The Way of the Gun

The day after we witness the 2019 Sheepdog of the year, Jack Wilson, in action is the perfect time to write this post. As most of you know Jack stopped an active shooter, in his church, last Sunday with a well placed shot to head. The shooter was white man who had killed at least one African American church member before he was stopped. Normally a shooting of that nature would touch off a hysterical frenzy in the dinosaur press with every Democrat running for president franticly rushing to the scene to denounce the  Gun.

This shooting doesn’t fit the dinosaur media narrative so it is now tied only to Joe Biden who had displayed his tenuous grip on reality by calling the Governor of Texas “irrational” for allowing church goers to carry.

A link to the video of this shooting is here. As you watch there are lessons for us all, the first of which was the first man shot was in the act of pulling a pistol.

Note also that Jack Wilson brings the weapon up to his line of sight without any other movement in his legs or torso, it was one smooth motion, a slight pause and then boom; one round into grape of a bad man. At least six more partitioners produce weapons and moved toward the downed shooter. Some of them obviously had training and moved well, some of them didn’t. All of them are  now enjoying the esteem and prestige that comes with being a Sheepdog.

When the trumpet sounds and you step up life is good.

The presence of an unknown number of citizens armed with a concealed pistols in a given venue introduces friction into an active shooter scenario. This is why people like Dave Grossman encourage concealed carry. I do not expect the average concealed carry permit holder to be anymore proficient in gun handling and marksmanship skills than the average police officer or service member. Police officers and military personnel receive training on the fundamentals of marksmanship which are validated with qualification courses.

Passing a known distance qualification course is not training, it indicates the shooter is ready for training. The vast majority of uniformed law enforcement and military personnel have had no training on the pistol beyond the basic qualification requirements.

The pistol is a tool that has strengths and limitations. One of the strengths is it equalizes the disparities in force between large people and smaller ones. Spend a few hours watching John Corriea, ( Active Self Protection)  videos and you will see the utility of a firearm, particularly for women, even when the shooter is poorly trained.

One of the weaknesses of pistols is they trade stopping power and range for portability and ease of concealment. The old saying that nobody takes a pistol to a gun fight is true, but ironic. In the American context the first multiple shot, mass produced pistol was the only gun to bring to a gunfight with the dreaded Comanche.

In 1836 Samuel Colt produced his first revolver, a 5 shot  .36–.380-inch ball pistol he called the “Colt Paterson”. They didn’t sell well but for some reason the President of the Republic of Texas purchased over 100 of them complete with ammunition and spare cylinders.  The legendaryTexas Ranger Captain John Coffee “Jack” Hayes found  the pistols after the Texas Navy was disbanded and instantly realized that having them would even the score when fighting Comanches, the only plains Indians who fought while mounted. This is a fascinating story and you can hear all about on this recent Joe Rogan Podcast with S.C. Gwen, author of the book Empire of the Summer Moon.

A pistol is a tool and mastering the employment of that tool is the first step in separating Sheepdog from the average concealed carry permit holder. Understanding how to use a pistol requires understanding the dynamics of inter-species aggression, disregarding the “default to trust” mechanism, which is genetically hardwired in humans, an understanding of the observe-orient-decide-act (OODA) loop, and confidence in your ability to intervene.

When David Grossman first wrote about sheepdogs he was not talking about you or me. He was talking about the 2% of the population who are hard wired to never choose the options of flight, posture, or submission when confronted with inter-species aggression. He was talking about the 2% if allied fighter pilots in World War II who downed 40% of the enemy aircraft.

What Grossman has proved over the years is that sheepdog can be made. To become a sheepdog requires a solid grounding on interspecies violence, understand human performance under stress, and the techniques used by predators to activate our default to trust mechanism . Grossman’s book On Killing,  The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker, (who is no fan of the second amendment) and the recently published Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell are the three must read  books.

The default to trust mechanism is a new term introduced into popular use by Malcolm Gladwell. He discusses it in great detail  during a recent  Joe Rogan Podcast:  here’s the link.  The Gift of Fear is another true original work and If you watch the video I linked to above after reading it you will lock onto the shooter before the first does, its uncomfortable because you know what is going to happen and you don’t want to see it.

Getting weapons training is critical because when mastered you are much less likely to shoot, even when the law clearly allows you to do so. This was explained well on a Joe Rogan Podcast with Rock and Roll legend and friend of the American serviceman, Sturgill Simpson. He found a intruder in his home one morning when his family was away. Sturgill was armed with an M4 style rifle and  could have shot the man, which is absolutely legal under the law. Instead, seeing the wide open back door, and knowing that  there was nobody else home he let the guy run out the back door.

Sturgill Simpson is a smart man, he may have never heard of the term “keep your honor clean” but he explains it when he tells Joe why he didn’t shoot. Americans use firearms in self-defense hundreds of thousands of times every year, usually without firing a shot. The converse is also true; training and reading will enable you to act decisively when I the breach.

The gold standard for sheepdogs everyday carry. That means the pistol is holstered when you get dressed in the morning and unholstered when you go to bed at night.  Carrying 24/7 is uncomfortable and limits what you can do and where you can go. You cannot drink while carrying because the act alone, regardless of the amount, puts you outside the color of the law.  The standard is 24/7 which was easy for me in Afghanistan but not always possible in the United States so the Sheepdog adapts as necessary.

I am not a gun guy and not interested in models, calibers, custom work etc… My interests have always been in human performance in combat. I understand the various operating systems and trigger set ups, how to take them apart and clean them, but care little about customizing and other normal gun geek topics. I carry a Gen 5 Glock 19 with a Trijicon RMR sight to compensate for decreased visual acuity.

I also own several 1911’s and use them when doing any serious range training. I use the Glock because I know how to work the trigger (pressing and keeping the slack out) and get a consistent single action break every time I shoot it. I prefer the 1911 because it has a true single action trigger, it’s ergonomic, the .45  round packs a punch while the slide cycles smoothly enough to allow rapid sight alignment on follow on shots.

I know gun people are really particular about their guns but any gun will do – it’s the shooter that counts. This concludes the four part Sheepdog series that I started last month for reasons I no longer remember. I just had something to say on the topic and now that it is off my mind it is time for more book writing. The Staff of Free Range International wishes you and yours a Happy New Year.

