Posts Tagged ‘guns’

UTKM Krav Maga Gun Disarms.jpgThe gun is the tool that changed the world. Where once only the wealthy and elite had the time to train for hand to hand combat while the rest were to busy just trying to survive when the firearm arrived it made it so that the everyman could more reasonably defend themselves. It also changed how we fight wars, as no longer could war be fought on the bravery of the full-on cavalry charge. It really changed the world and it many ways slowly led to the democracy we have today, as we consider them the great social equalizer.

From a fundamental self-defense perspective though, what is a firearm? It is a straight line attack that offers an attack range greater than that of our bodies’ normal capabilities.

From a technical standpoint disarming guns is easier than dealing with knives. However, it is rarely as easy as you think. What if the opponent resists or you miss the initial disarm. When things go wrong, which we should assume they should, you will need to revert to your fundamental hand to hand combat skills while gaining control of the weapon in question. This, despite what many Krav Maga organizations imply, makes firearms disarms more advanced in nature and should not be for beginners.

Disarming Guns:

You must remember that Guns are a long-range weapon, and thus, you will only be able to disarm them if the attacker has been foolish enough to get within arms reach and has failed to control you in a manner that would prevent you from moving to disarm. This would include both Pistols and Rifles.

Disarming rifles is actually far easier than disarming pistols due to the size difference. Pistols are meant for shorter range engagements than rifles which makes them more dangerous in the closer ranges we need to be to disarm them.

Disarming a gun unlike knives should always be done from the standing position and takedown attempts are strongly not advised as you may lose muzzle control in the process.

How to deal with Gun Attacks:

No matter the type of the gun the main thing to consider is your range from the attacker and what tools you have in your proverbial toolbox. Other things to consider are if the attacker is an active shooter or a static threat.

Active Shooter

  1. Run and find Cover – This is always the best option if you are able to and are unarmed. If they have a You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
  2. Use a Gun and SHOOT BACK! – In Israel, this is a real knife defense. However, you need to ask your self the following.
    1. Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
    2. Do you have a Legal gun on you?
    3. Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
  3. Charge them – This does not mean charge them head-on, but this could be a possibility if they are a terrible shot particularly with a handgun. If they have a rifle then charging head-on is not advisable. BUT, the faster the threat is taken down the faster everyone is safe. If more than one person come from different angles and charge and jump on the attacker it is the fastest way to stop the threat. Just know, there is no guarantee you will not be hurt thus this is not a decision to take lightly. Fundamentally, you must overwhelm them by Causing pain, Off Balancing and disrupting all while getting control of the weapon.

Another thing to consider is other people. There is a belief in gun disarms that you must never point the gun at anyone but the attacker. While this is certainly preferably trying too hard not to point it at other people during the attempt may result in hesitation and failure. So long as you do not get shot you can stop the threat which is the main goal. If someone is an active shooter then their goal is to shoot as many people as possible. By going for them and the gun you will 100% reduce the overall casualties and if you think otherwise you may not understand the mentality of such people. If you do disarm a gun from an active attacker and in the process, someone else gets shot, just know it is NOT your fault and you did the right thing.

Static Threat: Disarming a Gun

If you are able to get close enough to actually get a hold of the gun or weapon in question then you are in luck, your attacker has failed to take advantage of their strategic advantage of range.

These scenarios may also be the time you regret not taking acting classes. This is because a person with a gun who is close may not be looking to actually shoot you, but they may also. You may need to act in a manner that allows you to get in range. Some times you have to feign weakness or play along with what they want.

With that being said, the ideology that “Just do what they want”, is always the correct decision is incorrect. It MAY be the correct decision, but it also may mean your death. Only you will know. Sometimes they may leave after you do what they want, sometimes they might just kill you because it’s easier not to have witnessed or sometimes they just might panic and shoot you accidentally. This is why in Krav Maga we must stop the threat before it becomes worse.

It is also important to remember the Gun as a weapon operates on the straight line which means you need to get off the centerline either by re-directing the gun or getting yourself off the centerline or both. One thing to remember is that fine motor movement is not preferred in Krav Maga, yet when it comes to guns you may need to grab the gun. It is important then to remember, you must first push it off the centerline and then grab it. At speed, it looks like one step but it must always be two distinct steps.

Regardless, at all points, you MUST control the Muzzle direction as it is the dangerous part.

