This month we’ll take a little detour with an issue that is becoming more important, with less interest…
The human species has been able to survive, thrive and prosper because we have come together in communities supporting a broader society. We watch each other’s back, we support both individual and communal projects that are in the best interest of the community and society and we prosper because of this collaboration.
Today the community, and society is at risk; which puts us individually at risk.
There are a greater number of members of the community today that are ignoring the basic tenant of humanity. Ignoring the establish rules and laws of the community, and looking the other way when someone else ignores those rules. Rules that are in place to allow millions of people to live together in harmony. And such actions crack the foundation of society impacting the sanctity of the community and our individual lifestyles.
It is our responsibility to protect ourselves. It is our responsibility to look after our neighbor. It is our responsibility to respond – and we must KNOW how to respond.
Each year millions of people are involved in a medical trauma or a violent act. We have come to expect that handling the victims of those events is someone else’s responsibility – after all that is why we establish police departments, fire departments and para-medics! They are the FIRST responders. But who saw the event? Who called for help? Who witnessed the event?
We are going to coin a new phrase – the Witness Responder. The Witness Responder is the responsible person that sees the event unfold, pauses from their own course of action and ‘steps up’ to care for the injured victim of our community.
Why do we need the Witness Responder? We have over a third of a billion people in this country and we have only a fraction of the number of first responders – police, fire and medical personnel needed to respond to every event in a timely manner; and the ones we have are on average eight minutes away.
It takes 3 minutes for a person to bleed out with an arterial sever. In 10 minutes a cardiac arrest victim is likely brain dead. An act of violence can be over in less than 2 minutes. If it takes a first responder 8 minutes to arrive on scene; time has been wasted; especially considering that a Witness Responder that can react in less than 30 seconds.
So. The Witness Responder. Who is this person? It should be everyone; but it’s not.
When only half the population is willing to administer CPR in the event of a Cardiac Arrest, it’s apparent, it’s not everyone.
Are you a witness responder? You carry a concealed fire arm to protect yourself; would you protect an innocent bystander? What if the event has already unfolded and you come upon a victim; could you (would you) administer CPR? Would you know how to (and would you) address an arterial laceration that resulted from a car accident?
Consider that on Saturday of this past weekend – March 31st; The American College of Surgeons and the Committee on Trauma promoted a Stop the Bleed Campaign day. A day to recognize the issue and promote an educational platform to teach the average person how to save a life. With the theme that a trained Witness Responder can potentially prevent someone from bleeding out and possibly save a life.
In light of that campaign, let’s begin our conversation on the training needed and the actions required of the Witness Responder with “Stop the Bleed”. And considering the amount of vehicle accidents and violent events of late; this is a skill that we all should know.
For anyone that has had a first aid class, this course is just a little more complete. And from personal experience it will dispel myths promoted from the past and portrayed by the entertainment industry.
STOP THE BLEED. Step 1: Call 9-1-1. Step 2: Find the source of the bleeding injury. Step 3: Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
With increasing severity: cover the wound with a clean cloth and apply pressure; apply a tourniquet to a limb; pack the wound with gauze or clean cloth and apply pressure.
Application, use and expectations can be learned in a Stop the Bleed class, and you will gain practical experience in addressing the more severe injuries.
Learn more at www.bleedingcontrol.org and watch for a class to be held at Saddle River Range.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved
By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
Last month an individual took a rifle that was legally purchased, entered their former high school and committed murder.
Those are the facts surrounding this incident.
The resultant media circus would lead you to believe that we have an epidemic of firearm induced murders at public institutions of learning. They are promoting a public outrage oriented around “Our Children vs. The Second Amendment”. But is that the real topic of discussion? Are guns the issue?
Yes, lives were lost; and we sincerely grieve with the families and community from which those lives were taken. We also hope and pray that it is does not occur again. But a heated emotional diatribe from positions of the extreme will not find a solution to prevent history from repeating itself. Cool, reasoned heads that will talk through a dialogue of rational, practical thought provides the only opportunity to address this issue in a realistic manner.
