Dirt and Blood

When someone takes a “clinical” approach to something, they look at it coldly, objectively. It is a clean and academic look at a topic.

While my bias is fairly clear (if you haven’t figured it out: I support the rights of anyone not in prison), I have avoided getting graphic. The Debt update is a fine example of the Run’s ability to be clinical. Looking at politics, legal theory etc. is clean, academic, and can be done in a safe, air conditioned room.

But the bottom line is we deal with guns and self-defense here. We can discuss better gun laws, armed citizen news, and the Constitution all damn day. That’s the beauty of it. None of that involves any concept of violence. It can also be the subject of days-long conferences.

But combat isn’t clean and neither is human nature.

This week, we get out of the newsroom, and onto the street. Combatives, the myth of the “unarmed man,” police paying for not being aggressive enough, and more this week. We will be looking at Ferguson not as the race story people want it to be, but the complete breakdown of order it is.

Ferguson is proof that laws can be discussed for weeks, but destroyed in seconds.

When we’re done exploring the lethality of combat, we’ll return to the newsroom with some stories on what people are doing to prevent being a victim.

1.) Groundwork. This is not going to be a Midnight Run focused on de-escalation. De-escalating works assuming your opponent has any interest in it. While no sane person wants to kill or maim another, when one is attacked that isn’t always an option. For the majority of this Run, it is worth presuming that retreat is not an option. A determined attacker would merely chase a retreating individual, anyway.

We’re treating this like a street fight in modern America. Retreat is not an option, police are not nearby to help, and frankly most of the citizens would rather videotape the beating than stop it. (They need the YouTube views, you see.)

We will also not be holding any weapon above another. While gun control advocates love to claim that a gun is “more lethal” than a knife or fists, the truth is that lethality is binary. In other words, an object is either lethal or it isn’t. A man who was shot dead is no less dead than someone who was stabbed to death. In the right hands, anything can be a weapon…..including hands.

That being said, there is not much reason to discuss firearms in this Midnight Run. Their combat effectiveness is both understood and, frankly, beaten into the heads of any American that watches the news following a shooting. Instead, we will be focused primarily on that which does not go bang.

2.) Fists. Let’s start with the original deadly weapon. (The Bible is silent with how, exactly, Cain killed Abel.) If the Knockout Game weren’t enough evidence nothing will be, but it’s clear to anyone with a basic understanding of physics that fists can do serious if not lethal damage to another person. A story by Ross Elder expertly destroys the idea that unarmed is synonymous with incapable of lethal damage. His main example is Randy Couture, a legend in the Ultimate Fighting Championship known for his “ground-and-pound” approach.

Couture was able to generate over 2,000 pounds of force in his downward blows to an opponent’s head. That’s the equivalent of dropping a car on your face. Trained fighters seldom take the full force of those blows because they are moving and defending with their own arms and hands but what if the victim was not a trained fighter? Couture, and any other trained fighter, could kill you with just a couple of blows to the head.

While it is unlikely that an attacker will be on the level of a UFC fighter, it’s also not worth taking the risk that your opponent will be abysmal. Mr. Elder closes with this:

So, if your attacker is unarmed and gets you in a choke, is that it? You’re just going to let yourself die because you won’t use lethal force against an unarmed opponent? How about if you are on your back being hammered in the face and you are moments away from losing consciousness and eventual death? Just going to accept your fate? I seriously doubt that.

I’m not. If I’m armed, I’m going to kill you. Dead.

If a cop walks up to someone out of the blue, draws his pistol, and shoots them dead in the street, that’s one thing. But, shooting an unarmed assailant during a fight in the street is another. You do not know the intentions of the attacker and cannot allow yourself to be overpowered or knocked unconscious. You will only be another statistic.

You also have no idea if your attacker IS armed and they just haven’t used their weapon yet. You can’t wait until you are unable to defend yourself to find out. I suspect most of you reading this would not. So, why are we judging a police officer who makes the same decision you would make under the same circumstances?

An unarmed attacker is still an attacker. The response to “you don’t know his intentions” is “that’s a risk I can’t afford to take.” If you’re wrong, you’ll never know. If you’re right, you’ll never survive.

Let’s take a recent case study in the lethality of fists from the news. Back in May of this year, an ” unidentified thug” brutally beat a 68-year-old man to death in Alphabet City, Manhattan. It is also worth noting the attacker’s mentality, as he is reported to have calmly walked away from the victim, leaving him for dead.

3.) Knives. It wasn’t until around the 16th century that knives became domesticated for use at the dinner table. In medieval Europe, knives even became works of art in themselves, (and just about everyone had a knife of some kind). Prior to that, knives fashioned from animal horns, stone, and eventually bronze were used as hunting tools.