  1. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the gun– The first goal is to get off the center line while immediately controlling the weapon. If it is a modern pistol then and it is appropriate based on the range you should have no problem re-directing then grabbing the pistol as you will be grabbing the slide, not the barrel. If it is a revolver or certain long guns, then grabbing the barrel is strongly NOT advised in which case you may consider the next step as your first step. Many disarm, especially with rifles teach grabbing the barrel first. However, this is a deeply flawed strategy especially with a rifle, as grabbing the barrel will not stop the gun from functioning and even if you are off the centerline even after one shot it will be extremely hot which may cause you to let go prematurely. If you cannot safely get a part of the gun that is plastic, composite or wood then move to the next step.
  2. Get Off the Center Line by Re-Directing the Weapon Arm – If you are unable to get the gun in your first move, then you must re-direct the weapon arm. It is also even more important especially if it is a pistol then you get your head and body off the centerline as well. The reason’s this needs to happen is the gun its self is too close to safely re-direct and grab, or you missed the gun and had to go for the arm.
  3. Control the Weapon Arm(s) – Once you are safely off the centerline you must firmly control the weapon arm. While your goal is to disarm the gun as fast as possible against a strong or aggressive person this can be difficult thus it is imperative that you control the weapon arm so that you remain off the centerline.
  4. Disarm the Gun– This must be done as fast as possible as the quicker it is done the quicker the threat is reduced. The individual may still be a threat even without the gun but at least it is out of their hands. There are only a few positions you will end up in with either pistols or long guns so remember what they are so that no matter what happens in a disarm attempt you can identify the position and do the correct disarm. Either way, Control the Muzzle while you are doing it preferably pointed at the attacker when possible.
  5. Create Space and Assess – Once you have the weapon you must immediately create space. Remember the advantage of the gun is a range, if you stay close you could also be disarmed. Disarming a person does not stop them as a threat so you must be ready to deal with them appropriately.  This step can get a little complicated depending on your skillset and the scenario but here are a few:
    1. Back away with your nonshooting hand up in a defensive position, with the gun down. This is best for civilians. Remember, if you disarm the gun and then immediately point it at the attacker and then the police show up who do you think will be the problem? Prior to this keep the space and be verbally dominant.
      1. A. In a situation where you have disarmed the gun but didn’t create sufficient space, use the gun as a blunt force weapon. Metal, composite and wood hurt far more than a fist. This must be a step as the assumption you can always use the gun as intended is not always true. It may not be loaded, or even functioning thus this becomes a great option to do massive damage to the attacker.
    2. Create space and tap, rack and be prepared to use the gun. This is the standard advice often given. If the gun was loaded or had ammunition in it and is functioning this could be the answer. Tapping and “Racking” or chambering a round may act as a deterrent to the attacker. However, if they attempt to call your bluff then you must be prepared to use this option. If you are not, then you better be prepared to move back fast as you attempt to maintain space.
    3. If you have your own firearm after you disarm and create space. Draw your own firearm. It is preferable to use your own as you know what state it is in at all times (or should). This option can be slow especially if there is not a chambered round. It also means you might also only be shooting from one hand which will decrease your accuracy.

Regardless of which option you need to do it requires good assessment. This is a second by second decision-making process based on your skill, the attacker, the environment and many other factors. The correct decision is very relative and can be difficult to make. The one thing to remember is DO NOT hesitate. Make a decision fast, and hope your training if you have any kicks in.

These many reasons are why at UTKM we do not consider anything firearms related as beginner material and are limited to advanced students.

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Canadian Guns.jpgIt no secret that I am pro firearm ownership. I am also pro-science. No I am not some crazy gun-toting lunatic or even someone who hits the range every weekend to enjoy legal shooting practices. I support gun rights as to me they are the great equalizer. Also as there are now in the world so many guns, as well as the technology to have guns I believe that any law-abiding citizen should be able to access them so long as they are reasonably trained in their safe use and are not mentally unstable.

As a self-defense instructor, I understand that there are many situations where those who use guns in an illegal or violent manner care little for those who do the opposite. Thus I believe it’s fair that law-abiding citizens be able to use and understand them especially in they even they are required for self-defense.

