Skip to comments.Navy SEAL Lessons Learned From Aurora Colorado
Posted on 07/23/2012 10:08:01 AM PDT by marktwain
As I continue to read about the terrible tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, I cant help but think theres some lessons from my time as a Navy SEAL that I can pass on to the average citizen. So here goes
Dont Make Yourself an Easy Target
When at sporting events, concerts, and the movies, choose seats that give you a tactical advantage always. What do I mean? Choose seats that allow good and east vantage points and a hasty exit point. Always stack the odds in your favor. Its the reason I still combat park (back in to a space) and sit with my back to the wall when Im eating.
Active Shooter Scenario Advice
Take cover and not concealment. Concealment hides, cover hides AND protects. Its the difference between hiding behind a movie seat or a concrete wall.
Dont lie there with your eyes closed and get shot. Think and move. A good decision executed quickly is better than a great one never executed. Violence of action, as we call it in the Spec Ops community, will often change the odds in your favor.
For close quarter combat drills wed draw a gun with someone over 20 feet away running at us. In most cases you can be on someone before they can draw and take a shot. Im not advocating running straight at someone but if you have the tactical advantage (jam, re-loading, distraction or the shooter isnt paying attention) then take the shooter down or get the hell out of there. Deal with the situation with your eyes wide open.
In Aurora, the shooter was severely weighted down with armor and his helmet would have also limited his vision. You can use all this to your advantage.
Flashlight anyone? I have one for daily carry and take it everywhere with me. Its become another extension of me and has diffused at least two potentially violent confrontations in a non-lethal way. I recommend 200+ lumens.
How to use it in this situation?
I would have pulled my high lumens pocket flashlight and blinded this guy. The high powered beam would have taken away his vision for 3-4 seconds, which is an eternity and enough time to flight or fight. Theres also no shame in surviving and getting you and your loved ones out of harm especially little ones. Be a Hero to your kids and family for surviving, nobody can expect more of you than that. Like we say in Survival Escape Evasion Resistance (SERE) school, Survive with Honor.
If youre lucky enough to live in a state like Texas that not only allows concealed carry, but supports the use of deadly force, then train to use it.
Think seriously about whether its worth a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit in states where youre likely to get screwed by a jury if you use it. Example: I can get a CCW in CA but Im likely screwed if I shoot somebody. The mostly liberal (Im a registered independent for the record) jury will be sure to have my ass and its why I own a dog thats trained to bite and protect (another good option). Nothing makes me happier then visualizing PETA pitted against other wild-eyed liberals.
Bottom line is that if you own a gun and have it as daily carry, youd better rehearse your use scenarios both physically and mentally, and the same with the gun in the home. Mental practice is extremely valuable after youve mastered the basics. FYI, shooting paper at the local range will not prepare you for a defensive shooting situation. Rehearsing defensive scenarios is the only thing that will prepare you.
For most of you, the best bet is to buy a good tactical flashlight, there are plenty on the market. Specs: At least 200+ lumens, waterproof, LED, and a 3volt lithium battery. Use and carry your light with you at all times. Its the best non-lethal and practical option available, in my opinion. You can take it anywhere including on an airplane and if its a high lumen model it will blind people in broad daylight. I cant recommend this purchase enough.
Learn From an Expert
There are plenty of former Military and Law Enforcement that have great self-defense skills. Just vet your instructor carefully, ask for references and proof of service. While there are many solid instructors out there, there are also a plethora of wannabe Rex-Kwon-Do types who are self-proclaimed experts and worse lie about their service.
Alter Your Lifestyle, and it May Save Your Life
Avoid opening night and large crowds (e.g. go to Disney World during off-peak) that make easy targets. FYI, most domestic and foreign terrorists want the biggest bang for their buck. They want Yankee stadium sold out and not Padre stadium at 60% capacity. It sucks to live this way sometimes but ask the survivors from Colorado if its worth a minor lifestyle change. I say it is, and its the main reason Im watching the Olympics on TV and not attending this year. London is too much of a risk for a variety of reasons that I will not go into on this post.
Dont Be a Victim
Rehearse emergency scenarios before theres an emergency, the time to practice is NOT when its happening.
