This is a longer (about 20 minute) discussion about various aspects of weaponizing neuroscience.
- Gunfighters, Astronauts, Race Car Drivers and the Corporate World
- Nuts and Bolts for Gunfighters
- Painters and Poets Need Neuroscience Too
- The Art of Killing and Being A Killer Instructor
- Accelerated Training For Firearms Instructors
- Why We Do What We do
In 1996, I published what may have been the first article in the popular “tactical/gun” press on John Boyd’s OODA loop as a model for maintaining situational awareness and decision making for personal combat. I presented a simplified version of Boyd’s elegant thinking and detailed expansion of the OODA loop, in a way that I felt, at the time, would be immediately usable by tacticians unfamiliar with the concept.
Sixteen years later, the OODA loop and Boyd’s work and how to apply it to personal combatives armed and unarmed are the subject of endless articles and internet forum debates and the concept is an integral part for most credible combative training systems.
This wasn’t the case in 1996, when most of the established firearms instructors were weaned on Cooper’s Color Code. In several discussions with notable tacticians, I pointed out that the OODA loop didn’t necessarily replace the Color Code, but it certainly added an additional dimension for utilizing efficient information processing.
The OODA loop concept took hold in the tactical community (it had long been part of combat aviation, military psychology and strategic planning) after other instructors and writers found utility in the simplified model and joined me in spreading the word.
So today knowledge of the OODA loop is expected in any serious tactical practitioner.
The concept of situational awareness, which I also introduced in the same article, has grown significantly as well. Let me make clear I didn’t develop the idea, I took it from military psychology and combat aviation research and put the idea into the context of personal combat. Situational awareness is a topic of serious study for the military; applying Boyd’s model to personal combat raised questions the military has long batted around: What is situational awareness? Can it be specifically defined and identified? Is it an inherent trait or is it instilled? And, most to the point, can it be taught in training?
Based on the research, experimentation, and field testing I’d been doing since the late 80’s on how to utilize accelerated learning, stress inoculation, and pre-conscious processing to recalibrate habitual baseline states to enhance performance under stress, I went on to share those concepts in another 1996 article SHOOTING WITH THE MIND’S EYE in which I stated my position: yes, the components — the critical path of the cognitive process I defined as situational awareness — can be identified, and since those components can be identified they can then be enhanced and taught.
Among the organizations I shared this with was NASA. NASA is the lead agency for study and research of “situational awareness” and provides a clearing house for the various interested agencies like military aviation, the intelligence and law enforcement communities. I consulted with the Psychological Services Division of the Medical Sciences Branch of NASA. My consultation focused on how to apply the blend of stress inoculation, accelerated learning, pre-conscious processing and scenario based training I’d developed to parts of the Astronaut Training Program.
One of controversial (at that time) positions I took, in discussion with the top military and space psychologists and psychiatrists in the world, was that situational awareness, in my experience as a trainer, was one part genetics, one part life experience, and one part training; and that situational awareness could be identified in prospective candidates, and further enhanced or taught (installed) into astronaut trainees who lacked the operational experience and training of the candidates who came in from the hard-core Department of Defense flow (ie fighter pilots, combat veterans, test pilots, etc.).
The polite (i.e. “official”) response was: “That’s not our position The area merits more study, but we tend to believe that situational awareness is in large part a skill you either have or you don’t; if you don’t, all the training in the world won’t give it to you.”
The unofficial response, over beers in a famous astronaut bar also trafficked by the US Naval Special Warfare community, was: “Ah, bullshit. You can’t teach that.” And then a long pause: “…but if you could…”
I wrote my consultation report and then went on to do other things, among them develop a training program for installing situational awareness subsequently adopted by the South African Police Service (who, at the time, had more officer-involved shootings monthly than the US had yearly) titled “Mental Conditioning for Close Combat” and also taught a significant number of personnel involved in close protection, military special operations, law enforcement, and private sector security on how to enhance their own brand of situational awareness.
Over the last twenty years, I’ve received hundreds of phone calls, e-mails and letters attesting to the effectiveness of the situational awareness and performance enhancement training program from former students operating in America and many other countries.
Anecdotal evidence, yes, but then, I never claim to be a scientist, and those calls and letters are all I ever needed to be assured that what I was doing was not only working in the training environment but translating directly into usefulness on the street and on the battlefield.
I shared that information with the popular tactical/gun press in an article about situational awareness published in SWAT Magazine in 2007.
In August 2010, 15 years after my initial consultation with NASA, the project managers I worked with in 1995 now are in charge of the entire unit, and were good enough to take my nine year old son on the VIP tour of the training facility. Over lunch they told me, “Remember back in 95 when we were talking about situational awareness and human performance indicators? Situational awareness? We did a study you might find interesting.”
They sent me two documents detailing a study: “Human Behavior Performance Competencies” generated by NASA, and the ESA (European Space Agency). What this study did was focus on specific aspects of human behavior and performance essential to survival in the space environment, with particular emphasis on long duration space travel. One of the unprecedented products of the study is an easy to use matrix that identifies the human performance competency, the behavior, the behavioral markers, details and examples.
Situational awareness is one of the major human performance competencies identified. This is the first time that the top scientists and researchers from the world-wide psychological research community have come to a consensus definition of situational awareness.
In order to include it, they had to break down the components of situational awareness as they defined it, as shown in the graphics posted above.
What NASA is doing with this is using these behaviors and traits as tools in the selection and assessment of astronauts and crew selection for long-duration missions; they continue to add rigorously reviewed scientific studies on these traits. They also work in conjunction with their Training Division to enhance training to develop these attributes, and completed a peer-reviewed study and presentation on the effectiveness and implications of training situational awareness.
