Brazilian Pool Hall Massacre

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Fox News had a story today about seven people murdered in a Brazilian pool hall after the losers of two games were mocked.  Bad guys don’t like being mocked. Trash talking or good nature ribbing ought to be reserved for family, friends, or brothers in arms who have a wee bit of virtue.  Pistol bad guy highlighted in the right upper corner in pink drew his firearm and held a group of innocent people at gunpoint waiting for the other bad guy to go get his shotgun from his truck.  Shotgun bad guy returned and promptly went to work unjustly murdering innocents.  Bad guy number one also joined in the shooting and killing. A couple of people fled and actually did escape. 

The theological virtue of Hope is awesome as a theological virtue.  However, as a plan for protecting yourself: hope – is – not – a – plan.   There is no time to call the good guys (police) with guns to come save everyone from these murderous criminals.  Once we arrive at the problem of an imminent deadly threat (ie; bad guy brandishing & pointing a gun at people) the solution is for one of these innocent people to have their own firearm concealed on their person.

Let’s think about some solutions or defensive planning. An innocent man or woman might initially comply just long enough to purchase complacency or over confidence from the unjust criminal aggressor. In the bad guy’s head he believes this is going to go like every other time he’s robbed or pointed guns at innocent folks. That initial compliance sells him on this belief. A good guy or gal might then use surprise, speed, and violence of action simultaneously moving, drawing, presenting and shooting. This is a defensive surprise party for the bad guy. A great time to launch this defensive surprise party is when this bad guy is reaching for his door handle (upper left in the photo).

Why? Most bad guys don’t shoot so well because living a life of crime they don’t have firearms trainers teaching them the fundamentals of shooting. Once a defender begins shooting he should not stop shooting until pistol bad guy A) shows a clear and convincing sign of full surrender like separating himself from his firearm and showing his hands, or B) he falls down paralyzed, unconscious, dying, or dead. The dying and dead part are always God’s business. Vengeance is Gods. Legitimate defense is ours. The moment we begin acting with revenge or vengeance we will most certainly have a major moral problem with God and a significant legal problem with the state. Had a good guy here with a gun started shooting pistol bad guy I doubt shotgun bad guy would still be interested in this fight. Most times when the momentum shifts in favor of the innocent man or woman vigorously defending themselves bad guys remember they left something cooking on the stove at home. In other words they flee. They look to save themselves. A great motto they should take up is ALL men left behind. Why? Simple bad guys live lives immersed in vice and sin regardless of how Hollywood might portray them. They don’t have high levels of self-discipline, virtue, or self-sacrificing agape Christian love. When the chips are down they’re getting out of Dodge City.

Whether the bad guy stays to fight or flees the good guy or gal is still going to need to transition from his first target to his second target as soon as is possible. What’s possible. Forget the idea of putting two in the first target and two in the second target. You have to STOP one threat at a time. This brings up an interesting question. How often do you practice target transitions? Most public ranges would never allow patrons to practice this kind of training. Either find a land owner who will permit you to train what you need to train or take up a competitive shooting sport like the USPSA. Yes, I know USPSA has shooters place two rounds in each target and then transition to the next target and repeat. A great way of imagining this is that you’re shooting a single person who’s moving rather than multiple targets. Why is that a good thing? Because in an actual gunfight or shooting with you doing all the shooting your bad guy is probably not going to put his hands on his hips like superman and stand square to you unless he actually wants to die. He’s going to be moving to get away from those little chunks of lead your sending towards his chest and face. In competitive shooting you’ll develop the skills for transitioning with accuracy. Initially you’ll probably find you’re shooting to early, too late, or missing the target completely for a variety of reasons. Doing the work to learn how to shoot under a little bit of stress imposed by peer pressure, competition, and / or time and accuracy constraints moves you in the right direction for a worst case scenario. Add moving to shoot and shooting while moving and these are the skills involved in the many and various examples of deadly force encounters. Being able to pull off a respectable retreating Bill Drill at seven yards and greater is a skill worth developing. Building skill sets take a lot more time than acquiring the knowledge base.

The number one takeaway from this tragedy is to treat people that you don’t really know like they are just six seconds from a murderous rage.  Too many folks today are only a few seconds from becoming unhinged.  The next time you’re feeling like handing your ego and mouth your personal checkbook, remember this incident. Just six seconds from madness.

