LEFT OF BANG, PART 2 – PATTERN RECOGNITION CAN SAVE LIVES

A note to anyone asking him or herself what the heck “Left of Bang” is, kindly click back to my last post titled “Left of Bang.”  If you choose not to, it matters little because what follows will make sense either way, I believe.

My point here is, the key to safety & survival is to avoid being caught Right of Bang.  Better put is “the key to S & S is to always get caught LEFT of Bang!  How do we do this?

WINOLOGY’S ARTIFICIAL “INTUITION.”

Most of us do not have ample life experiences (with terrorism, active shooters, and the like) to make quick, life-saving decisions like experts.  Ergo, introducing my (Winology) substitute for the genuine intuition and adopting, adapting expertise it usually requires to adroitly prevent massacres like that of the Sutherland Baptist Church.

  • By constantly being aware we can proactively take action before getting caught Right of Bang.  Accomplishing this is surprisingly simple, requiring us to stay in the correct state(s)-of-mind.  I have been teaching officers and lay citizens the Yellow State of Mind for decades:  “a relaxed 360-degree awareness of people and things that surround us at all times and being particularly aware when “normal” changes to “abnormal.”

And adapting, adopting and activating the best & most basic skills of observation, (combat) hunting, and “urban know-how” & combining them to increase our ability to identify threats.   I know this is a lot to bite off and chew, so let my try to break it down in this and the next post.  After all, these are the Three Pillars of the vaunted Combat Hunter System.

Basically, what these “pillars” boil down to is learning how to “read the human terrain through an increased understanding of human behavior…which will teach (Marines) how to separate the ‘sheep’ from the ‘wolves.”

COMBAT PROFILING

The 3d pillar of the Combat Hunter is likely the most crucial.  COMBAT PROFILING is a method of proactively identifying threats based upon human behavior and other cues from one’s surroundings.  You can do this by incorporating these 4 skills: situational awareness, sensitivity of baselines & anomalies, critical thinking, and decision-making (the pillars of my Winology Philosophy).

In the next post I will narrow down the narrative on profiling.  Specifically:

  • SIGNATURES OF DANGER.  How can you maximize your ability to identify the person/people who may be the next mass-murderer in your workplace, church, school, etc?
  • HOW YOU CAN APPLY THESE OBSERVATIONS TO ENSURE SAFETY IN SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, WORKPLACES, ET AL?

Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

INTRODUCING LEFT OF BANG & RECLAIMING SANCTUARY

Left of Bang, briefly, comes our way from what was known as the Combat Hunter Course which taught our Marines what their conventional training did not.  What was that?  Specifically, not only how to deal with bad guys -but how to spot them in the first place, particular when they look & act like the good guys.  

Oh, and by the way, this Combat Hunter’s Course and Left of Bang is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of Marines in the Middle East and other dangerous places overseas.

So, let me ask you.  Do you think that learning how to detect the presence of a killer (active shooter) even though he or she is among your student body (schools), your congregation (churches, synagogues, temples, mosques) or factory (workplace) and looks and acts just like your most pious congregant, your most studious student, etc?

You ask me, I’d say damned skippy I do.

Especially since the theme of this and the last couple posts is how to prevent the next Sutherland (Texas) Baptist Church Massacre in your church, school, shopping mall, entertainment event, and/or workplace.

I think one of the critical issues with preparing for and managing an effective anti-killer program in your particular (populated) locale is that, basically, THE ENEMY IS UNIDENTIFIABLE!   The killer could be anybody….well, maybe not…by adopting a Left of Bang mentality, we can learn how to up the odds (from something like 25% to 88% accuracy) that you and/or your security can – with hawk-like skill -pick out he or she who is stalking you with deadly intent in such a way and in such a manner that the targeted prey (you) can begin and finish the process of turning active killer turning to inactive prey!

SO, HOW DOES LEFT OF BANG WORK?

First things first.  What is “Bang?”  Well, folks, Bang is the catastrophe.  Bang is 50-some dead in Las Vegas, 20-some dead and dozens injured at the Sutherland Baptist.  Bang is what I am hoping to  prevent!  Ergo, Right of Bang is how the popo and the government almost always react.  AFTER the event.

But, by adopting a LOB (left of Bang) preventive mentality or attitude, we are going to act in such a way to plan for, detect, and stop the perspective killer well before any attack!

In the next post I will go inside our new LOB Prevention State-of-Mind.  Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

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

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

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

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

MANAGING VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE

MANAGING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

My last post – let’s face it – was basically me venting after the senseless murder of a Yale graduate student – a woman – in the supposedly high security lab environment of that esteemed university. The police have dubbed the murder as workplace violence, and, although I don’t completely agree, I posted a monograph on Woman and Workplace Violence (WPV). As I promised at the end of that post, let’s talk a bit about how to effectively deal – on a personal level – with people and events that seem to be cascading toward all –out violence on the job site.

FACTORS THAT PLACE WORKERS AT RISK FOR WPV.

v Contact with the public.

v Responsibilities include the exchange of money.

v The delivery of passengers, goods and/or service.

v Working alone or in small numbers.

v Working with volatile, unstable person(s), et al.

v Working late at night or in the early morning hours.

v Working in a high crime area.

v Guarding valuable properties, including drugs, etc.

v Delivery of home care services.

As you may have noticed, only two of those factors existed relative to the murder of Ms. Lee. She was working alone and she was working in the same location as what turned out to be a volatile, unstable person.

RECOGNIZING THOSE RED, RED FLAGS.

If at all possible, of course, work in the company of people whom you trust. More likely than not, if Ms. Lee had, the angry, emotionally disturbed and volatile person would have stewed in his own rage for a while and gone on his way, leaving Ms. Lee unharmed.

However, if you read my last post (Lust Or WPV?), you might be aware that homicide is the number one cause of death for women (in the workplace). You would also know that incidents of stalking, rape, sexual assault, and other types of violence are visited on women in alarmingly increasing numbers.

My point: Even if she would have gone to the Yale lab with one or two friends, the perpetrator likely would have attempted to stalk, trap and attack Ms. Lee when she was alone and vulnerable.

What then are some of the Red Flags, or Signatures of Danger, you can use to help you profile someone you want to either stay clear of, or, more likely, prepare a self defense plan against?

v A history of violence, stalking, etc. (The Perp in this case had this history).

v He/She has stalked or harassed another worker in the past.

v Some or Many of your co-workers communicate that they also feel uncomfortable around this person.

v The worker is almost always rigid, inflexible, intransigent in how he/she handles work and social-related issues.

v Displays signs of chronic sadness, hopelessness, depression.

v The worker often states his or her hopelessness.

v The worker identifies with past perpetrators of spectacular WPV.

v A Fascination with guns and other weapons.

v Reacts poorly to criticism.

v Projects blame onto others.

v Sees himself as being on a One-Man Crusade.

Ok, so you recognize several of these factors, plus, importantly, you and others feel terribly uncomfortable around the worker, plus, and now I refer to the Yale Incident, he strides toward you, his face contorted in rage, his fists clenched, and he is about to invade your PSZ (Personal Safety Zone).

What do you do?

Stay Tuned For the Next Post. Until Then, Stay Safe.

Hammer