 

The Secret Power of Sheepdogs – Verified by the Most Trusted Man in America Today

The most contentious aspect of the sheepdog concept is the concealed carry component. When we first heard David Grossman at West Point my fellow IOC instructors and I understood the sheepdog message but started to tune out the specifics when he heard the phrase “abstaining from alcohol”. We were Marine Corps infantry officers and that wasn’t happening.

Despite the emphasis on weapons, sheepdogs are most often unmasked by events that have nothing to do with having a firearm. Keanon Lowe, a high school football coach in Portland Oregon, disarmed and then comforted a distraught student, stopping a potential catastrophe before it could happen.  When he found himself in the breach, he stepped up, and that’s what I’m talking about with sheepdogs. Had he done the exact same thing at Columbine High School in 1999 he would have been shot dead. That’s what David Grossman is talking about with sheepdogs.

If you carry a concealed pistol because you cannot tolerate the thought of being unable to act in the infinitesimally remote chance that you are in a position to act, that is great. But having a medical trauma bag and the knowledge to use it is an infinitely more practical skill. The chances you will encounter an auto accident or medical emergency while you are out and about are near 100%. Having the skills to help without the tools is useless. You might be able to repurpose found objects to render some sort of primitive immediate aid, but when a competent person arrives with a trauma bag they are going to politely ask you to step aside.

When bad accidents happen enough people stop to allow the rest of us to, in good conscience, carry on. In this day and age the vast majority of people will never encounter gun violence or human depredation. But nobody gets through life unscathed by trauma.

Having a bias for action and the heart of a lion is not worth much without the capacity to act.  According to Grossman at all times and in all places a sheepdog must be ready to step into the breach. Nobody walks out of Thanksgiving dinner expecting a 122mm rocket to slam into the yard and kill a bunch of their friends. I didn’t; I should have because I was in the Green Zone of Baghdad (in 2004) working the American Embassy guard contract, but I didn’t.

The GP tent containing our Nepalese volleyball team instantly caught fire trapping wounded men inside. We were scheduled to play the Marine Detachment after standing post for them on November  10th. They were hosting a Volleyball tournament and barbecue for us in return, which is why we had a GP tent set up inside our compound – Nepalese are serious as a heart attack about Volleyball.

This called for some hero stuff like sprinting 100 yards and diving head first into a burning tent to pull out the wounded. Two of my colleagues, an American and an Australian, did just that, but not me. By the time my fat ass had jogged 100 meters the window of opportunity for rescue had closed. That will never happen to me again, it should not have happened in the first place.

The consequences of failing to act during a moment of crisis will reverberate through the entirety of a life. The ability to act in a moment of crisis will likewise reverberate through the entirety of your life. The guilt associated with failing to act because you could not act due to a complacent, sedentary lifestyle….can ruin a life.

The humiliation at falling short when in the breach combined with later experiences in Afghanistan forced me to adopt most of the Grossman Sheepdog standards. In doing so I discovered that the Sheepdog creed guarantees exceptional quality of life as we age. That contention, as is everything sheepdog, is validated  by Joe Rogan himself, the most trusted man in America today.

I will cover the Grossman standards of concealed carry in my next post, but one of his mandates was (when he laid this out in the early 90’s) abstaining from alcohol. The reason is simple; if you are carrying concealed and consume any alcohol you are, by definition, outside the color of the law. To David Grossman the alcohol thing requires no further explanation. To Marine Corps infantry officers abstinence from alcohol was crazy man talk.  But when you get past 60 and have type 2 diabetes that requires daily injections of insulin, not drinking alcohol is easy. And it turns out you sleep better if you don’t drink, who would have thought that?

Plus, if you are over 60, and not on a regular strength training program, you have  problems with the concept of cause and effect. The science on  strength  training for the aging is both clear and unequivocal. The only way to mitigate cognitive and musculature degeneration as you age is by strength training. This fact is so well know that I include no Joe Rogan link; he has hundreds of hours talking with scientists, physicians, writers, martial artists, SEAL’s, CIA agents and a Marine or two on the topic.

I am a disciple of former NFL player Pete Koch. His routines are difficult and include lots of squats because (as he often says) when you can’t squat to use a toilet it’s over.

If you can do three of Pete Koch’s 30 seconds at a time routines, without stopping, you are in exceptional shape. His training is designed for the geriatric set but most 30 year olds couldn’t do one of them. They are ball busters. For Marines, Pete Koch has a special place in our hearts because he played a Recon Marine in the popular Clint Eastwood movie Heartbreak Ridge in the 80’s.

Pete Koch played The Swede in Clint Eastwoods movie Heartbreak Ridge. He has additional credibility with Marines because he admitted that filming a movie in Camp Pendleton that was supposed to take place at Camp LeJeune was weird.

When you look at Pete Koch or Joe Rogan you are probably thinking that it is impossible to attain that level of muscular development and conditioning past the age of 50, let alone 60. For most of human history you would have been correct, but not now.

Joe Rogan has talked dozens of times about testosterone replacement therapy (Test as the cool kids on Rogan call it) and the importance of maintianing optimal hormonal balance. I have three years on the Test, HGH, and several other supplements recommended by Rogan or his guests.  My experience is they allow you to work out with more intensity, recover faster, and add lean muscle mass. For married men the additional benefits from increased free testosterone will be appreciated by your partner.

Obtaining these supplements (Test and HGH are injectables) is easy and the testosterone covered by most  medical insurance plans. If you get on schedule, start working out hard, and stay with the routine for a few months, you will be amazed at the difference. There are supplements for women so this is not a gender specific thing, my wife is on them too.

But you will not start to look like Joe Rogan or Pete Koch unless and until you are on a strict diet.

The science here too is unequivocal and the topic covered in depth on dozens  of Joe Rogan podcasts. For years I supplemented and worked out hard but this year I got serious about diet in an effort to reduce my dependence on insulin.

I use a local branch of the national franchise that has weekly weigh-ins/body analysis and prepares lunch and dinner meals for clients based on the results. With the exception of bullet coffee in the morning I drink only water. It’s not easy to stay on the diet but nothing worth doing is easy.

The latest Science tells us you can lower your biological age with diet and exercise. Knowing that is all the motivation some people need to get and stay on a program, but it wasn’t for me, and I doubt it is for you . I write this knowing that motivation and self-discipline are the keys to a quality life (here is the validation of that from Joe Rogan).

