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

Mass Shooter In Your Church?

Just the other day I was conducting a Defusing Aggression Training for security staff at a local Baptist Church and was asked what I would  suggest for members of their Safe Team to do if some nut job (my words, not theirs.  They’re nice people) started charging the pulpit (and the pastor) in the middle of a service.  Since the question was raised in the context of several Baptist pastors getting blown out of their pulpits by mad men in the past few years, let’s assume the person charging the pulpit is either brandishing or unleashing many bullets from that firearm!

Outstanding question, considering the fact that every 2.9 months in the United States there is some sort of mass shooting. Not only that, Rage-Shootings in our churches are not uncommon. Worse, of all the places of worship in our country Baptist venues are the most popular targets of Rage-Attackers.  There are reasons for this, but that is not the theme of this post. I thought I would do my best to answer the question posed at my seminar.  You might be concerned about your family’s safety at your place of worship, or your school, maybe even your workplace.  In my opinion, all of these workplaces (church, schools, synagogues are also workplaces) are ripe targets for Workplace Violence, which is rampant in the U.S., and, by the way, wil be more rampant in coming years…but I digress…...

STOPPING CHURCH VIOLENCE

Since June 22, 1980 when a crazed zealot stood and shouted, “This is War!” in the First Baptist Church in Dangerfield, Texas (as the pastor was leading the congregation in a song about Jesus) and raked the packed pews with bullets, wounding 15 and killing 5, including the pastor (the first mass murder in a church in the U.S) , over 500 churchgoers and clergymen have been killed to date, 145 of them of the Baptist Faith. I mention all of this to establish that the concerns of my Baptist friends are certainly legitimate.

My answer to the query about what to do if a shooter charges the pulpit is whatever it is you do, it is probably too late.  I hope I’m wrong, of course, but the Rage-Shooters I study are just that – Rage Shooters! They may be driven by an opposing ideology that the pastor and/or church has attacked; They may be impelled by serious mental health issues; or a guest speaker at the offending church might represent an opposing religious view point that enrages.  All of which, to me, at least, means that, like the shooter in Dangerfield in 1980, they will, after maybe a brief pronouncement, attack the church and all the people within suddenly and with extreme violence.  Again, I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but—

Likely, he will charge the pulpit, but probably not before unleashing Hell on the congregation on his way to  the spiritual leader of the church.  Once it starts it may be too late to stop the shooting, but the best bet is to Be Proactive instead of Reactive.  That may be your best strategy.

QUICK SKETCH OF PROACTIVE STRATEGIES

  • Create a Safety Committee.
  • Initiate and Perfect a Safety Plan.
  • Make Creating a Safe Room(s) where parishioners can barricade themselves “safely” a priority.
  • Establish and Inform about Escape and Evasion Routes, etc.
  • Communicate with local authorities and solicit ideas and suggestions for dealing with an Active Shooter.
  • Identify  Possible Groups Hostile to your Beliefs.
  • Initiate and Conduct Safety Training for your Parishioners.
  • Training Should Educate, but also put parishioners through Dynamic Simulation or Realistic Scenario Training(s).
  • Stress Inoculation/Dynamic Simulation Training for Safe Team on how to respond to an Active Shooter event.
  • Reach out and help parishioners who are in crisis.
  • Police Sources who would likely respond to a shooting-crisis, or violence, should be invited to participate in Dynamic Simulation training.
  • Local EMS (Medical Emergency Responders) should also be contacted for suggestions and/or information regarding how and when they would respond, etc.

Churches should also be aware of their resources available to mitigate and minimize the possibility of a mass shooting in their facility.

VALUABLE RESOURCES AVAILABLE

  1. Your ushers could be your front line.  Ushers come in contact with almost, if not all, of your visitors.  Train these people to recognize Signatures of Danger – verbal and non-verbal signs of danger, as well as signs that a visitor could be carrying a concealed handgun, edged weapon, and/or shotgun/machine gun, etc.
  2. School ushers and others how to deescalate and/or defuse aggression and/or even violence.  Maybe teach ushers and others on self-defense and subject-control techniques, or at least escape and evasion.
  3. Train you safety team on how to disarm an active shooter.
  4. Do not forget to involve your local police authorities.  At least those that would likely be your first responder(s) in a shooting or other type of violent event.

In the next post let’s talk about Dynamic Simulation Training designed to prevent and/or actively respond to this type of violence.

Until then, stay safe.

Hammer

THE KILL SWITCH -Knock the Bad Guy Out!

I ended my last post with a suggestion to use the bad guy’s expectations (fantasy script) against him.  Allow me to amplify.