But, let’s first shine a light on the issue and see it in transparency…
We draft this bit of prose to present facts and dispel the myths and misrepresentations of material currently in circulation. We have made every attempt to remove bias from this article and only provide material that can be verified by competent independent sources: such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Top Causes of Death Among Teens
To focus on the big picture, we turn to the CDC. The CDC is the expert in mortality. They have been gathering data and reporting on the demographics, health and deaths of U.S. residents for a number of years. In 2007 they released a research report covering teen deaths from 1999 to 2006 (following additional research released annually since then, the 2007 report’s numbers are still valid with minimal variation through 2015.)
In the years since 1999, the number of teens (age 12 through 19) that die each year averages 16,000 plus. Less than 1% of all deaths compiled each year. Of those deaths the number one killer of our youth – accounting for almost 50% of teen deaths – is “Unintentional Injury” (considered by the CDC as preventable: car crashes (including drunk driving), poison (including substance overdose), and drowning). Homicide is a distant 2nd place at only 13% – a fourth of the unintentional injury count; and suicide is 3rd at 11% – a fifth of unintentional injury count. Of course we can agree that every death is tragic and we all grieve for the loss of life, but is the media’s attention misplaced? 13% of teens die as a result of someone else taking their life; but half die from a “preventable” incident? Should there be a spot light placed on irresponsible motor vehicle operation – for both adults and teens? And what about the Opioid epidemic in this country? Based on the information that is available to the public at this time; opioid related deaths are equivalent to homicide, but not nearly a headline grabbing a topic as a school shooting for media coverage.
Returning to the question above: Our public debate might better be focused on “Our Children vs. Irresponsible Behavior”.
In the field of aviation, every civilian aircraft crash can be attributed to a small insignificant act – human error – that caused a cascading domino effect that causes the aircraft to crash.
Something innocuous such as an improperly tightened nut, or skipping an item in a procedures check. Generally, these incidences never surface and never impact the safety of the aircraft, crew or passenger. But, every once in a while, human nature omits something in the process, which causes something else to fail that goes unnoticed and the dominos start to fall until eventually, the aircraft falls from the sky.
Turning back to our Parkland school shooting; how many dominos fell before that incident? Had just one person intervened and prevented any one of those dominos from toppling, there would be no story.
From what is known to date: If the three Sheriff’s Deputies had stormed the school, if the one Deputy on site had engaged the shooter, if there had been follow up to the suicide hotline call, if officials had escalated reports made to law enforcement, if law enforcement had followed up on tips or if his mother would have acted on seeking help for the suspect’s hurt and pain at the loss of his father; would this have prevented the tragedy?
Should the topic be more along the lines of “Our Children vs. the Imperfections of Human Behavior”?
Are we still asking if this is a “gun” issue?
Did society fail the shooter and by proxy the victims? Do we have a broken system?
“The System”, comprised of policies, procedure and protocols to deal with issues is only a construct of human origin. If those within the system act with a sense of personal duty, character and obligation; the system works for us. Without that personal ownership, and the indifference and irresponsible behavior that follows; any system will break down and the people of society lose; and lives are lost!
Fact or Fiction?
We’ve discussed some pretty important topics that are currently being ignored; let’s consider some misrepresentations you will hear in the public debate currently in play:
“18 school shootings in 2018”. Everytown for Gun Safety is responsible for providing that misrepresentation. The reportable fact is that since 2013 there have only been 5 school shootings similar to the Parkland shooting. Still, we think that 5 is still too many.
“The Second Amendment is Outdated”. A complex consideration, but based on known views of the authors of the Bill of Rights, that amendment is probably NOT outdated. It’s construct was to allow for the citizenry to organize into a combat force to confront attacks on the new republic. The individuality of the amendment was not a consideration to the authors as it was expected that individuals would assemble with their tools of combat to repel attacks on the republic. Their expectation is that we the citizens, as a collective of individuals, should combat the threats and attacks made upon our soil, our people, and our nation. These threats, and their associated risks to our way of life are still real and valid in today’s environment. We only need look at recent history to witness that risk with overlords ruling with an iron first, crushing the lifestyle of the people. (There is much more content to cover hear, but that is a discussion for another day.)