The Costs of Family and Personal Safety

In this post I’ll examine some of the many and various costs associated with family and personal safety.  I’ll begin with the unacceptable cost.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Benjamin Franklin

Safety always costs you something.  If you abdicate your safety over to the government in the long run it will cost you your freedom.  In the short run it may cost you and those you love their lives. The qualifying terms are “essential liberty.”  Essential liberty has to do with rights endowed by God.  The Declaration of Independence spoke well of our essential rights; chief among these are the right to life.  The right to defend ourselves from unjust criminal aggressors.  Bad guys don’t have any moral, ethical, or legal rights to cause harm, great bodily harm, or death to innocents!  

Those who willingly give up essential rights are saying in essence that they place all of their trust in their governments ability to keep them safe.  This is a fantasy.  This is a lie.  This is NOT logistically possible! I was blessed with a twenty six year career in Law Enforcement retiring at the rank of Lieutenant.  I can tell you solemnly that police officers cannot be everywhere all of the time.  An unjust criminal aggressor can ambush or attack you anywhere and at – any – time! 

Did you know that depending upon the day of the week and the hour of that day a city with a population of 100,000 may only have 15 to 30 officers working the streets?  Should you actually have the opportunity to call 911 before a violent crime begins, there’s just not enough time for officers to save you from whatever it is that wicked man desires to do to you.  Why?  Upon calling 911 there is an exchange of information which takes several seconds:  What’s your location?  What’s your emergency?  That information then needs to be broadcast to all responding officers.  The officers assigned to the call then must drive from wherever they were when they received the call for service to wherever you and your problem are located.   On average this will take minutes not seconds.  Typically you don’t have minutes. How long does it take a bad guy to repeatedly beat, stab, or shoot an innocent human being?  Blows begin in just milliseconds.  Innocent victims suffer multiple blows and can be paralyzed, unconscious, dying, or dead in just a couple of seconds. Many violent encounters are over in just a few seconds.  The truth of the matter is if you want to protect your family and yourself you need to learn how to defend against unjust criminal aggressors.  That is the reality. The government is merely a supplement to your safety.  You are your family’s primary protector.

Most of the time police merely respond to the aftermath of violence.  Police secure crime scenes and gather evidence.  They document what has already happened.  They investigate, track down, and arrest the suspect(s).  Now here’s the part you’ll want to pay particular attention to:  In most instances there is more than enough time for the unjust criminal aggressors to escape. 

Additionally, no one is going to care more than a husband and father (or mother) about the lives of their family because these are bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2: 23). There is a Catholic principle at play here as well. The Principle of Subsidiarity essentially says that responsibilities ought to be handled at the lowest level possible. In other words the government ought not usurp a man or woman’s responsibility to protect their family. If things were right in this country people would be told these truths and encouraged to take seriously their grave moral and ethical duties. Things are not right in this country nor in many places throughout the world. Just read any news outlet.

The wealthy and powerful often employ hirelings while simultaneously attacking second amendment rights.  Hypocritical?  Yes, of course I guess that’s the point of communism.  Having the logistical, strategic, and tactical knowledge of how executive protection works would be of great value to a husband, father, or a mother.  Why? Again, because you’re bound to care more about bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh.

Individually we need to make an investment of our time, sweat equity, and some of our money to acquire the tools (firearms are equalizers), knowledge (logistics, strategy, & tactics), and skills (abilities) to protect our families and ourselves.  

What are the primary costs of familial and personal safety? Time, hard work, and money are the costs of familial and personal safety.   Mostly we’re talking about time and putting in the work as having a great work ethic can make this whole process far more affordable. Why? Most of the knowledge and skill building are available for free but you have to be willing to do the work to secure that knowledge and those skills. Skills take longer than knowledge to acquire.

Criminals are typically willing to kill for gain but rarely are they willing to die for anything or anyone.  When things begin going badly their motto becomes: Every man for himself! Or; Leave EVERYONE behind!   They will abandon all of their brothers or sisters in crime and they will look to save themselves. 

Indeed, and those who did not understand looked on to the Cross and said to Jesus:  Come down from the Cross and save yourself! Innocent people of good will are more likely to risk death for their wife and their children but there are no guarantees.  Talk is cheap for a human being.  We all find out just how much you love when a big test like this presents itself.  Authentic love is tested love. My advice is to pray for the grace rather than merely relying upon your own strength. Simultaneously striving daily to build your up your own strength (will).

Then we come to the mercenaries.  Jesus spoke of such men in John chapter 10: 

12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15* as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Strive to become a good shepherd. Remember man is the apex predator in relation to any animal analogy. Sheepdogs and even lions don’t stand a chance against a thinking human being who can set traps. Young warriors often begin as sheepdogs by building in a trained response. That is good and that is necessary but we don’t want to get stuck at that level. That is a bare bones beginning. A caring thinking shepherd is far more capable and dangerous (to the unjust criminal threats) than is a sheepdog.

At last we come to the quiet professionals. Warriors who fight for the man on their left and the man on their right.  In most instances these types of warriors would rather die than fail their brothers or sisters in arms.  The word most being the qualifying term.

In these dark days where sin runs rampant we increasingly observe progressive prosecutors who have begun calling good guys-bad guys and calling bad guys-good guys.  Doing that next hard right thing of protecting and defending might cost you prison at the hands of a crazy, blind, or confused prosecutor (Deuteronomy 28:28).  It might cost you your financial stability by means of civil lawsuits and bankruptcy.  It might cost you your employment or where you choose to live.  The spirit of the world and spirit of the mob might not like what you did, said, or thought and you might get canceled.   These are all additional costs.

For civilians one of the fundamental principles is learning how to avoid violent confrontations to begin with. This involves expenditures in time, work, and money. For instance as a retired police officer when possible I use a rural interstate that boxes around the big city near me to patronize the stores out on the periphery of that big city.  This requires a willingness to do the work of identifying where all of the illegal shooting and killings are happening in addition to allowing more travel time and the cost of more gasoline to avoid driving my family through those high crime dangerous areas.   Once an untrained, unskilled, and unjust criminal aggressor begins shooting; any and all folks in the immediate area are in danger of becoming collateral damage. It doesn’t matter how great your knowledge and skills are because action beats reaction and if you’re placing your family in those areas of vulnerability you cannot control where any of those poorly aimed bullets go.  Where you must go into those areas there are mitigating strategies that time doesn’t permit me to unpack in this post.

If you’re willing to work hard you can acquire the knowledge base and skill sets to be able to protect your family and yourself.  The costs are primarily measured in time, hard work, and money.  Don’t think that your cell phone is going to save your life. In most instances that phone only serves as a distraction from you doing what you need to do to win the fight and that phone call merely lets the police know where to find your body. You cannot farm out family or personal safety.

The Rosary

My eldest daughter created this image with Canva.  Humilitas First mission is to educate people of good will in the fundamental principles of leadership and legitimate defense.  That concerns the physical battles we may face in this life.  However there is a battlefield that comes before the physical.  It is the moral battlefield.  

Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?

The prayer and meditation of the Rosary is a powerful weapon in spiritual battle.  Pick it up and wield it daily! 

The Declaration of Independence Provides the First Principles for Answering Constitutional Questions

In the last post I took a look at gun control legislation in the state of Illinois.  So that got me thinking about how several states have fallen to a point that they elected officials who in plain view have begun voting to infringe upon the constitutional rights of their own citizens.  I think the short answer has a lot to do with power.  The longer answer has to do with a crisis in leadership in every conceivable profession or vocation.  That crisis in leadership always ends up in a crisis in craftsmanship.

“Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”  

Napoleon Bonaparte

I believe it’s a mix of both.  Incompetence for some though for some malice as an exchange to acquire power. To understand things you always have to go back to the beginning.    

August 2, 1776, delegates began signing the Declaration of Independence.  On September 17, 1787, 39 of the 55 delegates signed it while those who refused did so out of an objection to the lack of a Bill of Rights.  The first 10 Amendments became part of the United States Constitution in 1791.  

Here’s a short excerpt from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal: that they are endowed by their creator with inherent & inalienable rights: that [among] these are life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.”  

The Declaration of Independence came before the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Those tasked with answering seemingly difficult constitutional questions would be wise to consider those questions in light of our inherent and inalienable rights given to us by God. Those were literally spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.

Why does any of this matter?  St. Thomas Aquinas was purported to have said: An error in the beginning is an error indeed.  Why?  Errors at the level of formation or first principles will compound over time. I believe our founding fathers gave us great gifts in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. I believe the founding fathers got it right at the level of formation.

If America had kept these fundamental first principles in priority of place we’d never have had slavery.  Why? How could we have slavery with a first principle that said: all men are created equal

Constitutional questions like abortion and gun control would be very easy to answer by a quick review of the founding fathers intentions, beliefs, and vision for the United States clearly written down in the Declaration of Independence.  The problem is there are some number of Americans who do not share the founding fathers intentions, beliefs, and vision for the United States of America.

Law Abiding Citizens Are NOT the Problem!

Recently the Illinois House and Senate passed gun control legislation which was signed into law by Governor Pritzker. This legislation seeks to define the words “assault weapon.”  The United States constitution says in part that the Second Amendment shall not be infringed.  Meaning the good people of the United States ought not act so as to limit, undermine, or encroach upon that right.   This new law also limits magazine capacity for law-abiding Illinoisans. “Law abiding” being the qualifying terms. I’m going to share an apparent secret (not really a secret): Bad guys couldn’t care less how many laws you pass! As a retired police officer I can tell you that unjust “criminal” aggressors are not losing any sleep over this new legislation. Talk to a young gang member and ask him his five year plan. Don’t be surprised if he admits to you he’ll be rich, in prison, or dead.

In 2022 there were 665 people shot and killed in Chicago, Illinois ( Experience has made very clear to me that the vast majority of those unjust murderers led lives as scofflaws with no shortage of criminal records. By some great mystery our generation doesn’t find those kinds of facts newsworthy today (sarcasm). I support the founding fathers principle of states rights. That then moves me to ponder a question: As Illinoisans at what point do we consider moving our families to a red state that is more in line with our family values and beliefs?

On the left, gun control has become a knee jerk solution to the evil (sinful) violent acts we watch or read about daily.  On the surface level this solitary solution trumps the left’s other solution of redistribution of wealth.  What we don’t hear on the left is a call to strengthen the family structure of the poor.  We don’t hear about the presence or absence of an authentically masculine father.  We don’t hear about the need for a father who’s willing to forgo the immediate gratification of acting like a permissive parent.  We don’t hear about those fathers who reject the idea of immediate gratification in exchange for the delayed satisfaction that results when a child is raised to strive to actually be a good man or good woman.  We need to hear about the kind of father who lovingly institutes and models self-discipline and accountability for bad actions.  We need to hear about the kind of father who cares enough to accept being very unpopular within the walls of his own home for insisting upon doing the next right thing!  We need to hear about those kinds of fathers as a solution to what ails us, our communities, and our nation.  

Here are some questions I’d be interested to know about the 665 unjust murders in Chicago last year:

  1. Did the known suspect have a father in the home?
  2. Did the father have a criminal record?
  3. Where no father was present, how many men lived with or frequently visited the mother in that home?  (Access and influence over the child)
  4. Did those men have criminal records?

Why?  We don’t have a problem with law-abiding citizens.  We have all kinds of major problems with unjust “criminal” aggressors.  We have a problem with the breakdown of the family.  To excel children need to learn the importance of self-discipline.  Young men crave discipline so desperately that they will even look to the harsh disciplines of a gang to fill this need.  If you think that’s fantasy, send me an email via the contact page and I’ll share lessons learned from an advanced gang course presented by officers working in the Chicago metropolitan area. In short, young men have a need for a father who strives to be a good man.  If the men who come in and out of their lives sow bad ideas then those bad ideas will bounce around in that child’s mind and when temptation gives way to action… Here’s a quote that pretty much says it all:

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In thinking about this legislation a theory began to form in my mind.  So I did a little research and noticed a trend. What three states have the largest populous cities?  New York, California, and Illinois; in that order. Not counting the metro area; New York city roughly 9 million, Los Angeles about 4 million, and Illinois approximately 3 million. Weird, right?  When “we the people” of a state fall into what the Bible calls madness, blindness, and confusion of mind (Dt 28:28), then those 51% begin electing people just like themselves.  We might need to move to a state with a “we the people” more in line with our values and beliefs.