This can be an extremely useful model with extraordinary implications for law enforcement and tactical training.
There are two major competencies identified by NASA as principal sub-components of “situational awareness.” They are:
a. Maintenance of an accurate perception of the situation; and
b. Processing of information
Perceiving the situation in an accurate (usable) perception and processing that information adds up to a state of “situational awareness.”
What are some of the implications for situational awareness training?
If a behavior can be identified and deconstructed into components, it can then be reconstructed and woven into a training program.
One of the differences between this extremely useful model and what I’ve been doing is that I combine processing of information with the maintainance of the accurate perception; like the OODA loop, it’s all one flow from my perspective. Without efficient processing of useful information in the moment, it’s not possible to perceive a given situation, especially a dynamic situation like combat, accurately. So the two elements are interwoven.
My model for training and enhancing situational awareness focused on improving perception and enhancing cognition while under stress. These are the principal components of the baseline state of relaxed alertness and situational awareness as I’ve trained it:
- Vision skills (enhanced use of the full range of visual cues, which leads to enhancement of other sensory inputs i.e. hearing, etc., as well as designing training that enhances visual processing in the neurology),
- Sensory cue acuity (enhanced use of all senses in conjunction along with pattern recognition templates fed into the other-than-conscious mind)
- State management (managing the internal representation and physiology in such a manner as to enhance efficient processing of information)
- Cognitive model (drawing critical path pattern-recognition models from high performers and installing directly into other than conscious mind of students)
- Time distortion (how to manage and enhance processing of information and utilize time distortion to maximize personal processing time of incident-essential data).
So over twenty years, I’ve focused on simple exercises to install the skill, and test it immediately under stress and in open-ended scenarios to cement the skill in use under immediate onset threat to life stress. In my last post, I shared a simple exercise that installs one small attribute of the larger skill set.
What I find most exciting about this study is the model NASA’s best researchers came up with; in the same way the OODA loop is a model for decision making and maintaining situational awareness, the Human Behavior and Performance Competency Model is a model for breaking out the components of situational awareness as they define it.
So while some pieces of their definition might not necessarily meet the needs of personal combat, the model of the matrix they’ve created makes a template for us to fill in with the working competencies drawn from personal combat.
So – shall we create one?
Extracts used with permission from NASA. All other content copyright by Marcus Wynne (as is all material on this blog — please respect that…)
Click here for a PDF of the case study mentioned in the video swedish_national_police_case_study
CEO Marcus Wynne at DARPA
A good friend of mine does security for a religious school and house of worship. Just recently, after a spate of suspicious phone calls inquiring about security procedures, he saw what’s become the most recent worst nightmare for law enforcement and security procedures: a large heavy delivery truck driven by two very out of place individuals, cruising through the street that his house of worship empties out into. Many of these worshippers walk to and from church. The five to ten minutes before and after they let out, the street is packed with pedestrians: families with small children, elderly.
The truck parked in an apartment building nearby. The two men went upstairs and fetched out a mattress. It took them about 20 minutes, most of which they spent watching the front of the church and the security personnel. It seemed as though they were lingering and in no hurry to pick up the mattress they’d come to get. The church service was also delayed by, gee, about ten minutes because of an extra long service.
Right when the first service members departed, the truck was hastily loaded up, and then driven slowly past the front of the church, and then departed.
On the surface, maybe just a couple of hard working guys driving a dramatically oversized truck to pick up one mattress who just happened to have time to kill and hang out and watch a stressed out security officer. But in another life, on a planet far far away, a guy I know who’d spent a lot of time in dangerous places would have said, “Dang…that sure seems like it might could be a rehearsal for some kind of nasty event, like driving a heavy truck through church goers.”
Not that that kind of thing happens too often, despite the recent spate of events like described here:
And even with a certain notorious organization calling for these kind of attacks against houses of worship after they published a list of all those places:
And of course there would be no linkage with a recent spate of telephone calls asking specific questions about times and places to the religious school associated with that house of worship.
There’s this thing from psychology which I are a student of sometimes, and gets to hangs around with peeps much smarter than me, which is called, I think, “normalcy bias.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias
In sum it’s the thinking that goes like this: “It hasn’t happened to me, therefore it cannot happen.” It’s a presupposition which provides an unconscious (as in you don’t even know you know/believe it) foundation for action and planning. The cure for it generally is a harsh one, when reality sticks it’s sometimes ugly nose in and says, “Hey Sweet Cheeks? Today’s the day you get fucked.”
People die or get hurt when you let normalcy bias rule your decisions especially when it comes to dealing with violence.
That’s what you have security professionals (aka professional paranoids) who do that kind of distasteful thinking for you, so that you don’t have to think about small children and old people crushed under the wheels of a big truck.
Of course, you do have to trust and take their advice on board, and a big (often overlooked) part of being a high end security professional is the art of convincing the non-experienced that your experience is presenting a picture that conflicts with the bosses normalcy bias.
So I was asked to opine about the art and science of killing trucks after someone I know saw this video:
Very brave man. Who died in the attempt to stop the truck involved in the Nice terror attack.
I’m just a researcher, but I was able to ask a few friends of mine who have some experience dealing with variations on this kind of issue. What’s offered below is only opinion based on other’s experience and training so take it (as all things I offer) with a big grain of salt and run it through your own perceptual filters. If it doesn’t make sense for you or work when you test it, bin it. Won’t hurt my feelings one bit, and as you may have noticed, offered here without charge.
Pre-Event: (LEFT OF BANG)
- Know who rents trucks in your preciencts/city. Not just the big haulers but even a cargo panel truck like Ryder or U-Haul. DHS has all their various flyers out at those facilities but a conscientious patrol cop or proactive intelligence analyst might drop by those in his/her area of interest and cultivate relationship.