In Canada, while there are some very specific cases where a gun can legally be used in self-defense I generally tell people they are not allowed to be used in self-defense as the answer as to when they can is very complicated, very legal and very subjective. That does not mean, however, someone cannot try to use one against you in which case if you get a hold of it you better know how to safely use it lest you end up injuring your self. Therefore, in order to prepare for those who would ignore the law, I think it is very reasonable for those who respect the law to have the opportunity to use and train with firearms for the purpose of at least knowledge. I also hunt so there is also that.

Yet there are many out there, who believe that no one should have guns and that the exclusive right to such tools and the right to use of force should only be those in the government. This, by the way, sounds very close to behaviors one might see in a country with a dictator. There is a reason that in America, for example, they have the right, to have guns. It was understood that governments or at that time kings, often overreach their power and do things because of the “because I said so” rule.

People often seem to think this isn’t the case anymore yet individual rights and freedoms have slowly been eroding in western countries in the last 30 years and not enough people seem to care.

In Canada, we once again have a government hell-bent on restricting and limiting gun access and use. This despite having fairly strict and controlling rules in place already. Recently the current Minister of public safety Bill Blair, said that they may be using an OIC do change the gun laws. This if you do not know what it is, means they basically are pulling the “because we say so” rule, which is usually reserved for very specific matters like serious public unrest for example. This allows them to bypass any democratic processes that would normally be required to make such changes.

To me, this very much seems like the actions of a government that doesn’t care what most of the people or experts want. This is very political as it is a response to the unchecked gang violence in Canadas largest cities Toronto, and Montreal. Which also happens to be strategic voting blocks for federal elections. This seems to be the policy come hell or high water that the current government, as well as past governments under the Liberal brand, seem to want to push. This despite the fact that RCMP and other police chiefs, including Toronto, as well as the police unions have said that banning guns or restricting things further will not hamper an increase in gun violence, usually related to gangs.

So why, despite what the experts say, and despite what the data says do people in such a position of power insist on making such changes? Probably because the cause of the problem is complicated and hard to deal with. But changing the laws at the stroke of a pen is easy and buys votes in areas who might be wavering in strategic areas.

So what is the problem? It’s not guns its self but rather those who would use them illegally. Here is a short documentary from the CBC, highlighting gang violence and guns.

(For those of you reading outside of Canada, it should be noted that the CBC is the government-funded broadcaster. The current government recently re enstated them a large budget that was cut by the previous government. They are generally considered biased leaning in support of the Canadain Liberal party and are generally disliked by those who support full gun rights in Canada. However, they still are more objective in their news that most American news outlets. They have most of the sources I have posted regarding the general lack of support for a gun ban. This suggests that if even they present the case a gun ban is not really the solution then perhaps it might be true.)

Why people choose to join gangs is a complicated one, just like the factors determining homicide rates as loosely discussed in my last blog post. It is no one answer fixes all but usually a combination. Regardless, such people, often obtain guns illegally as in Canada at least if they are violent criminals or have a history of violence it is not likely they will be able to obtain a Canadian Firearms License or (PAL). So how do they get them? It’s easy, they are smuggled in from elsewhere, usually across the border. But don’t take my word for it, again here is a short video from the CBC discussing this problem.

Essentially, it is black market illegal guns responsible for the majority of homicides related to gang violence. As a certified PAL instructor I also know, that of deaths related to guns in Canada at least at any given point 70-80% of gun-related deaths are unfortunately actually suicide. 15-20% are classified as a ‘Misuse of a firearm’, which includes homicide, and the rest are usually accidents. Of these, most of the ones that are what we we consider violent homicides are again with illegally obtained firearms.

This means, that once again be careful of the stats. If stats are presented to you saying 15-20% of gun deaths are with guns, its a lot scarier than saying, yes but most of them that were violent used illegal guns…

This means that definitely in Canada, and I would make the argument also for the US, that guns themselves are not inherently the problem. But rather a failure to manage our societies to control gang violence, failure of governments and their respective agencies from curbing the illegal stream of illegal guns, or other illegal goods across the borders.

But what government in their right might would ever take responsibility for the issues? Likely not as then they would be hard press for re-election.

The Data and the experts who are objective all know guns are not the real problem. Using fear-mongering and misinformation to ban guns just to make it look like you did something is just wrong no matter which side of the political aisle you are on.

(I would like to point out that anti-gun politics sounds very similar to anti-climate change deniers, both groups ignore the data and the collective expertise on the subject matter. This is also another complicated topic which I could write about but I feel is maybe not the best topic for this blog.)

So once again, I say be objective, be honest, and leave the guns alone. At the very least learn your current gun laws (Ask an expert, like me) before you spout your opinion. And if you are in government and you dont know your own un laws before your make all sorts of falls claims like our current Prime Minister has done multiple times I say shame on you.

So please, be objective, stop trying to ban guns just because you do not understand them, or the actual issues that cause the violence in the first place.

A while ago, this video about gun disarms popped up on my feed, and while I think their disarm are a little sloppy overall this is a very well made video for many reasons. Because of the recent pistol attack in Toronto where 12 were injured and 2 were killed I thought this was as good a time as any to analyze this video.

On a side note, compared to USA Canada has very strict gun control laws and yet this can still happen. Making laws stricter does not stop people from getting weapons to do harm to others. In high school, I knew individuals who could get illegal handguns for $500. Some people, do not care. The reality is, it is the duty of the community and police to identify high-risk individuals and keep them off the streets or away from the public. If it’s not guns, they will just use some other means to cause harm. At the end of the day, should loan wolf attacks happen that cannot be predicted the only thing that can stop them is the people who are there in the moment. The faster the threat is stopped the less damage can be done.

With this being said, I DO NOT consider gun disarms to be beginner techniques as you need to have base firearms knowledge and be fully capable of using your body as a weapon. If you can barely punch or kick or move or think or react to changing circumstances then as you can see by the video gun disarms can easily be fatal. Before I say more watch this video.

First off thanks for the video and the guys at UF PRO, production wise it’s excellent and I appreciate the effort these guys put into this video and I wish more people would do similar things. One day, with enough financial support I hope to put out such videos regularly, but until then the internet will be full of hit and miss videos…pun intended.

Ok, so let’s talk gun disarms in general. They only work if the person takes away their main advantage of range. Most trained individuals will be very difficult to disarm as they will be keeping the gun away from you unless they are attempting to conceal the weapon from witnesses. A person who is foolish enough to get close to you within arms reach may not always know what they are doing or are underestimating you completely. With this being said, any person with a gun can panic and pull away the moment you make your move. This reaction is normal with regards to any weapon, whereas if you go for it and failed to distract them they will attempt to keep it away. This and many factors again make gun disarms not a beginner skill. Though from a technical standpoint gun disarms are easy the reality around them is not.

After all good gun safety starts with assuming the gun is always loaded and ready to fire.

At 13 seconds they hold the slide and shoot a round. With most modern semi-automatic pistols this works just fine and is perfectly safe. Remember, if there is a chambered round it can still fire once and then will have to be manual re-cocked. Do not think just because you have the barrel it cannot shoot. After all good gun safety starts with assuming the gun is always loaded and ready to fire. However, I have yet to see a person attempt this with a revolver as it may not be a good idea. With modern pistols, you are not actually grabbing the barrel or chamber but the slide and body. With a revolver, you will be grabbing the actual barrel, which would be hot and may end up putting your hand around the cylinder which is ejecting the hot gas. As such, while it is preferable going for the gun over the hand/arm given the choice with revolvers going for the gun itself may be a bad idea.

Above: On the left is a single action, 1911 and on the right is a double action Glock. Dont worry if you can’t tell the difference as they both have slides.

When it comes to Krav Maga at least we want to avoid fine motor movement when possible. That is the use of the fingers and grabbing as under stress this can fail you. The problem is grabbing is very natural and keeping things natural is also something we want to do. This brings up a bit of a contradiction when it comes to gun disarms. As generally, we want to use gross motor movement. Big motions in simple linear paths. Of course, as mentioned it is preferable to go for the gun rather than the weapon arm which means we may need to end up with a grab. 

My solution to this is focusing on the re-direct first, as a primary motion then the grab as a secondary or tertiary movement if there is a bursting motion needed. This is hard to explain in words I know, but maybe one day I will do a video explaining it. But in my experience, this makes a world of difference against someone aggressive who is retracting their weapon arm.

Which brings us to the stages of gun disarms at least as I teach it. No matter which technique you are using you should follow these three steps in order if you expect to be successful in any disarm.

  1. Re-Direct and get off the center line of fire.
  2. Control the gun/weapon arm or person if needed
  3. Disarm the firearm.

With gun disarms though at any point we can disarm the gun we should as speed is of the essence especially if we have not caused the weapon to malfunction due to our actions, like grabbing the slide or covering the ejection port.