He grabs you by the wrists (the most common “attack”).  He expects you to attempt to pull away.  Strength against strength.  He knows if you do that, he has a distinct advantage.  Blow his mind away by first pulling away (what he expects) and then waiting for him to “win the fight (in his mind)” by pulling you hard toward him.  When he pulls you, he expects you to stumble defeated and lifelessly toward him, but, now, you are going to be a confident and ready warrior and you are going to propel into his center-line targets like a beast. Many of his center-line targets are what I call Kill Switches.

  • Drive the palm of your free hand hard into his groin.  Repeatedly.
  • Drive the palm of your hand into his chin and drive his head up and back as if trying to knock it off his shoulders.
  • Growl like the animal you’ve become and bite his nose off.

Or, maybe the bastard is able to grab you and pull you in close.  He expects you to melt in fear.  He expects that he has won.  Use this against him by, at first, relaxing your body and make that he has won, maybe even pretend to return his caress.  Place the back of your head on his shoulder and move the hand closest to his head around to his opposite cheek.  Now, quickly, drive your thumb into his eyes and use the side of your head to prevent him from moving his head away.  Once he relinquishes his grip on you, begin to assail him with strikes, bites, head butts, etc.

There are hundreds of surprise techniques I have in my Hammer Survival Blueprint. But I am sure you get the idea.

Stay safe.  Be Confident.  Be an Animal.

Hammer

SAY, “SURPRISE, NOW YOU’RE THE VICTIM!”

I’m not going to sugar coat it, Dudes and Dudettes, any time you are attacked the bad guy has the advantage.  Something like a 97.6% chance of doing to you whatever it is that he set out to do.  Rob you, rape you, torture you, kill you.  Walk away from your body, indifferent to the blood seeping from damn near every orifice, pleas for mercy unheeded.  Well, excuse my English, but fuck that, we are going to turn the tables on that miscreant starting now.

Put briefly, these miscreants are almost always stronger, faster, meaner, more determined than you.  They are also cowards who are not looking for a (fair) fight, so they hedge their bets by choosing where and when they attack so that there are no witnesses (to come to your aide), very little room for you to escape and evade an attack, and, more importantly, at least 97% of the time, they first distract you to shatter the connection between your mind and your body, and, then, bang, they surprise you with a spontaneous attack!

You can not only survive this, but actually prevail – actually knock this thug out – by adopting The Hammer Survival Blueprint.

  • Never Be Surprised! Be aware of your surroundings; trust your gut instincts/they are always right/The Gift of Fear/be aware of people around you.
  • Anticipate! Once you observe someone or some thing that may endanger you, devise a plan of action.  ”If he does A, I will do B, etc.”
  • Breathe! Rocket oxygenated blood to your fighting brain!
  • Protect Your Space! If the miscreant cannot enter your Personal safety Zone (6′), he cannot harm you.  Do not cement yourself to the ground.  Move.  Maintain your PSZ!
  • Speak! Almost all victims say nothing as they are being stalked, confronted, and finally, attacked.  Look at the evil sumbitch (I know what you are doing, man) and tell him to stay back.  Believe it or not, verbalizing will liberate something from deep inside.  Verbalizing will minimize paralysis.
  • Use the Element of Surprise To Launch Your Attack! The Bad Guy has a fantasy script.  In that script you are quiet, you are immobile, you are frozen in fear (paralysis), you will not fight.  And, here is the thing:  The longer his fantasy script is allowed to go on, the more confident he becomes and the more dangerous (homicidal).
  • So, Fracture His Fantasy Script Immediately By moving, yelling and using surprise.  Use his Expectation Against Him.

In my next post, how to use the bad guy’s expectations against him?

Until Then, Stay safe and Be Volatile

Hammer

BE YOUR OWN BODYGUARD IN TODAY’S INSANE, VIOLENT WORLD

ISIS, NORTH KOREA, PAKISTAN (141 children massacred), Ferguson, New York City. All in the news in the last week.  Incomprehensible violence threatening to get more violent.  The world is on fire. More violent than ever before, I think.  But those sorrowful episodes are matters for our police, CIA, SWAT, and other entities to deal with.  My question, though, for this post, is: How can you, the average woman (or man, boy or girl) protect yourself against increasing violence in your neighborhood?