But knowing something and acting on that knowledge is tough.  I came at the Sheepdog thing backwards. Once I found myself living the way David had recommended all those years ago, I discovered the magic of Trijicon RMR sights. Glock make a model 19 with the slide already cut for reflex sights and the trigger on it is not bad. If I did need the tool I can now employ it with precision, so why not carry the tool? It reinforces what you should be fostering in your self image and that is you are both disciplined and dangerous. Jocko Willink and Jordan Peterson cover that topic here.

I adopted the harsh physical conditioning standards of David Grossman after learning the hard way the price of not doing so. Despite listening for years to Joe Rogan and his guests talk about the importance of diet, I did not take their advice seriously until my diabetes was out of control. Now that I figured it out I thought the secret is worth sharing. You can even  us an appendix rig to carry when the stomach flattens, finally, after how years?

I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, a holiday I dreaded up until a few years ago. If you’re a Vet (or not) and are reading this and you are alone this holiday season leave a message in the remarks. I want to talk to you.

The Taliban has Destroyed ISIS-K in Nangarhar Province: Now They Plan to Focus on US

I have no idea why the destruction of ISIS-K by the Taliban in Nangarhar Province has remained virtually uncovered in the legacy media. That has changed with an excellent interview of the Taliban leadership in Nangarhar Province by The Washington Post. The Taliban were celebrating their recent crushing of ISIS-K (or the F’ing Daesh in local lingo). They gave an interview in Khogyani district, which is close to Jalalabad and was once solidly under government control.

This picture is from the back of a UN road building contractors armored vehicle in the Khogyani district center back in 2008.

The Taliban were direct and to the point regarding continued military operations. Check out this quote from one of the Taliban commanders:

Mullah Nik Muhammad Rahbar, 28, a Taliban commander responsible for Kabul province, pointed to the resources freed up by the conclusion of the fight against the Islamic State in Nangahar, saying the Taliban would be able to shift back to conducting more high-profile attacks in Kabul and elsewhere.

“Thank God you saw what we achieved against Bagram today,” he said. “We launch attacks in Kabul because there are many foreigners there, many targets for us.”

The Taliban went on to claim that they are not targeting Afghan civilians (the UN attributes 922 civilians killed and 2,901 wounded just this year by the Taliban) and that they will now shift their attention to the Government and ‘foreigners.’

Taliban fighters showing their weapons to the press in Khogyani. Photo by Lorenzo Tugnoli for the Washington Post

This is not good news because there are bunch of ‘foreigners’ stationed at the Jalalabad Airfield and with ISIS-K gone they have little to do except support the Afghanistan National Army trainers at the nearby whatever the former Camp Gamberi is now called.  Khogyani is not far from J-bad and back in the day the Muj would pick off Soviet Hinds on the approach to the J-bad airfield on an alarmingly regular basis (when they had the Stingers).

The United States cannot afford to throw a bunch of soldiers inside an Airbase without some kind of active patrolling to keep the Jihadis from getting too comfortable squatting within mortar or man packed anti-air missile range. Patrolling like that takes boots on the ground which are in short supply.

Anybody who thinks the Taliban will fail to take a shot at inflicting serious casualties on an American military formation doesn’t understand Afghans. This is what they do and they will pay a steep price if they think they can generate some serious casualties and destroy some aircraft in the process.

The United States Military is not agile enough to withdraw resources from the eastern provinces while maintaining the relentless air campaign that has dropped more air-delivered ordinance this year than any prior year in the Afghan War.  Throwing around 1000 pounders will result in collateral damage and we now know that the generals running this war know that collateral damage incurred while blasting Taliban creates more Taliban and is a losing strategy.

But it is all they have for now; the Generals and senior government Mandarins have no problem stringing this out for years to come. The President isn’t happy with the status quo, I’m not sure what the Democrats position is on Afghanistan as they seem to have lost their minds with the sham impeachment they inflicted on us. I have said before, and will say again, this is not going to end well.

The History Behind the Wolves, Sheep and Sheepdog Analogy

The Wolves, Sheep and Sheepdog analogy, coined by David Grossman in his book On Killing,  has gone viral over the years attracting a tsunami of positive reviews, clubs, blogs, and a ton of negative press. Type “wolves sheep and sheepdogs” into goggle and you’ll get 306,000 results in 0.79 seconds.  Scroll through the links and you will see how large and controversial the concept has grown over the years.

My knowledge on the topic comes from knowing David Grossman before he started the Killology Research Group.

I was introduced  to David Grossman during a visit to West Point in 1991.  I was an instructor at Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course and our group chief, Major John Allen, got us invited to West Point to exchange presentations at an after-hour military club ( I think it was a maneuver warfare club).  Major Allen had come from the Naval Academy to take over the Infantry Officer Course, so he knew how to wrangle invitations to military academies.

Most of my fellow instructors and I were just tagging along, Major Allen and Mike “Mac” McNamara were doing the presenting of our new decision making and staff development programs which they had just written. In return two instructors from West Point, a Captain named Richard Hooker, who had just published a well received anthology on Maneuver Warfare, and a Major named David Grossman, who was about to publish a book on the human factor in combat, gave presentations to us and the hundred or so cadets in the club.

Richard Hooker wrote a good book and was a decent guy, but David Grossman’s presentation was super intense. We had never heard of anyone probing the human factors in combat in such detail. John Keegan had first wrote on the issue in his famous book The Face of Battle but David Grossman was way beyond Keegan. He combined  historical research with modern psychology and synthesized a unique, compelling, explanation for how to develop proficiency in the primary task (killing the enemy in battle) and the price paid by the combatant for his time on an active battlefield.

As I recall most of us  spent every minute we could talking to David over the several days of the visit. Here is one example I remember well; we knew about the fight of flight response generated by a threat, but none of us had ever heard about the inter-species options of fight, flight, posture, or submission. As soon as Grossman explained it to us we could see it was legit. That was just one, minor, example of the fertile ground David Grossman cultivated in his groundbreaking work. 

This is an intense book on an intense topic and it remains the definitive text on killing in combat.

David was gracious enough to give us several copies of the manuscript that would become his best seller On Killing. I incorporated his ideas into the IOC close combat package and I was glad to have them because I was on the hook to come up with something original after Mac had revised the entire decision making program.

During his presentation Grossman went through his sheepdog versus sheep analogy (with attribution to an unknown Vietnam vet) in great detail. These days the sheepdog analogy has become controversial. It was featured in the movie American Sniper and here is an extract of Grossman’s work I found in a Slate article exploring the “Surprising History of American Snipers Wolves Sheep and Sheepdogs Speech<

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.