Ok, now I’ll actually get to the video. This video is good in the sense it makes a differentiation between a single action gun and a double action gun. What this means is how many mechanical actions the gun takes to fire from a trigger pull. Without getting into to much detail, a single action means a trigger pull only releases the firing pin but does not cock the hammer, while a double action does both. Because of this single actions can and usually do fire quicker due to a shorter trigger pull. The video does discuss the fact it is easier to disarm a double action than a single action. Of course, unless you are knowledgeable on pistols just assume its a single action when it comes to disarms so you learn to move faster.

At 36 seconds the first disarm is shown. This motion is fairly standard in gun disarms although the way they are doing it is not something I would teach. The first thing I want to mention that the gun is fairly close in the first disarms this can make it very difficult to speedily and accurately get the gun. When they are touching or very close to I dont always think its a good idea to go for the gun first, rather re-direct the weapon arm to control to get your self to safety first. The other thing I dont like, is he is not moving or blading his body very much or at all. His arm is also fully extended, which I suspect is for dramatic effect but this takes away your ability to follow up if needed. Generally, you should keep a bend in your arm at 95-100 degrees so that if they retract you can drive in to stay off the center line of fire. In the follow up with the double action these were successful due to the longer trigger pull, I suspect with some clean up of technique they may also have a higher success rate with the single action as well.

In the next series starting at approx 1:33 they looked at the gun to the head with six trials total with both single and double action 3 were successful and 3 were not. The funny thing was though he was 1/3 on the single action and 2/3 on the double action in both casses there was a fatal shot. Did I mention I dont think gun disarms are for beginners?…

One thing to mention is that if a shot does go off but you survive you may be startled by the fact guns are loud and you may have a very annoying rining in your ears for quite sometime.

This disarm or something very very similar (cleaned up) is one I teach, though I know many people dont like it. Again if the gun is touching your head it may be to close to realistically go for the gun first so again focus on the re-direct. In all of the successful ones, he didn’t just go for the gun but also moved his head off the center line. Remember grabbing the gun does not stop the chambered round from firing. You must get off the center line of fire and in this case, simply re-directing is not fast enough. The way I teach this technique is by going for the gun I also move my head to one side and start to drive forward so that I am both re-directing the gun with my hands and moving my head and body off the center line increasing the changes. I also drive forward to maintain structure in my arms and avoid locking them out. One thing to mention is that if a shot does go off but you survive you may be startled by the fact guns are loud and you may have a very annoying ringing in your ears for quite some time. However, you cannot let this throw you off as when weapons are involved hesitation means death.

At 2:48 approx we look at gun disarms to the lower back. I teach essentially the same movement for both guns and knives with some technical differences. But fundamentally if something is behind we can’t always know what it is. But in this case, all were successful because he focused on getting off the centerline FIRST! and then control. Funny how that principle works….

With the previous disarms there was a focus on the control a little bit more than the re-direct and getting off the centerline which meant a lower chance of success. Principles do matter when it comes to these things so dont forget.

Again All in all Great video though.

One thing I can say is that when it comes to gun disarms I have seen it all, but when it comes to the techniques there is often dispute as to the best option. While I have my preferred methods as I teach no matter the technique so long as they follow the principles mentioned above if the technique doesn’t get you killed it should be fine.

If you want to learn from me dont forget I often teach gun to disarm seminars, so check out THIS LINK to see when I am teaching my next one.

No matter what, the more you train the better you will be able to avoid these kinds of situations in the first place but if you can’t avoid, be happy you practiced, practiced, practiced.

 

 

This video has been circling my Facebook feed for a while. There is much wrong with this scenario and I would like to discuss it, but first, watch and contemplate.

Here are a few things that come to mind:

  1. Never draw a weapon you are not willing to use –

    The police officer had already given the man numerous warnings. The man had already attempted to physically steal something from someone indicating he may be violent. When he drew his taser he gave several warnings and was almost in arms reach. Yet he hesitated. Why he did so I can only guess but the reality is from the moment you draw any weapon lethal or not you must do so knowing that you may have to use it in a matter of seconds. I always teach that hesitation can mean death with it comes to life or death situations. This perhaps is one of the reasons I dislike indecision. In Canada when it comes to firearms safety there is a rule that you should never point a gun at something you are not willing to shoot and the same goes in this case. The officer gave far too many warning for my liking and got far too close to a man who had his hands in his pockets and a history. Thus if you aren’t willing to use the weapon no matter its lethality then drawing it will only make things worse.

  2. Always assume they have a weapon –

    This is one of the basic concepts I teach. Along with assuming they have friends. In this case, a police officer should assume this 100% especially when they refuse to take their hands out of the pocket after so many warnings. Even if it had been a knife the individual would still have been close enough to launch forward with it, remember the 21-foot rule. In failing to make the decision that this individual had a weapon it could have delayed the response of the officer who could have clearly shot the taser in time to at least stun the attacker prior to pulling the trigger (though this would not be a guarantee.)

  3. The proximity is concerning –

    The officer got very close. Drawing the taser means he could have shot from a farther distance, again I bring up the knife scenario. Being this close, however, and with a free hand (not on the taser. The officer could have if he knew how used his free hand to re-direct the firearm or the assailant’s arm just long enough to avoid a shot and deploy his own weapon. It is, however, quite common for police officers to be lacking such skills. Which is especially dangerous the closer to someone you are as with this case. Had he been farther away also it is possibly more shots would have missed due to the fact pistols are hard to shoot and the nature in which the assailant was holding the pistol.

  4. Luck had every thing to do with survival –

    Luck had every thing to do with survival – This officer clearly misread this situation and was extremely lucky. As mentioned above pistols are difficult to be accurate with out training but at point-blank range which this was can be deadly. THe officer is lucky that he turned in time to avoid any fatal shots. Sometimes when you make the wrong decision, or even if you make the right one the difference is only ever luck and nothing more. Never forget this.

 

If you have more videos you would like me to analyze or comment on sent the links to info@urbantacticscanada.com

 

On January 29th, 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette implemented a Lone Wolf attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. Regardless of your opinion of Islam, in a country like Canada, this kind of thing should not happen yet it does.

I look at these kinds of events, as horrific as they are, and I am reminded why I teach Krav Maga for a living. The reality is that no matter how safe you think you are, it only takes one person to rock the boat and remind you that humans can be violent regardless of societal norms or laws.

So one may walk in peace.

The other thing I am reminded of is how little the general public seem to know about, well, a lot of things. I also knew that Canada’s media would immediately, or soon after the attack, take a strike at the already strict gun laws in Canada. In this particular event, the amount of BS I have seen on the internet within hours of the attack were quite shocking. Generally, I give the Canadian media some more points than the American media, for the Canadians tend to wait a little longer for facts to come in the midst of such chaos before spewing out nonsense. However, in this case, they also get the initial details wrong.

Not all terrorist attacks with a single attacker are Lone Wolf attacks, but all Lone Wolf attacks are considered terrorist attacks (most of the time)

Right away, I started seeing politics thrown around and read several articles about the topic of Lone Wolf vs terrorist attacks, with many claiming this attack to be purely terrorist and not Lone Wolf. This tells me that writers of such articles know little about conflict, violence, and terrorism. Aside from the fact that the perpetrator will most likely be charged with terrorism, his attack was most definitely a Lone Wolf attack. The distinction is very important.

As stated, a lone attacker does not signify a Lone Wolf attack, but a Lone Wolf attack is usually terrorism in nature (but not always). To me, a clear distinction is whether or not they had help. If they had help, it is most likely part of a larger terror network, such as Al-Qaeda or some nefariously well-hidden Muslim brotherhood affiliate. Or, to be fair, could also be  is part of some right-wing Neo-Nazi group planning their “big return.” If they did not have help, it is most likely a random guy who woke up one morning and decided to go on a rampage (of course, this is an understatement).

If your general definition of terrorism is simply “to cause terror,” then any violent attack such as a simple murder in a home could be called a terrorist attack since it definitely causes terror in a community. But does this now make such situations terrorism? I am not a big fan of word policing, but sometimes definitions matter, especially when there is so much confusion about specific things.

When a Lone Wolf attack becomes terrorism

Attacks targeting these groups can be considered terrorism:

  • Cultural
  • Ethic
  • Political
  • Religious

Also, if the attack was premeditated in any way, it can also be considered terrorism.

Definitions are important because the right or wrong word can be the difference between accurate or misleading information. Attacks that come from a single person who just snapped one day would be more appropriately termed “mass murder” which is an attack resulting in 5+ deaths depending on the regional definitions. If the media calls a mass murder situation a “terrorist attack,” it would most likely cause public terror since there could be the potential for another attack. However, in the case of the attack in Quebec, while the attacker turned himself in later, it is fairly safe to say it was a terror attack.

Another important reason for distinguishing the concept of a Lone Wolf attack is that it tells you whether or not law enforcement could have done more to stop it. Whenever a terrorist attack is not Lone Wolf and there are links to larger networks, it shows a failure in law enforcement agencies to do their jobs effectively in that particular case. However, in the case of a Lone Wolf attack, it is often unreasonable to blame law enforcement for lacking effort in prevention regardless of whether it is deemed terrorism or mass murder. The fact is Lone Wolf attacks are not on the LE radar and incredibly difficult to predict, especially when it’s by an individual with no criminal records like the Quebec case. Of course, the community could take responsibility to notice the behaviour of those close to them and recognise erratic behaviour in days leading up to an event. For example, family members should pay attention to each other and teachers should pay attention to their students, react appropriately, and possibly report to LE. However, sometimes Lone Wolf attacks can happen without warning.

 

alexandrebissonette

Alexandre Bissonnette

 

The only thing people can do to prepare for the unexpected situations like a Lone Wolf attack is to acquire the skills to protect themselves. The goal of getting people home safely every day is why I’ve dedicated my life to Krav Maga and training people how to avoid fights and how to end conflicts. In the moment of an attack, the people who can really do something to stop the violence are the people hiding in the building. The unfortunate truth is that waiting for LE to show up can be too late.

The political nature of attacks and terrorism

The word “terrorism” in modern times usually refers to Islamic terror, but it isn’t always the case. It is undeniable that Islamic terror is one of the biggest problems in the world, and people who refuse to believe it are incredibly naive, but it is also wrong to think that Caucasian people and Christians don’t participate in terrorist activities. However, there is a difference between the two. By and large, terrorism from Caucasians and Christians nowadays are Lone Wolf attacks by disgruntled and, sometimes, racist people. On the other hand, Islamic terrorism is usually more systematic and linked to large terrorist groups capable of repeat or other attacks.

Again, if you are going to pick a side, then you must understand the distinct and general difference. If you want to get into history, there was a time in which Caucasians had large organized terrorist groups, such as the IRA in England or the Basque in Spain. However, to be realistic, these groups are not a problem at the moment and the immediate threat is Islamic terrorism.

To the left-wing people in Western North America, please stop pretending that Islamic terror is not a problem.

To the right-wing people in Western North America, please stop pretending that Caucasians do not sometimes create plans to cause terror.

 

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Oklahoma Bombing

 

A perfect example of the latter is the Oklahoma City Bombing, one of the largest domestic terrorist attacks in American history. One April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up a Federal building, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more (which combined with the 9/11 are the largest terrorist attacks on American soil in modern times). This shows how Caucasians can be as dangerous as Islamic terrorists. Over the last several years, there have been numerous attacks in America, such as the Sandy Hook shooting, San Bernardino shooting, and the Charleston S.C. shooting. Notice the trend?

Terror attacks, mass murder, and guns

The anti-gun bandwagon becomes more popular after such attacks, especially when the people with a political motive and the media, for numerous reasons, often jump on the opportunity to blame these attacks on guns. However, the important point to remember is that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The weapon is nothing without a wielder. If you think about the two largest terror attacks that were just mentioned, they were not perpetrated using guns but with explosives: a massive fertilizer bomb and giant planes.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

While the option of using planes as weapons has now become considerably harder with increasingly strict post-9/11 security measures, it is certainly still possible. The option of using IEDs is even easier and more effective for doing greater damage in a shorter amount of time because anyone with a little bit of chemistry knowledge can create an explosive. As such, firearms as a weapon of terrorism should be the least of people’s concerns. Immediately jumping to the anti-gun rhetoric post-terror events simply shows how little people truly know about violence, conflict, and firearms use.

In addition, Canadians and Americans forget how lucky they are to live in such relatively peaceful countries. In other parts of the world where the violence rate is high, the average person uses guns to defend themselves and the gun culture is very different. People living in North America easily become complacent about safety and security.

