Archive for the ‘Law Enforcement’ Category

It works for the Scouts, and it works for the average citizen. You are your first line of self-defense, as this 63 year-old man demonstrates in Florida…

Or click here for full story…

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“Man, 65, kills teen who knocked him off bicycle” 

That’s the MSNBC headline describing last week’s story of a man who was knocked from his bike while riding on a woodland trail during what he says was an attempted robbery. In self-defense, the cyclist shot and killed one of the assailants; Julius Johnson.

Three youths attacked a man who was apparently minding his own business riding on a rural bike trail. According to NBC 10 in Philadelphia, Berks County, Pennsylvania District Attorney John T. Adams reported that the boys cut school to commit robberies and had already attacked two other elderly men earlier that morning.

This incident has again ignited the ageless debate over the proper use of deadly force. It also clearly shows why deadly force is an appropriate, if regrettable option in cases like this one.

There may not be any outcry had the headlines read:

“Three strong young men viciously attack elderly cyclist; one killed in attempt” 

The loss of life is always regrettable in a self-defense situation. Few victims of assaults kill attackers in a blind rage intent on murder. The death of an attacker is one of the possible outcomes in a righteous self-defense situation when the victim decides to fight back; armed or unarmed. When you make the decision to train responsibly in self-defense, armed or otherwise, this is a serious consideration.

In a situation like this, there is no time and should be no obligation for the victim of the attack to analyze the ultimate intentions of the assailants. We do know in this case that Johnson, the assailant who was killed, was continuing to attack the cyclist. When he was shot, he was trying to kick his target in the face.

We also know that Johnson “had a criminal record and was on probation at the time of the incident. He was even on electronic monitoring, officials said.” (NBC 10, Philadelphia)

Declaring that no charges would be filed against the shooter, DA Adams added:

“While I do not condone violence, the bike rider had no choice…”

Adams is wrong in one respect.

The “bike rider” did not commit an act of violence. The violence was perpetrated by Johnson and his accomplices. Righteous self-defense is not violence; it is an appropriate response to unprovoked violence.

In this case, the gun was not a tool of violence; it was a life-preserver.

Ancient martial arts proverb: 

“It is better not to fight. 

“When attacked, it is better to injure than maim, 

“It is better to maim than kill, 

“It is better to kill than be killed, 

“For all life is precious and can never be replaced.”


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For years I’ve been telling students never to talk to the police when involved in a righteous self-defense incident. Why would I say that?

First, I make a couple of assumptions. Because I’m dealing with terrific people at the Black Belt Mindset Institute at Northern Chi, I assume that if the police are asking you questions it’s because you were right and the other party was wrong. It’s also likely that the person you defended yourself against is a criminal of some sort; of course, you’re not.

Good people want to do the right thing. It’s natural for you to want to tell your story and get this whole thing over with quickly. It’s also natural for you to think that because you’re not a criminal and you’re in the right that everything will work out. After all, the truth can never hurt you, right?

The fact is you’re probably more nervous and scared in this situation than the criminal that attacked you. The assailant may have already been in this situation and may know from experience to keep his mouth shut. You may simply be doing your best to help the police.

Don’t…or to put it in a more positive light, you’ll be helping the police a lot more by keeping your mouth shut.

Police officers are by and large honest and hard working people. They risk their lives every day to protect and serve their communities. Their job is not to ruin your life, but to get to the truth and restore the balance of justice and preserve public safety. They would much rather have you give a clear, accurate statement than to have to untangle a mess of contradictions caused by stress.

Exposed to the stress of a crime scene, you may, with best intentions, say things that will later incriminate you rather than solidifying the case against your attacker. Of course if you’ve just been hit over the head and your attacker is running away, there is no problem telling the police where he ran to and what he looked like. On the other hand, if when police arrive you’re standing over the unconscious body of the attacker who you just knocked out with a well placed elbow to the temple…well; imagine what this looks like to the officers.

Keep your mouth shut other than a polite yes sir, no m’am and “I’d like to talk with my attorney.”

I’m a regular contributor to Primer magazine, a tremendous online resource for “post-college men.” They recently posted a very informative article and video that validates my advice. Watch the video in it’s entirety as a seasoned law professor and a veteran police officer explain the reasons you should “lawyer up” any time you’re involved in a crime…even if you’re right!