The world is a dangerous place these days. Be prepared.
A great book Id also recommend is, Escape The Wolf by Clinton Emerson.
My condolences to the victims and their families in Aurora Colorado.
Brandon is a former Navy SEAL, and worked as a Special Operations intelligence & security specialist in Iraq during 2006-07. He is also author of the New York Times Best Seller, The Red Circle.
Very good advice! Thanks!
Excellent advice. Never thought of the flashlight. The rehearsing is the best advice. I don’t rehearse anything and I know that is not good.
Thanks for posting.
I’ve heard or read that there is no such thing as a “former” SEAL.
Going to buy a flashlight now.
Excellent post. Thanks.
Excellent advice. I’ve seen too many saying they would have gone Walter Mitty on the guy acting like an armchair cowboy, but this is much more rational.
My wife has a tiny little 22 revolver that fits in the palm of a hand. Aint much, but if someone grabbed her she can use it.
She now carries it in her pocket.
Tag for a later re-read.
Well, another reason to wait until movies come out on Blue ray at Redbox: It’s safer. ;-)
BTW, the 200+ lumens flashlights are amazing. Costco has a three pack for $19. The lights are small enough to put in your pocket and they are almost as bright as car headlights. I’ve compared them. In fact, I believe that if I could wire four of these to my car’s electrical system they would be better than my headlights.
I have an old, large mag lite that, even with fresh “D” cells in it is like a toy compared to one of these things. I’m talking a tenth the brightness.
If you have not purchased one of these three packs, you need to do it. Period. BTW, they take three AAA batteries.
Level-headed fellow SEAL advice.
I wonder if this guy sells tactical flashlights over the internet from his house. I am amazed by how many people are doing that now. There is almost an Amway of flashflights movement out there. Anyone else know what I am talking about?
If you are going to go to this length to go to a theater or a restaurant or anywhere, then you probably shouldn’t bother.
Sorry I am not paranoid enough to let a nut job turn me into a trust no one ever person.
And keep the flames to yourselves I won’t bother to respond. I don’t want your blood pressure any higher than it already is.
The part about the 200 lumen+ flashlight is really good. The wonder of one of them is a threatened person can shoot on suspicion of trouble with near impunity, leave no incriminating marks on the target, and not have to wait to see if he or she feels reasonably threatened with death or great bodily harm. A blast from of of those is likely to deter many wannabe perps long enough to avoid a threatening situation entirely. Just imagine where George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin would be today if Zimmerman had zapped Martin with one of those lights as Martin approached him.
A major contractor in the Iraq war had many civilians driving vehicles in theater. If they caught you NOT combat parking they fired you immediately.
Good post. Agreed.
I carry this one for work..
It’ll blind ya if you happen to point it at your eyes..
I bought the combo listed on the page through my Mac Tools dealer.. I paid more than amazon prices for it but it is worth every penny.. The beam cuts through anything and rechargeable batteries is a huge plus. Mine charges via 110 volt or 12 volts.
It’s also got good weight to it. I am sure if I hit someone over the head with it hard enough they’ed go down for the count and the light would continue to work.
I accidently left mine in the suspension of a XJ12 I was working on. Set the car down on it. Dented the body of the light but it still works just fine :)
Re flashlight idea
Good idea for a brief interruption, and hopefully others close by could over power the killer.
But please remember to hold out the flashlight at arm’s length, i.e. as far away from your body mass as possible.
I always have one with me - small, 380 lumens, and has a strobe setting. Blinding in the dark
See my post 11. And no, I don’t work for Costco. These are just the most amazing flashlights I’ve ever seen.
BTW, I used to use a $150 light for night commuting on my bicycle. These little gems are brighter on 3 watts and a snap to mount (using two hose clamps).
In fact, here they are:
Has 200 lumen, strobe and low light. The strobe is disorienting. I showed to the state trooper when he dropped off my pistol permit and he was impressed.
I would also add to run in a zig-zag fashion - as the odds of a direct hit on a moving target drop dramatically!