Gun laws in Canada

It drives me nuts when Canadians talk about gun laws as if they are living in America, which they are not. In Canada, if you would like to own a gun, you must pass a firearms safety course for non-restricted (rifles) and/or restricted (pistols) firearms, submit your test results to the RCMP, and wait for them to complete a criminal record check on you. If you have no criminal record and have never been committed for a mental illness, then you should receive your license soon after.

In addition, restricted firearms such as pistols are governed by mandatory safe storage laws, which usually require a trigger lock and a locked storage container. While bureaucratic in nature, these gun laws have drastically reduced accidental firearms-related deaths in Canada. (Notice I said “accidental” deaths. Due to these laws, suicide using firearms and death involving children gaining access to firearms have dropped.) Specifically, according to all the data I have seen, the two parts of the laws that have helped reduce firearms-related death are the background checks, including the mental health aspect, and the safe storage regulations. In the case of the Quebec shooting, Bissonnette had no criminal record and had not been committed for mental health issues and have not been reported for unusual behaviour.

With that being said, it is clear that the Brass at the RCMP and many politicians have an anti-gun agenda. They also regularly target the law abiding citizens who own guns (ie. Alberta’s High River Gun Grab in June 2013), so please do not say that gun owners are paranoid about getting their guns stolen and taken away because they are not.

Getting rid of guns would have stopped the Quebec attack, right?

 

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Lorry used in the Nice attack

If someone is truly committed to performing an attack, they would find a method. Remember the Nice, France attack on July 14, 2016?  Firearms were not the primary method for death, instead, a truck was used. Bissonnette could have just as easily taken a vehicle and driven into the mosque potentially killing and injuring even more people. Guns are not the problem.

 

People think that firearms are the most dangerous way bad people use to take out large groups. This is a myth that people believe because they do not get enough knowledge about violence and conflict. Shooting people in large groups is not the most effective way for mass murder. People have this idea simply because they are fed so much anti-gun propaganda that they believe it. If guns inherently make people wake up and decide they need to cause terror, then death rates would skyrocket in most Western countries because, well, there are a lot of guns there. The average person doesn’t wake up one morning and decide to commit murder.

People are fed so much anti-gun propaganda that they believe it.

Another issue that is more problematic than guns is mental health. It’s hard to deny that majority of the individuals who have committed mass murder in America since 9/11 had some kind of serious mental health issue. Either that or they were part of some gang violence, criminals shooting at other criminals, and thus the media never picked it up.

Finally, one more point about weapons is that people underestimate knives as a danger. I, on the other hand, am more wary of knives than firearms. Any idiot can pick up knives and use them as weapons. Only people with some kind of training can operate firearms to do significant damage. Bissonnette could easily have entered the mosque with a knife, locked the doors, trapped people inside, and started stabbing away. Firearms run out of ammo fast. Knives do not need ammo. He would have had an unlimited method of killing with a knife. For example, the Kunming knife attack in 2014 is a reminder of how quick and easy it is for a knife to yield significant damage. I emphasize this every time I teach knife-related self-defense.

The only one who can protect you is you

I wish that one day, humans would all decide they don’t want to hurt each other and then live in peace. Unfortunately, we are far from that as a species, and people attack each other all the time. What I hope for more is that, more importantly, people would wake up and recognize that humans are humans. You cannot use laws to regulate human nature and fix people’s desire to hurt others. Thus, the thing that people don’t seem to be able to grasp but need to understand is that the real weapon is the human being. The person committing the attack is the real threat and real danger, not the weapon they use. It doesn’t matter if they hold a knife, a gun, a bomb, or drive a vehicle. If a person wants to do something big and bad, they will find a way.

walkinpeaceThe best thing people can do to take real action against this issue is to acquire the skills needed to protect themselves. Whether it’s a mugging, a terrorist or Lone Wolf attack, or a school shooting, only you can protect yourself. To start, practice being alert, vigilant, and aware of your surroundings and situation (aka situational awareness), learn to identify threats immediately and get away (aka avoidance). Otherwise, you would always find yourself as a victim. Situational awareness and avoidance are tactics that people in fairly peaceful places like North America tend to forget. Just because we don’t have drug wars or tribal warfare or civil war doesn’t mean it is safe and that we shouldn’t be wary of danger.

You truly only have yourself.

It doesn’t matter what the media tells you, what you hear, and what you read about terrorism and mass murder. The most important thing you need to know is that in the moment of an attack, you truly only have yourself. Denying yourself the skills to survive is a risk. Are you willing to take that risk?