- Blocking streets that have events is something decided by higher, and I wont’ get into that. Installing permanent or temporary vehicle obstacles is great if it happens.
During Event, Pre-Incident: (LEFT OF BANG)
If you’re participating in a planned major event (like a street fair) you’ll have contingencies in place. I’d expect that they’d address procedures for slowing/blocking heavy vehicles through a combination of traffic control points, temporary obstacles or zones, and establish appropriate response.
In the opinion of some more learned than I, here’s the desirable flow to prevent heavy vehicle attacks:
1) Deny access to the vehicles through proactive police work/intelligence gathering.
2) Deny entry of heavy or other vehicles into a target rich environment by vehicle obstacles permanent or temporary or procedural.
Incident (BIG MOTHERFUCKING BANG)
3) Detect a suspect vehicle far enough out to be able to take proactive measures.
a. Have spotters on the perimeter with reliable comms and useful optics (binoculars or pocket monoculars)
4) Delay the suspect vehicle from entry and/or acceleration.
a. Procedurally through vehicle control points
b. Physically blocking the approaching vehicle with heavy vehicles.
5) Destroy the attacker
a. Divert or ram the vehicle off the roadway into something like a building or vehicles to slow or stop it.
b. Block the vehicle by getting heavy vehicles in front of it.
c. Kill the driver (my personal favorite).
i. If you’re engaging through metal and glass into a driver’s compartment, consider what weapons you have and especially what kind of ammo. Bonded is best, but roll with what you got.
ii. If all you’ve got is a pistol, try for the close range side shot. Aim at the head through the window glass and work your shots down. It may cause him to flinch and flinch the wheel to one side as the glass shatters and if he’s committed enough to duck, follow the head down and shoot through the door sheet metal. If you don’t know Super Dave Harrington’s IRON CROSS drill, go learn it. It’s the best drill for training how to fight with a pistol from a seated position in a car with either hand.
iii. Rifles are good. Volume of fire but be conscious of backstops. If shooting from the front, same thing: start high to get his head down and if you’re a cool enough shot, ping the next string off the hood into the cabin. Don’t waste time shooting tires/engines. Kill the driver.
iv. Don’t neglect the trusty shotgun. Loaded with slugs like a Brennekke or whatever the state of the art is, it will fuck up an engine and a driver’s compartment better than a rifle.
CONCURRENT WITH THIS –
Have a plan to notify people. Loudspeakers, sirens, make some noise so people will look up and see what’s happening and get the hell out of the way while the pros try to deal with it. Don’t make it complicated. If they hear loud noises, get out of the roadway as fast as they can. Don’t be a hero, just get out of the way.
Rinse and repeat.
1) Solo civilian armed or unarmed vs. heavy vehicle = no bueno. Period.
2) Have a plan.
3) Said plan should address:
a. Awareness. Keeping one’s eyes on what’s going on, also known as enjoying one’s self and not buried in the cellphone. This also includes accepting that something could happen, and mentally prepping yourself for that.
(COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE-Y DIGRESSION since I kinda do that for a living)
What kills people in these events is the lag time between recognizing what’s happening and doing something about it. Notice I said RECOGNIZING and not SEEING.
Untrained person: SEES SOMETHING THEY DON’T RECOGNIZE – TRIES TO FIGURE IT OUT – FIGURES IT OUT – DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO – DEFAULTS TO ONE OF THE FOUR BASIC SURVIVAL FUNCTIONS (FEED, FIGHT, FLEE, F**K) – TRIES TO IMPLEMENT – MAYBE GETS LUCKY.
Trained (or at least aware person who’s accepted the possibility) SEES SOMETHING AND RECOGNIZES IT FOR WHAT IT IS – ACTS ON A SIMPLE ROBUST PLAN (grab the kids and run out of the way) –
Fewer steps = less time deciding = more time to be alive.
Back to the plan:
b. Communications pre and post: “IF SOMETHING HAPPENS, GET OUT OF THE WAY AND DON’T LOOK FOR US, TEXT WHEN YOU GET CLEAR OR WE’LL MEET AT THE CAR”
c. Small kids, disabled, elderly – grab and go, dude. That’s all you can do. Can you pick up all your kids and run with them? Will they listen to you if you scream something at them like GET OUT OF THE WAY? Could you pick up your diabled father and run with him? You can carry more weight than you think if you use body mechanics, go Google Fireman’s Carry.
d. After the event, have a plan to reconnect.
e. Consider toting a small emergency kit that includes a first aid kit, some cash, a charger for your phone. Pretty easy to tote. See my previous articles on that.
f. Gun toters. Consider the total event. Before you go in blazing make sure you’ve met the needs of those you are responsible for, including yourself. Then BEFORE get a gut check on whether you have the skill, physical fitness, and the opportunity to get in and deal violence on that person – or if you’re just complicating an already complicated event. Your life, your call. Family first dude. The hero in the video ended up crushed under the truck, and no one remembers his name.
Just some random thoughts from some Old Guys on the sidelines. Stay safe out there. Unless you’re the Achy Man: https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/repost-the-achy-man-and-the-writers-process-updated-with-rico-and-other-cool-stuff/
I’m reposting this guest appearance from one of the South African Police Service’s best CQB and SWAT instructors. When I was invited to South Africa by Nelson Mandela’s new government in the 90s to work with the newly renamed South African Police Service (as opposed to South African Police FORCE), the SAPS led the world in violent paramilitary assaults on police. Given the recent spate of ambushes on police officers during traffic stops, the information below may be relevant.
