Thursday, July 9, 2020

Yellow River Forest and Backbone July 2020

My Labrador and hiking companion Mel went with me on a short overnight hiking trip this past week.

We took off on Tuesday about 0800 for the 2 hour drive to Yellow River State Forest in Northeast Iowa. Once we showed up we geared up signed in and headed out. This is the same place we did some hiking last year so I was familiar with the area. We decided to do some exploring and go a different route from last year. That lead to our first tactical error. The first mile on the trail we selected was super steep. It took us about 45 minutes and Mel was blowing pretty hard. Being a black Lab she gets overheated quickly and its was over 90 degrees. We rested, ate  and I took her pack off for awhile. We drank about half our water so my next plan was to make towards the camp we had stayed at last year be because I knew there was a creek there. So we hiked that way drinking the rest of our water enroute.  When we got there I refilled water and let Mel drink her fill. I also got her soaked down from the creek. We then made our way a short distance to the camp site. To take a break. When we got there we ate again and this was about 3:30 in the afternoon. I decided to take a small nap and let us both cool down.  After about 15 minutes I heard what appeared to be thunder and the wind picked up. I decided to set up the tent "just in case." Lucky I did because right after I got the tent up and everything inside it started a torrential downpour. Mel and I stayed in the tent for about 90 minutes before it stopped. At that point neither of us felt like going farther so we decided to spend the night. Day one mileage 5 miles.

The next morning we got up about 0545, ate and filled our water up at the stream. We were back on the trail about 0715. I planned on hiking back to the vehicle and then heading south to our next park. Cooler temperatures and easy terrain made the morning hike enjoyable. We basically followed the backpacker loop except when we veered off to climb a bluff and come back down for the views. Getting back to the vehicle about 1045 we had knocked out another 4.2 miles. 

We then headed south to Backbone State Park. It was about an hour drive to the campsite I had reserved. We laid out our gear to dry from the previous days rain storm. We decided to wait on setting up the tent which turned out to be a good move. I took a day pack and Mel had her pack with a small amount of food. We decided to hike the West and East Lake trail loop. We started about 1200. The first few miles were shady and easy going. But then the terrain changed and Mel was getting noticeably hot. I stopped multiple times during the loop to get her water and dunk her in the lake or streams. She continued to overheat and was getting exhausted. When we got back to the truck I decided to call it a trip. I needed to get her cooled off as I thought she was close to heat exhaustion. This loop was 6.8 miles. Total for the day was 11 miles. When we got home she was sore and very lethargic. I got a little concerned but today she was perked back up after food and water. All and all a great trip and shakeout.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

By now you have all probably seen and read about the St Louis couple that confronted a large group of protestors with armed resistance as the protestors moved an around their property. I am not going to argue the legality of the situation as we don't have all the facts. What I want to talk about is how they could have potentially handled the situation better. 

Ultimately it appears this couple reacted out of fear. Fear causes people to improvise. Improvisation is what you saw on display. People improvise when they have no plan. 

An important concept to understand before coming up with a plan is Should vs Could. Just because you can do something doesn't always mean you should. Pointing guns at people and displaying atrocious weapons handling skills is something you probably shouldn't do even if you can. 

Here is a simple plan anyone can and should follow when they plan the defense of their home and property.

The Five Fundamentals of Home Defense

1. Evade- Put yourself in a position where the threat cannot hurt you. Simply put seek a position of advantage. This is tactics 101. Seek the high ground. Abandoning your home to confront a mob on your lawn is a mistake. 

2. Barricade- Make it harder for the threat to get to you. Build a defense in depth. Primary, alternate, contingency and emergency fighting positions. Strengthen your perimeter externally and internally. Have a barricade spot prepared and designated. 

3. Arm- Obtain a tool that can increase your ability to disable a threat ( and prepare it for use). Obviously this couple did that. However part of preparing a lethal force tool for use is knowing basic manual of arms and safety procedures with that tool. This appears to have been lacking. 

4. Communicate- Communicate with the 911 operator. Tell them where you are, what is happening, who is armed and with what. Description of the threat and description of you. This couple claims they called 911, Police dispatch disputes that assertion. Call 911 and stay on the line. 

5. Respond- Respond appropriately of you need to. Know what constitutes a lethal threat and be able to articulate why you believed so. Did the threat have the ability to hurt you? Did they possess the power to kill or cause great bodily harm.  Did the threat have the opportunity? Did they have the capability to immediately employ deadly force or cause great bodily harm? Did the threat put you in jeopardy? Did they show manifest intent to kill or cause great bodily harm?This is referred to as the AOJ triangle. It is important if you respond you be able to articulate why you felt it was justified. 

When preparing to defend your home and property you need to have a plan. Its not as simple as walking outside barefoot with your AR to confront the threat.