Put another way, they went from hunting tools, to preparing food, to the dinner table. Same tool, but different purposes throughout. The modern knives maintain all three of those purposes in modern society. That a certain object is “designed” to do something doesn’t mean it has no other uses. Put more bluntly, the knife was/is designed for cutting into things. What, exactly, it was used to cut is incidental.

Up on InSov’s Facebook, one of my colleagues found a photograph of a police officer who incorrectly guessed that he could take on a knife-wielding attacker. He survived, but not without a series of extremely deep (and rather wide) cuts to his back. The man who posted the photograph said it is a lesson in “how deadly” someone “only armed with a knife” can be.

While we’re still here, there is an article on Modern Combat and Survival about how a knife is more dangerous than a gun, especially at close range.

You read that right, an article detailing 5 ways a knife is worse than a gun.

Let’s move on.

4.) Law. Almost all responses to attacks, shootings, etc. today is to enact laws against whatever event caused the law to even be considered. Whether it’s the Federal gun control laws that were attempted in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, the recent stupidity involving a 9-year-old being given an Uzi, laws tend to be the go-to “solution” for everything now.

Trouble is, laws don’t impact those who don’t follow them, and laws only have an impact as long as a majority of people respect them. Take the action in Ferguson for example, or even post-Katrina New Orleans. That looting, assault, etc. were illegal didn’t stop any of it from happening in either scenario.

The truth is that law cannot prevent, it can only set up punishments. Attempts to “prevent” a crime by way of new laws imply that law is capable of physically changing the world around it.

What was one of the main prevention methods against looting? Armed shopkeepers. Not that looting was illegal, but that looting was potentially fatal.

ADDENDUM: DON’T. EVEN. START. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have laws, but rather that we should understand their limits. Learn the difference before you start foaming at the mouth about how I want anarchy, chaos in the streets, and blood everywhere because “you OBVIOUSLY don’t like laws.”

Back in Midnight Run: Debt it was about thinking deep enough to differentiate between supporting a felon’s rights vs. the insane idea of supporting his actions. Here it is about supporting laws while acknowledging their limits and not placing undying faith in their somehow limitless power.

Not supporting USELESS law is NOT the same as not supporting ANY law. Learn the difference, think deeper than “you just want anarchy because you don’t agree with me.”

With that, let’s head back to the newsroom and discuss solutions. Let’s switch gears from how an attacker can seriously injure/kill a person to how that person can “persuade” the attacker to pursue more diplomatic means.

5.) Stay informed. Back in early August, two Ohio grandmothers formed an organization called “Women Armed and Ready” or WAR. The organization is focused on training women in using firearms as self-defense. It is, realistically, a continuation of the surge we have been seeing in interest for firearms and firearms training. Recent sales figures prove that women especially are still the driving force behind this next generation of gun owners.

The uptick in firearms/training has led to a drop in crime in even some of the worst neighborhoods in the country. In mid-July, the head of the Detroit police gave credit to an armed citizenry for the city’s drop in crime rates.

6.) Stay alert. There are volumes of information about the finer points of self-defense. But one of the best ways to win a fight, is to avoid getting into the brawl to start with. This is done through what is called “situational awareness.” In other words, being very aware of your surroundings. In other words, as ITS Tactial notes, it means putting your damn phone away for two seconds. (ITS Tactical has more than a few great articles on the subject. Read them here, here, and here.)

In short, the best fight is generally one that was never fought in the first place. The discussion about weapons and attacks assumes that the attack came to you. The idea of avoiding a fight altogether (and following basic logic like “don’t be in bad neighborhoods at night”) is both a lot easier to win and a lot less stressful than the lightning-fast brutality we have discussed this week.

7.) Stay free. The point of all this is not to make anyone paranoid. It is not to assume that everyone is out to kill you, or that you are going to be attacked at some point. (I’m sure we’d all like to go through life not being attacked by some lunatic, frankly. Seems like a better way to go through life.) The goal of all this is to point out that anything can be a weapon, that focusing on one is both intellectually lazy and dishonest, and that there are limits to what is being discussed as a “solution” to violence. As discussed by Sinner Reformed yesterday, there is no perfect solution. Physical defense, however, is much more worthwhile and trustworthy than hoping that something’s illegality is going to be enough.

It is always best to avoid conflict. Indeed actively looking for a fight is the fastest way to nuke your self-defense case in court. The goal of this Run, and frankly the goal of every American, should be to be ready to deal with that event if, God forbid, it were to occur.

This week, we stepped back from news about gun rights, to focus on one of the reasons why we have gun rights: for the defense of our lives, and those we care about.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

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