SUPER SECRET POLICE SHIT THAT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

  • Self-Defense is 98% “Soft-Skills,” and only 2% physical (fighting).
  • Soft-Skills include making yourself a Tough-Target. You can do this by adopting a safety-philosophy of Fake It To Make It. Whether you feel it or not, adopt a Confident and Ready Demeanor. Manifest it in how you walk, how you keep your head up, how you Mad-Dog (look at potential assailants like, WTF do you want, Dude?) others.  PST (Positive Self-Talks) can convince you to breathe tactically and even “explode upon first touch” by a bad guy.
  • Soft-Skills also include having a Plan of Action.  Be one of the 2% who not only survives an attack but prevails.  The first time you think about what to do and how to react can not be when a assailant grabs or strikes one of your body parts!
  • USE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE!  It works almost every time. An attacker depends upon a few universal beliefs.  If and when these Beliefs Fail, there is a good chance he will either break off the attack, or, almost as important, lose confidence (which weakens him).  To survive, we need to turn his belief system against him through the element of surprise:

Next Post:  ”Using Surprise To Defeat the Bad Guy!”

Until then, stay safe and think “Confident.”

Hammer

PROTECTING COEDS ON CAMPUS, PART II

I said it in my last post, and, believe me, I exaggerate not.  If you are a girl or woman on a (high school, or) college campus, you are a target for a gamut of uninvited contact and even assaults by male students as well as non-students who live and play on the outskirts of your campus.  The statistics are harrowing (I’ve quoted them before), and, worse, the statistics for sexual assault, rape, stalking, and devastating threats doesn’t tell half the story because less than 2/3 of assaults go unreported!

PERSONAL SAFETY ON CAMPUS

A pity you must think like this, but, the implications are, if you are on campus, more likely than not you will experience some sort of attack.  What to do to physically take charge of your own safety?

  • Become what I call a Hard Target. Learn to walk in such a way and in such a manner that those who would target you as “easy meat” will change their attitude and leave you alone.  Learn to walk with confidence, swinging your arms contra-laterally and looking around for possible attackers as you walk.  A Victim-Walk is emblemized by a woman looking down at her feet and shuffling unaware from place to place.
  • Okay, second, prepare yourself.  Always arm your brain with a Plan of Action.  In other words, Be Aware, Assess everything around you and ANTICIPATE (what will I do if this or that happens).
  • Third, You Must Be Willing to do what you have to do to escape and evade the potential aggressor.
  • Protect Your Space!  Do not permit anybody inside your PSZ (Personal safety Zone/within 5 feet).
  • Breathe Don’t Freeze (89% of women freeze and hold their breath when first touched).
  • Be Target Focused.  Hit secondary targets (feet/ankles/shins/knees, hips, chest, ears, etc) in order to open up PRIMARY TARGETS (eyes, throat, groin, etc).  Hit them and hit them again until the threat goes away!

It is hard for me to go into self-defense techniques in a one-dimensional venue, so, please consider taking yourself a self-defense course.

Or, you can contact me at harrywigder@rcn.com for more information about self-defense.

Stay Safe,

Hammer

COEDS AWAY AT COLLEGE – How To Protect Yourself

Here’s a fact.  Colleges are under fire.  Under deep scrutiny concerning their lack of interest in protecting their female student body from the almost epidemic sexual attacks from young men, on and off campus.  Witness the University of Virginia media accusations that, despite years of complaints by coeds – horror stories about gang rapes, groping, stalking and other criminal activities – the administration took no meaningful actions against even the most pernicious of assaults.

My point:  If you are a young woman attending a college, it is in your best interest to take positive steps toward protecting yourself against any and all types of sexual aggression.

SELF-DEFENSE IN THE COLLEGE SETTING.  The First of a Two-Part Post.

First of all, if you are going to commit yourself to your personal safety on and off campus, you have to also Commit Yourself To a New and Specific (Warrior) Mentality. Why?   Because I firmly believe that successful self-defense is more about being willing to do whatever you have to than being able!