The Slate article is amusing because the authors are alarmed at how far and wide the Sheepdog concept had spread. They think the idea is crazy, and I can see their point, Idid I too, at first. Being school trained reporters they (typically it seems these days) get the facts wrong. When discussing the origins of the Sheepdog metaphor they write: “Grossman crafted this analogy in response to 9/11 and the war in Iraq”.

David Grossman published On War in 1996.

I had a chance to listen to David’s presentation in 2002 when Front Sight Firearms Training Institute (where I was an instructor) and the Nye County Sheriff Department hosted him and his family for a four day defensive handgun course in exchange for one of his seminars

David and I had a short conversation at dinner in Vegas after the course when he determined I wasn’t carrying. It was a one-sided conversation. I wasn’t carrying because it’s a pain and I shoot all day, everyday, so not having a pistol was nice and I wanted to drink some beer with dinner.

He  replied that carrying, given the proficiency I had developed and the training I had received over the years, should be considered an obligation. He said  I owed it to everyone around me to be able to employ lethal force, if required, to prevent trauma or loss of life. He then asked why I would willingly surrendered the one tool that would enable me to provide effective intervention to stop potential loss of a human life?

I understood what he was talking about and would like to say that, then and there, I corrected my selfish attitude on the matter. That’s not what happened, after talking to David that night I decided I wasn’t going to carry concealed anymore.<

Wake up, get dressed, holster a pistol and leave it there until you go to bed? That’s crazy talk and I also knew there is no upside to inserting yourself into a lethal force encounter. Even if the shooting is ruled justified by the jurisdiction involved there is a legion of powerful law firms who will file a civil case against you for a cut of the payout. You might win in civil court too, but you’re going to spend tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

I would not learn the lessons that David Grossman had taught me until I started working in Afghanistan as a heavily armed humanitarian.That’s what this blog was about when I started it eleven years ago.  I built, on time and on budget, in the most contested regions of Afghanistan, some massive projects. I carried a pistol from the second I got dressed until I went to bed. Because I understood weapons and also understood the dynamics of interspecies aggression I used my weapons on several occasions to de-escalate situations that were heading pear shaped fast.

Let me stipulate that what kept me safe in the remote, rural, contested districts were the Afghan people in those districts. In many places I worked I was the only westerner they had or will ever see. I traveled heavily armed to mitigate the risk of kidnapping or an attempt on the monthly payroll. Kidnapping and strong-arm robberies are not now and never have been confined to just Taliban. Criminal gangs avoid hard targets and my motto in Afghanistan was if you can’t be safe, be hard to kill (or kidnap).

I don’t believe I survived 7 years outside the wire Afghanistan because I’m good with guns. I survived because I am good with people and the Afghan people valued what I was doing for them. If the Taliban ever decided they wanted to take me out there was little I could have done to stop them. I know of at least one case when they were going to try (inside the town of Delaram at one of my projects) but the district governor and some local elders, and a mullah ran them off. I never knew about it until years later.<

I have adopted the Sheepdog standard knowing full well the chances of me every using a pistol in a lethal force encounter are slight.  I also know that if I am ever faced with a situation where a pistol could stop a perpetrator before he hurt or killed innocents, and failed to act ….. I would have problems living with that.

For me it, as it has been for David Grossman all his adult life, the Sheepdog decision is a decision to keep my honor clean*.

*Mike “Mac” McNamara, who presented a new tactical decision making class in 1991, is now the host of All Marine Radio. He has developed a Post Traumatic Winning program that is about to make him famous. The “keep your honor clean” reference is from his PTW presentation. Click here to find out more about Post Traumatic Winning.

The Mathematical Case For Concealed Carry Aboard Military Installations

I recently read a fascinating article on how Storm Water Hydrologists evaluate the risks of significant flooding events. The article was titled The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper and is one of those articles that explains technical details I did not know. The author did the math to show that we have a 37% chance of witnessing a revolution in the United States during our life time. A simplified version of that math is below, but do read the article to get the background behind the formula:

If you think that extreme check out this paragraph from a New Yorker article about super rich preppers:

Yishan Wong, an early Facebook employee, was the C.E.O. of Reddit from 2012 to 2014. He, too, had eye surgery for survival purposes, eliminating his dependence, as he put it, “on a nonsustainable external aid for perfect vision.” In an e-mail, Wong told me, “Most people just assume improbable events don’t happen, but technical people tend to view risk very mathematically.” He continued, “The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.”

In the last ten years there have been six active shooter incidents on American military bases. The list starts with the killing of 13 (wounding of over 30) by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, and ends with yesterdays shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Using the formula above (which is the same formula used to determine flood plain risk) the math predicts your chance of encountering an active shooter event aboard a military base is 47%.

Last month the Department of Defense released a plan to allow concealed carry on military bases. It may surprise most citizens to learn that a concealed weapon aboard a military base now is a serious offense. Any potential active shooter who wants an area with lots of targets where the only chance of armed intervention is from uniformed officers arriving on the scene; an American military base is the perfect venue.

When discussing  the probability of competent armed intervention by concealed carry permit holders into an active shooter scenario there are few places with more people who trained in the use of small arms than an American military base. The last place an active shooter should ever have success is on one.

When the number of armed citizens is unknown, but probable, friction is injected into the active shooter scenario. An example of friction occurred in another shooting on a military base that was not included in our sample.

In 1994 Air Force Staff Sergeant Andy Brown, a Military Policeman, was on bike patrol at Fairchild Air Force in Spokane, Washington. A gunman, armed with an AK 47 started shooting a the base hospital and had already killed four and wounded 19 people before SSgt Brown arrived on scene. He proceeded to stop the shooter with a 70-yard head shot using his M-9 Beretta service pistol.

The Beretta M-9 is a crappy pistol that is difficult to run. The only way to hit someone at 70 yards with one is to cock the hammer to make the shot using the single action feature of the two stage double action/single action (DA/SA in gun talk) trigger set-up. Andy Brown knew this because he was one of those guys who decided he needed proper training to carry a pistol. He paid on the civilian market to get that training and he is the perfect example of the Pareto Principal (that stipulates 80% of the work is done by 20% of the workforce).

Andy Brown was a uniformed officer who responded to the event which seems to bolster the argument for allowing only the police to react. But he is no ordinary police officer, he’s an outlier. You can study thousands of active shooter responses and you will not find one where an officer, after riding a bike as fast as he could for several miles, took and made a 70 yard head shot.

