Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Xavier has an excellent post on his blog about recognizing safety threats as a citizen in your daily life, with much food for thought.

You can look in my blog roll to hit Xavier's blog. If you're interested in self defense, photography, pawn shop gun bargains, various excellent pistols and revolver reviews and the one subject near and dear to my self defense heart, extolling the virtues of combat and self-defense revolvers in the modern seemingly "post revolver days" we live in.

I'm having problems linking with my computer at home, and I cannot figure out the cause, thus I can't post a simple cut and paste link to his site. For a year, no problem cutting and pasting links of web pages and text and now, I can't do it. Also, at the same time, my favorites selector stopped working as per usual. Usually, when I mark a favorite page, after I mark the first page in a certain folder, that folder stays the default favorites folder until I change folders or until 24 hours or so passes, so I don't have to scroll through my lengthy lists of el favorito pages.

I don't think Xavier lives in Texas, and so some of his gun related posts regarding laws and such and news are from here. Just bear that in mind. Every state has vastly different gun laws and self-defense laws. Still, I am long read and somewhat well-educated in both the laws of Texas and the techniques of self-defense. So what folks like Xavier and I say about weapon selection and self-defense is not legal advice, nor tactical advice, it is merely food for thought to urge to you think about these things in your life and perhaps seek out other noted authors on the subjects.

For instance, I can hardly pass up the opportunity to tell a war story every now and then. About thirty years ago, ATM machines were in their infancy. They were sorta new and not really located everywhere. Most ATM machines were of the walk up variety, meaning you had to exit your car and either walk into an exposed front area of a bank or just inside the bank doors or in a special kiosk in front of the bank containing the ATM. There were very few drive thru ATM machines back then in Houston.

I was a fairly new officer, who had attended the academy with a cadre of friends I had met in the several years becoming an officer. Likewise, other academies going in the Houston area contained friends of mine from this same time period as well. One of these fellows who was a big running buddy of mine was Ricky the Rookie. He had earned that nickname at the former job where most of our gang had met when we were all 19. Ricky and I went through the academy at the same time.

Ricky and I soon worked our way through our probationary and FTO periods and although we were working different parts of town, we both shared a lot of extra jobs together, generally in the Westheimer and Southwest portion of Houston. We also both worked the 2p to 10p shift and had already been in enough situations on duty and on extra jobs that we knew trouble could erupt anywhere in Houston and that the class of people we referred to as "turds" could be anywhere at anytime armed with gun or knife or both.

It was a frequent practice for Ricky the Rookie and I to hook up after extra jobs or duty and go out. We had friends that worked most of the clubs, and most night clubs were all about having as many officers there as possible. Again, Houston's a mean old town, as several blues singers have noted in previous times, and back in the roaring early 80's it was no different. Likewise, all of our group of police buddies were unmarried at the time so we had lots of free time.

We didn't just go night clubbing together, but often played in softball leagues and went fishing and hunting and did lots of stuff together. It was good times.

So one night Ricky the Rookie and I went out to meet some friends somewhere, and the memory of where we were going that particular night long since escapes me. But it would have been in 1982 or '83 and around 11 pm. We stopped at an ATM at a bank on outer Westheimer to get some cash. As we were pulling up to the machine, we saw the shadow of a person sneak behind the freestanding brickwork that housed the ATM machine in a freestanding structure outside the bank in the front parking lot. It was the walk up type.

Since we were both off duty but armed, we didn't hardly have to say a word to each other. Also being in our young twenties, feeling relatively bulletproof (but without our vests on), having both already been through A LOT of hairy situations in our police careers, and being more full of vinegar than sense, we decided we'd take the guy down ourselves instead of get into a foot pursuit.

So instead of doing the wise thing, and using the police handheld radio I had in my car to summon some on-duty HPD units, we decided to take down this cat by ourselves. It could've been a homeless person or a crazy dude just hiding from us, meaning us no harm. But we also knew it was just as likely to be an armed perp intending to rob us or worse to get the cash out of my bank account.

I'll note that I did at least turn on my radio and call in our position and request backup and note that we were in plain clothes and called out on the situation. Of course, one of my supervisors caught the call and hoped we were not out playing cowboy.

Ricky the Rookie took the perp down, as I backed him up. He was armed with a large butcher knife, and had a cocaine freebasing drug habit and was coming down hard and needed some cash. He willingly complied and surrended with no hesitation, the sight of Ricky the Rookie's .45 Colt Commander being a powerful motivator, along with Ricky the Rookie's colorful Dale Carnegie-esque take down language of "Drop the knife, Mother f-- or I'll kill you."

When disarming a turd, one does not generally speak in the King's english, or with particular politeness. Instead, one speaks in the vernacular that the turd is likely to understand, which is a command rather than a request, rendered directly and in the "turdish" dialect that street criminals understand.

In any event, he was quickly restrained and back up soon arrived. He had a history of aggravated robberies and pen trips and the street cops thought he would be good for several other ATM robberies at that location and others in the area.

But we were stupid. We should have set up a perimeter around this guy, carefully avoiding a cross-fire situation between Ricky the Rookie and I, and waited for backup. Fortunately, it ended well for us. But it just as easily could've gone the other way.

Now that I'm much older, I see why the "old heads" (as oldtimer police officers were referred to back in my day) were always a bit less gung ho to be the first officer on the scene of the bar fight, or why they always waited for mucho backup to handle a hairy situation.

On the other hand, since we were both working much of our police careers as "solo" officers, we were used to handling potentially hairy situations by ourselves on duty in Houston at the time. Many times, on busy shifts, backup might be many minutes or miles away, even in an emergency assist the officer situation. And many times, the violence coming from in progress calls just wasn't going to wait for you to have backup.

So in the kind retrospect that thirty years of living a law enforcement life can give, I now with some gray hair understand why the old heads were slow to action at times. But when they did get into action, old heads didn't mess around. They were all bidness. That explains why turds would listen often times to an old head when he issued a command when younger officers like us were sometimes not listened to when we issued the same commands to our contacts on the street. The turds knew it too. The old heads didn't mess around, and they were to be taken seriously.

So read X's post on recognizing threats. It's very well written.

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