ON PREVENTING THE NEXT ACTIVE KILLER IN YOUR WORKPLACE

NOW THAT WE KNOW MORE about the tragic massacre at the Sutherland (Texas) Baptist Church, let’s add one more bulwark against your workplace (school, church, temple, mosque, et al.) making the next 11:00 news..the tragic victim of the next active killer.

This comes as no surprise to me or other experts you may have heard on CNN or other such channels.  Experts who have speculated within an hour or so of the shooting that there probably is some domestic connection between the maniac and the church’s congregation.  Turns out there was.  Days before the attack, the killer emailed lethal threats to the mother of his estranged spouse (I believe).

Why am I writing about this?

I am pointing this out because in case after case concerning active shooters – no matter the venue – there is such a connection.

I write about and teach “Managing Workplace Violence.”  And here is the long and the short of preventing a future destroyed by some miscreant with a gun, a rifle, a bomb marching through your workplace like Sherman marching through Georgia….

Domestic Violence leaking into the workplace is one of the key factors in workplace violence!

And that is, whenever possible, be aware of any serious domestic discord among your employees, congregation, etc.  Let’s review:

  • TRY TO BE AWARE OF ANY SERIOUS DOMESTIC PROBLEMS AMONG YOUR CONGREGATION.  I know.  Not easy to do, but as many progressive and safety-conscious facilities have started doing, begin communications…
  • DEVELOP AND TRAIN “ELITE” MEMBERS OF YOUR CONGREGATION TO MAXIMIZE SECURITY.
  • ARM AND TRAIN YOUR SECURITY.  MAKE YOUR FACILITY A “HARD TARGET” INSTEAD OF A VULNERABLE SOFT TARGET.
  • DEVELOP A PROTOCOL(S) THAT COVERS POTENTIAL & REAL VIOLENCE.
  • SECURITY STARTS WITH “FAMILY.”  Arrange for “tactical seating,” with father (armed), sitting on outside, quick to action.  Teach children what to do and how to react (like a fire drill).

NEXT POST.  “LEFT OF BANG” AND WORKPLACE SAFETY!

Until then, Stay safe.

The Hammer

The Sutherland Baptist Church Massacre. On Piecing the Puzzle.

THIS  will be the first of three posts on putting the scattered pieces of the enigmatic puzzle that the Sutherland, Texas Baptist Church mass shooting represents.  Maybe I am waxing melodramatic here, but, for heaven’s sake, here we are, heading pell mell toward the end of 2017 (this is November 6), and I believe we are at a point in time where no one can feel truly safe anywhere.  Not in a mall; not at a concert; not in an elementary, middle, high school or college.  And certainly not in a church, temple, synagogue, mosque….not anywhere.

So, you may have asked yourself, a police officer, your spouse, is there anything I can do to minimize (eliminate?) the chances I or my loved ones will be the next victim(s)?

FIRST, LET’S TACKLE THE SUTHERLAND BAPTIST CHURCH DEBACLE

Using this tragedy as a teachable moment, we need to understand that, more likely than not, your local place of worship, your school, your sporting event locale, are all what we (experts, et al) call SOFT TARGETS (ST).  I talk about ST’s in my 2nd book (Super Secret Police S**t That Can Save Your Life, on Amazon) and promote ways of making these locales Hard.

It is my opinion that by taking a few simple steps to harden the target (the church), probably only a few – instead of 26, a number that will likely grow, not to mention the 20-something church-goers who are wounded – would have been shot.  Perhaps none.

The shooter was dressed all in black combat gear, was armed with an impossible-to-hide semi-auto long gun and was loping across a street from a service station where he was parked.  Well placed security and/or well-placed cameras would have spotted the gunman a good 25-yards from the church.  If armed, security could have either stopped the attacker cold or at least slowed him down long enough to warn and alert the congregation.  If not armed, security could have warned worshippers, who, instead of being sitting ducks, could have scrambled for cover, could have locked down the church, prevented the miscreant, who commenced shooting as he approached, from entering….maybe…

 

Understand this.  I posted a few years back about the vulnerability of Baptist congregations.  They comprise the largest incidents of church-related killings.  This is not the time or place to go into how & why, but the fact is, they are.  A church with a Hard-Target Mentality might do what Daryl Kennedy, Security Expert, and member of the Calvary Baptist Church, Easton, Pa. has sought to do and that is to make his leadership and congregations aware of the potential dangers, both inside and outside (parking lot, exits, entrances) of the church.

