Five Battlefields

There are five battlefields as it relates to legitimate self defense. In the Old Testament it was revealed to us King Solomon asked for wisdom and God granted it to him. King Solomon said the following:

Ecclesiastes 1: 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after.

There is nothing new under the sun. I’m simply going to give you my understanding of principles I learned over a twenty six career in law enforcement.

In starting this blog it’s become clear to me how difficult it is to write a post, and be satisfied with it. Perfection is always out of reach. The difficulty in covering all the angles. Writing and re-writing, and writing again. Using various editors which seem to sometimes contradict one another. I have known for awhile now – I don’t write so well. Bear with me.

The Five Battlefields are:

1) Moral Battlefield

2) Physical Battlefield

3) Legal Battlefield

4) Civil Battlefield

5) Social Battlefield

The moral battlefield has much to do with right things. Good things. Who decides what’s good and what is evil? Well – God. As a Catholic I look to my Faith to understand morally where the lines are. It is my opinion that the moral battlefield is by far the most important of all the battlefields. The Word of God asks what would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Leadership is the first fundamental principle that I teach. Leadership has to do with doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way. The right Way isn’t a something, it’s a somebody and His name is Jesus.

There are many and various qualities or characteristics of leadership that need to be developed by good leaders. Purpose involves both mission and will. Leadership is not about you, it’s for your people. Leadership is not about power – it’s about responsibility. The authority involved is not given to you for your self aggrandizing or to reassure your ego. It’s – for – your – people! How important is leadership as it pertains to concealed carry or home protection? It quite literally is a matter of life or death. It might be the death of someone you purport to love. We always find our true selves out, when we get tested. We find out just how much we really “love,” the one we purport to love when there is a cost. When there is a price to be paid. When we have to say to the waiter, “Check!” That proverbial check perhaps being our very life. It’s easy when things are to our liking to say “I love you.” To say “I care about you.” Not so easy when we have to pay a price.

Leadership is the cornerstone to the twelve fundamental principles I teach. Humility is the cornerstone of leadership. A great working definition of humility is the acknowledgment of the truth – St. Teresa of Avila. The truth of things. Humility is also found in little things. Humble things. Small things. The four safety rules seem so little yet they carry such a profound effect at all levels of skill building as it relates to defensive firearms. The four safety rules go right to the heart of our mission. What’s our mission? Protecting those for whom we’re gravely responsible. The adage that we don’t need to sweat little things is incorrect as it applies to becoming a craftsman. Little things do in fact matter. Sweat them.

Questions like can I should I, and where am I leading my people, are great leadership questions to frequently ask yourself. Just because you can do something does not mean you should do it. Where are you leading your people? Do you know what it is you’re preparing them for? Have you done the work. Have you reflected on hard sayings? Are you prepared to pay a price for telling them the truth about this, that, or the other things? Do you have your peoples best interest at heart? Or do you have your own interest at heart? Is this about you or is it about them? There is an old Latin saying Nemo dat quod non habetNo man gives what he does not have. Have you put out doing the work to gain that which you need to give to your people? To become a craftsman at anything in life you have to invest of time and hard work. You have to be willing to put out and do the work necessary to come up to speed and competency in whatever your profession happens to be.

There has never been a time where there is more game film, as it were, of actual violent and deadly confrontations available as there is now on the internet. We see police videos. We see violent robberies and citizen on citizen attacks. We see a lot of competent instructors educating folks in skill building. We need knowledge and we need skills.

Are there principles that hold sway in all physical confrontations? In deadly force confrontations? Yes.

There are fundamental or first principles that hold sway. I have a desire to educate and share with people fundamental principles. I have twelve in mind:

1) Leadership 2) Mindset 3) Problem Solving 4) Jeopardy 5) Threat Awareness 6) Tactical Staging 7) Time, Distance, Cover, & Concealment or Obstacles 8) Loud Rebuke 9) Relative Superiority 10) Surprise, Speed, & Violence of Action 11) Action Beats Reaction 12) Throttle Control

Why twelve? Why not twenty eight, or forty seven? One could prepare forever before embarking on a journey, but then one would never begin. It is a work in progress, just as we are a work in progress. To paraphrase the late great Vince Lombardi we may not achieve perfection in this life, but if we chase after perfection we may in fact catch excellence. We have to begin. We have to take the first steps. There will be principles within these twelve fundamentals. To the degree we stack as many good principles as the circumstances allow, we will probably (probabilities) do better than if we stack errors. There are no guarantees in anything in life. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. There are principles that apply for winning or losing, adopt the winning principles.

These first two battlefields have held sway since the beginning of time. The moral and physical battlefields. They will hold sway until time gives way to Eternity. In other words until Jesus returns for the final judgment.