I have a family member who’s a police officer and she always complicates family seating arrangements at restaurants because she won’t sit with her back to the door or to the kitchen (or any door or entry point, in fact)! But it’s good advice if you’re armed and ready to respond, because one thing the creeps always rely on is the element of surprise.
The flashlight is good advice in most situations. It would not have worked in Aurora. The theater was filled with smoke, so a bright light would not have blinded the perp and would only have pinpointed anyone carrying the light. As anyone who has driven a car through heavy fog can testify, using your brights just throws a wall of reflected light up in front of you, making it even more difficult to see.
I have a small one that is mounted to a MAC11 I use for home defense. That sucker is bright and it really will blind you (far brighter than a camera flash). Look for a tactical flashlight that is made to rail mount on a weapon. It will be small and very bright.
Lowes sells LED replacement elements for the krypton(?) bulb in those old MagLights. It's a huge improvement, and those "D" cells will power a LED nearly forever.
You're right Mark - this is the best I've read too...
“A major contractor in the Iraq war had many civilians driving vehicles in theater. If they caught you NOT combat parking they fired you immediately.”
Didn’t know it was called “combat parking.” I’ve always called it “Boy Scout Parking.” That’s the way you park when car camping. Quick exit.
There’s a ton of good advice here. Thanks for posting.
$19.95 for a three pack at costco. machined aluminum body. 200 lumens. Brighter than most car headlights. About 5" long. Runs on three triple A's. I live on a 12 acre farm that is mostly field. These things give you a weird "power trip" feeling due to the incredible brightness. With a single light I can see anything anywhere on my property easily. And the thing can be used as a weapon as well. And did I mention $19 for a threepack.
One in the car console, one at home, and one in my pocket.
That said, I'm not going to avoid sporting events, concerts, movie theaters, etc because, on very rare occasions, someone goes crazy or an incident happens.
Excellent ideas and basic ones. Wisdom that will work ... if ... we actually do prepare and stay alert to our situations always.
We live in a world in chaos, ... all of us at home on our computer, Face book, playing war games, etc., we just do not see it or seemingly know it. Many of us are isolated, and thus interested in our own small world and ignore the rest. MOO
Excellent product suggestions, folks, thank you!
Good article with some good tips.
The only thing off here is that Brandon didn’t know that Cinemark Theatres are, by corporate policy, a gun free zone and CCW is prohibited in their theatres.
I’ve heard that you want to “look like you are aware of your surroundings” and “look like you are ready to defend yourself”. Unless you are the only target they expect, they’ll probably wait for easier pickins.
I was walking at night in a somewhat seedy part of Seattle about a year ago dressed and noticed this young girl, about 20-25ish, keeping up with me, about a step back, no matter how I adjusted my speed.
I finally stopped, turned to her and asked me if she wanted to walk next to me until she gets to where she was going. She looked up and looked very relieved. Kinda made me feel important, too. :-)
I’m wondering if she learned that somewhere. To a casual observer, it appeared from the beginning that she might be “with me”. Pretty smart, actually.
Indeed, it’s all in the mindset. Giving up on guns or preps, means becoming a slave of the state.
We need to protect our free speech in theaters, colleges and will to have ambitions beyond creep government jobs over our goodies, grab a$$ civil rights protected f@gs, and welfare.
It’s the loophole for murder for stupid, stupid.
“Dressed” = “ “
No, I don’t normally walk undressed. That word was part of a comment that I apparently only partly removed. :-(
I did think of flashlight when I visited Amazing1.com ... they got this flashlight that will burn your retina if you stare at it... Use that on a perp with dilated eyes coming at night for you, and he is a goner enough you can go to him and kick his butt.
The correct posture is somewhere between paranoia and oblivious.
I learned it (mandatory)at my career place of employement.It reduces backing acidents
HA! I just saw that 3-pack and passed on it...going back to get it this week. Costco also has a nice 2-pack Mag Lite set (small and large), and they’re LED instead of the old incandescent kind, so MUCH brighter and longer battery life. Those are $30. I’m grabbing the 3-pack though.
Wouldn’t a flashlight create a situation where the guy is pissed off and fires his rounds at random spraying everything.
And if he is already shooting at random..would it have really made any difference - not including the smoke factor.
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