bane's head here, and I'm not sure we want to.

(I've known and occasionally worked with M. Bane for several years, and I'm aware that this creative chaos is a way of life with him. There is no 'middle ground'; you either agree totally with his opinion, or you are repulsed by it. Michael Bane is the Dark Lord of Competitive Shooting, and while his competitive skills are not the best I've ever seen ... that's a matter of personal physical skills. He may not always be able to make it work for him; you may. The intelligent shooter will evaluate his own skills, and find his own personal best solution to any shooting problem. Isn't that what USPSA is all about?)

Essentially, Bane seems to be saying that USPSA competition cultivates the dark underworld of cheating in a gun-fight. IDPA, on the other hand, encourages "playing by the rules".

It's up to you which mind-set is most directly applicable to self defense.

But isn't it refreshing that someone has stepped up to the podium and declared that the best way to survive a gun-fight is to win it? And the best way to Win a Gunfight is to find whatever advantage you may perceive, using your own personal 'Best Skills' to gain an advantage over an opponent?

I, personally, don't ever want to get into a gunfight. There are not only no "Second Place Winners", but there are no winners at all, really.

But there are those who walk away, and those who stay ... lying in a pool of their own blood.

I know which resolution I prefer, and it's probably your first choice, too.

Think about it. Or, choose to be a victim.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day of the Evil Drawstring: Part III

On July 31, 2005, I wrote a short article about a Marion County, Oregon, Deputy who "was not mishandling his sidearm when it accidentally discharged, striking him in the leg."

I found this so unlikely that I assumed that it was a case of a LEO covering up his own negligence.

Some time later, on September 5, 2005, I wrote a follow-up article in which I apologized for jumping to conclusions. I had received email and other information directly and indirectly (referring to the Deputy's comment to the original article), explained that the incident had been accurately described, and there was, in fact, no negligence involved in what turns out to be one of the few, true "accidental discharges" I have ever heard of. Most of the information came directly from Deputy Stephen Cooper, the victim of the incident, who was a convincing witness.

What's the difference between an "accidental discharge" and a "negligent discharge".

We almost never see the term "negligent discharge" in the press, because this is a phrase defining an incident when a firearm is discharged by virtue of the negligence of a person who possesses a firearm, and he does something either unsafe or stupid ... usually both.

Here are two examples of "negligent discharge":
The DEA agent who, while teaching a class on (who knows what) in a public venue, pulls his .40 Glock from the holster, announces that "As far as I know, I'm the only one here who is competent to handle this pistol." He then removes the magazine from the Glock, and walks around the classroom holding his 'cleared' Glock describing the dangers of gun-handling. Sometime during that process, he (for no clearly discernible reason) pulls the trigger on his 'unloaded' Glock. Since he neglected to remove the cartridge from the chamber, the Glock goes off, shooting the "Only One" in his own foot.

Accidental? Well, we assume he didn't intend the gun to go off. He certainly didn't expect to shoot himself in the foot ... literally.

Negligent? Absolutely.

The other example:
An officer forms the habit, when going "Number Two" in the Men's Room of the Precinct House, of removing his Glock pistol from the holster and hanging it on the coat-hook on the door of the toilet. When he completes his "Private Business", he reaches for his Glock and clumsily bumps it.

The coat-hook hits the trigger of the Glock with sufficient force to not only disengage the "Glock Safe Action" trigger safety, but to also 'pull' the trigger.

The result is that the Glock "Accidentally Discharges".

In fact, it "Accidentally Discharges" ever time the recoil from the preceding shot rotates it around the coat hook, so that it creates "Accidental Discharges" until the magazine is empty.

Fortunately, no persons were injured in this incident, although rumor has it that the LEO involved came close to drowning himself in the toilet bowl as he dived in, attempting to evade the fusillade of bullets which his "Evil Glock" launched ... due to his own negligence. For your future reference, never hang a loaded firearm from a hook.

These are the kind of incidents which are typically termed "Accidental Discharges", although we can all see that the incidents were caused by practices which were 'set up' by the firearm owners.

In other words, they resulted from the negligence of the people who were handling them, even if they didn't happen to be handling them at the time they went off.

"The Case of the Drawstring Deputy", however, is unique in that it did not result from unsafe practices which were chosen by the person involved.

I write this because all of the links to the original Main-Stream Press report, and the explanation from the Deputy, have been deleted by both the original reporting media (FOX News) and the comments on my own blog. The original content being unavailable, I want to set the record straight because I note that both of the articles on this subject have been logged in the past couple of weeks. I started to update the referenced blog articles, but it's clear that I need to replace original content with information that I recall having received by the injured Deputy.


I note that Deputy Cooper's comment to the original post (July 31, above), no longer exists. I don't know how long it has been a 'bad link', and I apologize for not having the foresight to quote the entire text here.

The best I can do is paraphrase Cooper's explanation to the best of my poor memory, which incidentally is a lot like the original news article ... also no longer available.

Cooper was a passenger in a department cruiser, on a day when it had been raining hard. He was wearing a rain jacket, which featured a drawstring at the waist. While he was riding in the car, the end of the drawstring (which was knotted) dangled in the vicinity of his issue holster. During the ride, it became lodged between the trigger ... the Glock "Safe Trigger" ... and the holster, and when tension was applied by the hunching of his shoulder as he raised his arm to open the door, the knot snagged on the trigger safety.

I'm not certain in my recollection that the holster was the type which doesn't completely cover the trigger, but it seems most likely to be the only way a knot could have been positioned in front of the trigger.

As the tension on the drawstring was increased, the trigger (having been activated by the release of the trigger safety), was pulled back until the striker was released, firing the pistol.

The duty pistol was, of course, carried in Condition One; round in the chamber, striker cocked, safety engaged. (See also here.) Unfortunately, these definitions refer to the 1911 (Single Action) type pistol, which assume that the pistol cannot be fired when the trigger is pulled because it depends on the reliability of a manual safety. This is not necessarily applicable to either a double-action pistol (when not equipped with a manual safety), or a double action revolver (which does not typically feature a manual safety). See more comments from SYD here.

In retrospect, one would not consider it likely that a pistol would be fired in the holster without some failure of the operator to observe safety procedures. Here, the conditions combined to produce a truly Accidental Discharge, which is distinctly different from a Negligent Discharge.

Ideally, the Marion County Sheriff Department will by now have reviewed the circumstances and taken corrective procedures, such as mandating that all holsters cover the trigger of the pistol.


After reading Deputy Cooper's comments, I regretted my dismissive attitude toward the official story. Cooper mentioned that "... if I had heard the story, I probably would have found it hard to believe, too."

In "Day of the Evil Drawstring - Part II", I invited Deputy Cooper to any USPSA match in the Columbia Cascade Section (NW Oregon), and asked him to look me up. I will issue a public apology, if he doesn't object. Perhaps more important, I would like to meet him and shake his hand. He accepted my blind criticism without flinching, and calmly described the facts with no apology.

I would like to know if he has recovered completely from his wound, and I would like to get to know him better. This is the kind of man I would be proud to call a friend.