Ruses – Detours Part II

The late Col John Boyd has been called “Forty Second Boyd.” Boyd purportedly had a standing offer to pay any fighter pilot $40.00 who could beat him in less than 40 seconds in simulated air combat. It was said no man ever collected that $40.00. Boyd would start out downrange, as it were, in a position of disadvantage. Boyd used a maneuver he called “flat-plating the bird.” It was said Boyd had the skill to flip the plane 90° using the underside of the plane and wings like a massive brake. The plane would slow radically down and Boyd would quickly exchange positions with his adversary thereby placing them downrange. Boyd would then take his simulated shots destroying his adversary in simulated air combat.

Check out the source article by Robert Coram providing this information and more at:

You might be thinking: So? So what! What does that have to with me? Ambush predators seek to use ruses to compress time, distance, and cover with their prey. They use lies, disinterested ruses, 90° cuts at the apex points, diversions or distractions, and even detours to gain point blank range.

The term self-defense has a legal meaning. Self-defense is a legal term. I’m not an attorney and this is not legal advice. However, I was a Police Lieutenant so I’ll share my thoughts good, bad, and ugly. If a prosecutor takes an interest in prosecuting you there will be legal tests and challenges as to whether you maintained the legal status of an “innocent.” In the unfortunate event of being charged with a crime for lawfully defending yourself, innocence is just one of five legal challenges on the legal battlefield. How might we lose our legal status as an innocent? Say a guy wants to ‘step outside and settle this like men’ if we willingly acquiesce by stepping outside direct or tacit agreement will likely be defined as mutual combat. If you lose “innocence,” then you lose the legal ability to claim self-defense. In other words you get convicted. It’s my opinion wherever we reasonably might avoid and escape that’s what we ought to do. It’s not always reasonable to our physical safety or the safety of those we have a grave moral duty to protect and defend.

To my knowledge in the state of Illinois no citizen is required to retreat to a more dangerous location. The example I’ve read as purportedly being applicable in all of the United States is; you don’t have to retreat onto a busy highway. In my opinion that’s too cautious of an example and probably not helpful for 99.9% of cases where we might have to use legitimate self-defense or defense of another. Flight may be limited by slower members of your family like children, elderly, or members with physical or mental disabilities. You are only as fast as your slowest member. If alone what are your physical limitations? What are the subject factors of your unjust aggressor(s)? Are they bigger, faster, and stronger?

Ambush predator’s have the same gifts of reason that innocent victims have. Experienced ambush predators will have done the math considering factors like will you have time to make it back to any kind of safety or make it forward to your perceived destination of safety. So what’s the option? Boyd gave us the answer. He used his adversaries desires to pursue him, to maneuver to a position of advantage.

Think ninety degree sharp cuts to a position of cover, concealment, or an obstacle. If I’m being threatened I want to be able to show jeopardy, pursuit, and thereby remove ambiguity for the legal, civil, and social battlefields. I want to be sure before I have to legitimately defend myself or another. Now I know – sometimes these things just are not possible. But where they are possible why wouldn’t I try to use these tactics? These tactics may actually discourage the unjust criminal aggressor and he may turn away. The qualifying term there is “may.” Therefore, to retreat beyond a good piece of cover, concealment, or obstacle is to retreat to a more dangerous position.

Whatever the facts are at the time of a use of less than lethal force, a display of your firearm, or the lethal use of a firearm are quite literally the difference of life or death, freedom or incarceration, and financial stability or bankruptcy. The following ought not be considered training as there are no options for those who might misunderstand to ask clarifying questions and receive clarifying answers. The five areas of primary concern on a legal battlefield are 1) Did you maintain innocence or were your actions found to be part of mutual combat. 2) Was the threat of force against you imminent? 3) Was your use of force proportional to the threat of force against you? 4) Were you able to attempt to avoid the violent confrontation? 5) Was your use of force both objectively and subjectively reasonable? These things weigh heavy.

After retirement I was challenged by an acquaintance whether I was going to invest in concealed carry insurance? Initially I sort of arrogantly scoffed at the idea. After all I’d been in Law Enforcement for over a quarter of a century. As part of what I desired to teach others I systematically read, highlighted, and studied about three dozen Illinois criminal cases involving a claim of self-defense. I also was blessed in finding a book called The Law of Self-defense, by Andrew F. Branca. The lessons I learned in studying Illinois cases were affirmed and elaborated upon in Branca’s book. I had a change of mind and ultimately invested in concealed carry insurance.

Let me reiterate if you can escape, do so. This is a judgment call. Gaining or losing an advantage in positioning or timing must be factored into your judgment. If defending is the only option then I’d seek to do so with something between me and my adversary. Preferably cover. Preferably from higher ground. Sometimes that’s just not an option and sometimes it makes sense to make sacrifices in positioning to gain an advantage in timing. Time is a precious commodity in any kind of violent confrontation.

We’re only as fast as the slowest member of our group and sometimes we have to delay our exits to buy time for our wife and children to avoid and escape.

Some coaches will argue and say the kind of example I provide: is not realistic! I say – it depends. For instance in a parking lot providing you see early this is realistic. The problem is most people don’t look out far enough. Many people fail to use much of any kind of situational awareness. Many folks permit distractions to dominate their attention. It is absolutely realistic to take an indirect route (a detour) to avoid folks you’re not comfortable with. Is it going to be realistic everywhere you go in life? Of course not! Of course – not. Is it realistic in a dangerous neighborhood? Yes. Are you willing to humble yourself and look like an odd, awkward, freak to avoid a violent confrontation. I’m willing to do that. Why? Because it works. Awkward or odd social behaviors exude uncertainty and unpredictability. Under the more rare dangerous circumstances those kinds of things strike at the will of an unjust criminal aggressor. An unjust criminal planning on hijacking your car at gunpoint will experience doubts if he see’s you stop exceedingly short at a stop light on a blind corner in the wee hours of the morning. Doubts will tempt him to consider his odds of going to prison, getting seriously hurt, or worse. He may think: There will be another car soon enough. Better to let this one go.