“The mentally ill should not be able to buy a firearm”. To this topic, we agree. For someone that has trouble with functioning in daily society, having access to a firearm is risking danger to themselves and others. But; if we consider the character and personality of the perpetrators of mass shootings, what in their background would lead to a red flag? The Parkland shooting aside; most shooters share a trait of rampant depression and social isolation. They may have personality flaws, but they function in society. Without advanced psychological evaluation, the average layperson would not be able to distinguish the mental illness of the actor from any other individual with in their surroundings. And who get’s to make the decision on who can, and who cannot own a gun? There are certainly many different types of mental illness; and not all mentally ill people are dangerous.
“Civilians should not own an assault weapon”. First, it should be cleared up that there is no such thing as an “assault” weapon. Assault is a word describing a human act; it is not an adjective attributed to an object. In fact, any device can be used as a weapon; blade, projectile, blunt object and yes, pressure cookers – all can be a tool of death. If used responsibly, that tool is an advantage for society; if not, well, we know the alternative. And for purposes of clarification; AR-15 does not stand for “Assault Rifle”, it is a model number that represents Armalite Rifles and AR-15 is Armalite Rifle model 15. The only difference between a classic semi-automatic rifle and a modern sporting rifle is the wood grain stock in comparison to plastic and metal railings. All semi-automatic rifles operate in the same fashion; one trigger pull launches one bullet. The next bullet requires another pull on the trigger.
“We need more comprehensive background checks for a firearm purchase”. This sounds good for a sound bite. Requiring more extensive background checks may be a worthwhile action; however, considering the most recent shooting, there was sufficient material on the shooter to have thrown up red flags in any background check – had that material been escalated to proper authorities and acted upon. And in the case of the Sutherland Springs church shooting, authorities never entered critical information into the database that would have prevented the shooter from obtaining the guns used in his assault ( and yes, that is the proper use of the word assault).
Thoughts for Consideration
If we are serious about protecting our children while they are in school; then the topic is not “Our Children vs. ‘Fill in the Blank’”, the focus needs to be realistic actions that provide security at the school. Getting rid of guns is not the answer. Some items to consider might be:
- Install airport style security at every entrance and exit to the school building
- Install cameras at entrances and in the hallways – and have them monitored
- Bring armed security into the school building (armed and TRAINED teachers and staff or independently hired and TRAINED security)
- Establish an emergency response and lock down plan
- Hold parents and students accountable for actions – punish bad behavior
- Accept that teachers are there to teach; parenting is NOT their responsibility
- If our children are worth everything, why are schools so underfunded?
- Get involved in your child’s life as a parent, know them as individuals, and get to know their friends and their friend’s parents
As humans, as a society, as family we have a responsibility to the next generation to provide an opportunity for them to learn and become responsible adult citizens.
Let them watch as we come together and realistically, rationally and responsibly address this challenge to provide a secure facility where our children can mature to take on their role and responsibility as informed adults.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe.
© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved
By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
As adults we learn from those who are more experienced or from our own experiences. Children are no different in how they learn. However, learning about firearms should not be from personal experience!
When I grew up, there was an adult that provided a foundation for the safe use of any and all projectile devices. Regardless of whether the device was a bow and arrow, a BB gun or a real firearm; a parent, grandparent or organization provided the basis for safe use and operation of firearms. The most noteworthy institution is the NRA. The NRA is the first and foremost promotor of safe and responsible use of firearms.
Today, we need the educational foundation we had in the past to keep our children safe around guns; as avoidance and abstinence have not been effective!
It has been proven that awareness of a subject brings positive change regarding the activity or involvement with respect to that subject. Awareness programs about drinking and driving, teen pregnancies and STDs have proven to positively impact the outcome of participation in risky behavior. Even if guns are not in a home, would the safety of a child benefit from knowing and understanding safe handling of a firearm? The answer is YES!
A few years back I taught a group of women the basic fundamentals of firearm safety and use. One of the attendees had never touched a gun and was very apprehensive of taking the class, but was invited by a friend and decoded to accompany her to the class. Providing a basic foundation on how a firearm works, it’s basic function and the safe handling of a firearm was instrumental in reducing her anxieties about firearms and contributed to her enjoyment of the afternoon activities. Will she buy a gun and join a shooting group? Probably not, but she is no longer terrified of a chunk of metal!
