Sunday, July 21, 2019
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Many have heard the oft overused phrase "toxic masculinity". We could argue the merits of that phrase ad nauseum but that is not what this post is about. I want to talk about the culture of "toxic heroism" that has found its way into certain parts of the military, emergency medical services, law enforcement and fire services among others. First I want to start out by making it clear I am not disparaging the work done by these entities. I want to make that very clear. This is not a bashing of our public servants who often go in harms way for no other benefit than a meager paycheck or sense of accomplishment.
What I do want to talk about are those that make sure we know that is what they are doing. The humble braggers, the "thank me for my service" folks. I spent 22 years in the military in a unit many consider "elite". I thought of myself as such and treated others accordingly. While there was certainly justifiable pride in my accomplishments as I matured and particularly after I retired, I realized that I was but a small cog in the great machine and truthfully my contribution was no better than anyone else's. This became painfully clear as my career came to an end and I felt myself being brushed aside as the operational pace kept moving forward without me.
I have spent the last 13 or so years involved in public safety both as a EMT/Paramedic, private Security Manager and a reserve Law Enforcement Officer. In those capacities I occasionally come in contact with the " We do everything a Doctor does but at 80 MPH" crowd or the " You will respect my authoritah!" folks. So what do all these groups have in common?
First there is a large dose of the Dunning Kruger effect at play here. In a nutshell Dunning Kruger is a cognitive bias where people mistakenly assess their abilities as greater than they actually are. Unfortunately those that seek the most attention normally deserve it the least. Secondly due to this cognitive bias these individuals look down on or discount the contributions of others as part of the whole team concept or chain of events. Thirdly and most importantly the news media and present culture have co opted the word hero and applied it inappropriately so often, its very meaning has changed. Webster's defines Hero as "a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities" By applying the word hero to every service member who completes an enlistment or every EMS provider who transports a sick/injured person to the hospital the word has been cheapened. And this very cheapening has encouraged further abuse of the term.
Is every individual who finished basic training and spent the rest of their enlistment training stateside a hero? Is every volunteer firefighter a hero just because he responds? I would suggest that these folks are just doing their job and doing your job does not make you a hero. And by suggesting they are it simultaneously cheapens the word and fosters an aggressive culture of "look at me."
We need to do better
Saturday, June 1, 2019
The last day consisted of teach backs and learning the method to teach these techniques to fellow members of your department. I have been training Jiu Jitsu for almost 3 years and most of the techniques were not unfamiliar. But to see them taught with a different nuance and also learning the "why" behind each technique was very enlightening. Great course which hopefully I can use to spread this knowledge to my co workers.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
My very first job on my very first Special Forces A Team was as the junior "Weapons Guy". My military occupational specialty even spelled it out, 18B3VW8RU Special Operations Weapons Sergeant Ranger Qualified Freefall Parachutist Russian Language. I was the commander's advisor on tactics and weapons. I was an NRA member, I was a gun guy. But my horizon's were narrow. I knew everything about guns but I didn't know what I didn't know. I progressed up the ranks and my knowledge served me well. In 2004 I retired from Special Forces as a Master Sergeant and Team Sergeant of a Military Freefall team that I had deployed to combat with. Successful but still narrow scope.
So there I was in civilianland with no context. My knowledge really didn't mean anything to these people. I knew how to set the headspace and timing on a M2 .50 cal machinegun or zero a 106mm recoilless rifle but there wasn't a lot of call for that. Even though I had been formally and informally teaching for decades I had no credibility, I had no sheepskin. So I decided to take some handgun and rifle courses. Two things happened. I discovered a shooting program that made complete sense to me and really should be the basic foundation for any firearms training. That program was then known as Combat Focus Shooting and is now known as Intuitive Defensive Shooting. IDS is based on the counterambush methodology and is backed by evidence and empirical data. The other thing that happened is I was pretty sure I could teach this stuff.
So I attended the prerequisite courses as an end user and then worked my way through the Defensive Firearms Coach and Intuitive Defensive Shooting Instructor development courses. Along the way, I picked up the National Rifle Association and the United States Concealed Carry Association Instructor credentials. Cool right? No, not cool because I realized that firearms were not the end all be all after taking these courses. They apply to a very narrow set of circumstances in regards to personal defense.
So the journey continued I became a Stop the Bleed Instructor, Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support, and Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Instructor. Because I realized if you carry a gun for self-defense you better know how to take care of a wounded person. Could be you, could be a loved one.
Then it hit me, what if I didn't have a gun or what if the person was so close I couldn't use a gun? I became an Active Shooter Response instructor through several organizations because you need a plan for those situations. I started taking edged weapons classes which got me into my original weapons based grappling class. I took Krav Maga for a few years and for the last 3 years I have taken Brazilain Jiu Jitsu. I also continued my exploration of weapons based grappling through the Shivworks collective. Shivworks got me interested in Managing Unknown Contacts and the psychology behind criminal activity.
My study of martial arts had turned me on to the Stoic philosophy among others. I started to try and practice stoicism in my daily life. Stoicism and the knowledge I learned from MUC and Martial Arts has made me a humbler and more forgiving person. I read more. I think more, I study more.
I will continue to expand my horizons in an effort to live a life worth living. Gun culture did that for me. I am still a gun guy.
Friday, February 1, 2019
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Improve NoGi skills by attending at least 2 No gi per month
1 BJJ session per week minimum
Read 20 books
Workout 3 x per week
Run/Hike 3 x per week
Maintain weight 180-185
Improve Cardiology Skills by studying 1 hr per week
Improve shooting skills by at least 1 hr of range time (planned out on purpose)
1-2 Ultra Marathon
Attend 1-2 training events outside your own stuff
Move 500 miles