The next three battlefields depend upon civilized society.

The legal battlefield concerns elected officials. An elected States Attorney SA, making a judgement call on whether your use of force fits within the legal definition of “self defense.” Laws vary from state to state. I cannot give legal advice as I’m not a lawyer. I don’t believe you came here for knowledge that relates to what a lawyer thinks. I’m willing to share what a retired police lieutenant thinks about this, that, or the other law, or case law. I’m willing to share my understanding. There are no guarantees for you, or for me. Change one nuanced detail and you may change the entire context of the “what if?” Every tactical or scenario based question in the world necessarily must be answered with just two words: It depends. That’s not avoiding any questions it’s telling you the truth. If the context changes – the right thing to do may change. You can still do the right thing and have a legal problem with an elected SA who may see things very differently than you do. Where are you? Where did the violent confrontation take place? Are you in a county that elects liberal, left leaning, folks?Where are you? It matters. It might matter to the point of your use of defensive force being justified or you being indicted and tried. I don’t even like that reality but my not liking it doesn’t change it. Read the news and you’ll see madness. You’ll see a movement in various places to decriminalize crime. You will see demonstrations of a very false compassion for the unjust aggressors of this world. You’ll see bail bond reform. It is what it is. A great friend of mine would at this point sarcastically ask – is it? To which I’d respond – It always is.

When I first retired a friend asked me if I planned on obtaining concealed carry insurance? Arrogance is somewhat of an occupational hazard in law enforcement, so my response was something like; ‘No, if I’m forced to use my firearm I will be receiving an award.’ Thinking that would only be in defense of my life, my family members lives, and other innocents against an active shooter. Time passed and I began doing what I did in law enforcement. I began studying Illinois case law as it relates to self defense. I methodically studied, highlighted, annotated, and learned lessons from dozens of civilian self defense cases. I read Andrew Branca’s book; The Law of Self Defense. Little by little I realized – concealed carry insurance was in fact a good thing.

The civil battlefield concerns being sued by unjust aggressors or their families should they perish during the a deadly force confrontation. Early on in my career I had a couple of good city attorney’s drop the tip of titling my home by entirety (if married). Titled by entirety, is supposed to protect my spouses interest, in this personal asset. I have had my home titled like that ever since.

The Social battlefield as described by other instructors, has much to do with public opinion. Crowds are fickle; Hosanna! Hosanna! The next day; Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Don’t worry about what media, social media, or anyone else is going to think. Focus on doing right things and know your mission. If things get stupid enough you can always move right?

For a police officer the social battlefield includes both police leadership and secular leadership. Administrative rules, right? Policy. A community within a community. If you were to do an internet search for the words “etymology,” and “society,” you’ll find that part of the Latin understanding of “society” includes “community.” The social battlefield includes government leadership. Elected politicians then often pick governmental heads like the Chief of Police. The social battlefield includes politics and politicians. If there is a crisis of leadership that will absolutely trickle down to officers on the street. That affects you and I, the citizens. It’s not just the officers problem that they suffer under the weight of a crisis of leadership, it’s our problem too should we be forced to defend ourselves, our families. For the citizen the social battlefield includes all legitimate societal authority. These are social constructs.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed thinking about all of that. That’s not what we need to focus on as protectors and defenders of our families. We need only to prioritize, and do right things. Here’s the list of priorities:

1)Moral 2) Physical 3) Legal 4) Civil 5) Social

Social is last for a reason. Are we going to strive to please God, or please man? Increasingly we have to make a decision.

As a police officer having worked high crime areas I learned early, the high value in being awkward. Awkward often equals unpredictable. That comes through doing odd things like stopping short. Like not doing what everyone else does. Socially those are things we’re all expected to do. Social awkwardness at times is priceless. These are also social constructs. They are constructs that the innocent can use to avoid the unjust criminal aggressors. To demonstrate to the unjust criminal aggressors their target is not predictable. Being unpredictable is a dangerous to an ambush predator. I assure you ambush predators, use social courtesies, and constructs, to get close to you to do their will. Some are masters at closing the gap. Using ruses, lies, and other techniques. Masters at concealing their intentions until they’re close enough to sink the ambush in deep.

This area of the social battlefield is priceless, because it is an opportunity for us to avoid ending up at the will of a confused, blind, or crazy politician. An opportunity (not a guarantee) to cause the unjust criminal aggressor, to pause, and go in search of another victim.

This post is a first step. It lacks more in what it fails to say, than in what it actually says, about these battlefields. It isn’t a book. I simply wrote down a few things. It will take time, and effort, to give you a better tour of these battlefields. May God give us the time, and the grace to journey on.