The same can be said for the education and awareness of children. If we acknowledge their curiosity and provide a foundation for safe handling based on the child’s level of curiosity and understanding; we can address the potential risks of that curiosity and provide a foundation to remove that risk.
For a little background…
If you are of a certain age, you grew up spending hours enacting battles in the back yard with toy soldiers, as well as ‘playing’ war in the neighborhood with the other kids.
I had an interest in guns, but we did not have any guns in the house. I read about them, watched them used on TV and pretended my BB gun was real. Wishing for years to have my own real rifle. I remember that the only item on my Christmas Wish List was a lever action .22 caliber rifle. Each year I’d be first to grab the Sears catalogue and dog ear the page with the guns and encircle ‘my’ rifle on the page. (I was in high school when I finally got that gun; and I paid for it with my own money.)
Back then, guns were part of the American Heritage. Good guys carried guns on TV and confronted the bad guys. Guns were ‘good’; and they represented ‘goodness’ in conflict. Children were provided an education associated with guns that went a long way in keeping them from engaging in the riskier activities of the un-safe handling of a real firearm.
Attitudes about guns began to change around the late 70s and early 80s; about the time the majority of the population could be found in the city and suburbs and not in rural America. The Christmas movie “A Christmas Story” released in 1983 is what I consider the focal point of that change in attitude. It changed the dialogue for parents about guns; ‘guns were now bad’. “A Red Ryder BB Gun, could shoot someone’s eye out!” And just like that the American mindset flipped regarding firearms.
Hollywood perpetuated that mindset with more bad guys shooting innocent people on TV and in the movies.
Today, few children have any experience with a real firearm. Although there are more firearms in circulation, fewer homes have a gun in the home. Additionally, a large portion of society, has a perception that guns are bad and people that have guns are bad people. This is a myth brought on by misunderstanding and the promotion of said mindset from a liberal, anti-gun campaign.
Regardless, curiosity and the intrigue of shooting a gun is still there with just about all children. The act of shooting, both good guys and bad guys is romanticized in Hollywood. The indiscriminant barrage of bullets from bad guys towards good guys and vis-versa tantalizes the immature brain with mythological ideas of shooting. And there are few enthusiasts or programs around today to counter the myths of Hollywood shoot-em-ups!
Additionally, through the complex dynamics of computer imagery, the youth of today can experience an extremely realistic depiction of war, the act of killing and the joy of conquest without the psychological foundation of understanding the difference between a game and the real world. They have no one to provide any guidance on the safe handling and operation of a real firearm.
Proper gun handling is not taught to the youth of America as it was when I was a young Boy Scout. There are fewer institutions and educational programs providing proper firearm safety education. As a result, a segment of society has attached a kryptonite persona around firearms. And we have generations of youth that are unfamiliar with the safe handling of a firearm but idolize the act of killing in video games!
You can’t satiate the curiosity of the gun by saying “no, don’t touch”. That only fuels the desire to touch. Satisfy the curiosity with education and an understanding of function.
This strategy works in the kitchen with knives and stoves; it works with firearms just as well. I have friends that have taught their children gun safety from as early as 4 years old, and progressed with that training through their teen years. Providing enough information to satisfy the curiosity while also reinforcing the dangers and safe handling of a firearm. All the while filling the curiosity while removing the mythology and intrigue of a firearm.
We have to recognize that a firearm is nothing more than a bunch of pieces of metal. Just like a knife; if handled properly, it provides benefit – improper handling imposes significant risks!
You can start your child’s education (and your understanding of how to provide that education) of firearms with the NRA Eddie Eagle Gunsafe® Program. Gunsafe® is an online program for pre-K up to 4th grade that helps children understand the actions to take if they find a gun. It also helps parents teach their children how to treat firearms.