That is extraordinary gun handling and marksmanship, fortune favors the prepared, in my opinion Andy Brown earned whatever luck he had on hitting the x-ring from so far away. Not many police officers could do that.  I can name, off the top of my head, over a 100 guys who could make that shot without breaking a sweat. None of them are current police officers, some of them have no police or military experience. They are out there by the thousands and most have made the decision to carry.

Andy Brown was not your average Air Force policeman. On most bases, there are plenty of servicemen and women who could have intervened, as effectively as he did,  if they were allowed to  be armed. Historically unarmed service members (and civilians) have run to the sound of the guns during these incidents to try and intervene. The recent derailing of a terrorist attack on the London Bridge by citizens who armed themselves with found objects (including a Narwhale tusk) is a good example.

Sheepdogs in action against an Islamic Terrorist with two knives taped to his hands. Armed citizens can end these events quicker and with less mayhem using legally owned and licensed firearms.

I mentioned the Pareto Principal because my best guess is around 20% of the service members (and civilians) serving on American bases would choose to carry. If my guess is in the ballpark that is enough friction to make a difference with the problem of active shooters on military bases. The same would be true of public schools.

An added benefit to allowing concealed carry on military bases is the propensity for commanding officers to insist on additional training on the employment of concealed pistols if their troops are going to be allowed to carry them. Here’s why that is a benefit:  do you know the one segment of the American military that does not have a problem with negligent discharges into clearing barrels? The United States Air Force Military Police. Do you know who routinely carries their pistols in condition 1 at all times? The Air Force Military Police.*

I’m not a fan of these damn things and they have become very expensive to manufacture because they are now designed to mitigate ND’s into clearing barrells

Condition one on a M-9 service pistol is a round in the chamber, hammer de-cocked, and the de-cocking lever up in the fire position.  On every FOB overseas the military has soldiers clear their weapons (magazine out, chamber empty de-cocker down in the de-cocked mode). Every FOB has been plagued by an alarming number of negligent discharges into clearing barrels.

One would think the example set by Air Force MP’s would be more widely duplicated; allowing concealed carry on base essentially does that. You don’t clear concealed weapons, not knowing they are there is the point of concealment. Maybe if commanders grew acclimated to troops with condition 1 weapons at all times they would  more away from the “clearing weapons” problem.

I never actually “cleared” my pistol at any FOB in Afghanistan but I was running a 1911 and the only way to engage the safety is in the locked and cocked configuration. A cleared 1911 looks identical to a hot one and I don’t understand carrying a pistol that is not hot.

There is a 37% chance that I could see a revolution in this country during my  lifetime but, there is very little I can do to mitigate that risk. The 47% chance that I could run into an active shooter aboard a military base, while not that much more likely, is something I can mitigate easily. My next post will explain the gold standard for American Sheepdogs as explained to me by the man who first coined the term. He is David Grossman, the founder of the Killology Research Group, and for the last 20 years the most sought after police trainer in the world.

*Special thanks to Kerry Patton for the inside scoop of Air Force MP’s 

FRI Reviews Trust-Based Leadership

I opened a large package that arrived in the mail last week and out fell an encyclopedia sized book on leadership. There on the cover, larger than life, was Mike Ettore, who I served with in the Marines 20 years ago. He was staring off in the distance with a sense of purpose and the moral rectitude that one associates with famous men like Vince Lombardi. I was elated; my friend Mike Ettore must have become a famous football coach because who the hell is going to read 549 pages on trust-based leadership if there was no insight into how to approach a third and long with just seconds to go in some kind of game? I stopped watching the NFL over a decade ago, long before it was cool, so he could have been dominating there for all I knew.

I held it up to my wife and said, “hey I know this guy he must have gotten into football coaching or something and become famous”.

My wife held out her hand, she has a Ph.D. in organizational leadership and is an educator, so she knows the industry. She starts scanning the chapters and looks at me;

“You know Mike Ettore”?

“Of course, he sent me the book, but I didn’t know he was a pro football coach”.

“He’s not, he runs executive leadership training and I’ve heard of his Fidelis Group; …. they’re out of Tampa”, she adds just in case I thought she was joking me.

I never saw the book again, off it went to her office and a week or so later I’m sitting at my computer doing writer stuff and up pops this notification from LinkedIn, a platform I rarely visit,  it’s a note from Mike Ettore asking if I got the book. I had to move a yellow sticky on my screen that said “send Ettore a thank you for the book” to read the notification.

I wrote to Mike immediately explaining the book had been highjacked (as if that meant anything) and then apologized for being a scumbag. I added I’d write a review on Amazon and retrieved my copy, but realized the book needed a blog post. Mike took the time to write what I consider the definitive book on leadership and it’s entertaining. I want to be entertaining back with the review.

Mike wrote this book as a text to be used for developing leaders in every human endeavor where there is a hierarchy. His biggest, dare I say controversial, contention is that leaders are made, not born. Coming from Mike Ettore that is hard to believe, at first, as is the idea that Marine Crops leadership doctrine can be injected, in any meaningful way, into a civilian business environment. I could easily see Mike as a successful, innovative, football coach because Mike was an exceptionally gifted infantry leader. But coaching executives on the importance of eating last? That seemed to be a bridge too far.

Mike Ettore, at age 20, after just two year in the Marine Corps, was a drill instructor at Parris Island. First term enlisted drill instructors are as rare as finding a diamond in a goat’s butt. Ettore left the Marines after his first enlistment to complete college and returned as an infantry officer. As a rifle platoon commander, he saw action in Grenada and Beirut making him one of the rare combat vets back in the 80’s and 90’s when we served together. As a company commander he won the Leftwich Trophy, an annual award presented to the best infantry company commander in the Fleet Marine Forces. An award that means little to most people but everything to an infantry officer.

When I met Mike, he was heading up the tactics department at The Basic School (TBS) which is a six-month course every newly commissioned officer of Marines must attend after their commissioning. TBS is designed to train new lieutenants in the art of leading Marines by training them how to be infantry platoon commanders. The Marine Corps takes the “every man a rifleman” thing seriously so every Marine, regardless of gender or military occupational specialty (MOS) is trained to fight as dismounted infantry.

I was an instructor at the Infantry Officer Course (IOC) and for reasons that need not be explained here there was friction between the tactics department and IOC. That ended soon after Mike’s arrival, he understood the difference between entry and advanced level fire and maneuver. He also understood our need to start at the squad level in an aggressive 10-week course that had over twenty, increasingly difficult, live fire events.

