Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Recently on a forum, a number of folks including moi were discussing the recent abominable broad-daylight rape (survived) by an oblivious 22-year old airhead in Chicago, and a conversation point came up.

In the AAR discussion of fail that contributed to the event, and in the course of pointing out any number of better choices by the lady involved, a serving troop opined that we of the forum were wrongly blaming the victim.

Firstly, no. As a rule, no one, including the twentysomething oblivious twit, deserves to be raped. The only deserving person in this tale is the rapist, who deserves a long stretch in prison, ideally after a suitable thumping via PR-24 until he looks like Rodney King's "after" pictures. But short of not helpfully tying herself up and wearing a hood, there was little the victim did right, starting with traipsing through Chicago oblivious, and wholly dependent on sunlight and the kindness of strangers for her protection. The flaws in that plan, somewhat tardily, are now apparent to her, having survived the horrendous ordeal.

So in the course of discussing the particulars, a conversation point came up.
I asked Mr. Currently Deployed, "How many grunt patrols in A-stan deploy with troops wearing their ear buds and listening to their music on 10?" (As had Our Victim.)

To which the retort from our man in Kandahar was "If being in an American city is like a combat tour in Afghanistan, we have much bigger problems."

So, apparently it's still news somewhere that the United States murder tally of approx. 16,000+ (go ahead, check the FBI stats) in any average year going back a generation makes the United States over 80 times more dangerous than Afghanistan in any year of the ten-year ongoing war there.

If you hadn't noticed that the body count in any number of American metropolii is higher than the military in the whole of Afghanistan on its worst day, you need to get out more, or read more widely. Chicago is orders of magnitude worse than Afghanistan.

In the last 10+ years since 2002, we've suffered 2100+ military deaths in Afghanistan. Chicago does that number of homicides in 4-5 years without breaking a sweat. Chicago, for it's size (1/1000th) and population (1/10th) relative to Afghanistan, is 20-50 times more unsafe than Afghanistan.

In fact, the stories of troops from everywhere surviving one or multiple tours in the sandbox, only to subsequently get whacked stateside, are legion.

So anyone wandering the streets of Chicago similarly cluelessly can expect similar or worse results than the victim in this sad tale.

Homicides, 2002-present, cities only, not counting surrounding environs:

NYFC = 6,005
Chicago = 5,426
L.A. = 4,761
Detroit = 4,061
Philadelphia = 3,867
Washington D.C. = 1,958

Those six cities alone are twelve Afghanistan wars.

So no offense to anyone with a tour or three there, but comparatively, Afghanistan is an effing church picnic, because the victims here don't routinely have Level IV body armor, an M-4 assault rifle and 300 rounds, a squad of guys backing them up, MRAPS to ride in with a crew-served weapon manned in the turret, and handy air strikes on call.

Which also points out that if the Taliban ever showed up in Bed-Stuy, the Southside of Chicago, or S. Central or East L.A., they'd likely get their asses handed to them. Even our street thugs are tougher than they are. The Taliban don't amount to MS-13 or the Crips on the world food chain of thuggery.

So in either group's turf, it behooves one to try using their eyes, ears, and brains simultaneously to avoid trouble, rather than trusting to the Force or Magic Fairy Dust to protect you.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Resource Update

Under the heading of Medical Reference, there's a book you should add to your list, and your library:

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for when help is NOT on the way

Written by the Altons, AKA Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy of the Doom and Bloom blog and podcast fame, this book is 588 pages of medical gold, for times when 9-1-1 is a fantasy, or a distant hope, and now it's all on you.

This book is a huge expansion and improvement on the 1st Ed., largely due to numerous questions, and some serious dedication to upgrade and improvement by the authors.

You are well advised to get this book, consult it, and get your medical preparations for any major disaster you foresee up to the point where you could take advantage of the information provided. You can store food and water, but there's no Start Trek medical hologram you're going to boot up, on the day.

This book, in your head and on your bookshelf, backed up by a careful and thoughtful acquisition of important medical supplies is the next best thing.

$35 and change on Amazon, and a steal at twice the price.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Birth Certificate

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pole-Vaulting The Shark

There are any number of "tacticool" courses out there.

It's a free country, some are run by consummate professionals, and some by shameless hucksters looking to prove P.T. Barnum correct (and succeeding beyond the dreams of mere avarice).
Caveat emptor.