THE MENTALITY OF SELF-DEFENSE

  • Understand that you are in a combat zone. In my mind, the critical first step in self-defense is to believe that the environment in which you must live is a “combat zone.”  Girls and women are viewed as targets by both male students and predators off-campus.  My research and interviews with students, teachers, etc., shows that well over 80% of women have experienced at least one variety of sexual aggression (stalking, uninvited groping, date-attacks, alcohol-related sexual aggression, etc) in their (highschool and) college careers.  Also, in my considerable experience in and with law enforcement there are hundreds of stories of men assaulting coeds who were enroute from class to dorm.  Several abductions and murders—
  • Adopt the Four-A System. I know this is old and trite wisdom, but, believe me, it is a life-saver.  Always BE AWARE, meaning aware of those around you, subtle changes in body language.  ASSESS what you see.  What do these things mean to your safety?  Trust your gut-instincts.  They are never wrong!  ANTICIPATE. Meaning you should always have a plan of action.  If this guy does this, I will do that.  ACTION. Meaning, always be prepared to take quick action when what you anticipated comes to reality.  Oh, yes, when I talk about Taking Action, I consider always reporting any kind of sexual or criminal assault as critical to campus safety.
  • PROFILE. You know, not everybody on or off campus is trying to stalk and assault you.  As a matter of fact, most are not interested in attacking you.  But, you see, campus sexual assault is a totally different entity. Young men and even young women are fascinated and interested in exploring sex.  Many coeds are away from home for maybe the first time and are exploring exciting adventures. Naivety and curiosity is a pretty nasty combination.  There will be keg parties.  Invitations that are hard to turn down to a freshman coed interested in being popular in a new setting.  Add this to an alarmingly liberal atmosphere set by college leaders, well, hell, it is almost like “Boys Will Be Boys.”  I am not advocating locking yourself in your room, leaving only to attend class.  What I am advocating is to use common sense when responding to an invitation to a “party,” entering a room, and getting the feeling that You Are The Keg Party! Having the courage to turn around and leave may be your linchpin to self-protection!

In My Next Post.  Professional Self-Defense & Personal Safety Techniques Designed To Stop “Boys Wanting To Just Be Boys.”

Until then, Stay Safe.

Hammer

ARE OUR COLLEGES DOING ENOUGH TO PROTECT OUR DAUGHTERS?

I am in agony.  And there is nothing I can do to ease the pain.
Over and over we read about violence against girls and women on or near our campuses.  This has been going on seemingly forever.  Not too long ago, Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old Virginia University student vanished from this placid community school in Charlottesville,  never to be seen again. Odds are she was abducted, tortured, raped, and mutilated by a monster who is suspected of another abduction and murder in 2009.

As terrible as this is, women students have been stalked, harassed, beleaguered, targeted, molested, raped and even killed by male students and male intruders for eons.  Attacked in their sleep, fondled in hallways, raped and murdered and I can find no evidence any school is focusing on these issues through training, security, and/or addressing these issues in public forums.

I will address self-defense for college women, on and off campus, in subsequent posts.

Until then, stay safe.

Hammer

‘MAD-DOGGING” THE BAD GUY – DECIDE TO LOOK LIKE THE ANIMALS DO!

Much of this is from Lori Hartman Gervasi, the author of “Fight Like a Girl…and Win.”  I recommend this book to any woman, girl, boy or man who is interested in staying safe in this dangerous world.  Before I picked up this book, however, I was teaching the concept of adopting a a Survival Psyche, or Mentally Conditioned (Tough) Attitude in my SD For Women classes and, as a matter of fact, to many of my safety and survival classes designed for (mostly) male police, corrections, security and probation and parole personnel.

Several officers over the years have told me that this warrior mentality helped them prevail during dangerous confrontation with bad guys.

According to Gervasi, in self-defense, each of our five senses is important, but what we do with our eyes is absolutely crucial.  Take cats, for example.  Cats are easily among the best fighters in the animal kingdom.  They snap their heads to spot their foes.  They move and they size up their foe,  They silkily move forward, watching their enemy, reading him, reacting to him lightning quick.  The cat never takes his eyes off the foe, ejecting his claws—

Cats have forever known that “the fight is in their eyes.”

How does this relate to you and self-defense?  Simply put, you (we all do) are harboring this beast inside you.  And this beast, or animal, is waiting for you to call him forth and to set him upon your enemy.  Meaning, when you are attacked, like the women I spoke about in my last two posts, you can freeze, fail to breathe out of stark fear, or you can get angry and summon that beast now to give to the strength and power to fight for your life.

Or, you can summon that animal now! Now when you are not in danger.  Which to me is what self defense is all about.  Summon that animal and put it in your eyes!

Get that “fight” in your eyes so you can “Mad Dog” each and every man you see.  This from Gervasi’s self-defense instructor, who went on to describe mad-dogging as staring into someone’s eyes in a deliberate way and then holding on for a bit.  The message mad-dogging sends is:  “I see you.  I see you plain and clear.  I will remember you and I will pick you out of a lineup if I have to.  You stay right where you are and do not move because I am watching you.  I don’t particularly like what I see, man, but make no mistake, I do see you.”

I have no doubt this strategy works.  Not only will it work, it will change everything.  Combined with great (confident) posture, a sure-footed, striding walk (again, think “cat”), and an overall awareness of your environment, mad-dogging will zing the predator considering you as a victim to back-off, probably choose another victim.