Drill Instructor at 20, rare combat leadership experience as a Lieutenant, winner of the Leftwich as a Captain; one would think Ettore is one of those hard asses who insists on blind obedience to regulations and strict attention to orders. He’s not and that his the first of many family jewels in the Marine Corps leadership doctrine revealed to readers who did not enjoy the opportunity to experience them firsthand. Despite what you have seen in movies or read in books a successful Marine infantry leader can only be successful if his troops respect and love him.

Not every man who passes through the Marine Corps leadership training pipeline masters the nuances of infantry leadership. There are both bad leaders and bad units in the Marine Corps as there are in every large organization. I’ve always thought bad leaders were missing an ingredient the successful leader obviously enjoyed. In other words, I thought good leaders were born to the task.

Readers who are not familiar with the military in general or the Marine Corps specifically will be overwhelmed by the exacting standards of Marine Corps Leadership. You will be dubious at the contention that the Marine Corps instills these traits and principals in young men and women who have just completed High School.

I have a short cut to understanding the dynamic, but it’s a little long. Listen to this 4-hour 15 minute Jocko Willink podcast about an incident that played out in less than 10 seconds; 15 years ago, involving a young Marine Corporal named Jason Dunham. Jocko is joined by four Marines who were with Jason that day. They explain who Jason was, how he became a squad leader at such a young age, his training for Iraq and the events leading up to the day he was mortally wounded. All four of the Marines and Jocko lose their composure several times during the discussion. It is fascinating listening;  a truly inspiring tale about an iconic Marine Corps small unit leader.

USS Jason Dunham DDG 109

Executives in the civilian business world do not lead men in mortal combat so what does the leadership system designed to do just that have to do with running a for profit enterprise? Everything. The Marine Corps trains to fight but combat is not where any Marine spends a majority of his career. Unlike Mike I am not a combat veteran, but I have seen infantry battalions fold in the field after 96 hours of cold, wet, wind driven rain in the normally sunny Southern California winter.

Good units with solid leadership thrive in nasty weather, they consider it a challenge, and answer it with solid sleep and foot hygiene and active, aggressive tactical measures (patrolling, digging, fire support planning etc..) while ignoring the cold wet. Good units with solid leadership cannot be beaten by terrain or weather. Units without it fold every time they are exposed to a good dose of adverse weather.

Every leader faces diversity and it is through navigating that diversity that effective leadership is demonstrated. This seems to be a self-evident truth that is often absent in today’s business and social environment. I suspect that is because leadership training is confused with leadership techniques and procedures. Good leaders work by developing and implementing effective techniques and procedures, poor leaders mimic the techniques but never achieve the same results. Tactics and techniques cannot be substituted for leadership if you are in a dynamic environment where rote routine and detailed instructions are counterproductive.

I take that back; Amazon fulfillment centers have got to run on rote routine, I would think, and if the management of those centers adopted Mike’s approach to the tasks at hand I doubt the media would be full of stories about dismal employee morale.

If you are in the military and aspire to a leadership role at any level, buy this book, read it, highlight it, and then read it again, and again, and you will accelerate through the ranks at a blistering pace. If you are a Marine Corps Officer or SNCO and have not ordered this book yet you’re wrong, so fix that quickly. For everyone else I am telling you that this book will make you a more productive leader and better human being if you accept the challenge Mike has laid out for you.

When you read and understand this textbook you will know exactly how to develop and manage human capitol.  Mike Ettore has distilled 244 years of Marine Corps Leadership guidance and doctrine into one book designed to be used throughout a career of ever-increasing responsibilities. If you desire to excel in any leadership role this book will grow your talent stack exponentially. If you put the work in to master the material and make the effort to mentor and develop your subordinates.

As I said in the beginning not everybody who is exposed to Marine Corps Leadership doctrine gets it. Those that do become legends, everybody likes being associated with a good solid leader. Now there is a book to tell you how to become one. If you have the drive and the desire to work at it. Nothing worth having comes easy in life.

Some Positive News Out of Afghanistan

Two news items popped up yesterday that are certainly good news, possibly great news. The first was the release of two American University professors, one American, the other Australian; who were kidnapped in 2016. The other is the apparent mass surrender of Daesh (ISIS-K) fighters to Afghanistan Security Forces.

The always reliable Mohammad Jawad (a.k.a. JD) of DPS reported:

US citizen Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks were released by the Taliban on Tuesday, three years after being kidnapped, as part of a prisoner-swap deal.

The two professors were taken by the Taliban in August 2016 on their way home from the American University of Afghanistan, where both taught.

They were freed in exchange for the release of three senior Taliban members being held by the Afghan government.

Earlier in the day I had to chance to ask JD about the Daesh story when we were chatting on messenger. He told me he had heard the story is true but that he would not be able to verify it with sources in Nangarhar. Shortly after signing off I received a phone call from a former Jalalabad colleague (who is still in Jbad) and he said that the word in Jbad is the Daesh have quit the battlefield en masse and are asking for Melmastia (the Pashtunwali  requirement of hospitality and profound respect for all visitors, without any hope of remuneration or favor) from the central government.

That is exactly how the Daesh, who were Pakistani Taliban trying to get away from the Pakistan Army operations Khyber 1 and 2, ended up in the Achin district of Nangarhar province in the first place. In Afghanistan nothing is easy to plan be they military campaigns, infrastructure development projects, or a program to welcome former combatants. Those types of plans do not survive contact when implemented. Afghans just don’t work that way but somehow, when left alone, they will reach a compromise all interested parties involved can live with.

Plus there is this:

This is the land title storage room of the Nangarhar Provincial Agriculture Department. Some of these papers date back a hundred years and fall apart if you touch them. They are not cataloged or organized

Giving away land in Nangarhar Province is not something the government is in the position to do effectively. I imagine Kabul will want to spread non Afghan Daesh fighters out in marginal, thinly populated areas not near the most important border crossing (Torkham) in the country. But who knows? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

My prediction has been the Daesh in Nangarhar would be destroyed as soon as the Taliban (who have wiped them out once before as noted in this excellent post) were allowed to have at them. The Daesh (ISIS K) were never a real threat because the Afghan people are tired of dealing with radical Sunni orthodoxy and the militants who force it on them. They like to smoke cigarets, and occasioanlly they enjoy getting drunk too. Vat 69 Scotch (brewed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan) and Cossack Vodka (brewed in Quetta, Pakistan) are always available as are The Green Meanies (Heineken in the can). Alcohol is not used as a social lubricant in Central Asia  and it is haram, (as well as illegal) which is why you don’t hear much about it but it’s there and no big deal to your average Afghan.

