Author Archives: RoughCutAmerican

Debunking the Notion that only Former Military and Law Enforcement Officers can Defend against Active Shooters.

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On 5 AUG 19, in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton active shooter events, Sean Hannity recommended a volunteer initiative of former military and law enforcement officers deployed to schools and other vulnerable public areas to defend against future violent threats.

While that thinking is a step forward on the conventional thought spectrum, the team at Distributed Security, Inc (DSI) is actively training school staff and other civilians for the necessary and immediate response to threats in the critical gap between the onset of an attack and effective intervention by police.

We want to correct the fallacy that only law enforcement or ex-military can perform this task. As trainers, who have trained the highest level military, contracting and law enforcement, we can definitively state that private citizens can be trained to be safe and effective defenders of business, school, church and community. In fact, in most cases, private citizens who go through our training are better prepared to deal with an active threat than most police and military veterans. Any smart, fit, dedicated citizen can be trained to the necessary standard for the defense of innocent life. Prior military or law enforcement experience is not a requirement, and is not a guarantee of success.

In a world that is increasingly fractured and unpredictable, DSI draws heavily from the strategic ideas of William Lind’s 4th Generation Warfare theory and the OODA Loop methodology of John Boyd in our efforts to assist individuals, communities, enterprises, churches, and schools defend themselves in the event of violent threat.

In short, we begin training where many other organizations leave off. And, we train our clients to best practice, SWAT-level proficiencies in handgun, rifle, shotgun, tactical communications and tactical medicine. Our offerings are tactical and holistic. And, we actively engage and manage the necessary consistent, follow-on training beyond initial certification.

We do not believe that having had training at some point in the past is enough. Simply possessing a prior military or law enforcement credential does not keep one sharp. Threats evolve, tactics develop, and technologies advance after one leaves the training and operational world. The active shooter environment is a dynamic and asymmetric one, and those who would respond should have the benefit of appropriately dynamic and asymmetric training to meet the challenge.

In all, the most effective public safety strategy is for community organizations to insource their security capabilities as “quick reaction force” to manage emerging threats, real time. There is certainly a law enforcement role in an active shooter scenario, but as Hannity noted in his monologue, the police cannot be in all places at all times.

We commend Mr Hannity for his forward thinking comments and for raising awareness that there is a better way. Meanwhile, Distributed Security, Inc has developed and is executing a plan that exceeds his suggestion in breadth, depth, and effectiveness.

Buy a gun. Get trained.

A Bridge Too Far…?

When I was a younger man, still in the Army, I had the opportunity to participate in the annual Nijmegen March. Nijmegen happens as a commemoration of the US’s role liberating the Netherlands in World War 2’s Operation Market Garden and was immortalized in the movie “A Bridge Too Far”.

The annual event is a 100 mile march (25 miles a day) in and around the town of Nijmegen, Holland. Troops are invited from around the world to participate, but the vast majority of marchers are from US Army units.

Each morning, around 4 am, our team would get up, ruck-up, and begin the daily walk. We’d finish and get back to our sleeping accommodations late morning, shower, sleep for a couple hours, and then we’d hit the town to party with the locals until, 1 or 2 am, ready to rinse and repeat.

Each morning, the roads we marched were lined with locals. Predominantly, young women. And, they would cheer and make a hell of a spectacle of themselves. Throwing flowers, paper slips with phone numbers and addresses, and various pieces of clothing at the American Paratroopers. You see… we had a reputation. While Operation Market Garden was not a complete success, the Nijmegen operation was. We were the direct descendants of those paratroopers from WWII who had walked in, smacked the Nazis in the mouth, rescued the damsel in distress… and, bedded her.

We were Kings. We were Rockstars. We were Men among men. And, we were desired.

Around the world, many American men had that sort of reputation and aura about them at one time. Not so much any more.

I’m looking for a word… Bland. No. Vanilla… mmmm… Ice Cream… Milquetoast? Too British. Neutered? Close…

Eunuch. That’s the word I’m looking for. Eunuch.

Eunuch: noun

a castrated man, especially one formerly employed by rulers in the Middle East and Asia as a harem guard or palace official.

Why am I kicking this word around? Because, the vast majority of supposed 2nd Amendment “advocates” I speak to (you know… the guys who talk about being citizens as opposed to subjects) seem to be Eunuchs. Every one of them seems to have had his daddy-tackle removed.