As a refresher on firearm safety; the key to the safe operation of a firearm includes:
1) ALWAYS TREAT A FIREARM AS IF IT IS LOADED UNTIL PERSONALLY CONFIRMING IT IS NOT,
2) ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot,
3) DO NOT point the firearm at anything you don’t want to destroy!
Note: It’s best for a parent or grandparent to provide instruction in firearm safety, but if you don’t have the knowledge or equipment; seek out a professional instructor or look for a Youth Firearm Safety course in your community. (In The Woodlands, Saddle River Range offers both individual professional instruction as well as group courses for young shooting enthusiasts.)
Most accidental shooting incidents are the result of an individual that is unfamiliar with firearms coming in contact with a firearm. Training and educating our youth about the proper, and safe, handling of a firearm is instrumental in keeping our children safe. The key to firearm safety is knowledge and attitude – understanding the safe operation of a gun and having a mindset to respect what the gun can do!
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved.
In this article our friends over at Recoil discuss the ins and outs of carrying a spare magazine for your EDC gun.
Do you carry a reload and how do you carry it? Let us know in the comments!
Story by Tamara Keel, Photos by Dave Merrill
Let’s get this out in the open: You can count the number of private-citizen defensive gun uses in the U.S. when a rapid reload made the difference between a dead good guy and a live one without taking off both mittens.
Reloading a handgun mid-gunfight, outside of a military or law enforcement context is pretty unlikely. Although he’s talking about carbines rather than pistols, a great quote from trainer Randy Harris springs to mind: “If you empty one 30-round mag in civilian-world USA, you’re going to be on the news … if you empty two, you’re going to be in the encyclopedia …”
Another trainer, Claude Werner, studies the reports of private-citizen defensive gun uses as collected in sources like the NRA’s Armed Citizen column. Over time, he’s found the average number of rounds needed in these encounters is low. One month, May of 2017, the average round count across seven reported gunfights was only 1.43 rounds per incident. That’s not a lot. Unless you find yourself caught up in the middle of an action-movie shootout, you’re highly unlikely to need that reload.
And yet having a spare magazine along if you’re carrying a self-loading pistol is still considered best practice — for reasons that can be broken down into three basic categories. It’s worth exploring them further, as well as the best ways to carry a spare in the event one of these situations actually comes up.
By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
Happy New Year. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and probably been given some new, fun gifts (hopefully one or two that make bang noises!).
We’re throwing away the 2017 calendar and tearing the plastic wrap off the 2018 calendar. So with the new calendar and New Year comes the traditional act of resolutions. We want to help you with some resolutions we know you can keep throughout the year. And as an “Oh By The Way” that new tax law should be putting some extra money back in our pocket to help achieve your resolutions; and maybe even buy the present you wanted for Christmas but didn’t get!
As we turn the corner into 2018; let’s focus on getting better… better accuracy, better control, better timing! And, in order to get better, we have to get to the range and shoot more. But let’s not just shoot more, let’s practice; and practice more effectively.
If you don’t already, let’s plan to make at least one trip to the range each month as a goal for 2018 (more if possible). And let’s not just go there for an hour and punch holes in a paper target. You want to improve your skills; and you can’t do that if you continue to do what you’ve done: take lessons with an experienced instructor. Challenge yourself with some more difficult presentations and targets. Add some friendly competition with a fellow shooter; or introduce someone to the joy of shooting.
Plan to meet your instructor every month and get the most out of your training sessions. Let your instructor know what you want to accomplish; and be specific. Some examples might include: tighten the spread pattern at a specific distance, improve control with double-taps, more timely response to failures – or just more confidence with your draw and presentation. Each month review the previous improvements and add a new drill to hone your overall shooting skill. And ask your instructor for some dry –fire and live-fire drills you can conduct on your own – an excuse for another day at the range. As if we needed an excuse!
And don’t forget to have your instructor review the various failures and responses. If you haven’t conducted a “Failure to Fire” or “Failure to Extract” exercise in a while; maybe it’s time for a review and some practice.
Ask a friend join you at the range and run through some basic shooting drills. When you are both comfortable; add some more complex target presentations and see who’s got the tighter grouping. Make it a fun, friendly competition.