Although I never felt the Daesh a legitimate threat to Afghanistan or the United States they have destabilized Nangarhar Province to the point that I’m getting panicked phone calls from Jalalabad City. Only once in the last seven years have I received a call from J-bad and that was about the death of my friend Hedayatullah Zaheer Khan (Zee). Zee had been killed in a Daesh bombing of a Eid Cricket Tournament he had organized. This time the call was about employment verification certificates and letters of support for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications of a half dozen former colleagues. These requests are from Pashtuns who had intended to stay in Afghanistan for the duration. The rise of Daesh in the province has unnerved them (to put it mildly).

I’m not too optimistic about the chances of my former colleagues getting SIV’s. I’ve sent notarized statements verifying their employment with me and their faithful service implementing multiple aid projects in the province. I’m trying to get the corporate headquarters from the agencies I worked for the send verifications but they never even had records of local employees in Afghanistan. That seems to be dead end.

To say I hope this news about Daesh is true would be an understatement.  The prisoner swap is another indicator of progress at getting theTaliban and the government in Kabul to start talking. At some point the Trump administration is going to try for another deal and the next time around I believe the players understand they need to stick to the terms they agreed to with the  President or he’ll drop the deal like a hot potato. That’s as strong a negotiation position as we have seen in a long time.

The Afghan Endgame Emerges and it is Not Going to Work

There is one point that I have hammered home on blogs and podcast interviews concerning Afghanistan and that is the next round of funding is a game changer. I thought we would be seeing some serious budget slashing in 2020 but it has already started.  Over the weekend the State Department cut 100 million dollars designated for Afghanistan energy infrastructure projects . They are also withholding another 60 million in payments to the Afghanistan’s National Procurement Authority.

The aid is being withheld because of the endemic corruption found in Afghanistan (and every other country in the region). The sums involved look massive but they aren’t, keeping Afghanistan’s  military and government solvent has a price tag of billions annually.  Cutting of programed funds is long overdue, but I am guessing this is a test run to see what happens when the real funding crisis strikes next year.

My concern is that once the Afghan people understand we are doing the old cut and run they may “complicate” our continued presence in the country.

Adding fuel to the fire is yet another ridiculous massacre of Afghan civilians by our armed forces.  A drone strike in Nangarhar province killed 30 workers who were gathering pine nuts. This is not the first time we have slaughtered pine nut gatherers. For 18 years we have been bombing Afghans who were going about their day because people watching drone feeds thought they were up to nefarious activities. We seem to be incapable of learning.

Just yesterday 3 American soldiers were wounded in a insider attack on their convoy by a member of Afghan Civil Order Police. This attack, were I to guess, has something to do with the loss of General Abdul Raziq last year. The Afghans know that the only reason Raziq was in that vulnerable situation was because General Miller invited him to the Kandahar Governors compound.

The guy who perpetrated this assault may well have been a Taliban plant, just like the one who nailed Raziq. Or he could be pissed about the death of Raziq and took it out on those he thought responsible. Who knows? But the timing of this attack is ominous to those like myself (and maybe it is just me) who are worried about pulling the cut and run while thousands of troops and  tens of thousands of internationals are resident in country.

The Afghan people are not stupid. When the news of 160 million dollar cut broke my Afghan friends in Kabul took to facebook to lament an act they knew was a long time coming.  Here are some of their comments from my Facebook page:

Can’t really blame the US for doing this..

That peace deal is coming the conditions are gearing up for anti-USA climate, when the money stops then why are you in Afghanistan? You gotta pay to play otherwise the Afghans are switching their attitudes. Try governing Afghans who haven’t been paid.

But it’s so right! There is no transparency in AFG gov procurement and especially large projects. Nobody can audit NPA, u can’t complain against them and they can award projects to people of their choice.

It’s about time! Bad news for some people.

This is the tragedy; there are plenty of Afghans who want our help, who respect and actually are inspired by the the idea of America, and who, if the Taliban return to total control (which I do not think possible) are in serious trouble.

Afghanistan is a mess but the only way for us to extract ourselves from that mess is slowly. The imperative now for NATO and the Afghanistan Security Forces is to not cede the initiative to the Taliban.  The Taliban continue to attack, they are not going to stop applying pressure because it  is working well for them.

We need to keep hammering away at them too, but when we do that we kill pine nut workers, or smoke check wedding parties. The reason behind that is lack of human intelligence , lack of local atmospherics, and (I hate to say this) lack of American boots on the ground.

I do not see how we are going to square the Afghan circle but know contractors are one option that has potential because contractors can loiter in country longer than military and they can return to the same unit over and over to build cohesion and competence. There are thousands of American combat vets (and contractors)  who would willingly return and stay to see the fight through. I’m one of them.

Like General Mattis I believe we should have bagged bin Laden in 2001 and left the country to its own devices. We didn’t, and for those of us who went to Afghanistan and stayed a bit; there is an obligation to the Afghan we assumed when we decided to stay. I love Afghans (most of them) and I love the country too but (I’ll say it again) – this is not going to end well.

It’s Groundhog Day for Afghansitan

Fellow Afghanistan Free Ranger Dr. Keith Rose released a podcast the other day describing where we are now in Afghanistan as Ground Hog Day. The people of Afghanistan are talking a beating with no end on the horizon which is 180 degrees out from where I thought they would be when I flew into Kabul in 2005.

Using Keith’s analysis as a point of departure (it’s a great podcast) there are some dynamics in play with Afghanistan that need require emphasis as our involvement continues. Fans of the international hit podcast The Lynch/Kenny Hour on All Marine Radio have heard Jeff, Mac and I talk about our campaign in AF/PAK  at length using blunt terms that sound harsh to those not familiar with infantry guy talk.

As I pointed out last week, that podcast (and this blog) have a ton of Afghan fans who know me. Afghans do not communicate with each other in blunt, no- BS terms, but I know they appreciate it when we do. Nothing will freak out Afghan project managers more then saying the word “inshallah” at the conclusion of a discussion about a scheduled payday.

Blunt fact number one is our stated reason for remaining in Afghanistan is an obvious fabrication. The US Government has consistently maintained we have to stay to make sure al-Qeada does not come back, establish training camps, and conduct terrorist deprivations on the international community from safe havens in Afghanistan.