Sure, there’s lots of tough talk. There are promises that eventually “We” (you know, the royal we) are going to cross some notional Rubicon regarding our rights and these nutless wonders are going to spring into action, locked and loaded. But… are they? Really?

Because, entire revolutions have occurred, blood in the streets, kings toppled, governments converted, borders changed, for far less than the infringements we’re currently watching occur before our very eyes. And, when you start to talk nuts and bolts with the 2A crowd, when you really start to press them about the plan, or the training, or where that line in the sand really is… it all falls apart. We’ll just rely on voting the bastards out and pay lobbyists to tell the gov’t that we’re really upset.

In a country with a God given, Constitutionally affirmed right to arms (the 2nd Amendment for the new guys), we rely on the lobbyists, lawyers, and politicians to do what men should be doing. There are a number of implications in that last sentence, and I want you to consider all of them.

By delegating our responsibility to actively preserve our rights, we are abdicating them. It is not necessary, and certainly not desirable, to lobby (i.e. beg) for our rights to be observed, honored, and respected by the Crown. They are not the Crown’s to give, much less to take away. The rightful remedy to government over-reach is to exercise our rights, forcefully if necessary. Not to grovel and whine.

Why is it, then, in the United States of America, a country founded on the premise that Citizens possess the right to be armed and to be able to respond violently if a government were to attempt to deprive them of that right… Why is it, that we are actively losing the 2A war? Why is there a battle? Why even a debate?

Because we American (formerly) men, have traded our balls and guns for loafers and ballots. Because we’ve decided that lawyers should do the heavy lifting. Because all that training and preparing shit is hard and expensive. Because we’ve convinced ourselves that being “civilized” and soft is a good thing. Because, American men act like neutered, flaccid house cats. We act like eunuchs. As a culture, we are kept men.

Rights, particularly gun rights are maintained by unapologetically training and exercising those rights. Lobbying for them is the equivalent of sitting in a drum circle, contemplating our collective navel, and hoping for the best.

We don’t lack for good, historic role models. We American men were pioneers, mountain men, gunslingers, and war heroes. Now, we won’t even exercise our own rights, seemingly for fear of breaking a nail or offending some blue haired, female soccer player.

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How’s that going for you? And, what are you willing to do about it? What’s your birthright? When will we reach our “Bridge too Far”?

Reach out. I can help.

Of Tribes, Transitions, Voids, and Resurrection

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I’m a veteran. More specifically, I am a US Army, Light Infantry veteran.

As a grunt, I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who were working as a team toward a goal with a “higher purpose”. Now, in retrospect, I have some doubts about the means, methods, and righteousness of that goal, but I cannot ever doubt the commitment and cohesion of my peers or the merits of service to something bigger than myself.

My various units and the relationships within them were indescribably tribal. We were much more than “co-workers”. We were family. Moreover, we were family who understood that we may have to die for one another on a foreign battlefield, in a fight we didn’t start, at the direction of faceless bureaucrats, in service to a country we all loved. That is a bond that is not replicate-able outside an infantry environment.

When I decided to leave the Army, I had lots of good reasons to do so. And, those reasons still stand today. However, what I could not have predicted was the void left by not having my tribe at my shoulder, going forward. And, it was unrecognizable for a good long time. In fact, I have only very recently identified it for what it was and is.

That void is tangible. It acts on each of us in different ways I imagine, but it’s there for each of us. I suspect that it is what drives the veteran suicide statistics. I suspect that, if one were to be diagnosed, it would be identified psychologically as a sort of depression. It doesn’t render any of us dysfunctional, but it renders us less than whole. And in a way that is impossible to adequately describe to those who haven’t experienced it.

My own personal journey has been marked by any number of attempts to fill that unnamed void. From immersing myself in family, to attending college, to working in various fields that held some interest for me, to pursuing high level management positions and business ownership in order to recreate some meaning in my life. The end result has been that, I have professionally, wandered aimlessly for 20 years. And, again, until very recently, I couldn’t identify the feeling or where it was coming from.

There is a deep satisfaction in being involved with a tribe that has a mission bigger than the individual and the team. There is a deep satisfaction in fighting the “good fight” against all odds. There is something empowering about a situation where it is just you and your tribe against the world. And, my experience to date is that, it is very difficult to achieve that state of satisfaction away from your tribe and in the civilian/corporate world.

The problem is, I think, that for fighters, warriors, soldiers, etc, the civilian world is a shallow and superficial place. It is completely alien to our programming and wiring. The psychology is different, the goals are different, and the outcomes are not vital. Winning and losing boils down to getting paid and cashing the check every other week.

Contemporary civilian life exists in a world of paychecks, balance sheets, sitcoms, and politics. That’s where it seems to begin and end. There is no higher purpose to be found there. No brotherhood. At the end of the day, no matter if it was a good day or a bad day, everyone goes home. At the end of the day, there are no life or death consequences to being good or bad at your job. There is no need to survive. Civility is the realm of the soft and corrupt. And, for the former soldier, there is no place that feels like home.

This is why the idea of “transition” from the military is a myth. It does not exist.

Now, I say that with no malice. It isn’t anybody’s fault. But, it is the reality. Former service members, particularly triggerpullers, are aliens in the civilian world. They are left missionless, alone, and burdened with rules that have no merit.

When you are “transitioning” from the military, it is commonplace for the resume writers to try to highlight “leadership experience”. Which is great… and appropriate, but one’s military leadership experience is irrelevant on the other side of the wire. I have been asked more times than I can count to institute and apply “military-style leadership principles” in companies I have worked for. And, each and every time was a dismal failure. Because, those who need to be led are incapable of it and company ownership has no idea what they’re asking for. Moreover, in a feelings-based, emotion driven, civilian economy, that ownership has no tolerance for the waves that “military leadership” creates.

And, so, veterans are left aimless to wander the civilian wilderness. Strangers in a strange land. By the time they find out how separation from their tribe will affect them, it’s too late. Our purpose has been stripped of us and the search for new purpose is lengthy and difficult… and for some, an impossible quest.

So, what to do? The “yearbook” answer is, “use your GI Bill, go to college”. Been there. Talk about agonizing. If you want to feel alienated, just attend college as a veteran. I could go on, but I won’t. I’ll simply tell you that, for me, college was an exercise in absurdity.

Working for others doesn’t typically mesh because, in order to be happy doing that, you have to respect your employer. And, frankly, most employers don’t have the prerequisite experience necessary to inspire respect from a veteran who’s spent any time downrange. Additionally, the employer has to respect the veteran. And, they can’t because they lack the frame of reference to do so.

So… the option is to work for yourself. Right? Maybe. That’s a minefield all it’s own. Because, the reality is that the economy is set up to reward one of three things; creation, sales, or labor. Creating a product or service OR assembling or selling someone else’s product or service. Without getting into the relative merits of creation and sales, the reality is that there is little inspiring or “higher calling” about either of those endeavors for warriors. And, that inspiration to a higher calling is what the veteran seeks. The only inspiration and satisfaction that I have found is finding that thing that meshes with what I enjoy, am good at, and where I deal with little interference from ‘higher’..

So, what is it that former triggerpullers are good at? Well… shooting and teaching others to shoot. All that being true, it’s important to approach that vocation and marketplace with eyes wide open.

It’s become a reality that the “tactical” market is somewhat saturated. And, it’s more saturated with know-nothing clowns than it is with real-deal, former action guys. So, if that’s the path you want to go down, and you recognize that the market is saturated… how does the prospective entrepreneur set themselves apart in that marketplace?

You have to start with a plan. Not a gimmick-y, hyped plan. A real plan, with a real foundation, based in real knowledge and skills. If you want to build a solid business that will serve you and your market for a long time, it is not enough to simply hang your veteran credentials on a shingle and open shop. You’re going to need a curriculum, a business plan, marketing materials, teaching chops, and the desire and ability to talk to people. And, that is where I think I can assist.

In my own personal search, I finally found Distributed Security, Inc (DSI). A company of former military personnel, contractors, and businessmen with a desire to improve their communities and country with Combative Firearms training offerings for individuals, enterprises, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, and healthcare facilities.

The business model satisfied my higher-calling needs, the proof-of-concept has been established in recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was an established curriculum that had more merit than I have seen elsewhere in the firearms training community, and I could work for myself and with guys who had a common background and understood where I was coming from. Jackpot.

As a part of my involvement with DSI, we have introduced the Defender 300 Program (D300). Through which, a veteran who wanted to embark on the path of self-employment in the firearms training industry could carve out his place. Along with the benefits of commission based sales of DSI products and reduced personal training costs, that veteran can (and is encouraged to) certify as a Combative Firearms Instructor. After which, he may become an independent instructor or prospective DSI franchisee.

Based on my particular perspective, and head full of questionable wiring, this is a no-brainer kind of choice. If you are a vet, enjoy shooting and training, and are looking for a higher-calling career that taps into your skillset, I think you owe it to yourself to check out the D300.

Join the Tribe. Be a Warrior Capitalist. Fill the Void. Recreate yourself.

Get in touch. I can help.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey Bans Police From Taking “Warrior” Style Training… Whatever the hell that is…

No “Warrior”-training. Derp.

In a political and economic environment where Law Enforcement training funds are in short supply, the Minneapolis Police Dept has banned, what they are calling, “Warrior”-style training. Officers are now prohibited from partaking of such training on their own time and dime. I don’t know, exactly, how Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is defining “Warrior” training but, I have a couple ideas.

In an April 19, 2019 press conference, Frey pressed all the emotional hot-buttons by using terminology like “fear-based” training, “warrior-style”, and “Killology” (a theory popularized by LTC (Ret) Dave Grossman). Further, he went on to say that, “Fear-based trainings violate the values at the very heart of community policing. When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build meaningful relationships with those same people.”

Very nice, Mr Mayor. You have mastered pandering and anti-intellectual, political posturing. And, at the same time emphasized an “us vs them” attitude between your police and the citizenry.

Minneapolis (and it’s sister, St Paul) is a town where violent crime is on the rise, traditional demographics are being noticeably shifted, and Law Enforcement training funds are slim. Under those circumstances, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Police Officers to feel like they may need a training edge. Be it in terms of physical/technical skills or psychological preparation for worst case scenarios. Further, the fact that some officers take it upon themselves to seek such advantage, outside the bureaucracy, displays admirable initiative.

As I see it, Police Depts are being increasingly tasked with what are arguably tactical, “paramilitary” roles as opposed to the romanticized (possibly antiquated) version of community policing. And, when you start to cross that line, the psychology has to change.

So, in essence, the mayor can’t have it both ways. None of us live in Mayberry, USA any longer, and politics are amplifying the shift away from that piece of Americana. And, since he created his narrative using words, for the most part, that aren’t defined, let’s look at the one specific example he cited. “Killology”.

“Killology”, as mentioned above, is a theory and field of study invented by LTC (Ret) Dave Grossman. Per Grossman, Killology “is the study of the psychological and physiological effects of killing and combat on the human psyche; and the factors that enable and restrain a combatant’s killing of others in these situations.” The theory was introduced in Grossman’s 1996 book, “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society”.

The problem (yes, I said problem and didn’t sugarcoat the term for modern, politically-correct readers who prefer the use of the word “challenge”) is that Grossman’s writings are focused on “combatants”. Traditionally known as “soldiers”. Not, police specifically. However, due to the evolving nature and paramilitarization of police work… we are asking our police to engage in situations where that sort of mindset can be necessary. And, in my opinion, the circumstances driving those evolving and overlapping professional scopes is (drumroll, please), politics. Further politicizing the problem is not the answer. Einstein’s old mantra comes to mind…

Uh… Yup. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

No matter how you feel about it, the face of “America” is changing. And, not for the better. There is a cultural assault being mounted on what, only 15 or 20 years ago, would have been considered normalcy. And, that assault is increasingly violent and in some cases, borderline military. So, to cling to Rules of Engagement from a time and situation past, while politically promoting and amplifying change and “progress, is a non-starter.

I don’t like, at all, that police are being forced into a militarized situation and mindset. I think it’s unhealthy. For the police and their communities. In that, I agree with the Mayor. He and I part ways on the practical reality of the thing.

To my mind, the answer isn’t telling police officers what training they can and cannot partake of on their own time and with their own money. The answer is to stop promoting the cultural changes that necessitate a militarized response (and a need to survive), stop creating a divide between your constituents and your police depts, and fund police training they need to do the job we’re asking them to do in the way we’re asking them to do it.

And, maybe that training balance is achieved by educating the Administrators and Bureaucrats (those who hold the purse strings) about the training options offered by professional companies, like Distributed Security, Inc and not simply leaving our police officers to be consumers of (at best) battlefield psychology training and (at worst) the former-knucklegdragger, “Bro culture” training industry.

Shut up and train.

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