If your bad guy is one of those rare 1-percenters (bonafide, real killer bad guy), who will take the look in your eyes and your confident posture as a challenge, now this is when you must explode into action.  You must have and act upon a Survival Plan of Action. More on that in a future post.

Next post.  Staying Out of Jail.  Legal Parameters to self-defense.

Until then, stay safe.

Hammer

SURPRISE – THE ESSENCE OF POWER IN SELF DEFENSE

As I’ve written in many of my posts, the element of surprise, is nothing short of essential in the art – if I can call it that – of defending oneself against the predatory sexual assailant (women) and criminally violent attacker (women, men, boys & girls).  Double or triple that when dealing with an attacker who is larger, stronger, faster, meaner and more prepared to destroy you without a second thought and meaner than you.

 

It is an inarguable truism, far as I am concerned, that, without the use of surprise, you’ve got two chances against the criminally-dedicated criminal attacker.  Cremated or conventional burial?

 

THE 3 LEVELS OF SURPRISE,

 

I separate surprise into three basic categories.

 

  1. “TACTICAL SURPRISE.”  Tactical Surprise is an innovative and pre-planned response to whatever the Bad Guy throws at you.  Tactical Surprise is a scary and unpleasant undertaking because, usually in order to invoke this tactic, the Bad Guy would have to have at least invaded your PSZ (Personal Safety Zone, within 3’), and, more likely to have laid hands upon you (initiated “first touch”).  Tactical Surprise depends also upon your ability to think under severe (life or death) stress.  The intended victim must be thinking clearly under the most debilitating circumstances (Survival Stress floods the mind and body with stress hormones, initiating Sympathetic Nervous System activation, causing debilitating events, such as perceptual narrowing, visual difficulties, decision-making problems, and a truckful of physiological and psychological changes).

 

  •  Ergo, in order to employ Tactical Surprise, you must always commit yourself to Breathe Tactically (more on this in future posts); to use “First Touch (by the Bad Guy)” as a trigger to explode violently, and to commit yourself to prevail!
  • You must also understand what the Bad Guy anticipates you, as his chosen victim, will do when attacked suddenly and spontaneously.
  • In order to be able to carry off Tactical Surprise, you must have a Plan of Action in mind before the Bad Guy even approaches.

 

  • WHAT SURPRISES THE BAD GUY?
    • Immediate Action.
    • Loud & determined vocalization.
    • Logical Movement.
    • Target Focused Counterattack (instead of hapless “slapping” eyes-closed action of a frightened victim).
    • True Anger.

 

  • What exactly is Tactical Surprise?
    • It is any type of countermeasure where the intended victim employs Survivor Tactics rather than those of what the attacker expects out of his intended victim.
    • More likely than not, the Bad Guy has attacked his ‘victim” because he expects that “victim” to respond in such a way and in such a manner that will prove the least amount of resistance to said attack. 
    • Meaning, Tactical Surprise can be as simple as this: 

–        If an attacker with superior strength is using that strength to pull you toward a car, bedroom, isolated spot, whatever, surprise him by initially pulling against his power, which is exactly what he expects, then, at the right moment, use his power to pull you hard into his center-line targets, and, before he knows what is happening, violently and quickly drive your knee into his groin, temple into his nose, etc.   

–       If an attacker grabs your wrist with a powerful hand, use a conventional Wrist Release, which will come as no surprise to the miscreant, but – and here’s the dealio – if and when he re-grabs your wrist(s), it’s time for invoking Tactical Surprise.  Allow the Bad Guy to hold your wrist – the tighter the better – and, in your mind (I have actually said this out loud to an idiot attacker), say “thank you, Bad Guy,” because the attacker now has no use of that  hand, or, if he has grabbed you with two hands, he has no ability to block what you are about to do next, which should be a vicious front kick to the side of his knee, or a straight kick to his groin, followed up nicely. 

–       If the Bad Guy invades your PSZ & is verbally threatening you, maybe brandishing a boulder-sized fist toward you, put up both hands, palms facing the Bad guy, in the universal gesture of “please don’t hit me; I don’t want to fight!”  This is what the Bad Guy expects you to do as his targeted victim & by doing this you invoke a sense of security in the attacker, which will be short lived as you drive both hands forward and up into his face, driving it back on his neck and following that up with knees into his groin, hammer fists into the face, etc. 

 

In the next post, we cover the next two levels of Surprise.

Until then, Stay safe.

 

Hammer