The fact is they already have training camps in Afghanistan, we took out “Probably the largest” one in Kandahar province back in 2015. The leader of al Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri has had a safe haven in Pakistan since 2001, and has now (obviously) drone proofed his lifestyle. Why would he leave Miranshah to live in Khost or Kandahar?  The international airport in Peshawar is much nicer than any airport in Afghanistan, it is served by more international airlines (including Emirates, my favorite), and it services more destinations. Who in their right mind would fly Kam Air Kabul to Dubai when you can fly Emirates from Peshawar and rack up the sky miles?

Ayman Al-Zawahir and bin Laden in a file photo released in 2002. I would bet big money (based on the finger behind them) is on the Jbad this photo was taken on the Jbad-Kabul road just west of the old Soviet hydro dam  outside Jalalabad.  There was an al Qaeda training camp out that way (ISAF still uses it and calls it Gamberi)

You are thinking terrorist don’t use sky miles but I must point out the largest covert operation ever launched by CIA agents (not contractors which is the norm) was compromised because the agents used their covert ID to fly into Italy but had used their own credit cards to book the flights and hotels. That’s the CIA who are supposed to be high speed and low drag – the Taliban has to be worse on the operational security vs. sky miles test.

Blunt fact number two is that the American people in general, and her military veterans specifically, believe we have done more than our fair share to give Afghanistan a chance, and they blew it, so the hell with them. Clearly President Trump is looking for a way out and is willing to do almost anything (to include inviting former Gitmo detainees to Camp David for a round of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’)  to end our commitments in the region. President Trump has said we are not getting any return on our considerable investments and asks why should we stay in Afghanistan or Pakistan?

The reasons to remain in the region are no doubt varied and complex but the fact is that as long as we have thousands of servicemen, along with thousands more internationals in the country, we have to keep funding the government in Kabul. The next round of international funding is in 2020 and the funds are tied to anticorruption metrics that have not been met. If the international money pipeline closed suddenly how do you think the tens of thousands of internationals would get out of the country as the government folds and the security services crumble?

That is a scenario you don’t have to worry about because the specter of Gandamak II will keep funding going indefinitely. Nothing terrifies western government politicians more than the slaughter of their citizens for which their accountability is unavoidable. The Taliban will continue to attack both military and civilian targets because they are terrorists and that is what terrorists do. The Taliban no longer resembles the popular uprising of the religiously righteous in the face of anarchy. They are now narco-terrorists first, Islamic Jihadi’s second, and Afghan nationalists (maybe) third.

TheTaliban were once competent enough to protect the people of Afghanistan from anarchic violence, but they are now the source of anarchic violence. Tyrannical rule is bad, but chaos is worse and there are many Afghans who have lived through both. The Afghan people will side with the side that delivers them from chaos; especially if that side is committed to keeping Pakistan the hell out of the country.

That is the other great unknown; what happens to the safe havens in Pakistan when the Taliban cut a deal with us? The Afghan Taliban claim to be their own movement but they are Pakistan’s puppets just as sure as the government Kabul is America’s. In fact it is obvious Pakistan exerts more direct control over the Taliban then America has ever been able to establish in Kabul. For the past 50 years the Taliban have been Pakistan’s bitch.

The investment in Afghanistan’s human capitol came from every corner of the globe to include Burning Man

America no longer has the stomach for staying in Afghanistan but that’s too bad; we’re not going anywhere for the reasons outlined above. So how does this end? I have no idea but I’m a fan of the Afghan people and I believe they can, and will, sort things out given time and space. It is arguable if our  continued meddling is helping, but that is irrelevant now.  We aren’t leaving and are incapable of staying without meddling, so there it is.

Groundhog Day

We (the international community) have made serious investments in Afghanistan’s human capitol. We have no idea how that is going to pay off in the long run. There are plenty of smart, dedicated, tough Afghans who want nothing to do with Taliban rule (but aren’t too thrilled with us either).  Inshallah they will prove decisive at some point in the future.

There is one known (in my mind) regarding Afghanistan and that is the Taliban will never rule that country again. Their day has passed and they are now little more than petty narco traffickers with mortars and a ton of machine-guns. They no longer have a route to legitimacy as a governing entity but it may years before they figure this out on their own. In the meantime…..Groundhog Day.

Remembering Droney McDroneface

This morning at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan province, Iran a rocket, reportedly carrying a Nahid-1 telecommunication satellite, blew up on its launch pad.

This is the third  failed launch in a row for Iran. Three times this year they have tried to launch a rocket and three times it blew up in place. I think this might not be a coincidence. Rockets designed to launch satellites don’t routinely blow up, and the Iranians certainly have the human capitol required  to launch satellites safely, but they’re having a moment this year. I think I know why.

Who needs to sabotage supply chains when you have Droney McDroneface?

I think the Iranians are suddenly having missile dysfunction secondary to a Droney McDroneface infection.. Earlier in the summer I proposed that the sudden appearance and subsequent disappearance of an old washed up RQ-4N BAMS-D (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator) drone I named Drone McDroneface.

That story was picked up by Soldier of Fortune Magazine and trended on twitter for 37 seconds. Media experts, like Alex Hollings, carefully examined my theory and patiently explained why it was ridiculous. It may well be, but it’s a good story, and about as accurate as your average legacy media story about President Trump.

Plus, the Droney story chunks information in a easily understood manner. When you hear that another Iranian missile blew up and killed its satellite you’ll already have a good understanding of why that happened.  Efficiency in digesting complex news about international events can be difficult, so I’m doing my part to make it easier with simple stores about complex things I think I know something about. The stories may or may not be true but you and I wouldn’t know it they were or weren’t true, so who cares?

This Labor Day Americans have much be excited about. But the Oregon/Auburn game will be over by midnight Saturday; what are you going to be excited about then? You can get excited about whatever, but at some point during the weekend festivities,you might might want to take a second to remember the sacrifice of Drone McDroneface.

I know what you are thinking; I’ve been watching Better Than Us on Netflix too. That killer robot, yoga instructor- looking- woman lead character is truly scary. Figures it’s a Russian TV show, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  And who cares about Russian TV shows during Labor Day anyway? If you do, you shouldn’t, you should get outside more and while outside pause, look up into the sky and think about our hero Droney. He (or she or zir…Droney was unarmed and PC)  is giving the Mullahs fits to this day and that is a record to be proud of.