Click here for full story & video!

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Imagine if the ingenuity some criminals seem to employ could be used for something positive…

From our friend Dennis McClellan at DC Press…

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Jim Ambrose Kyoshi was recently promoted to the rank of Sargent with the Cumberland County Sheriffs Department!

Jim was the Master Instructor in Residence at our former Lewiston Center, was one of the founding members of Northern Chi and most recently he teaches a twice monthly grappling session in Brunswick.

Well deserved congratulations to Sargent Ambrose and thank you for your service to our community and to Northern Chi!

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By Jim Bouchard, founder & Master Instructor of Northern Chi Martial Arts Center; speaker, medial personality and author of “Think Like a Black Belt.”

On Tuesday, December 14th a man named Clay Duke interrupted a school board meeting in Panama City, Florida. He walked in with a can of spray paint and a handgun.

Duke was upset over the school board apparently firing or laying off his wife. They had run out of unemployment benefits and according to Duke, were broke.

Ironically- we had scheduled a special gun defense session that very evening for the advanced students at Northern Chi Martial Arts Center. Let’s analyze this encounter and see what, if anything could have been handled differently.

First, watch the following video. WARNING: This is unedited footage of the shooting incident…

Training for defense against a handgun, one of the first topics we talk about is intention. How can you possibly determine the exact intention of the gunman in this type of situation?

Obviously Duke was upset and probably deranged; at least in the moment. He enters relatively calmly and gives no indication that he is feeling anything but in complete control of this encounter from the outset.

Our first assumption must be that the gunman intends to use his weapon and that the likely outcome is that someone is going to get killed. You cannot assume first that the attacker will not fire the weapon- his intention may be other than shooting and killing people; but if someone threatens you with a gun the first assumption must be that he will use it.

Here’s how this scenario played out. Timings refer to the video above in minutes and seconds.

1:00- Within a minute of the situation developing, a very brave woman who had left the room returns and attacks Duke with a purse trying to dislodge the gun from his hand. Had she been trained in the tactics we worked on last night, she may have had a chance to end the situation immediately. From this footage you can see the importance of gaining control of the weapon. Striking at the weapon may have simply gotten her shot, violating our first principle of weapons defense: “Don’t get killed.”

One could argue that her actions were dangerous, even foolish- that was her assessment of what she did as she recalled the events for the press today. However, she did attempt to do something. Her courage is admirable and indisputable.

1:30- Duke tells the board members, “I’m gonna die today.”

You don’t need any other clues as to the gunman’s intentions. He is obviously deeply disturbed and he has stated that his life, at the moment, means nothing. What other indications would you need to determine his state of mind?

2:40- Negotiations continue…

The remaining board members in the room, led by board chairmen Bill Husfelt fully committed themselves to negotiation.

There are dozens of verbal and non-verbal clues in any encounter like this and we of course have the luxury of analyzing this event in safety and retroactively. Fear and concern for the other people in the room are obvious emotions that affect the choice between negotiation and attempting to physically stop the threat.

Listen carefully to the negotiation. The board members remained as calm as could be expected and genuinely attempted to reason with Duke.

Should they have asked Duke to lay his weapon down as a condition for continuing to talk? Was their negotiation effective for a time, or were they simply delaying the inevitable?

As the negotiation continued, Duke approaches the dais several times from various angles. Our training teaches us that controlling and disarming an armed attacker is a close encounter. Unarmed, it’s nearly impossible to close distance to control or disarm someone with a gun from anything but extremely close range.

Was Duke close enough at any moment to make a tactical move possible? Should someone have made a move rather than trying to reason with the gunman?

3:30– We hear the voice of a man who identifies himself as the school safety officer. Since we can’t see him at the time, we don’t know if he’s armed. Since only a couple of minutes passes from this moment to the time shots are fired, I am assuming he was armed throughout the encounter.

The officer asks Duke, “Is that a real gun there?”

Would it make a difference? In a situation like this, how can you determine whether or not the gun is real? Does the lack of that knowledge change your tactical response?

To put it more bluntly- should you be worrying about whether or not the gun is real?

4:40- As negotiations continue, Husfelt offers himself to be the sole object of Duke’s attention. He asks that the other board members be allowed to leave. He personalizes his appeal by taking responsibility for the firing of Duke’s wife.

Not only is this an amazing act of unselfish bravery, but obviously Mr. Husfelt is placing the value of the other board members above the value of his own life.

Would you do the same given these conditions?

5:58- The situation escalates- Duke raises his weapon at Husfelt and fires the first shot even as Husfelt pleads for his life.

Remember the safety officer- when should he have fired his first round? While it’s never “too late” if one can prevent further harm, should the officer fired long before the situation got to this point; or did he do the right thing in waiting to see if things could be resolved without bloodshed?

6:06- The safety officer fires and hits Duke. Duke has fired two shot up to this point. He continues to fire, getting off a total of 4 rounds- one of which is he fires errantly into the floor (the second) before getting the weapon on-line again and sending his last two shots at the board. He is hit after his second shot, we hear two quick reports from the safety officer’s weapon, at least one of which hits the mark sending Duke to the floor where he is hit once more. According to reports he then shoots and kills himself.

The entire firefight is over in 11 seconds.

There are no “right or wrong” answers to any of the questions I posed here. There are tactical “rules” we can practice and scenarios to rehearse, but only the people actually involved in the encounter have all the information they needed to make decisions throughout.

Tactically, I’ll offer these opinions:

  • If some of the people in this encounter were trained, any number of them had the proximity and opportunity to make a legitimate attempt to control the weapon and stop the threat. That does not mean negotiating was the wrong decision- it simply means that had someone decided to fight there were several good opportunities to do so.
  • The safety officer, if we assume that he was armed throughout the encounter, would have been justified in firing at Duke as soon as he saw the gun in Duke’s hand. In my opinion, that may have been the most prudent action; but no reasonable person wants to harm or kill another human being.I have to respect his decision to let the scenario play out despite my own feelings. On the other hand- before you commit to carrying a deadly weapon for self-defense, make the decision that you will, if necessary, use deadly force to defend yourself or others. If you’re not comfortable with that decision- do not carry a handgun.
  • At the very least, Duke started to raise his weapon at 5:58. He fired his first shot at 6:01- 3 seconds. If the safety officer had Duke in his sights, he should have fired at the very least the moment Duke started to raise his weapon. It is a full 7 seconds, and Duke fired twice in that time, before the safety officer’s first shot.Of course again we have the benefit of hindsight- watch the video again and notice how long 3 seconds is when you’re watching dispassionately. Time was no doubt moving much faster for the officer and the others in this room and there is a traumatic delay when we see something our mind may register as unbelievable. If, on the other hand, the officer deployed his weapon at that point he did an admirable job of deploying his weapon and making a relatively clean shot.

I’m not judging the actions or decisions of anyone in this room. These were ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances. They all demonstrated heroic courage.

In the end, all but the gunman left this encounter unharmed- the results could have been much worse. Fortunately the only fatality was Duke himself; and even that is regrettable as he was not to the best of our knowledge a criminal, but a desperate man in dealing with difficult circumstance who unfortunately resorted to desperate measures. He paid his price.

Think of how you might have acted in this situation. This video provides a valuable window on what really happens under this level of threat.

Most of all, this event highlights the value of training for a worst case scenario. I doubt anyone going to the Panama City school board meeting would imagine in their wildest dreams that they’d be facing death at the hands of a gunman yesterday- yet there they were facing their worst nightmare.

NOTE: Northern Chi’s tactical curriculum for defense against an armed attacker was developed by Doug Young. His video on the tactical response for handguns, “Your Worst Nightmare” is available from Amazon.com and at Northern Chi Martial Arts Center.

Doug is available for seminars and workshops for martial artists and law enforcement personnel. You can reach him through Northern Chi Martial Arts Center at 207-721-0299.

What would you do in if faced with an armed attacker? Train for this and other real-life self-defense situations at Northern Chi Martial Arts Center!

Now through December 17th- $500 for a FULL YEAR program! (New members only.) Call 721-0299 for details!

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Jon Hansen is the host of PI Window on Business, one of the internet’s most listened to podcasts. In this show he tackles a difficult topic: how to keep you and your family on the internet.

Internet crime, sexual predation and even murder and suicide are growing problems on the web and your children are vulnerable. Listen to this frank discussion of this issue and the steps you can take to make your family more secure.

NOTE: Mature subject matter, not necessarily appropriate for small children.

Listen to internet radio with Jon Hansen on Blog Talk Radio

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