Daryl and I are now working on a book about church-related killings, which, by the way, are legion in the U.S.  We can learn a lot about making ourselves safe in potentially unsafe environments through some simple, common sense methodology, including, but not limited to some of the tactics and principles I will go into in the next two or three posts.

  • Mental Conditioning, or Survival Psyche.
  • Selectively Arming & Training Members.
  • Selectively selecting & training a dedicated security staff.
  • Periodic Monitoring of Congregation Members (domestic, psychological issues, etc).
  • Understanding the Left of Bang (security) Mentality.

Until the next post, stay safe.

The Hammer

TOWARD PREVENTING ANOTHER SENSELESS MASS-KILLING (SHOOTING) IN YOUR SOFT TARGET WORLD!

IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS BLOG SITE, you may remember a series of posts on preventing and/or surviving the dreaded Active Killer (Shooter) in your church, synagogue (temple), school, or workplace.  Since then (about four years ago), there have been at least a dozen mass killings in the United States.

TODAY (November 5, 2017), during services at a Baptist church in Southerland Springs (sp?), Texas, a score of miles from San Antonia, a gunman opened fire in the middle of (church) services, killing at least 27 (the number may grow) and wounding another 24.  The maniac fled the scene and was intercepted by police and eventually shot & killed.

What’s important in this context is how we can process this catastrophe and the seemingly unending flow of insane mass assaults on our well-being.  I mean, come on, we still must deal with our everyday lives.  Sending our children to (religious, elementary, middle, or high) school, or entering our workplaces.  Or, what about enjoying a concert or ballgame (especially after the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Vegas where over a 100 Country Western fans never went home)?

So, in the next few posts, I will cover (again) some key survival skills, tips on recognizing semi-clear signs that something bad your-way comes, and what you might do to prevent, escape, and/or prevail.

I am talking about all the “Soft Targets” out there that, more likely than not, you will eventually be entering and exiting probably on a daily basis.  Aint it about time you developed my Hard Target Strategy (or, Winology)?

Until then, stay safe.

Harry Hammer

DROP, LOCK & ROLL, MY KID ESCAPE PROGRAM

My Kid Escape and/or Date Escape Training System works on some fundamental and simple principles.  Simple, easily-done and reliable under stress.  Why is that important?  Because when a child, teenager, or even an adult victim is attacked, it is almost always a surprise.  In less than two seconds, the victim will experience a myriad of visual, auditory, cognitive and physical dysfunctions because his or her central nervous system will be flooded with stress hormones.  

This will almost always (98%) result in the victim freezing upon first touch, holding his or her breath and going mute!  Making him or her the Ideal Victim, by the by…

Kid Escape, therefore, teaches skills in observation, awareness (of others, the environment and others, and inculcates a trigger-mechanism advocating a series of tactics once the child is aware of danger.  Some of these tactics are designed to get the kid moving (counter-freezing) and verbalizing so that the (potential) molester knows that his intended victim knows what he is up to, and, by verbalizing, so do others nearby become aware.

KID/DATE ESCAPE LIFE PRESERVING TACTICS

  • Observe.
  • Trigger the Tactics.
  • Move, talk, Isolate the potential abductor.
  • Seek out barricades in the environment (garbage cans; benches; tables; backpack(s); rocks & boulders, et al.
  • Seek out good hiding places.
  • Move toward others who are “safe (mothers with children).”
  • Find Improvised Weapons and Shields (broomsticks, garbage can lids, rocks).
  • Now, if the bad guy is able to surprise his victim and comes close enough to grab the child:
  1. Crab Walk away.  Keep facing the bad guy and “walk” backwards using his or her hands.
  2. Shirt-On-Fire.  If standing and able, run away from the bad guy.  Always run in a zig-zag fashion but turn back and look at the bad guy as you run.  Also, use barricades to separate you from the bad guy if he pursues.  “Shirt-On-Fire” is a great Escape & Evasion tactic.  In training sessions, I ask my students to pretend their shirt and pants are on fire.  Drop to the ground and roll as if trying to put out the fire!  Why is this effective?  Well, if you are an adult, especially over 40 (most pedophiles are 40 and above), take this test:  Find a child or teenager and try to grab and hold them.  Now, just as you are about to gran the child, have him or her drop and roll.  Unless you are in great shape and spry, it’s going to take you several minutes to grab and hold that kid.
  3. Delay Rocks!  If you’ve read my past posts, you know that the last thing a child predator wants in the crime scene is a delay.  In almost 100% of cases, in the Shirt On Fire scenario will give up.
  4. Drop-Lock & Roll.  If the bad guy does, however, glom onto the kid, there is still hope with the Kid Escape System.  Until the next post when I will explain how you can teach your child how to escape, Stay Safe!

The Hammer

TRAIN YOUR CHILD(REN)TO STAY SAFE THE WHOLE DAY LONG

TO BE CLEAR. THEY ARE OUT THERE.  Driving and/or walking around.  Sharking out neighborhoods.  Just the other day, in Bethlehem, Pa., a man tried on three or four occasions, to lure several different children into his car.  He is still out there, driving around for all I know.  Sharking (driving slowly back and forth, seeking a victim).

For years I have been urging parents to teach their children the easy skills I am going to advocate in the next few posts.  Girls & women, by the way, can use these skills also to stay safe and/or evade and escape assailants and kidnappers.

Here we go.  My Kid Escape (or, Date Escape) Program.

Stage I.  THE PREVENTION STAGE.

You are going to say what I am going to advocate is common sense.  True.  But common sense, I always say, is the rarest commodity in a crisis.  Chicken Hawks (child molestors) would never abduct or sexually assault one child if only parents and children exercised simple common sense.  I advocate that parents take the role as their children’s safety coach, and coach their kids on some or all of these skills.  Once again, you can scroll back on this blog site and get the scoop on how to ne a Safety Coach (or, email me at harrywigder@rcn.com).

  1. Teach your children the 4 A’s.  This is crucial.  Teach them to be Aware, to Assess their surroundings, to Anticipate (to ask themselves what will I do if that man comes at me) and to take Action (to run, hide or move toward safe people like a mother with children).  There is more specific information and suggestions on the 4 A’s in past posts.
  2. PlAY THE “WHAT IF GAME” WITH YOUR CHILDREN.  Mentally and psychologically “Spinal Tune” your child in to the Escape & Evasion activity by “playing” this game with him, her, them.  Make it a fun game, but ask what would he/she do under certain scenarios.  There are no “wrong” answers.  But you can make cogent suggestions om the ideal escape & evasion tactic.\
  3. TALK, TALK AND LISTEN.  Ask him/her questions in a non-imposing manner about what happened today.  Encourage him or her to talk honestly.  You will be surprised the important things you will learn.  Always encourage them to talk about events.

STAGE II.  KID OR DATE ESCAPE TACTICS.

In the next post, we go into what your child should do when he or she becomes aware of what I call an “Environmental Anomaly.”  A man or woman on the scene that triggers his or her “Spidey Senses.”  Potential danger lurks.

Until next time. keep your kids safe.

The Hammer

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO STAY SAFE. MY KID ESCAPE PROGRAM.

In my most recent post, I talked a bit about my 2nd book – Super Secret Police S**t That Can Save Your Life – and ended with a promise to detail secrets to keeping your children safe.  My Kid Escape (or, Counter Abduction Tactics for Children) Program is I believe as close as you can come to a foolproof safety training for children and even teenagers.

You can simply scroll back through the hundreds of posts on AAV and check out my posts, but, briefly KE jumps all over the sick psychology and goals of the Chicken Hawk or sexual predator looking to abduct innocent children and inevitably molest and kill them.  Fact:  It is a true rarity for a child, once taken from the initial crime scene, to ever return (home).

Allow me to boil this down into a few sentences.  The predator wants to seek out, target, attack and abduct a child as quickly as possible.  He has a clock ticking relentlessly in his head.  The longer it takes to carry off his mission (get the kid), the louder that clock ticks.  Ergo, what he requires and what he attacks is a child who appears to be:

  • Quiet
  • Shy
  • Inert (not moving)
  • Alone
  • Gullible (this one is hard to tell until the predator is allowed to converse with the child.  If he/she entertains a conversation, the chicken hawk is golden).

So, Kid Escape or CAT teaches kids to:

  • Be not so quite.
  • Be observant (let the miscreant know you see him)
  • Move around.
  • Be in a crowd, if possible, but, if not, be aware where others are and know whom to run to.

All that is well and good, but what are some things a child or teen can do if an adult gets too close?  Close enough to gran him or her?

That will be my next post.  Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

Super Secret Police Sh*t (SSPS)`e That Can Save Your Life

The title of my 2nd book.  SSPS are more than self-defense tips.  If you are committed to a safe life for you, your family, SSPS is a Habit of Life.  Maybe that is an oversimplification and maybe it is too vague, but in the next few posts, I thought we could chat about some of these secrets that a score of military, police, corrections, security and others have passed on to me over the last 30 or so years.  Things as a PPCT Instructor Trainer (IT), I have passed on to about a thousand officers and lay citizens at risk.

Let’s start with a brief safety and survival training axiom for your child(ren).  Specifically, “Raising Kids Who Can Protect Themselves.”  Now, this is serious.  Deadly serious, as a matter of fact.  Recently two precious girls were found slain by one devil sonofabitch along a hiking trail not far from home.  Their beautiful lifeless bodies a dual testament to the dangers lurking hidden within yards – sometimes feet – from our doorsteps.

I have no clue how they were raised or if their parents had incorporated some semblance of “survival awareness” in their upbringing.  But you can scroll through my posts on this blog site & read my articles on (parents) becoming their child’s safety coach.  Which I believe to be essential to inculcating a survival psyche in times when you cannot be with him/her/them.

A key survival strategy can be found in my Kid Escape Program.  In this program we teach children how to escape an d evade the typical child predator.

Stay tuned.  In the next two posts we swill chat about the exact skills you can teach your children in your safety coaching sessions at home how to:

  • Not be targeted by a child predator.
  • How to recognize a potential predator.
  • How to escape a predator if ever approached.
  • And, if “tagged” by a predator, how to easily escape his grasp.
  • Worse case scenarios:  How To escape from a car if abducted.
  • Last Ditch:  How to fight an adult bad guy, even if you are a child!

Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

DALLAS; BATON ROUGE; MINNESOTA; NICE, FRANCE. CAN DE-ESCALATION TRAINING SAVE THE WORLD?

My fear is that there ain’t nothing that can save the world.  Thing is, I bet I am not alone in my fear.  I wager that most people are fearful.  Okay, maybe not the terrorists, who are united in their hatred for anyone in the world who do not ascribe to their way of living or their sick belief system.

So, here I go with my theory about de-escalation.  It is not only a training system (Management of Aggressive Behavior, Verbal Judo and my Advanced De-Escalation Technique System), but it can, or more, it must be, a belief system, maybe even a way of life, for all of us in law enforcement and the “helping” professions.

What I mean by this is (the way I see it) the public has their own perceptions about law enforcement.  So do law enforcement.  When our paths intersect, these two mindsets also collide.

By now you may know that I make a living training and certifying law enforcement.  Many confide in me that they often go into (hostile) neighborhoods with the genuine intent of being open, sincere and helping, but seconds after emerging from a cruiser, the person whom is in some sort of “shitstorm” of trouble or distress verbally attacks them, calls them names, and even rushes them in a way and in a manner that causes their emotions (Sympathetic Nervous System, or Flight or Fight) to spike up to the “Danger Zone (220 beats a minute or higher).”

“You play hell trying to de-escalate a dude or dudette with that kind of mentality,” one cop said to me.  “I swear, I do try.  But it is hell on earth.”

Which is why I am advocating again and again that law enforcement invest in de-escalation training.  Studies show that more than 10-percent of the population cannot be de-escalated.  This may be true, but in my point of view, de-escalation is not only about calming people and scenes, it is about being able to deal with aggression and verbal hostility in such a way and in such a manner that the officer and the civilian emerge from the interaction intact.