In spite of my best intentions say through some unfortunate series of events I find myself in a high crime area on foot. Maybe my car breaks down while transiting through, my phone dies, or I drop my phone and now it don’t work so well. Am willing to look like an awkward, odd, freak in an attempt to avoid a near pass with someone holding themselves out as dangerous? Yes, I can do that. That is realistic. Not every single person holds themselves out as a dangerous man. This ought to be a fairly rare incident unless I happen to live in that area. There are strategies for that as well. The ambush predator might think you are the police. Why would he think that? Good police officers learn to become very comfortable in ignoring social constructs to keep themselves and their brothers and sisters in arms safe. Effective con artists and unjust violent criminals use social constructs to gain advantages in positioning, timing, and over the will of both their adversaries (police) and their victims. Am I willing to look odd to gain an advantage in positioning, timing, and over the will of my adversary. Um….yes. I have no desire to engage in violent street confrontations.

What are we willing to do – to win? Are we willing to humble ourselves? Humbling oneself is probably the hardest thing we could do by our nature due to the remaining effects of original sin. For a man or woman who’s been downrange, as it were, in Law Enforcement or the Military ego is a very good thing in the service of our brothers and sisters in arms. In the service of your wife and children ego is a good thing! In the service of others is where the ego shines. When in the interest of vanity, insecurity, or fantasy then ego becomes a bad thing. Humbling oneself can feel very ugly at times. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

So lets get to an example:

High Crime Area

Imagine the blue figure is an innocent man. He observes someone he perceives to be a dangerous man illustrated as the red figure. The innocent man crosses the street to avoid a near pass. Having free will the dangerous man decides to quickly readjust so that again he’ll intersect with the innocent man. Ambiguity is being tested and replaced by jeopardy. Still not wanting to intersect and now closer than before, the innocent man takes another sharp cut moving off directly towards the rear corner of a nearby home. That’s the story his alignment is telling his adversary. The innocent man has done the math and his adversary appears to be taller, more athletic, younger, and he understands running to escape will not work. His real destination is a decent sized tree where he’s planning to seek refuge – cover. If the dangerous man continues to pursue him rather than moving along down the sidewalk then it’s going to be time for a loud rebuke. Consistently checking his six or looking over his shoulder tells the innocent if his problem is getting worse. That rebuke might sound something like: “I don’t want any trouble! Get back!” Perhaps: “Don’t come any closer, you’re scaring me! Stop right there!” At the 90° apex point the innocent man sharply turns cutting in behind that cover – recalling cover stops bullets. If the threat is non-lethal then non-lethal means (personally I like pepper spray), would be my choice. If instead the threat being presented is that of great bodily harm (Illinois Law), or death then lethal means (firearm) would be my choice. You have to know the laws within your own home state or the state you’re currently experiencing a violent confrontation.

In the drawing above the innocent man moved to and achieved cover. In my opinion to move beyond that cover would be to move to a more dangerous location. Might that carry more risk on the legal, civil, or social battlefields? Yes, it might. None of this is without risk. There are no guarantees in violent confrontations. Not for you and not for me. Often times it comes down to bad and worse decisions forced upon us by the unjust criminal aggression. Every tactical and legal question in the world can be rightly answered with it depends. That’s not an easy out – that’s reality. Change one, two, or three facts and this violent confrontation is a matter of life or death, freedom or incarceration, financial stability or bankruptcy. That is why leadership is the first principle that I teach. Doing right things, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way. Even among these considerations sometimes we have to make exchanges to do that next right thing. If my family is with me then it’s not about me, and I must be willing to assume the highest of all of these risks so that my family might avoid and escape.

Once behind a big old tree an innocent man can simply lean out revealing nothing more than a slice of his head (his dominant eye), and the business end of his pepper spray, or if the threat he faces is deadly force, the end of his barrel.

Cover Stops Bullets

Understand the innocent man has reached cover. The unjust aggressor in part through his compression of time, distance, and cover places the innocent man in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery has not reached cover. The unjust aggressor let his illegal, immoral, and illicit desires lead him to a place of disadvantage. He was led out to the deep, as it were. The deep is a tactical place of vulnerability. If we consider this from the perspective of an analogy of a tactical tree, then the innocent man here is not low hanging fruit, ripe for the picking. This innocent man has climbed high up into the analogous tactical tree and made his way far out on the thinnest of branches. The unjust aggressor ought to see this as high fruit which is outside of his reach and he ought to turn back. However, the unjust still get a vote.

What’s motivating him? Is it the bad or the ugly part of a man’s ego? Is it simply his desire to rob, rape, or murder an innocent? Does it really matter? I’d be more concerned with his actions than his motivations.

If you want to compete in combat then join a professional sporting organization that offers rules, judges, referees, and doctors ringside. These things help you fulfill a need to compete and also keep you financially stable, free, and alive. The street is 100% no place for competing or competitions. Reject the fantasies you see on your television set. Humble yourself and seek to avoid and escape wherever possible. When the unjust criminal aggressors exercise their free will to visit war upon you – embrace a winning mindset. Forget about fair fights. In part I Joshua wasn’t looking for a fair fight. Joshua was looking to win. He took Ai on a little detour and you can read about the results in Joshua chapter 8.

Think about these things.