But when someone purporting to teach a tactical contractor medical course issues a "round count" requirement, and then piles on by suggesting that 2250 rounds is probably 1000 rounds too low, but they're caving to the ammo shortage, grab your wallet with both hands.

But then, I was blissfully unaware of all this, preferring the sharks to go about their way of getting fed, while I pursue my own daily crust in my own manner. Live and let live.

Then, someone on a forum noted that he was ponying up $1650 for a 5-day class.
So I took a look at the syllabus.
And my head exploded, as seen below:

Good holy Christ!

I doubt if I spent much more than $1650 on nursing school to get an R.N., and it wasn't in pre-electricity days.

If that's the going rate, I'm definitely in the wrong end of this business.
$9/hr/student, for a class that's not even half as long as the D.O.T. mandate for basic EMT??
One 12-student class, per year, and I could take the other 51 weeks off!

I don't care how good they are, at those rates, the class should come with Kate Upton giving you a BJ for a graduation gift.

If you know absolutely nothing, and this was taught by SF 18Ds and Harvard Med School Emergency Medicine docs, I'd say $500, maybe $750 including materials.

YouTube is free, EMT classes at the JC or OccCenter are usually under $200 all-in, and you could put together a kick-ass kit with the $1400 you'd have saved.

And that's without even considering the amount of course time spent (wasted) on cram-teaching squad tactics, and burning through those 2250 pistol and rifle rounds which is time you aren't doing hands on, didactic, or lecture coverage of little things like hemorrhage control, airways, field improvisation, or all the other spiffy stuff you can get for free by downloading the PowerPoint's for TCCC free online about 5 places, and spending 50 hours on YouTube, or even better, 42 hours on youTube, and 8 hours 1:1 with a decent trauma RN, paramedic, Physician Asst., M.D., or even "just" a decent medic from the local volunteer fire squad.

Anybody purporting to teach you medical training who has a mandatory round count is a quack.
Not only is the round count at Harvard and Stanford Med School zero, but it's the same round count as at Ft. Sam Houston for 18Ds back in the day.

Medical training is medical training. Yes, there's obviously a component that requires a tactical mindset, but if you're burning through the basic load of a squad in combat, you aren't a medic, you're the Terminator.

I don't care who teaches this, or what their other bona fides are, this smells like Rambo Fantasy Baseball Camp.

Seriously, find a good TCCC class, and learn how to use the medical toys and apply the assessments. Learning medical stuff from guys who want to shoot stuff up is as silly as taking shooting classes from doctors. (Oh, too late, Front Sight grads. WTF?)

What next, Massad Ayoob teaches field appendectomies with the .40 S&W?
The MagPul Dynamics School of Cardiology? For $5K a pop??

Trauma training and firearms go together like peanut butter and jellyfish.
One is going to be good, and the other is going to be horrible. You guess which.
Medicine, even field medicine, is a higher thinking and fine motor set of skills. You have to know it well on its own before anyone gets anything out of loud noises and high adrenaline tactical exercises, except being really stressed, and poorly trained.

I'm trying to think of the medical school, nursing school, paramedic school, or anything like where they run the participants through BUD/S Hell Week the entire time, but I'm coming up with nothing.

I have seen this business model before though.
Usually, it's called Film School.

Ay carumba!
Best Regards,

Boys and girls, if the market is charging $1650 for less than half the content of the most basic EMT course available, save your dough and stay home.
That market is broken, crazy, or both.
The American Academy of Orthopedics publishes Emergency Care And Transportation Of The Sick And Injured, 10th ed., every several years. It's the bible of emergency medical care, and it's available on Amazon for $62.76.
The PowerPoint notes for Tactical Combat Casualty Care are available free online in multiple places. (And I've already covered the Average Citizen highlights on this blog.)
So are any number of videos demonstrating and explaining all the concepts and specific techniques in both of the above, on YouTube.
This is one of the few places where the Internet is truly wonderful.
If, out of sheer gratitude, you'd like to split the difference, and send me half of the $1487.26 I just saved you, I'll be happy to tell you where to send a check for my $743.63.
And when someone shoots at you, duck and cover, then shoot back.
Now I've just saved you 2250 rounds of ammunition better allocated for other purposes.
So by internet standards, I'm also a tactical shooting school guru.
Genuflect as you leave the Presence.