It is about being able to anticipate harsh and hostile attitudes and have a plan of action designed to intervene in the safest way.

It is about being able to Defuse Yourself First before managing the subject’s hostility.

It is about not taking predictable (verbal) attacks personal.  Being able to depreciate the verbal icon (“Screw you, you fu**ing moron!”).

It is about Eliminating Your Ego!  Ego, I think, is the most dangerous word in a cop’s vernacular.  Remember:  “The more ego an officer shows during a confrontation, the Less Power and Control He Can Exercise!

I have a book coming out.  The Most Unnatural Act of All -De-Escalation for Law Enforcement.

Until then, stay safe and, by all means, Stay Cool While Everyone Else Is Hot!  Read how to do that in future posts.

The Hammer

 

LET’S GET A HANDLE ON BULLYING. HOW ‘BOUT IT?

This past weekend, a 15-year old from Staten Island hung himself in his home.  Left a three-word note, he did, leaving this world, history and his stunned and horrified family with three haunting words…

“I give up.”

What Daniel gave up against was what he called “unrelenting torture” by bullies at his school – ironically, Holy Angel’s Academy – in a letter he had written only a month earlier.  In that July letter he had also called out teachers who lent a “dead ear” to obvious and desperate cries for help.

The school’s teachers and authorities deny Daniel’s claims, saying they did everything they could to ease the boy’s pain, so I am not here to argue Daniel Fitzpatrick’s charges from the grave.

All I know is that something went terribly wrong.  Once again.

Which is going to be the central theme of the next several posts.  What is going on?  What are the affects of bullying (as if we don’t know)?  And what can we do and how we can do it to interdict on this tragic siege of suicides by bullying?

Until my next post, stay safe.

The Hammer

Reconsidering Terrorism

I have to admit, folks, you might not learn anything new, anything that will assuage your fears and concerns as you – like I – watch the Sunday morning news (I am watching CNN) covering another mass shooting at The Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida (in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016) today.

As of this moment (almost 11AM, Sunday) on a vainglorious Sunday morning in Pa., replete with slow floating cirrus clouds and a brilliant blue sky, more than 50 innocent men and women are so far dead with almost that many in local hospitals, some of whom will probably die from their wounds.  None of whom will escape the psychological wounds.

Only time will tell us what motivated this massacre.  To me, it matters little.  We pretty much know already that the shooter harboured hatred in his heart.  Be it hatred for gays (which many Islamic radicals believe to be an abomination, or just an expression of animus for others.

Who the hell knows?

What I do know is this has been the deadliest shooting in American history.  We do know that it was eerily similar to the terrorist attack on a theater in Paris where a large number of people were gathered in a confined space (ever hear of shooting fish in a barrel?).

We also know this was a “Soft Target.”  I have written for years about the active shooter and soft targets, many of which involved our schools, work places, malls, etc.

The scary thing is that, according to my law enforcement and intelligence “contacts,” we are in (what they call) the crest of anticipated attacks against more and more soft targets across our country.

I just learned this minute that the ammunition used by this miscreant is specifically designed to create as much pain and destruction (of the human body) as possible upon arrival.  When I heard that, I muttered to myself—

“Jesus.”

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

So, what can you do now and in the future to prepare to survive and/or escape such an attack.

Truth is, I have absolutely zero fricking clue as to what to do.  If I was in this club, I would have no more idea what to do and how to do it in order to come out of this in one piece.

ALL I can suggest at this point is to scroll back and peruse my posts on the active shooter, but, heck, think about it:

  • You are in a nightclub with loud music, surrounded by other humans.
  • Your mind and concentration is absorbed in the atmosphere.
  • Your mind is in a non-combative status.  Simply put….
  • Once the shooting starts, you automatically (this is how our brain works) will absorb the sounds into an assumption that is part of the entertainment.  It will take over 2-seconds to recognize danger, and, by then—
  • It is too late.

Until my next post where I will address how to respond to a tactical mindset, etc., please stay safe.

Sorry I could not be more helpful.

The Hammer