I’ve been asked recently about the wave of anti-police sentiment and violence by everyone from major media outlets to friends at the coffee shop. All I have to say is that anytime we entrust our safety to others, we MUST hold those we entrust to a higher standard. Period. And the vast majority of police officers are honorable brave men and women who go in harms way, each and every day, to protect others and strive to do the right thing under difficult circumstances. There are exceptions, but most cops are straight up and do an admirable job of balancing a staggering amount of stress in a humane and reasonable fashion while dealing with some of the worst and most dangerous people on our streets. Higher standards, absolutely. And MOST cops despise the crooked, corrupt, cruel or inept who make their way into their ranks. See here my response to some of them: https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/repost-achy-man-on-corruption-reply-to-the-haters-and-chapter-two-of-threes-wylde/
Be safe out there.
COUNTER-AMBUSH FOR POLICE
My guest today is Master Trainer and Tactical Team Leader Clint Oosthuizen of the South African Police Service. Clint is my brother-from-another-mother. We go back to the mid-90s, when the South African Police Service (newly renamed from the former Police Force to Police Service to manage a new political narrative after Mandela took power) asked me to consult with their national executives, the Psychological Services Division and a number of their specialty units. During one of my stays in Sunny Africa I lived with Clint and his family. I rode with him and his police crew from day one, much to their amusement and my frequent terror.
Back then, in the aftermath of the long struggle between the apartheid government and Mandela’s political party the African National Congress, South Africa had the highest rates of crime-related violence in the world. Johannsesburg was the most violent city in the world, the leader in armed assault, homicide, forcible rape, and robbery. It was very much like William Fairbairn’s Shanghai, and it was Fairbairn’s work that inspired me to go there and learn from those who daily engage in high levels of professional violence.
To this day, it remains one of the world’s violent cities, and the job of the police officer is much closer to the counter-insurgency soldier in an urban environment than the job most American police departments are familiar with.
When I was there circa 1995-1996, the casualties among the 100,000 serving police officers in the SAPS were the highest in the world. Armed ambushes (firearms and edged weapons) resulted in over 250 dead cops a year.
Now twenty years later, the number of officers killed in direct fire (ambush) or edged weapon attacks is closer to 100 a year. Roughly 0.1% of the police force dies each and every year in some sort of ambush. That’s based on an average number of 100,000 for the total national police.
Clint is good enough to take the time here to share some of his street wisdom derived from 20+ years at the very hard edge in police patrol and SWAT operations. He and his crew have been tested in innumerable gun-fights (defined here as engaging in close combat with firearms with a resisting foe(s)) and many bladed encounters. In addition to SWAT, patrol, K9, Training and various specialty units, Clint also spent several tours in the Middle East doing high-risk Protection Security Details with my late great friend Rich Smith, of the Rhodesian SAS and other elite units.
Rich (second from left) at the Neural-Based Instructor Course. Conrad (RIP), Rich (RIP), some Old Guy from the NDE Club, Clint newly initiated into the NDE Club, and the indestructible Dennis Martin
Clint’s been there and done that; he didn’t just see the elephant but French kissed him (several times) and survived the dreaded rhino slap…tale to be told another time.
Clint’s perspectives on police patrol procedures, and the individual and unit training necessary to survive and thrive in an environment where police are everyday targets of opportunity for heavily armed, highly motivated and tactically proficient criminals may be of interest to police trainers, police officers and armed civilians watching the evolution of violence on the American streets.
Here’s Clint Oosthuizen, Police Officer, Combat Leader, Gunfighter, Bon Vivant, Force of Nature and a man I’m proud to call my friend and brother:
Clint: Oi, mate! As you know, our police history has always been one of extreme violence. We lose about 100 officers a year (down from the bad old days) to ambushes, which include shootings, explosions (grenades, mostly) and edged weapon attacks (pangas, like a machete, as well as other knives). This doesn’t count accidents or guys wounded on duty who are unable to return to duty. That’s a much higher count, but I don’t have those exact numbers. So far this year to July, we’ve lost around 80. Of those 60% (48) were killed with their own weapons.
• When we work, we always have 2+ officers. Never less than 2.
• When we go Alpha (respond to a complaint) we don’t use sirens unless we have to; we run lights and shut them off when we’re a block or so away.
• We never roll up on the address. We always stop 1-2 houses away, and then we walk in using a standard cover formation. That means one officer handles the contact/initial interview and the rest of us provide all around cover. That means covering the suspect and any other individuals, the house, the surrounding houses, the yards and alleys. All around defense, all the time.
• If we tactically penetrate a building we come out the same way unless back up has arrived.
• If we arrive on a scene and find blue lights there with an officer we don’t know, we watch the officer for pre-violence indicators as they might be bad guys disguised as SAPS police officers, or crooked SAPS officers committing a crime. We actually run into that quite a bit, LOL.
• When we embuss (get back into the vehicle) the driver enters first while we cover him; he starts the car and puts it into gear, then we get in. That way you always have boots on the ground ready to fight if you have to until you’re able to get away fast in the vehicle.
• When we do a car stop we are always ready to shoot. Always. One guy talks to the driver while the other guy covers with all around defense. We get a lot of drive by shootings on car stops.
• When we approach the car it’s always from the rear. We check the hood and move no further than the rear windows. Our stand off shooter will always cover and move with the officer making the contact; the stand off shooter has to have eyes in the back of his head because he has to watch his partner AND approaching vehicles AND the local environment. Hard work.
• If we get ambushed while mobile our SOP is drive through.
• If we can’t drive through, we debuss (get out of the vehicle) and lay down suppressive fire and flank or retreat tactically.
• If we can’t debuss, we lay flat and return fire through the windscreen (windshield) or through the door. We then exit and lay down fire by shooting around, through or under the vehicle and exit the kill zone to flank/regroup/escape. Comms are vital between you and your partner and with incoming backup.
• When we chase somebody we always chase with a partner. We never leave our partner alone. Ever.
• We see a lot of grenade attacks. We train to take cover, or get at least 7 meters (21 feet) away, go face down, cover our ears, open mouth, and after the bang goes off we roll to a supine position and shoot back at the bad guys.
• For car tactics, you must work with your partner on comms and SOPs. When you’re ambushed in the car or on foot, you can’t be f**king about, so you must work it out before and practice it together. You must know how your vehicle handles at speed or damaged, and what kind of rounds do what kind of damage to your car. And wear your plates!
• You must make sure that everyone on your shift also has agreed upon and trained comms and SOP so there’s no blue on blue when your backup rolls in to help you while you’re in or exiting the kill zone.
• Individual officer skills, well you must be fit, and you must train in all the fighting disciplines: shooting, knife, baton, CQB applications, SOPs. It must all seamlessly integrate because in a fight how you win is irrelevant as long as you win.
• Your gear must be 100% even if you must buy it yourself; you can’t afford failures.
• I advocate blade skill. We are a knife culture and we see them every single day. Being able to use a knife is very useful in the close quarter engagements we find ourselves in. You can use it to defend your gun, or if you can’t get to your gun or you are disarmed of your gun it’s also useful in a team take down of a suicide bomber or grenade thrower (cutting the ligaments on the activation hand, etc.)
Clint, can you discuss situational awareness and what kind of weaknesses the police officer must be aware of?
You remember that video you mentioned in chat that showed the American SF team in Iraq and the American SWAT? The difference? In that, the American police focus on the target structure, and even the perimeter team is focused on containing the threat…not looking for threat outside the perimeter. In the SF video, they cover all nearby houses when they enter. One of the best points was the movement inside the building. The police just pass the windows once they are inside, the SF cover out the windows in case they are hit from outside.
So the point is that police must learn how to see like soldiers do, and look further around, up and down, near and far, to be situationally aware enough to see an ambush coming or at least fight through one.
While there are significant numbers of veterans in the American police forces, I don’t think the training on counter-ambush and combat situational awareness has filtered through the liability conscious administrations. Definitely some exceptions, but not many.
We had a lot of the same problems. Lot of political correctness from people who don’t ride the car or the van into the shit. So we do the best we can with training, but sometimes you just have to take it on and train with your partner as best you can, and if you have a crew you train together even if you have to arrange it yourself. Your life, oke.
You routinely see a much higher level of skilled violence in your incidents down there. The American police are just starting to get more exposed to the somewhat tactically proficient active shooter or terrorist, and while we’ve been fortunate to avoid a Paris or Mumbai, the consensus is that will be the wave of the future…not if, but when…and where.
When we started out, you remember, LOL, we had a lot of military trained criminals who had recent military experience and training from the long conflict. When they didn’t get what they wanted from the new administration, they used their skills to go out and get what they wanted. Most of them had no other education besides fighting. So we’ve always encountered those proficient at buddy team, squad and platoon sized fire fight tactics, understood fire and maneuver, how to utilize heavy weapons and hand grenades, etc. Our tactics had to evolve to face that. Just like Americans, our first response is generally a car with two officers, so what we do has to be robust enough to deal with an ambush or skilled attack right off. We have to survive till our back up or the tactical response van gets there, LOL.
Can you comment on individual skills training for officers? You mention that you can’t depend on the Training Section to give you all you need, and that you must train with your partner even if you have to find your own time, gear and range.
Basic and recurrent training is never enough. If you are serious — and if you are not serious you will die, be badly hurt, or end up hiding in the station for your entire career – then you must train individually, with your partner, and with your team if you are in tactical response. On the individual level, you must be fit. Fit enough to fight for your life in a crowd, outnumbered and down. Fit enough to run the f**k away if you must, LOL, or run to help another officer. You must be proficient in using your gun. Not just shooting scores or nice groups, but being able to shoot while fighting, while someone is grabbing your weapons, in a crowd of non-shoots, and so on. You must know without a doubt what you can and can’t do with your weapon and shape your tactics around that. With your partner, you must be able to read each other’s minds. Like you taught us, LOL. You have to be able to read body language of your partner and of others. Sometimes you can’t say anything, you just have to read the situation and act. That’s one level of comms. You must know how to use the radio and have a back up for when it doesn’t work. Like my smartphone, LOL. You must be able to fight out of, around, under, and over your vehicle. You must be able to drive the vehicle under stress, under fire, and while damaged. You must know how to respond to IED attacks and grenade attacks in the car and on foot and respond as a team.
You have to know how to handle a blade. A blade and knife at the same time, or just a blade, coming at you or in your hand. And your baton of course. We have the long guns as well (remember your R5?).
An individual officer must take the time to get and keep his skills up. If he does not, he will die or be badly injured, or else cause some of us who come to back him up to be killed or badly injured. In that case we will beat his ass at the station after, LOL.
Clint, thank you so much for taking the time to share your hard-earned expertise and wisdom with American law enforcement. If people want to ask you questions, they can post here. Thanks again, Oke!
Happy to help! Looking forward to seeing you again! And this time we won’t feed the lions! ; )
I have been incredibly busy with Accentus-Ludus the last three years, which has taken me away from writing fiction. I will be back to it soon. Two books: the first is the complete compilation of all the Wylde books, in a LENGTHY mss (over a quarter million words) which combines a complete revision of the first two books and then the final book in the trilogy. It’s a monster tome titled WYLDE. Long overdue, I know.
The second book is THE ACHY MAN, the next installment in my urban fantasy experiment that began with THE SWORD OF MICHAEL. I had a great discussion with a friend of mine, a retired Federal investigator with an extensive history of dangerous undercover assignments overseas and Stateside, and he helped me structure some of THE ACHY MAN. He’s working on a RICO case https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act and while he couldn’t give me specifics about his case, he did share some great stories and helpful insights on mine — my story, I mean.
Structuring THE ACHY MAN along the lines of a RICO indictment is actually a fascinating exercise in narrative structure. Ten year time span, like from 2006-2016, multiple action/turning points from predicate crimes, and the constant turning this way and that…great fun. To be released concurrent with WYLDE, hopefully around January 20, 2017. We’ll see.
Below is a repost of the strange dreams that started THE ACHY MAN; I also enclosed a lengthy snippet from the opening chapters.
Enjoy, and maybe I’ll meet this deadline! Fingers crossed!
In between marathon revision on my own almost-due manuscript, I’ve dipped into the DARK TOWER series by Stephen King. I’m astonished that I missed this when it came out and I’m making up for lost time now. King recounts in the foreword to THE GUNSLINGER how he woke from a dream with a disturbing refrain that later became Roland’s beachside encounter with the Lobster Things.
I’ve had a similar series of dreams.
My dearly appreciated fans often tell me how they LOVE my bad guys: Jonny Maxwell, Alfie, Johnny Wylde and his crew, the Faceless Man His Own Self, Mr. Smith aka Hank…there’s an interview on my friend Lance Storm’s (the WWE great) website http://www.stormwrestling.com/bookmarks/warrior.html about evil, villains and story-telling that I wrote for his Book Club’s about WARRIOR IN THE SHADOWS.
My recent dreams are about an evil character I call the Achy Man: bent and twisted with chronic pain and hatred, the patriarch of a clan that makes GAME OF THRONES look like THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Like Stephen King’s strange refrain that birthed THE DARK TOWER, mine started with a non-sensical riff on that old nursery rhyme: Lady Bug, Lady Bug, fly away home, your house is on fire and your children’s alone…
But instead I got these, a long series that I woke up and wrote down:
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your life is on fire, your children’s alone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your sons are all cowards, throw ‘em a bone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your friends are all laughing, that’s why you’re alone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
The Country Club dissed you, you’re a no-fly zone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your PI done lied to you and left you alone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your car needs polishing, are you getting stoned?
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Fox News gots your picture and your friends’s picture too —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
There’s a Federal indictment in your time zone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
I’ll be there next week — maybe I’ll leave you alone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
I’ll be there next week, all old and alone,
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Maybe I can help you? For a significant loan —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Threaten a child and I’ll burn down your home —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
There’s some Street Crimes killing in your patrol zone —
Achy Man, Achy Man, fly away home,
Your hookers done left you and they laugh at your bone —
Seem crazy? There’s a story here, I think…like THE DARK TOWER it may connect to my previous stories and to those in the pipeline.
I thought I’d share that with you, since I rarely write about the creative writing process, being one of those writers that would rather write than write about writing. But going back and forth between projects has given me a particular perspective right now.
Among those projects: nearing the end of the revision to THE SWORD OF MICHAEL (working title, may be changed) my first urban fantasy for Baen; once that’s done, sometime next week I’m thinking, then it’s on to finish THREE’S WYLDE. I’m also working on some short fiction, some of which I’ll post here and some of which will appear in some magazines.
Thanks for staying tuned — more later!
PS: You know what’s great about the Achy Man rhymes? They make PERFECT tweets…
EXCERPT FROM THE ACHY MAN
THE ACHY MAN
They had been beating him for a long time.
One of them, who’d been a deputy for not quite as long as the other, wondered how long the prisoner would last. His partner, a big porcine man, had been working on the man’s face, which no longer looked like a face – it looked like old meat turning blue in the sun.
But there wasn’t any sun.
Just a quarter moon in the night sky, the only sounds beside the dull wet thump of flesh breaking under fists and boots the whisper of the wind in the corn stalks, and every once in awhile the distant hiss of a car passing by.
“How long before he dies?” the younger deputy said.
The older man looked over at him. Silent. Blood spray on his face. Considered the question. “Not long.”
He stepped away, then kicked the man curled in a ball at his feet.
“I want you to kick him,” the older deputy said.
The look on the older man’s face set the younger to almost shitting his pants.
“I’m not asking you. Kick him.”
The younger man poked at the prisoner with his boot.
A slap across his face stunned him, the solid thwock of the meaty palm across his narrow face echoing in the corn field.
“Don’t play with me,” the older deputy said. “Kick him. In the face.”
So he did.
After, when the last breath wheezed between the broken stubs of the dead man’s teeth, the younger deputy leaned over and vomited his fried chicken dinner. The older one threw him a shovel.
“I did the work,” the older deputy said. “You dig the hole. Dig it deep. And roll him in it.” He laughed. “That’s how we roll in Mason County.”
Lieutenant Dick Gant steered his Mason County Sheriff Department squad car around the parking lot in a big circle. The other deputies were careful to ignore him, avoid eye contact. Gant wasn’t a big man, but he had a hateful, bitter twist to his face, and besides the stink of tobacco that surrounded him there was always a sense of, well, jangling was what one deputy described it. Loose cannon didn’t catch all of it.
Just plain mean, was what one dog handler said.
“If he was a dog, I’d put him down,” the handler said. “No training that bitch.”
` The other deputies laughed long and loud, as they always did, as long as the lieutenant wasn’t around. The loot had a long memory, and if you got on his bad side, you never got off, and he had a gift for making life hell for people. He nursed a particular grudge for anybody who did their job well, and an open contempt for the deputies who might actually take their job and the shield they wore seriously.
Made you wonder what his idea of the job was about, but then, in Decanter, you didn’t ask those kind of questions. Not if you were a deputy and you wanted to get out of the jail and out on the road, not get caught in the hell of the corrections unit or, worse, court services.
And then there was always the question of the payroll.
Not the paycheck, meager as it was, they collected every other week.
The Loot had a lot to do with that.
But then, he’d been around for a long time.
Wilhelm (known as Will or Willy at his insistence) Eichmann threw his golf clubs in the truck of his Crown Vic, slammed the hood down and slid into the front seat. From a distance, the brown Crown Vic looked like a police cruiser; it was the same basic model as the State Police used, with a mounted light on the driver’s side, and a set of antennas on the rear bumper.
Pretty fancy ride for a bank guard, or so some of the cops he liked to hang around with said. He pretended not to hear, forced a laugh, and bought more rounds than he should, but that was the price he thought he had to pay to hang out with the real cops. Once, a long time ago, he’d thought about going for it, taking the exam, going through the academy…either the police department or the sheriff’s department, but the prospect of having to ride in a car alone, even with a gun, at night in Decanter, was something he never wanted to face up to.
So he settled for the next best thing, which was an okay paying job as a guard which led to pretty rapid advancement, and after twenty years he had his look alike cruiser, a lieutenant’s rank in the bank’s regional investigation team, and a whole team of his troops, as he liked to call them, to order around.
And he had his cruiser.
He backed out of the parking lot, shooting a hard look at a couple of old-timers who brushed by his car — washed everyday, stroked lovingly by hand himself, in the driveway of his house — almost marring the near mirror finish he liked to keep on the car. He rolled down the power window, and propped his elbow in the open window, just like a real cop, or so he thought.
He drove down Woodrow to Washington and made a left, tooling down past Sacred Heart Church, then onto the main drag that took him into the little downtown of Decanter. He parked his car across the street from the courthouse, checked the time on his cheap Rolex knock off, and went into the lobby, and paused beside the security checkpoint.
“Hey Will,” said Deputy Jeff Parrott. He was short, lean built in the same way a pit bull is, all muscle and bone, blond and with a certain coldness that led most anyone with any sense to avoid him. Hard to do when you’re a prisoner in custody, but then in Decanter, what happened in the jail stayed in the jail. Or so that was what word on the street was.
Willy Eichmann puffed up, looked around as he did, always checking to see if anyone was looking at him – especially someone of importance, somebody higher up the food chain than him, and even in a town this small, there were quite a few, in the Sheriff’s Department, the County Attorney’s office, the County Board, the bank management…the list went on.
But in his little world he liked to think he was the top dog. He wasn’t shy about reminding those that worked for him, including the deputies who moonlighted (against county regulations) as armed couriers on his armored truck runs, and they tolerated him because he paid well and on time, and in Decanter that went a long way.
“Jeff,” Eichmann said. “How’s it going? How’re the troops today?”
Jeff let the hint of a sneer cross his face and looked away. “Troops?” he said. “Yeah, us troops are just fine.”
The other deputy, a heavy-boned man with the long jowls of a hound dog, head closely shaven, crossed his arm and grinned at Eichmann.
“Hey Will,” said the deputy, whose name was Fergus. “Saw your kid the other night. Over by the high school.”
“That’s where he works,” Will said.
“I thought they was a law against school employees hitting on students,” Fergus said. “In this state I believe that’s a sex offense.”
Will grinned, quick and false, looked around. “That’s funny.”
Fergus grinned. “Yep. Real funny. Kinda weird, but what do I know?”
“Kids,” Will said. “Your kids, somebody else’s…pain in the ass. I don’t know why people bother anymore.”
“Funny thing for a father to say,” Jeff said.
Will shrugged and looked into the distance. “Some kids are more of a pain than others.”
Will Eichmann’s kid was cruising around in his red Ford Explorer, his elbow resting propped in the open window, his hand curled around a Styrofoam cup of coffee — just like a real cop. His buddy Danno was sitting in the passenger seat, flipping through a magazine of Eastern European porn, “the fancy stuff” as he liked to say.
“The fuck?” Bryant Eichmann said.
“What?” Danno (known as Good Twin) said, distracted by the high resolution close ups of shaved pussy and dick, something he thought of often in his role as catamite…
To Be Continued…
I was recently reminded by some clients of mine about this particular post. It was one of my more popular ones with comments from some of the top tactical trainers in the US and abroad (see comments) at the original here: https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/random-thoughts-on-crowds-and-attacks/ It’s always a good idea to keep certain principles in mind, especially when the Powers That Be just issued another warning about vehicle type attacks during the holiday season. Me, I hate (and I never use that particular word lightly) thinking about cowards wreaking havoc on the innocent during holidays. In addition to the various pro-bono activities I support for those who go in harm’s way on behalf of others, I’ll provide some insights for those who are security conscious and want to protect themselves and those in their charge. One of the videos linked below was removed from YouTube; probably for the best as it was truly horrific.
As always this information is provided to educate those are interested and is based on my personal experience and training. Use your own judgment as to whether it suits your needs and if not, may it be a guide to researching elsewhere for something that may be better for you.
Crowds frighten me.
There was a time, a long time ago, when I enjoyed the excitement of a crowd: concerts, packed movies, huge parties (my 18th birthday party had over 400 participants, a band, and enough drugs and alcohol to fund a mid-size cartel….) and even the odd political event before I grew disillusioned.
But not any more.
It was actually a concert that broke my enjoyment. Back in the 70s, I attended a benefit concert in San Jose CA for Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Union. It was a great concert: Santana, Taj Mahal, a ton of minor acts. And because it was a political fund-raiser, no police for security. Only the Brown Berets of La Familia providing volunteer security. This was the era of Altamont, where the Hells Angels provided security for the Rolling Stones, and there was violence there; there was violence here, too.
I was about three bleacher rows away from the first major fight. It was hot, people had been drinking and getting high all day in the sun, and several La Familia security were called over to intervene in an argument between a huge unaffiliated biker and a patch-holder from one of the smaller CA MCs. When it kicked off, it kicked off big.
I remember watching the fight flow like a ripple in a pond, getting bigger and bigger till it was a tidal wave: first two guys fighting, then four or five, then knives and chain belts (outlaw bikers used to wear the drive chains of bikes for belts as they made handy flails in melee combat along with the obligatory Buck Folding Hunters and fixed blades) and then easily one third of the bleachers that held over 45,000 people erupted into violence. Gun shots, knife fights, fist fights, people screaming…and the crowd and the fight nosing one way and then the next like a gigantic animal.
Me and my buddy couldn’t fight our way through and down, so we turned and did the opposite – we fought our way up the bleachers, and then climbed over the safety rail and made a precarious descent down the support structure behind and beneath the bleachers, and then climbed a high barbed wire topped fence to escape.
As I recall there were several hundred hospitalized after the mass riot, and the police couldn’t even get into the stadium.
I will never forget how fast the violence grew, how fast it turned, and how fast people got ate up in it. I’ve seen similar violence elsewhere since then, but that first impression has never left me.
So I avoid crowds.
But sometimes you can’t.
I am no longer an instructor. I’m a coach for instructors and a designer of training programs. I do get asked from time to time to lend my experience and opinion to problems. Like the problem in this video, posed by a woman who is a fine martial arts instructor who asked: “What can I possibly teach or say that would have helped this woman?”
Ugly. Raped and beaten so savagely she required surgery. Easy enough to say, don’t be there, or don’t dress a certain way if you’re going to be in a place like that. But sometimes we don’t get to choose, as Lara Logan, who was similarly attacked while doing her job, describes in this interview:
Some of the hard men who go in harm’s way talk about the shooting solution. While there are times that may be the solution, even the best trained and reasonably armed can be overcome and killed by the fast moving crowd. In this video, notice what happens when the shots go off…and what happens when the fire is ineffective and doesn’t continue…and when the shooter has the gun beaten out of his hands….
Other skilled people talk about driving away or through. Great in principle but sometimes fails in practice, as Reginald Denny can testify:
And sometimes the crowd isn’t spontaneous, but planned:
What might an instructor want to convey to a woman (or a man) who might have to consider a mass attack like these? I don’t have any hard and fast answers. I have some general principles. The crowd is a dangerous beast, and the crowd mass attack is the most dangerous beast of all.
My random thoughts on principles:
• Don’t be there if at all possible. Avoid crowds, especially crowds of young men, and especially of young drunken men.
• If you’re in a crowd by choice, pay attention to your intuition and your feelings (the atmospherics or situational awareness) of the energy/mood of the crowd. When I was young and getting my first professional fighting chops as a doorman, I could literally feel the energy in the bar shift when things were about to go bad. Everyone feels it; and most can recall it after the fact if they survive. This presupposes, of course, that you are sober enough to notice.
• If you’re in a crowd by choice, have a partner or several friends. Don’t be alone and don’t allow yourself to be isolated in the crowd, especially as a woman surrounded by men. Look for other women or men who will stand with you or stand up for you and ask for help.
• If the crowd gets ugly, get out as fast as you can. The earlier you sense the change and the faster you move, the less likely you are to get caught up in it.
• If you become a target, keep moving. Move away, don’t stop and don’t let yourself be stopped.
• If you are grabbed, you must have previously made a decision about what to do and act instantly on it. A fast decisive attack may dissuade, distract, or delay others for you to get away…or it may incite even more violence. If you are fighting bare handed against a mob focused on beating and or raping you, it’s like fighting a tidal wave. Look at those videos above.
* The greatest challenge(s) are:
a. Knowing the spectrum of violence and recognizing when attention turns into the intention to harm you – the earlier you sense that the more effective any pre-emptive action (escape or preemptive strikes) will be.
b. Being violent enough early enough to stop the first key individuals moving on you to create space to escape.
c. Being able to ride out the panic of being overwhelmed by a crowd bent on hurting you, which is one of the most terrifying experiences any human can feel, and work a plan or improvise one. Which presupposes that you have a plan for such an event, which presupposes you’ve thought about it, and that you can improvise a different plan if your first one fails contact.
For the shooters in the crowd, notice what happens in the IRA mob killing video. The initial shots scatter the crowd…except for a few key individuals who continue their attack focused on disarming the operators. Then the crowd returns. Shots fired, most of the crowd retreats…except for the hard core. Have you thought about what you might do in such a circumstance? Would you fire warning shots and hope to scatter the crowd? Would you shoot to kill the main players in the mob?
As for driving away or through, notice what happens both in the IRA video…what happens when you stop? Even you stop and are blocked in, you are faced with the decision to either run over or through a crowd – have you thought that through and decided in advance about what you might do in that instance? Reginald Denny stopped…
In the Lara Logan interview, pay attention to what she says about the change and the escalation in the language and atmospherics in the crowd. Can you pick up on a point where she might have left? Can you see it or feel it?
The only hard and fast solution to this problem is not to be there. The principle of staying away from crowds works (unless you’re hunted by one, as in the gloating trophy video) but dealing solo with a mob attack gone violent is like swimming with a hungry great white shark. The mob usually wins.