Additionally, let’s add to our resolutions with at least one basic firearms class and one intermediate firearms class this year. Find a class, sign up and encourage a friend to sign up with you; it’s always more fund to learn with a friend.
These additional courses, improve your firearm safety, increase your confidence with the firearm and enhance your skill and reaction time. Our Law Enforcement Officers and military are required to requalify regularly, why shouldn’t we have a similar mindset to continue improving our knowledge, capabilities and confidence…
The high level skills of firearm safety, marksmanship and self-defense are perishable. You’ve seen it yourself. You work to get a grouping inside a quarter, take the summer off and the grouping is back to a playing card. If we don’t continuously work on our safety, marksman and timed skills, they deteriorate.
- You get it; and you’re on board. What next: 1) Block out an hour each month to visit the range. 2) Get an instructor – call Saddle River Range and discuss which instructor might be the right fit for you. 3) Look at the range training calendar and offered times for Private Instruction (PI) Saddle River Range’s website. 4) Sign up for a PI and basic class that you’d like to attend (even if you’ve taken it before, it’ll be a good refresher to polish up your skills). Then sign up for an intermediate or advanced class with prerequisites which you meet; book them and put them in the calendar and attend. 5) Buy a bunch of ammo, repack your gun bag and clean/lube your firearm. And finally, have fun at the range this year.
Shooting; whether pistols, rifles or shotguns require practice to maintain a level of confidence and safe operation. If it’s been a while since you’ve practiced. Make that resolution to spend more time practicing; and not just showing up and shooting – make an effort to learn from someone that is trained to help you improve your skills and abilities.
Looking forward to seeing you guys at the range in 2018.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved.
By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
Whether you are out shopping, at a holiday party, dinner with the family our even at church; today we are at a higher threat level than in the past.
We have had several incidences recently where the public has been attacked in what would be considered relatively secure venues.
Physical violence does exist. It can materialize anywhere we might be.
As the holidays approach and more people will be in public, the potential for violent attack rises.
In consideration of today’s environment, have you changed how you provide for your personal safety and the safety of your family?
The primary consideration is: DO NOT let these incidents impede or restrict the life you want to live. REFUSE TO LET FEAR PREVAIL. And don’t let someone else prevent you from living.
To live, we must venture beyond the castle wall; and we must be watchful of the threat and be ready to respond.
We have preached that an awareness of happenings around you is ninety percent of your safety protocol. Paying attention to your surroundings and taking action when the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end is the best way to keep you and your family safe. So let’s review the basics of what you see while paying attention, and build on that.
Some of us walk through life unconsciously looking for things. We notice and acknowledge normal and emergency exits, fire extinguishers, AEDs, open pathways, and strange/erratic actions by others to name a few. As we walk through life, we have our heads up looking and our hands free ready to react. In contrast to having our hands wrapped around a cell phone at the waist staring towards the ground into a mind numbing digital screen. Consider how often you seen someone staring at their phone and bump into someone else or a stationary object?
Let’s put the distractions away and observe. Look where you are heading as well as to your sides and above. See, and be aware of your surroundings. Stop on occasion and look where you’ve been.
Most importantly; DO NOT BE SURPRISED! Know what is behind you; and what is out of place!
Although this is not an all-inclusive list, here are a few things to be watching for while in public:
- Pace and flow of people. Steady and directional or increased tempo and erratic?
- Background noise. Normal din of people, or staccato and higher pitched (screaming)?
- Where are exits, cover, or concealment? Can you side step the rush of people? Can you barricade your exit once through?
- If there is security, do you see them? When did you last see one?
- Are there tools nearby that can be used for protection or medical emergency? If you have to take action, are there materials you can use?
- Remember the details. If called upon by authorities, be a good witness.
- Finally. Do you engage? Do you lead the response?
There is a lot to consider; but it’s not “Super Hero” stuff! It’s regular tasks and actions that the average person can undertake to stay safe, keep the innocent around them safe and provide assistance to law enforcement as necessary.
Naturally, this is just scratching the surface; but it’s designed to get you to engage, learn and practice. Take a Protecting The Innocent class from Saddle River Range and keep learning.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
© Copyright 2017 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved.